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


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

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 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...