Saturday, December 31, 2011

alfred dunner and auld lang syne

I knew the minute that my mother asked me to take her shopping with her gift cards that I was in trouble. Mom has always been a fashion plate, of sorts and takes her style very seriously, even though she can't see herself. We kept the reasonably priced stretch t-shirts that BG and Daddy shopped for weeks ago, so I owed her eighteen bucks...what can I say? With her walker and purse, she headed straight to the designer section where I had to tell her what color was what and what it matched. Gift cards and all, she left eighty bucks lighter than she started. I also know that she's an impulse shopper and once she considers what is practical and what is just "cute" she'll send me back on a mission to get some credit on that card. She called last night to say that the three items that COST her need to go back. Somebody shoot me now.

The new year will find us doing our usual eggs'n'doughnuts. They say that the first thing you see or do on that day is how the whole year will go. I'll be sure to have some kind of experience before I pick them up in the Camry after church. That loose change is being spent on things that I really need, like a new wiper. That old was has been waving at me for a month, and believe it or not, winter IS coming. The weather is so freakin' gorgeous here that it defies words. Yesterday found me relieving the shopping stress by doing some yard trimming and cleaning. The grapevine out back almost whooped my old tired ass!

For the first time in my own personal history, the holiday decorations are down before the new year and my house is on the way to sweeping in a whole new year of possibilities. In many ways, this one has been what I could mostly kindly describe as a "learning curve". Lots of transition, lessons and plenty of love to go along with the heartache. I learned long ago not to make resolutions because I'm just not made that way. Why set yourself up for failure with something like a promise to never ever. Instead, I choose to think about all of the pictures that lie ahead of me, the experiences to be had and shit to be grown. This mild little weather teaser is enough to make me believe that spring will come again.

Happy new year to you and ya'lls. ^j^

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The last time I was off for more than four days was when BG graduated from college and mama bankrolled a luxurious drunken trip to the Gulf coast for us. That was a ten day deal and worth every penny. Since then I've had my head to grindstone using a few hours or vacation time to fill out a corporately managed steady paycheck. Until I opened that envelope Saturday afternoon, I wouldn't have given you a dime for my chances of being debt free anytime soon. The girls at the bank were in awe when I told them the story at the drive through window. Erica has been my favorite there for many years! Add to that huge blessing the fact that one of BG's former employers called today with a job offer on two hours notice. She's in the shower and on the way ya'll ;)

Now ya'll remember, my life is such that I don't even have to make shit up, so it seemed all the more ridiculous when I came upon the scene of the great golf cart robbery on the way home. I passed the course manager who looked like he was in a hurry and ran across two guys guarding the now in hand cart. As the story goes two young boys...eight or nineish..arrived via skateboard and bicycle and proceeded to piddle for a couple of hours. Something got a'hold of them and they hopped into one of the city's carts and hauled ass down the hill toward the muddy field next to the Forked Deer river. That little trip stopped in a hurry when they hit the mud. These guys said that the manager was following them home and busting them out to parents. I only hope they're the kind who have a sense of humor because that is typical boy stuff. Well, except for the stealing part.

I have six days off and I've gotta say that if somebody gave me even more money to work it, I'd have to say no. Two and a half years is way too long to go without some significant break from the reality of the day job and is the cause of a lot of work related expense in the form of stress illness. This is particularly true of healthcare because of the constant exposure to life and death situations, as with law enforcement. I've seen more than my share of paramedics and ER nurses head for the hills because it just got to be too much. We are ministers to those in pain and fear, many without family to calm them. If we are doing our job right, we make a life at a time.

The weather here is nice, sunny and not too cold, just in time for some getting out of hibernation action. The camry needs a new tire which I shall shop for at my leisure and get the very best price and quality. Because that? Is the new me. I have worked entirely too hard for my country to turn into a brokeass place where nobody listens even when a kazillion people rally peacefully for a stop to the madness and get treated like shit. To hell with you Congress..and the horse ya'll rode in on. I feel a peculiar power at this point in time, knowing that both parties are scrambling to distance themselves from radicals and put a pretty face on all of it. It ain't pretty, by any means. But it can be done.

"If you are not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

following that star

It always amazes me how long it took the wise men to get over to where the baby was born, but then camels are slow as molasses. We gathered as a family at my parents' house today and cooked up a wonderful brunch while they were at church. We had the kind of ham that Paula Deen likes all hand cut and fried up on mama's griddle next to some country sausage that he and his buddies made. Cheese grits, scrambled eggs and biscuits rounded it out. Oh, and muskedine jelly. I watched sadly as my father ate one thing at a time until it was all gone, his OCD being to the point that everything is rote. Mama was just tickled that we were there instead of at the doughnut place :)

BG and I discussed who might need some help since we were so blessed and it only took about 30 seconds to figure out which friend needed a hand. She came in late, after I was asleep and told me merry christmas for the hundredth time as she kissed me goodnight. This morning on the way to find an iced coffee, she happened upon a comical sight when a kid in swimming trunks ran out into the street chasing three cats who had JUST HAD BATHs! The mama didn't even know he was gone, and her parting words to BG were "What was I thinking?" Indeed, sista'.

I have been given an opportunity to get my house somewhat in order so as to not have to worry about bi-weekly loan shark visits. That will happen on time and never again. God bless the propane guy, he's next. I can only count it as one MORE blessing that the temps are running in the fifties here. I'm all about saving energy and the more the cost rises, the more I look toward natural sources. To hell with a bunch of foreign oil! We don't cook much anymore because it's too much trouble to wash, and easier to snack. That saves on the grocery bill. Cheese, eggs, crackers and turkey, and I'm all set!

Bubba gifted me with a big bottle of yellow tail and my very first scratch off tickets. I won a free ticket...go figure! Like I said before...gambling ain't my thang. There's enough sunlight left to walk the yard and build a fire so that's a distinct possibility. Nothing like a yule log. I'm just sayin'

Merry Christmas ya'll!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


If I was a redneck, which is always a distinct possibility around these parts, I'd holler out "hold my beer and watch this!". I managed to get to the sawmill on time today after taking an extra thirty minute snooze on day 4 of countdown to Christmas day off. We had THE best time with the Krouser who is always great fun to shoot the shit with. As we sat there and remembered days gone by of working together with people whose names we can't even remember now, I felt at home for Christmas. Only your co-workers can get it when you mention somebody's most famous career moment. Per normal for a holiday, the ER was busy with really sick people, not just the ones who have a little ache or pain. The urgent care clinic is closed so there 'ya go.

I eased up to the mailbox, not sure if USPS even delivers on Saturday anymore and found an envelope with delivery confirmation on it. My first thought was "Damn! The dentist or the propane guy or the hand surgeon is taking me to court." I mean I always expect the worst and give a sigh of relief if there's no legal stuff in the box. Navigating the driveway around here almost requires an ATV out back and to the south side so I splashed on through the mud with dogs chasing, happy to be home. BG and I met in the kitchen and I proceeded to sort out the mail. She asked me what that thing was with the bow on front, and I ripped it open. Inside was a money order from someone who reads my ramblings and shares some of my beliefs. At first I thought it said 100 but I was all like "Who sent this?" Then I noticed the zeroes and I about fainted.

I will not divulge the amount, but suffice it say that the propane guy will be very happy and so will everybody else. BG is presently grocery shopping for the first time in forever for our household, and we have a few bucks to get clearance deals on clothes next week. I remember when the Nigerian conman sent me those shoes and electronics for shipment from my place to his and I turned it all over to homeland security. My friend the count told me when I sent it all back that I was due some serious good karma. And by golly...he was right.

I may even leave Santa some cookies and milk tonight ^j^

Friday, December 23, 2011

little miracles

Seems like I mentioned some time ago about my friend whose husband and child were badly burned in a fire. It's been a very long road from Finley to Memphis and Cincinnati over the past month. She spent most of her time by Tripp's side while Delmer was treated for burns that eventually took his young life. I did not know him at all, but I knew Hannah from our work together and she is one of the brightest and most caring nurses I have ever known. You have to be to work in the public health sector like she does now! In my wildest dreams I can't imagine trying to feel blessed in the middle of such a tragedy, but I pray that for her because she's the real deal. When she mentioned that her father was single I asked about his "status" and she told me to look elsewhere. Now that's a great friend. I love you girl and this too shall pass. Keep the faith ^j^

A new and quite intelligent earth mother friend came by for a visit yesterday and we moved from room to room trying to find the warm spot as we talked about this and that and nothing at all. A few years older and wiser, she got in the family way during high school and they wouldn't even let her finish learning and challenged her GED. That's a southern redneck mentality if I ever saw one. She now teaches organic gardening to at-risk women who have children to feed. Big Ernie fixed that little random thing because we've lived 40 miles apart all our lives and never once met until my ethereal friend came back into the picture. Sweet bebe jeebus, I love it when that happens.

Today is number five of five with one off before heading back into the fray towards 2012. The heat is on ( for a change ) and the horse is still somewhere out of the fence unless he's in the mood for a barn nap. My brother called yesterday to tell me that he was laying down in the front yard. I reckon he's enjoying his golden years. I know that Faith is. I will sleep well on Christmas eve waiting for Santa knowing that the evil ones on the payroll tax got spanked. Like my daddy says "Janie, it has always been thus and so."

Merry Christmas all ya'll ^j^

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

over the river and through the woods

It seems odd to be sitting here a few days shy of the big one and not have a worry in the world about the details of "having Christmas." I am a very big believer in that old fashioned sappy Santa Claus thing because my mama raised me to be just like her in that respect. We have gone, literally, from having anywhere from three to five celebrations of the season to our one planned meeting for a homecooked breakfast which will follow church. A part of me really wants to go with them simply because I'll never have that opportunity again. And that's the part that makes me really really sad to think about. I think I'll choose the path that doesn't make me sob my eyes out on Jesus's birthday, umkay?

My maternal grandparents were wealthy and our decent spreads from home were left laying to run over to their house and see that Santa came there too! There were eventually seven of us, directly from the Reaves bloodline. My Pawpaw died when he was 45 years old from heart disease and was, from what people have told me, one of the finest men on earth. Handsome too! He did have pattern baldness which both of my brothers acquired to some extent. Oh lord...that reminds me of a funny story. I had this friend one time...a doctor...who was so vain that he had hair implants done when his obviously genetic pattern baldness emerged during his thirties. This poor guy burned off all of his implants when the pool pump exploded in his face and had to have a do-over. I still chuckle about that sometimes.

Many of the physicians that I grew up learning to talk back to were real prima donnas who were living the Kildaire life with wives who didn't work and played bridge a lot. Their practices were private and they handled it there. Now, most practices are owned by corporate groups that dictate the who-what-when-where of delivering healthcare according to reimbursement guessed it. Medicare, which will take a 27% bite out of physician payments next month if this bullshit in Washington does not cease. Don't get me started on the feds and healthcare because every ill that has burdened the fragmented system of care delivery has been impacted by chicken inspectors doing blood bank surveys. I saw it ya' the eighties. That was before HIV was discovered, remember?

What I see now, on the front lines, is a desperate attempt by many people to live forever and that's not possible. Do I wanna die now? HELL no! But if I do, I don't think Big Ernie will turn me away because I've been good and even resisted the temptation to take on a Sugardaddy. As if that would ever happen, ya'll. Really. I'm telling you this and you can take it to the bank. If my tax rate goes up AT ALL because of these asshats playing games with my life, there will be hell to pay. Now..that should get me a firm spot on the radar of homeland security and the latest terrorist network on pecan lane.

To heck with 'em if they can't take a joke.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

all is calm, all is bright

Well, actually not but 'tis the season so..factor in a thunderstorm or two and you're having a homestyle Tennessee Christmas. Not much sun in the forecast which is bad for those folks like me who are low on the vitamin D thing. At least it's not cold enough to delete the propane stash yet. That will happen in January when the snow is bumper deep on the camry which still sports only one hubcap and hasn't had an oil change since the brake job last spring. She needs new tires too but that will have to wait because I got a bad report cards from all the people that I owe who want their money. Surely to goodness if you've read this far, you know who they are.

I'm sitting back and watching the GOP sell their souls to the devil at the expense of all of us, trying out a backdoor move to play chicken long enough in the Senate to where the majority of us working schmucks pay for their perks. Read my lips ya'll: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" My next vote will be informed. One of the saddest tales I ever read was about my natureboy blogger friend over on the east coast who got hit on his damn bicycle while out exploring nature. The man was, and is, a brilliant mind with a keen focus on conservation. We could use more of that. His wife, oddly enough, was a lung transplant recipient and her donor was a tennessean. Like brother Dave Gardner always said...Ain't life strange?

I gave one of my friends his gift of a framed picture of he and his son yesterday, and he seemed speechless. Dude didn't expect to get anything from anybody just because. It kinda got me in the spirit, you know what I mean? I see this past year decade as an indicator on the learning curve that our priorities are all wrong. Punishment for minor infractions of the law fund local forces at the state level. In my little 'burg, the entire state of MO has moved over to our discount pharmacies to purchase or steal their meth ingredients. They had it first, by the way..according to my experience. That concoction of poison is just a way of saying "come on and kill me." Because I have no hope.

Many people do not understand the problems that the lack of a basic education causes. If one is inclined to learn how to cope and get past that hurdle, things work out. But a very large portion of Americans want to sit back and cry like babies about how they got done wrong. Look ya'll...if you want to see wrong in the wikipedik dictionary, look back to events like the Holocaust and other ethnic cleansing experiments. That shit will make your skin crawl!! If you're a true victim of prejudice, have at it. If not? Shut the hell up.

Only four shopping days left 'til the big day and I'm working straight through so there goes time to run to the dollar store for last minute gifts. At this point, I could care less because it's not about that anymore. It's just about peace and love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

free at last, free at last

Well, the score officially stands at 1 for that stubborn ass horse and zero for both myself and my brother. After firing up the electric wire only to have him proudly step over it toward the green stuff, we made an executive decision to let him roam. Until he either gets to the highway or on the airport runway, it's all good. The gate is open now and he comes and goes whenever he feels like it. The menu is wonderful what with all of the people giving him treats. Having a horse in your yard is not so really far fetched. My friend Sue had a swimming pool that ended up full of her brothers cows one year. Tore the HELL out of that liner getting them out, ya'll. Her young daughter was standing on the diving board in new school clothes waving her arms around to her them right smack into the water and through the fence. Pricelss memories!

Per our usual Sunday routine, breakfast will be served but at a different location. While Mom and Daddy go to church, we'll cook up the feast in her kitchen ready for their return trip to the red log cabin that we all came our home place. I remember the last time our entire family was together but it's been a long time. My youngest brother put up a tripod and shot the entire crew in front of their stone fireplace. That would be the one that caught the house on fire right before we were leaving to attend a Led Zeppelin concert. Yep..she loved me even then :) I have this ornery streak in me (see:stafford) that got a'hold of my social conscience at an early age when the law was shooting kids on college campuses for standing up for their beliefs. Pepper spray on peaceful protesters is the new age/politically correct way of doing the same. At least they're not making us cry on camera for YouTube.

My doors are locked at all times now because there are still folks everywhere scrounging around for 'cans. The hard freeze came late, even by southern standards, so they are ready to go. A few have permission....most are just checking out the experience of picking up something free from mother nature. If I

lived to be a thousand, I could never bend and stoop enough to pay the propane guy, though. I'm an old gal and did good to pick up 20 pounds of stuarts for baking and whatnot. Mama decided she wanted some chex mix yesterday so I hijacked all the cereal and mixed some up. She called me three times to tell me that she wanted her "little tornadoes" back. She has found her inner smartass, I do believe.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

deck the halls

A good 12 hour nap is all it took to make things look a bit brighter..along with the sun that is currently burning off a heavy fog. For an hour or so, I couldn't even spot the horse lurking around but now he's up next to the front porch, probably looking for some kind of food. Good luck on that buddy..even the birds are hungry around here!

Still watching, listening and shaking head in disgust as Congress messes us around one more time. Get over the pipelines and entitlements, ya'll. We are about to go belly up in a world market where there are others much worse off than us. Everyone is searching for answers from the far left to the uber-right. We elected you as a PERSON with personal conviction, not a recipient of the corporate money that lobbyists throw around so freely. Both parties do it to excess, and that can only mean one thing: Somebody owes somebody something in return.

Along with the fog, an uneasiness lies wrapped around our community as we pull together for those who are fighting what seemed to be impossible odds. My friend Hannah has kept the roads hot for a month now, traveling to see her hubby and young son who were injured in a house fire. She is a nurse, and a damn good one. High five to the McNeil family! Another friend is graduating from college today at the "big house" AKA FedEx forum. I have known Meredith since her bartending days at my brother's nightclub. Her sister and I worked weekends together and I watched as all of their girls grew from babies to young ladies with attitude like their mamas. Strong women rock...hat tip to you Meredith!!

Still no word on the cause of death for Karen Swift. It is a very tight leak free investigation, and I admire that. At times like this, there is a big temptation to repeat the same news over and over and keep the mystery alive. Nancy Grace has even gotten a'hold of it to squawk over. It is a tragedy in and of itself, and there will be no justice for those kids no matter what happened. As my therapist would say "here's the thing...."

I am remembering back to a couple of Christmas seasons where all I wanted was for my BG to be okay and safe at home. One of those was just last year. We have had many tumultuous times since then, and learned to look each other in the eye with the truth...sometimes laughing and other times just hugging as we sob for what was and can't be undone. This is the best gift I have received since her birth. Love ya..mean it.

I am listening to Christmas music, Spotify style and closing my eyes as Michael W. Smith's "All is Well" fills me with the spirit. Next up, Kathy Mattea...

Merry Christmas all ya'll ^j^

Thursday, December 15, 2011

da' mood

It is a gray day. Again. Once again I find myself incredibly grateful not to be the extreme depressive type once I'm medicated. It's hard enough to keep smiling with the celexa! Today at work was "one of those" where whatever could happen did, and then some. Thank god it wasn't really busy or we would've been sunk. I seriously love it when that happens. The horse is out in the yard. Again. What started out as an easy 50 bucks on the rent has turned into a daily job of rounding him up and waiting for the next escape. If he makes it through the winter without my brother strangling him with the wire, he's meant to live a few more years.

Mom and daddy are perking along down the road, snuggled in their recliners in front of a warm stove and some tiny trees. They have a clock that plays a Christmas song on the hour. The girls at Angel's got one too! I feel very blessed to have learned the habits and rhythms of my parents' lives while they grow old. Sometimes it seems just one more detail to take care of, but if I stop and really think about how many people would give up a limb to be in my shoes..well, I shudder. The economy is shitty. Life is hard. Once those basic realities are accepted and grieved, the healing can begin. And, yes. I was indeed a Scott Peck groupie. It's an integral part of the quilt that is my life.

Since I am so broke not much of a shopper, it is kind of a devilish gift to myself not to even consider anything other than spending time with the fam. Like Bubba said the other day: " I never thought they'd see another winter." All is well.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

if at first you don't succeed.....try, try again

One of my co-workers mentioned today, in reference to my eternal stream of bad luck, that they say when you have lots of trials, there is that much more happiness and joy in the payback that comes around. She laughingly said that it looked like my place in heaven is gonna be rockin'! I told her that I hoped it comes soon, but then I thought about what I had said and thought...well. Maybe not yet! I remember talking with my daddy about heaven and hell as a kid, trying to wrap my little bitty mind around the concept of forever. He told me then, and I still believe to this day...that he saw heaven as here on earth, and hell too. It is, quite simply, what you make of the gift of life that was given to you by Big Ernie. A grateful attitude for that life, in spite of trials and tribulations over the rough spots, is the only way I've survived this financial disaster of a life of mine. I'm a well educated healthcare professional who gets paid a decent salary but forks over much it to the government. The one that I don't much care for, by the way.

So far, Tennessee has no payroll tax because our sales tax is almost 10%, even on food. I see our state lottery as a double edged sword. The income boost for state coffers has been tremendous, yet our state healthcare program treats many of those who have nothing more to look forward to in life than winning a jumbo buck. All income brackets play, but the ones who really seem to get that gleam in their eyes are always the ones who need it most. I remember one time a friend took me to a casino and kept shoving hundred dollar bills at me to! I caught myself wondering if she would notice if I kept two or three for the rent ;) I have several vices, but gambling is definitely not one of them.

I have decided today that the GOP is much craftier than I give them credit for. After all this hooray with Cain and Perry and the women, now Newt Gingrich is looking like the golden boy. President Newt? Oh boy. I hope he doesn't get offended easily at state dinners. I read the first chapter of Dubya's memoir today, about the quitting. He is a personable man who didn't have a clue what he had gotten himself into and listened to all the wrong people at all the wrong times. But then again, many other presidents have done the same. I never thought I'd see the day that I failed to blame him for the wars, but considering what's happened in the meantime, I would shift that blame to the finance industry. Money makes the world go around and the devil tapdance.

Faith's boyfriend is hanging around hoping to see his honey while it's still "on". He's a beautiful red shorthaired dog with a boxer sort of face and big sad eyes. I feel sure I can get him to pose shortly. The other day there were THREE boys in the yard circling and we locked her down. One was a chihuahua, no less. BG and I tried to figure out how he would manage that one with a lab!

Peace out ya'll ^j^

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

next verse

Here we are the dark tapping away on the keyboard like there's no shopping to be done! It will be a point and click kind of Christmas with shots from the previous year carefully framed if I get my act together before New Year's. If not, Santa will be do his thing and all the children will get wired over receiving things their parents can't really afford. We did that for a lot of years...until the bottom fell out and the plastic people wanted their money. There is a local bank that I shall not name which still lists me as ass deep in debt to them over a credit card that was charged off in a BK. Lots of interest accrued over those fifteen years, ya'll. Great way to treat your locals.

The media focus here has changed from where is she to who done it. Karen Swift's body was dumped in a kudzu pile adjacent to an old family cemetery. We are small town folks around here, and it's startling when the randomness of crazy begins to seep into the 'burg. We've got enough of the homegrown kind! Meth is the drug of choice for most of the under and unemployed therefore we have to sign in with the state to buy real Sudafed. Trust me..a house will go up in flames in a hurry when you're cooking that shit. Trailers too. It eats the enamel off of users' teeth and causes them to pick at their skin constantly. Cleaning up a meth lab fire is costly and highly regulated turning into a big problem for landlords who don't know what's going on in their rentals. And just think, now the poor cancer patients in California will have to buy their cannabis from a street dealer. Shame on you justice department...I feel so safe.

My favorite place to drop in for free air is at the service station downtown next to the building I was born in, right across from the Methodist church. Daddy's office was in the basement when he worked for the USDA, before he hit the road. Every time I pull into that dark parking lot, I think about Ray and how he was murdered in cold blood by someone he was trying to help on a Sunday morning. Turned out the guy was on a rampage across several states and he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. At his own business. I remember walking out from church that day and noticing police tape...sure that it was nothing more than a broken hydrant or something. Only later did I find out that Mr. Patterson died on the concrete as we sang hymns next door.

There are bills to be paid and floors to be mopped because it's Christmas and the house must be decent, if not spotless. Pride's fence is hot again so we won't have to be herding him into the lot for awhile. I watched through the window yesterday as my brother patiently fenced him in as dark fell, just like Daddy did for so many years. It was a bittersweet moment as I watched the familiar scene being placed within my view only with a different farmer. Gawd...I love the country!!!!!


Monday, December 12, 2011

virgin faith

Our beautiful brown chocolate lab has periods just like all girls will, usually all over the floor and whatnot. We understand and follow her up the proof of her femalehood! She has never had puppies, though I suspect she had a mighty fine time with that big red dog she managed got hung up with. In all my life I've never had an experience like trying to get that shit unglued. NOTHING helped. She was just looking at me with big sad eyes like "Really, Mom?"

The tragedy that has hung in our local air since Halloween is one step closer to being explained with the discovery of a body out by the cross on the bluff, quite close to where Karen disappeared mysteriously. Her family includes four children. There will be no peace for them for many years. I have kept up with the case in Connecticut where the doctor's wife and daughters were assaulted and killed. When I look at his face in court I can see the pain etched there...everything that he loved was taken away by people who don't care about the value of human life. I still remain opposed to the death penalty, because frankly...I think that's too good for some folks. Let 'em rot in the jail if they won't rehab. There comes a point in every addict's life when he or she decides whether or not the devil will win. There will be battles after that, but they can be dealt with effectively by talking with friends and taking the "happy pills" that are cheap and effectively manage berserk serotonin levels in this crazy world. In other words: Get a life.

Looks like we have a guest on the couch tonight so I'd best be getting my smartass in gear with the cleaning. I was up early enough to catch today's sunrise and my mouth fell open as I ran for the camera and watched it come up over that ancient barn. Pride has been out grazing for 24 hours now and shows no signs of runnin' off anytime soon. If he makes it to the by-pass we're all in trouble! He'll come in a hurry when I rattle the feed bag. Just like kids, they are.

Two days off with a light agenda makes Poopie a happy girl. Let's hold that thought, ya'll. As my little buddy Tripp says "Happy birthday Jesus!"


Saturday, December 10, 2011

talk to the animals

Thanks to my tech savvy friends, my one kinda sorta day off can be spent piddling my little heart out tune by tune with Spotify. Once again, thank you DBF. My bossfriend is still running the show from home which involves at least an every other day shuttle with things printed out because she can't do it there. Her party cocker Gracey knows not to even bark at me now! We play the game with the ball where she catches it and then she growls when I try to get it back. Um hmm...very spoiled rotten doggie, sort of like all of mine. Oscar has potty issues which probably hail from his sheer torture with the repeated back injury which may or may not have been inflicted by a human. The scars are healed nicely and there's even hair growing in that spot again. One.Year.Later. He was our Christmas animal of 2010!

A few years prior, we got Lilypie from BG's boss at the time when she was just a calico kitten. Now she's a full fledged diva complete with sharp claws with which she perpetually shreds the couches. It's more fun than a post, I reckon. When she gets enough of the three dog action up in here, her kitty ass sneaks out the back door and to the barn or under the porch steps for some quiet feline meditation. One other year, Yaya gifted me with talked me into taking in a cat who had been run over whom she promptly rescued and took to the vet for "rehab." This poor cat had brain damage or something and all he did was walk in circles around the house, thus his name Circle K. Two months later we finally realized that he would never have any quality of life so we had him euthanized. The employees at the vet's office who took him from my arms were the same ones who had handed him over to me at Christmas.

There are still people up and down the lane picking up wild pecans with a view of the Forked Deer backwater at the end. Fortunately it didn't get "moving out" high this time, but we were on standby for a few days. My friend Sue says that I have a little black cloud hovering over me most all the time, and I tend to agree. My finances are like working a freakin' puzzle what with loan sharks to be paid and re-upped with and the usual things like dentists, hand surgeons and propane guys who want their money. By serendipity, I found some $$ I didn't know I had at the credit union and went to pick it up prior to the 2PM deadline when three overdraft fees were set to pounce. As I walked into the lobby of the credit union at 1:30, their computer system went COMPLETELY belly up. After about fifteen minutes they got tired of the frantic look on my clock-watching face and did a manual thingie so I could make the deadline. Ironically, at MY work today....the same thing happened with no warning. Two fun filled hours with everybody going WTF and acting like they'd never heard of a downtime plan. The supervisor, bless her heart, actually came down and offered to help us because she knew we'd be neck deep in alligators. SHE will get a thank you card ;)

I've had plenty of time to adjust to being single (again) and now that I look back, I realize that I had settled again. While my boyfriend roommate was fairly laid back, it was never about me and always about himself. Been there, got several t-shirts. We remain friends, and it makes me sad to think how compatible we would be if it weren't for that little item, which is huge in my book. I'm not a diva by any means, and remain fairly low maintenance..but geez. By the time he left, I was akin to a piece of furniture or something. No thanks for taking he and his in during a time when they had nowhere else to go. I am told that is just how he a stone. (see previous girlfriends) Pollyanna that I am, I assumed that it was different with me.

Per my stellar luck, one of my expensive ass crowns broke off in my mouth this morning during breakfast, post and all. This is especially bad since the dentist is one of the ones tapping his foot for payment. At least it doesn't show when I smile! When I look at it laying it my hand, I have a hard time imagining 1500 bucks. My dear friend Gigi, knowing that my spirits needed some lifting, gifted me with a cut and color at the home of our LPN/hairdresser friend the other evening right in the middle of her kitchen. When I told her it was "just like Steel Magnolias" Steph immediately claimed to be Truvie. Love it.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


BG and I head to her couch/bed every afternoon to catch up with each other and watch some comedy before we go to our own happy places. Sometimes we cook...on occasion a kind stranger shows up with dinner, but not often. We've been through some shit, and both of us are wore ass out. We got to chatting today about the state of the world and whatnot and I couldn't help but throw it out there that her generation has a chance to turn things around, now that we know what will always be thus and so until somebody gets pissed off to demand change. She commented that the hippie mother and fatherhood thing probably won't hurt that prospect. The ones who will shrivel up like a wicked witch under the house are the folks who have lived and died robbing others.

Here's the deal. I am really REALLY mad about random things when I see injustice being done. One of those issues is the mandate by the DEA to close down the medicinal marijuana shops in California even though it is legal in their state. These people are growing their own stuff, marketing it and are paying taxes on their sales. WTF????? If we had taken it on as a cash crop the Mexican drug wars would have never happened. Why? Go figure. All of the poor people everywhere want to live here because we have rights...except they don't. They are at the mercy of government officials who want to be able to show their faces at church and the country club. Oh, and on Fox news. My daddy was an employee of the USDA all of his life, raising cattle and farming on the side. In his prime, he plotted the progress of the Japanese beetle across the cotton fields of the southeastern United States. The last five years before his retirement at the age of 55 he got shipped to Miami to meet the boat people coming over from Cuba. Talk about culture shock! My buddy Tim who inherited that job is permanently stationed at the Memphis airport doing whateverthehell that step toward retirement involves. He's a new grandpa, by the way.

Gotta strand of lights to fill in that gap on the tree. We also picked up the usual and are mighty glad to get that out of the way. I woke to a surprise snow this morning and really enjoyed the visuals on the way to work. All is well for the moment. We'll see how that goes, umkay?


Monday, December 5, 2011

acting as if

When recovering from most any sort of drama or trauma one of the key factors in a successful path is the ability to "act as if" everything were okay when really it all seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. It's called gratitude. Now, not to the point where you ignore obvious problem spots in relationships and personal growth, but a more positive orientation toward change. For the past ten years, money has been just one of the many problems I've wrestled with as a single woman with an adult child COLLEGE EDUCATED child in today's economy. Now, two years after her graduation, the lender who put her 25K in debt is hounding not only her, but me. Because I have a job and she doesn't. Because I was a REFERENCE, not a co-signer...mind you, they call me five times a day and sent me letters in both my married and maiden names telling me what's up. Their way of getting to her is by hounding me. All I can say is good luck peeps...unless the sky opens up and rains down on her with a job, we're ALL out of luck. That's how I have to look at it to stay sane.

Some of you may remember when DirecTV ran my debit card to the tune of 500 bucks for early termination fees when I had not signed a contract with them. The bank made them give it back (three months later) and they've been on my ass ever since. That has been on my credit report for six years now and I don't care, because sometimes you just have to stand up and say hell to the no! Other companies do it too, but now they are required to explain a little more clearly that signing a carbon copy when the installer drops by is a "contract." Plus, consumers have become much wiser following years of terror led by big finance. Several of my older co-workers are staying on because the economy is so bad that what they had left after the crash isn't enough to live on. Millions and millions of hard earned dollars frittered away by company CEOs and fund managers living the high life. It has happened before, and more than likely will happen again before the end of time. Greed isn't something easily controlled.

The owners of the place where I live are very wealthy people and much of it comes from the finance industry. Over the years I've wrestled with the right and wrongness of me paying out the ass to live in this old house just because I like the view while they're off sailing somewhere. The heir apparent one who got stuck with the whole deal when daddy retired is somewhat more interested in the history and land conservation than his father ever was. When I first moved here the fences were falling down and it was no big thing to be out chasing cattle in the cornfield. After daddy retired and my brother took over, he slowly but surely began the process of crafting the place into a masterpiece of well drained and soon to be irrigated cropland. He grew up learning the lessons that taught him how to take over when it got to be too much for daddy. And boy was THAT a tough transition! Remind me to tell ya'll how many boxes and garbage bags I hauled out of his office that day...and spiders too.

The rent went up and I get a small break for taking care of Pride which also involves a lot of fences that don't work. He had a live wire around him for a few years but he knows it's dead now and just steps right over it to plod down our driveway toward the lane. We don't even notice anymore, rounding him up with treats as we head in. The wind is howling now and fortunately the expected flood won't happen. I mean, when I heard that there were flood warnings again, I was like "Really?" The end of the lane is covered but that's normal for a heavy rainfall. The poor old Camry with one hubcap has some mighty rusty rims ya'll.

I've been listening to music and decorating my little smartass off for Christmas. As if by ESP, Pride just stepped into my point of view through the living room window, bending his head toward the northwest wind and grazing like there's no tomorrow. He's been alive for about 30 years and it's worked for him so I should probably act like him.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


I discovered after checking the calendar today that Advent has commenced which might explain how I came up with the spirit to put together mama's old tree in the living room/office. One strand of lights is either bad or not plugged into the rest of them correctly so there's a bit of a gap in lighting, but that's okay. We pretty much roll that way most of the time. It is what it is in this day and time, and I choose to look ahead.

The predicted monsoon began this morning but so far hasn't been very heavy. We're hoping that the tributaries don't all get crazy like they tend to do close to the mighty Mississippi when it gets full. That's when the trusty old Camry fails to navigate and old Poops needs a tall truck to get to the sawmill. Plus, you've got your grands sittin' down there on low ground with no access to emergency services when the water is up. I don't think they could go in James Frank's boat this time!

Daddy skipped his doughnut fix today because he got a bellyache last time from gobbling down all that sugar on top of a full breakfast. I failed to notice a familiar white truck in the lot what with all the scurrying in and out in the rain. As I was seated across from them I glanced up to see a dear friend finishing his breakfast. We caught up on our families and his golf game and he was on his way to the airport in Memphis to deliver a son to a plane headed back to the army. C looks (and acts) a whole lot like his daddy ;)

There are three sleeping dogs on the loveseat beside me. I haven't seen Lily in a couple of days which is okay. Her ornery kitty ass wears me out when she's mad at BG which has been a lot lately. She is strictly outdoor trained, but when she's in that mood the towels in the bathroom close (with no doors) are her anger therapy. YUK! I'm sure old Pride is in the barn staying dry and just waiting for somebody to dish out the sweet feed.

I finally found the nativity scene buried in boxes of treasures from days gone by. All the pieces came from family members, mostly my ceramic crazy Gaga. There is a pre-school era pine cone tree, sprayed green with a star on top made by none other than babygirl. It makes a nice transition from the pine cone turkey into the Christmas season.

Faith. Hope. Love.

The greatest of these is love.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

okay then

When I first started blogging one of the most followed bloggers in my state was a guy known as South Knox Bubba. An employee of some big bank related corporation, he was, and I presume still is, a liberal like myself and quite vocal about politics and local news plus big orange sports. Dude's blogroll included too many links to click, but I always enjoyed visiting there for my daily dose of "kickass." Bubba got "outed" to his employer and lost his job because of it. This was during the time that big banks were handing out money to everybody and their brother even when they knew we couldn't pay, so his political views didn't set well with corporate. He wasn't Dooce by any means, but close. It is because of him that I am aware of the corporate greed that is rampant in East Tennessee. See: BCBS mansion in Chattanooga. And like TVA...ya'll better stop me now because I'm about to rant.

There is rarely anything more interesting than the obits or somebody's kid playing soccer in our local paper. Yesterday while slaving away at the sawmill browsing their online edition, I noticed a piece about our local power board calling TVA to task for putting a large surcharge on our utility bills, which they must pass on to customers. It began in April of '10 I believe, and is significant enough in the summer that I have to split my bills to be able to pay, which they allow twice a year. Executives of this giant company who have charged out the ass to "recover costs from flooding, twisters, ash spills, yadayada" were awarded nice bonuses for the holidays, and that just sucks a big one right now, ya know? In an economic atmosphere where solid middle class citizens with good jobs like myself have to borrow from friends to survive, something is wrong. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not really good with finance, but I've worked long and hard enough to be able to get a decent raise when that kind of shit is going on. I am eagerly awaiting TVA's reply to our locals. Make it sound good, ya'll. Umkay???

We made mama Staff's cutout Christmas cookies last night and the table was still covered with flour and sprinkles when I headed in to start the great cleanup. Conner and his girls came over and we whipped up the butter cookies and iced 'em. Anybody who feels froggy might want to try this simple recipe:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cup AP flour

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift flour into butter mixture and stir well. Chill dough for one hour.

Roll out thin on a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for six to eight minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Remove to rack for cooling and decorate to your heart's delight.

The tree still isn't fact the floor hasn't even been swept. We're waiting for the repo man to show up any day now for BG's car. But you know what? I believe.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

in all things, moderation

That sounds kinda biblical which is unusual for me. My cynical brand of spirituality tends to lean toward the left which is more of a peace and love conservationist sort of world view. I mean gah...they've been telling us for years what a shame it is that so much of mother earth has been destroyed in the quest for corporate products. As a baby boomer, I saw the good times that followed WWII and the spending orgy that has become the collapse of our American economy just for a buck. Rather than using natural materials that profit the citizens of OUR country, we spend a brazillion bucks doing a big dance called the import/export biz. Once again President Clinton, I'm sorry that was your legacy. I'm sure it seemed right at the time.

My therapist has this phrase that I love which begins most every sentence in which he offers gentle advice. "Here's the thing" he says. He takes what I've rambled onandonandon about, knowing our history, and helps me to more clearly see options to get out of the mess, no matter how bad it is. It is a fifteen year relationship that has bound our family together following some mighty big drama. No wonder I'm single! Nobody wants to be effin' analyzed all the time ;)

The latest roommate at Casa Poopie has moved into a house and is somewhat settled so it's just me and BG plus the critters. The heat is working now but we're praying that propane guy doesn't lose patience being quite conservative so as not to freeze pipes in January. I have exactly four dollars and 34 cents in my checking account and my first retirement payment didn't show up at the bank today. If ya'll are the prayin' sort, please bump that little request up to the top of your list for just one night. That would give me some relief until payday.

BG went to visit the grands for lunch today and left early because he was in a mood about their chatter during the news. Whatever. If mama wants to talk it's her house too! My brave little toaster of a social worker daughter stands up to his ornery ass too, unlike me. Even in my forties he could bring me to tears by ranting at me like a running Stafford. Gah. I turned out okay and all, geez. He never understood why "my generation" didn't like the Vietnam war. As a veteran of the Korean war and poor sharecropper's son he didn't understand why it was wrong because our country said we were in danger. That was the beginning of the military orgy.

We are in a place right now where Americans have had their voices heard and everybody knows that the gig is up when it comes to big government. All you have to do is look at the response to Hurricane Katrina and know that we are not prepared as a nation to defend ourselves. Because everybody's fighting some battle somewhere else on our payroll, risking their life, to defend our honor and what we believe in. That does not includes oil spills in the Gulf, by the way. Shame on your BP.

I guess that's the extent of today's ramble. Peace out ^j^