Wednesday, May 30, 2012

countdown to plan xyz

It's one of those days ya'll, when it all seems too much and the angst and churning just has to come out in the form a big fat ugly cry. Thank goodness I wasn't at work! That's the worst feeling in the world, to be on the job and losing it emotionally. If I had any sense, I'd burn my sick time and check into a mental health place for some rest like they did in the old days. I am literally living day to day on call 24/7 for aging parents who are not in a safe situation at all. If I moved in with them, I'd lose it for sure. Daddy's dementia doesn't do well with "visitors" in the house. Phone calls have been made to set in motion the forward progression of something different because, try as I may, I can't do it anymore and keep what little sanity I have left. Add to this a tremendous financial burden and you've got yourself a mess. A hot mess, which is me. I helped mom put her socks on this morning for her first beauty shop trip in two months and noticed that her foot is purple. Hmmm...congestive heart failure? She's getting a perm this time so her hair doesn't just flatten from propping up in that recliner all day. She still hasn't made it back to church, and I don't see that happening for some time, if ever. They can come to her and they have. One day at a time is becoming more and more of a lifestyle necessity as we tumble on through this maze and hit the ground running one more time. Drama just wears my old hippie peace freak soul plum out! Prior to my conversation with Lorna today I never really gave much thought to the fact that I've neglected my own needs to care for others long term. What a GOOD little co-dependent! Five years of ambulance trips and falls plus wrecks and sleeping on the chair in the hospital have taught me that plan A is subject to change at any given moment. The map changes at every fork in the road and you just have to regroup and move ahead. Look at options. Feeling stuck with no plans in motion to move ahead is the basis of much depression, not only myself but millions of others who are feeling the economic squeeze and caring for two generations on limited energy and resources. What lucky baby boomers we are! The dust is blowing around here like the grapes of wrath and we're hoping and praying for some rain on these crops and to settle the dirt devils. My grass has already begun to look like it does in August which is kinda scary. I got a surprise call from the used to be on again off again roommate yesterday with an offer to pay for some arthritis meds for Faith and to get Ryder checked out. Needless to say, I cried. That was probably the tip of the meltdown, truth be told. I put my beloved James Taylor tickets up for sale on a local forum because frankly, I need the money more than I need to tromp around on Mud Island in the July heat. It was a nice thought, but..... This too shall pass ^j^

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

prohibition, moderation and whatnot

Okay, ya'll. I'll be the first to admit that I have never been good with money and probably never will be because doing the math just bores the shit out of me. I do know that due to the high $ amounts for my overdrafts that I am not living realistically, i.e. on what I make. Because why you may ask? Nobody except the top 1% will ever have enough, except for maybe the other part of the top 30. The rest of us just schmooze along on autopilot trying to figure out how to make it day to day on a working stiff's salary. I suppose that cutting items with much forethought from the budget is a lofty goal, and the internet is a biggie. Most of the time I'd rather have that than television. Had I known that the teevee guys would cut me off even if I paid a large chunk of the past due just pisses me off. Contract time people. I already know the old run that debit card trick from your partner in crime. Just make sure you do it close to a payday, umkay? Otherwise it'll end up in your lap and onto the collector's franchise du jour.

I plan to read more books, something that I used to love as an escape from the constant blare of television that my husband and daughter loved. When I was having my early midlife crisis, the therapist asked me "Do you ever read anything besides self help books? Something for FUN!" And dammit, she was right. That's when my teacher friends took me under their literary wings and we explored the joy of book festivals. They literally taught me through their love, to cherish the written word. All of us had a huge crush on Clyde Edgerton who sang "Walking Across Egypt" one day on the plaza complete with band. Good times. It was with them that I learned the true meaning of serendipity. Shoutout to M and Sal^j^

Today I did what the Quakers called "centering down" and focused only on what was in front of me rather than multi-tasking. To my surprise there was an ease and purpose to my activity that allowed me sanity, even when there were moments that I felt that old devil creeping back into my mind saying "What are YOU gonna do!" I just told him to get thee away and continued my thoughtful pursuit of what I can actually to do change my reality. There are commitments that must be honored to my parents and I will never brick on that one. Fairly soon, I'll be living with them kinda sorta and that's gonna be different. Really? You can't go home, no matter what Bon Jovi says.

And I will watch movies with my daughter, something that we have come to love. She made me slobber and snot through Marley and Me again the other day because I think she sees that Faith is now an elder and we might as well get ready. That she leaves us a bull headed beautiful shiny black puppy as her legacy makes it all the more special, rather like the unbroken circle. I will remember and stay in touch with all the people I have met along the way on the interwebs, one way or another. And I will begin to consider what direction "the book" is to take because I've been talking about it way too long and not making the commitment. The material is there, all I have to do is fine tune and go. This blog, and my prior one "Poop Happens" introduced me to a world that I didn't know existed outside of my own mundane existence. I've received numerous gifts and sent them as well when I won't even take the time to buy a baby gift for somebody I know. It's the allure of anonymous giving where you can give a piece of yourself and not expect anything in return.

Ya'll be sweet,'cause Big Ernie's watching ^j^

Monday, May 28, 2012

climbing the water tower

I was just about to head for the silos for either a large leap of faith or a tendency to start shooting stupid people. And then Mimi came into the picture with her bright eyes and girly owl and feather earrings. Hot pink, no less. She's a beautiful caramel color and sometimes is mean to her little brother Junior who is just gorgeous himself. She made me smile for the first time today, as BG and I struggle through how to get the whole bachelorette weekend thing paid and still pay the bills. Which are all late, by the way. *sigh* And I try so hard!

I visited the Grands and Ms. Faye today as she was cooking lunch for daddy. Fried chicken, his all time favorite for Memorial day. Mom was surprised to hear me come in so I just sat in the floor and chatted with her about her friends coming next week. They all grew up together and none of them drives much away from home so it's a big event for every one. Last visit we served them chicken salad with mom directing every move. This time, they'll eat on the road.

Something has to go in the budget, so home internet is soon to be history. BG has a phone thingy and I can post from other locations so it's all good. I caved and paid the teevee thieves something which resulted in a negative, oh what the hell. The important thing to remember today is that our country has been protected by generations of men and women who put their lives on the line in the name of our freedoms. I have, as a baby boomer, seen those freedoms evaporate over my lifetime with religious zealots and Big Money making out like bandits. I'm not on a long weekend in a boat or on a lake or singing karaoke. My two day shift at the sawmill was not bad by holiday weekend standards and I got to sleep until 11AM today. Guess who's tired?

Consider this a karma request of sorts. What I need right now in my life is direction and a reason to believe that even though bad things happen to good people it's okay in the end because Big Ernie knows your heart. If you are a spiritual type person, ask for some clarity in my life. I'm ready to move on to whatever the next challenge is even though I'm sad for what is lost. No soldier has ever give his life in vain if we continue to let our voices be heard by those who are in control. And it's not two parties, umkay?


Sunday, May 27, 2012

god bless the broken road

I have a friend or two who have successfully fought their demons and turned out to be responsible adults, myself being one of them. People with addictive personalities will stop at nothing to kill the pain of not being good enough. As a child, that was my father's message to me. Stupid, don't you understand! Any time I dared to speak out with an opinion I was roundly chastised for defying his authority. There was never any physical abuse, not even a spanking. Those were reserved for the boys and mom ran interference. My "time outs" were being grounded or having something taken away that I really cherished, like the car. The war in Vietnam began as I sat on the floor in front of a black and white TV and wondered what the hell was going on. Sounded scary as shit to me personally. And it was. These people were DRAFTED to go up into that clusterf**k of jungles and got spit on when they came home. The young people like me who said to hell with the military and busted out with some reefer madness and peace signs were not very popular. Looking back, I see that act of defiance as the beginning of my faith. I took a stand and believed that I was right about something, even though it wasn't the social norm. Mostly I just tried to blend in and understand it all.

When I look at all of the Occupy protests spring up around the world, I smile and nod and think to myself "ya'll go!" The worst they can do is kill you and that's happening already so what have you got to lose! The sad thing is that so many people are buckled under authoritarian rule without proper basic health and food that they have no choices, and choice is essential for freedom. Right or wrong, it's better than being stuck. I shudder at every story of Iraq/Afghanistan PTSD that gets told at the round table because it is all so not necessary if only we quit being afraid and look after our own in a peaceful manner. More and more often, the feds are stomping on states' rights where the voters have made a decision and the big big house Congress choose to play big Ike to pad their pockets. As a taxpayer, I am not only pissed but determined that if they won't play right I won't either. I ain't scared anymore. I can see some Homeland Security profiler right now putting me on the radar. Not to worry dude...I'm just a harmless unarmed stupid girl.

However I am a smartass redneck country girl, so ya'll watch your backs.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

feast or famine

I remember distinctly the day that I was introduced to the devastation of the eighties market crash, only it was twenty years later. At the time it was going on, I had nothing invested so it was a non-issue for a young mother struggling to balance work and family life. Even when the bottom started falling out over the predatory lending practices of big banks, I wasn't concerned too much because after all these years I STILL have nothing invested. Why you ask? Because I'm a single middle aged woman struggling to hold a family together and can't afford it, though I doubt if it would go to a bank if I did have something to save. The past few years have convinced me that middle men are not the best ones to handle my personal finances. The good news is that I don't carry much debt by today's standards. The bad news is that the cost of living has risen such that I'm operating at a salary level about 2% less than it was two years ago. Big Ernie giveth and taketh away...that's the way things are going. With fuel levels at , if not decent, much more manageable prices, families can afford to go a little more and pump up the economy with their hard earned dollars. It seems like a no-brainer to me....keep the price of oil at a reasonable level and everything else falls into place. That's why we are where we are today due to years of bowing down to the Middle East because they control the market. And they laugh all the way to the palace!

My dream is to get to the point where I can live on my monthly salary without visiting the loan sharks or begging for loans from people who love me and wonder what I'm doing with all of it. I haven't bought new clothes, including scrubs, or shoes in several years. What I currently wear was handed down by somebody who went to a job with a different dress code, God love her. I was perusing the list of the fifty top paid CEOs in this country and found a shining example of what happens when the big fish eats the little fish. Baxter Healthcare was at one time a leader in the sale of many medical products. My friend Jim worked for them for years, and found himself jobless when they were bought out by Dade/Behring and ultimately were sold to the Siemens corporation. Guess which investment company pulled off that deal? Starts with a B and ends with a Romney. They flipped that company to the tune of millions of dollars that went to THEIR companies and left the little guys without jobs. Kinda sorta like the beginning of what has culminated in out economic demise, so to speak. If he can do that for a paying job, just think what the possibilities are for our federal coffers!

For the first time in several years, I have hope for the future of this country. Little by little the dirty little lies are being exposed and folks, especially the younger ones, are fed up and opting for a different more self sufficient way of life. One friend commented that her husband was spending too much money on his gun collection and he gently reminded her that when there's nothing else to barter with, guns usually do well. And I see that coming as a lifestyle, for all of us. That's not a bad thing, by any means. You've got a gift or talent that you can market? Trade it for something you need. I could care less what the Euro does because that's not my problem, nor is it the problem of this government. We will however have to suffer the consequences because it's all a big game.

My first pot of basil died so I stopped by the crack feed store to pick up some more. They were out of the larger leaf variety so I chose a "boxwood" species that is cute as hell. The leaves are the size of oregano leaves, but the smell is pure sweet basil. Dude said he could smell it when I walked in the door! It sits in a pot next to rosemary and chives and that's about it for farming 2012. I'll be doing good to keep that alive in this scorching heat.

Sawmill was good...not too busy but steady. When I was on the way home I noticed this lady sitting in the crossover to my road and her car was smoking. She was sitting there with the door open trying not to burn up and I asked if she needed help. "No, honey. They're on the way, but thanks! Makes me thankful for cellphones, ya know? I also happened up on a guy at the sawmill who was lost as a goose and needed direction and clarification. All it took was a few steps and a couple of phone calls and he was good to go. It never ceases to amaze me how little time it takes to care when you're in the mood to slow down and listen.


Friday, May 25, 2012

steel magnolias

Mama has not had her hair did since she went in the hospital almost two months ago. Her usual do is a large poof of helmet hair sprayed in place, old lady style. She can't even see her hair because she's blind, yet she's worried because it's so straight. On mother's day I did it with a curling we used old school sponge rollers and a spray bottle of water while she sat in the wheel chair. I ran a few errands and returned with a blow dryer and comb to finish things up. She instructed me to spray it so that it'll last longer. Yes ma'am. Appearance has always been very important to her and unfortunately I didn't inherit that trait, instead running wild outdoors with my hair in a chip clip and just looking for a chance to get dirty. Right now, it's way too hot for me so I'm taptaptapping under the AC. For those of you who don't believe global warming is real, kiss my ass and look at the thermometer. It ain't even summer yet! It makes me ache to sit in a rock filled stream and just chill.

Time and again I find myself drawn to the history of our farm, the community that has raised several generations of families side by side, divided by a simple road. Johnsons to the right, Calcutts via Staffords to the left. I stopped by the dairy barn today to shoot pics of several doors that are to be replaced. All of the old wooden campaign signs are gone and there is cotton planted behind the barn where hay once was the only crop. That means more and more chemicals and spraying, and I've noticed that even the perennials in my yard have yellow spots from stray particles. It could all be done in a much less toxic way, but that's Monsanto and the American dream for you. Last year we were children of the corn, this year we're in the cotton patch. Defoliation ought to be a real doozie for our lungs! My brother and his wife dreamed of a vineyard on the sloping banks behind that barn. Perfect place for that plus a punkin' patch or two. The way that the Forked Deer river loops around the place, it's prime for fishing and whatnot. I totally prefer not to think about what's being dumped into it by corporate Dyersburg.

There is a picture SOMEWHERE of an asparagus picking crew in front of the shed that sat right across from my house. The entire field was planted with spears and they picked and packed for shipment to here there and yon. The father of one of my school friends is pictured there as a young boy prior to the great depression and the boom that followed WWII. I can see it just like it's in front of me, but can't find the print. Dammit!

Enough about me. I'll be working this weekend and off on Memorial day which is one holiday that I won't take for granted. Too many Americans have fought and died to protect our freedoms to not give pause and wonder what it's all about. I particularly feel for Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan vets because they didn't have a clue what they were getting into and were...and continue to be..poorly cared for in terms of mental health services to help with PTSD on return to civilian life. We may say, as a country, that we honor and cherish those brave soldiers who fight our battles. But if we don't have their backs and somebody else is making money? That's just wrong. It will never be over, ya'll. Let's get the hell outta' Dodge.

There is a hummer perched outside the office window, sipping and zipping like they do. The poor flowers are about parched already but I've learned the hard way that anything in a pot needs constant attention. Which includes the marinara sauce I'm about to make.

God bless America, land that I love ^j^

Thursday, May 24, 2012

it's all in who you know

I worked a late shift at the sawmill today and had some time to chat with folks that I don't usually hang with. One of the girls has a newly graduated daughter who was hired as an interim teacher following her December graduation. She excitedly went about her business setting up a classroom and teaching fourth graders, even though she prefers middle school math. Anywho...she was devastated to find that when time came to fill the position for next year, she was passed over in favor of someone else from another county. AFTER she administered TCAPs and took a tour of the new building they will be moving into. AFTER the April 16th date upon which all teachers are to be notified of next year's employment status. Somewhere in the fine print, the powers that be found a little clause that told them they didn't have to treat her the same because of the term "interim" meaning she saved their ass by stepping in mid-year. It reminds me a whole lot of the for-profit mental health provider that was BG's first employer, straight out of college with a social work degree and big ideas on saving the world. Her job consisted of a fixed caseload plus a trial and error deal setting up small group sessions for at risk kids in local schools. The group thing was grant funded and brand new, so nobody gave much thought to the distribution of her workload with this added responsibility. She burned out in less than a year. I've read a lot lately about how much tuition costs are rising and how new grads can't find jobs. It makes you wonder what's the point of going into debt for a job that won't even repay the loan from "big banks" and the feds.

I am so totally disgusted with the way things are in this country both economically and politically that I could just curl up in the fetal position and hibernate. I am a BS graduate myself, with 35 years tenure at the same job, licensed as a supervisor by my state board, and working for less than a plumber makes per hour. It's not that the plumber doesn't deserve it. If I could figure out how to survive without playing corporate America's game I would damn sure do it. What really sickens me is the way the middle men got after FB, assuring its' failure probably because they all have shares of Google AND they made a shitload off of the quick buy-sell-buy game. Until reading about that, I never realized that actual bots can trade with no people involved. Sweet baby jeebus!! No wonder we're in such a freakin' mess.

But then I think "well." I broke the twenty dollar hummingbird feeder from the giantmegastore and had forgotten that there's one hanging by the basement door. Sweet! They showed up shortly after I hung it and it really inspires awe in me to think about how far they travel just to go back to the same old place or area. That's a really keen sense of direction, ya'll. So far Mr. Snake has left me alone for a few weeks but it's early. I love walking around barefoot in the grass, so I keep it short so as not to give him a hiding place. Mom and daddy are umm..status quo if you know what I mean. My brother is headed for his second vacation since I last had one three years ago. He's one of those who has his first dollar framed and no kids. Obviously he's the one with the math smarts, so I gladly count pills and listen to moans and groans with the occasional hissy fit thrown in for good measure. Dad barks, she cries. His dementia doesn't allow him to see past his rigid schedule and she's just another notch on it now. Blind, unable to walk well and feeling guilty for being a burden. Not to worry had my back when I didn't even deserve to be believed in.

My ethereal friend drifted by yesterday and we talked Edgar Cayce and all that jazz which is really quite cool. She eats almost completely organic food and is a yoga student. At 53, she could easily pass for 35. We've worked together on and off for years so it's a been there done that type of relationship where few others would even know who we're talking about. Like Dr. P, for instance. When I first began in the lab at our county hospital, the pathologist was a wealthy Cuban who fled his country. He was there forever, as well as a kazillion more doctors of pathology/clinical laboratory. Most were kind and fun to be around, but there were some strange ones. After Dr. Inclan died, Dr. P came on board..another Cuban who had made his way to America. When he realized that he didn't have the knowledge or time to give to the clinical lab side, he recruited a partner. She was a lovely Egyptian who attended church with me and was a tremendous support during my divorce. When she died suddenly in a car accident, we all were in shock.

After that, Dr. P continued to lead us but his heart wasn't in it and he missed his family in Florida so he retired and moved to where all good Cubans go to retire. There was a note on the white board this week that he had been buried on his birthday, May 18th. He had specifically asked his wife not to tell "his girls" until after his burial. Thanks to the interwebs, we were able to locate an address to send a card to his wife. She is a elegant woman, precious and sweet in a way that complemented his boastful sometimes arrogant behavior. Adios Esteban ^j^

Sunday, May 20, 2012

count your blessings twice and act as if

I just got a text from an old friend whose toes got stomped on by an AM sermon. The subject was faith without works. I have been as guilty as the next guy for not reaching out when I see a need just because I'm busy/tired/don't want to get involved/think I can't possibly help. BG pointed that out to me when the neighbor lady first came for a helping hand soon after they moved to the end of the lane. I don't remember what it was, but I was roundly chastised for not taking the time to hear what she was saying live and in person. Ever since, I've watched from a distance as she and her husband struggle to survive and raise three children when nobody has a job or a car that runs all the time. His disability from seizure disorders is what they live on. No wonder they're all over the pecan crop!

Our last conversation was a couple of weeks ago when she went missing walked to the chicken store to get away from the madhouse. We sat on the porch after she returned and she shared that she's ashamed of how she looks because of weight, and is struggling to recover from shoulder surgery. Said she felt stupid because the law was looking for her and all. In the end, she called the sheriff's office and told them she was okay and she was sorry. Then she returned to her little prison down the road. This morning I heard yelling as I was sitting on the front porch, and when I left to pick daddy up they were sitting in the middle of the lane, car door wide open and she was digging to China with a stick while he avoided eye contact with me. Sad.

I've been through the entire working through denial/anger/grief/acceptance one-more-time thing this week and come up out of the hole once again bruised, but still alive. Even though there's ozone out the stinging my little eyes, it beats the shit out of being in the dark. To quote my very wise friend Sue, It is what it is. Deal with it and do your best. Big Ernie's got the rest, umkay? Part of that recovery has been the ability to snap pics again. Ain't nothing like it in the world outside of heroin or crack. Well, maybe golf.

I haven't even watched the SNL farewell to Kristin yet, and I'm sure it'll be great. She is a genius with her talent and will be sorely missed by that group and me also! I've watched Bridesmaids about six times and still laugh like an idiot every time. That's funny stuff, ya'll. Watched Hot Chick for the first time yesterday and was reminded that the sky's the limit when it comes to imagination and making people laugh. Loved Adam Sandler in the tribal shop. Priceless!

And so it goes. Just another week in the life of Poopie and her amazing list of adventures, journeys and whatnot. Stay tuned...there's no telling what will happen next.

Peace and love ^j^

Friday, May 18, 2012

caretaker heal thyself

One of the hallmark behaviors of co-dependents is the thrill of being the go-to person. I mean, if everybody needs you so much, you must be great right? WRONG. Co-dependency is based on a false sense of self, one which boosts the ego at the expense of sanity and basic values. That was me when I was younger...always wanting to be the best and brightest star and everybody's girl. What that has done is literally wear away my identity, the person that I was before everybody else took over and I willingly became a puppet. The greatest gift has been learning to love myself, which may sound conceited to some. To me, it's just a survival tactic. If I don't love myself, how can anybody else? Could explain why I'm still single ten years post divorce. When that last one got stingy and crabby, I swore off men who live in the house. If they want to see me, let 'em call ahead.

I spent some time with my parents this afternoon and they understand that I'm just about at wit's end. The time will come that one of us will be power napping on the couch down there, sharing watch over the elders as they sleep and get up to pee through the night. Making sure somebody doesn't fall or trip the alarm or break a bone. Another injury will necessitate Plan D and I don't have a freakin' clue what that is. One day at a time, girl. One day at a time.

Big Ernie is testing me right now and I can feel it. He knows that I'm a good person, sometimes to a fault, and wants me to be that happy little girl who played in the dirt and rode the hay trailer. The one who politely declined to be defined as the "in crowd" in high school and instead ran around with everybody. My mother was very into high society because her parents had money and lived across from the school campus so their front steps were the gathering spot for my parents' generation and their friends. There were secrets, as in any family, that I never found out about until I became an adult and started a dialogue with my parents, looking to them as historians rather than the ones who take care of me.

At the human services office today we surmised (on the last day before application expiration) that mom is not eligible for medicaid because she has "other" resources. When I look at the complexity of all of it, my mind goes numb. Not sure about the VA and daddy, but I imagine they have their hands full with the walking wounded from the previous and current wars over oil. This man proudly did his duty in the Air Force then proceeded to work for the feds until he retired at 55 from the USDA.

Everywhere I went today after work I was red faced and teary, and I saw the kind side of folks come out to greet me when I paid a couple of bills and scurried on toward the lane. I don't know how I'd handle it if these puppies weren't here to greet me with kisses and whatnot. They get on my nerves sometimes, especially Oscar, but at the end of the day we're all together and then we get up and do it all again.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

twitchy eye

My right eye has been doing the little jumpy thing for a couple of weeks now so I finally broke down and googled it today only to find that, guess what? It's normally caused by stress. Duh, Poops. I mean it's not like there's been any of THAT shit floating around the lane! Anywho, it was a wake up call of sorts, followed by an emergency call to validate the meds down at you know where. My brother was on the phone outside speaking nicely but firmly to the propane company that put my parents into a very costly contract last July. Their gig is about to be up and he's already got the money coming back applied to a new provider. That wears me out, so I'd just as well do pills. I count them out once a week into the day thingy and mom drops about half of 'em, especially the bitty ones. I asked Ms. Faye to help her and hand them two or three at a time, but mama's dead set on doing it herself so....whaddya do? Pick your battles Janie...pick your battles.

I was privileged to spend yesterday basking in the sun with my sisters and having some well deserved alcohol and chat gossip time. We bitched a little and laughed a lot and in the end there was a plan for the queen to arrive sometime soon and camp out in Duck's living room for rehab and room service. Last I heard the hostess had gotten two hours sleep and served two meals after queenie's late PM arrival. Bless ALL their hearts. I don't volunteer my time much because I'm pretty maxed out, but I sure told them I'd take a shift. Or at least fly for food!

Friendboss's hub is much much better and may get to come home tomorrow if all is well with those critical numbers. His recovery has been nothing short of a miracle combining the best and worst of modern medicine and some very sharp diagnosticians like the lung doc. The other half of our little general, aka Big John, is also doing well with his treatments. Don't ever try to convince this old gal that prayers aren't heard.

I had uninstalled the (unnamed) photo software when the camera went missing so I've just now gotten around to a re-install. Lord how I've missed playing with pictures! All four dogs have been romping outside in the heat so they're sacked out for naps following a water and food break. BG is at work and it's just me and my thoughts. But then again, sometimes you just have to disconnect and let it go and I'm all about less stress. After all, I'm old tired and optimistic thanks to a whole bunch of angels watchin' over me.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

not part of the solution? you're part of the problem

If pressed, I couldn't tell you how long it's been since I've been this peaceful in spite of the daily "struggle" that is life. It reminds me of that guy in the eighties movie that hung out the window yelling "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Sitting here at the ripe old age of the uphill slide to sixty, I look at history and how my entire career has been consumed with making money to buy things that aren't really necessary because credit was easy and whatnot. I worked my little ass off with a lot of other baby boomers believing in my heart that our country would do the right thing and take care of those who need it, no matter what their race or creed or sex. I'm as guilty as the next one for buying into that shit. It sounded too good to be true and it was. The banks owned all of it and squandered it on iffy trades plus salaries and perks for the powerful ones. When JP did what they did and the CEO got a raise, I just shook my head and said "tsk tsk". I'm actually grateful not to have any money invested in the market these days. With our country world is in the shape it's in, I'll just grown my own, thankyouverymuch. Organically to boot. Take that middle eastern oil!!!

My friend John Ruskey is part of the solution. Originally from Colorado, he floated down to Clarksdale MS and began to clean up the lower Mississippi one tributary at a time. So is his partner Mike Clark, a St Louis guy who shares that vision of saving mother earth one river at a time. Ditto for Brian Waldrop and Arnold Stream Team and anybody who gives a shit enough to TRY to make a difference. Our country was not founded on oil, but the pursuit of liberty and freedom. So much for that right? I'm not one of those sentimental saps who wants to go back to Walton's mountain but damn. Can't we just all get along! I noticed that our Prez is hanging in spite of the religious right's backlash on the same sex marriage thing. Honestly, I'd just like to know what's the difference in a civil union/same sex marriage vs the old Mormon and or Arab way of multiples. Commitment is what it's all about. When somebody chooses to spend their life with you in it, that's an honor and should be recognized.

Okay then...I'm done bitching because life's too short. I got a massage/really great dinner as a Mother's day present. Poor BG wore herself out trying to coax the tight muscles of my back into submission. Lots of hunchback keyboard related injury up in there, just saying. I reckon the yard's not gonna finish mowing itself so I should get busy. Benadryl is now my best friend right next to naproxen and celexa.

Watch out for moles...they're eating my yard UP!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

the fig tree

I first knew knew Mark from having folks down the street from his family. He and his younger brother were raised there about a block south of where my paternal grandmother and maternal GREAT grandma lived on Pate street. There was a sixties style beauty shop right next door and the elementary school was up the hill. That was a whole lotta' years ago, ya'll. Photography is a shared passion of ours and, like me, that's about all he does for entertainment. When he heard my camera was missing he knew exactly where to go to get it back, and that he did not even blinking when I asked him how much it cost to get said camera back into my hot little hands. i stopped by this morning to pick it up and he told me my sisters were gone to Memphis to check on their sister who is moving back here for rehab. As usual, it was just him and old Smokey holding the fort down. We wandered around the yard a bit and I spotted this huge green plant next to the house and asked about it. It was a fig tree, planted originally by his mother-in-law and still coming back around. Said he had chopped it down a zillion times and it still roars back to life as if Mary is saying to her girls "I'm still here!" Happy mother's day to the sisters that I'm glad to have.

All my mama wanted for her special day was to have her hair curled a bit so as not to look like a haint when home health comes back around. Daddy and I did the doughnut thing where I watched a young family with a nursing baby eat in shifts. Then I did my magic with a curling iron, trying not to burn her scalp in the process. She cried when I read her my words on a card and then the one that my brother had left. Flowers sat on the desk nearby from yet another child and his family who live far away. We are all blessed for having her as a mom and grandmother.

Of course I've been playing with the camera, snapping like crazy with not even a care about composition or blur...just the joy of framing a shot. My goal is to get a Mother's day pic of Faith and Ryder. I'll let you know how that works out.

Peace and love ^j^

Saturday, May 12, 2012

blessings and miracles

I sit here on my first real day off in weeks, pondering on this and that which always means a nice rambling post is in the works. I find myself thinking about how it's always darkest before the dawn and cliches like that and I realize that it's a true thing. My life seems to be a really big challenge to ME and mine, yet there are others who have it so much worse. My bossfriend's hubby is still very sick, with a couple more weeks of hospitalization before he can come home to she and Gracey. He is NOT a patient man and this disease has really smacked him in the face with a lesson in patience. If you want to live, that is. I dropped by to visit with her on the deck this morning while I was out running errands (thanks to this weeks' generous donation from very nice people who love me.) We have food and the dogs have food. And the trusty old Camry has half a tank. Life doesn't get much better.

Usually by this time of year I've spent the grocery money on flowers but honestly, I just haven't had a spare dime for even one little pot. The herbs I bought died quickly due to the early hot dry conditions. Only rosemary is left standing. I treated myself to some gerber daisies today while picking up AC filters from the bigmegagiant store on the dangerous highway next to where Granny lives. That's what we call my aunt Nancy. My KY cousin called while I was on the deck with bossfriend and Gracey so I scooted on down to the homestead to visit with she and her hub and grandboy for a bit. This kid? Is precious. Looks just like his daddy, and acts like him too. All that activity was a bit much for daddy so we made a quick exit and went on down the road.

Pride was standing in the lane and as I topped the hill I played chicken with him, knowing he'd run for the barn with the dogs right on his ass. I talked to my friend Gigi about her sister's condition and plans for her recovery from surgery. Lisa is their medical go-to so it's all good. After I got the shit car unloaded I settled in to catch up with my friends and neighbors and Gigi called again. I figured it was just another healthcare question but instead she informed me that my stolen camera had been found, retrieved by a very precious person, and is waiting for me to pick up. I don't scream much ya'll, but you would have thought I was auditioning for Wheel of Fortune!!

The only thing I can figure is going on here is that I'm being blessed for caring and giving in the past, to whomever whenever the situation popped up. Whatever you call the big guy if you do the right thing, goodness will prevail. You may not live to see it, or even know how. But that is what being faithful is all about, no?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

walking chick

It's nothing new around here, really. Just another crisis hotline call from BG telling me that the neighbor lady is missing and her family brought her meds and cellphone AND sling and a letter telling her to get off her ass and do something. Oh, and a glass of milk. Which she did, by walking all the way to the chicken store two miles away. To escape. To exercise. To follow a dream of being something other than a victim of society. I feel her pain most of the time. We were worried about her welfare and the little girl was freaking out running around calling for her. Little black cloud following over me! Onto the good news.

Linda Bell has been my mama's friend forever and just loves us to pieces. She has read recently about all the canines up in here who need to be fed even when we don't have a bologna sammich. Yesterday afternoon she showed up with two huge bags of dog food to lighten our load. I love me some rescue people. There's only so much one old gal can do what with dreams and hopes and ambitions of doing a good job at hospice and earning a living. These puppies are the high point of my day, when work has been a bitch and I'm too tired to even talk, they sit beside me while I listen to random music and taptaptap on my mother's keyboard. In a sense, that is her legacy. She was a society editor for a local paper during the heyday of nice and oh-so politically correct southern weddings. She morphed into the food columnist and people are still clamoring for a reprint of her book which I have miserably failed to produce. Been busy, ya know?

I have two ways to get to work...the business route through depressing as hell flooded twice south Dyersburg, or the busy hub that leads toward corporate America including wallyworld and hamburger row, Lowe's and El Patio. There was a huge head on wreck up in that area today and it made me think twice about going to Sonic in the ancient trusty old Camry. My two newest tires are the kind that only go on one way but thanks to Heath I have new lugs and nuts on one of them that needed a brake job last year. OMG. That was my last oil change too! Like I tell my brother..."Hey,I'm a girl."

Keep the faith ^j^

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

never a dull moment

Today was the end of our three day survey at the hospital by very important people. We're just now coming to grips with the shock of her timing, the very day that bossfriend's husband got sickly again. He is stable, and still able to talk in spite of severe shortness of breath. This, I know, because I heard him yakking while we were talking. Ironically , I heard the first public service announcement about bogus 911 calls, the agency of which he is local director. We have a turf war going on in our area between the county and city agencies meaning that city calls go through the fully equipped center while county calls have to be transferred to the sheriff's department and THEY make the dispatch call. And guess who lives in the county? Why they won't consolidate resources and talent, I will never understand. Probably has something to do with somebody's job security and ego. It's cooled off a bit and the humidity is much better, thanks to some thundershowers. Yesterday was my only one off for awhile, and I was steady digging through a pile of dirty dishes (no dishwasher, remember?) washing clothes and crying like a baby. The ugly cry, even. So much has happened in the past few months that I've been in crisis mode for extended periods with very little downtime. I've gotten to where I just hand my phone to BG and tell her's on call. In a way, it has been a blessing that she's underemployed at the moment because she has time to do things like run errands and check on the grands. We have eaten every morsel of edible food in the house so she's gone to the grocery now for a short list. Some things you just gotta bread. The brother pups who went away last week now have names, Bo and Joe. I think it's adorable, and I'm tickled to death those kids will have their own special friends. Ryder is trying to settling down a bit, particularly when it's right now. Back to the ugly cry, ya'll. Gigi opened her pool this past weekend and I was working so I missed the grand opening. She spent yesterday morning laying down a whole pallet of bagged mulch and showed up to fetch me so we could drink beer and do our nails by the pool. I love soaking my feet like that...there's no comparison to the therapy. We talked about everything and nothing and enjoyed the silence of sisterhood in a nice breeze on a sunny day. It was as if Big Ernie said " Dang, this girl needs a break...send her an angel!" ^j^

Monday, May 7, 2012

when push comes to shove

Long story short? I got a call right after I stumbled to the bathroom this morning that the inspector had arrived and my friendboss was on the way to Memphis with her very sick hubby. Goodbye day off! It was a real learning experience for a well oiled machine like the one that she has created with her precise management style. Every department was involved in fetching and assisting and another friend showed up from across the river to take care of his part on HIS day off as well. Who loves ya boss? Prayers and hugs and positive karma speeding toward Germantown.

Since the boy puppies went to play at their new home Ryder has become quite the little diva, barking and chewing and generally getting on everybody's nerves, most especially Lily. A kitty diva herself, she doesn't respect anybody who tries to cross that line. Sam and Faith and Oscar look around like "what happened to just us?". Fostering dogs in my thing. To think that people will actually pay money to buy a certain breed amazes the hell out of this old country girl's soul. There are too many free cute ones that need care.

We are tire poor around here and constantly slapping down 7 bucks for a can of fix-a-flat just to get to some free air. BG's car was the latest casualty so I see some bizness coming for the dude at Tire Barn. For 40 bucks in 15 minutes, you can't beat it with a stick. So what if it's in the deserted part of what used to be a thriving business district and is now officially the 'hood. Every time I drive through the city business route through town, I am amazed at the destruction caused by two years of flooding back to back. Three or four businesses survived, but the rest will be bulldozed soon. Our friends will be married in the little church behind the chicken store because that's where they call home. Anna's shower was superb and she racked up! Wish I could go bachelorette partying but duty calls. Maybe one day I'll learn not to listen.

Mom and Daddy are maintaining. I'm not hovering, just expecting them to call us when they need us. It is what it is and I don't have the energy to for anything at this point. As a matter of fact, I wish I had a big fat margarita and a shrimp parm steak. Might as well dream big!!

Keep the faith ya'll. It's all we've got ^j^

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Our happy homecoming lasted all of about one evening before daddy's dementia kicked back in with the OCD/don't mess with my schedule stuff. He turns the light on his American flag around three PM and from there on goes through the bedtime ritual, usually setting the alarm by four. With mom being sick and needing extra care, there are people coming and going at all hours that he's not used to, and I remember before what an ordeal it was. He gets really MAD like a little kid when things don't go to suit him. He's even started cussing in his old age, which I think is kinda cool. Sometimes like Carlin said, you just have to curse to feel better.

Yesterday, totally out of the blue, I got a call from a co-worker who wanted a puppy because her little girls's had been run over. Anna's father came first and picked out the male wearing Sam's old blue collar and we chatted in the driveway about this and that before he left riding beside the one who spotted him and took up with him. Smart guy. A little while later his wife called and said they wanted the other boy! In my little world, that was nothing short of a miracle for Faith's babies to be raised together as brothers while we watch Ryder grow. She's already wearing a pink John Deere bandana so I reckon it's official. Mom had to corner the little guy on the porch and scoop him up toward his new home. Anna just grinned. Awwwwwwww.

I now officially know enough about healthcare reimbursement and the road to the grave that most people follow today with modern medicine in charge, to be a social worker. My favorite patient of all time is Ms Olive who was still drinking and smoking when I met her ten years ago. We talked today about her recent health escapades and she asked if I still did the beer and cigs thing. When I said yes, she just looked at me all old and wise and stuff. And then I asked," Hey..If you weren't in the shape you're in, would you have quit?" Hell no, she said. You gotta go somehow. She's still got the wit, even as a nursing home resident.

I'm about to pick what will be the last of the asparagus because mr.snake is lurking big time and it's time to let it fern its' little heart out for the summer. All my gardening plans went by the wayside with the drama so I guess I'll be hittin' up the farmer's markets. It's hot as hades around here with about 200% humidity and it's only May. If I hear one more person say out loud "wonder what July's gonna be!" I think I'll pass out from heat exhaustion. You would think that I would have learned a little tolerance after 57 years but it still makes me want to run for the beach every time. I absolutely detest not being able to comfortably sit outside and commune with mother nature sans a sweatfest.

Things are looking better around here thanks to some really manic paper sorting episodes. Though I still don't have the money to repay the people that I owe, I am working toward that place sometime this year and it feels good. If my expected long overdue raise doesn't happen at eval time, I'm outta there and onto something more profitable like day trading. No, wait. That was the eighties! I wonder if there's a job market for smartasses?

While corporate was here I got a chance to meet a granddaughter of the man for whom my father worked most of his life. She lives in Brooklyn and had a lot of fun playing with the puppies. I gifted her with a piece of her distant aunt's monogrammed china and she marched happily off to the truck after we wandered around in the dairy barn looking at the sky through silos build in 1920. We paused on the outside to observe where some asshat wrote "bitch" in blue spray paint on the tin roof. The inside walls are covered with graffiti as well, a testament to the days when nobody was in charge. Basically, this place is a wildlife reserve. To do anything other than that with it in the future would be a real waste of nature's gifts. Her comment about the entire experience? Peaceful.

I can quickly see me becoming an elder as the minds and memories of those before me get more feeble. My mother warned me years ago that I wouldn't know a damn thing if I didn't listen to her recitation of who lived where and what church they went to. And all the cousins of course. My friend is a funeral director and she calls on her quite regularly to check out relations. I have not written that book yet but it's on the list. Somehow, I think it's already been written and all I have to do it find the right editor and trust that Creative Commons is a real deal. If not, I'll just trash the whole thing and go to Fiji.

Gotta run. The cotton is being planted and I'm a country girl at heart.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

all in a day's work

We're one FTE down at the sawmill so all of us take turns covering the shift that everybody over the age of fifty hates. This was my appointed time to show up for work at noon. It's been a long week and all that jazz so I slept in 'til about 8:30 when Daddy called to see if he needed to wake Mama up for a home health visit at noon. I told him to let her sleep, bless her heart. Can you imagine the joy of being in your own bed after six weeks of purgatory?? Anywho, I ran down there this morning with wet hair, headed to work and found that there were things that needed doing that were kinda gross, but we did it by golly. Almost a nurse, my ass. Ms Faye was there getting acquainted with Mama again and then corporate showed up. Nice people, I think. They own the land that has been my home forever and are learning the history. There are four elders left in this tiny community of Samaria Bend and one of whom is the mayor. That would be Mozella, ya'll. The rest of her family has pitched in to share years on end with us, based on life experiences and a healthy respect for the sanctity of agriculture. A famous person told me one time to grow my own. About an hour into that shift I figured I wasn't gonna make it what with the nausea and all so I scurried around and got everybody caught up so I could make a quick exit. About the time I hit the dollar store for a turkey sammich, the nurse called and wanted to "reconcile" the meds. Six weeks after an acute septic event. Only people who work in healthcare can understand the logistics of that. I stopped by my favorite chicken store on the way in to grab some tenders and found that they had been flat out burgled during the night. These poor girls were working with calculators and cash drawers. No cards, no checks. Talk about some revenue loss. The window had just been replaced but the register was bashed to hell and all lines were down. Why do people have to be so ignorant, really? The site of my favorite grocery store is about to be reduced to brick and glass, another fallen icon in the history of Forked Deer river flooding. If I knew the stats, I'd probably blame the corp from way back in the sixties when my brothers watched the dredging from banks here on the farm. Of course we all know that their intentions have always been the best and whatnot, considering what happened in NOLA. But you know, that wasn't Dubya's fault anymore than the blow job was Clinton's. It's never about the taxpaying citizens of the country but about federal power and congressional bullshit. If enough people rise up, Occupy notwithstanding, they will either be heard or reckoned with. Fortunately in this country that isn't an issue except in the courts and lobbyist hot spots of DC. One voice with a dream can speak to generations of believers when there is a common vision. In my lifetime I have been blessed with an upbringing that respects people of all races creeds and lifestyles. And I reckon John Wesley taught me well with the heartwarming experience he had one evening among friends. A big fat thank you to those who covered my butt today so I could regroup. A woman in my position who is out of Celexa is a scary thing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

free at last

With a big sigh of relief and dripping with sweat, I fetched mama from the nursing home and returned her and six weeks worth of stuff back to our homeplace. Daddy called three times before I could get there with her, and was waiting with the wheelchair outside as we pulled up. Somebody delivered the durable medical products and the nurse and therapist will visit tomorrow to see what's up at Casa Grands. Phase III, if you will, of this little adventure which was all caused by sepsis in an arthritic knee. Go figure. My oldest friend, the one I played with in the nursery at the UMC, stopped in today to explain that she's having a surgery soon to remove her ovaries. At the age of 47 she had an emergency colon resection due to a complete blockage by a malignant tumor. Fortunately, it was well contained and regular checkups and preventive care have kept her healthy. A recent blood test showed that she has a genetic mutation that predisposes those have it to not only colon cancer but ovarian as well. So...guess what's coming out now? She'll be alright though. After that she's headed to the beach with her fam for recovery. She's the one who always has her dressing for Thanksgiving dinner in the freezer by Halloween. All in all, life is good. I'm still broke and broken in many ways. There are too many mouths to feed around here and only one of us making much money. But things could be much much worse. I could be grieving the loss of my child or spouse because of senseless war and/or political moves. Ours is not the only country in the world struggling with economic woes or unrest. Change is a good thing, even if only in the hearts of those who can imagine it. Now, to President Obama, I feel compelled to speak quite frankly about what's going on in the electoral process. You have pissed me off on several levels recently, beginning with your total lack of respect for states' rights allowing the feds to raid legitimate businesses in states where the people have said "hell yes." This, is not cool. Neither is your ( or your speechwriter's ) spoken proclamation that you killed Bin Laden and Romney wouldn't have had the balls. Puleeeeeez,dude. If things go the way I hope they will, the old doc from Texas who delivered about a kazillion babies is about to give both of ya'll a spanking. And quite frankly, you both deserve it. Horse is still roaming, puppies still eating and playing. BG is getting more hours which is always a "good thing" as Martha would say. I haven't taken pictures in weeks and I miss it. My camera went missing during some random robbery so I hope they enjoy it and can figure it out better than I could. I'm a total point and shoot kinda girl and that was some old school stuff nostalgia! Several photographers have told me that I have a good eye and my composition is good. I'm shopping. Puppies, people. Who needs a puppy????????

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

you might be a country girl

Yesterday I was on the way down the lane toward work when I spotted something, well TWO somethings running down the middle of the road in front of me. They were too big and their paths too straight to be squirrels or possums, so I slowed down and sure enough there were two wild turkeys hoofing it toward their haven in the riverbed. They stayed in front of the trusty old Camry until I hit bottom, then they took flight across the road toward their destination. That reminds me of the night a friend and I scooped up a wounded screech owl from about the same spot and put him in a box 'til morning. Silly me didn't know that it's against the freakin' law to have one in captivity so I had to hustle and call the wildlife management folks to rescue him and keep me from doing time in the federal pen. He was impressed with mr screech and promised him a long and happy life at Reelfoot lake. One more day until mom gets to lay her bones down on her antique bed with the sawed off legs and get a good nights' sleep at home. I've kind of lost track of time, but she's been gone for six weeks and it's been a busy time! We learned some lessons the hard way, and were blessed in many other ways with caring people who see their professions as healing ministries rather than just a way to make a buck. There were exceptions to that rule, but not many. My friends at work both have husbands who are seriously ill and they have been treated quite kindly as well. The entire ordeal has given me new faith in the goodness of people. Mama is one of those who is so sweet she says "thank you" if they come and give her a shot, ya know? A super sweet genteel Southern lady if I ever saw one. Unfortunately I took a lot of traits from the paternal side, including the occasional bout of smartass and tendency to have a running Stafford fit when the occasion warrants it. The entire journey, thus far, has been going for five years since Daddy got his keys taken away and they became housebound. During those years his dementia has slowly progressed into a daily ritualistic litany of things to do and her eyesight has gone from poor to non-existent. There have been falls and accidents due to a stubborn determination to keep on keeping on, which I must say that I totally get. And I will probably be the same way. There is one child charged with my care as an elder and it can be a real burden to carry alone. Thankfully, I don't have to. We laid around watching TV last night with all the girl dogs and cat, including our new girl Rider and I felt a part of some big huge female circle of family. It's a warm fuzzy. My friend Yaya and I can go for literally weeks at a time without discussing anything more than who owes who what for AVON. I dropped by to pick up some things, one of which was a surprise picked just for me. We always say "Love you more..." and try to hang up quick to be the one with the last word. My girl presented me with a dog tag that reads "I Love You More", hung from a black cord. I had a card for her that had been riding in my purse for a month, and remembered to take it in. Right about the time I clutched that dog tag and read the words, she read my inscription on the card out loud: "Love you more." Indeed ^j^