Friday, October 31, 2008


I know this picture is hard to see - but I'm here to tell you that one of these days these guys are going to cause me and old Shelley to either have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown - or both.
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

The joys of pet ownership

Morning is not my best time. I need daylight for starters, so I'm hating getting up before good old Mr. Sunshine. Second, I need to mainline a cup of strong coffee and then I'm on my way to better things and third, I'm usually huddled-up and freezing.

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

Is it Botel bad?

In the way distant past, in a year that I can’t even pin down, a group of us decided (with me probably being the primary ring leader) that it would be a great idea to do a Water-Road Trip. In those days, before most of us had kids – we were boaters, in a serious way. We all grew up within a stone’s throw of Kentucky Lake and with a few exceptions all absolutely loved the water.

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

Maytag Man returns

Neptune has been snacking on coins again and decided to snarf down a Vermont state quarter. He wasn't able to pass it, so Danny once again had to take him apart and retrieve the offending money from his innards.

This is the second time since June that Danny has dismantled Neptune. The other time was due to a small misunderstanding - I have recently developed an obsession with Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products. You really must try them if you can find them, I have been ordering them on-line, but my local grocery store carries the laundry detergent. In Lavender and it smells soooo good.

Apparently Neptune has an aversion to Lavender, perhaps he's allergic to it, because it causes him to scream SUDS, SUDS, SUDS on his little LED screen like he does when he has overinduldged on coins.

Danny was here alone and started a load of laundry (can you believe it?) and Neptune started whining and moaning about the SUDS, so Danny took him apart to take the money out, but alas...there was none! I had learned through trial and error that Neptune could only handle only so much of the Lavender (not as much as the label called for - else he kinda wanted to upchuck). Dan was totally confused.

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's indulgence

You can tell that fall temperatures have moved in - Vivian has started hanging out in her favorite winter spot.
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

I think he's developed the DT's

This is Danny's Big TV. Danny loves, loves, loves his Big TV. I think Danny loves his Big TV more than he loves, loves, loves me. But, for five, long, long weeks now THIS is exactly how Danny's Big TV has looked.
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

New Buds

When Nelson told the wrapping paper sales boy quite emphatically to "GO HOME", I started walking him, making him stay back from the front door when people come over and he started going to soccer practice twice a week.

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


Saturday night a group of us pulled off something I never thought possible – we had a surprise birthday party for our friend Jo.

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

A good old-fashioned baptizin'

Mama's good friend Judy related this story in an email the other day. It almost sounds like one of those too good to be true stories - one of urban lore. I'm still getting tickled just trying to cut and paste it out of my email to share it with you:

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

A field trip of sorts

Get a load of this motley crew...we've been on a little excursion today to The Hermitage, the home of our seventh President, Andrew Jackson.

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

Just another fishing tale...

Saturday morning at the soccer field, one of the other soccer moms was relating their trip to the ER the previous evening. It seems that during an afternoon of fishing on Fall Break, her eleven year old son stepped on a fishing hook that was in the bottom of the fishing boat. Dang – I know that smarted!

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

It's all just ducky....

When Danny’s boss first went to work for their employer some forty-two years ago in purchasing, one of the very first tasks he was assigned, was to procure ducks for the pond on the property. The first batch of ducks he ordered came in by railcar…and all of those babies were DOA. His second batch, I believe, arrived at the post office, and weren’t in much better shape. I’ve forgotten exactly how the duck tale goes from there, but he fought tooth and nail to accomplish his first goal of stocking the pond with ducks.

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 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

In search of the Great Pumpkin

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

Janny's Big Day

Today we’re going to take a second and wish my Mama, Janice, a Happy Birthday! Nobody calls her Janice much anymore though, when Syd was a baby and just starting to talk, she dubbed my Mom, Janny, and that’s what all of the grandkids, their friends, my friends and honestly, me and most people call her now. Somehow it just stuck.

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

Speaking of ole Martha...

I'm thinking she probably wouldn't of shoved her purse under the kitchen sink rather than hang up the dish towel.

Would she?