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Old Roy
My backyard neighbor when I was in my twenties was the landlord's Daddy. Mr. Roy was a hundred if he was a day, or so it seemed. Every time me and 2 year old BabyGirl went to visit him he'd be sittin' in that rocking chair passing the time of day 'til bedtime. Surrounded by the quiet ticking of an ancient clock and pictures of his memories he would light up when we made our appearance in his sitting room. BG called him Davis cuz she couldn't get out the Mr. part of the whole thing. She'd sit at his feet and climb in his lap and generally make his day.

I drew his blood to check his sugar pretty regular. The doc who treated him was a nutcase in his own right who had the Medicare fraud down to a fine art to finance his drug and high living habits. Several wives and hobbies preceded the great physician to his final drama with a gun to his head.

A few months after Old Roy's death, his son sent me a thank you note. We had bought the rental when I was seven months pregnant. To make the whole thing work Bill had loaned us the down payment to get the the 22K and move it around to save his own ass.

Imagine finding this kind of letter in your mailbox one day:

Thank you for takin' such good care of my Daddy. Consider your debt to me paid in full. Billy M.

Pay it forward. The faith always comes back around.
Just a couple of things to ponder on the day after.

The body count

The support group

The truth, perhaps?
the nekkid chef
There are few feelings as awesome as walkin' around in the old birthday suit without a care in the world. Such was my good fortune this evening as I cooked and cleaned on the way to the shower. It's an advantage of being a single girl in the country with no unexpected visitors.


My friend Suzy is a native American, originally from New Mexico. She tells me that tradition plays a large part in the naming of the American Indian child. Legend has it that the Mom names her child after the first thing she sees after the birth. Suzy's name is Two Dogs F____g, 2 dogs for short. Don't get me started on the jokes that come her way on that one. My tribal tag is Sleeps with Dawgs. I think it's kinda catchy and very descriptive of my life.


I'm working on a portfolio of all the critters that live here with me. Here's a sample.


I think he wants another carrot.
Some days I think, well....
and some days I just don't know. That's was a favorite saying of my old friend the Grandweezel when life got tough. As for today. Hmm..I just don't know. I've finally scratched up the energy to do a teensy bit of housecleaning after 3 good night's sleep.

I have been enjoying a virtual vacation through the western US compliments of Mr. and Mrs. Bubba . Since the chances of me going anywhere anytime soon are well, umm...slim and then NONE, I'm traveling vicariously with my online friends. I sure do need some beach time. I mean like BAD. I think I was a mermaid in another life or something. Nothing restores my soul like time on the dunes. Preferably deserted ones.

My pyre of the past burned for a long time last night cuz once I started pitching, everything was fair game. The picnic table went first..it was falling apart. Then some other nice wooden things like a bread box I've had for uh...over 20 years. Why do I hold onto this stuff?? Sheesh. The real fireworks came when I added an old tire from out in the shed that who-the-heck-knows where it came from or even whose it was. It pays to live in the country when one is a pyromaniac.


Y'all put a big smile on your faces when you report to work tomorrow. It'll make all your co-workers wonder what you've been up to.
By the light of the moon
I got a honkin' big ass fire going on out there in the yard. Finally got my ass in gear and started throwing shit out. Memorial Day eve fireworks and all. Something blew..dunno what it was.

I envy those who have no home to let go of..the rolling stones of life. Poop finds it hard to let go and move on. Or maybe it's just an appreciation of where I've been plus discernment. translation=picky bitch.

My gypsyologist says it's time to move on, and I trust her in those matters. Long ago, my other sage told me it would all turn out alright when we read the Ouija board together and she laid down my cards. Her advice was to take the bull by the horns.

The sorting through stuff is going well. Always helps to have some live coals to toss another piece of the past onto.

cool sunset 3
old southtown bridge 2

There is a river that runs all over and around West Tennessee and plays havoc with the natives when the rains are heavy. It borders the farm where I live feeding the rich cropland. In the southern part of town there is an old bridge over the place where the backwater rises that has never been in use in MY lifetime. Every time I drive over the new bridge and glance through the kudzu that way I travel to the past and picture old cars and foot traffic passing over the rising water level. Today, I went exploring to see what it actually looks like up close and I was amazed at what I saw. Though the bridge is closed up to any potential traffic, it's like a world of its' own with a residential area on one end and my favorite bar on the other.

Remember all that gettin' together of my shit that I had on the agenda? Heh. I've been playing like a little kid and loving every minute of it. JustRose did a long distance Tarot reading for me and the news is quite good, in spite of my pessimism about life these days. The recurrent themes were sudden change and MEN. WooHooooooo! There was an orgasm in there somewhere too, but it represented something else. Humph.

I did my grillin' last night and it was delish. Thick pork chops and chicken with a honey+mustard+bbq sauce. Plenty of leftovers too. Y'all come on over. Bring your own beer though. I'm hoggin' mine :)
Saturday pics
st francis 1

St Francis in the flower bed

by the front door

Petunia nest

need a new roof

Think the roof needs fixin'?
Blair Witch

Me'n my girls went for an adventure through the poison ivy around the woods today with the camera. I've got scabs to prove that I climbed the barbed wire. Poopie wouldn't lie to y'all.

They're both sound asleep, like I will be soon. Nothing says faith better than the freedom to nap without a worry in the world. That's a luxury for us here in the USA. Mike talks about that in his piece on the meaning of Memorial Day. It ain't just an extra day off.

faith 1 yr
Faith the Wonder Dawg

P.S. Fletch gave me crabs . I'm seeking treatment pronto.
Love Bytes
No,silly. Not the hickey kind ;> It's simply a reference to how much I must love blogging to continue to do so with a 5 yr old PC and a dial-up connection. The truth of the matter is this...it takes me a loooooooong time to go thru the checking in with my favs every day.

The purpose of blogging, is a great question with some personal sigificance to me. More than one of my family members sees any reference to them on my blog as an "intrusion" on their privacy. I had to find this out the back door way instead of them just coming out and telling me they're afraid of the big bad wolves out there in crazyland tracking them down and doing the hatchet man trick on 'em. Note to self: leave them out of it.

My experiences with blogging have been very good. I have seen and read viewpoints that are as diverse as we are as a people, and I have learned tolerance toward things that I formerly would have dismissed. What I see mostly are people sharing their lives in a way that has never been possible before and enjoying the company of other folks all over the world. We root for each other when a baby is born or a diagnosis is good. We pray for each other when times are hard and celebrate when one of us catches a break. We examine ourselves in a way that is not possible by any other venue than writing it all down on a pad with a pen or spilling it to a therapist at 100 bucks an hour.

Blogs are a showcase for the talents of artists everywhere. They are a convenient forum for discussing important issues, political and otherwise. But they are never EVER about being right. The personal weblog is just that. A web tool for personal use whichever way you see fit.

I have my favorites in several categories..politics, artists, comedians, and just plain everyday life. Maybe I'm being terribly naive to see the whole thing that way, but I do. I don't see danger in the blog world as long as proper precautions are taken and individual boundaries respected. Mostly what I see is the world shrinking and the good feelings about each other growing day by day. And, that. Well. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

As in Keepin' the Faith.

(my apologies ahead of time to Hoss. Just have your PC insert the word "piece" for every time I wrote the B word. )
That's southern for wore ass out as in the blades are dull and the battery needs a long charge and a rest. This motha never got a break, even years before she began her mommy blog.

My boss and her hub went to get a puppy today. I can't explain it, but that makes me so happy. They've been together for 20 years near about and never made that commitment like you do when you share a life that you "grow" together. Hub lost his older brother early in life and they have nursed each other through their fathers' deaths. They both love to work entirely too much, in my igdit opinion. I'd be figuring out a way to retire and take it easy like Hoss does, if I was them.

I'm not them though. I'm just me and that's not too bad these days. I got plenty to do what with breakin' up housekeeping and going thru shit. Here's a note: It's much easier to clean when you're moving ahead and can see what needs to be kept and what's fire pile trash. Heirlooms stay and paper plus plastic gets recycled via ashes to ashes. Dawgs travel well so I'll keep them as long as they continue to adore me. Otherwise, it's back to the pound with those woofy mutts.
Laura had this cool thingy where you could see what your birthdate tells about you, which was right on for me. I took it one step further and checked out what my name said about me.

There are 21 letters in your name.
Those 21 letters total to 90
There are 8 vowels and 13 consonants in your name.

Your number is: 9

The characteristics of #9 are: Humanitarian, giving nature, selflessness, obligations, creative expression.

The expression or destiny for #9:
The expression that you exhibit is represented bythe number 9. Your talents center in humanistic interests and approaches. You like to help others as you were intended to be the 'big brother or big sister' type. You operate best when you follow your feelings and sense of compassion, and allow yourself to be sensitive to the needs of others. You work well with people, and have the potential to inspire. This suggests that you could successfully teach or counsel. Creative ability, imagination and artistic talent (often latent) of the highest order are present in this expression. It's possible that you're not using or developing all of these capabilities at this time. Some of your talents may have been used at an earlier time in your life, and some may still be latent. Be aware of your capabilities, so that you can make use of them at appropriate times.

If you are able to achieve the potential of your natural expression in this life, you are capable of much human understanding and have a lot to give to others. Your personal ambitions are likely to be maintained in a very positive perspective, never losing sight of an interest in people, and a sympathetic, tolerant, broad-minded and compassionate point of view. You are quite idealistic, and disappointed at the lack of perfection in the world. You have a strong awareness of your own feeling as well as those of others. Friendships, affection, and love are extremely important.

Undeveloped or ignored, the negative side of the 9 expression can be very selfish and self-centered. If you do not actively involve yourself with work that benefits others, you may tend to express just the opposite characteristics. It is your role to be very involved with other people and their needs, but it may be difficult for you achieve this role. Aloofness, lack of involvement, and a lack of sensitivity mark the low road of this expression.

Your Soul Urge number is: 7

A Soul Urge number of 7 means:
With a number 7 Soul Urge you are very fond of reading, and retreating to periods of being alone and away from the disruptions of the outer world. You like to dream and develop you idealistic understandings, to study and analyze, to gain knowledge and wisdom. You may be too laid back and withdrawn to really succeed in the business world, and you will be much more comfortable in circumstances that are tolerant of your reserve, your analytical approach, and your desire to use your mind rather than your physical being.

You are very timid around people that you don't know very well, so much so at times that casual conversation and social situations can be strained. You tend to repress your emotions to the extend that some people have a good bit of difficult understanding you. You tend to be very selective with friends and you don't easily adapt to new environments or to new people very quickly.

The negative traits of the 7 include becoming too much the introvert and isolated from others.

Your Inner Dream number is: 3

A Inner Dream number of 3 means:
You dream of artistic expression; writing, painting, music. You would seek to more freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular, likable, and appreciated.

That is so ME it's uncanny! And another creepy thing....my birthdate is 9/9.

Check it out
Now that I've scared the crap out of all my blogger friends with little kids, let me just say that it does get better when they reach umm...well. I'd say 16 is the first turning point toward goodness. They know they have to be in your good graces to get a driver's license so they suck up real good for awhile like Eddie Haskell until that's accomplished. Then one day at about 20 or so they decide that you're kinda smart after all and geez, I'm sorry I was such an evil alien back in the day. This translates into= "Do I really HAVE to get a real job and buy my own gas/car/insurance/food/clothes/etc? OH yeah. You do. This is REAL life and I ain't yo fairy godmother!

Whilst the rest of the country is out frolicking over the long holiday weekend, the Poopster will be at home trying to get her shit together. Y'all wish me luck!

Sucks to be U
Yeah..you. The one with a hormone charged identity challenged teenaged stranger who's beginning to unravel you and the secrets of who you are. It's a trying time to be a parent when the gonads kick in and the peers take over your little kingdom.

If you listen real close, you'll pick up on the signals that all is well.

WORD = I hear ya

Kids congregating at your house = you know where they are

I'm in trouble (pregnant,strung out,gettin'abused,lost) = I trust you

There will be drugs and alcohol and sex. Deal with it. If you have talked with your child and been honest, it'll all work out

Birth control = our best friend

Wish I'd had a user's guide about 10 years ago. I probably wouldn't have read it, though. I just go with my gut that way.
Thank goodness for...
Pissed Off Patricia who said it better than I ever could during my most deliberate rants.

A three day weekend by serendipity.

A ride home with Timmy aka "ole blue eyes" so I don't have to get out AGAIN to pick up my carsharing daughter.

American Idol being OVER.

Pictures like this one by Fletch that make me feel like i'm there.

Central AC and a ridin' mower.

Spackle and caulk and this old house.

No recent sightings of Mr.Snake

Low maintenance? You betcha.

Y'all keep the faith. ^j^
A good read
Idgie *hearts* me
enough so that she blessed me with a meme to keep me from rantin' about politics :) She doesn't know many folks since she's newly relocated and all..but boy she can ramble on about the damndest things, just like moi. It's another book thing and I'm guessing that's because she knows how I love to read. Well, how I USED to love to read before my present set of circumstances turned me upside down and inside out. Here are the questions:

1. Total number of books I've owned: I don't have a clue. I've got vintage Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prarie in the attic plus one very sweet and precious volume by BabyGirl herself and tons of other stuff that I just like. Prolly a kazillion or so in all, counting those laboratory medicine textbooks and palliative care gifts from Santa.

2. The last book I bought: I'm broke. I don't buy books.

3. The last book I read: The Mermaid Chair Sue Monk Kidd

4. 5 books that mean something to me:
Dying Well Ira Byock
Walking Across Egypt Clyde Edgerton
Sermons on the Lake Reginald Mallet
Ginger and the Cricket My Babygirl
The Road Less Traveled Scott Peck

This list could go on and on, but I'll stick to the given number. I'm an
obedient child like that :)

I'm spreading the joy to these friends...> Jennifer Tommy Eddie Tish and Steelcowboy
Summer lasts forEVER
or so it seemed when I was a kid. Back then, we got out in late May and didn't return until after Labor Day. I can still taste the excitement that went along with that last few days...the anticipation of empty months looming ahead, waiting to be filled with adventure. Of course the excitement faded quickly since I lived in the country with no neighbors and only bratty brothers to play with. Still, though. It was special and precious, one of those feelings of freedom that one never forgets.

I began working summers when I was 13 years old as a lifeguard at a local private club pool. I only made 50 cents an hour, but that was okay considering the fact that I got to gaze at all the guys and flip hamburgers while I batted my eyelashes at'em. For five full summers I lived the high life on that lifeguard stand, working on my tan and playing spades like a demon in between shifts on high. During the rainy days when the kids stayed home, we would roam around in the club playing the slots and mixing drinks like the novice bartenders that we were. Heck I would've done that gig for free! I learned a lot from the older gals and guys that I worked with, and that was a good thing. We always had each others' backs and grew to young adulthood together. Some of the best times were when we worked the private parties at night and got the pleasure of guarding the drunk adults...sheesh.

My first car was partly financed with money that I got from a settlement when some anonymous person reported the club to the Labor board, forcing them to give us what we had earned over the years while we "slaved" for 50 cents. Beat the heck out of the same amount that I made hawking strawberries one year from my Daddy's patch!

Once I wasn't able to spend the summer in the water, I came to like it less and less. Gettin' into a hot car at the end of a long work day is close to the top of my "least favorite things to do" list. Us southern gals sure do hate to sweat....especially when doing nothing but breathing. The distate factor can be multiplied by 10 for each child or bag of groceries being toted around in said heat.

Lightning bugs have been flickering their tails at me for the past couple of weeks and graduations are happening every weekend. The society pages of the newspapers are filled with wedding announcements and beach condos are booked solid for weeks on end.

Makes me wanna pull out my whistle and order some rowdy kid to pick up the paper around the pool. Instead, I think I'll just fan myself and thank the good Lord I don't have leather car seats.
Merry Memorial Day
Par for the course around here, my Christmas cactus is confused as hell. Normally it blooms around Thanksgiving, which is premature but close. I must say that an early summer blooming is out of the ordinary. Must be the perfect weather conditions since I kicked it out on the porch a couple of months ago.

I just love holidays. I work about half of 'em but it's still a different kind of atmosphere, even at the sawmill with the restless natives. It's a great excuse to cook good food and celebrate another year in paradise.

I've got some tablecloths I inherited from my grandma that make me smile every time I iron 'em and set the table. My favorite is the battenburg lace one that requires a hot iron to be presentable. There are others in the trousseau of BabyGirl, along with some china and crystal.

That's about all I have to give her....the legacy of family and the fierce love of a Mom who did the best she could with what she had.
I have to wonder to myself, "Self...Do people actually buy this crap from the spammers? If not, why do they bother to fill up our mailboxes?" Just asking. I mean, gah. I suppose it keeps a lot of people in other countries employed just generating the fake names and text that allows the stuff to slip by the spam patrol. Outsourced spam. Only in America.

Speaking of our great country, I was not at all surprised or comforted by the so-called "compromise" reached over the nuclear option. Looks like more of the same power that the wingnuts have been enjoying lately. Does anybody besides me get chills thinking about the possibilities here? If so, raise your hand high, and say "I'm tired as hell, and I AIN'T TAKING IT ANYMORE."

Lest I sound unpatriotic, I do so appreciate every life that has been lost and feel for every family that has been disrupted by this "war". I also see no end to it, and feel that it's time for somebody to get their head outta their ass and serve the people that elected them rather than their own interests. Much comedy is generated by their idiotic behavior, but they still have the power, even as we snicker. I'm just sayin....


In other news, our top story today is this:

Poop happens,and then you die. So live it up while you can and love thy neighbor, especially if she's a Desperate Housewife. That oughta help you keep the faith. ^j^
So far,i've had a great day. No, really. When I woke up today, something told me to just go with the flow and take one thing at a time instad of going at life like a damn freight train. No make-up or excuses.....Just me and whatever-the-hell-i-felt-like doing.

The town square of our little 'burg is historic and was mostly rundown and un-restored for a long time. Commerce thrived around those blocks for years at the dime store, several dress shops and a drug store or two plus the obligatory hardware hang-out. During my lifetime it has slowly begun to come back to life, mostly because the legal community restores and resides in the buildings surrounding the courthouse. From experience, I know that it's much easier to walk across the street with your attorney to do the bizness at hand than to truck it out past Wally World for your divorce.

Right off of the square there is a family owned feed and gardening type store. They've sold me many an annual and the supplies to go with. Today I needed some sunflower and thistle seed and some sevin dust. On the way out through sale trees I glanced at the used book store next door. How long had that place been there and I'd never darkened the screen door?

I wandered a bit and was greeted by the owners a decent amount of time later. One of the guys seemed to be out of place there, and I was referred to Reader who came lumbering from the stacks to answer my inquiries about Clyde . He knew who his publisher was. I was impressed, and gave him a list. I am ALL about some cheap books.

Chatting about the biz, he asked me if anybody else around here liked to read. I told him most folks go the local library or one of the glossy stores like Hastings. It didn't hit me until I got home and started making sauce for lasagna who was on my brain. Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail." That little shop of hers and the dream that went along with it is my fantasy life.

We discussed everything and nothing. That first guy had never read much internet stuff....he'd "heard" of blogs. His parting remark to me was this..."Nothing will ever replace a book." And I had to agree. I remembered the days at book festivals where I heard and bought my favorite authors that friends Marti and Sally turned me on to. I was a woman on a mission on those trips. " What can I find during this weekend to treasure during the hard times?" We also did aerobics together and raised some kids and cut our hubbies loose. Such is life.

My newspaperman friend David told me awhile back that I had stories to tell. He would write columns about faith and hope and pushing the envelope in a way that made sense to me and inspired me to do better. He always responded with humble thanks and encouragement when I'd write to him and say " Yep...I feel that way too."

The serendipity? Well it's got something to do with a big old pile of my dreams coming true in the way that I least expect it. I've been down a lot of roads before and most of them have been a dead end in some respect or another. While there were blessings to be found most every day, I knew when the gig was up and moved on, sometimes not so gracefully.

Soon as the sun gets lower I'll water and fill the bird feeders. Finish that lasagna. Try not to kick any sleepin' dawgs while I'm keeping the faith.

Same poop....
different day. I worked this weekend and was covered UP most of the time. Where do all these sick people come from anyways? The highlight of the weekend was this umm, shall we say "tribe" of women and children ( about 10 or 15, at least ) all sitting in a circle outside the building smoking and bitchin'. At each other. At people on cellphones. At the kids. At life in general. Every one of 'em had at least one tatoo, several had multiples. ( We ain't talkin' cute little butterflies folks,or even MOM ) Imagine the cousin-wives of a herd of Hell's Angels and you got the picture. Not a shoe to be found on any foot in the circle :) I'm not makin' fun though. That's not NICE. Last word I got from a co-worker was that the "natives are gettin' restless out there". We are sooooo easily entertained. That even topped this week's fire drill!

Out in the yard, I've got tomato plants blooming and staked. There's a bird nest in progress in the hanging basket of petunias right by the front door. This should be interesting considering the two cats and two dogs that reside here. I just hope a damn snake doesn't slither up to it. I'd have to lay down and die right then and there. "Here lies Poopie. Dropped dead from fear of snakes." Y'all put that on my tombstone, along with "Died as a Born Again Virgin."

I see in the news that we are still throwing gas on that fire over in Iraq and the casualties continue to mount. I read today a piece about the number of Arabic translators who have been mutilated and murdered just for aiding our country ( for $$ of course). Approximately 40% of the translators for that gig on the payroll of one particular company are dead. While searching the world for a new and exciting job, I don't think I'll consider that one. I don't look good without a head.

I am quite excited to see the number of politicians who are putting up their own blogs. One of the coolest I've seen is by John Jay Hooker , an old-timer in Tennessee politics. Michael Silence did a piece today in the Knoxville News Sentinel about blogging being the "new front porch". It's a good read about Tennessee bloggers and the whole blog phenomena. (registration required)

Okay now. I've used the word blog about a kazillion times, so Hoss is gonna send me straight to the naughty corner for time out. Since Miss Scarlett has mysteriously disappeared, maybe I can take her place as resident redneck 'til she returns. Cuz I just KNOW she will.

Keep the faith kids. Poopie's watchin'{desperate housewives}and y'all.
Let's eat!
While my parents are away visiting Mr and Mrs Baby Brother, I'm in charge of watering the flowers and plants that will die in the Tennessee heat if they don't get a drink every day. Wandering through that house void of their presence allowed me to hear a bit of their spirits whispering to me.

The kitchen has always been the center of activity in their home. As I walked through there today sans AC, the first memory that popped into my mind was what we like to call the "Red Faced Supper". Mom always cooked them and as an adult I did as well. Here's the scene: It's late June or July, and the produce has started coming in from the garden. There's a meat, like sliced pork tenderloin or chicken, fried up first and covered appropriately with a dishtowel as it sits on the stovetop awaiting the rest of the feast.

The oven is pre-heated to 450 for the homemade cornbread and every eye on that stove is topped with a skillet of oil to FRY FRY FRY. Choices vary. Sometimes it's okra, other times green tomatoes or yellow squash. As I've mentioned before.....eggplant doesn't fry well :) There's usually a pot of purple hull peas or green beans already cooked and waitin' to be nuked at the last minute. The peaches'n cream corn can be microwaved as well, or cut off the cob and slathered with butter and a pinch of sugar that will cook down just right. NOTE: ( To the health conscious and Yankees among you. Take your Prevacid daily during this season. Olive or canola oils fry just as well as the bad stuff and you only live once, so give it up already. Have some baked fish for lunch or somethin')

It's so dang hot in that kitchen that the gallon jug of sweet tea is sweating! And also the cook. This is not a good time to come across with capricious demands on the cook. Tempers tend to flare under these conditions so unruly children or smartass husbands should lay low. Do not attempt to "Kiss the Cook" until after she's had a shower.

The ripe homegrown tomatoes are sliced, at room temp. The butter for the cornbread is already melted on the dish from the heat of the room and the cook has a fan blowing over the whole deal to be able to breathe. Damn flies! *whack*

It's hard to get anything done with kids circling the stove eatin' the hot treats off of the paper towels, but eventually it's all done and it's over in about 15 minutes. Then the cook gets to clean up all those skillets.

No wonder Cracker Barrel is so popular.
Sorry for the tease......
The Frist letter has been changed to public now, in case you're interested!
Follow That Star had this on his site today and I decided to check it out. Mine pretty much fits me perfectly, especially the givin' more than gettin' part :)

Your Birthdate: September 9

Your birth on the 9th day of the month adds a tone of idealism and humanitarianism to your nature.

You become one who can work easily with people because you are broadminded, tolerant and generous.

You are ever sensitive to others' needs and feelings, and you are very sympathetic and compassionate.

Your feeling run deep and you often find yourself in dramatically charged situations.

This 9 energy always tends to give more that it gets.

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?
....and the horse you rode in on
I've had two days off and have accomplished exactly ~ zilch ~ other than pullin' some weeds and rearranging the bills on my kitchen table. Most of my time has been spent seeing the light of my situation.

Here's the deal, short version. Almost twenty eight years of busting my ass in healthcare has landed me right where I started. I don't take call anymore, which is a blessing. But they also don't pay me what I'm worth ( cliche, I know ) and my loyalty and devotion to my co-workers and patients is rewarded with a cold hamburger and a plastic flashlight. When they're feeling generous, I get a t-shirt. If not, well. I get a screaming kid kicking me in the shins or a drunk/pscyho trying to punch me out. Let's not forget the egotistical doctors who love to shove everybody around so they can feel big. It's a thrill a minute.

There is more to life than barely making a living as a "professional". Neither of my brothers went to college that first day, yet both are happier and more content than Poopie because they have followed their dreams and listened to their hearts while I took the habitual road that has led nowhere career wise.

I'm not whining. Honest. I'm just takin' stock and building up the courage to do something different. It's been twenty eight years of the big fish eating the little fish while Poopie ranted and saw no difference for the rant, except for higher BP and lower self esteem plus lots of sicknesses coughed on me full face, droplet wise.

Next chapter? I don't have a clue. I'm just listening for the Big Guy to tell me what's up.
Letter from the Rich and Famous
I don't talk politics much around here because, umm..well, the current state of our disunion pisses me off. And it makes me feel helpless, which also pisses me off. I just had to share the joy though. Really.

Awhile back I fired off an angry little ditty to my home state senator, FRIST in response to his grandstanding in Congress to "save Terri Schiavo". I am quite slow to anger but boy when I do, you better watch out. Poopie can let it fly with the best of those filibusterin' idiots.

Imagine my surprise when I received a reply from Senator Frist which read as follows:

Dear Ms. Poopie:

frist text

OH! Well, that's different! Don't you feel better now????????
We Danced
Yup...Poopsie and Janie and Eliza Jane. All three of us us shook our tails while Carlos wailed on Supernatural and all of the past melted away to tears and faith. I'm cleanin' house now with a purpose. I've got things to do and places to go.

I had an old high school friend named Debbie who quoted her real estate mogul philosophy to me early on and I thought she was nuts. " I only live in a house long enough for it to get dirty. Then I pick up and move somewhere else." I realized today that I've been chasing a dream for some time now. I'm scared and lonely and drowning in the $$ it takes to live "at home" on the farm. She gave me a brass doorknocker when she sold my old house and paved the way for the best years I've had. I never put the brass thingy up though. I knew it would never be MINE.

The three of us are listening to JT now. Dayum. That old man can sure make ya think.

You've Got a Friend
Carol King

When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there

Ain't it good to know that you've got a friend
When people can be so cold
They'll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don't you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

Girl's Best Friend
As I was coming down the lane one day this week I glanced over into the freshly plowed field and spotted two coyotes standing there in broad daylight checking me out. They stood close together and paused on their trek from one thicket of woods to the next giving me a chance to stop and gaze in wonder at something many folks will never see. I have seen them before and hear them often, but this time it struck me how fearless these critters must be to not run at the sight of a car passing by. They are used to being in the vicinity of humans and other critters and they are non-plussed by all of it. In short, it's their territory.

Pepper was a blue heeler mix that I got as a surprise pup for BabyGirl while she was gone to summer camp one year. Her friend Lori Brooke rode with me to pick her up at camp and when we pulled into the yard she had a FIT when she saw that puppy. We had lost her first dog, Penny,to heartworms a few years before and the grief was heavy for a long time. Pepper was just the answer to that hole in our souls requiring puppy sugars.

He grew quickly as larger dogs will, in spite of gettin' run over by a couple of old ladies out joy riding on our road when he was just a baby. We were out for a walk with him trailing me. As I moved out of the way for the old-lady-mobile to creep by, I spotted this black and gray ball come rolling out from under them! I carried him home and he stayed under the bed for several days nursing his pride and his wounds. Another time he fell OUT of the back of my ex's pickup truck which was going a LOT faster than the old ladies had been. He bounced across the pavement a few times, did the hide under the bed trick for a week, and was good as new, even though he never did ride in a pickup again. EVER!

Pepper roamed and took a lot of chances in the name of having a good time. He was the mascot for the golf course behind us for years. I still have a copy of a tournament poster with a picture of Pepper sitting in the cart right next to his old buddy Charlie. What started as a stray dog stealing hot dogs off the back of carts turned into a huge love affair between golfers and their special friend.

He was fierce and protective of me and BabyGirl. When I worked in the yard or went for a walk he was right by my side every step of the way. If someone had tried to hurt me, he would've taken them apart limb by limb. A couple of Octobers ago, I found two dead racoons in my yard. This was unusual because Pepper patrolled that yard so well that NO critters ever dared to cross the line. He turned up on the porch later that day with his face swollen and torn. My plan was to take him to the vet the next day.

I never got the chance. He disappeared that,night never to be seen again. We all figure that he crawled off somewhere to die alone like dogs tend to do. The rest of the story came later by accident. Daddy was telling me about how his friend trapped some coons in his back yard in town and dropped them off out here on the farm. Of course, being in town coons, they were used to going up into yards and looking for food. Pepper wouldn't have had any part of that. And he died protecting his Mama.

We almost never got over that one. No sign of him ever found....no collar, nothing. I like to think that he survived yet another near calamity and lives happily somewhere munching on hot dogs and ridin' in a golf cart.

And the next dog we got? We named her Faith.

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to good manners and elegance.

In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage pessimistically. You don't think happy marriages exist anymore.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.

What Are The Keys To Your Heart?

Hmmm...Dunno about that stylish stuff. After all, I'm mostly a redneck :)
Living Vicariously
The great sarcastic wit of Bennet turned touchy feely today as he pondered his love-hate relationship with blogging. ( I love it when he and Bugs Butt ponder.) The feelings he expresses are some that I have seen quite frequently of late as I wander through the blogosphere. ( sorry Hoss , "pieceosphere" )

Some people may live and breathe for the chance to blog. Bennet compares it to his "addiction" to chat in earlier years. I have read that analogy more than once. I have seen spirits crushed because of anonymous nasty comments or failure to "blogroll me". It can be like a dang popularity contest if you let it be. Are we in the 8th grade or WHAT??

This makes me think. Why do I continue to blog? Here's one of the few lists you will ever see old Poopie make.

To blog is to create: I am a writer at heart. Words are my gift to others, whether written or spoken. Left unsaid or unwritten, they burn a hole in the soul of the silent one.

Therapy is expensive: and not in the budget of a middle aged single gal without a Sugar Daddy. I find that the daily laughs, tears and food for thought that I experience while blogging tend to make me examine myself more closely and
step a bit more lightly. Not to mention it's a wonderful opportunity to whine.

It's a small world: Friendship is a precious thing, no matter what its' origin. Relatives have to love you....friends CHOOSE to. That affirmation of self worth can mean more than any legal or blood relationship around. Reading the opinions and beliefs of others expands my own horizons and gives me a greater sense of what the world is like outside of mainstream media and politics.

Cheers: Sometimes you just need to go where "everybody knows your name".

Blog-Harmony: Hey, it's a great way to meet men you didn't go to high school with!

It makes ya think: 'Nuf said. Y'all keep the faith.
Janie's Got a Gun
I don't know about y'all, but I'm damn tired of typing about funerals and heavy stuff, so I'm changin' gears today. I know you have all sorely missed the hilariously dorky adventures of the middle aged child who calls herself Poopie.

The word of the week over at Cybervassals is holster. The general idea is to use the word in a post or comment and fabulous prizes await the most creative wordster. If it turns out to be a tropical island getaway for me and the man of my dreams, will somebody please donate some vacation hours so I can take advantage of my win and still pay the light bill?

^j^ ^j^ ^j^ ^j^

Some of the FUNNEST times I've ever had in my life were in a raft on the whitewater of the Ocoee River . Now, the rafting in itself is a riot. On one trip I witnessed this poor hysterical woman who climbed up on a rock about 50 feet from put-in and refused to move. She wasn't gettin' back into THAT raft on THAT river! I guess she stayed there until (a) her buddies pulled a gun out of the raft's holster to get her to move her butt or (b) a helicopter rescued her from that rock. Too bad she missed the "surfing" on those holes downriver. These guides are like magicians with a raft and can take the most motley crew of novices and make it a great adventure to safely navigate around the bridge pillars. As long as they're over 13 :)

The most amazing part of the whole deal is that the river is dam controlled by the TVA which splits water time with the tourism industry. If your shuttle is the first of the day up the mountain road, what you see is an empty river bed. An empty very big and ROCKY river bed. As you travel higher in that big yellow bus, trickles begin to flow that turn into a steady flow that turns into whitewater madness by the time vests are strapped on and rafts launched. The last time I was there, preparations were underway for Olympic kayaking competitions. I couldn't participate though....my two year old with chicken pox wanted her Mommy back home ;)

Gotta run.....Bernie's got a hairball.
Funeral Clothes
There's this unspoken set of rules, particularly in the South, that says one must have decent duds to show up for a visitation or burial. In the minds of many it's "No suit or black dress, no show." Reminds me of all those folks who don't go to church because they don't have anything to wear. Hogwash. God doesn't give a flip what you've got on, and neither does the dearly beloved deceased. To some that suit and tie and pantyhose thing may be an element of respect. In my book, just my presence is paying my respects.

Let's visit the visitation, shall we? An already grieved family is forced to get up and at 'em when they least feel like it and more than likely are still in shock. The church ladies bring food and people share memories and there's 3 days paid leave to pack your sadness up and move on. Two of those days are spent making arrangements and showing up for lines out the wazoo to hear people say "I'm sorry" and "I remember when...."

I'm a big believer in being at the cemetary. Nothing much says the end of this earthly life more clearly than seeing that casket lowered or the ashes scattered from the mountaintop. I can cook pies and ham from here to eternity, yet I still might only be one more thank you note in addition to the flower people. I think I'll send a card or hang with the bereaved during the long months of grief ahead.

BabyGirl's boyfriend will bury his daddy tomorrow. He lost him years ago, but it's never easy to say that last goodbye.

I'll be meetin' him at the cemetary in my scrubs. And I imagine we'll talk about it some more in days to come and keep the faith.

girls just wanna have fun
There was a time in my life when these gals were my best pals. There was a fifth one who didn't make it into this pic for some reason or another. We celebrated every birthday, holiday and FRIDAY afternoon as if it were the most important event in the world. We worked together and played together for years on end and produced a history that I will never forget. Mucho drama.

I still don't really understand what happened, except that life just kept moving forward. One moved away and all but 2 of us left the job for something different. Our kids grew up and parents got older and died. Poop happens.

I think that's one of the most difficult things for me to understand about the passages of life. How you can be so close to somebody for so long and then have them virtually disappear from your life. Were they not friends to begin with? Fair weather? Was it simply the survivor mentality of being in the same place at the same time, like with siblings?

Looking back I see that most of my friendships follow that pattern of great intensity that moves into "I'm always there for you but I'm outta here." Usually the basis is some commonality like work or church or kids in school or sports together. High school friends are like that, with a few exceptions. Everybody gets all fired up at each 10 year mark and then "poof"...it's over.

Very few of my friends are dealing with the things that I'm experiencing right now. Most of them have spouses. While my kid is comfortably moving out of the nest, many of my friends have toddlers hanging on their legs or grandchildren to play with or angst ridden teenagers glaring at them. The majority are comfortable financially.

And me? I'm just here in paradise with my dog and my thoughts and the sound of the wind blowing through the pines as I pull weeds and live one day at a time.

I consider myself fortunate.

The Big Five O
I found out today that I share a birthday with the great legend Gumby . Both of us turn 50 this year and his party has already started with a huge opening at the Lynn House Gallery in California to be followed by a six month exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Gumby's creator Art Clokey, who is 83 himself, says this about the little green hero: "If you've got a heart, then Gumby's a part of you. That's what it's all about."

I wonder what he thinks about Eddie Murphy's portrayal of Gumby on SNL...Personally, I still snicker when I see it. Dammit!

my grandaddy Posted by Hello
My old friend Laura used to make fun of her Canada to Tenneessee transplanted neighbors because they dug stuff up in the yard and moved it around. Evidently they knew the joys of perennials as I do. Since last night's rain softened up the dirt, I took the opportunity today to dig up some multiplied treasures and fill in the empty spots. I've bought a few perennials in my time, but most of them are gifts from other people's yards.

There's the purple coneflower from Sally. Day lilies from my Daddy, plus a lot of other things I don't even know the names of. A perennial salvia from my aunt and uncle's yard..lamb's ear from Stacey's house. Riverbed and roadside ferns plus hostas divided X infinity.

My few purchases have included a butterfly bush collection and some stargazer lilies. They continue to delight me each and every growing season. In fact, I host the "Stargazer Lily Festival" in late June if weather permits and I'm in a good mood. Time will tell.

Suzanne gave me four'oclock sprouts and Mamye and Mitzi contribute moonflower seeds every year. Mrs. Council's legacy to me is hydrangea, peony, tiger lily and others too numerous to list. Whenever there's a funeral and some thoughtful soul sends a mum, into the ground it goes.

I'm not much on roses unless they're delivered to me with a love note. I have one pink rose bush that appeared out of nowhere some time ago in a shady spot. It thrives since I've moved it into the sunny bed.

There is a row of three miracle fruit trees that survived from 10 I bought as sticks from the Arbor Day Foundation for a buck apiece. Pink ladies aka surprise lilies from somebody sometime or another. A hollyhock that will do it's thing this year. What a tease they are with the every other year business.

Being a poor gal and all I think perennials kick annuals' asses easily. A few pots and a vinca here and there and VOILA. Low maintenance, just like old Poopie.

I'm growing that idea, ya hear?

Coming soon to a yard near you....bachelor's buttons, black eyed susans, coreopsis and autumn clematis.

Wish I had the camera, but you get the picture. If I ever leave here it'll take a large truck to carry my transplants to the new home.
"It was a dark and stormy night......"
and I woke to loud thunder and brilliant lightning through the bedroom window. Within 5 minutes, I was laying in the dark silence due to a power outage. You see, I have this really fierce attachment to the white noise of a box fan when I'm sleeping. When it stops, that's an instant signal for my eyes to pop open. I have even travelled with that fan in the past. Once as I was lugging it through a hotel lobby, another gal pointed and laughed. " I have to have my fan too!"

I did my usual chores today which included hauling off the week's garbage and buying my half tank of gas. ( I'm hoping to fill up when I get paid :) On the way home I noticed magnolia blooms on the trees at the bottom of the lane. They're always JUST out of reach in the beginning until the blooming moves downward. These two trees are also wrapped in honeysuckle. Doesn't get much better than that. The lane is covered UP with those little hangy down things from the pecan trees.

My good friend and fellow whiner Michael bought me a beer last night which always helps when you're down. Who says blog friends aren't real?
Y'all have a good weekend.
Oh...and keep the faith. ^j^
Just my Luck
My heart wrenching from the gut post got caught in Blogger's scheduled downtime. Just as well. It was whiny and much a pity party.

Maybe Friday 13 ain't so bad after all!
Poopie and Ethel
Back when BabyGirl and I first faced life without somebody to take care of the honey-dos, each stuck pickle jar or flat tire was a challenge. It's amazing the things girls learn to do when they find themselves manless. Our battle cry each and every time we navigated a crisis was " Who needs a man!". I thought about her today when I changed the washing machine hoses the Lucy and Ethel way.

Looking back, I think it was a way to help us feel like we had some kind of control over the chaos we found ourselves in, which was two girls against the world and all the heartache therein. We were a sorority of two and the hazing was pure hell week stuff. She and I both became stronger women because of it.

Since then, we've both found that men can be kinda cool, in their own way. An honest loving one is a pure joy, but they're hard to find. Take the baggage away and many times all you have left is a little boy who wants it all and listens with his pecker. Keep movin' boyz. I ain't yo momma, and I'm worth a helluva lot more than that.

"It's good to be queen." Mary Englebreit

The good old (almost)? summertime
There's this joke that floats into my in-box now and then entitled "You Know You Live in Tennessee When..." One of the punch lines is about turning on the heat and the AC in the same day. This ain't much of a stretch, folks. There was a light freeze a week or so ago, and today the temp hit 90. NINETY. Factor in the humidity and you've got yourself a nice muggy mid-summer day, only the first day of summer is still over a month away! How dare the weather not go by the calendar. Nobody's even got their pool open yet..gah.

Kudzu and Virginia creeper are lovin' the heat and taking over every spare inch of ground and tree space. The pecan trees that line our little country lane have big old ropes of creeper swinging in the wind. There was a nice breeze at my brother's "second home" down towards the mighty Mississippi this evening when he fried up some crappie filets and trimmings for me and my parents. YUM. Made even better by eating on the picnic table.

I'm thinking maybe I fried my muse's brain last week with all that Mother's Day posting. I'm about as worthless right now in the writing department as you-know-whats on a boar hog :) I get a bonus day off tomorrow so maybe something will come to me.

Y'all keep the faith. ^j^
M is for meeting
..and what could be better than TWO on a Monday? I'll tell you what! Finally biting the bullet and gettin' some dang Prem Pro..that's what! My elder :) friends tell me I'll be a new woman in no time. I sure as heck hope so. 'Nuf said. I'll keep you posted on my progress out of the pits of hell.

My cousin called a bit ago with a dilemma. You see, she's in a living arrangement that might not suit her mother very well, yet she is happier than she's ever been in her life. I'm only a year older than her, but she called me looking for "older and wiser" advice. Humph. I told her straight up that I wasn't THAT much older, but was soooo very much wiser. On a good day.

Anyways....the conversation got me to thinkin' about how even as adults, and I'm talking full grown ones, we seek our parents' approval for our actions like little kids. I think the middle aged years are all about the reconciliation that comes as part of shifting from the child mode with parents to becoming their caretakers and friends. It is a unique opportunity to heal the wounds of the past and work on a new and different kind of relationship with the ones who raised you and know you best.

Parents are not perfect and the wise ones don't try to be. They share their weaknesses with their kids just as often as they exert their control and power during the development of their children's lives. Roles switch naturally when the time comes IF that middle aged child is humble enough to say "This is who I am ( no justification..)

I figured that by now I would have someone to share my life with in the ways I've always dreamed about, including the family stuff. That hasn't been the case and sometimes I wonder where it all go. Mostly I just wonder how to keep the bills paid on my own and keep the dream alive.

Cuz told me that she is enjoying, for the first time ever, the feeling of being cared for....TRULY cared for, without legal obligation or baggage.

Older and wiser Poopie told her to go for it. After all, life is short and Moms end up loving you anyway.

make my day Posted by Hello
If anybody has ever bothered to read my self-description over there on the right, you will notice that I mention a fear of snakes. I'm not talkin' about just a little "Gee, I'd prefer not to run into a snake" state of mind. I am CONSTANTLY on the lookout for Mr. Snake underfoot when I'm out rambling in the yard or woods. When weeding flower beds, I carefully part the greenery to avoid grabbing ahold of the evil one that I cannot see.

Such was the case today as I was doing a way overdue weed pulling in the shade garden under the pine trees. Imagine my sheer delight when I stood up and came face to face with the above pictured sweetie pie wrapped around the branches of the redbud tree. YIKES. He was right at eye level with those beady little eyes staring out of that nasty little head straight at me!

Self: You are a grown woman...it's just a little snake.
Poopie: LITTLE! That snake is 4 feet long!!
Self: Time for a little aversion therapy, hon. Stand there and stare him down.
Poopie: I hate you when you're rational, self.
Self: Look at how he's stretching his slimy little body up from one branch to reach the next one.
Self: Watch as he moves higher up in the tree so he can take a big long dive right into your flower bed!
Poopie: *sigh* Put a muzzle on it, self. I'm outta here for a beer.


Speaking of snakes Old Horsetail Snake has dumped my Mother's day gift off in the form of a poetic little meme that goes like this: Turd in a punch bowl are the 1st and 3rd lines, you make up the 2nd and 4th lines and they have to rhyme.

His was:
Turd in a punch bowl,
It resembles Ol' Hoss
Turd in a punch bowl,
Drowned. It's not a big loss.

He thinks I'm a good sport and all, so I don't want to disappoint.

Turd in a punch bowl,
Who dropped it there?
Turd in a punch bowl,
Drink if you dare.

The taggin' part is easy this time: I figure Lightning Bugs Butt , Ben and Dayna will find this right up their alley, humor wise. Ya'll are officially turd tagged. No haiku allowed.

Gabby's Mom Posted by Hello
Big Day
My friend Kim is the kind I'd have to kill if she ever turned on me. She knows all my secrets and 99% of my weaknesses. It's a fact that I won't deny. We have propped each other up through 2 divorces and a multitude of heartbreaks plus the insanity of the day to day life called work and kids.

At the ripe old age of 26 she will graduate tomorrow with a Master's as a Physician's Assistant. More importantly, she will spend her first Mother's Day off with Gabby since her birth 4.5 years ago. Kim is a weekend warrior in healthcare who has devoted her weekdays to school the past few years. I'm proud of those gals :)

Congratulations. You made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Catch 22
Today wasn't really spent as I would have chosen if I were in charge of the world. The temp topped 80 and it would've been a great work-on-your-tan day out in the yard. Instead, I put on makeup and real clothes and went to a funeral.

Jason died a week ago in San Diego. His last service and final rest came today in the tiny West Tennessee town where he grew up. We're talkin' funeral home next to Dollar General, okay? His amazing 22 year old life was shared in bits and pieces by the folks who came to pay their respects with tears and stories. He was born in Turkey to an unwed med student who had a fling with her professor. She was so ashamed that she denied the pregnancy and didn't eat for 9 months, prompting the doctors to tell his prospective adoptive parents that he would most likely be in ill health when pickup time came. His birth mother's teeth fell out from the malnutrition of the lie.

Shirley didn't care whether he was a genius or a slobbering idiot....she wanted this kid with all of her heart. And so it went. He was adopted into a working class family in rural West Tennessee where he thrived as a homegrown boy that everybody loved. Smart as hell. Athletic. Appreciative for his miracle last minute save from a Turkish orphanage.

Eulogies for Jason were given by the paunchy old elementary school principal who scouted him for football early on and a college classmate from UTK. The preacher was mercifully brief with his promises of heavenly mansions. His comment at the beginning was this: " We could all say a prayer and AMEN right now and our job would be done just by your presence here today." That made me think. About how small the world really is.

His best friends Nick and Jack and Lane and a few others cried like babies and did what real men do when the going gets tough...they stuck by their buddy. Somehow that gives me comfort in a world where everything is all messed up.

It helps me to keep the faith.

tiny dancer Posted by Hello
~ ~ the end ~ ~
This post is an anticlimax of sorts. I have devoted this week to reliving memories of my Mom and sharing them with the world. The picture above is my favorite Janice pic of all time. Notice the "Ms. Thang" pose and the big old question mark on her dance costume. It is the essence of who she is as a woman and a mother.

I asked her today if she had enjoyed her Mother's Day blogs. With her typical devotion to Daddy, she said " Well, you know, I was never a superMOM. Your daddy helped with EVERYTHING." That was beside the point....it's Mother's Day eve eve.
Daddy will have his day.

Someone once said to me "As long as you are alive, your parents will live through you." That's a very inspiring thought to me, and one that makes me want to do my best to make them proud. I am so much like my Mama in many many ways that bless my life and the lives of others. I love to cook, and she has taught me well with the experience of generations before her. We cry easily when touched in the right spot, or when we're really mad or tired. That's a blessing in my book...to be able to experience the release of what is bugging you and move onto the joy of the next smile.

She showed me the joy of reading and of writing your thoughts. She has always held me accountable for my actions and stuck with me while I struggled to reconcile who I am with who I am not. She gives me a ride when my car is occupied and shares the humor of her day with me. She will go out of her way to make someone...ANYONE...feel special. Her devotion to serving others is an inspiration for me. Whenever I pay it forward, it's because of the example that she and Daddy have set for me with their "good steward" approach to life.

I see my Mother in me on a daily basis, and also in my daughter. And that. Well. That is a legacy worth celebrating.

I *heart* you Mom.

Keep the faith. ^j^
Bonez finds the coolest toyz . He got 9, I got a measly 7.

Friday Cat Blogging Posted by Hello

Mom the graduate Posted by Hello
Justice.....Better Late Than Never
Largely due to the persistence of filmmaker Keith Beauchamp the body of Emmett Till will be exhumed in the next few weeks for an autopsy, the first ever performed.. This piece by police officer/freelance writer Mark Gado is a chilling reminder of cruelty that sparked the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in the south.

Read it and weep.
the arrangements
Heather and BabyGirl met in jr high and played volleyball together. As young teenagers they pushed the envelope in a variety of ways and tested my patience. I always felt good about Heather, though. She was responsible....took care of 3 younger siblings and did well in school. When she and mine snuck out of the house for the night, Heather was the one who knew where they'd been. BabyGirl didn't have a clue.

Heather's first love was a guy named Jason from a neighboring county who could drive. He and his buddies would come to our town and scoop the girls up for a night away from the doldrums of overprotective mommies like me. Somewhere during the high school years, Jason's mom died of heart disease and left him a teenage orphan. Her boyfriend tried to keep him down home like she would've wanted, but the rich aunt in California lured him away.

I can only imagine the high life that he lived. He came back a few times, but it was never the same. His buddies rambled all over the place trying to find themselves and Jason played football and moved to San Diego where the weather is perfect year round. Somebody found him dead in his bed last weekend.

It's a long hearse ride from CA to TN. There was an autopsy and a service there. He'll be back home this weekend with the people who knew him way back when and still love him like his surrogate Mom and his best girl.

Sure does make ya think and be grateful for what you have.

Keep the faith. ^j^

the wild bunch Posted by Hello
Janice the World Traveler
My Mom was has never been one to cool her heels for long. She has made it a regular part of her life to travel, often only on short day trips, and experience life to the fullest. There were always excursions with different groups who seemed to travel well together....the bridge club one time, next time the group of old high school buddies. With little kids, it was hard to do much of an extended trip to anywhere. I distinctly remember our trip to Atlanta and Stone Mountain when I rode for 8 hours in the backseat between two wiggly little brothers. I stayed in the hotel room during the sight seeing just to get some peace! If I remember correctly, that was our last Chevy Chase vacation ;)

She and Daddy took a lot of weekend trips together as we got older and out of the "they'll tear the house down while we're gone" phase. One weekend when they were gone to a University of Tennessee football game, I sneaked INTO the house and threw a party. My friends helped me clean up all nice and neat and I actually thought I was home free...UNTIL. Mom started finding hidden evidence under the furniture during the next week. Busted again! ( I never said I was real smart about being mischievous.) After we all flew the coop they began a series of relaxing weekend visits with their couple friends to the White River in Arkansas. I do believe that those are the funnest times they've had together.

Two of Mom's solo trips stand out in my mind. Former astronaut Don Peterson is the brother-in-law of one of her closest friends. She went with friend and hubby to see him blast into space as a crew member on the Challenger in 1983. His signed picture still hangs on the wall! Much much later, she began saving her nickels and dimes and quarters for a trip to Europe with her gal pals. She was a basket case before they left, but they had a ball! My favorite piece of memorabilia is a hand painted bone china dish from England which holds my jewelry. Hmm...as a matter of fact, my keychain still has the "Hard Rock Cafe, Paris" on it too :)

She and the high school buds have a standing engagement for a few days every spring and fall at nearby Lake Barkley. They carpool from various locations, bring food and spend a few days catching up on each other lives...with a good dose of talking about old memories. Very soon, she and Daddy will be flying to Virginia for their first visit to my brother's new home.

That Janice! She's always had the wanderlust for new places and things. Perhaps she realizes the value of getting away to help clear the mind and appreciate home.

baby janice Posted by Hello
Because I SAID SO...That's Why!
My brothers and I were not easy children to raise. Not that we tortured small animals or went to the slammer or anything. We were just...ummm.....in Dr James Dobson's words "strong willed." Each of us marched to a different drummer at our own pace and most of the time that wreaked havoc for Janice Ann, the SuperMom. You know how some families have the "good child" and the "bad child". Let's just say she had three very different "mischievous" children to keep up with.

Living in the country provided more than the usual number of ways to get our butts in a crack. Fire was a big fascination for all of us. We burned the trash in a barrel, and one day the elder boy and "middle child" decided to make a flag out of a burning sheet. He dipped it out of the barrel on the end of a stick and was waving it around wildly when it landed on his arm. YOWZA. Another time, he and baby boy were playing in a cotton trailer and it was mysteriously set on fire. Guess who bailed and left the baby boy in the burning trailer! When I was a pre-teen I set my bulletin board in fire IN MY ROOM just to see how quick it would go up. Hmm..and I was a Jr Fire Marshal and everything!

The cattle were not only our bread and butter but a great source of amusement for bored country kids. On the day I decided to run away from home to the back pasture ( complete with suitcase packed with pics of the family ) my cousin Deb and brothers followed me to make sure I got settled into my new "home" okay. It only took an hour or so of the heat to change my mind. As we headed back to the house Debbie thought it would be fun to stir the cows up a bit. She stripped off her red top and stood on a fencepost waving it wildly. Let's just say you've never seen kids run so fast in your life as we did when those cows got after us.
I beat Bubba's tail in the barn, and he paid me back by chasing me with a butcher knife. Tommy picked the lock on my bedroom door with a bobby pin time and time again just to hear me squeal. There was never a dull moment.

One of the things I respect the most about my Mom is that she never tried to force me to be something that I wasn't. When I passed on joining the high school sorority of which she had been president, she supported my decision. My quirks, while not particularly endearing, were what made me who I was and she was proud of that. Still is to this day. The only time I ever remember gettin' my smart mouth slapped was when I was around 14 and I deserved it. The rest of the time she let it roll off her back with the patience of a saint.

Around the age or 13 or so, I got the bright idea to sneak out and meet an older boy. I hadn't been out of the house very long when I saw the lights come on and I knew I was busted. After stealing a few smooches and concocting a big tale about "night jogging" I came back in to find Mom sitting on the couch waitin' for me. Daddy was out looking for me and we sat in silence until he got back. He walked in with his head down low, and said " I couldn't find her." When he looked up he spotted me sitting there and began to cry. I have never felt so small or so bad in my entire life. And I never did it again. Thus began the joke between Grandma and BabyGirl around the age of 10. Mom would smile real big and say " Now, honey....whenever you get ready to crawl out that window, you just call Memaw and I'll bring you a ladder!."
Did I mention she's got a great sense of humor too?
Monday Monday
All day long. The book I just finished features a girl named Lily who knew her life was chaos when she wore her days-of-the-week panties on the wrong days. Today I felt like I forgot to put mine on, even.

I'm not sure what that's all about, except maybe just a bad hair day and fatigue. Plus a visit to the dentist. EWWW. And maybe just a teeny weensy bit about mowing the yard in the cold. This is TENNESSEE! geaww.

You may have noticed that this is "Honor Thy Mother" week here at the Poopie's place. So, no cursing or drinkin' or sex talk, y'all hear? Gambling is allowed as long as the stakes are low.

And quit snickering like that...your face will freeze that way.

cook at work...the usual pose :) Posted by Hello
Janice the SuperMOM
Needless to say, my mom's college career was cut a bit short by the entrance of Poopie into the world. I did the math and figured that I was born a full year and a half after the nuptials. Whew :) One time I asked my Daddy if my youngest brother ( who is 8 yrs younger than me ) was "planned". He died laughing and asked if I thought any of us were planned! Okay, I guess the timing on the firstborn could've been a little better, huh?

We lived the first year in Martin while he finished college, then it was back to the outskirts of the old hometown. Home was ( and still is, to them ) an old log cabin on the farm he has managed since 1958. It's gone through some cosmetic and structural changes, but the spirit of that old hunting lodge is still there with bare logs visible on inside walls. I cherish the memory of sleeping in the largely unfinished upstairs with a big attic fan lulling me and my brothers at night.

As long as I can remember, my mom worked fulltime. That was, though not uncommon, not the norm back then. The sixties was an era of change both politically and socially and women entering the workforce for life became the status quo. The first job I remember tagging along with her to was as a newspaper reporter for the primo rag here in town. She did society and general news and ended up doing a column on cooking called From the Back Burner. I credit her writing skills for giving ME the interest in writing. She was famous near and far for the recipes in her weekly column and we were the lucky recipients of all that good cookin'! Decades later, those recipes would be turned into a cookbook by the same name.

Since we were country folk, there was always a garden full of great stuff to eat....purple hulls, corn, okra, squash, green beans and tomatoes were regulars. A few years we even had eggplant, though that didn't go over too well with the kiddos . Even now, a pot of fresh purple hull peas is my favorite indulgence. Cooked with bacon, of course. What I didn't realize, was the amount of work that went into having all this good stuff year round. Mom would work all day, care for 3 kids, and be up 'til 2am canning the produce so we could enjoy it later.

She always made things special, especially holidays. One of the ways we celebrated the holidays was to make her special cut-out cookie recipe in the shape of the season and decorate them with colored icing. None of the 3 of us kids EVER went to a school Christmas party without enough meticulously decorated Santa faces for the whole class. I still make them when I'm in the "I need to feel my childhood" mood. She and I both made them with my daughter. It's a tradition to give and get iced hearts for Valentine's Day.

I think one of the reasons that she was able to keep her sanity through all this was her devotion to her friends, particularly her bridge club. This same group of women, give or take a few, have played bridge on a regular basis as long as I can remember. Tuesday night was bridge night.....no ifs ands or buts. When it was HER turn to host, I was thrilled to visit with all the ladies as they fussed over me and told me how I'd changed and grown. They play during the day now :) I tried to learn the game a few times, but it seemed like WAYYYYY too much thinkin' for me.

She packed us all up for church every Sunday and propped the sleeping boys on her shoulder while Daddy sang in the choir. She even converted her Southern Baptist hubby to Methodism in the name of worshipping as a family. Her heritage in the church of her childhood that she still attends is a great comfort to me. Same building. Different look. I see her as one of John Wesley's most precious circuit riders.
JARS: The early years
I swear, that's my mom's initials. Janice Ann Reaves Stafford. It makes for a classy monogram, y'all. She is the oldest of 3 kids born to Harold and Geraldine Reaves and one of 2 still living. Her sister Nancy is alive and well though the baby brother is long gone, by his own doing.

The family grew up on Pate Street in a house next door to her grandparents Oskie the grocer and Ethel. Later they moved to the more ritzy section of town over by the high school where all the action was. Imagine living across the street from your 1940's alma mater! Harold owned a service station a couple of blocks away, and the greasy spoon next door. He was a man admired by many and a hard worker who died when I was only 3 years old from heart disease. If it were now and he were still here, it would be a matter of a simple outpatient procedure to cure him.

My mom never got over losing her father when he was only 45. To this day she still cries when she talks about him. I'm thinkin' she was a daddy's girl, if you know what I mean :) They traveled a lot when the kids were young and often took friends along, like Baby Sister. Katherine wasn't really a blood sister, but might as well have been. She was part of the family, and still is.

Janice met Billy at school and fell head over heels for his quirky sense of humor and silly smile. They courted and took off to college together, but military service put a dent in that courtship for a bit. When he was stationed in the Azores with the USAF there was a chance for a leave around Valentine's Day and that's when the wedding planner kicked into gear.
Day Off
If the weather acts right, I've got a couple of days off to play yard boy around here and get the homestead looking presentable. Your Monday is my Saturday...ya know? One of the perks of working some weekends ( besides not having all the suits in your face ) is having a few weekdays off which feels like an absolute TREAT to an old gal like me. Notice I didn't say I'm going to "cut the lawn." Out here in the country, we mow the yard and pull weeds.

I've got the usual list of chores like a dental appointment and assorted busy work, but there's something else on my mind . Mother's Day is coming up, and I don't have a clue how to honor my Mom in a way that befits her specialness. Gifts are out.....I'm broke plus she already has everything she wants anyway. At her age, if she wants it she just goes and gets it. Since writing is what I do the most of these days besides the payin' job, I imagine she'll get her own very special post for Mommy's day. Bet she'll cry too.

The dawgs are fighting over my houseshoe again. Gotta go break it up before they destroy the furniture that's covered with their muddy paw tracks.

You can send your nominations for "Mother of the Year" to my comments in care of Poopie. I've run every year since Babygirl was born, and haven't won yet!

Keep the faith. ^j^
the IT girl
Well...y'all. MommaK tagged me today for this little meme which makes me think. UH OH.
There should be a caution sign just for "Watch out. Poopie's thinkin!"

What follows is a list of different occupations. You must select at least five of them. You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select five of the items as it was passed to you). Of the five you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession. Then pass it on to three other bloggers.

Here's that list:
If I could be a scientist... If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician... If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter... If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary... If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect... If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist... If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete... If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper... If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer... If I could be a backup dancer...
If I could be a llama-rider... If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be a midget stripper... If I could be a proctologist...
If I could be a TV-Chat Show host... If I could be an actor...
If I could be a judge... If I could be a Jedi...If I could be a mob boss...
If I could be a backup singer...If I could be a CEO...
If I could be a movie reviewer... If I could be a monkey's uncle...

So, here goes with my career dreams :)

1. If I could be a psychologist....I'd try to help folks deal with loss in a healthy way. Before I chose medical technology as a career, I was fascinated with psychology. Still am. It is so very tragic to me to see the way so many people are consumed by anger and depression, simply because they haven't learned how to let go of the past.
2. If I could be a midget stripper...Actually, that's not such a stretch. If I were a stripper AT ALL I'd be a midget one cuz I'm fairly short! I bet I could do a mean lap dance. However, I'd have to keep the day job if I planned on eating.
3. If I could be a mob boss...I could really have fun with this one! My name would be Janie "The Poop" Corleone and I'd be one mean biatch. Of course, I couldn't kill anybody but I'd give 'em a dose of whatever meanness they had dished out to "my people" until they WISHED they were dead ;) I hear Tony Soprano calling me for an interview right now.....
4. If I were a judge...I'd have to be one in a state where there's no death penalty. That's just who I am. I'd kick a few lawyers butts every day just for showing up in my courtroom with stupid ambulance chasing drivel that wastes my time. And I'd have a cute gavel..a pink one to accent the black robe.
5. If I were a CEO...I would be involved enough in the operations of my company to know who was putting out the fires for me and reward them accordingly. Then, I'd play golf. They all do!

NOW comes the fun part! Whom do I tag? Hmm..let's see.
Follow That Star

Have fun y'all!

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