Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a tale of two co-workers

Once upon a time in a land far away, I went off to the big city for school with plans to stay there, which got changed pretty quickly when I broke up with my college boyfriend dumped me. I returned to the 'burg and hung out at our red log cabin until I began work at the local sawmill in August of '77. My pay at that time was 3.94/hr at a county owned facility. Our administrator was a guy who had worked his way up from the lab into the corner office. The super who hired me is gone now to other places here and yon but there was a whole lot of drama with his going. Before he left, he managed to move a family member in with us who has been there ever since. They both seem to blame my current boss for his going some twenty years ago. She did nothing but pick up the ball and run with it when he lost interest and got canned. She paid her dues by going into the trenches that I was afraid to even try. I knew how hard it would be to gain the respect of an entire department and with a small child, couldn't see myself putting in the time. It was a very hard road for all of us.

Over the span of 30 plus years we have done everything from taking call while pregnant to coming to work with the flu just to avoid short staffing and heartache for somebody else that we call friend. We have birthday cakes and funeral caravans and give random warm hugs PRN. When someone leaves, they usually know that the time they've spent with us has been filled with mostly good times and a few spats. It's those never ending grudges that will kill the desire to even meet halfway. And that, is sad. I can say something good about most anybody until they do me wrong, and then? You're a big fat zero sister. Just sayin'. Don't ever forget to remember the sheep and goats story.

Still mid nineties here, the dog days of summer. There is dust everywhere from the corn down the hill, and this up next to the house will likely go in a couple more. There are scattered cotton bolls peeking out, and the virginia creeper is turning red. The cicada's song is very loud....drifting from the pecan trees over to my little house on the hill. All is well.


Monday, August 29, 2011

and then beyonce got a baby bump

That was the "feel good" story today beginning a week that still includes massive flooding and damages from Irene related rainfall. I watched as one of the circa 1980 covered bridges in Vermont was washed off the base and wondered to myself. How ironic, remembering Katrina. Ron Paul, about the only one of the GOP bunch who has any sense, suggested that FEMA bow out of these catastrophes and let the states handle it thus cutting down on the sheer SIZE of federal government programs which could not possibly have enough oversight what with the opportunities to contract out their services and make a profit. Nobody knows the lay of the land like the locals.

So anyways, there's old Dick Cheney out there pimping his book and pissing off Colin Powell and a whole bunch of other people who had his back and I think it's hilarious. If I was trapped on a desert island and his was the only book made up bunch of lies on the island, I'd have to go for a swim. Yep. I hold a grudge, and I don't blame Dubya nearly as much as I blame Cheney and Halliburton. Keep on playing fools. Eventually, the people will speak. See: Libya

The shadows are already gathering close to my house and it's only seven o'clock. My BF and roommate lost his dad so there's funeral food in our immediate future. We have shared the best and the worst of aging parents, and wouldn't trade a million bucks for the experience. If there is a realistic plan for end of life care, we're the poster children for all kids who still HAVE kids who depend on us and cope with both ends the spectrum.

My camera is a source of joy again, this time with more bells and whistles than a point and shoot door prize could ever think about having. The first full utility bill with the new unit arrived in the "post" today and it was about 125 bucks cheaper than this time last year. Thanks ya'll...our budget needed that boost.

Ya'll call it like you see it. It usually works out, at least in my experience.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

the circle of life

Snuffy gave up his fight with this world today at around 1PM. His children have surrounded him for weeks now...helping their mother to cope with the pain and stress that are involved with a home death, even with hospice guiding them. His babygirl and grandaughter both have nursing experience so that's been a blessing. Dying is tough business, even if you've got all your stuff laid out, so to speak. But honest to God? Nobody ever deserves to die alone. There's just too many people in this world for that to happen. It's eerie in a hospital when caring for someone that you know is passing over. Sometimes the family is already there...usually they're called in. But sometimes the patient is elderly and has no family or caregiver. Now THAT is sad, ya'll. It has helped me, over the years, to see my vocation as a ministry of sorts.

I'm sorry to report to the sawmill bean counters that this was a very manageable weekend where nobody got really bored but we didn't bust our asses. Those days are few and far between. I brought breakfast from the doughnut place since I was missing my weekly date with mom and dad. You'd have thought I was Santa Claus or something. If in doubt, bring a box of glazed! Daddy got the leftovers.

I feel things changing..not really tilting per se ,rather a curve in the road where the bumps are still gonna be hard but experience will put them in perspective. Not that I'm old and wise and all, you know. *giggle*

Rock on folks. Life is a highway.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

by any other name

My legal name is what I go by when it pertains to work or business, but the rest of the time I'm just old Janie Poo Poo. I received a check, a final notice from the radiology group with which I work, and a letter all calling me a different name from either of those. I'm wondering if I can refuse based on their failure to get my name right? The check was a surprise, expected in September and needed right.damn.now to pay ATT. It was quick as lightning that we got our service back once I posted that payment. Must be a direct switch up in the process somewhere. As for the teevee, I broke down and paid it but I'm out of contract so they better be nice. I'm on a serious mission to pay off the propane guy, dentist and hand surgeon. By that time I'll probably have to have surgery on the RIGHT wrist.

I watched the early morning shadows outside the windows at work today and saw fall in every one of them. It's still hot, and it's mighty dry but the intensity of the sun doesn't seem to have the staying power that it did just a few weeks ago. Or maybe my new central unit is kicking butt and taking names! Probably a little of both. Even though my allergies are the worst from August thru November, it's still nice to feel the nip in the air that comes with shorter days and cooler nights. In my department alone, there are six or seven September birthdays so we'll all party with the big bosses one day for lunch.

I'm seeing the farm equipment in and out more frequently as the growing season comes to a close and harvest begins. Besides the combine work, there are big patches of grass to be kept trimmed so they can get in and out of the fields with the mighty green and yellow big boy toys. In my lifetime, I have seen a complete turnaround in the farming business. Back in the day farmers were paid NOT to grow a certain crop so that we could buy it cheaper somewhere else. To me, personally, that was a big part of the failure of our economy. The citizens of this country have everything we need to sustain us yet we continue to buy from other countries. I'm not a Clinton hater or anything but NAFTA was his claim to fame (along with you know who) and that's a sore spot. LEST YE THINK THAT I MIGHT BE A BLEEDING HEART COMMIE LIBERAL.

At the risk of sounding like an old-timer, I miss the simpler times. Like...really bad.


Friday, August 26, 2011

piggies in the corn

Sittin' here on the verge of a major financial decision, which includes a cold turkey resolution on sat TV and the lack thereof. I watch it MAYBE two hours a week all total and the rest of the time I'm either sleeping working or computing. It's a habit, if you will and one that can be very expensive. I won't miss it a bit. I've had two days off and watched nothing but a rerun of Weeds and Chelsea. The rest of my knowledge came from the interwebs.

The corn is still not shelled yet but it's getting closer to harvest time. My lawn yard is dead except for a few sprigs of super bionic orchard grass, and we've had plenty of rain. I've been off for two days and ran some errands for mama and daddy yesterday. It was pretty bittersweet to stand there and watch my father cash in the treasury bonds that he purchased in the last years before he retired as a federal employee. Everybody at the bank and UPS store were just sweet as pie. I think that was in '87 when BG was just three years old.We moved here on the lane that next spring.

That was a long time ago, and we've seen a lot of drama and joy since then. People come and go into our lives, sometimes forever and sometimes just because. If you have any sort of faith at all, that's the way to look at it. I got sideways with an old friend the other day just for trying to crack a joke on a bad day for her. I totally understand. Life can be a bitch and then you die. Love ya...mean it. Today was my swan song at Gigi's pool and we did it up right in early fall breeze after some car relay duty. Love you too sista'.

I guess Irene is gonna wash away the east coast so I better check in with Jim Cantore. I'll be at the sawmill all weekend so holla if you need some blood.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

little miracles

I was walking through the lobby this afternoon for the tenth time and caught a glimpse of folks reporting an earthquake in New York. Huh?? "New York" I said to myself...very unusual. As it turns out that whole area of the country got rattled including my brother the weatherman who's been tracking Irene for days only to get all shook up during lunch with the fam at Basic Necessities. Go figure. He's due for some acts of nature because he misses tornado season in the south. Nestled in the valley, they get flooding and such but never wildness like a funnel cloud.

I've spent forty bucks and a bunch of oh shits trying to install new memory in my ancient PC and today was eureka! When I finally heard that soothing hum, I could have shouted out to the heavens, ya'll. Nothing is more frustrating to a writer wanna be than having to wait on the cursor to catch up with your fingers. Yes, it was that bad. The way I figure it I'll get through with my daily pontification and photo duties quicker and have more time to enjoy playing outside. If it ever gets below 90 again. I'm just saying. I'm learning, little by little, how to use the super dooper camera that JL gave me. Gigis' brother-in-law aka Precious is an avid photographer and I dropped by her house to hook up with him for some tips.

Some of you may not get this, but to me there is nothing better in this world than eating produce that was home grown. I'm not big on tomatoes but I love squash, okra, peas and potatoes. We fried up a big mess of KY okra last night and ate it hot out of the iron skillet. It's like God's way of saying "See. I told ya'll I'd provide!" I'm thinking the earthquakes and those slippery Libyan brothers are just a reminder that we better stock up on bottled water. According to the reports I've read, even if the rebels succeed in ousting the dictator, it will take a year for their oil production to boot up and there is no "go to guy" anymore. What is somebody just as crazy and evil as him gets the power? Not my problem, nor yours.

Keep on believing ^j^

Monday, August 22, 2011

love thy neighbor

And who is your neighbor? In the corporate environment we are accustomed to identifying the client base and the resources available with which to do business according to current law, which tends to change capriciously day to day. In that case, your neighbor is the clients you serve and the providers who give you the means to carry out the mission, whatever that may be. In my case, it happens to be healthcare and I've got to say (without boasting, of course..that would just be rude!) that I've made a difference in a whole helluva lot of lives over the years. For the longest time I saw it as a ministry to which I was appointed by Big Ernie to do what Jesus would do. And that was BEFORE the bracelets that made somebody a whole shit load of money.

KY cousins dropped off a jar of basil tomato jelly which mama passed on so I tried it out on some toasted baguettes with parmesan and green onion. This stuff is to die for good. Maybe in my next life I can create recipes on somebody else's dime. Umhmmm. When donkeys fly. Speaking of which....I never ever thought I'd see the West Memphis three walk but I've always thought there was too much inbreeding going on in that whole deal to even begin to figure it out. It's over. Get past it. Move onto the next thing. If the judge was smart, he slapped something on them like Caysey got before she left, banning book and interview deals. With that extra stray DNA in the woods, only god knows. Two of them partied at a downtown Memphis hotel, and the other at his home trailer park in West Memphis to celebrate their release. Natalie Maines will more than likely take a whipping on this one just like she did with Dubya. And that too shall pass. Echols was a goth lookin' kid back then which was not a popular look around the 'hood. He was an easy target with his unusual appearance...one of the few outwardly dark characters in a motley crew of three.

Yes indeed, the poopster is rambling. Because I can.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

mean irene

Bound for the King sisters to head for a Puerto Rican vacation and get a date with Irene the future hurricane. If anything important has happened in the state of the world lately, I've been "unplugged" so to speak. I can only take so much of reality until I go lookin' for something happier and brighter. No agenda is a very good thing, and something that I'm learning to incorporate into my behavior patterns, which requires that I think short term instead of long term and deal with it as it comes. I have my favorite ways to escape, most of which are legal and usually involving play time with a camera or keyboard. My KY cousin and her hub were here for a birthday party yesterday and we all met up at the red log cabin for a quick meet and greet. I managed to bring home half a watermelon and a whole bunch of okra, squash and 'maters. The squash got cooked up just like my mama used to make it, boiled with onions and topped with buttery crackers and cheese. Ronnie and daddy took a spin on the gater, down around the slough and up to my house.

Most days, when it's cool, he'll get out and putter up and down our road visiting the neighbors which include our mayor Mozella and her peeps. The three of them, my mother included, are walking...if very slowly..history books of life on this farm. Mr. Brandon who grew up here is the other historian. There's a tiny little graveyard set to the front of his yard that I used to visit as a child. As an adult, I fell straight down the hill and TORE my freakin' hamstring while BG and I were exploring. Scared the crap outta that poor child! Fortunately she was old enough to drive me home. The entire left side of my body from the pelvis down turned black and purple. Scary stuff. It took about three months to regain complete mobility and after that I had a whole lot more respect for athletes who pull that kinda stunt.

It's almost "football time in Tennessee" which means the orange and white stuff is coming out of the closets where it's been stored since January. The kudzu bar is not officially under new management and the plans are to make it more sports bar kinda friendly so that you don't have to hang stand up at the bar with the guys to see the game. There used to be an old school jumbotron sort of deal back in the day. I'm sure TD will make it nice.

Happy monday eve ya'll. See you at the sawmill if not before.


Friday, August 19, 2011

carlee and me

Most of BGs friends either have husbands or babies or both, so I'm easing back into the being around kids thing. My roomie has three grandchildren who tend to drop by out of nowhere for a few hours while their parents get away for a bit. Such was the case yesterday when I kept Carlee awhile so her mom and dad could go riding in the bottoms. She is about five weeks old and constipated, as all babies tend to be until they find the right food. She was fine until I fed her and all that gas backed up. Even though I got a couple of burps, it took a pacifier and her grandaddy's front porch glider to get some peace. By the time her parents pulled up with a full sunset behind them, she was out like a light. I think she loves me ;)

Most weeks I work a few days and am off for one or two. This was the deadly five day week going from weekend off to weekend off. We weren't that busy, thank goodness, because I've felt like shit crap all week. I figure it's a dog days cold or something. The corn is STILL there taunting me with its' green while I long to get my full view of the dairy barn back. That's a plus in the winter. The pecan trees that overhang the lane touching leaves are lush and have virginia creeper and trumpet vine all over them. It would be an excellent movie set! One visitor remarked that the arc of trees reminded him of lanes in France. It is truly a gift to drive that lane every day and watch in awe as the seasons change. The hill in front of the barn is covered with kudzu, but will soon be bare until next May. Another visitor who is a hunter is drooling to go find Bambi and her turkey friend and I have to keep reminding him that it's a "sanctuary." Ahem.

No fires on the homefront this week, which is also a blessing. My mother and I have a movie date tomorrow and I'm honestly excited about the prospect. She called today asking if I have her roasting pan. Every time she can't find something, she thinks I borrowed it! She mentioned a craving for chex mix the other day so I imagine that's her game plan. I finally decided to upgrade the memory on the old Dell and it wasn't as easy as described sooo...another friend is coming after work to help with that. God is good. All the time.

No plans other than a very looongg nap and the movie plus church duty. The rest of the weekend is mine. Ya'll get out there and make some noise. It's Friday!!!!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I was challenged by my dear friend Lori, the mother of Einstein the cutest-ever-in-the-world puggle, to write about my life when I was that age. I had to actually count up past my birth year and get out the proper annual to even remember the times....and my picture wasn't even in the damn thing! I must have been absent on picture day or something. My mama will tell you that I tended to play sick a lot. School just wasn't my thing. I liked learning, but chafed at all the rules. After all, I was a hippie. Kinda sorta. I was invisible in those days except to the people who took the time to look past the social stuff and become my friend. They ranged from potheads to class presidents. Think Donna on the seventies show except I wasn't a hot redhead. High school sororities and fraternities were still a big deal then, but I stayed away from all that except for the dances because the bands were always hot. No bakes sales on Saturday morning for this old gal.

I attended the old high school on College hill for two years before the new one got built over on the 51 By-pass. My parents went there in the forties, and the building still stands as a Y/school resource building. My daughter attended middle school there too, but by then it was ancient. There was, at one time, a big wading pool at the bottom of the hill on the left where people took their babies to splash under the watchful eye of Miss Zella, the lifeguard. Across the street sat my home church where my faithful mama and daddy dragged my butt up in there every week come hell or high water. I had to sit on a pew with my wiggly little brothers which was definitely not fun.

I kind of went to the dark side when I was about 13 or so, running around with some folks that knew a whole lot more about the streets than I did. I worked summers at the local Moose lodge as a lifeguard and our favorite times were when it rained out all the bratty kids and we raided the bar and kitchen inside. And then...we'd play spades until somebody decided to quit. My friend Lisa and I hooked up about that time through her older sister and decided that we'd better straighten our acts up and get through high school. She was a star student and I was average. She always had a dramatic flair and just the right words to get scholarships to the big university. I got one to the local community college on my high B average. We were drawn to each other at a time when we were trying to grow up and make sense of everything. Years later, we would see our friends die from their unhealthy lifestyles, many of them from HIV or Hep C. Lisa's house burned and they had to live at the Plaza motel for several months while the damage was being repaired. I thought that was just the coolest thing. My friend Kay's house burned at about that time as well. I remember walking over from Susan's house to survey the ashes. We continued to swim in that pool because it was built for us girls by Mr. Tom and Miss Ann. After the fire, they moved over on Glen Oaks. Kay found her daddy dead of a heart attack one day after school and her world changed forever.

I was in the science club and the FTA and thought about band because of Jimbo but didn't get out there with it until we moved to the new place. It had a state of the art band room, amphitheater and nice instruments and uniforms when administration had money left over from the athletic budget. Daddy is such an avid sports fan that I just took that as a given and learned to play the chimes so I could do a solo. I'm not sure in what high school gym it happened, but the melody will never leave me.

More later. XOXO

Monday, August 15, 2011

the plot thickens

I've been in one of those deep thinking modes where your butt is pinned against the wall and you've gotta figure out how to make it fly. I'm talking a spur of the moment visit to the payday advance place to avoid a 35 buck overdraft charge. I had one of those last week when I was 22cents short and that, well that's why bankers are rich. I'm ready to take it all out in cash and put it in envelopes in a mason jar, depression style. And send my IRS payment in rolled pennies. Hah!

The political scene is just downright tense these days what with all the GOP folks plotting to overthrow the president and allow us to pray at football games again, bless their hearts. The only one of the bunch that I have any respect for is Ron Paul because he is a believer in the pure form of the Constitution without frilly perks like PACs and government subsidies. I have heard from kentuckians that his son is really radical in their state, cutting health benefits in a very VERY poor state where the mainstay has been farming for years. I had to learn the preamble in elementary school and thought it was just boring, but now it seems like a basic building block for sanity. Hell if you can't make a goal, punt.

It's amusing to me to read the rhetoric surrounding the butt whipping that healthcare thing took. The guy I read today discussing it said exactly what I believe about the whole freakin' mess...put Medicare in charge and do a reasonable premium. Cut out the middle man,aka insurance companies. That is not "universal" healthcare...it's common sense. The greater the number of contractors and businesses involved in the spending of government money, the higher the risk of greed and corruption taking over. That ain't cool. Case in point....the famous Ford family of Shelby county. Last I heard of Ophelia she was falling off bar stools in Nashvegas.

Ya'll can write me in if you want but I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Peace out ^j^

Sunday, August 14, 2011

sleeps with dogs

My native american friend Suzy, like most cherokees, has an Indian name as well as the one her parents gave her when they plucked her out of a cave in New Mexico. She tells me that as the legend goes, the baby is called by the first scene that the mother witnesses after its' birth. And hers is Two Dogs..uhm. I hope they weren't stuck! I've taken on the name of sleeps with dogs because that is precisely what I do and it makes me happy. So there.

It's a beautiful day in the hood and after yesterday's pity party and today's cleansing cry, I feel like a human again. The camera that I inherited is mighty fine, and I'm learning little by little how to use it in the amateur mode. Now that the weather is tolerable, I'll have more chances to explore with it. Being used to a point and shoot is something that I have to get over. Many thanks to the count for thinking of me as a fellow photographer.

I spent yesterday afternoon at Gigi's pool with an assortment of friends and family who were all very unique, and had a ball. And yes, there was beer involved. It was a lovely day...not too hot and low humidity. We laughed ourselves silly figuring out who's kin to who and what this or that one is doing these days. Mindless chatter. It's good for the soul.

I've purposely avoided watching the news because all I see is pictures of Rick Perry and it makes me SICK. That type of mentality is why we are stuck in the dark ages today. I am a god, if not fearing, respecting woman but I totally agree in keeping religion and politics on separate sides of the fence. I do not believe that the downfall of this nation is because prayer was "taken out of school". Mandatory public prayer was removed by law, yes. But any student at any time can give Big Ernie a shout out if they so desire. The constitution plainly states that there should be separation of state and religion. Evidently today's evangelicals think they're beyond all that ancient history. Bullshit. I don't need the ten commandments posted in a courthouse to remind me what they are. I know 'em by heart.

The grands and I went to you-know-where for eggs and doughnuts today. It's amazing to me how we go there every week, and rarely see anyone that I know except for the staff and occasionally their church buddies. Daddy had to settle for chocolate doughnut HOLES today and somehow that wasn't quite the same. Such is life.

Keeping the faith here, in spite of things unseen.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

out of moves

I live here on the farm with two roommates, neither of whom seem to grasp that my salary alone cannot cover expenses for the three of us. Very often, the dogs and cat eat more better than we do. My roomies do their own thing, oblivious to the fact that the old Poopster is toiling away at the sawmill on reduced hours trying to make ends meet. I reckon they're just along for the ride. It is what it is.

I should probably just pack up and move, which I'm currently in the process of doing. Not sure where it will lead, but I know that sitting here on somebody else's homestead is not the way to proceed if I'm gonna have a nice place to die. At last count, I've paid upwards of 80K over the 23 years that I've lived here. The new dude raised my rent so that's been tough. A house built in 1918 that has withstood all the weather coming across from the west is not very energy efficient, if you know what I mean. I buy the cheapest detergent that the dollar general has and still it doesn't work out on the balance sheet. Tonight I'll be using dawn for soap. Lest we forget, I have a college degree but no old money. Only what I earn check to check.

This year I will probably bring in 45K, after 35 years of giving my all to healthcare. With a degree, and a supervisor's license, for which I pay dearly. That's on the table too, being shuffled amongst the electric and propane and dentist and hand surgeon bills. The teevee will soon be gone unless one of the roomies decides to step up and take charge. As for food, I'll go to the church pantry if need be. I have begged and borrowed to get this far and have no pride when it comes to asking for handouts.

My gas tank is empty and I have church duty in the morning. Any questions?

Friday, August 12, 2011

the gray areas

There's this guy at work who drives a big honkin' SUV that bears a bumper sticker, a rather LARGE one, that says "I don't trust the liberal media." I noticed today that the "CUT SPENDING NOW" one is gone. It was even bigger. As a self confessed liberal, I can honestly say that I don't trust either party's media. I simply watch them all and make up my own mind about who's a snake. The majority of the time he or she is either a term limit waitin' to happen or some cookie cutter pretty person who spends millions on a campaign for an office where you virtually turn your life over for your term. At least that's the way Mr. Smith would have done it. I am not a fan of Obama the president, but I actually felt sorry for him today as he plead for some civil talk about what is really on the table. In his words, there's nothing wrong with the country but with the political system. Do I hear an amen?

I looked through a gallery of faces today, the military folks who were killed in that Chinook over in neverneverland. They were all smiles...not a bit afraid of dying I'm sure because it's what they do. They are soldiers for their country and all the good that can be found here if we only stop being so damned self centered. I used to spend tons of money on clothes, even charged them up on plastic. I can't tell you how long it's been since I even bought a new shirt or dress. It's just not important these days. I feel like there are more important things to do, like pay back the propane guy. And dentist. And hand surgeon. I'm all about comfort anyway. T-shirts and boxers are my favorite jammies.

In case I haven't made it crystal clear to my friend Drew, I am totally absolutely enthralled with spotify and it seems to help with the artistic process as well. But of course, you knew that :) Add my next fancy ass camera to the mix and I just may be in business. My friend S at work is trying to find some lost RAM in a box somewhere so I can speed up the process of becoming a photogowriter. Hell, I've waited this long..what's the hurry?

My 56th birthday is creeping up and BG will be 27 shortly after that. At about this point in August of 1984 I was fat as a cow and walking the halls of the hospital with a blood tray propped on my hip. Not, at all, a happy camper. On my birthday that year, my mama gave me a music box of mother and child to go with the wedding one I had already received. Now if any of ya'll know how the hormones are about two weeks prior to baby's happy arrival, you can imagine what a snot slinging event THAT was. My labor lasted three days and a cool front came through right about the time she was born. Breath of fresh air..that's her!

I read an intriguing article today about how we rarely disconnect from the "real" world long enough to go into a peaceful sleep. There's always that table by the bed with the light and the phone and the alarm. He proposed that waking to an alarm is not natural, and that we should adjust our habits (by going to bed earlier) so that we wake up without it. Kinda like on Saturday morning when you're off and are caught up on chores. At this point in time I'd love nothing better than to be on the porch of a beach house watching the sunset. WITH margaritas.

See ya'll on the other side.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

mowin' in the rain

I share a mower with brother so I have to get 'er done in a day or two so the brotherhood of the traveling John Deer stays on schedule with the two yards that he keeps up. He brought it at dusk yesterday and I managed to get about halfway done before dark, the highest parts that require multiple passes. My heart wasn't in it but I got it unstuck from a damn hill climbed up on it after work today determined to finish on time. And guess what? After two swipes around the front, the heavens opened up and forced me inside. Tell me Big Ernie ain't good :)

After reading The Help, I can't wait to see the movie which features several from the Midsouth area. People who were not a part of that era in which I also grew up, can't begin to imagine the stupidity and ignorance of snotty rich white folks. I recall seeing segregated bathrooms and water fountains and I remember the first black student who attended my school, in the 5th grade. Which was ummm....I was around ten or so. Growing up on a farm with black families beside mine, I never gave it a second thought. They weren't the help. They were family.

Annie Laura was one of those and so was Margaret. While Mama and Daddy worked they kept an eye on us and made sure nobody got hurt. Margaret made the best chocolate meringue pie I've ever tasted. She kept her hair in tiny braids giving her a pixie faced appearance, and we all adored she and her husband Nelson. He cooked bbq in an earth pit every year on the 4th. The real deal. I went with Annie to take him to the nursing home after Margaret died and he got cancer, and it was a real sad moment for all of us. Now she's in one too, and rarely gets a chance to visit. I see her more often than anybody because she comes in the sawmill more and more.

Mama's family had Big Zettie and Miss Rosie, who wore a paper bag on her head. As you can imagine, Zettie looked a whole lot like Aunt Jemimah and didn't take no lip. One of my favorite family pictures shows them all gathered around the fireplace one year at Christmas with my prissy faced great grandmother glaring through her wire rimmed glasses. I've heard she was a real doozy when she was younger. By the time I knew her, she was middle aged and lost some of her fight. Everybody I heard her say "God knows!" when I'd act a fool, I thought she was saying something about god's nose.

Per my usual Pollyanna persona, I am looking at the "half mowed side" and thinking about possibilities. Or maybe, I'm just out of the mood now.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

no excuses

Fresh from therapy, I find myself thinking once again that perhaps all is not lost and that, as my daddy is known to say..."It has always been thus and so." We were chatting at work the other day about the strong resemblance between what is happening now in the world and Left Behind series. I prefer not to think of it that way, but either outcome I'm not worried. I feel sure that I'll be up there strumming a harp and look out over the gates to see all my favorite pinheads get put in the goat pile. That's the way I believe in Big Ernie...as a provider and comforter not some big bad thoushaltnot. Sometimes the lessons are hard to learn, and I'm a not very graceful survivor of many, but in the end they bring about change and growth and the ability to adapt. That is what it takes to survive right now. Hopefully by the time it all turns into a reality show like deal, I'll be makin' music.

Count Zubrovka (i seriously did not make that name up) delivered a gift yesterday in the form a a really REALLY nice camera the likes of which I've never even used. It will take some learning, but I'm all about that. I am flattered that he felt the need to give it to me because this man takes photography seriously. He's just bought a new one so I got lucky. His family lived next door to my grandmother's house on College when we were little kids....that's how far back we go. Clad in a faded Beatles' t-shirt he showed me how to operate it and even left a book and charged batteries. Can you imagine my joy!! My first pic was of him.

Mama and daddy'n'them are still hanging inside until the heat breaks. Their endless days inside together are enough to drive anybody crazy. Miss Faye, bless.her.heart. comes four days a week to make sure they eat good and have a clean house. The rest of the time they're on a wing and a prayer but the alarm is usually turned on by 3PM so I'm not too worried. They both have cell phones, ya know. It is what it is and I'm in it for the long haul.

Mama told me yesterday that a certain angel friend of hers dropped by over the weekend and read to her my post from Mother's day of this year. She got kinda teary and so I had to go back and look because, honestly..I couldn't remember. It was the tale of me and my pneumonia stricken self coming to visit on mommy's day and ending up at the sawmill for a week with daddy's very own pneumonia. That was probably one of the worst weeks of my life, healthwise. Not being able to stop and heal drags it out that much longer. And makes us stronger :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

hummingbirds and dust bunnies

My mission, for the past five years or so, has been to clean this nasty ass house and get things organized. This is not a simple task for a lazy pack-rat like myself, but I'm learning. Certain things have sentimental value and should be preserved. Old cardboard can go. It was that bad. Today I got to the bottom of the dirty dishes, sans dishwasher and the laundry is in the works as I type. My roommate asked me one time why I didn't just do a little every day and not have to do the big fat honkin' clean all day routine. This, coming from a man. *snicker*

We missed our first chance for rain today with only a brief shower around midday. I can see fall beginning to march rather than slide in, with the skies a little bluer and the breeze more frequent. It could still happen 'cuz there's lots of fluffy clouds rolling around soaking up the moisture. Gigi and I tossed around the idea of a pool day but decided to get bit and clean house. My friend, Count Zubrovka, has a camera that he's handing down to me since I've been without and ya'll know how seriously crazy that makes me. If I can't play with pictures, I write like a maniac and listen to music. If the satellite gets cut off, it won't hurt my feelings a bit. When we first moved here, there was nothing but an ancient antenna on the roof and two channels. I'll never forget the day we got something better and the kids were watching I Love Lucy in Spanish. A whole new world, ya'll.

The hummingbird feeder that I have hangs to the right side of my tiny front porch, surrounded by pots of oxalis that I grew from Yaya's yard. When the feeder gets put up, the pots come in and winter around the house, always reminding me that good karma is just around the corner for those who have faith. Looking at the hard times behind me, I'd say they're probably a good omen. There is a crop or oregano and basil out back that needs to be cut back and used. That is my next project on this day of piddling.

Hope yours is as great as mine ^j^

Sunday, August 7, 2011

inspirationally speaking

I'm having a ball with my new musical toy, jumping around like a music fiend on crack and loving every minute of it. Right now I'm listening to Chicago thinking about my uncle Jimbo and how he was always the fun music teacher. He took his daughter and friends to concerts at the only big venue available at that time in Memphis. He was an inspiration for the musician within me and also for the art of having fun just making something. He's the one who took us to the jail on a field trip. He and his wife taught me how to play the piano and read music. At his funeral, I sat with the girls as one of his own. To this day, I wish I could just sit down and have another beer with him.

My sweet little southern belle of a mama taught me how to cook, against my will, and I'm glad she did. That has proven to be a real "man magnet" over the years, if you know what I mean. She's a cross between Paula Deen and Martha Stewart and simply will NEVER stop planning. It's not in her nature. As for me, I'll leave the scheduling to everybody else and be the idea guy. It's less stressful, considering all the variables of engineering the twirl of the world. Wherever I end up, I expect to find rainbows. I've moved on to the ex-Doobie, Michael McDonald and his raspy baritone singing Motown. He's right up there with JT in my book, although I do enjoy World Gone Crazy. Like, a lot.

Anna and BG gathered with me earlier here in the office/doggie sitting room and the talk turned to the state of our world and how sometimes you have to make some noise for truth and goodness and the american way. Fires and stun guns aren't necessary...just a simple "take care of our village" will do. I'm tired of bitching about it. It is what is is...right Sue?

I have two days off and a much needed therapy appt. Don't call me...I'll call you ^j^

Saturday, August 6, 2011

...and then i snapped

My friend Sue is about ten years older so she has seen somewhat more of the world than I have. This morning we talked quietly at the sawmill about what is being called everything from Dealageddon to a clusterf**k because our credit rating was lowered for the FIRST FREAKIN' time since 1917. Of course the treasury department was quick to label that as "not true" since we can't have a big run on banks like in the depression because there's no money there. It's all on paper. Afterwards, I was reading the news and gasped at the thought of 31 military people being shot out of the sky by Afghan rebels. Because they hate us. Why can't the department of defense just back off a little on the kazillioning and take care of us at home. We could have a damn border all around the country and some much more "protected" air space than we now have. Think of it as the "great wall of America" instead of China. Those are 31 people who will not see another sunrise because we are constantly stirring things up in a war that cannot be won. Just.Like.Before. Ahem. Slow learners?

I don't know, but maybe it's good for us to not have that secure feeling that comes with having other countries expecting handouts. Much of the cost of the past few wars has been from rebuilding infrastructures that got blown away in the heat of battle. And yet nothing at all has changed. They still hate the west...and always will. European countries are also learning that all that high living by the royalty isn't really fair when the people have no jobs and are starving. Kinda like we feel.

I have no problem with the rich having their money whether they earned it day trading or got it from grandma. What I do have a problem with is their failure to pay a representative share of income tax based on their true wealth rather than the reduced rates that result from the sweet deal they have with capital gains and deductions. I wouldn't know a capital gain if it smacked me in the head with a hammer. I live paycheck to (almost) paycheck and work hard for the money. I don't appreciate being told by the government that has told me what rules to follow for years, has the nerve to tell me they can't afford me as a citizen anymore. I became an adult and paid dearly into their pockets for the big money I made during the eighties. I wish I had saved some of it for hard times. As my friend the little general would say "Grapes of wrath, sister."

What bothers me the most is that the entire crisis was caused by a heavy reliance on credit when banks were king. Once they started failing, the credit went away and people were left with nothing but an overpriced house that nobody can afford to buy and owing their first borns to a credit card company. Fortunately for me, I have avoided any more big money credit because I'm a poor risk. Go figure that one. I saw a lot of serious talk prior to the debt deal and our probationary status. That a gang of bible toting right wing wing tea partiers messed it up for everybody when it could have been easy makes me really angry. So, we do it the hard way now. There are many ways to cut "future" spending, beginning with paying what's already due and not making new commitments for the present. Like more military spending. Like lifetime salary and benefits for players in Washington. Like crop subsidies when farmers can and will plant their land to give the maximum yield if you'll just leave it to them. It's called gettin' back to the basics.

It's still hot as a you-know-what around here following a cooler day with rain. That really pumps the humidity up to steamy! The corn has about three weeks to live before it gets slaughtered and I can see Bambi and the silos again. It's like living in a box. I'm off for the day, going back in at six tomorrow, but for now...I have the house to myself. Let there be beer :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

these (not so) happy golden years

I've been busy ferrying the grands around and running errands for my own household so there's been little time for pontification up in here. I watched as my elderly father stumbled up the steps to his old poker buddy/dentist because a filling dropped out and he's been in pain for two nights. Their angel, Miss Faye, was arriving as I pulled up in the rain to fetch him. If not for her, they wouldn't be able to stay at home. Fortunately, they have the money to pay for that but many others do not. I ran into my aunt at the gas station across the street and she seemed to be having trouble at the checkout. The girl who works there knows me and looked at me like "help!" so I looked in the wallet too and there was nothing but pictures of her long gone husband. All of this together made me so very sad to see them in that shape. I think back to my childhood and can't believe that we got here from there.

We got some much needed rain today which has cooled things down from the hundreds for now. Perfect timing for an awesome looking crop. The landlords should be pleased with this year's haul. There was a special tribute in our local paper to the two guys who ran my former daily-stop family grocery store. They've been closed since the first great flood two years ago on May 4th. That still blows my mind....two years in a row on the same date! How about that mighty Forked Deer! Work will begin when it's cooler on the downtown park and trail cleanup. There is so much history in that area.

Ya'll know I tend to be the feisty faithful type who tries, in the face of adversity, to look on the sunny side. Right now, that's a real challenge. I've been in worse shape financially and emotionally before, but never with this much on the table. Playing an active role in the process of my parents' acceptance of reality is sort of a heavy thing. My roommate is dealing with the exact same situation. What do you do but hang on? They raised us and took care of us. Now it's our turn. No regrets. On the other hand, the third roommate is struggling to believe that, surely to Big Ernie, things won't stay this way. With 25K in student loans hanging around her neck, she works at a convenience store to make her car payment and depends on us for room and board. Once again....no regrets. She's my kid and she didn't ask for this "economic downturn" any more than I did.

Whenever I feel like there's too much to bear around these parts, I wander over to see what's happening in the holler with Mahala'n'them. This chick absolutely cracks me up with her sharp wit and ability to laugh at something that's so ridiculous you either howl or cry. Her mom is more than a handful and her office is a source of daily snickering what with Bubbles and Bossholio giving her grief every few minutes. Thanks melungeon...you rock.

Meanwhile my PUBLISHED friend Drew turned me on to a new way to listen to music which beats the hell out of anything else I've seen. Gotta get some new speakers! But not until I pay the propane guy off. And the dentist. And the hand surgeon. And the credit union(s). The way I see it, I'll be free and clear guarding any unforeseen disaster( and we all know they happen around here ) in about two years. All I want is to have enough money to pay the bills and not have to worry where the rent is coming from. After 34 years with one employer, that should be a given. But....NOOOOOOOO! Corporate America, carry on and up yours.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

simple truths

I tend to be a wanderer when I write, which usually means that I'm all over the place and not particularly paying attention to grammar or building on anything. Yeah, I'm one of those idiots who write because it's good therapy. As long as I don't disrespect someone else by name, this is my place to ramble on so that the next generation will know how they got knee deep in alligators without a boat. I'm real optimistic like that sometimes, occasionally even pollyannaish. When I look at all of the hatred and evil in this world and consider that it is all about greed and power, it makes me want to just dig a hole and tunnel to Canada. The 104 degree high today made me think of that.

The aches and pains of osteoarthritis settled in some time ago but I've managed to keep them under control with OTC meds like naproxen. My left hip sleeps on a pillow just like my head and it's all good snuggling. I ran out of pills and didn't have the cash to get more so I didn't take it for about a week. oh.my.god. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm still on the mend. It's probably time for new shoes too...those concrete floors are heck on your joints unless you get a new pair every three months or so. But wait. I'm rambling again.

My lawn yard looks like the overgrowth of orchard grass that it is with decent rain and hot temps keeping it a vibrant green with very TALL seedpods. In other words, I step lightly out there to avoid Mr. Snake. The shadows are now full fledged fall even with the sauna and the ree-a-rees are loud! Mom and I spotted fall at about the same time, like we usually do when it gets so hot and stuffy that it wilts the hairdo to get in your car.

I have several friends who are reeling in disbelief at the departure of one of our own from their corporate environment. This man has been reading my blog for years and we have raised our daughters together. He and his daughter brought me Sammy D one muggy Memorial day and my life has never been the same since. He traveled internationally to help his company work on the cheap so that they could cut him out of the picture right close to retirement age. Another company did the same to my brother who had been loyal in a supervisory position for years. To him, and to his family and friends, I say "we shall overcome." If not here, on the other side. Love ya...mean it.

I'm sure we saved some lives up there at the sawmill today because that's what we do, after all. Bring us your sick and dying and we'll try our best to make it a little easier for you. We are in transition now with some easing out and others easing in, getting ready for the short haul that is between here and "normal retirement date which is subject to change at any given moment" Well, you know. According to whether or not Congress gets it worked out and all. And then the Easter bunny hopped through the woods and met Santa and his elves and they tackled the New Year's baby and whipped his little ass.

Just checking to see who really reads. I'm off for two so expect lots of rambling.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

in the heat of the night

It's that time of year, ya'll. Like when it takes a couple of hours past sunset for the house to even begin to cool down following a day of hundred degree torture. I must say that the new unit has helped with that, and is much more energy efficient. Of course it helped that the installer actually opened up the duct fully for the first time in 17 years. Sheesh. I had considered asking for a rebate from the landlords but it was all my daddy's fault. He believed in doing things the easy (and cheap) way.

I noticed a post earlier about a big pot bust in Virginia where the state police were busy confiscating plants and raking in the money that comes with a big operation like that. Here's the thing...fighting the "war on drugs" is a big moneymaker for governments. Thus, the violence and corruption involved therein. An old friend of mine actually got busted by a local cop who was strung out on stuff himself and was following him to see where to get it. And we're not talking mary jane here. Marijuana and its' active ingredient, THC, are nothing more than a natural replacement for something that is produced by the powerful pharmaceutical industry which insurance companies buddy up to and make deals. The buying power of the brokers that insure us is boosted every day by drug companies that tout this or that new and improved name brand. It's like two devils dancing together around the fire. The same applies to law enforcement and drug dealers. I've seen the scenario played out a thousand times in this small town city and the county that surrounds it. The front page of the newspaper is routinely plastered with the local sheriff's department pullin' up plants and burning them at the golf course behind me. I never smelled it though.

I watched Keith Olberman go off today and I've got to say that he said what was in my heart that I just don't have the energy to spout out. How dare our elected government officials play a game where the elderly don't know for sure if they're gonna get their SS benefits! They have worked many years for that, as I have. If they can't do any better than grandstanding, I'll just move somewhere else. Like Fiji. Maybe I'll call Truman and see if he has a map.

Over and out from the hill. Ya'll stay cool ^j^

Monday, August 1, 2011

going for broke

There's nothing much in the mailbox these days since bill paying has gone online and such. There are the usual bills with personal notes and sometimes interest from my friends who trusted enough to let me live on credit. There's a dentist and a hand surgeon, and of course......the propane guy. When I think of how much money I've spent over the years in this house just to heat and cool it, I wonder what I was thinking. The insulation is non-existent with cheap vinyl siding, circa 1988 slapped up and blown off by the westerly winds that howl through the pine trees in the winter. Some of the walls are still papered with the expensive stuff daddy let me pick out for the conversion from "old man whose wife has been dead for ten years" to struggling family with a four year old who needs a dose of country. There was carpet and there was lots of power drills installing mini-blinds on moving day. That was in April of 1988. My history with this house began much earlier.

I picked one thing out from the three envelopes, one from the AARP and the other from my used to be federal credit union with an offer to sign up for some reduced rate life insurance. I think they're afraid I'm gonna die before they get their payback. Me...cynical? Hell no. The last envelope contained a pretty piece of paper telling me how much I can draw at normal retirement age, which is pretty iffy right now. There is about 28K in company contributed funds to which I have no access except to take a four hundred buck cut according to my life expectancy. Yeah...like 250 a month will help float THIS boat. That was part of the American dream back then..invest it all and play the market. Even if you're non-profit, it can pay in the long run. But that was then, and this is now. I'm gonna cash in and take my chances.

Mom and Dad will, more than likely, get their stipends from the feds tomorrow because the game of chicken turned into a mighty 'nother deadline. There are certain things that will determine the outcome of this crisis, namely the willingness of both rich and poor to step up to the plate and do the best you can for our communities. Like youknowwho said...it takes a village.