Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Neptune has been bitching about SUDS sporadically for three weeks - I blamed it on Danny at first. You know how it goes; he decided to wash his annual load of clothes and didn't know how much detergent to add, so I figured he had put too much in there for Neptune to digest and perhaps he was feeling a little full or bloated. But he just kept ON and ON about the SUDS. This time he would finish washing his load, would then play his little song and then tell me that he had ENDed and then say SUDS! Just exactly is THAT supposed to mean Neptune?
And then, on Christmas Eve, as we were packing up the entire contents of our house into two vehicles to go out of town, I was desperately trying to finish up some laundry. Neptune took it upon himself to tell me that he was finished with a load of towels, but that there were SUDS (well, excuse me). I noticed when I took them out that they were heavier than usual, but didn't realize that Neptune had left them so wet that it took them THREE HOURS TO DRY!
Today Maytag Man took Neptune's innards apart once again (we are closing in on twenty times), and there, lurking inside was two battered quarters. I know it would be a really good idea for SOMEBODY to check the pockets of the jeans before they put them in the washer, but SOMEBODY always forgets to do that. And the most regrettable thing about this situation for Maytag Man is that he never, ever leaves his change in his pockets. Ummm...Somebody else does.
Neptune must now have new innards – they are pretty much shot, all of the quarters, nickels and pennies have chewed them up. Maytag Man and I can't remember if this will be the second or third innards for Neptune, we just know that if Neptune were a horse we would have shot him by now.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
My Mom bought the outfit as a gift for LeeLee, but also as a bit of a surprise for Harmony, her maternal grandmother. While both sides of my family are Kentucky tobacco farmers and moonshiners as far back as we can trace, Leana can claim more exotic blood. Harmony (or more correctly Halmoni as I learned from Google) is from Korea and that’s who Leana can thank for her beautiful dark hair and eyes.
Harmony has taught Lee Lee to count to nine in Korean, (“I know not why she didn’t teach to me to count to ten”). And Janny and I amuse ourselves by asking Leana to identify body parts in Korean…and yes, we become very juvenile about the parts we want to know!
Leana is learning to like many Korean foods; she loves kimchee and gim, whatever that may be. She love, love, loves sesame oil and names many other things that I can’t begin to remember or spell.
I’m really glad that Harmony is teaching Leana about her culture, it’s not something that she did much with Leana’s mom. I guess maybe when she first came to live in the U. S. it wasn’t something that seemed important. Maybe now that she’s older and more comfortable here perhaps it easier.
I just think it’s cool for Leana.
Monday, December 29, 2008
That evening when I got home, I made the mistake of putting the basket down on the kitchen floor and Vivi found it immediately; the basket has been "Vivi's basket" from then on. It has a soft bed inside and stays just below the oven, where a heat vent blows out. She loves to curl up inside it and would spend all of her time there except for one large problem.
A while back, Ben decided that HE liked Vivi's basket and as you can see, he's waiting not so patiently for her to get OUT of the basket. And when Vivi saw me with the camera and hopped out to say "Hey!".
Well, see for yourself...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Rhonda and I have been friends since we were sophomores in high school; the picture above is the first one we exchanged that year in Biology I as our journey as friends began. As fortune would have it Rhonda began dating and eventually married Don, one of my closet grade school friends.
Our friendship has endured over twenty-five years of marriage, two kids each, long distance and more than a kerfuffle or two. Some of most fun times in my life have been spent with Rhonda. We even have a special pact or two that I'm not even going to tell you about because you will make fun of us.
But seriously, Christmas babies always get overlooked - it's tough sharing your special day with the Baby Jesus. I know I'm guilty; instead of two gifts I always buy Rhonda one bigger gift, in all of the Christmas rush I forget to send her a birthday card. I try to remember to call and tell her Happy Birthday on Christmas Day...
But, I sometimes forget: so, Happy Birthday "Dhonda", I love you!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I can't tell you how much I would like let go and splurge on Radko blown glass ornaments - I lust over them each year, but have visions of the cats climbing the tree (as they've been known to do) and all of the overpriced glass being smashed to bits. Oh, well.
Although she looks very pretty, Shelley was not happy to pose for this picture. In her younger days she was quite the model, happy to do my bidding for most anything. Nowadays she reminds me of an old lady at a rest home - petulant, stubborn and so contrary.
Enjoy the tree - other wise all of our cussing, wailing and slinging snot will have been for naught!
Friday, December 19, 2008
In a way, it seems fitting though that I’m doing one post for both birthdays though – because they really are a two for one, bookends if you will. I’m talking about Danny’s parents: Bob-Bob and Shirley.
Bobby and Shirley were both born in 1939 and graduated from high school together (check them out on the top row, Shirley on the right as secretary, Bobby as vice-president). Their 50th wedding anniversary is fast approaching and they raised two wonderful sons.
They have been so good to me through the years: kind, generous, understanding. I feel fortunate to have them as In-laws, my girls are lucky to have them as Grandparents.
I love you both…
FYI: Want to further complicate this scenario? Check out the second row from the bottom, very last guy - that's MY Dad.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
First, there a few caveats as to the type of sickness I’m talking about – we’ll exclude any vomiting or diarrhea, because I just don’t like bodily functions. I’d like to the fever to stay under 103 (my children run hot, so I don’t get excited till I see triple digits and pretty high ones at that). Also, we definitely want to steer clear of the hospital stays. We’ve been there and done that on more than one occasion and IT IS NO FUN.
But when the girls were much smaller, they were very pleasant sick children, so easy to please and much sweeter and loving than in day to day life. I think it was a combination of them being under the weather and having Mom’s undivided attention.
To be clear, I NEVER wished for my girls to be ill, what Mother would want that for their child? But, on the occasion when Syd or Rea would get sick, it always seemed to happen when I was being pulled in many different directions. And suddenly, my priorities became so apparent to me. Work would be there tomorrow. The laundry would just have to wait, and if the house didn’t get straightened up that day, well, so what.
Those days were a little like snow days, everything just had to stop for a while. It forced me to slow down, take and breathe and just hold and cuddle a little girl who just wanted her Mommy.
Think less of me if you will - but I enjoyed it.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Another small feline briefly made it's way into my life today, the story is complicated, heartbreaking and a just a little more than confusing to me. As you can guess, the outcome for this kitten wasn't positive...I wasn't surprised, but still very sad.
You could tell by this kitten's appearance that it was probably a stray as well, it had the smell of the outdoors to it's fur and was most likely left to it's own defenses.
This kitten, just like the yellow kitten, should never have been born. People, adults, should have stepped up, acted responsibly and had their pets SPAYED and NEUTERED.
If they had done the right thing, there would have been no long faces last week over a yellow kitten; and there would have been no tears today over a kitten that never had a fighting chance.
Stepping off my soapbox now.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I took them away from him a couple of times and before I knew it he had nabbed one of them and had run, run as fast has he could to his lair and laid claim to a gingerbread man.
Well, I kinda sorta had plans for the gingerbread men, because, in fact, they are gift card holders - they have a small slot in their backs for a card. And while I only paid two bucks a piece for them, I didn't fancy the idea of him annihilating the cute little guys.
So, I took them away from him and hung them on the tree. [Yes, I know that you are surprised to hear that we finally have a tree, but you know, we wanted to savor every last moment of the holiday season, so in that vein, we took our sweet time about decorating our tree, there was no sense in rushing it.] I thought the tree would be a perfect place for them - out of sight, out of mind.
A little bit later I could hear Nelson barking and growling like he usually does when his very favorite, super-duper, orange, ping pong ball is trapped under the couch. This is where I found him:
He had discovered the gingerbread men on the tree and he begged and he pleaded and that little dog cried for nearly forty-five minutes for those stuffed gingerbread men.
I got worried that he was going to climb the Christmas tree for them; eventually I took them off and hid them. I gave him treats and a new piece of rawhide, but he still was not happy - by this time he had realized that there was a small herd of fuzzy, stuffed lambs on the tree and if he couldn't have the gingerbread men, well then, he'd just take them
Thursday, December 11, 2008
There have been some sad faces round these parts - sad furry faces, grownup faces, teenage girl faces and little girl faces. The yellow stray kitten has found a forever home AND IT ISN'T HERE.
Oscar and Vivi did the Happy Dance and I'm very certain that Lucky, the cat next door, where it was looking much more likely Yellow Kitty was going to end up breathed a very deep sigh of relief.
Nelson was really rooting for him - he wanted him to stay here or at the least at the home of his pal's, Scout and Trooper.
I did have a name in my back pocket, just in chase. I always do. He was destined to be...Shadrach.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am convinced that he is paying the UPS man under the table because even he tries to hide Danny’s packages from me…if the garage door is open he slips into the garage and puts the new reloading supplies right by the re-loader.
But, today. Oh, internets, today takes the cake. Who do you know that receives a stuffed bird from Fed-Ex? My bet is NO ONE.
And his only response to me…don’t let the cats get it....
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Ben loved Rea from the very start - and as I look back at this picture, I wonder if he realizes that big, grown up girl whose pillow he steals is that same sweet baby he snuggled with all those years ago?
Monday, December 8, 2008
Yesterday afternoon I heard a rustling in the attic that sounded like a whole herd of squirrels gone mad and not long afterward, Danny came dragging the Christmas tree down the steps. So, apparently we were going to put up the tree...
Now, this is the expensive Pre-lit tree that I bought year before last, that I just knew was going to solve all of my Christmas decorating issues, but didn't pull out last year because I'd just had hip surgery. Last year we stuck up a little skinny tree and I hobbled to Wal-Mart(s) and bought just enough decorations and lights for it. Chelsy came and helped me (actually I pretty much watched) decorate it and I provided the wine.
Forgive my digression; back to this Christmas, once the Pre-lit tree was assembled, it no longer LIT. AS in BLACK. NADA. NOTHING. DEADER THAN A DOOR NAIL. None of Danny’s tricks worked, he changed fuses, wiggled bulbs, he exhausted all of his efforts to make this pre-lit tree LIGHT UP, but it won’t.
So, we thought the smart thing to do will be take the lights off of it. We both got a pair of wire cutters and started to work. Should be fairly simple – right?
Oh, my friends, how wrong we were. It took us TWO AND A HALF HOURS to remove the lights from the Pre-lit tree. Those people in China or Taiwan or wherever were very serious about their task of tree lighting. By the end of this job, Danny had a blister, both of our hands were cramping, our arms were raw and we had decided that we would probably rather sucker tobacco than remove lights from Pre-lit Christmas trees.
We now have a tree up, it is unlit and undecorated; we ran out of time because of Lessons and Carols at church last night. I’ll be working on it today, adding nearly $50 worth of lights that Syd went after, to our Un-lit Pre-Lit Tree.
Oh the Joy of the Season.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Today was our second day of kitten sitting - and it's been fun. This little guy has tons of personality; he and Nelson have forged a pretty good friendship.
This is the first time that Nelson has been around a cat that is smaller than him and he doesn't quite know what to think. He likes to chase Vivi and Oscar and always pushes his luck with them, but you had better believe when they have had enough he turns tail and runs - crying all the way!
I wish this picture was better for you, but the battery in my big camera was dead - they were wrasslin' by front door. The kitten never missed a beat with his purring.
The funniest thing though, when the kitty gets tired of Nelson he jumps up on the dining room chairs - Nelson doesn't understand that he's not the same size and keeps doing the same. It reminds me of an overgrown kid trying to ride a tricycle or something...plus, he keeps whacking his head.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Honestly, nothing makes me go more weak in the knees than a kitten - especially yellow ones with a huge purr and this little guy, well, let me tell you, he's the real deal. But, the inn is full here and he simply can't stay, as much as I'd love for him to. The feline contingent held a quick vote and Vivi and Oscar black-balled him immediately. Ben was all, like, hey dude, whatever, that's his style, but the other two puffed up like he was some kind of serial killer.
Syd likes the yellow kitten and wants to eliminate a black and white cat to free up a cat spot; and she's not picky about the means of elimination either, rehoming, dropping, euthanasia, burlap bags...she's a real sweetheart when it comes to those two.
But, Nelson, has been completely fascinated by the little guy. He's followed him around the house all morning with his nose shoved up under his tail, and as you can see above, he's making sure that his nap doesn't get disturbed.
I'd love to keep the kitten as a pal for Nelson - he seems like one of those dog like cats.
However, as much as I'd love to have him, we are full to the brim. He goes back to the neighbors this afternoon, if you or someone you know would like to give him a wonderful home, let me know and I'll get you in contact with right person.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I just have hard time getting all worked up about putting that much effort into something that basically Danny, me, Syd, Rea, two dogs and three cats are going to see. Oh yeah, those people that drive by my house are going to see it, but are they really going to know if it has ornaments or not?
Santa isn’t going to see it, we’re never home for Christmas, never have been. My girls have never gotten to sleep in their beds on Christmas Eve – don’t know what it’s like to get up in their own house on Christmas morning.
We drag in from out of town, tired and there, waiting in the living room is a lonesome Christmas tree. The last thing you want to do is tackle that thing – so it’s hard to even get the enthusiasm to put it up in the beginning.
Ho, Ho, Ho.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The retaining pond and that end of the parking lot has been and endless source of entertainment for me for quite some time (what can I say, I’m easily amused). Flocks of Canadian Geese hang out there and people feed them, puppies are for sale on occasion, people sometimes fish. And in the winter there are huge flocks of seagulls sitting in the parking: isn’t it funny how they all scatter and fly up when you drive through them really fast? I’m not saying that I’ve done that…umm, I’ve just seen it done…
And the Crowning Jewel of our Wal-Mart(s) parking lot is the retaining Pond. It has a medium sized willow tree, a half submerged shopping cart and was circled by the ever present Bradford pears. And ‘lo one day I noticed that all of the Bradford’s were laying on the ground, hacked off, leaving stumps about a foot or so high. The stumps looked really odd, gnawed they did, and then I noticed a HUGE pile of rubbish and brush in The Pond. And it hit me, that it wasn't just a pile of brush, it was A BEAVER DAM!
BEAVERS HAD COME TO WAL-MART(S)! Welcome Wal-Mart Rodents!
From that day forward I always made it a point to drive into the Wal-Mart(s) lot from that entrance. I would drive slowly drive by the pond, scanning the surface for a beaver. MY EYES WERE PEELED.
INTERNETS, I have faced much ridicule from my family in my quest to see a beaver at Wal-Mart(s). But I have been steadfast in my position, that one day, I would drive by to see one of those little fellows backstroking across that pond.
But, sorry to say that has not happened, and today when I went to Wal-Mart(s) to purchase yet more dog food and cat food, I noticed a pile of new Bradford pears waiting to be transplanted. A row of new shrubs had already been put in – does the landscape crew know something that I don’t? Perhaps the beavers have been; annihilated?
Here’s what I think happened, I think those ungrateful little rodents packed their bags and relocated to SUPER TARGET.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Nelson is behind me with a towel that he has absconded. Now, he’s digging at it like he is possessed. Then again, maybe he is…
I have to go to the dentist at 10:00 – I am getting my teeth cleaned. I don’t like going, but am so much better than I used to be, having braces as an adult got me over a lot of my dental phobia. I still get nitrous oxide for cleaning though. I could do without it, but they don’t know it and I’m not telling them!
Nellie Olsen is alive and well. My dark heart sure wishes Half-Pint would once again lure her to the shady part of the creek where the leeches live.
I am dreading putting up my Christmas tree – it is not something I enjoy. Bah Humbug.
I went to get my haircut the other day, when I got there I started digging through my purse for my cell-phone. I just knew I had it when I left the house, was positive that I had dropped it in my purse. I dug and dug and came close to turning my purse upside down in my car and told my friend Jo so. On my cell-phone – I was talking on it the entire time. How sad is that?
Scout and Trooper just blazed through the cat door – they were in the house a grand total of 1.5 minutes, long enough for Trooper to make a doggie deposit by the back door. What is that dog’s deal?
That's all for now...
ETA: Back in 2007 we changed our phone service over to AT&T - one of the features that apparently was part of the "bundle" was voice mail. One small problem was that we didn't know this and it snuck in and sniped our trusty answering machine. This went on for months...and it continues to attempt a coup from time to time. About two weeks ago I finally figured out how to retrieve those messages from that mailbox; so if you left us a message, say, back in July of 2007 - maybe you better call back.
Over and out.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well, this morning some really nice gentleman from church came and picked up our old couch and loveseat. We donated it to Parish Nursing; an outreach of our church which provides assistance to families in our community.
But, I hope that my donation remains anonymous, because that couch had been seriously loved. It had been a part of our everyday lives for over eight years, it had been slept on, climbed on, peed on, puked on, walked on, clawed and probably things that I had not even been privy to. I was honestly hesitant to donate it; I was so ashamed of how it looked and frankly, of how it smelled. When you have furniture that has survived eight years, two kids, two dogs, a plethora of cats, plus two hamsters, there is just no way to account for how it will look in the end.
Rea got all sentimental about the old couch and loveseat – she didn’t want them to go. But, then she never wants me to give anything away, she wants to keep everything. Every old stuffed animal and toy that has ever entered her life, Syd may have gotten Danny’s OCD gene, Rea got his packrat gene.
The new couch and chairs came on Tuesday, and I am not loving them yet. They are leather (see bodily functions and pets above), and, even though I measured, they are JUST TOO BIG for the room. And, the darkness of all the leather, WOW. It's way different than it was on that little bitty swatch in furniture store versus how it looks on this BIG OL’ COUCH and TWO CHAIRS.
And one more thing, Ms. Furniture Saleslady, I have ice-water in my veins. LEATHER IS TOO COLD.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Some time back I lamented about Syd getting her driver’s license and ditching Rea and me. I’m sorry to say that things aren’t improving and somebody is going to have to step up to the plate. Syd inherited an OCD gene from her Dad and little did I know that she had been pulling me and her baby sister along all these years.
Left to my own devices, I do well enough. I like to plan, be on time (or close enough), but when you throw Rea into the picture. Heavenly days…getting her focused and somewhere is like the proverbial cat herding scenario. She watches bugs on the wall, stares into space, gazes at the television and if she tells me “Hold on” one more time I do believe I JUST. MIGHT. SCREAM.
Sooo, yesterday afternoon, Rea and I had a bit of a come to Jesus meeting. I resorted to a piece of paper and a schedule of sorts. I know – most people have schedules and such, but I’ve been fortunate enough not to work and I really like to do things by the seat of my pants, but hey people, the writing is on the wall, what worked with Syd is obviously not working here. Once I tried backing out of the picture, stopped picking out Rea’s clothes, riding herd over whether she had brushed her teeth and her hair, things simply fell to pot. So, she and I hammered out a time for homework, bath, practice on that INFERNAL TRUMPET and a bedtime. And most importantly, laying out school clothes for the next morning.
Hopefully, what will come of this schedule is that Rea will get to school on time. Maybe, just maybe, our mornings will be smoother. There will be enough time for some wall gazing, and soccer shorts meltdowns and the boy who absolutely refuses to scrooch over and let Rea into her locker. Because, one more tardy and she gets to eat in isolation.
Oh yeah, do me a favor please, if you see my adorable eleven year old wandering aimlessly, would you kindly point her in the right direction and remind her she has someplace to be?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Just this morning, we got home from our third retreat; and we had a great time. But, the best part is, I didn’t think a thing about going this year. I threw some clothes in a suitcase and I was looking forward to seeing my old new friends. Those people that I was so worried about, that I didn’t know if I would fit in with, worried about where or if I would find common ground with…well, we did. We are all very different, have very diverse back grounds, some of us spend time together outside of this setting, some not at all, but it worked out.
And I truly enjoy their company.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Danny and a group of guys went for work and I tagged along; a fifth wheel of sorts. I wanted to do some Christmas shopping since they were staying in a hotel right in the middle of “Magnificent Mile”. I went to Saks and Macys. I went to Nordstrom’s and Neiman Marcus. I went to Filenes Basement and Forever 21. I walked my legs off. My back hurt. I’m exhausted. I barely bought anything; I am still in sensory overload. Why is it that when you go intending to shop ‘til you drop that you can’t find anything you want? Why is it that the voice of reason takes over?
We spent one afternoon at the Field Museum peering through the glass at the poor unfortunate stuffed animals. They really bummed me out. Oh well. I did like the Egyptian exhibit though; those mummies were pretty cool, but just a tad creepy.
An interesting aside that I first noticed at the Field Museum and then later at Midway Airport is that there are no restrooms to be found. Now, facilities are available, BUT, all of the signs read TOILET. Is RESTROOM a Southern thing? Is toilet a Chicago thing? I have been in lots of other big cities and don’t recall toilet VS restrooms, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. Granted I don’t rest much when I go in to use the toilet – and that word is more descriptive of the room and its function, but, don’t you think it sounds so, well, crude?
And every store, restaurant and hotel that I went in had huge revolving doors. Some fancy wood, others brass or polished chrome. But my favorite was the completely clear Plexiglas one at Forever 21; it defied my attempts to determine the exit, wherein I walked FULL-FORCE into said glass. It’s hard to maneuver into a revolving door when you are having a hard time standing upright. I don’t know what hurt worse – that huge knot on my forehead, or my dignity!
I had a great trip, ate some really good food, but am glad to be home.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
They challenged the parents to a match - and the old people brought their A-Game to town!
Complete with a few illegal maneuvers when the ref had his back turned! Hey, when your lungs are burning and you feel like your legs just might fall off you do what you must.
Now what I want to know is how many parents will seriously consider going to the emergency room tonight.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I tried to get him to open his eyes and look at me, but he was too tired. Maybe I'll get that shot another day, he's hilarious when he wakes up - he doesn't get his tongue put back up, his fur is shoved all to the side, he has a wild look in his eye and generally looks as if he has been pulled through a key-hole.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Chris and his Dad lived with his elderly grandparents; the sweetest, kindest, cutest people you could ever imagine. How I wish that I had a picture to post here of Papaw. I still smile when I think of him. He was a small man with a shock of thick white hair, cut in a flat-top. He always wore a pair of crisp overalls and had a twinkle in his eye.
Over the next couple of years, it became more difficult for Mamaw and Papaw, who were already in their late eighties, and for Chris's Dad, who was in poor health, to manage the daily logistics and other issues that are inherent to a middle schooler. So, gradually he began spending more and more time with my parents and Jay.
Then the summer just before he turned fourteen Chris moved in and never left…although he never left the hearts of his Dad, Mamaw, and Papaw. Oh, how they loved him too. We are so lucky that they generously shared this young man with us. And that my parents, Jay, and in small ways from afar, Danny and I, had the opportunity to get to know and help Chris.
Because we all came to know that it is in the giving, offering help, that you are the one that actually receives the gift. Mom and Dad got another son. Jay and I got the brother we thought we would never have. We love Chris totally, completely, unconditionally - he is one of us. Don’t ever forget it.
Happy Birthday Christopher Dale. I know they would all be so proud of you.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I know that I am probably the only person in the central time zone that was ready for the time change – but I absolutely, positively, HATE to get up in the dark. It is just wrong. I like for the sunshine to wake me…and when it’s still dark (and not to mention cold), I just don’t move so well.
And I’ll just be honest here for a second, I kind of like it when it gets dark early. I know, the days are shorter and it’s no fun driving home in the dark, but we just seem to settle in better. Kind of like chickens I guess. Things quiet down much earlier than summertime, homework gets finished on time, we get our jammies on and get all snugged in; everything seems right with the world.
Looking back, perhaps it’s the fact that one winter my Mom read each and every Little House book to me, while something good for supper simmered on the stove. Maybe that’s why I still love the dark, early winter afternoons. I can put something good on the stove, pull my girls and Danny close and pretend that the craziness, slights and madness of the rest of the world just doesn’t exist.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I'm ready for these guys to be done with their little experiments, or testing or whatever they are doing and quit trying to rattle my house off of it's foundations. I'm tried of sitting here on a beautiful fall day, drinking my morning brew at my computer and then having to go change my underwear.
I'm tired of having to reassure my neurotic dog and trying convince her the end of the world isn't near. She just isn't buying it - especially when that second boom hits!
For those of you aren't lucky enough to live in my immediate area, and don't have the joy of experiencing them, the subject of my rant today is booms. SONIC BOOMS. Our lovely town is in a flight corridor where they test the F-22 Raptor. The Raptor leaves the Boeing plant somewhere in Georgia and flies over Tennessee - goes supersonic - rattling houses, terrifying the elderly, traumatizing dogs, causing people to soil themselves - then takes an immediate left turn at our town and heads to Florida to an Air Force Base.
I'll admit that part of it is kind of cool. There are always two sonic booms - the first is always HUGE and is the one that causes the most terror and...well, I'll just leave it at that. The second is several seconds later, long enough that I have several series of photos like the one above.
What else is cool is that there are always two jets - the F-22 is always in the lead, (that's it already starting to turn south toward Florida), the jet in back is an F-17 that chases for each test flight. Sometimes the smaller jet will hot dog around back there after they pass over the house. Once they've reached this point the test is apparently over and they are home free and ready to let loose and play. The F-17 will sometimes veer north for a bit and then streak back to the south and catch back up with the F-22...but the Raptor never plays (guess when you're brand new and that expensive you don't take any chances).
Coolness aside, don't you think they could give me just a minute or two heads up? A little blurb on the TV screen or on the radio, or maybe use the tornado siren so me and old Shelley could just brace ourselves just a bit?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This morning, before I've had a chance to finish my strong coffee, I shuffled my freezing self in the morning dark to the laundry room and walked with BOTH sock feet, through a dinner plate sized pile of WARM cat throw-up.
And I am positive it was feline, because it included a hairball.
I've interrogated every cat on the homestead and they've all denied responsibility. I'm feeling just a little better about it now, but I might have used one of those skeet guns this morning and started over with a whole new slate of kitties.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So, with some minor planning we decided to take two 21-foot run-abouts and leave from just north of the Paris Landing State Park and travel – by water – to Pickwick State Park. That’s right, geography students, the entire width of the state of Tennessee. I don’t remember the mileage, but it takes eight hours of boat riding, wide open, including time for finding marinas to get gas!
Once you have navigated the entire length of Kentucky Lake (or that section of the Tennessee River) you encounter Pickwick Dam. There is no marina at the base of the dam and you have to lock up to Pickwick Lake to the marina to buy gas. We also planned on spending the night at the state park and renting transient slips for our boats. Alas, the inn was full…so I inquired about other accommodations in the area and was directed to a “quaint” place called The Botel.
Now, staying at The Botel still required us to lock through the dam at Pickwick (which is daunting in small boats, but an experience I would recommend for all boating enthusiasts) for gas, AND THEN hang out a while and lock BACK DOWN. The process can take about two hours EACH WAY…and we were, tired, sunburned and ready to stop for the day.
Then we made our way back to The Botel, which we had passed a bit earlier in the day. WOW. Can I just say WOW again?
Now, I started telling you this long convoluted tale because a few days ago, as I was perusing The Tennessean Travel section there was an article on Savannah, Tennessee. I’m eating tomato soup, happily skimming the article, and suddenly, I nearly choked on said soup, when I came to a section on THE BOTEL. I was all like, THE BOTEL, that place is still around? The article goes on to explain that after World War II THE BOTEL was used by the Corps of Engineers as crew housing and floated "onto is present location during a flood, where it was set up as a fish camp. Limited lodging is available upstairs”.
Let me tell you, limited lodging is an understatement! THE BOTEL is the measuring stick to which our gang still measures ALL accommodations twenty years later! Upstairs was a rabbit warren of small rooms, with MULTIPLE beds, not your usual two, jammed up against the walls. There were NO outlets in the bathrooms…they were all out in the room, and get this – they were AT CEILING LEVEL. GO FIGURE. You had to stand on the bed to blow-dry your hair. No. I am not kidding.
Debbi & Frankie even had something extra special in their room! Underwear. Behind the bed. Not theirs. Dirty. Oh yes they did.
The article continues with “Downstairs, crisp-fried Tennessee River fiddlers (small catfish), catfish topped with grilled pepper and onions, tender peel-and-eat Cajun shrimp, not to mention Cajun crawfish in season and melt-in-your mouth chocolate cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream will keep you coming back for more.” WOW, that sounds great! Maybe they have new management! I vaguely remember some greasy catfish, nothing like that rings a bell.
The most distinct memory of eating I have is sitting at long picnic tables in the belly of the “barge” and staring at a support post that had penciled markings indicating the flood levels from year to year. Apparently THE BOTEL was repeatedly submerged and I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was eating in a restaurant that from time to time was at least eight to ten feet under water!
We had a great time on our Water-Road Trip and honestly now, all these years later I’m kind of glad I made those reservations at THE BOTEL, despite all of it's little "quirks" shall we say. We’ve gotten tons of mileage out of BOTEL stories, we made a lot memories on that trip and like I said before, we have to have something to use as our yardstick, somewhere to start on our scale of 1-10!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Neptune is coin free once again, back to his basic Tide and happy for the moment, we'll see how long this lasts.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Vivi lurks around and waits for the dishwasher to run and then stretches out full-length on the warm, granite countertop.
I know some people probably have issues with cats on the countertops, but, hey that's what Lysol is for...and frankly, I stay so cold, if I could stretch out full-length on that countertop, I would. So, I'm not denying her that pleasure.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Danny's Big TV is in a vegetative state. It died. But Circuit City will not pull the plug on it, they have sent repairmen all the way from DECATUR, ALABAMA THREE times to fix it. All three attempts to resucitate the Big TV have failed. They refuse to admit that it is brain dead.
The last try was on Monday, now they insist that in must go to THE SHOP, in DECATUR, ALABAMA. But they can't pick it up until THURSDAY, between the hours of oh, say 7:30 and 5:30, would that be convenient?
Yo, Circuit City, you know those umpteen, receivers, speakers, TV's and TiVo's the Geek and I have bought over the years? This is all the thanks we get?
Gee, we'll be sure and remember you too the next time we are jonesing for something electrical.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I know, you are wondering what in the world that has to do with anything. Well, my reasoning was this. The kid that he sent home was loud, boisterous and happened to be running. He's around little girls all of the time, but not boys and since Rea happens to play on a CO-ED soccer team, what better place to condition Nelson to those elements?
So, twice a week we go to soccer practice and stay for the duration. We walk for a bit, then hang out, watch practice and BEHAVE around all of the, well BOISTEROUSNESS.
What I didn't count on was the love affair that occurred between Gracie, the coach's eighteen month old daughter and Nelson.
They only have eyes for each other...
Monday, October 20, 2008
I didn't think we would pull it off…Chelsy and Bill had faith, I was a doubting Thomas. We were holding this shindig at Jo’s house. I just didn’t see how we were going to get tables, chairs and rented heaters delivered without her noticing. But you know what? She never saw that great BIG panel truck.
Bill tried in vain to convince her to leave the house on Saturday afternoon so that we could slip over and set up all of the rented things and decorate – but she refused. Instead, she went upstairs and took a nap!
So, we waited just a bit…set up all of our rented stuff, hauled out the pumpkins and the mums, iced down the drinks, giggled about whether she was watching from the upstairs windows and left. And do you know, she never KNEW A THING until 6:15?
Here’s a picture of our sweet Jo and Bill enjoying the festivities.
Jo has shown me so much about living life with grace, courage, determination and fighting TOUGH. If ANYBOY deserves to throw down and have a birthday party it’s that girl!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
One of the funniest things that was not funny was there was a man Ed Crowder who was to be baptized. He weighed over 400 lbs and was terrified of water. Brother Vaden was a tall, strong man and was determined to sock him all the way under. The fight was on. Our baptistry has about a 12 inches of glass at the top. Mr. Ed would grab it every time he started down. Brother Vaden was getting impatient and the congregation was getting nervous about the possibility of the glass breaking. Brother Vaden, when Ed got the glass, reached over pulled his hand off the glass and down they went.
By this time I could not contain my laughter from being heard. But I wasn't the only one. When Ed finally got back on his feet, I think most of the water was knocked out and Brother Vaden was totally exhausted.
Should that have been funny being such an important part of church service? I thought so. I don't think there was anything irreverant about the humor!
Thanks Judy! I loved that story...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I was little girl of seven when I made my first trip to The Hermitage. My best friend Melissa, from across the street, had moved to Nashville and we went to visit for the weekend. I remember the tall beds and the cradle in the upstairs bedroom. I returned in the fifth grade on a field trip and at ten was old enough to fall in love with the beautiful property.
Many years later, Danny and I would move only three or four miles down the road from The Hermitage, and I would pass Jackson's former home almost on a daily basis. I never grew tired of trying to catch a glimpse of the house through the magnificent trees.
We were still living in the area on that sad day in April 1998 when tornadoes ripped through the area and destroyed hundreds of trees that dated back to Jackson's time. I remember how heartbreaking it was to drive by and see those proud old trees broken and bent.
Today I could tell where many of those trees had been trimmed and were still living - though terribly mangled. Many of the cedars that lined the driveway had been replaced, but were growing well and doing their best to catch up.
We had a great day at The Hermitage, some of us for the first time, some of us for the fifth, hopefully none of us for the last!
Monday, October 13, 2008
But it reminded me of a particularly good tale, one from long ago.
Katie was our first Sheltie, way before Shelley, and she lived up to every peculiarity that Shelties and herding dogs are known to have. She barked incessantly, she twirled, nipped, spun and was obsessive about Frisbees, un-stuffing stuffed animals and fetching most any object that you introduced to her.
Katie was the first dog we had our own and was before we had kids…so we spent a lot of time playing with her. During those days Danny was in his Fishing Hobby Mode and one of the games that he created was to attach a sock to the end of a fishing rod and he would cast and “retrieve” the dog. It killed two birds with one stone in his eyes, I guess, he practiced his casting, and he didn’t have to keep...on…throwing…the…ball. Katie LOVED this game. She would sit and cry longingly at “her” rod until we would either play the game or hide the rod.
One Memorial Day weekend, we had yet again camped in the pouring rain (one of our last camping attempts I believe), and had just gotten home and unloaded our stuff. I was upstairs and Danny was in the basement, probably alphabetizing his lures or spit-shining his boat; when I heard the blood-curdling yelps of the dog.
I went tearing down the basement stairs to find our precious Katie with a HUGE fishing lure – a ZARA-SPOOK – embedded in her mouth. Katie had knocked down one of Danny’s rods, thinking it was hers and had chomped down on the lure (rather than her sock) and went running across the basement with it!
Danny was kneeling on the basement floor with Katie between his knees; I reached to grab MAH BABY Dog and when I did he screamed through clenched teeth “DO NOT TOUCH THE DOG!!!!!”
Katie had all the barbs of the treble hook on the Zara-Spook buried in her mouth, when Danny grabbed her and put her between his knees to try and pull it out…she slung her head and buried the back hook, with all of its trebles, completely INTO HIS THIGH. DANNY AND THE DOG WERE HOOKED TOGETHER.
Panic immediately ensued…
I wanted to take them to the emergency room. But this posed a number of questions. First and foremost, how was Danny going to walk with a dog attached to his thigh by its mouth? In their current configuration – how would they ride in the car? Once there, would they allow the dog in, would they put them on a stretcher together, or a wheelchair? Perhaps emergency personnel would come out to the car (after that quit laughing) and numb Danny’s thigh and remove his hook so we could get to a vet.
Maybe would should go to a vet first. But it’s Memorial Day and all of the offices are closed. What to do, what to do. Let me tell you internets, it was some dilemma.
What seemed like an eternity passed. We SCREAMED at each other, A LOT. Many unsavory words were heard and exchanged. Danny was extreme pain at this point because Katie kept JERKING her head, and lo and behold, the dog RIPPED the hook out of Danny’s thigh!
Whew, that part of the problem was solved!
Now that Danny and the dog are were no longer Siamese twins we could see that the hooks were actually just piercing her upper lip and not embedded in the roof of her mouth as we feared. I held her down and Danny was able to cut the barbs off and we were home free!
What a day…
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Forty-two years later he is no longer a young man in purchasing – but is now the General Manager at said employer. And one item high on his list of priorities is that there is always DUCKS ON THE POND. They search high and low for baby ducks; it tickles me the lengths they go to have ducks on their pond, just because they LIKE them – it’s TRADITION.
However, they run a really high attrition rate on ducks. And due to changes in the law they can no longer purchase baby mallards...so the saw-mill gets the responsiblity for HATCHING twenty-five to thirty duck eggs each summer (wouldn't you like to have that job?). Once they eggs hatch they hand raise the babies in a coop and when they are big enough, they are put out on the pond. You would think the hard part would be over, but this is where the problems begin.
Big turtles live in the pond…and baby ducks are a delicacy to them. If the ducks aren’t big enough when they put them out, the turtles devour them. The other main predator for the ducks is the grain trucks that start rolling in at 5:00 P.M. each afternoon. The ducks refuse to move (Hey, look there’s corn in the road!)…and the truck drivers don’t slow down. I guess it’s a matter of duck and truck playing chicken…and the ducks always lose.
Earlier this week we went to “look around” Danny’s employment and got to see their current crop of ducks. Twenty –nine hens and one VERY happy drake.
Sadly by spring most of them will be history and the duck cycle will start all over again!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The girls are out on Fall Break this week and next - and we have absolutely nothing planned. Oh goody.
We made an impromptu trip to the pumpkin patch this afternoon. Someone in management should have checked the weather because it started to rain as soon as we pulled out of the driveway.
The skies cleared just a bit, and we were able to make our pumpkin selections without getting drenched. I managed to drop nearly $50 bucks on pumpkins that will probably be smashed in the street by neighborhood hooligans before daybreak.
Syd actually agreed to accompany Rea, Gracie, Julie and I on our little junket - but on one condition. She followed us in her spiffy blue car and fled the scene as soon as her selection was made. I tried in vain to make a picture of her to try to prove to you that she actually exists.
Here is her backside. Enjoy.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
If you are wondering why I don’t have a current picture of Janny here for you it’s pretty simple – it’s because she hates to have her picture made. And quite frankly, she sabotages most attempts at making them. They would turn out better if she’d just sit still and smile once or twice. But instead, all I have are STUPID pictures of her with her arms in front of her face or her head turned – you get the idea. So, for now, if you need a visual, most people say “Wow, you look just like your Mom”. So, squint your eyes and age me twenty years and add gray hair. And if you want to subtract about fifty some odd years, Rea my youngest daughter is her carbon copy (I’m not even kidding, see for yourself, I think I birthed her twin).
My Mom has an irreverent sense of humor – which she passed on to me. When I find something funny that I know no one else will either get, or will think is inappropriate. I can count on her to laugh with me and there is nobody that I would rather make laugh. And I’ll just apologize now for BOTH of us. If you fall down around us, you better believe we’re gonna laugh – then we’ll help you up. Or dial 911. We just can’t help it, it’s in our genes. Bless our hearts.
And Lordy me, can Janny cook… Give the woman some pole beans, country ham and some sweet corn and she can work magic. I think Danny married me just so he could keep eating Janny’s cooking, or at the very least he was hoping that she would eventually teach me a thing or two about the kitchen!
Happy Birthday Janny, hope your day is a good one! I love you...
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
My relationship with Martha continued well into my pregnancy with Rea. When we told Syd that she was getting a new baby sister and asked her for name suggestions, there were two names she liked: Lassie…and Martha Stewart! And, as a pick-me-up during those hard months Danny even surprised me with a ticket to a luncheon at the Vanderbilt University Club to hear Martha speak! I have her autograph on something…somewhere.
Eventually the luster wore off ole Martha. I got tired of her, and frankly couldn’t understand how SHE wasn’t tired. Don’t you ever wonder if she just wants to roll over in the bed some morning and just say SCREW IT? That maybe a paper plate would suffice every now and again? Or how what about using paper towels as napkins. JUST ONCE. They don’t need starching and ironing, or rewashing for that matter. Wouldn’t they work - FOR HEAVENS SAKE?
Anyhoo, I did feel bad when ole Martha went to the pokey, but as usual she came out smellin’ like a rose, and now I have a new favorite show on the Fine Living Network and it’s called Whatever, Martha!
This show features Martha’s daughter Alexis and her best friend Jennifer. I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up as Martha’s daughter, but the show gives you little glimpses. Each episode takes excerpts from Martha’s show and they MAKE FUN of her. These girls are completely irreverent and do not cut her any slack. I find it totally funny. It comes on at 11:00 p.m., so if you have a DVR you should set it to record, it’s a must see!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Eventually our Mom’s would became BFF’s so Joey and I logged a lot of time together. And as an only child, spending time with Joey and his three younger siblings afforded me the opportunity to experience things that otherwise I would have missed out on. The hubbub and chaos of a household with four kids was absolutely thrilling to me!
Joey’s dad had a dairy farm for years – watching milking was a blast to me! And who did you know that had a pet pig? Joey did. That pig thought he was a dog!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Uncle Gary lives in Kentucky, and his humans are my parents. Gary is a Shih Zhu, like Nelson, but he leans a little to the large side, but we don’t say that very loud around him (or my Mom), because they are sensitive about it, if you know what I mean.
My Mom had wanted a small dog of her own for a good while, so after a year or so without a dog she went and got Gary. Needless to say, Ronald didn’t think they needed a “damn dog” and proceeded to ignore Gary (as he is wont to do) for about three months. And par for the course, once he decided that: Gary was alright, pretty cute and worthy of his attention, Gary promptly transferred his heart and soul to Ronald. Just like every other cat and dog we ever had.
Uncle Gary and Nelson are pretty close in age, I think Gary is only a year or so older – so they are great pals. When we pull into their driveway after our long drive, Gary is waiting there to greet us and it is so cute to see. He and Nelson are like two little kids that cannot wait to play. They run and romp and never have a cross word: they fall right back in step with each other. I love to watch them. Like Nelson, Uncle Gary doesn’t like to miss a car ride; he goes to drop Leana off at school each morning. He’s rides to town with Ronald, loves to ride on the Gator, basically likes most anything on wheels.
Uncle Gary is a bit of a long distance traveler too, he comes here to Tennessee; he’s been to Texas and Michigan and even to Niagara Falls. But poor Gary suffers from separation anxiety, and as a result, he’s left a path of destruction in his wake. There is a hotel somewhere near the Falls that needed extensive redecoration thanks to Gary!
Every Shih Zhu should be so lucky to have an uncle like Gary.
At least Nelson thinks so....
Thursday, September 25, 2008