Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Odds, Ends and Merry Christmas

Things have been a little hectic around here, just like they are for everyone else. You know the drill - last minute shopping, addressing Christmas cards, not wrapping presents, watering our dead tree...

I've tried to refrain from washing anymore electronic devices in Neptune, the ride the remote to the Nameless DVR took rendered it completely useless. Because I'm the queen of procrastination and have been putting off going to trade in the squeaky clean remote, we currently have to use the family room remote in our bedroom too. Let me tell you, that's not inconvenient at all.

And I have a quick Life Lesson for you today: Televisions are absolutely unresponsive to cordless telephones - volume doesn't change, neither do the channels. Make a note.

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for the UPS guys - not because I was looking for a package - I wanted to take their picture for you. UPS has doing some of our deliveries using a snazzy, yellow, three-wheeled bicycle that is modified with a cargo carrier. They park at the front of our neighborhood in a Penske rental truck full of packages and then start pedaling around 'til they are through! I wasn't able to find any images, but did find this video below - apparently UPS started bicycle delivery again in 2008.



Danny is probably beside himself at this very moment - his Kentucky Wildcats just won their 2,000th game. Rupp Arena is awash in confetti - former coaches and past players are in the house and I have a lump in my throat as they play "My Old Kentucky Home".

Speaking of sports, I don't watch them much, especially college football. But, I keep noticing people commenting on Facebook and joining groups like "Tim Tebow Crying" and variations thereof. Now, I'm not an Alabama fan, nor am I a Florida fan. Like I said, I don't watch college football and don't keep up with it. But, what strikes me about the vitriol and negative comments is that they are from supposed adults - people old enough to be Tim Tebow's parent or at least his aunt or uncle. I can just only imagine how disappointed that 22-year old kid felt to have his college football career end as it did and if I were his Mom how my heart would have ached for him. Just a thought.

That's all for now! Be back in a few...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sheriff's Department Loses Drug Dog


A Maury County Sheriff’s Department drug dog named Thumper has been missing for two weeks.

Maury County Sheriff Enoch George said the dog was frequently allowed to run loose on his handler’s farm in the northwest corner of the county near the Hickman County line. Thumper was last seen Nov. 24.

“It saddens us to have a loss of one of our dogs,” George said.

George said law enforcement combed the neighborhood searching for Thumper, but the dog could not be found. Authorities are offering a $500 reward to anyone who might know of the dog’s whereabouts.

Deputy Bucky Rowland, the dog’s handler, said he spent almost every waking moment with Thumper, and his two daughters loved to play with the dog. Thumper lived on Rowland’s farm.

“This has been the toughest part of my law enforcement career — losing my partner,” said Rowland, who has worked in law enforcement for five years.

Rowland said authorities used a helicopter, all-terrain vehicles and men on horseback to try to find the dog but to no avail.

Chief Deputy Nathan Johns said the dog was highly trained and disciplined.

Thumper has worked with the department for 2 1/2 years and was purchased for $5,500, using funds donated to the department.

“For it to be missing like this, leads me to believe someone harmed the dog or picked it up thinking it was a stray,” Johns said.

Sheriff’s officials said they are hopeful Thumper will still be found, but they are making plans to purchase another drug dog with donated funds.

George said the department has been able to use its other drug dogs in Thumper’s absence.

http://www.columbiadailyherald.com/

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hmph!


See if you can get that in your craw Neptune!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What a face...


Vivi is sitting in her usual place - on the kitchen counter over the dishwasher, hoping upon hope that it will run soon.

The added benefit of the countertop is the undercounter light that stays on all the time. I guess she feels a little like a hot-house flower underneath it, because it puts off a good bit of heat.

Don't you just love her expression?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas in New York

Syd left yesterday morning at 4:00 AM for her first trip to the Big Apple.



How I wanted to go - I haven't been back since a trip that I made my senior year in high school; I've managed to travel quite a bit since that time, but just haven't returned to New York to take in the plays, the shopping, the skating and all that wonderful craziness.

Syd, ever independent, made it clear that I was not wanted on this trip. However, based on the phone call that I received late last night, I'm thinking that she might be just a little sorry that she made her old Momma stay home this time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Life Lesson from Nelson's Mama

If you are really, really late for an appointment and are rushing about in your altogether and trying to locate the blowdryer and realize that it's NOT in it's Supposed To Be Place, then you check and it's not in the next likely place.

Then more scrambling takes place as you rifle through your husband's luggage - while muttering about his heritage, because you just know damn.good.and.well. that he's left it in his duffle bag.

Let me suggest that you first check the BATHROOM CABINET, just in case you ALREADY got said blowdryer out and ALREADY plugged it in.

For what it's worth...

Monday, December 7, 2009

I cannot blog....

I don't have time to bring you any pithy stories or touching pet anecdotes because I am being forced against my will, by my family and society - to decorate a dead fir with little lights and shiny baubles.

Time has been short around these parts, no shorter for me than others, but needless to say it's been a little hard to come by these last few days. Since a Christmas tree that good Ole Saint Nick isn't even gonna see doesn't rank high on my priority list, Danny and I were really wanted to just skip that part of the holiday this year.

Unfortunately, I was outvoted by a majority and that certain majority has once again left me with this thankless task that I detest more and more each year.

The only family member that gets excited to see the decoration boxes is Vivi, the cat, and I think she was even a bit blase about it this time around.

Ho, Ho, Ho.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Life Lessons from Nelson's Mama

From time to time, there are small experiences in my daily walk that I feel compelled to pass along to you. A cautionary tale if you will, a word to the wise, just a bit of advise.

Today's lesson is this:

A cereal bowl makes a poor substitute for a coffee cup - it lacks a handle and it's volume overwhelms the exact ratios of sweetener, sugar and creamers that I've perfected over the years.

For what it's worth...

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Dog Wake

Yes, I said a dog wake. It’s what Rea requested for Shelley and thankfully we had family and friends in Kentucky that were great sports about going along. Granted, throwing in a bunch of good food didn't hurt the situation, but all in all, most of them didn’t blanche too bad when we told them part of the evening would involve a brief ceremony, toast and spreading of ashes for our dear departed dog.

All of the guests - canine and otherwise - signed the register and just after 6:00, the procession with Shelley’s cremains went out into the yard to one of her favorite spots. [Let me add here that we had to process by car headlight – it was just a tad dark.] A toast to Shelley was offered up. TO SHELLEY! Then Danny sprinkled her ashes; and Rea played Taps on her trumpet.

And we all traipsed back into the warm house…

Having lived to fourteen, Shelley was older than several of the children of this group; had vacationed with some of us and had been present for the weddings of others, witnessed many, many fun times and even some sad times and as silly as a dog funeral seems, our brief little ceremony Saturday night seemed quite fitting for the dignified old girl.


Even if it was a bit tongue in cheek...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A new law?

A few months ago, July to be exact, the state of Tennessee passed a law against texting while driving. Now, I think this is an excellent idea, particularly for me, seeing as that I'm blind as a bat these days and can barely see the keys on my Blackberry without my cheaters, let alone try to drive my vehicle down the interstate at an alarming rate of speed and try to type something on those impossibly itty-bitty keys.

But interpeeps, I have become aware of another hazard involving cell phones and I am ready and willing to take this issue on and go all the way to our State Capitol and get laws enacted to protect innocent people from being harmed.

Monday night in the meat department of my local Kroger, several individuals were nearly mowed down by a very elderly woman on a motorized scooter who was attempting to maneuver through them and their carts at a high rate of speed - while talking on her cell phone.

The insanity must stop! Will you join me in this very important cause?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Same time, Same channel

We all have our morning rituals – our little habits and quirks – mine involve trying to force my eyes open, feeding all of the cats and just Nelson these days, and most importantly, my first cup of hot, strong coffee. But right after that, I turn on the Today show.

The Today show is the backdrop for my mornings; I listen with one ear while I blog, do laundry, piddle around the house and read the umpteen thousand blogs and news sites that seem to consume my days.

Along about 10:00 though, my local station breaks away for an hour and broadcasts "The 700 Club". Since I'm always busy and somewhat distracted I don't bother with changing the channel so, I see and hear bits and pieces of "The 700 Club".

Every day they try to convince me to join their club - my path to financial freedom is an absolute guarantee if I would just sign up. I don't know what in the world I am waiting for. And people write in and ask Pat Whathisname for the oddest advice; just today someone wanted his opinion on buying gold bullion. Now, I think Pat's probably a pretty standup kind of guy, but if I had the money to buy gold bullion, I don't think he's who I'd go to for advice. Just sayin'.

People also send in prayer requests. Some are run of the mill, Pray for Me requests, honestly some are down right heartbreaking. Then some, well, they are are pretty unique to say the least and one today prompted this entire post.

Sandra from Cookeville, Tennessee (or Cookesville as Pat said) wrote to "The 700 Club" with the following request: "Please pray for me, I have warts across my entire upper lip."

Oh, Sandra...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Retraction!

Maytag Man has informed me that I must issue a retraction regarding his flesh colored flu-shot Band-Aid that was allegedly found in the drain of Neptune.

Apparently, a flesh colored Band-Aid was identified on the ledge of the master bath shower this morning, the last known location of Maytag Man's flu shot Band-Aid.

Maytag Man maintains that he was falsely charged with Careless Band-Aid Handling.

However, that means there must be a Band-Aid Intruder in the neighborhood. Someone that has slipped into our home, removed their flesh colored Band-Aid, then purposely and maliciously, placed it in our dirty clothes hamper and slunk away into the night.

Oh, the thought...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Then who?

It'd be nice to get through one weekend, just one, without that needy washer of ours demanding attention, complaining about SUDS, SUDS, SUDS, dinging his stupid little songs and refusing to drain. Just one, Neptune.

Maytag Man pronounced a POX on Neptune this weekend and actually stalked about and muttered "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you" while gathering the necessary tools to dismantle that poor excuse of an appliance.

Maytag Man also finally snapped at the paparazzi today – said he was tired of the photogs and that he would no longer repair Neptune if they insisted on snapping his beautiful self while he worked.

This time Neptune was choked on a Band-aid; it was stuck in the fancy-dancy little filter that Maytag had invented. Today's repair was a bit more involved; the washer had a full load of towels and never drained. When this happens we have to hook up a water hose or dump the water out in the sink, throw down towels and try to keep the water from running down the vent into the heat/air ducts. Despite all of these complications Maytag completed the Band-aid removal in FOURTEEN minutes flat. Pretty impressive I must say.

An investigation was launched to identify the owner/wearer of the Band-Aid that Neptune ingested. I know without a doubt that it wasn't me – I have not been wounded it quite some time and have been Band-Aid free. Syd maintains that she only wears Scooby Doo Band-Aids and Neptune's Band-Aid was flesh colored; Rea is a Sponge Bob kind of girl, so she says it can't be hers.

So, let's see who does that leave? Maybe someone that got their flu shot this week? Could it be the repair man himself?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Maytag Man is a patient soul...


My Maytag Man is a pretty patient soul – he is tolerant, slow to anger and puts up with a lot of crap from his houseful of females. Maytag goes along and goes along and then Lord.Almighty, one day, he’s had ENOUGH and it is NOT something you want to witness or have unleashed upon you.

I have been amazed (and frankly a little disappointed) that Maytag Man hasn’t HAD ENOUGH with Neptune. That damn washer continues to be a thorn in the side of our domestic life, chomping down quarters and ingesting candy wrappers and clothes tags like there is no tomorrow.

The snazzy little filter that Maytag Man devised has been great at saving the water pumps on Neptune; the drawback is that most small scraps of paper or large chunks of lint that would ordinarly pass through the water pump, now get hung in the snazzy filter and cause Neptune to whine SUDS, SUDS and require Maytag Man to dismantle him and dig out the offending junk.

Maytag Man can break down Neptune in record time these days – I believe that if his bean counting career doesn’t work out that he might have a future either in washing machine repair or on a pit crew.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do you mind?

We walked in the door Sunday night after a long day in the car, dropped our bags at the front door and this is where I ended up. My back hurt and I was trying to stretch it out - we were waiting for a pizza and the dude got lost TWICE.
Then Oscar decided to perch on me. It's not easy to persuade a cat this big to get off your back, especially when EVERYONE in your family thinks it's funny and just takes your picture.

Food for thought...

Jeffrey S. Flier
11/17/09

As the dean of Harvard Medical School I am frequently asked to comment on the health-reform debate. I'd give it a failing grade.

Instead of forthrightly dealing with the fundamental problems, discussion is dominated by rival factions struggling to enact or defeat President Barack Obama's agenda. The rhetoric on both sides is exaggerated and often deceptive. Those of us for whom the central issue is health—not politics—have been left in the lurch. And as controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial.

Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that's not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.

In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care's dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value.

Worse, currently proposed federal legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation in insurance and the provision of care. It would do so by overregulating the health-care system in the service of special interests such as insurance companies, hospitals, professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies, rather than the patients who should be our primary concern.

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.

A "Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System" recently declared that the Massachusetts health-care payment system must be changed over the next five years, most likely to one involving "capitated" payments instead of the traditional fee-for-service system. Capitation means that newly created organizations of physicians and other health-care providers will be given limited dollars per patient for all of their care, allowing for shared savings if spending is below the targets. Unfortunately, the details of this massive change—necessitated by skyrocketing costs and a desire to improve quality—are completely unspecified by the commission, although a new Massachusetts state bureaucracy clearly will be required.

Yet it's entirely unclear how such unspecified changes would impact physician practices and compensation, hospital organizations and their capacity to invest, and the ability of patients to receive the kind and quality of care they desire. Similar challenges would eventually confront the entire country on a more explosive scale if the current legislation becomes law.

Selling an uncertain and potentially unwelcome outcome such as this to the public would be a challenging task. It is easier to assert, confidently but disingenuously, that decreased costs and enhanced quality would result from the current legislation.

So the majority of our representatives may congratulate themselves on reducing the number of uninsured, while quietly understanding this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America. I have met many people for whom this strategy is conscious and explicit.

We should not be making public policy in such a crucial area by keeping the electorate ignorant of the actual road ahead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nelson's Mama - Back in Action

Through the years, I'm guessing that I've made well over fifty trips to the Panhandle of Florida and Alabama; somehow in all of those adventures I've missed visiting the lovely towns of Fairhope and Point Clear, Alabama on Mobile Bay until this weekend. I am now officially in love with the area and may forsake the beach forever.

And we found the perfect little place to buy, a Bay front fixer upper, built in 1955, 2-bedroom, 1 bath, 900 square feet. When we run across an extra $2.6M that baby is ours!



Rea's Cotillion Autumn Ball was this weekend; Danny and I missed it - but here she is having a HORRIBLE time!

Dang, wish I could have had such a HORRIBLE time when I was twelve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pa, what's for breakfast?

This is my Dad. Known as Ronald to most, Pa to a few and even Sonny to a dwindling minority.

Ronald starts his day at the crack of dawn by making a pot of coffee and consuming nearly all of it - black. He drinks most of the coffee while performing his morning rituals, which mostly involves going out to his shop, feeding the dogs and cats, checking on his garden in the summer, watering the plants, taking Leana to school, plus a variety of sundry tasks, missions and mysterious objectives that most of us have yet to figure out.

Around about mid-morning hunger creeps up on old Ronald and he heads to the house and he starts looking for some food. And while you and I would probably go for a bowl of cereal or perhaps a bagel, maybe even some toast - those things just don't cut it for my Dad.

He's a forager - and as Danny says he's like "an old black bear ambling from garbage can to garbage can." You just never know what combo he's going come up with, it's an amazing thing to watch. Sometimes it might be Ritz crackers with his special homemade peppers, or saltines with salsa. Occasionally he'll cook up a little sausage and fry himself an egg, but I can bet you my first born child that it won't involve cheese...the man despises cheese.

Just this Sunday morning at 9:30 my Mom reports that his breakfast was an appetizing choice of leftover turnip greens, sweet potatoes and purple hull peas.

And lunch today? White beans with potato chips accompanied by a bologna sandwich on the heels of white bread.

Sounds yummy huh?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Arrangements incomplete...

Yesterday was so hard and sad. But also incredibly uplifting and heartwarming at the same time; we got so many phone calls and emails from family, friends and neighbors who all loved our sweet Shelley and shared our loss with us. I got beautiful flowers from my Mom, Rea got brownies from Ash and a cake shaped like a dog from the Copeland’s.

We have no regrets about Shelley’s life and if she could speak to us now, I am convinced that she would tell us that she lived her life exactly as she wanted. Her life was better than that of millions of people around the world – and in my small town.

And even in death, Miss Shelley went out in style; yesterday when I left the vet’s office I didn’t bring our beautiful girl home. Nope. I took her to the Brand New Funeral Home. In fact, the Brand New Funeral Home tried to pick her up at the vet's office, but we got our wires crossed, so, I delivered her myself.

Danny made arrangements with the Director of the Brand New Funeral Home to gussy Our Girl up and drive her to Nashville to be cremated. He deferred on the offer of a casket and we haven't made a final decision on an urn.

Today, the Brand New Funeral Home will drive back to Nashville and get Miss Shelley's cremains.

By the way, services are private, family only kind of thing. Don’t worry about food or visitation ;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shelley ~ 1995-2009

Today our heads made a decision that our hearts just don't like at all; a decision that hurts way down deep - but one that we feel was completely right for our beautiful girl.

Not many dogs had a better life than she; we can reflect back on hers with little to no regret, knowing full well that we gave her everything that a dog required and whole lot more - and then today, we offered her the ultimate gift.



“You've given your heart for a dog to tear.” ~
Rudyard Kipling

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween/Ho-Ho-Ho

Halloween night was clear and cold here in our town; I got to spend my favorite holiday in a perfect way - with tons of friends, pots of chili, jambalaya, Brunswick stew and literally hundreds of trick-or-treaters.

I love the sense of community at Halloween; all of the houses with their porch lights on, neighbors outside talking and visiting, people walking on the sidewalks and all the golf carts decorated with lights. I especially love the simple pleasure that Halloween brings children and adults, without all the other the top advertisement, money spent and preparation that seems to happen around the other "big holidays".

I hate the way the seasons are rushed today. Halloween is barely 48 hours old, but the Christmas decorations are already out. What happened to Thanksgiving?

When I was a little girl, it was a big holiday too; and heaven forbid, if anyone put a Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving; it was a social NO NO...something that you just DID.NOT.DO. (and on a personal note, I think it should be against the law).

When I reflect back to the days when I was school girl, the days between Halloween and Thanksgiving seemed to stretch forever; I so looked forward to Thanksgiving break and the days that followed it – there would be no signs of Christmas until Thanksgiving was officially over – Turkey Day was given it’s due and therefore Christmas was much more special when it finally arrived.

Nowadays, my girls could care less when they spot the first Christmas tree of the season; guess when people put them up for nearly three months before the big day, it’s hard to get very excited.

I noticed the other day there’s a house in our neighborhood that still has their tree up from last Christmas – complete with the Santa hat on. It’s waiting patiently in the front window to be illuminated; I do believe they are well ahead of the decorating curve this year.

Sorry Pilgrim People, you have been stomped on by elves...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kreative Award

My friend Katie surprised me by nominating My Boy Nelson for a Kreativ Blogger award. My first thought was Wow! That's really sweet of her, cause I've never really considered My Boy Nelson as particularly creative. Irreverent, yes. Sentimental - occasionally. Sarcastic, quite often. Funny? Well, I try. But, creative? Hmmmmm.

Nonetheless, My Boy and I are quite tickled with the award!

Here's what you're supposed to do to pass on the award...


  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.

  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

  3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

  4. Name seven things about yourself that people may not know.

  5. Nominate seven Kreative Bloggers.

  6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.

  7. Leave a comment on each.

Thanks so much Yoga Gal, I truly appreciate the shout out!


  1. I don’t trust people that don’t like dogs and cats – if someone can’t accept the unconditional love of animal I really think there is something wrong with their heart. Just sayin’.

  2. I love to read, but don’t like to check the books out of the library; if I end up loving the book I have a physical need to own the book, I know it’s weird, but that’s just the way I am.

  3. I will not eat green beans unless they have vinegar on them.

  4. I salt my grapefruit, watermelon, apples, lemons and oranges.

  5. I am blonder than I pay to be (for the record, I’m a brunette) and it frequently gets me in a lot of trouble.

  6. I love impromptu parties; they always turn out to be a ton of fun.

  7. Halloween is my favorite holiday; it’s not as much fun now, but when all the kids in our neighborhood were younger it was one big party.

Here are the blogs that I am nominating:

  1. Endless Possibilities is a blog that I enjoy - Kim is immensely talented and if you want to start talking about creative, this girl has got it going on.
  2. Smitten Kitchen. I love to cook and love photography -this blog combines both and does a wonderful job of each.
  3. The Macs I started following The Macs back in January when their baby girl was diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke, along with all of the other readers, when Cora passed away a mere month later. Her parents have a new baby on the way and their painful journey is something we can all learn from.
  4. This DVM's Wife My love of animals got me interested in this entertaining blog with it's beautiful photographs. Their life has taken a dramatic turn recently though, Yooper the DVM, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer - his wife writes touchingly about their struggles, hopes and fears.
  5. Pam the Nomad I've had the opportunity to meet Pam and hear a little bit about what she does; she works for Blood:Water Mission an organization that partners with groups and individuals to empower Africans to build healthier communities through sustainable clean blood and clean water solutions. Pam travels to Africa frequently and details her trips on Pam the Nomad; I love to travel vicariously through her blog.
  6. Stuff Christians Like. Jon Acuff is hilarious, thought provoking and preacher's kid. Need I say more?
  7. God's Blog This is a favorite, it's totally irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny at times. One of the most creative that I've read.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alvin, is that you?


This adorable fellow had the distinct misfortune of meeting Oscar Saturday morning. I'm glad to tell you that he lived to tell his harrowing tale and is back among his fellow monks.

It wasn't until Sunday night that we found out just exactly how wrong this little rodent's day had gone. Seems that at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning our neighbors found a chipmunk in their laundry room, courtesy of their cat, Lucky. They trapped it under a basket and set it free in the backyard when it got light.

It appears that Oscar, the ultimate predator, discovered the hapless little guy before he had the chance to find a good hiding place, and promptly packed him into our laundry room.

Now, I know that you are probably laughing to yourself right now and thinking that I am a nut case to believe that this could be the same chipmunk, because they are a dime a dozen. But, there really aren't many around our yards - there are so many cats in our neighborhood, that the chipmunk population has almost been decimated.

Boy, I'd love to hear Alvin's side of this story...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friendship

These three ladies are my "oldest" friends. We don't like the word old, so we'd better no let us catch you using it. It's just a relative term here, understand?

Our lives are intertwined like the thickest kudzu vines the South has to offer; the only way you can understand our complex familial relationships is to have either a) lived in our hometown your whole life b) graduated from high school with us or c) spent a lazy afternoon on the beach with us, sharing a bottle of cheap wine and diagramming our family trees and multi-generational friendships in the sand.

We have been friends through sunshine and through shadows, and some of those shadows have been the deepest and darkest one could ever imagine.

Somehow though, we do always seem to find the sunshine, and it always amazes me that it's not the sunshine that makes our friendship strong, it's the dark shadows.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Time to get real...

I know I’ve confessed like, a jillion times that I read a TON of blogs. And many of them just so happen to be “mommy” blogs with lots and lots of pictures of cute babies that truly make me miss the days when my girls were little bitty.

And when I look at all those pictures, there is one thing that really, really puzzles me. And I know that I’m probably going to get in some hot water here, but, I’ve avoided this issue as long as I can. So, here it goes: What in the hell is going on with all those HUGE bows and headbands? Right about the time I think they cannot get any bigger, or any tackier…they do.


I am no fashionista and have committed a fashion faux pas or two through the years, but, bless their hearts, don’t those mamas know those things are ugly?

One blogger mom I read was lamenting the fact that her 8-month old wouldn’t leave her “beautiful” bow in her hair! Help.Me. Oh how I wanted to comment and tell her it was because the other little babies were making fun of her Sweet Cheeks; that she’s embarrassed and humiliated! Those baby girls will NEVER live those pictures down...forget about throwing those snaps up for the wedding collage.

Now, one or two of these blogger lives in Texas and we all know how those gals feel about big hair, apparently it translates to baby headbands too. But, I am here to tell you, those women have never heard the adage LESS is MORE.
Putting fashion aside for a moment, let’s just imagine for a bit how those big old bands of elastic must feel squeezing your brand new bald head – squishing your developing brain - got to think it must throb. Migraine anybody?

Those headbands scare me …come to think of it, THOSE babies look scared!

Ladies, it is TIME to put down the headbands and slowly back away.


*NO BABIES WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF THIS BLOG

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fremont Street Experience

Somehow, this interesting Las Vegas side trip slipped my mind the other day. After a wonderful dinner at Delmonico Steakhouse, our group grabbed a couple of taxis and traveled across town to this less-than-savory section of old Vegas and proceeded to have a very fine time.

According to Wikipedia, "The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. The FSE occupies the westernmost 5 blocks of Fremont Street, including the area known for years as "Glitter Gulch," and portions of some other adjacent streets.

The attraction is a barrel vault canopy, 90 ft (27 m) high at the peak and four blocks, or approximately 1,500 ft (460 m), in length."

Fremont Street offered up a plethora of people to watch - they danced with abandon to the live band, crowds gathered around the amazing saxophone player to buy his CD. Kids of all ages moved in and out of the crowd, some with their parents, many teenagers, toddlers in PJ's. There was even a wedding party or three. Pole-dancers could be seen inside the casinos, dealers at the gaming tables here wore small suggestive bustiers. Homeless people and drug users mingled and were ignored by the police, not like I had observed on the Strip earlier in the day. This place had a unique vibe of it's own.

The Street Experience's claim to fame is the Canopy that stretches four blocks; which is in fact one of the world's largest LED screen and hourly they present a Lights and Sounds show. We arrived in time for the very tail-end of one show and stayed for the next hour's show.

We caught "American Pie" by Don McLean, which looked back at the summer of 1969. Honestly, I'm not sure that I picked up on everything that the creators wanted me to - there was so much coming at me at once.


But, I will tell you what was really cool. I happen to love "American Pie", like most everyone, and am of a certain age that I can actually remember when it was popular, albeit I was a quite small. Anyway, there is a point at the very end of the song when Don McLean repeats the chorus for the last time: "Bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy...".


And suddenly, it was a bit hushed and quiet under that huge canopy. And that was when I realized that several thousand people were all singing along with Don McLean and I was singing with them.

My Street Experience was more about that moment than any lights or sound.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I like to drive fast.

It's a given. It's well known. I acknowledge it. I own it.

I have...a need for speed. And the tickets to show for it.

Kentucky. Tennessee. Alabama. And the Sunshine State.

And it's pretty much a given that each AND every time that I get behind the wheel of a vehicle that I most likely break the law and disobey the speed limit.

So, this morning on the "Today" show I see where 72-year old Great-Grandma Kathryn Winkfein received a $40,000 settlement because she was tasered during a traffic stop for driving 60 miles per hour in a 45 per hour zone.

Now, I'm sure most everyone reading will have a different position on poor Great-Grandma Kathryn.



But, here's mine.

It does not make me mad (usually) to be stopped for speeding; and I try not to make excuses for my speeding. I refuse to cry or sling snot to get out of a ticket, I will not invent an emergency to circumvent one either.

So, Grandma Kathryn's hissy fit is aggravating to me. Just sign the damn thing. Guess I could takes some notes from her and start resisting arrest and start daring the long arm of the law to taser me!

$40,000 settlements here and there would add up over time...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So. Guess what?

I was absolutely, positively convinced that nary a beaver was left in my Walmarts pond. I thought for sure and for certain that they'd absconded their hairy little selves a shopping cart and had moved on up the highway to the new Super Target.

But, I was wrong. The Walmarts Beaver is still lurking about, mocking me from the banks of the pond, ever elusive.

On my shopping mission today I noticed that the buck toothed creatures have taken down the last tree standing - a pretty little willow.

I pulled over to take this picture with my Blackberry and I scanned the surface of the dark pond; I just know those beavers were out there, just under the surface...watching me with their beady little eyes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back in Action

I'm not lost, sick or wounded, but am back from my first trip to Sin City. Talk about sensory overload. Whoa.

I actually love big cities - San Francisco, Boston and Chicago come to mind, I enjoy exploring the markets, museums, restaurants and historic areas. I love to sit back and watch all of the unusual people that inhabit cities; the mix is vastly different than my small rural town. But, this was one big city that does really feel very much like a "city" and one that I didn't particularly enjoy.

Vegas reminded me of a cruise ship, gone wild - and I suppose that's because the cruise industry has borrowed from Vegas' themes through the years...the lights, the sounds, the casinos and the shows. Parts of the hotel even smelled like a cruise ship.

However, I'm glad that I went, glad that I can say that I've been there and done that.

But, I didn't get the T-shirt.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cotillion


Here's Rea and her close friend Ash, all gussied up for an afternoon of manners and more. Let's just say that they haven't exactly been willing participants, but I don't think it's been has bad as as they've really let on.

They are learning the proper way to introduce themselves, about making good eye contact and hand-shaking techniques.

They've learned how to eat soup the proper way and practiced eating the Continental or European style yesterday using gummy worms and marshmallows.

Each week they work on dancing too, and have been working on the Foxtrot, The Shag and the Cha Cha Slide.

At the end of their classes they get to get all dressed up and attend a "ball" and practice everything they've learned.

They're already dreading it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well, what do you know...

Nameless DVR and I finally found the National Parks series on PBS!

And Nameless wanted to be sure that I didn't miss it - he recorded this two-hour special FOUR times last night.

Let me know if you have questions about 1851-1890 ;-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just waiting for Jack Frost

My Mom was bemoaning this fact the other day - why is it that just before cold weather that your outdoor plants look their VERY best?

My neighbors are beginning to put out mums and such, but I'm hanging on to my pots. I drove to Huntsville (thank.you.very.much) to buy that scaevola (the blue stuff) and it's happy and the periwinkle is going nuts. And the bacopa hanging out of the back of the pots isn't doing too shabby either, the only thing that didn't do well were the geraniums and I think they just got crowded out.

I often wonder why I go to the trouble when I'm just going to have to watch them die anyway.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

They say time heals all wounds.

But I'm not really buying into that rhetoric these days. I think Ray Charles really knew what he was talking about when he said that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Cause I'm just not over my TiVo. I know it's wrong to mourn a piece of electronic equipment, but Internet, I do. I miss my Tivo so. It's been months now, and I still don't have the least bit of affection for that Nameless DVR Box TiVo wanna- be that simply lives to frustrate me.

For example, this morning while enjoying my Sunday morning coffee, I watched this really interesting piece about a special on PBS by Ken Burns on our National Parks system.

I would like to watch the special. I would like to record the special. I tried. I failed.

First I looked for the special using the pseudo-search function on my Nameless DVR Box and struck out (because my Nameless DVR is nothing if not literal, he has not an intuitive bone in his body). Then I turned to faithful old friend Google and found that the special airs on Sunday, September 27th.

I returned to my Nameless DVR Box and manually scrolled through Every.Single.Time.Bracket on PBS until I reached Sunday, September 27th and GUESS WHAT? Nameless DVR company doesn't download programming that far in advance.

Guess I'm back to the olden days of a yellow Post-It Note stuck to the television to remind me that I want to watch something on Sunday, September 27th!

O, TiVo, TiVo. Wherefore art thou?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nelson, it’s for you...

Two or three nights a week, Nelson slips out the cat door, sidles across the backyard and makes himself at home with Scout and Trooper’s people. He lounges on their dog beds, plays ball, mooches treats and pretty much acts like he lives there and he’s been doing this since he was a puppy. It’s just part of his routine – and they truly don’t seem to mind, except when he has insomnia and decides to visit at 1:30 in the morning (which happens every now and again).

We even call and let them know when we are going to be out late for the evening so that they know that Nelson might be staying over later than usual, and occasionally, he even spends the night. He sleeps with the boys and they all have a fine old time.

Usually though, our routine doesn’t vary a lot, and about 9:00 or so I’ll call over and say “Will you tell Nelson that it’s time to come home?” and they send him out the back door through their courtyard. I call him from the deck and if I’m lucky he comes running like a good little Shih Zhu.

[But remember that I have to yell SHELLEY SIT, because Nelson doesn’t respond to COME like a regular, ordinary, smart kind of dog. I have to say SHELLEY SIT so that he thinks he’s going to get a treat, but is not, and I will have to continue doing this UNTIL HE DIES.]

What I didn’t know until the other night, is that Nelson KNOWS when the phone rings that it is time for him to come home. And if I call or text their cell phones and request his presence, they have to CALL their house phone, otherwise…Nelson refuses to leave.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Birthday

Katie was our first Sheltie; Danny brought her home to me as a Christmas gift one year, pulling into the garage with this tiny puppy in a box on the floorboard of his truck, and asking me to guess what he’d brought. I had really been jonesing for a pair of cool boots and a Liz Claiborne purse, so that’s what I guessed, from that point forward I always referred to Katie as my “Christmas boots”.

At 5 ½, Katie unexpectedly went into renal failure; we spent several months and quite a bit of money trying to save her, but were not successful.

I will tell you that putting Katie down was one of the most heart-wrenching things that I’ve ever experienced. She was young, had been in excellent health and then on the turn of a dime became ill. She would have days of seemingly great health and then a terrible day – we’d get our resolve up and make our tough decision, then come home to a happy, perky Katie and change our minds.

Finally, in the end, Katie was sick, in pain and the sad deed was done, and we resolved to be dog-free; and so we were ‘ til November.

Before the internet came along and sucked up so much of my time, I used to read every last inch of The Tennessean (minus sports), down to the classifieds. Every day. So fate intervened one day just before Thanksgiving that, I would run across a litter of Shetland Sheepdog puppies in my neck of the woods.

I called that afternoon, made an appointment and went to see the litter the next day and picked out a sweet little girl that we named Shelley.

Our sweet Shelley girl turns 14 today – that’s 98 in dog years – and what a lady she’s been. She’s had an awesome dog life: travel, children, golf cart rides, treats, you name it. But the kicker is that Shelley’s health isn’t so great now, she has arthritis, she can’t always get up the stairs, incontinence is becoming a real problem and she’s deaf. I’m truly concerned about her getting hit by a car.

Sad as it is, we know that we are going to be faced with another tough decision about a beautiful girl. We’re just trying to get our hearts ready, if that’s possible.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And it came to pass...

My girls don't see eye to eye about much; I guess if I was being perfectly honest they don't see eye to eye about anything at all anymore. They basically occupy the upper level of our house, pass like ships in the night and merely agree to disagree - most of the time.

Later yesterday another small verbal skirmish broke out, it wasn't much different than the handful of others that seem to pop-up on daily basis, sadly Danny and I are pretty immune to these battles and sometimes even watch from the sidelines like spectators.

As it is sometimes wont to do, the battle became just a wee bit physical yesterday and Big Sister threw her weight around first.

And Big Sister learned that the stakes have changed.

Although Big Sister has five years on her younger sibling, she failed to take into account that she is now out-sized.

I don't think she will make the same mistake again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What the...

Nelson met us at the car Sunday with this offering hanging from his mouth.

It's the head from a decapitated Barbie.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So sad...

There is a huge band of land, probably fifty acres of more, that separates our subdivision and a couple of neighboring ones. You can tell that it was once part of a farm or homeplace - there is an abandoned barn and hundreds of beautiful oaks and hickories.

Many wildlife make their home on this piece of land and this summer many of us have particularly enjoyed watching a doe with her twin fawns tiptoe in and out of the protective cover of that beautiful area.

But it's beautiful no more - the owner - is logging the land.

It appears that every last tree will be cut and day after day log trucks, stacked with once proud and magnificent trees, are rolling out of our once quiet neighborhood.

Last night we saw two young raccoons come up out the storm drain across the street - something that we've never seen before, their habitat most likely destroyed. Other neighbors say that great numbers of deer are passing through their yards, moving on and searching for a new home; and I'm most heart-sick about the hoot owls that made their home there. Oh, how we've loved listening to them call back and forth to one another through the years.

I know the land belongs to someone else and it is his right to do with it what he will. But I can't for the life of me understand why someone would willfully and without reason, destroy such a thing of beauty.

It makes me truly wonder if there is hope for the world sometimes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere

Our yard is a mosquito paradise; the abundance of trees, foliage and bed after bed of groundcover and ivy provides a haven like no other. Add to that a nightly dousing from our irrigation system and we have ourselves a perfect little ecosystem and some slap-happy mosquitoes at our place.

I happen to think that the mosquitoes in our yard believe that I am their own personal “Dinner on the Ground” – fried chicken, deviled eggs and pound cake all rolled into one. They love me like no one else, I personally think they have a mosquito scouts stationed at all the doors and once I step out a special mosquito call goes up so they can swarm me.

They bite me through my clothes and on my ears – even on the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands.

The mosquitoes have even made me a bit of a prisoner in my own home – I got kind of tired of dousing myself with OFF!, it’s stinky and sticky and once I discovered that it pitted my toe nail polish and the paint on the hood of the lawnmower, I began to wonder about the toxic build-up in my brain. I'm crazy enough as it is, the last thing I need to do is destroy more brain cells with bug spray.

This summer, we’ve even gone so far as having our pest control company treat our entire yard for the evil little critters; and it works for about three days. We must have some pretty tenacious residents, cause they are back in force and looking for me with a vengeance and I’m cursing that $40 bucks that we’ve throw down the drain.

My parents came for a visit this weekend and we attempted to sit out on our deck. We lit the citronella candles to ward off all of our pesky little friends, but they were doing a fine job of making a meal of me and my Dad – they think he’s very tasty too – so I went to the garage to find the OFF!.

I liberally doused myself with OFF! and then oh.so.kindly sprayed my Dad’s feet and ankles and sat back down, but they still kept bothering me. I picked up the OFF! again and sprayed my arms.

Whereupon my Mom remarked: “Is there any particular reason that you are spraying yourself with Raid Ant & Roach Killer?”

Let me just tell you that Raid has absolutely no mosquito repelling abilities…at all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why, no child, I don't believe I did

On a recent trip to Kentucky we had to make a brief pit stop on the outskirts of Nashville. The temperature was hovering over ninety-five that afternoon, we were hitting the city right at rush hour and as usual we were behind schedule.

To say that our moods were at their finest would be an gross misstatement.

I got the honor of walking Nelson and Shelley on a dead and crusty strip of grass next to a busy side street - semi after semi passed by as the dogs did their "business", and I was getting quite impatient and was feeling very obvious out there.

Finally, Rea came out of the convenience store and stood with me for a bit.

Apropos of nothing she said:

"Mom, when you were twelve, did you ever imagine that you would be walking two dogs at a truck stop in Nashville with a daughter that had a face just like yours?"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh, Lady Luck.

She’s a cruel, cruel mistress sometimes.

For years and years Danny has dreamed of going to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game and lo and behold if he didn’t get drawn for tickets this year! He’s already got his hotel reservations made and is even daring to dream that his Kentucky Wildcats could make it to the Final Four!

For years and years Danny has dreamed of returning to the Masters and watching is idol Tiger Woods play and lo and behold if he didn’t get drawn for tickets this year!

Lo and behold if Danny’s Masters tickets and the NCAA Championship game aren't on the SAME day.

Lady Luck has a twisted sense of humuor too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pigs & Doughnuts

Isn't it interesting what can jog the oddest memory from your childhood?

Ever since that flock of flamingos swooped in on us the other day, I've been thinking about something that now seems so funny to me - but as a little girl - seemed absolutely the WORST thing in the world that could have happened to anyone.

Near our home, was an idyllic sounding street called Meadow Lane, and on this street lived a lady who had decided she needed to shed a few pounds. To do this, she joined T.O.P.S., which stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or something to that effect.

Way back in 1969, T.O.P.S. employed a unique "motivation" technique that involved a painted pig. And we're talking a BIG PIG - close to 7 feet tall - wearing a gaudy, red polka dotted dress.

And apparently, if you gained the most weight that week, you had to put the BIG PIG in your front yard for an entire week.

Meadow Lane Lady must have had a run-in with the doughnuts or something, because one morning that BIG PIG showed up right by her front door and it stayed and it stayed. I would nearly break my neck trying to see that BIG PIG when we would drive by - I was fascinated...and mortified for her!

Each time I drive by and see another flock of those flamingos around town, I remember that BIG PIG and think of Meadow Lane Lady. I now know that she was "in" on the joke - as a kid though, I remember thinking that mean people had snuck into her yard and put the BIG PIG in the ugly dress there just to be mean!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You've Been Flocked!

We woke up one morning to a surprise flock of flamingos on our front lawn. We thought maybe they'd come to join the pair that Rea had bought at Walgreen's last year.

It's funny, the girls and I didn't know that the musuem was kicking off a fundraiser involving trailer trash birds and had spent the better part of a week tormenting Danny with them.

Each afternoon when he came home the flamingos would greet him from a different place in the yard - and he would stalk out there and yank them up and hide them in garage, then we'd find them again and repeat the process.

And then - whadya know! We got a whole flock!

It cost us some moula to have those long-legged birds removed from our yard - but it was fun scheming about whose lawn they would roost in next.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What to do, what to do...

During Syd’s seventh grade year the middle school stopped having traditional parent-teacher conferences. The school implemented a "spiffy" new program called Student Lead Conferences, which required Syd and me to return to the school after hours and sit awkwardly in a classroom with other parents and students, and pretend to examine her current grades and a selection of tests and papers, while her homeroom teacher hovered around. Productive huh?

I went along with this charade for most of the year, until one particular conference when an unsuspecting young boy was brutally tag teamed by his parents. His tears and humiliation were a tough thing to witness, and I don’t know who was more uncomfortable – him or Syd. I wasn’t privy to the conversation that evening, but I’m willing to bet that it involved privileges, grounding and lots of other things that shouldn’t have been discussed in that classroom, in front of his peers.

I never went back for a Student Lead conference during Syd’s tenure at the middle school and when Rea started there last year, some five years after her sister, I continued to politely ignore the scheduling requests.

I explained to Rea why I didn’t like to go and she agreed that she didn’t want to participate and we’ve been going about our merry way until today, when some teacher informed Rea that it was MANDATORY that I attend the Student Lead conferences.

And now, I’m having a bit of a problem with that word: MANDATORY. The word mandatory means that the powers-that-be at the middle school have commanded, required or inferred that this Student Lead conference is compulsory. They’ve said that I don’t have a choice. That I am unable to make my OWN decision in this matter. I don’t recall reading any such thing on any of the various manious papers that I’m was forced to sign under duress at the beginning of the school year. So I really don’t see how, I, a 47 year old adult can be forced to attend said conference against my free will.

I don't have a thing against conferences or a problem with hearing about my girls. In fact, I’d love to have a good old-fashioned sit down with their teachers – I think that would be time well spent. I miss those brief one-on-one sessions with them; they were a great source of information about how they were doing in the classroom both academically and socially.

However, I personally don't happen to think that Student Lead conferences are constructive - and as an ADULT and a PARENT I have opted not to participate, because I CAN.

But, the biggest dilemma of all is making the right decision for Rea. Do I let her get caught in a battle of wills between me and the school or do I try to make nice and go to the conference and pretend to look at the papers and really play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clowder...

Cludder, Clutter, kendle or kindle of cats, 1801; a group of cats.

I think we've got that covered.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ben & Vivi

Ben and Vivi don't always fight over the cat basket.

They have a pretty harmonious relationship as long as Ben remembers that Vivian has dibs on the the kitty basket AND that she doesn't appreciate being bathed.

I caught them lounging in the sun by the front door earlier this week; wish the picture was better, but every time I get close to Vivi with the camera she gets up and rubs around on it...I have to be fast.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Facebook Snafu

Okay. So, you know that I love Facebook. And mostly I'm a lurker; I hide out in the Facebook shadows and watch with wonderment at all of the things that go on there.

I'm slowly, but surely accumulating a respectable cadre of friends. I passed the 300 mark a couple of weeks ago - and when that happens that means that there's a pretty good chance there's somebody in the bunch that you just don't know that well.

Let's take for example, Teddy G. Over six months ago, Teddy G. asked to be my friend - we had lots of mutual friends, and we graduated in the same class in high school. I will say though, Teddy had the year of our graduation wrong, but I politely refrained from sending him a comment and correcting him. And we've been friends ever since.

I spent a good bit of time though, pouring over Teddy's pictures. Poor Teddy G. had changed...he seemed to be dying his hair. The brothers that he'd been close to growing up, were no where to be seen in any of the family pictures he posted, nor were they in his friends list when I scanned it. Poor Teddy's family seemed to have suffered a serious rift - I felt terrible for him.

Yesterday, Teddy G. posted something else and as I glanced at it, I finally realized that I.DON'T.KNOW. Teddy G. we did go to the same high school. He's absolutely correct about the year of his graduation. I do think it's entirely possible that he knows me.

But, when you friend someone and are THINKING it's Teddy D., and keep thinking it's Teddy D. for over six months, it completely explains why he might look just a LITTLE DIFFERENT.

It also makes complete sense now as to why Teddy D.'s brothers, Jesse and Andy, aren't in Teddy G.'s Holiday pictures.

Whew. I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Toad Sighting!

Aren't you excited? Well, if you aren't then you dang well ought to be. Our toads are gone, I tell you they are G.O.N.E.

When we first moved into this house there was a plethora of toads - and that suited me just fine. I've always liked toads, nothing made me happier as a little girl than to have a toad to pack around in my pocket. Big toads, little toads, medium sized toads, I liked them all. And I didn't even care if they peed on me.

Our first few summers here, right at dusk, the toads would come out and sit on our driveway and sidewalk. They also liked to congregate on the sidewalk across the street under the street-light, waiting for the bug buffet to begin each evening.

When our girls were smaller, Danny and I would help them catch bugs and feed the toads on our driveway. I think we got a bigger kick out of it than they did - it was a fun way to spend a summer night.

Anyway, about three summers ago, I noticed that all of the toads disappeared.

Vanished. Into thin air.

I've done a little Internet research, trying to figure out where they might have gone and I came up empty handed. I'm left to draw my own conclusion and it's that the drought must have killed them. Now, I have no scientific basis for this conclusion, it's a pretty simple hypothesis based on two factors: It quit raining and my toads vamoosed.

So, back to my toad sighting tonight, Nelson and I saw a small one in the driveway! So, maybe there is hope for a toad re-population on the horizon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Questions. And Lots of Them

"I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration."

I didn't say that - if you will recall, some lady named Hillary Rodham Clinton did.

How is it that questioning, debating and disagreeing with an administration was fine...as long as it was the previous administration?

I think I'm typical of many other Americans...I have LOTS of questions and concerns about the proposed Health Care Reform - and if the opportunity to attend a Town Hall meeting near me presents itself, you can bet your sweet bippy that I'll be there. With bells on.

And I'll go all of my own doing! Nobody from the GOP has emailed this old gal nor offered her a single red cent! Now, I'll try to mind my P's & Q's, refrain from screaming or cursing at anybody and try not hip check some old geezer, but methinks somebody is getting just a wee bit touchy.

And another thing. When did the White House get time to sit around and gather emails about things "that seems fishy" in this great big old free country of ours?

Don't they have an economy to fix?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watering plants...

is really hard work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I think I'm going to live.

The worst of my chigger infestation seems to be behind me. I had one spot on my right foot that festered up and gangrene was looking iminent for a couple of days - but all is well on that front now.

Life improved considerably when Syd showed with some Chigarid for me. She stopped in Walgreen's for some school supplies and thoughtfully remembered my chigger dilemma and brought some of this wonderful stuff home to me. I must admit that it threw me just a tad off guard - she's seventeen after all - I don't rate real high on her list. I finally drug the ugly truth out of her, she informed me that she was "tired of watching you scratch your ass". Alrighty then.


Some of you have offered several home remedies for my friendly little bugs. Vaseline, nail polish...KEROSENE.

Thanks for that little tidbit Ken, but I really don't think I want to pour a flammable liquid on my hoo-haw.

Just sayin'

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

We hear a lot these days about paying it forward and performing small acts of kindness for one another. Sadly, we don't often get to witness those small gestures of kindness or take the time to do them ourselves.

Today, I helped count money at Rea's school for their magazine fundraiser. For every magazine or $10 of sales they turned in, their name was entered into a drawing for prizes - they also could earn a trip to Opry Mills Mall on Friday.

As we were finishing up our totals for the day, a sixth grade teacher came into the conference room where we were counting and wanted to see the list for his class. There's been some good natured competition between some on the teachers and I thought he wanted to know his final totals; but he quickly glanced down the list and then pulled out his wallet.

This teacher - who's been teaching long enough to completely sick AND tired of fundraisers (and probably could retire) wanted to be sure that ALL of the kids in his class had a chance at the prizes.

Rea's school has really been focusing on "Character Counts". Seems to me they don't need to look very far for a role model.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't mind me while I scratch

I'm a country girl - and as a result - I've had more than my share of poison ivy, ticks, mosquito bites, deer ticks and even a pond leech or two.

But let me just say - right here - right now - that I have been blissfully ignorant when it comes to chiggers. Those little bastards are evil, they have made a five course meal out of my body, I even have chigger bites in places that it's not polite to blog about.

And to top it all off - I believe (and you can laugh if you'd like) that I have given Nelson chiggers.

Monday night was one of the longest nights that have I put in since my girls were babies. I ended up on the couch, scratching and digging at myself until I drew blood and then at about 1:00, Nelson began running around the house like a demon dog. He'd flop down and rub his face on the floor, then roll on his back, then turn over and scrub around and groan. He snuck out the cat door TWICE before 4:30. He ran from the couch to the chair to the ottoman and back ALL.NIGHT.LONG. I even gave him BENADRYL and it didn't help.

My friend Google and I have been doing a little checking today and while uncommon, chiggers are known to jump off of a person onto another. Chiggers bite dogs too. Nelson laid in my lap after I got home Sunday and then slept next to me that night. I am convinced that I have infested My Boy Nelson.

And from the way My Boy has been scratching, it looks as if those little beasts bit him where it's not polite to blog about either.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you

My Mom loves cemeteries - I seriously believe that I've been drug to every one in Calloway, Graves and Marshall counties. I've traipsed across fields, waded through poison ivy, tip-toed across graves that have fallen in and have been told a thousand times to be careful around headstones because I might get hurt.

Through the years though, I must say, that I've developed a passing interest in cemeteries too. They hold so many stories that I wish I knew.

I was home this weekend for a Family Reunion and we went for a quick cemetery junket to one of my very favorites - Asbury. We loved to go there in high school and turn off the car and then see who had the nerve to walk through the graveyard - I was never brave enough to go very far!
January's ice storm was brutally unkind to Asbury, many of the huge cedars are now broken and dying. Many trees are still down, someone has cut many of them up, but the logs are still laying in the cemetery, making it impossible to mow. For years the canopy of the trees has restricted the light and kept the undergrowth down; now with so much sunshine coming in, the grass and weeds are quickly taking over.

And while the goblins didn't get me at Asbury, the chiggers did...those weeds provided an impressive home for those little monsters.

I may need a plot at Asbury.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Birthday Dilemma

My niece, Leana, turned eight on Wednesday and I've been wracking my brain all week about what kind of gift she'd like.

I offered Oscar the cat to her, but she was wise to that and turned him down flat. She asked me if I would buy her a mini-laptop, but I was wise to that and turned her down flat.

I perused the books at Target for a while, but that seemed dull, she's not into action figures or baby dolls - so they were out too. I didn't know which DS or Wii game to buy, so I skipped electronics.

Eventually I wandered over to sporting goods and debated the merits of a small tent, thinking back to my childhood and how much I would have enjoyed that.

But then I called my Mom and asked her opinion about a gift option that I'd really had in the back of my mind all week - and she enthusiastically endorsed it:

That's right people - Post-It notes. Over $40 worth.

Leana loves her some Post-It notes!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seventh Grade

Rea is starting seventh grade tomorrow; I’ve spent a good bit of the morning thinking about my seventh grade year. It was a time of many changes for my small family.

We had moved out to the county during my third grade year and although it was a fifteen minute drive into town each way, my parents refused to allow me to attend the elementary school that all of the kids that lived nearby attended. Oh, how I wanted to ride that big, yellow school bus that spit out my cousins and the neighbor kids each afternoon. But, my parents felt that the buildings were in poor condition (and they were) and that the quality of the education was inferior.

But by August of 1974, the county had begun a consolidation of its elementary schools; construction of three state-of-the-art schools was underway and the current schools would become obsolete.

The arrival of my brother was also imminent…so it just didn’t seem feasible anymore to make that drive twice a day with a tiny a baby.

As the beginning of the school year rolled around, it became apparent that the new schools weren’t going to be ready and that school would have to start in their old locations.

So, I was going to get my wish. I was going to spend the first six weeks of my seventh grade year at Lynn Grove Elementary, the school that both my parents had attended for twelve years.

So, on a blazing hot August day I found myself standing in the doorway of a classroom of that old school. I knew a handful of students – some were childhood friends – and that helped tremendously, but this group of kids had been together since first grade, they had never been separated and I was truly worried about fitting in and how they would accept me.

Let me just say that kids today could learn a thing or two from those seventh graders in that dilapidated building, receiving their “inferior” education.

I was openly welcomed by those kids.

After seven years, they were a family…there’s no other way to put it. They played together, ate together, fought together and were friends together – I’m still friends with many of them today.

They were the best six weeks my entire school career.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Are Kitty Door Dependent.

I know some of you are wondering HOW.IN.THE.WORLD that snake got in our house. Weeelll, I can tell you he didn't walk up the steps, open the door and let himself in - he had a little bit of help.

We have three cats -and a kitty door, because...we are a litter box free operation. That's right, everybody does their business in the great outdoors. We haven't had an indoor litter box since the late '80s and don't plan to ever have one again.

Now, from time to time, the kitty doors pose a problem. Cats are born predators and they are prone to bring things through the doors, and certain cats are worse offenders than others. Sadly, we've had baby bunnies and baby birds, chipmunks, squirrels, moles, skinks, shrews, lizards, frogs, toads and Oscar's favorites...snakes.

For about three years, Eldridge, a ratty feral stray would slip in through the kitty door every night and eat. I did my best to befriend him, but he would have no part of me. I still see him lurking about the neighborhood occasionally, but he doesn't come in the house anymore, I think Oscar beat him up one too many times and he's afraid to come back.

And Nelson - let's not forget Nelson in this equation, he fits through the kitty door too. Open access to the Great Outdoors! We can leave him home and he can let himself in and out, he also goes out at night on his own (but unfortunately barks to come back in, go figure).

Until Oscar came along the kitty door issues were always worth the trade-off of not having to deal with a litter box . Because, who enjoys scooping poop? Not me.

However, in summers past we've had to close the kitty doors until frost and do "mouth checks" for entry into the house. We may have to do that again, but then we have to do cat headcount every time we leave for any length of time.

Is it too much to hope that Oscar discovers an Anaconda in the woods?

Monday, July 20, 2009

And it smelled like...

When I went to put the vacuum cleaner away last night I noticed a small, hard, dark suspicious pile in the corner of the coat closet...I was all great, there's a rodent in the closet. I was on my hands and knees, shifting stuff and this is what I found.

The Great White Snake Hunters

Danny with his catch...(love my Orka mitts and the steak tongs?)

He dropped him three times before he got out of the house with it...
I didn't used to have much of a snake issue - but I must say that I'm becoming more paranoid about them as time passes, especially in my own home.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Woo Hoo! Don't you need a gross?!?

You’d think after taking delivery of ten pounds of gunpowder in the blazing heat of July; wrestling 40 pounds of buckshot out of the mailbox and recovering from heart failure after opening a stuffed pheasant, that I would cease to be surprised by any package that arrives at my home.

But, I must say I'm still wallowing this recent arrival over in my mind.

Behold: 40 USED Shotgun Shell BOXES.

According to the recipient, these boxes were an awesome deal! They were only $11 (WOW!), had only been "used once" and were "in excellent condition"!!!

Who knew?!?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guess I have that Petty Criminal look...

Tuesday morning I went grocery shopping at my friendly neighborhood Kroger. They’ve had some pretty decent plants this summer and since I’ve failed to procure and plant my usual Kimberly ferns in the bed by my driveway, I decided to buy five salvia plants.

The salvias were in gallon pots; and since I was there to buy some MAJOR provisions, I really didn’t think I wanted to wrestle all those plants into the store and manage my groceries too. I was alone – as usual – don’t know if any of you have tried it lately – but maneuvering two grocery carts is a bitch. Trust me I’ve tried. So, I peeled the UPC sticker off the pots and stuck it to my shopping list and when I paid at the register I asked the cashier to include five salvias at $7.99 each.

I knew that I needed to load the plants into my Tahoe first, so when I left the store, I PARKED my cart full of groceries at the front by the doors, walked out and got my Tahoe and pulled around to the loading area. As I got out, I noticed Randy, a very mentally handicapped gentleman who comes to our Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner at church.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Randy the past three years or so; I only see him on Wednesday nights when I cook and occasionally around town. I think Randy is in his early fifties, I’m not sure where he lives (though he tried to tell me once, but I never understood him), he doesn’t have car and a another gentleman in our church is teaching him to read. But, Randy has an eye for faces – and I spoke to him and he recognized me immediately and offered to get my cart and help load my groceries and my blue salvia.

Just as my buddy Randy and I were nearly finished with our task; two Kroger employees approached me.

Now, I wasn’t that surprised when they asked to see my receipt for the plants –I’m sure people steal their blue salvia all the time. But enough with the verbal tongue lashing.

Dear. Sweet. Slow. Kroger cart pusher. Don’t you think if I’m going to steal your blue salvia, I’m most likely NOT going to steal it at high noon on a Tuesday? And, you can bet your sweet ass, when I DO decide to steal your blue salvia, that I won’t put the $150 worth of groceries that I JUST PAID FOR at risk by leaving them at the front of the store while I saunter out the back forty of the parking lot and get my hot rod SUV getaway vehicle.

And another thing, sweet Cart Pusher, when I DO steal your blue salvia, the accomplice that I pick will most assuredly NOT be my church buddy Randy…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We have a GE Profile Side-by-Side Refrigerator in our kitchen - I'm not sure how long ago we bought it, but it's been several years. In all that time, I've fought an on going battle with the shelves in the freezer side, they keep on FALLING DOWN.

I've rearranged food, changed the positions of the shelves, done everything imaginable. And so, yesterday in a fit of frustration and maybe, just a tad of inspiration, I went to the Internet to "research" my problem.

I didn't find anything about my shelves on GE's list of FAQ questions, so, on a whim I called Customer Support. And do you know what? As I write, a retrofit kit is winging it's way toward my home - free of charge!

Oh, Maytag...Maytag. You should be taking some serious notes here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nelson's Mama - MIA

I've been leaving you a little high and dry lately - lots of summer things going on, besides the fact that my computer has developed a serious tic. We're talking a snafu of epic proportion that's had me rebooting, Googling the issue, downloading drivers from the Dell home page and reloading drivers. Nothing has helped and it is frustrating beyond belief.

Neptune received his FOURTH new pump last week - he ought to be pretty pleased with himself. Maytag Man put his thinking cap on though and thinks he has outsmarted Neptune and devised a screen to stop money and other flotsam and jetsam from getting into the pump. One would think, you know, that the washing machine MANUFACTURER would put it's thinking cap and come up with a something like that and not leave it to a bean counter in Tennessee to invent such a thing. Gotta love my Maytag Man.

Six or so years ago we had our dark stained cabinets painted white - they have been long over-due repainting. I decided to tackle that job late last week, I'm STILL working on those damn things. Wish I had turned a blind eye to that chipped paint and waited 'til cold weather!

I have a kitty to tell you about, but need to get pictures of her. Have several stories to write for you, but need to get my computer straightened out.

Till then...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You Go Girl!!


Methinks Ms. Thomas may be old, but a whole lot sharper and gutsier than Chip Reid expected.