Sunday, November 29, 2009

let there be light

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

a boy and his truck

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

for all of this, i give thanks

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 23, 2009

notes to self

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

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

"No matter where you go, there you are." Mary Engelbreit

Saturday, November 21, 2009

in spite of ourselves

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

attitude plus

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

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

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

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


Sunday, November 15, 2009

lord willin' and the creek don't rise

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

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

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

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

*end of rant*


Friday, November 13, 2009

all business

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, November 12, 2009

countin' sheep

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

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

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

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

Over and out from Pecan Lane. ^j^

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the view

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

Sunday, November 8, 2009

family tradition

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

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

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



Thursday, November 5, 2009

fields of gold

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

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

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

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



Monday, November 2, 2009

puppy heaven

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

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

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

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


Sunday, November 1, 2009