Monday, June 29, 2009

the war on.........

Something I've noticed about the good old USA during my lifetime is that there's always a war on something going on. Great job security for prohibitionists and enforcers of "the law." How in the world would the deep south survive without front page pics of local deputies weighing out the confiscated weed for the local rag! Not one of my favorite southern moments. My mama used to be a recipe columnist for a now defunct newspaper which is how she printed her cookbook years later to benefit the county fair association. Lord knows she and daddy had enough experience between them to grow, preserve and cook any manner of things such as corn and okra and beef. We never had pigs, if I remember correctly, but there were plenty of chickens back in the day.

Sometimes when the wind is just right I can smell the ghostly vapors of moonshine cooking in the woods around our farmhouse. As the story goes, there was a drinking joint right up there across the road where the Quinn family lived years later. I wrote a story about that one time, taking much liberty with character development and my knowledge of the lay of this land.

My entire left arm feels is numb, off and on, due to nerve damage. The washing machine is dead as a doornail. The day job sucks a big one. I'm now officially in charge of home health for my parents and taking in a third roommate to help pay the bills for living in this old house. Sugardaddy is nowhere to be found.

And Faith is smooth asleep on the one remaining piece of furniture in Cassie's new room.



Sunday, June 28, 2009

dear president obama and congress

An old slippery friend called last night because he was dying to talk to me alone for the evening and our conversation turned toward the sawmill and how bad it sucks that the people who provide critical care like those of us in the lab get paid less than nurses with associate degrees. And how it's not right that doctors get to make big money as specialists who feed off of referrals from their primary care buddies in a "cover my ass" sort of way. In my opinion, the biggest reasons for the rise in healthcare costs are malpractice litigation, big pharmacy and student loans. There are acts of pure and reckless negligence that need to be compensated for, but the majority are frivolous lawsuits filed by ambulance chasers. And don't think that those pharmacy reps won't feed you lunch to get in the door and push their product. But of course ya'll all know how that works.

I say make the tuition for medical school reasonable and focus on primary care, then let the specialists weed themselves out by attrition. The ones who really WANT to help people and live like their patients do will stay in business. As far as I'm concerned the rest of 'em can cash in and move to Fiji. I subscribe to email from Doctors without Borders and I'm totally amazed at what is accomplished with so little by people who do it for the right reasons. How sad that our country can't adopt that sort of outlook on providing healthcare to its'citizens.

Several of the few industries that are hanging on in this town are cutting benefits, like health insurance, just to stay afloat. Yaya's bunch is off without pay this week. Everywhere you turn, people are struggling to make ends meet. Give us free preventive care on our insurance and watch how the healthcare costs go down. Focus more on quality end-of-life care rather than prolonging the inevitable. If Grandma is 98 and needs surgery on her gallbladder, just put it on hold and keep her comfortable instead of taking outlandish chances on things that won't contribute to her quality of life. Or any other invasive procedure, for that matter. Old folks have enough aches and pains without all that sticking.

As a veteran of the healthcare wars over the years I can honestly say that I've tried not to miss an opportunity to be one of those people who's not doing it for the money but for the greater good, a ministry so to speak. If my friend is up in that ICU you better believe I'm gonna run up there and see if she needs a hug. Compassion for the scared and weary family members is something that no amount of money can buy.

Please fix this mess.
Your friend,

The Poopster ^j^

Saturday, June 27, 2009

spontaneous joy

BG is headed to nashvegas with a buddy, on the spur of the moment. My Kentucky cousin has always ragged me about not being spontaneous enough to really enjoy life. I can't exactly explain why, but it seems like too much trouble to catch up with real life when I get a little change of scenery. Which is why you go to begin with. Like, duh. I have ventured out more, as much as the money and family responsibility will allow. All the good channels on TV "went away" last night because I guess all companies are about the money. The thing is, I talked with a representative about payment arrangement and she accepted my terms, one half of which was paid yesterday. I reckon it's just me, the dogs and the computer for the rest of the weekend. I don't watch much TV anyway really.

I can't say that it's never been this hot for this long, but never in June that I can recall. Once we had a stretch beginning on the 4th of July that topped a hundred for seventeen days straight. As you can imagine, Poops was not a happy camper. That just so happened to be the summer that the landlord of the house we had JUST rented asked us to move after three months so their son could have it. yeah. Bad summer.

Today was spent what little you got for food and stuff day so I hit the Dollar General this morning only to find the most adorable little girl holding a six week old black cocker spaniel pup. We visited for awhile and she told me the puppy's name is Tilly, but she's working on a middle one. Precious. With braces on her two front teeth where she lisped everytime she spoke. Thanks Big Ernie...I needed that.

I also needed the shower that got me on the way out of Kroger. The rain felt wonderful. Heading home, I could see steam rising from the pavement as I pulled into Trixie's place (don't ask) to get some corn. The little girl has sold to me before and knows exactly what the prices are. I told her to be looking for a rainbow as soon as the sun popped out from under that cloud.

Ya'll keep the faith. It's all we've got.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

one for the team

My boss and her boss are over in the eastern part of the state celebrating attending the wedding of one of those bratty kids that used to come out here for pre-teen parties in the basement. What was I thinking, by the way?

I watched Obama's address last night on healthcare in the US and the things that we might as well get used to. Primary and preventive care are where it's at...A government funded healthcare system that is based on referral to specialists is not a good thing. Too much opportunity to pad the old pocket with perks from bigtime drug and insurance companies.

Most of the doctors that I am friends with want to do no harm, perform well at their jobs and go home to their families at a decent hour just like yours truly. I have worked for many years as a med tech, learning the internal works of the clinical and anatomical laboratories and the horrors involved with spotty coverage from a pathologist who was either not offically on call or crazy as an old Cuban refugee. The primary care docs see patients during the day and hand it over to hospitalists from other countries who came to America to drive expensive cars prolong life way past the point of any sort of quality. Right now, in the bill pile, there are statements from my day job and a few other providers who shall remain nameless. There's also past due rent, an upcoming ginormous bill from TVA and the usual incidentals like stuff to make pasta salad and pimentoless cheese. Oh...and body wash from the dollar general.

Me and some girls are loosely planning a trip to southeastern tennessee to do the Ocoee and Hiwasee thing. The least TVA can do is let us have some fun with the water if we're gonna pay big bucks for it. I'm just sayin'.

Almost friday ya'll. Keep the faith ^j^

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the honorable generation

My parents have begun their multiple journeys to the funeral home that becoming an elder entails. If it's not a family member, it's a Sunday school member passing on to glory. "The Young Adult Class" of First UMC is slowly becoming a conglomerate of widows and widowers. And Don, of course. But, that's a whole 'nother story. Back when Mr. Yates died, he of "leave room for the spirit to work" fame, I went with them to the church for his funeral. At that point, Daddy was at the height of his confusion and couldn't remember how to tie a necktie. Not that I ever knew! Anyways, I was no help so here we go trooping into the church with all the VIPs in the SS class section and his badly knotted tie is dangling over a plaid cowboy shirt covered with a sport coat and work khakis. And boots, no less. He a tenor, and myself an alto manage to harmonize on an occasional hymn just like we did for years in the choir loft. By the time Mr. PH died, he was ready to put on a suit and tie it right. Thank goodness for proper meds.

I remember the time on All Saints Day that I sat robed up next to the choir directors alto wife and listened to the bells being played as each deceased church member was remembered from the previous year. Her mother had recently died and, though she wasn't a member of THAT congregation and her name wasn't called, I noticed something about Donna. She gazed up toward the stained glass windows and got this really peaceful but kind of sad look on her face and I do believe she saw her mama right then and knew it was okay because Big Ernie had her soul firmly in his grip. That kind of experience helps when you know what's coming.

'Til death do us part is not very common these days. It's a vow that is solid and true and involves no turning back. It's extremely cheap to get married and quite expensive to get a divorce. Yet it is the answer to everything these days. I reckon it makes the lawyers happy rich.

The humidity has finally dropped turning this into a Texas style dry heat but with a little breeze so it's time to go play with the puppies. Maybe the dang grass will quit growing now that's it's dried up a little!

Peace, love and rock'n'roll.

Love ya. Mean it ^j^

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

who let the dogs out?

I did, of course. They wanted to go bite the tree cutter's ass. Yeah, right. I imagine dude took advantage of a partly cloudy evening with a breeze to make some progress with that giant felled pecan tree. If I know my brother, he won't give up on that corner of plantable ground.

In political news....Obama made a big splash with his stamp of approval on the bill that funds nicotine addiction education for teenagers. Really, that's what it's about, you know. Most smokers, including myself and the big O, started when we weren't old enough to know better. Everybody did it and it was all good because the states of Kentucky and North Carolina made a killing off of the backs of dirt farmers. So did the cigarette and movie industries. God bless Mary Tyler Moore and Andy Griffith for never lighting up onscreen.

The sawmill is pretty much the same...ya'll know the drill so I won't bore you with the details of everybody's drama. Lord knows, I've got enough of my own without tending to everybody else's business. I'm just thinking that if I give about two more percent to wallstreet, I might get a gold watch when sugardaddy shows up.

Ya'll stay cool if you can. Looks like another cold shower for this old gal. The hummers have found that crazy feeder on the back porch again so I'm going to keep the faith for one more day. And pray. And be specific.


Monday, June 22, 2009

bring it on

There are lightning bugs everywhere here around the lane, plus a whole lot of wheat stubble of the winter plant variety. Soybeans are coming up like crazy, all in little curvy rows where the planters got creative on their tractors. I suppose it might have something to do with irrigation and such but I never learned much about farming the land. I leave that to the brother who knows it by heart. This old gal can't even keep her herb garden alive. There may be hope though, as I moved them up under the maple tree in the back yard close to the water hose. Rosemary and cilantro look great. Basil will bounce back after this afternoon's deadhead. I've never quite figured out WHAT to do with thyme but there's plenty of it. Chives too.

Thanks to Big Ernie and my brother, I got to sleep in today which is something that hasn't happened in a very long time. I picked Mom up on the other end of a double dose of doc's appointments with dilated eyes and no sling. We stopped by the store to pick up some essentials and then she and daddy enjoyed a nice lunch delivered by the church ladies.

The rest of my day was weather dependent, meaning that I stayed inside running up the electric bill so that TVA execs can go on vacations and send their kids to expensive private colleges. I made a few phone calls to people with whom I do business, asking for a little more time to get it straight before they cut my services off. Humility, thy name is Poopie. It's a long story about how we came to live our lives on this farm and the future is unsure. That's why we take it one day at a time as a family and a community. That is why I'm sorting through what's left and preparing to move on whenever the time comes. Faith can only get you so far until reality kicks you smooth in the butt.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

a father's love

This is my Dad and his sisters plus some cousins at another cousin's funeral earlier this year. So much has changed in his life and ours since then. There was the big wreck where the driver's license went away and from that day forward all of our lives became one big list of things to do and places to be at the appointed time. Most days we manage without missing a beat.

I grew up on this farm where I can see the crops being harvested right outside my windows. Today was wheat cuttin' day so the air is, shall we say, thick with dust and heat. Plenty of heat. We southerners are accustomed to hunkering down in the middle of summer and bitchin' about the heat while we fan ourselves and drink cold fruity drinks, but normally it doesn't happen this early. Being the faithful sort, I'm theorizing that the seasons are getting back on track and September will actually be pleasant weatherwise. That would be a nice birthday present for the old Poopster.

I have actually skirted my duties as a daughter this year, leaving for the beach on Mother's Day and working on Father's Day. After the sawmill today, I went to their house bearing a repeat bloom hydrangea as a gift and found the two of them actually sitting there watching a movie together. It was about football and believing in miracles by letting Big Ernie take charge of things which is a lesson we can all take to heart. Even though I only saw the last ten minutes, I knew that he had gotten the most out of his very special afternoon. Back in the day, this man was a sports NUT to the point where we didn't dare speak during an important game because, well. He was in a dang coma and couldn't be reached. Many running Stafford fits resulted from a dropped ball or an overtime loss.

My Daddy taught me lots of valuable lessons like how to make things grow and the importance of being honest and giving back when blessed. He grew up as a sharecropper's son, living the hard life of an only son with three sisters. Two of them are still alive, just like you see them in that picture up there. We are here for him, and for Mom as they age and move toward the promise that a spiritual upbringing instills. That? Is what family is all about.

And tomorrow, we will plant that hydrangea and water it with faith.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

you might be a redneck

As ya'll might remember, I gave up any notion of being able to keep the yard mowed this year and hired a guy to do it for me. The carcass of my old wore out John Deere sits out front as my testament to years of trying to do it all myself and failing miserably. I've noticed that this crew knows how to mulch naturally by aiming grass toward the flower beds and giving some shape to those random spots where I've planted perennials over the twenty odd years that I've called this place home. I must say they know what's a weed and what's not and that's saying a lot for yard guys. Last year Yaya's guys cut down her asparagus every.single.time they mowed, in spite of the warning flags. *sigh*

Another redneck thing that's been laying out front is the couch cushions. The frame is still up in here but soon to go to the burn pile along with said cushions and not many good memories. That should work well with plans to take in our new roommate in the near future to cut expenses. Just call us a commune out here on the lane. We're all hippies and animal lovers so it should work out fine.

The pecan tree that fell while we were in Florida is almost gone, thanks to some guy with a log splitter and chainsaw who's stocking up for the winter. The heat index yesterday and today is in the triple digits, so I'd say he's a man of faith to believe that it will ever be cold again. Hold that thought buddy.

Mom has a date with one of her doctors her beloved physician tomorrow and it just so happens that I'm off so, there ya go with Big Ernie at the wheel. Monday we get to see TWO of them! This gettin' old stuff is not easy by any means. Just ask her and Daddy.

BG is on the learning curve at her new job and seems to like her entry level position with a not- for-profit provider. There's a helluva lot of difference between the two corporate models when it comes to delivery of care to those in need. I'm just saying.

Gotta go push that couch out into the front yard.

Later ^j^

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

shop talk

I had a spare moment at the sawmill yesterday to check the news and this guy showed up in my face. He's a numbers whiz who obviously knows nothing about meetin' sick folks where they are. If he did he'd be down at the church health center doing their math and not just showing up on every tenth sunday to serve communion and put on a show. In case you don't remember, Big Ernie doesn't like that sort of stuff. He (or she) tends to retaliate with floods and plagues and all sorts of heavenly wrath.

Access to affordable healthcare is a right for those who have worked for years to be treated with respect when they're sick or old. Unfortunately it is quite easy to get disability when you have an addiction that causes you to kill yourself. While the rest of the world is just trying to survive, dude is laying there lookin' strung out. It happens to the best of families, ya'll just don't tell anybody. Somebody might gossip at the beauty shop or something!

All I ever wanted to do is help people..really.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

not for sissies

Ever since Hoss died I've been in this mood like "what's up with life?" Part of that might be because he claimed not to believe in God per se, but he knew that Big Ernie is (almost) always in charge, unless somebody's mama is around and mad. Then it's a draw.

Gene and I first met when we were both newbie bloggers about five years or so ago, he in Oregon and myself in Tennessee. At the time he was living in a nursing home with his terminally ill wife. That state allows assisted suicide and she chose to legally end the misery that was a part of Lou Gehrig's disease. I remember sending her an orange and white UT bracelet and some cookies for him...I'd forgotten all about that part. Not long after she died, Hoss moved out on his own and blogged his little Obama heart out for a long while. About a year later there became mention of his ex-wife and mother of his children coming back into the picture. He called her Scamp. They traveled and did fun stuff and he blogged it from the road.

When Gene came here to visit a few years ago, he was in very bad health... totally dependent on oxygen. I wasn't prepared for the brave old soul who had ridden on a plane from Vegas all day long with no air just to meet me. As soon as I took a crash course in respiratory therapy got him hooked up it was all good. Well, maybe about an hour later :) We had a great visit and as he headed on toward Texas from here I found myself sobbing at the airport, knowing that I'd never see him again.

A couple of months ago I got the news from Tisha that he was on heavy morphine and fading fast. I called him once and he dropped the phone or something. Next time I called, I had to remind him who I was and what we did. "Remember me?" I said. "I'm the one who left you out there in the mud to die!". "Oh, yeah." he said. "And that skunk sprayed Butterbean!". I could hear him grinning over the phone at the thought of it..either that or the thought of Jack Daniels. He knew I loved him, but I told him anyway. Not too much later, he did what he had to do. I more than understand.

One of the great things about growing older is that one learns to appreciate the value of random relationships that turn into lifers, however short or long that life may be. Blogging is a way to meet people you never would have had the pleasure of knowing had you not just jumped out there with it and took a chance. That's what pisses me off most about hackers. I mean gah...go pick on the skinny kid at the playground or something.

This one's for you's to dung beetles and Obama. What do scientists call THAT?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

we are impressive

I kid you not, I've got not one but TWO t-shirts from the day job with that slogan smeared all over the back. I cut the sleeves out of one to sleep in and the other one has mud and grass stains all over the front from spontaneous yard work. So dooce me right now, ya'll. That's what corporate America does with their faithful old horses, right? The really pitiful thing is that I see possibilites and nobody up in there imagines the vision except for me. They're all just passing time and gettin' a check, trying to survive in these tough economic times. Well, except for the ones who get big fat bonuses for feeding Wall Street. Healthcare? Rubber compounding? Not much difference these days. It's all about dotting i's and crossing t's so that the feds don't kick your corporate ass down to the poor house.

BG and I talk a lot about opportunities for change at the point where change is a realistic possibility, like in early childhood education and end of life care. The rest is just the middle of the sandwich of life...a life that most folks waste chasing after something elusive like happiness or skinniness or sexiness or richiness. After thirty three years as a data processer I find myself looking for something a little bit more "out of the box" and on a personal level. Perhaps the fact that I have elderly home bound parents has something to do with that change of heart. Maybe I'm just in a mood...I dunno.

You won't find this old gal bitching about party lines and such these days because it has always been thus and so and it's certainly not about who's president or even who's at bat. Everyone has an opinion about how the game should be played and who should be in charge. The way I see it, each of us has the power to shape our futures and that of our children and grandchildren if only our priorities take a kinder gentler turn. Hate crime laws and 24/7 patrols dodging IEDs aren't worth a damn if somebody doesn't take the first step toward paying it forward with faith that what goes around comes around.

The incessant bitching about who's right and who is wrong goes all the way back to biblical times. My prayer is that sometime soon the debate will turn toward a live and let live attitude for all of Big Ernie's kids.

Never hurts to throw it out there, ya know? Sometimes miracles happen.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

an eye for an eye?

This totally pisses me off and moves me even farther away from feeling any sort of kindness toward radical extremists. I'm sure Jesus would do better than me so I continue to try to love the hatred filled idiots.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It has been a lovely weekend weatherwise on Pecan Lane...not to hot and low humidity. BG and I spent Friday afternoon at Aunt Gina's pool and fried ourselves enough that we spent our two days mostly indoors. She got a big surprise delivery yesterday afternoon compliments of her grandparents...a brand new mattress so she can sleep well before heading out to the new job on the 16th. My mom always likes to pull pranks and do riddles and the message she sent to her yesterday was this: " Be expecting a delivery sometime in the afternoon. Hint: Think about The Princess and the Pea." She.was.ecstatic! The one she's been sleeping on was so worn out that the delivery guys probably took it straight to the dump. She figured out the riddle right before the truck came down the lane.

It's finally dried out enough for hay cuttin' and most of it is baled and ready to haul to the pole barn. The cotton that was planted is a wash due to days of heavy rain following the planting. Seeds are rotten in the ground. The lower part of the farm is next to the river and even though the water has receded from flood state, it will still be several weeks before it's dry enough to plant. Such is life on a farm.

I have found myself lately in this strange mood that is not easy to explain. I suppose it has something to do with having an adult child ready to enter the workforce and a lack of any sort of companionship other than co-workers and the occasional get together with girlfriends. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be dealing with everything as a single gal at the age of (almost) 54. I've been single for so long now that it's just a way of life but deep down I wonder if I will die never knowing true love. Not a pity party...just an observation.

The boss is out of town with her hub and puppy this week so I have to deliver payroll and put out fires for a few days. Hopefully there won't be many. She tried to teach me how to do the payroll thing and could see it was clear as mud, so now she's hooked up from remote where SHE can do it and all I have to do is turn it in. Thank you for small favors.

Daddy is on a new med that seems to be improving some of the symptoms associated with fronto-temporal dementia. Thank you for that too, Big Ernie. Things were getting pretty rough for Mom and her broken arm self. She'll be out of the sling this month and the physical therapy will intensify. Then we'll focus on the wobbly knees that caused the fall to begin with. Baby steps.

I never take naps....just keep on moving until bedtime. Today was an exception and I stretched out on BG's new mattress with the TENS unit cranked up on my shoulders and drifted off to lala land. Sweet!

Ya'll have a good week...and leave room for the spirit to work.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

my status

Living in the moment ^j^

Thursday, June 4, 2009

morning has broken

I have to report to the sawmill right about the buttcrack of dawn so occasionally I'll grab a picture when the sunrise works with me. June is one of the most beautiful times to watch 'ol sol wake up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the british chinese are coming!!

I'm so sick of Chinese banks buying up American industry that I could puke. But there's a rebel part of me that understands how it all happened. As in unbridled greed for more stuff at a cheaper price until everybody keels over like toddlers when they get home from a 2nd birthday party after cake and ice cream. My total disgust with corporate america coincided with the release of The Eagles "Long Road out of Eden". Every time I listened to the musical sound that was I thought about what the whole thing was about. Maybe it's just me, but I think our energies and dollars were misdirected. As Hoss would say "And so it goes."

I dropped daddy's new medicine off this afternoon and found him sittin' on the porch, counting down the seconds on his wrist until the news came on. 31 seconds and we were in the house tuned in and it was all bad. I kid you not. They say that you just have to work around the dementia patient's state of mind and meet them where they are. I suppose that's what it's all about with any relationship. We will celebrate his fifty third Father's day and seventy eighth birthday this summer, that is if he lives that long.

Something tells me that Mom's ready to kick ass and take names. I've been wrong before, though.

Monday, June 1, 2009

hair of the dawg

So what did I do with my peeling from Florida body but perch it up on a float in my friend Regina's pool this afternoon. But I didn't stay long. True to form for Tennessee weather it's already been summer for awhile and it's only the first day of June. For someone who hates to sweat as much as I do, that means short doses of the sun from here on out. Unless there's a nice breeze. And a pool. With a poolboy to fetch me some beers :)

Thanks for all the hugs and kisses and good karma. My mood has lifted up out of the gutter for now. I think every once in a awhile you just have to go into a total brain dump and re-charge for the next chapter. I know I do. Babygirl's employment is a major thing right now...still not officially on board but waiting for the final phone call to hook up with HR. That should help our financial situation considerably since her salary the whole time she was in college went to her car payment and gas to commute to school.

My parents are perking along down there..getting food delivered and receiving visitors. Every day is an adventure, if you know what I mean. I wouldn't trade the opportunity to be a part of this for anything in this world. Well, maybe for just the right sugardaddy.