Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

soupy air

I hope I'm wrong, but the weather situation here kind of reminds me of that night which was the beginning of hell week. My brother and sis-in-law were reporters in Memphis at the time so we got a heads up before the lights went out.

Things don't look good for the new and improved dirt work OR for the guy in Texas seriously trying not to catch the swine flu. Here's some common sense advise from a gal who deals with body fluids all day every day. Wear gloves when you can and wash WASH wash those hands and your nasty ass. Otherwise, ignore the MSM and its' current war on influenza and statistics. I imagine their calculator is a bit skewed since that big bad terrorist threat in Manhattan Iraq cost so damned much to finance over the years.

Here's my theory on homeland security. You figure out who's in or who's out as an know. The true believers in democracy and freedom and what this country stands for as a nation besides gas guzzling vehicles and gettin' drunk on Saturday night just because. Catch these folks in the right mood and the right generation and band 'em together like the ones in England who snuck away on a boat and grew corn and stuff with the Native Americans up there somewhere close to Boston. Believe in the power of frienship and survival and spirituality.

And for god's sake, call yo' mama on Mother's Day ^j^

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

reality check

I'm not a big fan of the reality show as a genre, but there are some that really catch my interest and hold it, like the food channel. BG introduced me to that wicked little secret a few years ago. As I was sittin' in the swing watching the dogs play awhile ago, it dawned on me that what my family is doing is sort of like real live hospice care...the way it was designed to be,in the home setting. Don't nobody love you warts and all except for a dear friend or a family member. Back when I studied my brains out scouring options for myself and my loved ones when the time came, a pattern emerged as to the successful delivery of home care.

There's doctor, of course. And his faithful smartass nurse who knows the patients inside out and loves 'em to pieces. Hopefully there's a chaplain, or at least somebody who knows their way around the spiritual side of death. Home health services are provided by agencies that are paid by Medicare dollars to check on homebound folks. Many of them are run ragged by low paying positions with large corporations who see these services as a pass through. If you can make enough to pay the help and the CEO, that's all that matters.

The role of a social worker is to tie all of these elements together for a client with their best interests at heart. And that is the degree that will bestowed upon my child, the never forgettable, moody as hell angel. Not too long ago we were talkin' and she thanked me for being supportive on the journey. I quipped that she could pay me back when I'm old and she's taking care of my ornery half Reaves half Stafford ass. "Mom" she said. "That's a given."

Ya'll hold your applause until we make it to the beach with a fruity drink in hand.


Monday, April 27, 2009

monday bloody monday

No wait, that was Sunday. As Emily Latella would say: "Never mind." Like many others around these parts, I am suffering mightily at the hands of pollen. My meds take care of the symptoms most of the year but when it gets THIS thick, forget it. I could honestly become a steroid junkie just to get out of this misery. I've even had to douse my inner ear with cortisone cream!

My annual Christmas gift to Bubba is gift certificates for catering to his poker club so he doesn't have to go out and buy something because, hey. He doesn't cook. I've done chicken ro-tel and rosemary pork tenderloin and both were big hits. If Sugardaddy never shows up I'll just hire on as his cook and housekeeper when the day job gets to be too much. Which it very much could become really soon thanks to the flu scare. People get absolutely NUTS over stuff like that instead of using common sense. I remember fielding calls from wanna be blood donors all during the day of the WTC bombings. Oh I see. NOW you wanna help? Sorry...there were no survivors to need blood. If you stil feel the urge, go down to the blood center in a week and do your thing every 56 days. Just because you can.

Mom is perking up a bit but still in a sling and on a stick for a month or so. Home health care is an absolute miracle when things work right and so far they have. It helps to know the ropes and which hoops can be jumped through. My horoscope today warned me against being too cocky about things which is enough said for me. Every time in my life I ever got to thinking I was really something all on my own, Big Ernie smitheth me back down to size, in a nice way of course. Like where I had to admit it wasn't all about me.

We're watching and waiting for the passage of that front which promises to be quite "active". Six years ago in May, a big tornado passed damn near through my back yard. The house wasn't damaged, but there was no electricity for a week so I had to move out. Then the road caved in and I couldn't get home to get my "stuff." Let's just say I have a very healthy respect for Mother Nature in every season, but particularly spring. By the time I got home, asparagus season was over :(

Ya'll be careful out there.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

finding the happy place

I'm relaxed for a change, faithful that when the other shoe drops Big Ernie will guide me because, Lord knows, I'd hate to be the one in charge of this big old gal'durned mess, as Doris would say. There's a hot dry wind blowing over the lane this weekend...enough to keep a gal inside cleaning and otherwise doing things that need to be done. Like sleeping. And balancing the checkbook. And dreaming about the cooler winds on the beach. Ya'll hide and'll rain every freaking day we're there if my luck keeps holding.

I've been single for seven years and this is THE most content I've ever been in my life, in spite of the adaptations that come along with making more room for my parents and their needs. Mom has been pretty much housebound since her fall, save for a trip to the beauty shop to get her hair did. The home care agency has been quite responsive to their needs once they figured out what was going on besides an old lady with a fractured arm. It is frightening to me to think about those who have no true advocate in this huge maze called end-of-life healthcare. What is most important to the majority is knowing that someone hears what they say, validates their pain and follows through. A great big fat hat tip to Yahoo! for providing a safe and relatively painless way to connect with men while in quite a vulnerable and naive state. There was only one who didn't express any desire to do something other than introduce me to the joy of music again. Thanks, Blumberg. Love you. And JT too.


Friday, April 24, 2009

unseasonably warm

That's what the weathermen say when it's 85 in April and the wind's blowing hot. The pollen count is off the scale, too as it tends to be year round in western Tennessee. Must have something to do with our proximity to the mighty mississippi river and its' tributaries. There's a canoe race every year in May down in Memphis that attracts people from all over the world. It is just one piece of the festival that is Memphis in May, a month long celebration of the good times before it gets too hot to move unless you happen to be under a ceiling fan on the front porch. With a mimosa and a good book.

This is when the snakes come out and I've got to say that's my most non-favorite part of summer because they scare the bejesus out of me. I don't give a shit if Big Ernie made them for a reason and all that. One gets within ten feet of this old gal and it's a dead one. End of story.

In the twenty odd years I've lived here on the lane we've somehow managed to keep the yard lookin' pretty good without weeds taking over. The summer after I became divorced I mowed with a pusher and never got done until the first frost. I was younger back then so it seemed like an okay way to work on my tan. We still had a trampoline that BG bought for herself with some huge chunk of manna from heaven. When I got tired of mowing around it, Mary Beth's boy got to jump :)

There's not enough benadryl in the world to get me to mow that yard again.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

time warp

I am a recovering control freak, one who learned in her forties to kick back and let life happen, putting out fires when they flare up but otherwise not sweatin' the small stuff. If any of you are not acquainted with this condition, please see Melody Beattie's works for further clarification. The bottom line is accepting the gift that is the ability to let go. It can't be earned or bought...only cultivated with a sincere desire not to go through life with one's panties in a wad. Who's says there's no advantage to getting old.

For many years, until my parents became homebound, that worked like a charm. While raising a teenager essentially alone, I learned that every crisis has a resolution and sometimes it's sort of sweet to see how it can play out with justice leading directly to lesson learned by a young mind. With aging parents, it's a different story. They are dependent on each other, and on their kids, to keep their lives somewhat manageable and comfortable, all the while dueling the demons that strike elders like broken bones, dementia and social isolation. These fires are not easy to put out, and sometimes all you can do is dig a trench and hope for the best. That's about where we are now.

The salmon colored azaeleas by the front steps are in glorious full bloom which makes me smile. The bugs? Not so much. We're take a giant leap into summer heat with a high in the eighties today and I'm just not ready for that. Ya'll know how much I hate to sweat and all.

Somedays you're the windshield...some days you're the bug. At least tomorrow is Friday.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

unbroken circle

While I was checking email earlier today, I noticed the big MSM splash on the news that Freddie Mac's CFO did himself in before he ever headed to the office. I can't say that I know the feeling since he was only 41 and living in a million dollar house, but I can relate to the fact that he knew the gig was up. Been there.. done that on a much smaller scale. With all of the truth that is being drug out of the political closets lately, it's not a good time to be one of their big money guys.

Circle K is in kitty heaven as I type, able to drink real cream and walk straight. One tme when I was a kid, I asked my Daddy about heaven and hell and all that, what he thought it was like. His reply startled me with its' logic and integrity. At that point in his life he believed that your destination is actually what you do with your life here on earth and your perception or appreciation of it. We come from folks who survived the Great Depression which was by no means a picnic, and SUV's hadn't even been invented yet. Somehow I think that particular theology speaks clearly to us today as a warning that life is short and you've got to find heaven where you are in real time rather than waiting for a particular event, like retirement or the next cocktail party. Ya'll know I don't have much use for rich people who squander their money and I'm liable to tip over some tax tables just like Jesus did. We like to call it a running Stafford fit.

Lunch is free all week at the sawmill thanks to our boss and vendors because it's time, ONCE AGAIN, to appreciate laboratory personnel for their contribution to healthcare delivery. I didn't really understand when I signed up for this deal 36 years ago that poop trickles down and if you're dealing with doctors in this country, it's all about having your way. As a side note, I've always believed that they should be paid a salary and do the job like the rest of us schmucks do. And leave your freakin' ego at home with your significant other. Spend a couple of years in the Peace Corp or something.

It's been cloudy all day but looks like a nice sunset might happen so I'm outta here and onto the porch. That sound you hear is Faith snoring on the couch.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

roll with it

Yow. Life seems to be coming at us in a thousand different directions doesn' it? This my second day off and I'm STILL playing catch-up on things that I'm too tired for when I'm working. Not whining...just saying. This is why the upcoming beach trip looks like crack to me at the moment. Two and a half weeks...graduation....beach. That's my mantra.

My very social choco-lab named Faith has a tendency to wander up toward the highway where all the wrecks happen and usually somebody falls in love at first sight with her and calls the vet's office. I've picked her up at UPS multiple times, once at ATT and today at Smith's Auto Service. Not to mention all the trips to doggie jail. She just wants to visit, bless her heart. Anywho...I got a call from work telling me she was at the vet's office waiting for me to pick her up after this latest excursion. We've been talking lately about how our adopted cat, Circle K, hasn't improved much in the four months since she was rescued by Yaya on the side of the highway. There was probably head trauma leaving her unalble to groom herself, drink (except with a dropper ) or use the litter box. This meant frequent baths and even one infected finger when she bit me while I was force feeding water. Since I was headed that way, I took her for a final "rest". This poor cat has done a brazillion miles in circles since we've had her and walked like she was on a three day drunk. Like mama said, there's a limit to what's humane.

Rest in peace Miss Kitty ^j^

Sunday, April 19, 2009

keep on pluggin'

My friend Joe sends me a thought for the day now and then and they are always insightful and inspiring. Coupled with the famous comedy quotes that I get from Chuckles, they manage to keep me inspired even when it all looks like a clusterfuck kinda sorta' not doable to a weary old smartass gal. Bless.ya'lls.hearts ^j^

Let's not dwell on the sawmill because frankly I'm glad to be a survivor of this weekend. Earlier I did the very therapeutic and most colorful walking of the yard with a beer to check out what's poking its' head out of the dirt. Still lots of asparagus, and I delivered a huge batch to the Kentucky branch of my relatives this afternoon. It's all good. Dude's gonna fix my washing machine :)

So far the smattering of red gravel over clay hasn't "set up" like we had hoped leaving a ginormous mudhole. And there's more rain on the way. Anybody who DARES to call and wake me up in the morning is dead meat.

I'm just saying.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

the long goodbye

Myself and the BG have become accustomed to having a boy scout around who knows how to fix shit stuff and generally keep us safe. It's been something sorta like a reality show what with all the tales of sticking together through the tough times and laughing at life when it all seems too much. They were twenty and sixteen when they met. First time ever I saw his face was when he showed up in the yard with a kite just to have fun with her. Back in that day, she had a mom and dad who lived together and split the bills, but they were rarely on the same page. Into every life some rain must fall but ya know what? The ability to feel the pain and move on is a life choice that many people never make. That's the difference between a survivor and a victim.

Precisely three weeks from today my little girl will graduate with a degree in social work and a shitload of government loans. I remember when she did her senior paper on end-of-life care improvement. We would lay on her bed or in the floor and talk about how it could be different if only healthcare weren't about making money for rich people. Maybe someday.


Friday, April 17, 2009

early to bed, early to rise

I'm not so sure about the healthy, wealthy and wise part but it's my lifestyle and I'm stickin' to it until Sugardaddy shows up with a bouquet of hand picked flowers. Yeah, I know. Always the dreamer.

April must be national appreciate-healthcare-workers month because this coming one is in honor of clinical lab folks and hospital volunteers. My cousin and I will be presenting the last "Gaga award" in honor of our late great grandmother Geraldine who worked as an ER clerk until she was forced to retire at 70 and then began a mission to blend volunteers from the community in with the ones who get paid to be there. It's a long story..remind me to tell you sometime when we're out on the porch talking about life.

If you need some blood drawn or transfused, I'm the girl this weekend, sans IT service for several hours. Sounds like fun, huh?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a pattern emerges

Some of you old time readers might remember when my Mom totalled her car on the way to Easter service at the Methodist church two years ago. That was the grand finale of her driving career, the third vehicle to get smashed by passing motorists on the busy highway into town. I remember riding with Babygirl when she was just learning and cringing every time we did that crossover with a stop in the middle of 51 by-pass. As a high school senior, she was involved in a wreck there as a passenger. Lots of stitches and drama. This is the same spot where Daddy gave up driving as well. When my mama had her last wreck, we all turned up at the ER because that's what family does when there's a crisis. Heck...even the preacher showed up between Easter services to deliver an abbreviated version of his big sermon....SURPRISE!

That was in the old emergency room. This Easter's saga moved to the new-and-improved ER where we all ended up following her fall in the kitchen while cooking supper for she and Daddy. He called me and sounded desperate because he couldn't help her up from the floor. Me and Bubba tried and still couldn't get her up so we called the ambulance service for some help. Four hours two preachers and a few x-rays later, she was discharged with a broken arm up next to the shoulder and some Darvocet. I watched my co-workers caring for her and noticed who was naughty and who was nice. It's a totally different experience for someone who has an advocate than for the ones who are there alone and scared. That showed me that it can be done when there's a reason to care. Fortunately, my vocation provides that opportunity.

Happy Hump Day ^j^

Sunday, April 12, 2009

flowering crosses and road trippin' dogs

Happy Easter to ya'll and yours. We're out of the loop on egg hunting so me the fam had our eggs done by Perkins just the way we like 'em. There was a time when I thought that people who did that were pitiful and had no family. Now I realize the importance of just getting together for a meal that nobody has to slave over. Back in the day Easter with our family was always a gathering that had a menu looking something like this: pork or turkey, asparagus casserole, deviled eggs and some sort of fresh veggies like butterbens or purple hull peas. And homemade rolls. And pie.

There's another big line of storms moving in as I type which means the internets will go out for the duration.

Catch up with you later.

Friday, April 10, 2009

confessions of a very bad facebook friend page is papered with ten zillion requests and I just pass them by, essentially ignoring those who pinged me. Sorry..I'm lazy like that when it comes to the keyboard. After using one all day at work, it's about all I can do to keep the blog up every day or two. I do post pics there and it's a great way to keep up with your peeps when there's big news to share.

When I stopped at the gas station beer store on the way home I ran into a dear old friend who just lost his job with one of the aforementioned do-it-cheaper-in-China companies. Thirty.four.years. He and thousands of others like him are casualties of the tendency in corporate America to see middle aged folks who have tons of experience as debits rather than assets. Sometimes that flies in the face of good business sense.

Just got off the phone with a guy who spent several hours on the interstate outrunning our nasty Tennessee weather today. It was hit and miss from one end of our long skinny state to the other with thunderstorms and tornados galore. Typical spring in the midsouth region.

I'm not sure but I think lightning hit the Easter bunny when he was on his way out to eat some asparagus. Film at eleven.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

happy feet

It's foot washin' night for this particular holy week in the year of our Lord 2009. For those of us who like rituals, it's a remembrance of how the man demonstrated ultimate love for his believers and followers, the big twelve plus a couple of girls who were probably along for the ride. As the story goes there was a last supper and some wine and then he washed their feet in preparation for the next day's adventure becuase..hey. He knew what was coming and it didn't look like much fun what with all the nails and the blood and stuff.

That's my sugardaddy, the one who carried his cross all the way up the hill to be whipped and poked and laughed at. We all do that, ya know. Each and every day there is an option to pay attention to detail and flip over the tax tables in a fit of rage and/or help to heal a soul in need. Most of what I've seen as the american way of life lately doesn't work well with that draft. Most everybody, besides the ones who are starving to death, are worried about losing their jobs with big ginormous corporations who have homies in China.

Is it just me, or should somebody have been watching out for us little people and not the almighty dollar? I's too much to ask of a government. Let's go invade a country or spy on people within our own borders. Contractors like that sort of action when Congress is paying the bill. So does wall street, which is kinda sorta the same thing.

Yep...I'm in a mood. Again.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

instant everything

It just dawned on me while entering my brother's new cellphone number into MY phone that just a few years ago I didn't even have one. And now? I can't tell you anybody's number without checking it. To many it's a toy, and one that I've not yet learned to embrace, nor do I want to. If you need to reach me, call that number because it's always in my pocket. Otherwise, call the house. I don't take pictures with it or play songs or text friends. I simply talk. How very country girlish of me!

My TV viewing has trickled down to "whatever's on when I'm in the mood" which isn't very often unless I stay up late enough to watch Letterman or Leno or SNL. Contrast that with my father's viewing schedule which is from sunup to bedtime all courtesy of the wonders of DVR. His favs are Gunsmoke, Bonanza and NCIS. My younger brother and his wife were both TV news reporters years ago and I learned pretty quickly about the industry and that "if it bleeds it leads." Have you ever noticed how they all do that little nod when the camera turns on them? Watch. You'll die laughing.

Activities of daily living are things that social workers can use to measure what the needs of a particular person might be. Ability to drive, bathe, feed oneself etc. are all things that are considered when doing a care plan for an individual. So many people say that the loss of the ability to get in the car and GO when you want to without catching a ride is one of the saddest things about being an older person and I believe it after watching both of my parents give it up. While it means a few more trips here and there for me in the trusty old Camry, to them it means being dependent on others for their care. Fortunately, they have plenty of friends and family who want to help them. If you find yourself "too busy" to cultivate true friendships, that might be something to consider. I certainly have and it's an eye-opener.

Hillary's "it takes a village" speech was one that got quoted for years and I still think about it, only in a more global way. In a sense, everyone in your little corner of the world is your village and it's not always the children that need raising. Could be your next door neighbor's barn or the cleaning lady's heavy load of garbage.

I have known so many manipulative people in my life that I could build a bridge from here to China with their bodies linked hand to foot. Once I see that in a person, he or she becomes a big fat zero and most of the time they never even know it. I just carry on as if, free from the game. Too bad I didn't learn that at a younger age. I could have saved myself a lot of pain and misery.

My Daddy always told me that one should pray "in the closet" meaning not to make a big show out of it because that's what Jesus did. Mostly he went off alone and pondered how bad things were, searching for answers to some mighty grim predicaments.
While the Gospels disagree on a lot of their stories, that's one that pretty much comes through loud and clear. You won't see me parading into the church every time the doors open...rarely even on Christmas or Easter. After being raised there, and raising my daughter there I feel like it's time to walk the walk that we talked.

Ya'll have a very holy week.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

all my rowdy friends

It's been a nice quiet weekend around here and that's how we love it. Yesterday was about as close to paradise as it gets taking Tennessee's fickle weather into consideration. BG went to visit her Dad, so I hit the front porch after capturing the gremlins in my mother's computer. They come out at night, you know. Anna and I swang and sipped and talked about life and love, the future and old times. I destroyed about ten wasps in a row with my long reaching spray *heh*..hate 'em.

One of our subjects was about how many people don't seem to realize not to sweat the small stuff but concentrate on the blessings. I guess it takes some steps in someone else's shoes to drive the point home, and she did just that. Her young son is vision impaired due to a traumatic delivery but otherwise is happy healthy and normal. I shared with her the stories of my other friend who has a child who has grown to be an adult battling mitochondrial disease and all that is involved. She was stunned at the simplicity of her own life after hearing about theirs.

Remember my special needs kitty Circle K? She's much better but still doesn't drink much so every day or so I force the water down her. She wasn't feeling particularly thirsty I guess because she bit the SHIT out of my finger. My mother is scared I'm gonna get rabies. I informed her that if I did she could say "I told you so." Peroxide is cheap and works just fine.

We are settling into a flexible routine as an extended family unit and that is a relief in more ways than one. For my parents, it is security. For us, it's an opporunity to spend more quality time with them rather than responding to the fire call when something happened. And I get free breakfast at Perkins :)

We are hoping that the freeze line stays north of here because everything is in full bloom. Daddy's tree even has little peaches on it! On warm days my asparagus shoots up in a few hours begging to be picked and put into some olive oil. I've gotta hand it to my ex....he worked his butt off digging that bed some ten years ago.

Ya'll have a marvelous Monday and all. Don't forget the easter bunny's watching^j^

Friday, April 3, 2009

god bless texas

off line

We have mysterious phone and internet gremlins running around the house. Soooooooo...I'll be away from the blog for a few days until they get us up and running again. Ya'll be good while I'm out. Don't kick the cat and be nice to your sister. Because I said so, that's why.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

faith in action

Some of ya'll don't know about how I ended up here on Pecan Lane some 53..just shy of 54 years. It all started when my grandfather was a real estate man who managed farm properties. One of those was the place known as Ferguson Farm, once a thriving neighborhood filled with schools and houses and family drama. The property was originally purchased in the early nineteen hundreds by a man from Michigan who had family ties here. Flush with money from the sale to our government of raingear for soldiers, the family claimed it as home.

Daddy came to be the farm manager when my grandpa died at the young age of 45 from heart disease. He had built quite a portfolio of farm businesses along with his full service station at the corner of Main and McGaughey. The Silver Castle sat snugly next door, the afternoon host for hundreds of school kids after they got cut loose. In the words of someone like Andy Rooney..."It was a kinder and gentler time." People knew the meaning of patience and faith and hard work for something that is valuable in a way that many have never experienced. I was one of those hoodlums who went barefoot and wore tie-dye saying to hell with that sweet kind generation. I'm glad to have experienced both.

My young parents moved out here to look after things and fifty two years later we're still kicking as a family unit. A very important phone call was received today and I feel much better about things. It's pretty hard sitting around waitin' for the other shoe to drop.

But, ya know? Sometimes that's all it takes.