Monday, July 30, 2012

on being an elder

For the first time in my life I am at the point to where I can see the world twirling without me and wondering what things will be like. Will I be able to see what's happening from the clouds? An optimist by heart with a big dose of Pollyanna I have lived my life with an emphasis on honesty and integrity. I have stumbled plenty, for sure. But each and every time I was smacked down by Big Ernie for being self centered and not seeing things through his eyes, I learned a bit more humility. I asked my daddy one time about if he believed in heaven and hell. He pretty much said he thinks it's what you make of your life here on earth that matters. The rest is just details. BE knows what we do when nobody's watching.

Once upon a time some friends and I were having a conversation about "charity" work and giving of gifts anonymously. I challenged him to tell me of one good deed he had done and never told anybody. He was quick to come up with an answer to which I replied: "Now I know." My point was just to get him to understand that you can't earn it, it's all a gift. I am the oldest of seven grandchildren born to the kids of Harold and Geraldine. I was three years old when Papa died but I barely remember him as a kind of good natured benevolent lover of the first grandchild. Hey...I was special! On daddy's side I was in the middle of eight born to Lottie and Wilmer. From that combo came a whole set of problems and joys in the form of OUR children. I can honestly say that in spite of the challenges, I'm blessed to have the family that loves me warts and all. That's not just blood kin, by the way. That someone would choose to love me and not have that bond? Well, that's what friends are for.

I'm on a cleaning binge today desperate to get the pet hair and dust outside. I've been going through AC filters that should last 3 months in 2 weeks. I know, I know. I should just kick all their spoiled asses outside. But it's 105 in the shade! Dog days and whatnot. As for me, my day is being piddled away cleaning and choosing which pieces to keep and what to pass on. As the elder I got quite a bit of my grandmother's stuff. Nothing worth a fortune, mind you. But still they are little reminders of who we are as a family and where we came from. There's nothing like the validation of knowing that somebody else was there.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

i should have known better

Daddy's bedtime routine starts about 4PM when he locks up, turns on the alarm and goes about his very rigid schedule headed toward lights out. The element of surprise just throws him for a loop so I called ahead when I headed down there to borrow some Aleve for my old aching body. As I suspected he was sitting on the front porch waiting (and had called once already before I got there) waiting for me to show up. IN his shaky hand he held an envelope labeled naproxen containing ibuprofen which doesn't do a thing for me. He was already mad because I bothered the routine so when I came on in to find what I needed, he damn near went ballistic and stood there holding the door for me to make my exit. By this time I was feeling a real need for a little nerve pill as well so I touched base with mom on that and rounded it up. Mom asked me to come and sit with her for a minute and that just made it worse. I thought I had seen it all with him, but was quite taken aback at him standing there with a corn dog in each hand scarfing them down so that supper would be "done" and he could head to his brief attempt at a shower. The water ran for about two minutes max and he emerged wearing his shorty pajamas and cowboy boots, his usual nighttime attire. When he spotted me sitting on a stool chatting with mama, he proceeded to yell at me AGAIN and I made a hasty exit after getting a lecture from my 80 year old mother about what I should and should not be doing with my life. Just like hers is a bed of roses. Thank you Big Ernie for that happy pill. Got mine refilled today!

His behavior is becoming more and more aggressive and he cusses like a sailor now which is not his nature. I keep telling myself that it's the disease,but it's hard to deal with especially when she's so passive aggressive about the whole thing. Once an adult, twice a child is how that goes I believe. I can be ornery and somewhat independent, but I am keenly aware of other people and the gifts that they can be in my life. I don't feel that from them anymore because I'm the enemy trying to take them away from home. Never mind that I've spent six months tracking down $$ to try to keep that going exactly a mile from my driveway. I've been on call for 5 years and am wore ass out. Sometimes its hard to honor they father and mother when they demand so much and won't seek compromise. I sure do try though, bless my little heart.

As if that's not drama enough, Faith's baby daddy showed up today with his latest brood including new baby mama and two mangy pups. They are presently piled up in the cool dirt under my front porch, waiting for Derrick to report for duty tomorrow at the humane society. He'll get a four for one deal on that pickup! I have learned to be assertive in a nice little southern girl way, drawing lines in the sand and knowing when enough is enough. Four dogs and a cat are plenty of companionship for two girls. And a horse. My friend has been talking about animal totems and their meanings so I had to GOOGLE it and find that passage with a deer is a very good thing speaking to compassion, caring and growth. This doe had a baby right on her tail and they ran smooth out of the cotton in front of me yesterday. There are lots of honey holes for them around this place.

I'm not big on Olympic events because they remind me golf or football, things that I would rather not spent precious viewing time on. My idea to make a kazillion is to come up with a provider that will let the customer choose their programming both video and audio. Maybe Mark Z could do something with that in his floundering FB empire. It was absolutely asinine for that company to go public when it is a free product outside of advertising revenue. It has turned into a more user friendly Yahoo. Would I pay for it? A reasonable price but nothing big. That would be an easy habit to kick.

Meanwhile the local cable channel is still divorced from Viacom 'cuz there's no Comedy Central at the sawmill. That's probably a good thing since I'd be in there all the time watching. I did manage to catch CBS Sunday morning today, one that my parents turned me on to. We'll just call that "church service" and call it even.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

out on the porch

After Wednesday's t'storms, yesterday turned out to be not quite as hot and there was no spraying in progress so I took the chance to sit out on the front porch and watch nature. Even though there wasn't much rain, everything looked cleaner from the sky right down the the cotton blooms. I was sitting there waiting for a couple of friends to drop by when lo and behold the neighbor lady and her three kids plus a red bulldog on a leash came wandering up the driveway. Ya'll know that went over well with my protectors! Everybody finally got settled down enough for us to chat a minute while the kids ran in and out the front door. The oldest is a girl who is twelve and the boys are about ten and five, both of them special needs. Turns out her hub was on one of his rampages and they scooted out to let him cool down. I won't go into all the past drama down there, but there's been plenty. I listened as she listed off all the things wrong with her life and I silently thanked Big Ernie for how good I have it. BG and I plan on raiding her well stocked closet to help the girl out with some school duds. If we both wore something different every day, it would take two months to work through that pile of clothes.

Faith's baby daddy is a red pit as well so we just assumed that it was their dog. Only theirs doesn't have a tail and Ryder's daddy does so where the hell did HE come from? It's like there's a neon sign on the porch saying "Dog Haven...ya'll come on in." I'm just glad we found the pug's owner or he would have been #5. The kids were amazed at how still Lilly the cat lays in the bathroom window all wrapped up under the curtain in the sun watching the world go by. I wish I could be like that, and I could if given the chance.

I'm sick at how quickly season 8 of Weeds went by in the VCR. That show is like crack to me and given the chance I will watch previous seasons just to get my fix. There is something about the Botwin soul that grabs mine and won't let go. There is humor, irony, sarcasm and pure wisdom packed into every show. My favorite episode is when they become the Newmans and try to shed that name. Old habits die hard ya'll.

Peace and love. Call your mother. And always remember who you are ^j^

Friday, July 27, 2012

timing is everything

It's been a long week here on the hill, and it's not over yet. I've got sawmill duty this weekend following a day off today so there will be no eggs and doughnuts for me this Sunday. That means Daddy will more than likely hitch a ride with his buddy Tony to eat and then home after church. We got some rain last night but not nearly enough to end the drought. The clouds looked really ominous rolling in but severe didn't happen on our lane. I love going to sleep watching lightning in the night sky through those old lace curtains. Surrounded by dogs, of course!

My bossfriend's hubby is very sick and we're praying for both of them plus a whole bunch more. Little and Big will head to Memphis on Monday for a very extensive operation on his stomach so there is plenty of worry there as well. I got so tickled listening to their daughter recount how she stalked Rick Springfield after TWO concerts and got pictures with him both times. She's got it down to a fine art now and I imagine she'll be on his Christmas card list this year. She and her gal pals staked out a restaurant and hotel to catch the old codger! He's one of those who will be eternally young in every woman's heart who ever wanted to be Jessie's girl.

Everything is quiet at Casa Grands at the moment so I'll take that as a blessing. I've done the mounds of paperwork required to get aid and assistance payments from the VA for them so that they can afford longer hours of in-home care. Supposedly it takes six months to even get it started, which doesn't surprise me in the least considering the US government. I wonder what would happen if we took six months to pay income tax past the due date? There would be a letter from the IRS in your mailbox before you could turn around I suspect. I'm off the political bandwagon except to say "Yay" for Ron Paul who is STILL in the race and just might win if Romney opens his stupid mouth again to the wrong people. Bound for him to go piss off the British, one of our few allies.

All of the news is bad so I'm avoiding it, particularly the part about Syria and guns. I can only pray that nobody gets an itchy finger and pushes this dude to let go of the nerve gas. They hate us enough to wipe out the entire country and laugh about it. I often think about the changes that have happened in my lifetime and I'm astounded that we have come so far with technology yet failed our citizens so badly. Watching the infrastructure buckle and break is a very scary thing considering how long it took for us to get there from dirt roads and horses. Proper maintenance is required for anything and that's gone by the wayside as big banks and Wall Street have taken over the reins of our country. I am particularly disturbed by the way we have not provided our soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars proper follow up care after they risked their lives and come back with PTSD. I see this as one of the greatest social challenges of our generation along with poverty and healthcare. If one more old GOP right winger opens his "no term limits" mouth in ignorance I just may scream. Those who would like for states to have more rights have done themselves in with moves like defunding PP so that the feds could move in and take over. Smart move, ya'll. Add to that deficit!

And so it goes. Life moves along at a rapid pace and some of search for meaning in all of it. Of course I have been told that I think too much!

Nah. Keep the faith ^j^

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

never give up

Back in the day I was a one year Nanowrimo participant, foolishly thinking that I could write a 10K word novel in one month. We all know how that worked out, and it was because I was usually too busy blogging or running around in circles. The true inspiration for my writing came from a reporter in Memphis by the name of David Waters who covered religious goings on and how God's love was being discovered and practiced through a lot of different religions. In my one tour as a delegate to the UMC annual convention, I watched him stroll up to sit next to the stage, recording what was up for votes and what the message for the year is. I didn't have a freakin' CLUE what that was about, but it was during the time that gay people were jumping off balconies at the even BIGGER conference because they were being persecuted. Add to that, the CEO of our not-for-profit hospital system pitched the business complete with slideshow at the end of Sunday evening worship. I was not impressed because I worked there, and to me a company that bore the name of my home church should have more in common with me than me with them. It was then that I began to seek different ways to worship and be Big Ernie to others. The building is nice and all, but it's out in the streets where lives are changed.

Since then, that system "changed their mission" and became a nationally known transplant center. Prior to that, the strategy was to use the "feeder" facilities in West Tennessee to refer into their Memphis hub. Their largest competitor had the same idea and they ended up in a heated battle to acquire the most important facilities on their maps. In the end, our county board sold to the highest bidder for roughly 10M above market value for the seven of us. Corporate healthcare is just like any other job where you often have to wear a nametag to remember each other and the top dogs change frequently based on productivity. We had several, but the one that I will never forget is Dick McCormick. He is a jolly man...a nurse by training with extensive administrative experience. His dream went down the drain as well when the mission got changed. I always respected him as a leader because he got me out of trouble when I was young and stupid and before HIPPA and somebody told on me for something little. Whatever. This woman could have f***ed me up professionally but he knew how small town shit gets started and cut me some slack.

I do not like what healthcare generally has become. It's all about the $$ for everybody except the ones who are out there busting their asses to make life easier for sick people. All providers are like that in my experience. There are multiple reasons but much of the penny pinching is due to the uninsured populations that get on a tangent and clog up the ERs with their drama. I could write an entire book about the stupid things I've seen up there, including some girls who ran OVER a damn guy pushing a grocery cart on the interstate. And of course there's the guy who had a plastic 2 liter on his wanger. I think the scaredest I can remember being is going in on call to try to draw some blood on a guy who had been laying in a ditch for six hours prior after he failed to negotiate Dead Man's Curve. First thing I noticed when I walked in was that his socks didn't match! Bless his little heart, there was not a drop of blood close to the surface so the ER doc told me to "get it from his heart." WTF????? They didn't teach me how to do that. You're the doc getting the big do it!

That is where my passion for palliative care began and continues. We are in a grind with healthcare just like with banks and Hollywood and the Euro and everything else. One of my favorite missions is Doctors Without Borders. These are trained healthcare professionals who go into war zones and natural disaster areas and help those who have NOTHING in the way of medicine. Preventive care is cheap and affordable, especially considering the end result of better health. Yet insurance companies do not play nice on that item. There is usually a co-pay that, while affordable, is something that must be in the budget for somebody like me. Everyone will die eventually, no matter how many hips get replaced or hearts get moved around. At this point in time baby boomers should be checking out the big Hep C because it's a freakin' epidemic. So is whooping cough. Presently I am under an OB/GYN's care to monitor low grade dysplasia of the cervix due to high risk strains of HPV. There is a vaccine available now for teenage girls that I would advise for anybody who can afford it. That could be the end of cervical cancer.

Chemo drugs are quite toxic by nature because cancer is a really tough thing to beat. Often outcomes are successful, giving families time to deal with realities and choose treatments options. A lot of the time it is about money as well. Medicare and private insurance will continue to pay and pay and pay until all hope is gone. My friend the FD(funeral director)told me a long time ago she wished she had let her mother play bridge and enjoy company rather than gettin' chemo the last year of her life. My favorite patient of all time is Fennie, the sickle cell patient that I picked up from the 'hood to speak at our annual volunteer blood bank banquet. She died in her early forties in Memphis, but I will never forget the passion with which she spoke to those blood donors. Same for Mr. Harold and Anna. To those to whom much is given, much is expected.

Anywho, I'm in a mood because it's hot as hell and the joker is getting way too much attention from MSM for my taste. Lock that idiot UP, turn off the cameras and get down to business. He is obviously mentally ill and that's what scientists call "too bad" according to Hoss. I am told that psychotic breaks usually happen during early adulthood so let's just be happy he'll get some meds and go back to remembering the lives of those who died and were brave. When Dr. Drew is on more than the presidential candidates, it's time to focus.

Peace and love kids. I'm a happy camper today ^j^

Monday, July 23, 2012

and so it goes

That was one of Hoss's favorite sayings taken after scientists who always said "too bad" about his all of us ending up as dung beetles and being recycled forever. He also considered being frozen and saved for future healthcare developments but I doubt that worked out. Last time we talked, I don't think he knew it was me, but he certainly knew that it was somebody who loved him for calling at just the right time. Lord, how I miss that man's humor!

I'm studying the flurry of activity around the Aurora killings and noticing how many right wingers think that "now's not the time to talk." Bullshit! Very few people want folks to not have firearms for personal protection and hunting but assault weapons are absolutely stupid. It's like telling some nutcase here you go, have fun. It is also big business and not one that should be available without some sort of integrated system to track suspicious purchases like a freakin' bulletproof set of duds complete with gas mask. The paper trail is very clear and arms dealers are responsible just as much as he is. Whenever I think about gun sales, all the convincing I need about the danger comes from the Syria/Russia/China buddy system.

My days are running together again, one after another at the sawmill plus errands and early bedtime to get up and at it again the next day. Often it seems like a vicious cycle, and it many ways it is. Earnings are at an all time low, particularly for minimum wage employees who work at big box stores. Hell I've got a 35 year tenure and a Bachelor's degree and even I'm struggling. Last week, I was ready to give it all up and hibernate for a month. Getting a special gift from the blog fairy certainly helped my mood. Whomever, whenever, for whatever reason you are doing's a ministry to my poor weary soul. I owe you one ^j^

I ran into my old friend John at the chicken store today and he hugged me like it was a real joy. He and Barb have a whole shitload of kids with his Italian name, and now seven grandkids. Lord.Have.Mercy. Originally from Chicago, he moved here and took a job with another friend. I saw his little wifey sittin' on the bench out in front of the cafe on my way to work this morning. She's a hoot! BG is at work scooping up crickets'n'minners out at the Countryside grocery/deli/bait shop. John asked me how she's doing...we go that far back.

Fantasies are free so here goes with my current one. I would love nothing better than to be on an uncrowded beach listening to the waves come in and drinking beer. I need a massage more than any body ever did because the arthritis and whatnot plus muscle spasms make for a lot of soreness. My med list is quite limited, something for acid reflux and depression meds. A bit of synthroid just to keep that organ in working order. I'm due for a mammogram and pap soon, a necessary evil for women who are health conscious. Especially old ones like me! I haven't had a haircut since March because my stylist became a nurse and doesn't have time for all that. My friend Lorna had a big scare yesterday when she found a snakeskin INSIDE her house. I hope that's not a sign that I've got one coming.

There would be perfectly cooked fresh seafood and lots of tequila on the side. An ocean view room right on the beach in a primitive state park setting but with AC. We had that two years in a row at Gulf Shores State Park Inn. Some hurricane wiped it out years ago. It's a nice place, and the original go to place in Alabama for a beach vacation. All that was before I discovered Sandestin and Seaside. Oh my goodness, ya'll. We went to Sandestin when BG graduated from college on mama's dime and it was a fantastic view of what's right about tourism. It's a far cry from walking into the Floribama with two kids in mid-morning. You can't make this up. My friend Claudia's mama lived on Sanibel for several years and I'd love to go there. Even though we've polluted the hell out of it, it still makes me feel at one with Big Ernie.

That's my wish. What's yours?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

mrs. council's ghost

Soon after Mr. Council the horseman moved closer to his son in town, daddy asked if we wanted to live in his house. It was in pretty bad shape, built in 1918 without any structural improvements for many years. BG was four years old on that April day when we made the move. There were friends everywhere, including my daddy, putting up long gone mini-blinds and moving shit through the narrow ancient doors toward a new life for us as a family. We even had a piano later, a purchase from parents of a leukemia victim who took lessons. I took my Uncle Jimbo over to check it out and he said "buy". I found countless days of solace tickling those ivories and playing what songs I could still read from the UMC hymnal. Spirit Song is my favorite. Spring is like a really big surprise around here because usually what she planted comes right back and blooms like it was planted. The shade garden under the trees didn't get the foot of pine needles burned off until I got on a mission to clean this lawn yard up. Daddy asked me if I wanted to take the whole thing or let the horses graze up front. Silly me said I can always mow. Following my divorce, I spent one entire summer with a cheap pushmower in a cheap bathing suit getting exercise and believing that I could take care of it all myself. I've been paying for that decision ever since in one form or fashion. It is terribly expensive to heat and cool a house that old, and I've borrowed from Peter to pay TVA until I can't do it anymore. I am ready for the jet stream to get the hell away and give us some relief. Please Big Ernie?

I'm just as horrified as everybody else about the killings. The guy is mentally ill and nobody ever noticed or took charge of the situation. Many people with above average intelligence are hell bent on wreaking havoc. That's why it's called terrorism. The time is now to deal with the fact that he planned it for months and bought everything under the radar. As brilliant as he is supposed to be, a sudden departure from higher education would be a clue worth following. If I blame anyone, it's the arms dealers who made a literal killing off of him and should take equal responsibility for what happened in Aurora. I think this dude deserves a public defender.

Me and Daddy went to the egg and doughnut place today and got served by folks who know what we want by heart. Mama hasn't been with us there since the great knee infection but they always ask about her. She's busy running the world from her recliner and sleeping late. She told me a funny story about sitting on the pot and talking to her childhood friend last night. Daddy never even knew she was up.

Go figure.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

and the heat goes on

Truth be told, it's wearing my old ass out, not to mention what it's doing to the electric bill and the price of food in the near future. Not that I can afford to buy much, mind you. Lord, how I miss protein! That loan I got which will be paid off in about five years allowed me to get back on the internet and pay last month's phone bill plus get rid of one payday loan. Two more to go and I'll be 120 a month richer without the interest. During the time when BG wasn't working that was the only way we survived here on the hill. Now it's time to pay the piper.

So now Syria is in a full fledged civil war and the dickhead who's running the show is in hiding somewhere after his front men got knocked off by rebels. That Russia and China are still playing nice with him just makes me sick, and pissed off. What the hell are they thinking?? Oh's all that $$ they're making off of arms sales.

My old friends at DirecTV have their balls in a bind right now what with Viacom playing dirty, According to the evil ones, Viacom wants them to pick up one channel at the price of half a billion or else they take MTV and Comedy Central plus a whole shitload of other channels hostage. Adding insult to injury, I regularly receive a collection notice on the out of contract service fees that they stole by running my debit card when I changed providers. That was three years ago, by the way. My daddy is beyond pissed because when you mess with his viewing pleasure, it ain't pretty. I hope the customer service rep enjoyed his rant today about the whole deal. Sucks to be ya'll!

My friend Michelle got the biggest kick out of searching for Dyer county and sheep yesterday and discovering the story of a West Tennessee sheriff holed up in a Missouri motel with his ewe friends. He has gone on to rack up a bunch of DUI's and whatnot, and I don't have a clue where his ornery ass is at the moment. His daddy was the big dog law enforcement back in the day when prisoners had no rights and were summarily beaten and tortured just because he and his staff were in the mood.

Since Mama had her big knee infection she can't get up in my brother's truck to go get her hair did every week so it's been like working a crossword puzzle trying to get her there and back. She proudly took the bull by the horns and hired a lady who shuttles the elderly to and fro to carry her there today. She looked real nice when I stopped in to count pills this afternoon. Both of them look at me like "the enemy" now since the subject of assisted living is always the elephant in the room when we're together. I never bring it up, but it is unspoken.

Early voting has started which means I can slip in to vote for my friend Sheila for property assessor whenever I have time. Her opponent is a young guy with no experience who was once a payday loan shark and bail bondsman. She has been in the office for 25 years and was appointed by the county commission to finish out the remainder of the term when her boss retired. What should be a no-brainer has turned into a huge pile of campaign signs being pulled up and Dyer county voters faced with a decision. As we all know, money talks. I hope to Big Ernie she pulls this one off.

I'm in a mood, and not a good one. I'm sick and tired of being broke and working my ass off just to survive. There are plenty of other people in the same boat and we're all just floundering, waiting for some big magical turnaround. I am tired of big corporations running my life every which way but loose. Little Pollyanna Poopie wants to believe that it's all okay, but I'm doubtful. For the first time in my life I'm ready to give up.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

inconveniently, the truth comes out

If ya'll don't believe in global warming by now, just wait until that 50 tons of debris hits California or a wildfire starts that won't go out until it hits the mighty Mississippi. It is a reality that has been poo pooed for years by those who stand to make a great deal of money off of stripping the earth of natural resources so that they can make even MORE money. Ozone alerts were unheard of when I was growing up, yet today they're a common daily weather indicator in many states during the summer. The reason is that we have polluted the atmosphere to such a degree that the very air we breathe is poisoned with chemicals and by-products of dangerous substances. Environmental controls cost money which corporations definitely don't want to spend, even though they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. As for the banks, I'm over that crap. They are in the bed with the devil, just like all the other essential services that we the people can no longer afford. We have been stripped of the very freedoms that our forefathers fought and died to protect. Look what it got them. My high school biochemistry teacher is an expert on the JFK murder and all the hooplah out on the plaza before and after. Now in his his 70's, I remember partying at his house as a kid and watching the Zapruder film for the first time, grainy images from a projector. I watched as Jack Ruby killed the only one who really knew what happened (besides the FBI and CIA) and collected a nice fat check, more than likely. Conspiracy theorist? You bet your sweet ass I am. I have always trusted the government, both locally and nationally, to protect me and mine. Now I'm a skeptic, looking more towards trying to learn how to survive when the infrastructure is gone. And it will be, by the way. Our transportation systems have not been adequately funded for years (see: big banks,money,stock market,crash,etc.) We have a chance right now to make a difference and it doesn't all have to do with who's running for president. Politics starts at home, as I can tell you from the wild past of our county judicial system. Mention Dyer county and sheep in the same sentence and google it...I dare ya. Our governor is Republican and so far he's done a very good job of transitioning. But really? That has more to do with the unity of the people who fund this state rather than a political party. Tennessee was one of the first to experiment with state health insurance, namely TennCare. It was a solid plan to insure people who could not afford anything but before it even got off the ground the opportunists in the industry found loopholes in contracts for everything from pharmacy to daycare. Once again..that the major offenders lived in Memphis with the last name of Ford should not be intended as a slap to the Democratic party. That family came to power during a time when minorities(AND white trash) in the south began the phase that I like to call "entitlement." You owe me this, even though I've got ten kids by eight daddies and a meth lab in the back yard. You can't fix stupid, no matter how hard you try. BG is road tripping so it's just me and the doggies hanging out by the box fan. I've had plenty of running after work this week what with a doctor's appointment for the grands and paperwork with the VA. Dr. Scott, god bless his soul, is a geriatric specialist who had the balls to bring up assisted living to my parents yesterday. Of course, the conversation had already been started following two falls a week apart. Mama just sat there quiet like and Daddy turned all red and said "We're not ready." Alrighty then! Let us know when you are. Work is busy and good even with all the drama. I am training a tech who worked with us 20 years ago and is back for another dose. She is surprisingly quick and learns easily, which is a blessing. One of our old timers SanSan is close to death from liver failure. Her friend Ro is providing hospice care at her home and we will begin the trek to pay our final respects. Somehow when I visited her the last time, I knew this was coming. Love and kisses fishylips! ^j^

Monday, July 16, 2012

the open door

That little break from the heat was nice but it's back with a vengeance plus lotso' humidity. Following a nice long two night sleeping spell I figured today would be time to holler "yeehaww" and seize the week. Wrong? You bet. I'm experimenting with a new blood pressure med that seems to work but the dosage was altered and the number of pills doubled. I took both of them this morning, finally remembering that there should be two. About eight AM I started feeling all floaty and sluggish. My legs felt like lead and I just wanted to lay down. Hmm. Checked my BP and it was so normal it's ridiculous, only it's not normal for me so there you go. I was having high blood pressure withdrawals. My lessons learned was to take once twice a day and stay stable. Like,duh. My friend Kay sent me a phone pic as promised from the JT concert last night. Bless her heart! Of course it's so little it could have been her up there on the stage, and I'd never have known. As an amateur photographer, I find that musicians are a whole lot of fun to photograph because when they're performing, the beast inner child comes out to play. I've been a groupie most of my life and my brother's nightclub gave me an opportunity to see some really raw talent up close. If Layne Wrye or Gregg Rivers' band du jour ever make it big, I've got pics from "before." Now the club is a damn printing company. So much for D'burg history. I have a pool cue as a momento. And a couple of bar stools!! Normally I'll find any excuse to head straight home when it's this hot, but I had to make a stop by the VA guy's office to talk business about the grands. We go to the doctor and need to be getting our ducks in a row concerning finances and options. One night when mama was mad at me just because, she warned me not to do anything "behind her back." I thought to my self "". What if we listened to them and took it for granted that everything is hunky dory when we know it's not what with frequent falls and ambulance rides. I am weary from being on call and not at all able to guarantee their safety, yet it's their decision as long as one of them is competent. I feel some yoga moves coming on...just saying. I got into this conversation at the sawmill today about the "war on drugs" and the NJ mayor who claims that it costs more than it's worth. Ya'll know I feel. Weed is not a drug and to hell with the rest of it. Prohibition has never worked and never will. All it does is create a huge criminal element for smuggling. Remember the chaos during the 20's and 30's when all the gangsters were running amok. My friend's idea was this: The government puts poison in the drugs and let's 'em hit the street and people die. Then the government says "We'll be doing this randomly so take your chances." Somehow, my cynical side can see that as something our government would come up with. Drug abuse is only one facet of addiction. I've seen people drive miles just to satisfy a sex addiction or sit in on a poker game with hard earned money. Addiction can be anything. When I look at the number of overweight poor people in the south it makes me sad. Food is a drug to them, and that behavior is passed on to the next generation. I honestly overheard a gal tell her kid in line at the dollar store yesterday that she would go to jail if she didn't quit acting a fool. I thought I was gonna choke mostly because the kid knew exactly what she was doing and kept right on. Gangsta mama was just running her mouth. This country is being run by the media, banks and other corporations who focus on politics to a fault trying to make the most money when the majority of America is struggling. Let me say straight up that I am totally against entitlements except when it comes to old people and kids. The rest of ya'll, get out there and get a job. I know...I know, there aren't many. I've had mine for 35 years and I'd let you have it but you gotta get off your ass and learn how to take it from me. That may seem harsh to some, but that's how I see. I wasn't given anything for being who I am. I was fortunate to have parents who gave me strong values and a good moral compass. The rest just happens. We're learning to enjoy the perks that come with BG's job like leftovers and such. This place is absolutely precious, a historic country store sitting on a bluff in northern Dyer county. Part of her job is scooping up crickets and minnows for customers and she doesn't flinch. The floors are hardwood and the decor pure west Tennessee with a dash of Destin. There is a huge pile of kudzu out back which I certainly hope nobody falls into. They won't be found 'til winter!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

precious memories

It's really odd when you get older and start processing all of those life lessons that have turned up along the way. Today is the day I was hyped to be traveling to Mud Island to see James Taylor. Instead, I'm sitting here looking like this and still counting pennies. I had forgotten that Gaga did on the 15th and subsequently her funeral was on my daddy's birthday. That's always a downer, ya know? As usual, there's a story to be told about that.

Gaga was 83 and living in a home when the doctors discovered that she had colon cancer. It was a simple resection performed by a friend of mine. He left for vacation the next day and his partner was on call when the shit hit the fan and she got peritonitis. Evidently that large belly of hers and all that transport post-op tore the sutures. As a COPD patient, she had a history of vents and whatnot and went right back on one following the emergency surgery to remove her entire colon. She waved at my grandpa on the way to the OR and smiled like a kid, looking forward to their reunion. Following surgery, she was put in ICU on a morphine drip for the pain of being laced up like a turkey with infection. Off the vent she enjoyed the pain relief but her breathing was suppressed to such an extent that the "on call" doc decided to give her Narcan so that she didn't die on his watch. Needless to say, I went ballistic. This little student nurse came and found me and said "Girl, if it was my granny, I'd want to know." I arrived in the ICU to find my grandmother screaming in pain and a new doctor on the case. He hooked her up with a less invasive breathing treatment and gave the morphine back. God love the anesthesiologist, he shot straight from the hip and told us what he would do if it was his mama.

On Saturday night, we all knew it was coming. My friend got back in town and showed up to watch over her during the night that she died. I don't remember the time...sometime early in the morning. The last trip I made in to visit, I sang Amazing Grace acapella into her ear and I think she heard it. The nurse came to fetch us shortly after. I saw my friend at church the next day and he said that it bothered him because he thought I saw him as killing my grandma. I was kinda strung out from the night before, but I had enough sense to convince him that it wasn't his fault. Shit happens.

So far nobody has died lately so I reckon daddy gets to celebrate being 81 without going to the funeral home. Something tells me he's getting a Dairy Queen ice cream cake because I know how my mama rolls. Her goal in life is to please him.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

live and learn

More rain fell today, which is a real blessing for our area. We are one of the thousand counties included in that massive drought map that's all over the media. Well, in case you read past the politically (in)correct hate mongering headlines. Shame on all of you! Just remember that it's not about YOU but about your country and the people who elected you, every damn one of 'em. My eyes were bigger than my thumbs when I bought a bushel and a half of purple hull peas a week ago. I've barely shelled enough to fill a coffee cup so it's to the professionals with shellers. I know me, and it won't get done any other way. I had the good fortune to meet an extremely spry and spunky 95 year old lady today who still has a garden and shelled all hers by hand. Same for the hundred of pounds of pecans that she cracked and picked herself. What a woman! Between yesterday and today I discovered a pug at my back door who got his poor ass whipped by the psychotic boys around here. He's cute as hell but lord have mercy..I was afraid for his safety. Not to mention the fact that we already have four and have to do bidness with loan sharks to feed them. I ran three of 'em down today with the flea/tick stuff but Sammy D was too quick for me. BG was headed to work and one of her friends told her that there was a flyer posted at a local grocery store about a missing pug. There were two numbers and we called both of them. Shortly thereafter the pug named "monster" headed toward home in a red sports car snuggling in his mama's lap. I just love it when that happens. Faith got rescued a lot of times by people who are dog lovers and made the effort to take care of somebody's baby. Just in case, I drove down to the end of Pecan Lane to see if the puggle belonged to them. Three pits in the yard and nobody came to the door when I knocked. We inherited Oscar from one of their relatives who came to shack up for a week or so. His back was cut twice in the same exact location but there was no proof how it happened. I remember when BG and her BF lived down there with Mark and the meth head. MH abandoned ship and BF and I saved his dog Sable from freezing to death. Gumby found him chained to a tree out back in freezing temps. He covered him in blankets and turned all the heaters on and I believe he lived to see a better home. Meanwhile, MH is in jail for a very long time. Seriously? You can't make this shit up ^j^

Thursday, July 12, 2012

if at first you don't succeed

My young friend B has a mom who is um, shall we say, a very difficult patient as in non-compliant with her meds and such and suffering from end stage COPD. Since she is just 48, she has only state aid for her healthcare needs and she is a regular fixture in the revolving door that is a hospital ER. Her husband is a trucker and mostly absent so B is in charge of the whole big mess while trying to raise her own family. She and BG met at work and became fast friends for many reasons, but one of them is that since BG is trained in social work, she knows the ins and outs of the system and how people can fall through the cracks. For YEARS, literally, the case management staffs at various agencies have worked to try to get her into a safer place where she can be comfortable and her daughter doesn't have the burden of taking care of everything. Every time somebody would get something lined up, she would bolt and run when the time came to actually do it, choosing instead to return to a home where others who don't have her best interests at heart have tried to cause lots of trouble for B who is the responsible one. BG told me today that there is a plan and that tomorrow it will be put in motion and I could have just cried for all of us, but especially for B. She refused to give up as her mother's advocate, and now it will pay off.

Being the touchy feely sort that I am, I am drawn to disciplines that require meditation and de-cluttering of the mind. I read two completely different articles today detailing tools for doing just that and one was written by a Congressman. He starts his day in a half lotus position meditating for 30 minutes and thinking about....absolutely nothing. In our fast paced world, that sort of self care has gone by the way side as we juggle home,work,friends,family and whatever drama happens to pop up during any days' time. Lotus position notwithstanding, we all have an opportunity to do that if we just make a mindful effort to unplug and escape reality now and then. It takes some practice for a type A like myself, but better living through chemistry has helped in that respect. I have aged into a mostly mellow seer of most sides of an issue with the ability to form my personal opinions without worry that others don't agree. I am who I am ..take it or leave it but please don't put me down for it. Big Ernie doesn't like that at all. Being the random victim of those who run around spewing anger and negativity taught me well to just not take much personally and forge ahead to the next adventure.

We have very basic satellite service so premium channels are out of the budget. Because of that we've missed an entire season of Weeds with the final one just beginning. Today season 7 arrived in the mail and you would have thought it was a check from the IRS or something we were so excited! Simple pleasures ya'll. The heat wave has finally broken but I still can't burn my accumulation of shit because the ban hasn't been lifted in spite of recent rains. The last thing I need is to get busted for illegal burning on the lane. Pride is still all penned up and faring well with nary an attempt to break out for greener pastures cotton fields. I know for a fact that the electric fence works because I grabbed a piece of it and got the shock of my life. Like I tell my brother: I'm just a girl. Gimme a break. All four dogs are sacked out in various rooms enjoying their cushy life at Casa Poopie and BG. The cat is most likely swatting stuff off the dresser.

Life is good ^j^

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what might have been

Control issues are a death sentence for the soul, giving the psyche full rein with the belief that there is something other than cause and effect activity involving egotistical crap that we take way too seriously. Like politics. According to my wise old daddy it's always been "thus and so". Mr Yates urged us to leave room for the spirit to work because this too shall pass. It happens that in the blink of an eye. And then the world is left with your legacy. I often wonder what mine will be, but knowing my personal beliefs and experiences, I think the world will be a little bit better place for me having lived my life. When I think about all of the mistakes and erroneous roads that I've followed it keeps me humble, always remembering the feeling of not knowing whether I would survive the day's drama. I have, by the way. One more time.

My favorite low price treat these days is listening to music and reading whatever the hell I feel like at the moment. Sometimes I think about that woman in the war zone who got shot way too many times for just trying to save herself from the inevitable. Always thus and so, ya'll. Generations of hatred bred into a people will eventually be their downfall. I'm praying that Big Ernie will pull that one off before I die in the form of a giant lightning sparked fire of the Westboro bunch and the horses they rode in on PLUS the barn. God is love, ya'll...not at all about hate and war mongering. There's a process for discharging that anger and it's well documented. Many people choose to escape the pain of reality with addictions that are specific to their personalities. For some it's work, and that was my downfall. I believed for a very long time that corporations really are people and care about their own. I have learned the hard way that it's not true. My employment has taken me through 35 years of countyowned /notforprofit/for profit on Wallstreet models for healthcare delivery. I learned about HIV the year after my daughter was born and Hep C came later. My cousin has already died from it and another dear friend is on the way out with hospice care. The most important thing I ever had to worry about was gettin' pregnant in college and disgracing my mama and daddy.

I'm writing a book now, one story at a time. Hopefully some of the characters will play nice and get me to Fiji or at least out of Dodge. Poopie needs some beach like, real bad. Just saying!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

reality check

I just finished reading an online article about how moms and kids, specifically daughters, can't really be friends. At first I was like "What?" but I read on and didn't recognize either BG or myself in the piece as written. However, I do know a lot of moms and daughters like that, and I was one of them back in the day. When I became a mother, I turned into my own and tried to measure up to her very tall expectations for my daughter and me. As a social icon of the fifties and a extraordinary hostess, she always managed to throw a good meal or party. Holidays and birthdays were roundly celebrated with lots of food and presents with family gathered around. My daughter was privy to this family life and for that I will be forever grateful. I can definitely say that she has the Reaves hospitality gene and also the Stafford stubborn streak.

From her dad and I, she got differing perspectives because of our extremely different backgrounds. His family read like a road map with a humble beginning, raised by his grandma thinking his birth mother was his sister. He found his birth certificate as a 13 year old, and the truth was out. We met about eight years later and were together when his father died at 55, a street drunk who had a nice soul but a taste for the demons. It was a horrid death with convulsions and whatnot witnessed by he and I plus his sister with no legs. She had lost them years ago in a car wreck, some said involving alcohol and a married man. Most of the family that my husband claimed were from that side of the family, the man he called father who was actually his STEP grandfather. See what I mean? There was a half brother in and out of jail over the years whom he despised because the runt stole from him. The entire time that we were married, and especially after I began therapy, I begged him to deal with the elephant in the room. Instead, he claimed that I was trying to fuckin' analyze him and kept on trucking. That's the biggest reason we divorced.

After the divorce I ran into his birth mother and asked her point blank who his birth father was. She told me a name which I shared with him, though he didn't believe it and didn't really care. That entire side of the family has been absent for BG during most of her life. The only bond that remains is the ultra strong one between she and her daddy. He would literally lay down and die for her if he had to. As a recovering addict, he stays away from "real life" in the 'burg and practices his sobriety as a counselor in an A/D facility. He has worked, off and on, as his health allows but he is no longer able to do physical jobs. If anyone ever deserved a disability check it's this man. Years of laboring in a rubber mill covered with carbon black have left him with bad knees and lungs. The money was good, and while we were married he out-earned me, even though I made more per hour. It's what he hard and play harder. I can honestly say that we didn't love each other when we got married, and he wouldn't argue. It was still a "sin" to be shacked up and when his aunt moved away he became a roommate at my apartment. We met(of course) in a bar where he worked for his childhood friend who is long since dead, murdered by another addict. David's last blood alcohol that I saw was in the "incompatible with life" area and he was up walking around. Soon after, he was history. His killer is now dead as well. Small town drama is all we know and you can't make that shit up.

My daughter is my friend, and that's good since we're living together. She can be a door slammin' bitch when the Stafford comes out, but that's not often anymore. We have learned to give each other space out of necessity and it works. I have my part of the house and she has hers with the TV and we visit around sharing the bed and couch with four dogs and a cat. Lily is the evil kitty who sits on her dresser and knocks everything off, which is why the top drawer stays catch all!

Just another day in paradise friends ^j^

Monday, July 9, 2012

and then it rained

Praise Big Ernie and all the spirits in the universe...we have mud! Not much, mind you, but just enough to get out from under the burn ban which is good enough for me. My recycling objective is pretty much an ashes to ashes approach so there's a big pile of beer and pizza boxes waiting to be torched. I'll use that as a fire starter for the big honking pecan branch that's sitting in the driveway. At the dollar store today I ran into a chick buying moth balls and on a mission, I could tell. "Got snakes?" I asked. "Girl they are all under the house and have got to go!" Bless her heart, I hope it works. My friend Lorna helped me with my snake phobia somewhat by pointing out that a sighting, rather than being something evil and fearful, is a signal of transition. Said she doesn't go anywhere she can't see her feet, but if there's a random serpent curled around a tree, it's actually a sign. Works for me!

I ran down to check on the grands awhile ago and found it to be one busy place what with it being bath day and church food day and Ms.Faye (god bless her little heart) on duty. Mom was all smiles in anticipation of seeing her baby boy in person and quite by surprise. BG is at work and still loving the folksy atmosphere of a country general store for a job vs. trying to change the freakin' world

Sunday, July 8, 2012

manifest destiny

Always the dreamer and seeker, I've learned that the way to be SURE not to live your dream is to give up. Trouble is, I never really figured out what my personal dream is. Fiji is nice but totally out of the question right now, so I've had to set smaller goals and believe in the power of networking and karma. The universe is teaching all of us a lesson in varying degrees and you just have to be open to possibilities. One of my favorite recovery pictures is of little stick men who keep falling into the same hole over and over until they figure out how to walk around it. That is the story of my life in many ways. Caught in the motion of a rapidly changing women's movement during times of radical transitions like integration and the war in Vietnam, I sought to sit in the middle and be a nice little southern girl when I had to to keep my parents happy. They allowed me the experiences of live concerts in Memphis when it was the real hot spot for famous rock bands at the shell, coliseum and North hall. I just found myself searching for the feel-like-i'm-fixing-to-die rag by Country Joe and the fish and I met my hippie self coming out of hibernation. My friend Judy posted today that she is boycotting all things political media wise until after the election and I feel her pain. Lord knows I try!

Pride is either really hot or mad as hell over being penned up when he had several acres to roam before the executive decision was made to get him out of the cotton field. I spotted pink and white blooms on my way home from the sawmill this afternoon. Daddy came up to check out the new fence on his gator and then headed across the road to see the brilliant gold of the sunflowers. His birthday is in a week and he will be 81. He's often told me that he never thought he'd live to be "that" old, yet there he is still kicking with that stubborn Stafford streak intact. I'm really glad I only got an ounce or two of that...just enough to not let people run over me and keep the survival instinct going. Otherwise, I'm pure Mama.

Things could be much worse ^j^

Saturday, July 7, 2012

art as therapy

As a junior college student I was absolutely smitten with psychology and how the mind works. Of course nobody makes a decent living at it in a small 'burg like mine, and really doing that for a job would take away the joy of sitting back and watching the drama that is life play out on my personal screen. I rarely offer unsolicited advice because unless somebody is ready to make a personal change, they're just ranting and headed toward getting to a better place. I've done it a million times, and most of them were in therapy. The cool thing about recovery from the big CoD is the peace of knowing that the world will twirl without your help. Being dead ass broke for so long and struggling to keep it all together has been a real challenge because I'm not good with that stuff and there were other issues to be dealt with as well. Several of them, by the way. Prior to this all-hell-broke-loose period, I was a bit spoiled and dramatic in that I cried a LOT and acted like a baby. When things got tough, I still cried but slapped those big girl panties on and dealt with it. Friends have been my saving Grace during that time, and that has resulted in a new attitude for me. If these people can put up with my crazy bullshit and let me crash now and then, they truly love me.

The light at the end of the tunnel arrived today in the form of a loan from the good old credit union that's been covering my ass the entire time I've worked. Everybody gets some, even the witch nice lady at the doctor's office. And I will keep working from ground zero, hopefully, to a better life. BG has a job that she loves and is out and about more so there's that. Mama and Daddy are currently not in crisis, though that could change at any moment. My brother's sunflowers are blooming and I drove through the cotton to take some pics today. Dust was flying everywhere, but the trusty old Camry made it up the hill by where the pond once was. The cattle rub is gone as well. I thought Sammy D was going to pass out panting under the bed when we got back. He and Oscar ran the whole way over and back. HOT as hell, ya'll.

The arts have always brought me pleasure, listening to music or writing and reading are the main things. As I've aged, I've learned to appreciate movies more because they make me sit down and stop multi-tasking. Same for good comedy. I check my news via the web, choosing my sources with a very loose filter. Listening to both sides is often the best way to find a solution to a problem, right? I think Abraham Lincoln or some famous prez said that. It doesn't surprise me at all that he was shot in the head. I mean gah...all those rich southern white people pissed off about losing their slaves? Really?????????? Ted Nugent, kiss my ass.

As for the rest of us, we shall keep the faith ^j^

Friday, July 6, 2012

hotter than the fourth of july

For the second time in a month, I have learned the hard way that providers don't play when it comes down to paying in full for their services. Following an arrangement that included payment of all but 45 bucks of my internet bill, they promptly cut me off, thus the long blogless period. It was a wake up call of sorts and I'm happy to report that I now appreciate the little things like DSL and TV. When you are a house mouse like me, that's all there is for entertainment besides cuddling with the dogs. Ryder is at that awkward stage like a pre-teen where her legs are way too long for her skinny body. She'll grow into it soon, since we also were able to buy dog food today!

The past week has been a hot and humid blur of work and drama (always the drama) which found me celebrating Independence day at the sawmill. I can honestly say that my advocacy for a patient earlier in the week made a difference and that makes me feel like it's all worth it even when my feet and knees hurt. Mama fell (again) this time peeling the skin off of both arms with the metal parts of her walker. It takes two to get her up so there I went down the road to help Daddy get her in the bed. It was like a freakin' fire drill, if you know what I mean. We were all excited and exhausted and frustrated and raised our voices a bit. In the end, there was an understanding that "the subject" is now out on the table in the open. My youngest brother and his family survived the derecho and have power back, unlike many others. We caught up on the state of our union once cell signals were flying again. They are an internet based home business so that's a major blow to be down for multiple days. No fancy name for the weather around here though. It is, quite simply, hot as hell. We've had no rain for a month and the temps are hovering at 100. While I was puttin' gas in the trusty old Camry today a few random drops fell and I honestly said "thank you Big Ernie." We'll take what we can get. The corn is now drying up a couple of weeks ahead of schedule...haven't looked at an ear to see if it made. Cotton is doing well, as it is prone to do in this type weather.

Pride has been wandering free range for about six months now making his way from my house on the hill down toward the dairy barn and across to the golf course. He knows his limits and doesn't get out of sight of that barn. HOWEVER he is steady tromping on the cotton so the plan was hatched to either fence him in again or find a new home. The guy who agreed to take him headed out with a trailer and couldn't get him in without help so Pride had one more day before leaving. Much to everyone's amazement, the farm owner messaged my brother that he wanted to keep the old ornery dude so the fencing crew started today. Go figure. I told my brother that he'll probably drop dead the day after the fence is done and then we'd have to get another one! He was not amused.

Life is good in so many ways that I'm ashamed of myself for stressing over little things like money. With the global economy in the shape that it is now, we should all just find a way to deal with it, because the chaos isn't going anywhere soon. Congress is a bunch of titty baby party liners who won't play nice so that we can have some peace. Kiss my ass, ya'll. I was so sad about Andy Griffith's death because I grew up in Mayberry right along with Opie. A friend and I were discussing the culture of America today and I felt a real kinship with those who suffered during the great depression like my father and his family. So that I could keep the faith, they did.

Peace, love and rock'n'roll ^j^