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poor st francis
poor st francis
He used to stand gracefully ( all in one piece ) in the flower bed. My choco lab, Faith has taken lately to dragging his granite self all over the yard. A few days ago, I found him broken in half after Faith dropped him on the stepping stones in the yard. His top half now sits in the Christmas cactus on the porch, hopefully out of reach! Those labs will fetch anything.....
The cool(er) days were short lived. It's back to sweatin' to the chores around here. While cleaning my car out earlier I was drippin' all over the seats. Lovely mental pic, I know. This butterfly kept me company.
butterfly 2
I'm short on words today. Must be cuz I'm so relaxed from a nice nothing weekend. It's a pity Monday has to come around so soon.

Y'all be careful out there. And keep the faith. ^j^
learn to be still
Idgie smacked me with a musical meme. True to form for the rebel in me, I won't follow the rules just exactly. Her tag was something like "name music you are into right now". I think the number 10 was in there somewhere.

I decided to write about some artists that have made a difference in my life with their musical gifts. Music has always been a great motivator for me. It's as if when I feel like nobody in the whole wide world loves me, I can listen to a favorite song and it's all okay.

I've been to a ton of concerts. As a teenager I saw a lot of biggies....Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, all at the MidSouth Colliseum in Memphis, the closest venue in my area at the time. I heard the Allman Brothers at the Auditorium North Hall, which is no more. Me and my college boyfriend loved the live thang ;) I never stopped going. As an adult, Mud Island became a much cooler place to go to concerts. On the banks of the Mighty Mississippi is an awesome place to sit and get into the music. There, I saw JT again in the pouring rain. There was Bruce Hornsby and the Range another night. Back to the Colliseum for Huey Lewis and the News,yet another time. The Doobie Brothers. Michael McDonald sans the rest of the Doobies.

I can't claim a list of firm favorites. Throughout my life, music has met me where I was at the time and made me smile or cry or think. Some of the artists many people have never heard of.....Mac McAnally, Robert Cray, Kathy Mattea. It's a Beautiful Day. Blind Faith.

I adore U2, Steve Miller Band, Hootie, John Mayer, The Eagles collectively, and individually. I'm a Journey freak. Pat Benatar. Marshall Tucker Band. Pure Prarie League. Spirit. Moody Blues. Santana. AC/DC. Aerosmith. Skynard. Pink Floyd. Loggins and Messina. Rod Stewart. Evanesence.

As an older lady, I've embraced country too. I like Toby Keith and Gretchen Wilson...Allen Jackson. Tim and Faith. The Dixie Chicks and SheDaisy. Vince Gill. George Strait. Keith Urban. Hank and his rowdy friends. Heck I even enjoy Michael W. Smith and Mercy Me.

I'm sure I've left somebody out....some musician who gave me a reason to believe in the harmony that gives us life and hope and love. I've always thought it would be cool for someone to write a song just for me, inspired by who I am.

Thanks Idgie. You made me think. As Martha would say "It's a GOOD thing."
G' Mornin' !
Swiped from Empty Nest

How You Life Your Life

You are honest and direct. You tell it like it is.

You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.

You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.

You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.
How Do You Live Your Life?
dearest mommies
...and daddies. Y'all touch my heart, every one of you. Being privileged to read your thoughts on parenting and day to day life has given me lots of food for thought about my years in the trenches. Almost 21 of them, to be exact. I read your stories about the little things that rock your world, and I am envious that I didn't slow down enough to savor them when I had the chance. lauren tree 2
I guess I did okay, all things considered. My BabyGirl is a beautiful precious soul who's learned to smile about where we've been and have faith in the future. We talk about stuff. She doesn't hesitate to call when she really needs me. I look forward to seeing how our relationship will ease into the next chapter.

Y'all are right smack in the middle of the best and the worst of what happens when sperm and egg meet. There are illnesses and growth spurts and accidents and tender moments. Sometimes, the hardships seem too much to bear. Other times it's a pleasure to spend your last buck or your last ounce of energy to bring a smile to that special kid's face or experience when they learn to make themselves smile. Other times, you just need to get away. Go for it. It will make you a better parent in the long run.

There are seasons of parenting that I never recognized as I was experiencing them. We move from snuggler to teacher to coach and back to snuggler all in one day. If you are perceptive, there are memories that will bring a twinkle to your eye long after the moment is past. If you are wise, you will show your child exactly who you are and how you got there.

It all works out, when you keep the faith. ^j^
friday cocker spaniel blogging
stop me if you've heard this one
Raehan seemed a bit curious about me "gettin' my ass in a crack" with a Yahoo! entrepreneur. As my friend Deb said: "These things don't happen to EVERYBODY, you know." Therefore, I digress.

About 6 months into being single, I started running chat rooms for entertainment. No AIDS there, so to speak, and I could explore the "single world" without having to leave the house. I was a Yahoo! girl from the get-go because, well. They had this nifty little deal called ROMANCE : BY LOCATION. Go to a Tennessee room and BAM...instantly there were tons of interested guys within driving distance. Never mind that 80% of them were married and the other 20% were bots or pervs. We're in training here, OK?

I met several guys who were willing and eager and quite not what I was lookin' for. At the time I was real into this stuff, I had a mad crush on a real life guy , but I was scared to talk to him about it. So I acted it out with the Yahoo! guys. Umm.. typed it out, in between bot attacks and awkward meetings with the ones willing to drive to check me out.

As my heart spiraled increasingly out of control toward the real life guy, the Yahoo! fellas must have sensed my vulnerability. There was a Prince of a guy named Fred who claimed to be a native of the UK, but was visiting Nigeria. We chatted a couple of nights and he brought out the "falling hearts" background rather quickly. He would be returning to the States soon and was dying to meet me, his "Princess." OH how he loved me. So much so, that he wanted my address so that he could send me a token of his affection.

Later that week I received a package with a teddy bear and candy and a card that read: " I will never break your heart, as long as you continue to love me too." My babygirl said "WTF??" and I just cried. Because, you see, I had seen Mr. Real Life Crush right before receiving that gift and I just KNEW it was from him.

To make a long story not much shorter, the tokens of affection arrived in droves on another day along with e-mail requests from Fred to gather up the goods and send them to him in Nigeria. He e-mailed me a pre-paid UPS shipping label to "paste onto the box". There was, umm....a cellphone, a digital camera, several pairs of shoes ( size 13 Nike flip-flops included, for running through the jungle ) and several more shipments that got stopped before they arrived. Fred became highly agitated when I told him I was sending the stuff back to the companies and to leave me the HELL alone. Here came the law, enter stage left.

The investigator said he'd never heard of such a scam, but the UPS guys were wise to it when I asked 'em about it. They had heard of this game. They all told me to keep the stuff and forget it, but Fred continued to threaten me by e-mail and IM. "You will be sorry if you don't send me those things" he said. Fred got deleted from my "buddy list" and I paid 15 bucks to return the hot merchandise. End of story, right?

Nah. Y'all know me better than that. A few weeks later, I got an Internet Relay Call at work. ( Shut UP. Yes ,I gave him my work #!) I didn't have a clue what was up, but caught on quickly when the gooey talk commenced from the operator. "Hello, Princess! Where is my stuff?" No response from Poops. It only took about a minute for Fred to give up, and the AT&T operator explained to me what an Internet Relay Call is and how it's used mostly for fraud. It's a service that was originally set up for deaf people to communicate with hearing folks by dialing into an internet connection, typing a message for the operator to relay to the hearing person and then typing back the spoken response to the hearing impaired typist. That operator earned a gold star in her crown by explaining things to me that day. She gave me the e-mail addy of a Secret Service agent to whom I should immediately report this drama. Which I did... Homeland Security and all that. I'm sure she had a great laugh when she told the story that night at the bar.

Thus endeth my Yahoo! chatroom days. That crush never went away, though.

Go figure.
I have ranted, in my day. I do not not do it lightly, nor without conviction as I find my emotions to be seeking a more leisurely pace these days. Simply put, I pick my battles.

More often than not,the battles that find me on the front line are those where human dignity and rights are at stake in the midst of heated political debate. I am pro-choice because I have seen the horror of illegal abortions performed in a shady doc's office when I was a teenager. I am anti-war, when the basis for the war is the economic wealth of a chosen few. I am pro-life in cases such as Terri Schiavo's..meaning that I believe a better life is ahead. One that is better than being kept artificially alive and used as a political pawn.

I am, quite frankly, dismayed when I see and hear of the resources within our legal system being applied toward something as trivial as the posting of the Ten Commandments in a public building. We learned them as children. Does having them posted at the post office really make a difference in the interpetation of the Big 10? Can anyone stop a student from praying in school if they so desire? I think not. Will Grandma die in spite of our best efforts to keep her alive? Yes, dear. But we can make the passage a bit more peaceful if we practice the faith that we preach.

But NOOOOOOOOO. We must all find a cause. Something to bitch about and raise cain about and generally use to prove to the world that "they" are wrong and "we" are right. It's as if in proving another wrong, we find solace. If we can force others to conform to our point of view, then we have won the battle.

All of this black and white thinking makes me incredibly weary. Most of our lives are,hopefully, lived in the gray zone where there is a generous view of right and wrong. Circumstances vary and times change. My Mama taught me early on not to say "My child will never......". One never knows until he or she walks in another person's shoes. Never say never.

I remember, many years ago, talking with a self-absorbed contractor friend who did all sorts of "charity" work in order to boost his business. One night as we were eating dinner with kids crowded around the table, I asked him point blank " Have you ever done something good, that nobody knew about?" He responded by telling me about how he'd put a roof on the house of an old widow woman recently. " Hmm..You've told it now."

I believe that the Big Guy has very little patience with self righteousness. But I could be wrong.

this 'n that
I've been lusting over the weather map all day, keeping an eye on that cool(er) front that's headed across the country. If all goes well, the temps should be down by about 10 degrees and less humidity by tomorrow. 90 sounds a whole lot better than 100 to this old gal. It's all relative, ya know?

Remember the stray kitten I picked up in the parking lot last week? The one that got dumped along with it's sister? The one I was sure I could find a home for?
Guess who's still here.
the new kid
Any suggestions on a name for this baby girl?

Some of you know that South Knox Bubba called it quits on his East Tennessee blog. I really hated to see that, because his site was one of my favorites. However, several devoted geeks got out there and resurrected the Rocky Top Brigade before the whole thing fell apart. You can check it out here . The new site has a lot of features and the same blogroll as before plus some newbies. Can't keep a Tennessee VOL down for long ;) Thanks for all the good times, SKB. And thanks to the folks who have worked so hard to get the new site up and running so quickly.

Had to make an emergency run to the minor med clinic with BabyGirl yesterday. She has this awful skin allergy thing that gives her a lot of grief when it's hot and humid. As a little kid, we learned not to let her loose in the woods at Girl Scout camp until she had a prednisone dose-pak in her posession. Yesterday was the worst I've seen her since the old Camp Hazelwood days. Her entire body was covered with whelps and her eyelids were even swollen....miserable stuff. She had covered herself from head to toe with a pink film of calamine lotion. A big shot of decadron plus a dose pak will have her not itching in no time. We can blame that affliction on the ex, her Dad. He has it too.

Gotta go check on the progress of the front ;) I can't wait for a good old Mississippi River thunderstorm. See 'ya over at Dew on the Kudzu . We're writin' up a storm over there!
bestest friends
Remember when you were a kid and friendship consisted of some shared experiences like crush talk or sports or bunking parties? In my mind, at that time, the moment was now and loyalty counted above all. I had a few best friends back in the day, but most of the time I was just everybody's friend.

As I grew older, I came to realize the static nature of this thing we call friendship. Through numerous class reunions and life changes I discovered that friends play an integral part of one's life and then fade away for awhile until the universe sees fit to bring the next scene of that relationship into focus. At any given point in my life, my best friend du jour has been a teenager or one of my parents or siblings or just a passer-by. Sometimes it's somebody I work with. Other times it's someone who just met me and knows my heart. My daughter and her buddies have been my best friends on many an occasion. And their parents. And my brothers. And people I've never even met.

What's a friend to do then? Affirm the beautiful and forgive the ugly, I think. Tactful honesty is a loving gesture that a friend can offer. For the most part, though, it defies definition and assumes the shape of unselfish giving and loving for another's personal growth or just for a laugh or a good cry. Just because....they celebrate who you are.
almost a nurse
When I entered the workforce in 1977 as a BS Medical Technologist, the sky was the limit for opportunities in my field. My class at UT Center for the Health Sciences graduated 12 who then had to be certified by a national organization called ASCP and then pass a licensure exam for the State of Tennessee to be able to work. I began my career of 28 years in the clinical laboratory at the rate of $4.92 per hour.

Lab tech positions may be filled by AS degreed Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) or BS degreed Medical Technologists (MT). The blood is drawn by staff members called phlebotomists who, most often, receive on the job training. The anatomical lab is staffed by a physician called a pathologist and a histotechnologist who prepares the tissue specimens. The pathologist also serves as director of operations for the clinical laboratory.

According to this article taken from one of the premier magazines in the industry, 70-75% of medical diagnoses are made based on test results generated by the laboratory staff. Currently the median age of the laboratory tech is between 43 and 44 years with very few entering the field to replace them as they approach retirement. In response to this severe shortage of qualified personnel, the Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of 2005 was passed earlier this year to provide incentives for new people to enter the workforce. Currently there is a turnover rate of greater than 20% in some areas of the country for lab personnel due to the intense competition for practitioners.


The gig for a lab tech varies according to where you work. In large hospitals the techs never stick patients and are rigidly deparmentalized and specialized due to the sheer volume of work. In my case, which is the rural hospital setting, the tech does everything from answering the phone and drawing blood to trouble-shooting the LIS and running the tests. We provide a full range of chemistry, hematology, coagulation, serology, transfusion medicine, and microbiology testing, just to name a small sample. In other words, we are expected to do it all. The worst beatins' of my life have been while trying to get blood from 100 year old ladies or 1 year old kids ;)

There are a lot of reasons for the shortage in the field, not the least of which is lack of professional recognition. To many healthcare consumers, anyone who wears scrubs and works in a hospital is a "nurse". My friends kids never really understood what I did around there, so they referred to me as ALMOST a nurse! While the nursing field has its' shortages as well, the pay and perks for RNs has escalated at such a rapid rate that a new AS degreed RN..starting out, makes more now that I do after 28 years in healthcare. Nursing has quite a strong voice in the political arena that has served them well.

Another factor is the stress involved. The meticulous work of blood, body fluid and tissue analysis can result in rapid burnout of techs. Every test must be quality controlled day in and day out and a huge amount of mental effort goes into simply assuring that the proper result is reported. Meanwhile, physicians are notorious for browbeating lab folks when they don't get what they want when they want it in just the right manner. I can't tell you how many times I've been cussed out by a doctor who thinks that his time is more valuable than mine. It's as if they think that there's some grand conspiracy to aggravate them.

My daughter was born in September, and August of that year found me running the halls of the hospital with a tray in my hand to go stick people, waddling like a duck with swollen ankles. Her first visit to the lab was when she was about 3 weeks old,laying on my shoulder, to meet my co-workers. She watched me work nights, weekends and holidays the entire time she was growing up and when time came for her to choose a vocation, guess which one was the last on her list!

I love my job and the patients. I adore my co-workers, quirks and all. But I sure do wonder who's gonna be doing this job when all of us old-timers decide to call it quits. It won't be a nurse, that's for sure.
one short phrase
...caught my eye among all of the comments and pictures and stories that I read today. "Blogs I'm paid to read". I saw those words on a site that I've visited a jillion times before (which is plastered with ads.) I go there because the author has a great sense of humor and she makes me laugh. It made my blood run cold.

One of my oldest friends called me "electronically naive" many moons ago when I was busy lookin' for love in all the wrong places and got my ass in a crack with some Yahoo! entrepreneurs from abroad. I didn't trust easily after that.

Blogging has given me back that sense of trust that I lost a while back. Suddenly, I find myself wondering if it's all about commerce and the competition amongst Blogger and Haloscan and Typepad and Wordpress and dot.coms and dot.nets. I wonder if it's really about me and them on a personal level.

Something deep inside of me wants to believe with all my heart that it is. That we're all in this together and the "i love yous" and "i hear ya's" and "you go!s" mean that we are becoming kinder and gentler and more concerned with our friends and neighbors and less concerned with ourselves and the mighty buck. The old Poopster is an optimist like that,always seeing the glass half full. I blame it on my faithful parents and the blessings I've experienced amidst the living of my almost 50 years.

Y'all are all in the book. Including Unky :)

pennington's 1
guess who!
I know you've all had a wonderful time enjoying the talents of the various guest hosts this past week...I know I certainly have. So, now what? Poopie's back in action and has to see if she remembers how to do this ;)

Right before I took my blogging break, Robin at Smiling Through the Cracks came up with some interview questions for me after I volunteered over at her place.
Here are her questions:

If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why? As much as I’d like to be a mimosa all poofy pink and frilly, that’s just not me. I’m more of an apple tree kinda gal that bears fruit and takes pruning with grace because I know it will improve the crop. Dependable and all that boring stuff, though the blooms can be quite beautiful.

What is your earliest memory? I don’t know if I really remember this, or I’ve conjured it up in my mind from what I’ve heard. It’s me and my grandaddy exploring the outer edges of the farm. He died when I was three years old, but I have this mental pic of us driving down the lane into the woods where you take a hard right at the end of the “main road”. I was his first grandchild and the only one who has a viable memory of him, because he died at 45. He adored me.

What 5 people ( living or dead ) would you most like to have dinner with? Why?
Marilyn Monroe: I think I could get her into therapy…Seriously.
Old Horsetail Snake and our collective blogrolls….Why? Because he’s funny and he loves me and we have cool friends.
George W. Bush: Don’t ask unless you want a rant.
James Taylor: His music makes me happy and he’s been to hell and back in our lifetimes.
Pawpaw: The granddaddy mentioned above.

What do you like most about living in the South? The least?
I’ll start with what I like least. The heat and humidity are stifling during the summer months, and I hate to sweat just going through the motions of living life. If I choose to work up a sweat, that’s another matter altogether.
The most? Hmm..college football season is right on up there. Doesn’t matter if you know a quarterback from a tailback, SEC football is great camaraderie and an excellent reason to gather for some good times. Southern hospitality is gracious and inviting and the pace is laid back. The music is spirited and steeped in tradition like the blues, for example. Our roots run deep and when transplanted we never forget who we are.

If there was a sandwich named in your honor, what would it be called and what would be on it? Toasted cheesy bread slathered with herbed mayo and filled with garlic/onion roasted chicken and pepper jack cheese. It might be called Hot Chick Surprise,with trimmings optional but readily available. Of course I do have my rag bologna moods too!

Thanks, Robin. That was fun!

For those who might like to share the latest joy in Risible Girl's healing journey, check this out. She got some exciting news the other day.

Peace and love. ^j^
You Know You've Made It When You Get Stalked

I'm Follow That Star, your host for today's frivolities. My friends call me FTS. My enemies probably call me other things, but since I'm a guest in Poopie's house I will refrain from using that sort of language here.

The Poopster has asked me to entertain you and has given me the run of the house. I promised not to look under her bed or open any doors, so don't get any bright ideas about me betraying her trust and identifying any skeletons hanging around in her closets (I swear I've never seen those people before). My loyalty can't be bought just for the sake of a buck.

It can, however, be purchased on a convenient installment plan.

Seriously, I'm extremely honored to be included among The Chosen Few that Poopie has asked to stand in so she could get some much-needed R & R. She is a tough act to follow, as are the people who have posted ahead of me. I stand in awe of all of them.

Thank you, Poopie, for allowing me to be a part of this great team of pinch-hitters. I'll do my best to keep the faith.

As a stylist, I have one hard and fast rule.

And it's a rule I will never, ever break again.

We are in a client's personal space, touching them constantly. This sometimes creates an illusion of trust. People will bare their souls to you if you let them, and believe me there's times I hear far more than I want or need to know. I learned to compliment the client and provide just enough innocent flirtation to boost their morale. This insures not only their continued patronage, but a handsome tip as well. Many clients like to hug, and some will even offer a kiss on the cheek.

There was a line, however, that I told myself I would never cross: No Dating The Clients.

I always knew right where that line was. I had a friend who was an excellent stylist, but he couldn't keep a clientele. He was constantly asking them out with no regard to their marital status. Some accepted and they would go out a few times, and following a bitter breakup they would end up seeking out another stylist. Others would obviously get offended and -- you guessed it -- look for someone else to do their hair. Watching his career take a nosedive was good motivation to keep business and pleasure separate.

Still, a big part of what we do is make the client feel good (or better) about themselves. In Dallas, where big hair and big egos go hand in hand, this can be a daunting task. Filling the head of a prima dona with more hot air than it already has means digging deep within yourself to find the right words to fan her flames -- and the ability to keep your lunch down and a straight face while doing so. Although I find my tolerance of the Divas to be waning in my fourth decade of life, I used to be pretty darned good at the game.

Apparently a little too good.

She was twelve years younger than me, single, and like many of my clients she was very friendly. It's not unusual for clients to invite us to a party, and she had actually invited me once or twice before. I always politely declined, but when she called that fateful day some six years ago I had a legitimate excuse. It was my birthday, and several of my friends had plans to take me out and ply me with strong alcoholic beverages so they could laugh at me and take pictures for future use in blackmail schemes.

Her invitation was to a wine and cheese party that she was thinking about having. I explained what my friends had planned, and then I made my fatal mistake. I uttered one of those phrases we all say just to be polite and then never give it a second thought: "We'll be at Joe's Crab Shack. If you're bored, you're welcome to stop in and hang out with us."

Fast forward three nights. Yours truly is sitting at the business end of a long table of people with the third (or fourth, maybe?) bartender's concoction sitting in front of me. I seem to recall that it was blue, and as I drank it -- quickly, I might add, per the instructions of our server -- she was pouring two additional shots of unknown origins into it. I'm sure one was jet fuel, but I digress.

I suddenly noticed that several of the twenty or so heads on either side of the tables stretching ahead of me were facing the other direction. Maybe there were only a dozen, but neither my eyesight or my memory were exactly operating at peak efficiency by that point.

Standing at the other end of the table, which seemed light years away from me, was a face that was oddly familiar. A pretty face, but definitely out of place. My mind was doing some serious mental gymnastics trying to match the faces in my right brain with the names in my left brain. And trying to focus. After a few seconds (or a few minutes...who knows) it came to me.

She was the client to whom I had made that passing comment three days prior. Well, guess what. She wasn't just stopping by to say hi, either. No, she was grabbing a chair and nudging her way past everyone else and sitting her blurry little self right next to me as I opened my presents.

The stares we were getting were priceless. Heads were leaning over and whispers were going around the tables, but no one said a word out loud about the mystery girl sitting just inches to my right.

Okay, to make this long story a tad shorter, I broke my cardinal rule and we ended up dating for about a month or so. While she was over at my place for dinner one night the conversation turned to kids. She mentioned that she wanted another one, and I don't recall exactly how delicately I put it, but I said that I had never changed a diaper and wasn't about to start now. I'm beyond my child-rearing years as far as I'm concerned. I want to meet someone someday and be selfish with our time together.

It was right about here that my client changed from Dr. Jekyl to Ms. Hyde.

"Why didn't you tell me that before now?!?" she yelled.

"Um, maybe because people don't normally discuss having kids after only four or five dates?"

Her hysteria was rapidly reaching new heights, so I told her I thought it was time she went home. She did, eventually, but not without landing some choice verbal parting shots.

I saw her for another couple of months, but only from a distance as I watched her sitting in the parking lot below my apartment at night waiting for me to leave. She would ring my doorbell, then call to say she knew I was at home. As always, all good things must come to an end, and this episode closed on an evening where I blatantly watched TV with the lights on as she sat in her car outside. My phone rang, and knowing who it was I let the machine answer like I always did.

"All right, you sorry sonofasoandso, I've had it with you. Don't call me anymore!"

And you thought men were the only crazy ones.

What the South Gave the World
Hey ya'll. I'm Idgie from over at Fried 'Maters. Poopie asked me to come fill in today while she's out chasing men or some such thing. I also run the the new magazine, Dew on the Kudzu, which Poopie has recently contributed a lovely article to that makes me want to move into her backyard. So go visit there too and see what she has to say.

I'm up way too early and my thoughts haven't started banging around in my head in any coherant manner yet, so I've decided to do what my teachers always taught me - alphabetize my thoughts. So I'm gonna go a - z and tell ya'll what the South has given the world. Since I started the magazine, I'm on a real Southern kick here so just bear with me!

A - Ambrosia. A rather (to me) disgusting dessert product of jello, chunked fruit and some sort of whipped froth topping. Most Southerners love it. It tends to be the orange jello.

B - Billy Beer. Where else in the country can we get a President from a peanut farm who, as soon as he's President, has his ijit brother try to ride his coattails and make a beer that he names after himself. Sadly I was too young when it was out and I have no idea if it was any good or not.

C - Coke. That's right - straight from Atlanta thankyouverymuch.

D - Determination. We are incredibly resiliant and determined people who on a daily basis still fight to overcome the effects of the "War of Northern Aggression". We have taught the rest of the world what is means to never accept "losing". :)

E - Empathy. We have the art of listening to another person go on and on with their problems until they're blue in the face from talking and our ears are bleeding. But we soldier through and keep that intent, sympethetic look on our faces the whole time.

F - Fried. Fried anything. We catch it, grow it, run over it, whatever........we'll fry it up and see how she tastes! I'm pretty sure we invented fried.

G - Gator Huntin. No need to go further with that.

H - Hospitality. We have invented the fine art of Hospitality. No where else can match it. We will cosset and entertain and comfort you until you are slapping us away screaming "Leave me alone!"

I - Ijit. A lovely word meaning Idiot. Most people outside the South haven't heard it a lot so you can say it easily in other parts of the country and people won't know you've insulted them.

J - Julip. As in Mint. As in a nice refreshing alcoholic beverage. Lovely.

K - Kudzu. Plant that ate the South. Grows only here, and in Japan. Okay, so maybe we haven't given it to the world, but they all see the pictures and are fascinated watching it eat cars, buildings and slow people.

L - Lard. I'm sure we invented that. It goes with the whole frying thing.

M - Monster trucks. Nothing better than a Monster Truck Ralley for good family times.

N - Nascar. Need I say more?

O - Okra. A very weird veggie that had a shape that sort of sets you back a bit, but cut it up and FRY it of course - yummy. Some like it boiled too, but it stays slimy inside and prefer to avoid that.

P - Plantations. Homes of such beauty that we fight to preserve them.

Q - Quesedillas. Oops. Wrong South. Never mind, I can't think of a Q.

R - Rotgut/Moonshine. Go up into our mountains. You can still buy it in a quart jar.

S - Sweet Potate Pie and Scarlett O'Hara. A tie there.

T - Tipping. Cows that is.

U - Uncle Jimbo's Cheese Grits. Yummy! Never had grits? You're missing out!

V - Value of Friendship, Fellowship and Neighborliness. We got these down pat and we know how very important it is for the well being of the community.

W - Watermelon wine - Yummy! I could also put wrestling here - but the Southern kind - "rasslin". Good stuff!

X - Xanax? I have no idea where it's made, but it seems like good stuff and it started with an X so there ya go.

Z - Zydeco Music. Very interesting Cajun music. Very fun to dance to!

Alright ya'll - A to Z on the South. I hope you enjoyed. (Either that or you're silently screaming in your head for Poopie to come back quick!)
The little girl grew up

Finally at the age of 40, I went into counseling. My counselor, who was also a psychologist, was teaching a class about how improve your intuition. I don't remember much about the class, but I do remember that I had a feeling that she was going to be the one to lead me down the path to emotional wellness. It was all very serendipitous.

I think her natural ability toward intuition, along with her training as a counselor was exactly what I needed. She knew when I wasn't telling her something, even though I'd become very good at hiding things. She wouldn't let me gloss over anything, even though I do not like to talk about the details. The sessions were intense and often left my emotions exposed and raw. My soul was an open gaping wound for weeks at a time.

I was with her weekly for about six months and felt that we gotten to a point where we had covered everything we needed to cover. I knew I wasn't completely healed, but I also knew that there was nothing more that she could teach me. So I made a plan of action to complete this journey alone.

The first thing I decided was that I would not date anyone for at least one year. No matter how attracted I was to someone, I would not date because I needed to place every bit of energy I had in to my healing. Beyond that, the choices I'd made in the past were a clear indication of how emotionally unhealthy I was. I was not going to take any chance of placing myself in another bad relationship.

Second, I decided to quit pretending that I belonged to a religion that I did not *feel*. I empowered myself by telling my parents this information, even though I knew it would hurt them. I had to start being more authentic and this was a good place to start.

Third, I dedicated Saturdays to doing something creative or fulfilling (hiking, photography, creating things), and Sundays were for reading books about spirituality and relationships. I did this for a year, without fail. I liked how I was feeling so much that I extended that year long commitment for another six months.

It was then that I became a complete and whole person. Two years of working on myself with intense counseling and self discovery. No distracting relationships. Just me.

My sister once shared with me that she could see physical signs that I was going through a complete metamorphosis. She noticed how I completely rearranged the house, repainted the walls, and completely re-landscaped my back yard. She said that watching me change everything about my environment was clearly representative of the changes going on inside of me.

I remember being surprised during this time because I had always been a brown thumb. I couldn't ever get any sort of plant to grow, let alone stay alive. Suddenly, I was planting seeds that grew into beautiful vines and flowers. Not only did they grow and stay alive; they flourished. My sister pointed out something had never occurred to me: The environment I was creating around me was very much a reflection of what was going on inside of me.

Very thought provoking, really.

I am now in a very emotionally healthy relationship. I believe that he was a gift to me as a direct result for my resolve to fix myself. He is a reflection of the good things that came out of those two years. He is supportive and loving, but most importantly, I feel very safe with him.

I feel safe.

Two of the three people that caused that little girl so much pain are dead. My father is dead from a self-inflicted gun shot to the head. My step-father is dead, as a direct result of alcoholism. The third is alive and well. Physically anyway.

Evidence remains, reminding me that I did not have a normal childhood. This simply serves to remind me of how far I've come and how I can rest assured that I can handle anything that life throws in my path. I'm no longer the person I was before the intense self-work, but I am a reflection of that person. I am now able to acknowledge that many of the good things about me are a direct result of my experiences.

I am well.
Pictures of a little girl
Poopie asked me to be one of the guest bloggers so she could take some time off to hang out with Tom Cruise and kick his butt. (OK, I just made that up, but a girl can dream...)

I decided to post a piece that I've been working on, but cannot post to my own blog, Mostly Risible, because co-workers and family read it. Eventually, this will be a chapter in a book about survival and beating the odds. Survival is a skill I learned long ago.

I've been going through some old photographs to scan and store digitally. They are photos of me as a little girl.

I find myself studying the face on the other side of the camera lens, wondering what she was thinking at the time.

I wonder what she is feeling. I look at her eyes to see if it's possible for other people to see what I know. If I were a stranger looking at that little girl, would I know the hurt that she is feeling? Would I know of the unspeakable experiences she’s living?

At what age do the things that are happening to her even register in her mind?

On the outside, this little girl looks very normal. She's clean and is dressed nicely. She is practically perfect. She is smiling in many of the pictures and I often wonder why. Then again, as an adult I've been known to do the same thing.

Maybe that's why I never talk about my past. I only allow people to see the happy things. I've told nothing of my past to my friends and I doubt anyone would ever guess my history.

Because I appear so normal.

The only people who know pieces of my story are my sister, my brother and my husband. My sister and brother know certain things, only because they've lived some of it with me. My husband knows very little because I don’t think he is emotionally equipped to handle it.

Not one of them knows everything.

This is why I sometimes refer to my life as Universal Studios. You never know what's behind that facade.

I look at this little girl and I don't relate to her. I do not see her as "me", and at the same time I feel protective of her. I am filled with sadness each and every time I see pictures of her and it takes me quite a while to shake the feeling.

I want to take that little girl out of the photograph and bring her home with me so I can care for her and nurture her and show her that she is lovable and not ever let anyone hurt her. But I can’t.

She has no one to protect her.

I look at pictures of her as a baby and I want to stop time for her. I want to keep her there at that age because I am almost certain that nobody was hurting her then.

At least I don't think so.

I can only look at the photograph and feel sad for what she will have to experience. And look at the next photograph and remember what she is experiencing.

And then I can look no more.
For Poopie
Elvis and Sugar

We know how much you like this picture, Poopie, so we're posting one that you can keep for your very own. We agree that we are so very adorable but we ask that you not show our picture to your big brown dog, Faith. She reminds us of the creature living in our own back yard and he makes our fur stand on end.

We hope you enjoy your well-deserved break but please don't bring back any "all I got was this lousy t-shirt" shirts. We prefer plump, juicy, farm-raised rats!

Love ya. Mean it.

~~ Sugar & Elvis
I'm Tuesday's Child
For some reason as I stand in Poopie’s kitchen looking out over her back yard I cannot help but wonder if she realizes that I am rummaging through her personal stuff…

Like Old Horsetail Snake, I am standing in for Janie while she finds some fun elsewhere. Poopie named me Tuesday’s child. That’s supposed to mean that I am full of grace. I’m sure that I am full of something. I am not really in her kitchen so no rumor mills please. She has better taste than that. The image does explain a bit about the person we all read about here. She is one of the most trusting and open people that I have never met. She also has a heart that is even big enough to care about a Blogin Idiot like me.

I thought about how to do her proud on her blog. I know that I can’t compare to her writing. She is way smooth. My first thoughts involved thinking that maybe this was an ideal place to hold a roast for her. We could poke fun at all sorts of things. I’d start with the skunk dawg of course. Or maybe I could take applications for a fella for her. If you are applying I would need a photo, credit history and a complete medical report verifying that you are handsome, rich and in great shape.

I thought about laying it on thick and telling you all how endearing Poopie is to me. We all know that she is a darlin’. Her stories and sense of humor have lifted my spirits many a day. That would only make her turn a bit red and we don’t want a Pink Poopie do we? Instead I thought that I would simply sling a few words that might make her smile if she reads them…

It was a hot day as I overlooked the sun drenched meadow. The hay had grown tall and was in need of cutting. The weather forecast said clear until Thursday meaning that we had to get it cut now so that it would be dry before we bailed it. 15 acres and one tractor meant that I would be riding this hot green horse all day long watching the tall stalks fall into a never-ending line. My father had owned this small farm. His father had owned it before him. I was the first daughter to own the farm in a long line of daddies.

Riding up and back, up and back allowed me time to think about things in my life. How alone life seemed at times. I was alone here but back in our air-conditioned ranch was Renaldo. I had met him last year in Cancun. Winning that HGTV getaway vacation was the best thing that ever happened to me. I almost didn’t go. I got to thank my family for insisting. Farms don’t rest. If they hadn’t come down to take over my chores I would never have gone.

I can still smell the salt air as it washed across the white sand beach. I walked along the beach feeling out of place. No La Perla Prelude beachwear for me. I was comfortable in my cut off jeans shorts and halter top. That was until I got called Mary Ann by too many fancy tourists. I almost headed back to the hotel when I saw him. Standing in the sunlight his long black hair danced with the waves. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Wide shoulders rippling with muscles.

My knees got weak. There was no doubt about it. This was pure animal lust. It was more than the look in his eyes and the way he filled out his Volcom Board Shorts. Yep, a surfer dude. It was more than his grin as he handed me a Corona with lime. It was more than his all over tan. Well, maybe a little of that…
It was the way he swept me into his arms and kissed me like there was no tomorrow…

Damn girl. You got to stop thinking this. You are sitting on this old John Deer and won’t be back to the ranch until dark. You know the sun won’t melt you but these thoughts surely will. Save it. He’s all yours girl. After you got through with him in Cancun, you ruined him for any other woman…

I hope you are not working all of your cute butt off. Or if you are, you are in one of the Hooters uniforms getting lots of tips.

Take Care
Come Getcha an Education
I guess you can tell right away this ain't bein' written by good ol' Poopie, on accounta she is so smooth and I am so herky-jerky. It is hard for me to stay on point because it is so hard for me to stay on point. Anyway, the writer today is Gene Maudlin and I masquerade as Old Horsetail Snake. I live in Oregon, which is less than "3000 Miles to Graceland," which is in Memphis, Tennessee, which is near where Poopie lives. If you're going to go "3000 Miles to Graceland," like in the movie, you have to start about a thousand miles out in the Pacific Ocean.

You probably don't want to pay any attention to this Graceland movie. One critic said it "should not be reviewed in an arts section but in that portion of the newspaper dedicated to atrocities, environmental disasters and hate crimes." It was so bad it killed off old Elvis.

I live in an Old Folks' Home and like all old people I got plenty of knowledge, which you will soon find out about. What I don't know is in my textbook, shown here. This is The Good Book. For instance, if I wanna look up "Shizolator" I can look in the section under "Q" and it probably won't be there. But of course it shouldn't be. Any fool knows that.

The way I got to be so sharp with information is that I have experienced a lot of things young people have not, like 20/800 vision, Andy Varipapa veins, heart attacks and hip replacements. I have had shingles, and siding too, probably. So I am able to educate you plenty about Tennessee.

My buddy Poopie (who is Poopsie or Janie to me) lives in Dyersburg, Tennessee, which is the county seat of Dyer County, which is in Tennessee. (This is how I educate people; keep sayin' stuff over and over till it sinks into their spongy heads. Did you know an Oreo is so firm it won't soak up much milk on the first dip?)

I owe quite a bit to Tennessee. James K. Polk was a Tennessee guy who became President. The county I live in is called Polk County, named after James K. Polk. If James Polk hadn't become President there would be no Polk County and I would be homeless.

Also, if a Tennessee guy named Davy Crockett hadn't been killed at The Alamo he probably wouldn't be as famous as he is now. You can't say that about Jim Bowie who was also done it at The Alamo because Jim invented a knife that is more famous than he ever was.

Nashville, there in Tennessee, is home to the Grand Ole Opry. I know a young lady, an excellent singer, who is moving to Nashville to get involved in the country music business. She might become President. Who knows? Andrew Jackson moved to Tennessee and became President and he couldn't carry a country tune in a milk bucket. Jackson, known as "Old Hickory" because they didn't have fir trees in Tennessee, made his bones in the War of 1812 killing British people, who have it coming because they talk so funny.

Elvis Presley was born in Mississippi but lived in Memphis, Tennessee. He was last seen pumping gas in Utica, New York. I can't tell you much about the history of New York because George Dewey never got to be President because Harry Truman did.

There is probably more to the history of Tennessee but it's not important. Estes Kefauver never got to be President, either.

+ + + + + + + +

At my home site I always have a favorite word for each day, so you get one too. My favorite word today is sonofabitch. N., sharper image. Def.: A knife conveniently positioned in the dish water so as to cut your thumb when you search for more saucers to rinse.
Let's pretend
...that the Poopster is being swept away for a week by her hotter than hot Sugar Daddy to an exotic tropical island for a much needed getaway. He is handsome beyond belief yet seems strangely unconcious of that fact and adores her in a way that makes her swooon with just a loving gaze. They will most likely take long walks on the beach chatting about every little thing and retire to their chairs in the sand to sip Corona from an iced bucket as they soak up the rays and relax. Wild sex every day plus plenty of great food. A little shopping, at SD's expense, of course. Our last stop takes us to a jewelry store where SD suddenly can wait not a moment longer to grace my finger with a big fat diamond. *sigh*


Hey...y'all got good imaginations right?? Heheh. It's my fantasy and I can dream whatever I want to, SO THERE ;) In actuality, I will be working my butt off as usual but not posting for a few days. My brilliant friends have generously agreed to guest post on my behalf while I clear the cobwebs out of my brain and clean my nasty house.

You kids better be on your best behavior while I'm gone, that's all I can say. Don't jump on the furniture, don't hit your sister and TURN DOWN THAT DAMN MUSIC! You'll need all the peace and quiet you can muster to fully appreciate the talent about to be displayed around here this week.

See ya in a week ( or sooner when I lurk! )
oh MY!
Where do I begin? Idgie is an editor! That's a far cry from her days as you-know-who pissin' off the neighbors with her posts. Check it out at Today's Deep South . She's team building as.we.blog. I expect to see some familiar faces around there.

I've had an absolutely glorious day, thankyouverymuch. Slept late, did some errands and went muddin' on a 4 wheeler with a dear friend and our dawgs. Those labs LUV the water, which there is plenty of around here. There's more thunder in the background and we are soggy here on the farm.

I was asked to make a cake today for a special lady's birthday. I'll share the recipe with you if you promise to share it with the world.

Double Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour a bundt pan.

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 small box chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
8 oz sour cream

Mix it all together in a huge bowl with a mixer for a few minutes OR use your arm and a spoon to build up the biceps :) Add 6 oz of chocolate chips and stir 'em in good.

Pour into the greased and floured bundt pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. Test it with a toothpick after 40 minutes. Timing is everything!

Cool for a bit and then ice with this:

1 stick butter
6 T milk or half and half
4 T cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Let it sit for a few minutes and then pour over cake. If it's too stiff, add a few drops of hot water.

It's sinful y'all. Death by chocolate :)
welcome to shubuta
Almost exactly two years ago plus two weeks, me and the girls said to hell with it and loaded up in Granny's van to head for the beach. We eased out at the crack of dawn through thick fog and headed south on US 45 from Jackson. There's an interstate route, but it's like playing bumper cars and we were all about no stress. Liz drove with me in the front and the girls back behind us wedged between coolers and suitcases. Road trip!

The further south in Mississippi we traveled, the more voodooish the names of the towns became. While the highway was mostly deserted, on a Sunday, it weaved around through the medium metropolis areas of Tupelo and Clarksdale and the minor holes in the wall like Shubuta and Bucatunna. It was right outside of Shubuta that I began to get the willies. 'Bout half of the way the road was two lane in a switching back and forth kind of thing that reminds you of a computer road game. Evidently Shubuta was last on the list for highway funds and it turned into a long stretch of curvy hilly highway madness. The thunderstorm hit when we were in a spot where you'd never be discovered in the kudzu if you plunged down the ravines. The town's claim to fame? Home of the Artesian Well. Says so, right there on the sign.

The miles melted away into the great state of Alabama and Mobile Bay with visions of hermit crabs and margaritas dancing in our heads. A swift pass through Foley's outlet malls and fruit stands, and we were finally there.

pink pony

There wasn't near enough money for everybody's dream tatoo, but we managed. We played and ate and drank and bonded. My first ever visit to a Hooters left me with the distinct impression that if I had to make a living wearing tights and a wife beater, I would starve. My cleavage is good but I don't do pantyhose. At. All.

It is my habit to walk the beach early in the morning when I have the chance. The day we were to leave, I got up and out while the rest of 'em slept. Just a short way down the beach I noticed a couple on a mission, the guy with a stethoscope around his neck. I watched as they approached a spot that was marked off with rope and black plastic and I drew in closer to see what was up. Don and Sandy are volunteer sea turtle parents on that stretch of beach and I was lucky enough to catch them in the act. They shared their knowledge with me about the turtles and their nesting and the triumphant entry into the sea. Very few baby turtles make it, even though there are hundreds of eggs and the volunteers actually flush them through tunnels in the sand to help them along. There was a handwritten log buried in a ziploc baggie under the sand with notes from other team members who were monitoring the progress of the nest. They made their notes and shared with me everything I never knew about sea turtles but am always glad I learned.

Last I heard from them, they were thinking about leaving the area after Ivan and moving back to Missouri where there are tornados instead of hurricanes. The way I figure it, Mother Nature can hit you anywhere you hang your hat and call home. Been there, done that. And I won't evacuate until I'm forced to.
I love to watch rain move. When I heard the thunder, I headed out to pick the one semi-ripe mater I've had my eye on. It'll finish the job in the kitchen window. The sheets of rain were down the hill in a cornfield and I could hear the patter way off moving slowly in my direction mingled with the sound of a nearby train making its' way along the tracks. Out of habit, I looked for a rainbow when the sun came back out.
the rails 2
There's a new critter under my watch, though I'm not sure where it's hidden at this moment. As I was leaving the hospital today one of the "girls" hollered at me. I couldn't quite understand what she said so I said "Huh?" She disappeared under a car and came back up with a kitten. "Want one? There's two of 'em" she said. Somebody had dumped them...one gray striped and the other black and white. "I can only take one." Sucker. Aw hell...I'll take both of 'em.

I went to get the car and, by grace,some other passerby had scooped up the black and white before I ever got the air blowin' cold on my face and up the hill. The little gray one climbed on in for the ride home. I know somebody who wants a baby kitty so I did my part in the matchmaking process. The dogs licked and the kitten hissed and the old fat cats sized up the newcomer.

Just another day in paradise.
Notes to Self
1. Two dogs are way too many to lay with if one expects to sleep all night.

2. I saw it this afternoon. Subtle, but unmistakable to the gifted.

3. The major advantage of a long dry spell is no skeeters. *slaps head* like..DUH.

4. Poopie is loved for who she is. Period. Her inner child says to lay off the whine and get onto the main course and dessert.

*point with no bullet* You make me smile with that laugh and that whistle.

5. Happy 1st birthday Faith.
FAITH photo courtesy of my brother ;)
It must be the rain, that's all I can figure. I've had something stuck to my brain all day and it took getting home and letting the tears flow to bring clarity to it. Early this morning around shift change, a co-worker and I stood around passing time until his shift was up and he could head home. We talk computers and politics and actually have a lot of common interests. He was telling me that he was planning to stop by his wife's workplace when he got home to get a glance at her. With their work schedules and two children they had barely managed to see each other for the past 4 days. He said, with a big smile " I kinda miss the old girl!". And I could tell he was looking forward to seeing her, if only to show that he was thinking of her. He lovingly calls her by name as if the whole world is as smitten with her as he is.

Later on, with a different co-worker the conversation turned to relationships, marriage in particular. Good ones, bad ones and just there ones. She and I have both been divorced, but she remarried some years ago and they are comfortable in a way that makes me oddly lonely sometimes. They have plans and dreams together, including retirement and things that they enjoy doing. Death or tragedy could disrupt those plans, but the plans are made and they enjoy the loosely woven future that they share. They miss each other when one of them is gone, even while the solitude is appreciated as a necessary luxury for a healthy relationship.

When I first divorced, the relief from the pressure of a bad marriage was so complete that I was on a high for months just not having to deal with it. The future looked endless and bright to me and I just knew that the true love that I had never had was right around the corner. As weeks turned into months and years the passage of time took the shine off of that brilliant dream and brought me to a spot where I'd never been before. Alone. With nobody to miss me but the little dog who grins and shows her teeth when I walk up the steps.

There have been much emptier times in my life, and many of them were when I was in relationships. This is different though.....sort of like a vacuum waiting to be filled with love and understanding. I look at others my age, stuck in unhappy marriages by finances or empty obligations, and I wonder how I ever found the courage to reach for something different and better. And yes, sometimes I still even wonder why. I remember sitting in a church, broken and scared, right before the deed was done. I asked the Big Guy, in my most open moment with Him ever, if I was doing the right thing. There was no thunderous "YES" or even a sign. But, a feeling washed over me that was so peaceful and so pure that I knew what the answer was.

Things didn't turn out like I had hoped. Love discovered and shared with heart in hand has been returned to me several times since then, and every time my soul has healed up a little bit stronger and wiser and capable of holding joy. Perhaps that was the plan all along....to "grow" the space that holds the good stuff whether it's filled or not.
'nuf deep thoughts
In the words of my good friend Sue, "Let's talk some trash!" She's one of those gals who makes a day at work seem like not work at all, but a day long party. Of course we do have our serious, soul sharing moments......BUT. The best times are when we dance to the country music on the radio or talk really loud and insult each other just to watch other people jump ;) We keep each other from taking ourselves too seriously, which is a long forgotten art,in my opinion. Me and her could bring down the most up-tight self righteous crowd the house ever saw. I imagine she'll have plenty of stories to entertain with when she returns from the UK. Love ya....MEAN it!
You Are Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
You are kind, popular, and generous.
You tend to be successful at anything you try.
A social butterfly, you are great at entertaining a crowd.
You are most compatible with strawberry ice cream.
What Flavor Ice Cream Are You?

I'm totally thrilled that I didn't turn out to be vanilla, since me and FTS are in a contest to see who has the most boring life. So far we're neck and neck in the boredom and brokedom departments. Is it too late to have a mid-life crisis y'all? I'm just sayin'...if I can find some strawberry somewhere WoooooHOOOOOOOO.

Dennis has drenched us all day and seems to be moving on up the Mississippi Valley Maybe my tomato crop will pick up a bit after this all day soaker.

So. Here's your challenge for today. Finish this sentence:
My life is so boring that: ........

I've got a list a mile long, so y'all better put out or shut up!
peaceful intervention
Most of you know how I feel about the war in Iraq, so I won't belabor that point. Also, many of you already read the posts by reporter Michael Yon to his online magazine, thanks to our buddy Mike . The latest post to the online magazine is about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, which is healthcare. According to Yon, Iraqi healthcare providers were using photocopied outdated medical textbooks to try to get current in their practice. A drive was started by a military medical officer to remedy that situation and it has been quite successful. The post contains an e-mail address to inquire about how to contribute. I suggest to you that this type of support is what is needed in Iraq more than anything else we can give. Go. Check it out. Now.


What is it about a nap that can revive the soul the way that it does? Of course the body always needs rest, but going to bed on time and gettin' the required ZZZZZs sometimes just doesn't cut it. Sundays are excellent for a nice nap, and I grabbed one today. There's something downright luxurious feeling about saying to heck with the dishes and the chores and lying down to doze off with a book and the dog. I don't do it often, and when I do it feels like heaven. I woke up just in time to watch Dennis make a much less violent landfall than expected, thank goodness. I actually felt sorry for the poor guy in Mobile gettin' a little sprinkle while the other reporters were holding on to poles to stay vertical! Looks like Dennis is headed our way too, with much needed rain, and Gulf Shores stands intact to taunt me still ;)


My good friend leaves this week for a vacation in the UK to attend the British Open with her hubby. She is pretty nervous about the whole proposition following the bombings, and understandably so. But, the very nature of terrorism is in the random and brutal nature of the attacks. The target is always where one would least expect and very rarely repeats itself in the same location. That, my friends, is why chasing violence with violence is a losing proposition. Evil is everywhere, even within our own communities. Making a difference peacefully is what it's all about.

Y'all keep the faith. ^j^
roadside ministry
Okay then...I'm out on the riding mower this morning stirring up the dust and chopping the heads off of those tall crabgrass thingys that have gone to seed. The rest of the grass is dead except for the spot where the hose leaks, which is a nice lush oasis in a desert of brown crunchy stuff. I can barely see through the haze of dust ( kind of like Kansas during a windstorm ) and I spot this car easing up the road slowly. It looks kind of familiar so I wave, but I can't see who's in it because the windows are tinted. I wave harder and lean over to look at the car which is now stopped at the entrance to the driveway. They're waving back like crazy but I still can't make out who it is.

Out jumps a pretty well dressed girl who introduces herself as Tammy, as I kill the engine so I can shake her hand. She proudly claims to be a member of her church, which she says most people think of as "crazy" and pulls out a Bible to read me a few verses. While she's reading a little girl jumps out of the back seat and hands me this.tractShe thanks me for my time and they go on their merry way with an apprentice riding shotgun.

My first thought? " These are such nice people, I hope they never find themselves bleeding to death and refuse a blood transfusion as they are taught." That would be a travesty that I've witnessed before in healthcare, and one that I believe God weeps over every time it happens.

You just never know what a day's gonna bring.
from a to z with the poopster
I borrowed ( stole ) this from kenju this morning. Since I've never done the "100 things" thing , or even 5 for that matter, I thought it'd be fun.

A is for Age: Barrelling toward the big five 0
B is for Booze: B is for BEER :) A boatload of it!
C is for Career: Medical Technologist
D is for Dad's name: Daddy
E is for Essential Item to bring to a Party: Something good to eat and a readiness to laugh and cut up
F is for Favorite Songs at the Moment: Since Supernatural(it's old, but I still seat dance to it)
G is for Goof-off thing to do: Blogging,reading,cooking
H is for Hometown: Dyersburg, TN
I is for Instrument you play: Piano
J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Don't like jam..grape jelly.(how boring!)
K is for Kids: One daughter almost 21 ( how did that happen??)
L is for Living arrangement: A house in the country with one and a half dogs and two cats
M is for Mom's name: Mom
N is for Names of best friends: Kay,Angie,BabyGirl and her buds,several co-workers
O is for overnight hospital stays: Having the babygirl,sinus windows(what a nightmare!),gallbladder when I was seventeen(that was a whole WEEK back then)
P is for Phobias: SSSSssssssnakes
Q is for Quote you like: "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger"
R is for Relationship that lasted longest: 20 year marriage, long gone ;)
S is for Siblings: Two younger brothers
T is for Texas, ever been?: Yep...to Corpus Christi area
U is for Unique trait: I can "see fall"
V is for Vegetables you love: Purple hull peas, peaches'n cream corn, asparagus
W is for Worst traits: Fall in love way too easily, zero tolerance for bullshit
X is for Xrays you've had: Mammograms EVERY year, torn hamstring last year...YOW
Y is for Yummy food you make: Everything. Really..I'm a great cook thanks to my Mom and daughter.
Z is for Zodiac sign: Virgo

Now don't you know Poopie just a little bit better?
outta' the box
I've always been fascinated with old things. Antiques and relics seem to have much more character than newly bought finery. Perhaps I should have become an anthropologist rather than a dependable little healthcare provider. In some ways, I've been both.

In my younger years, I felt inclined to collect something. The thing that I collected was boxes of all shapes and kinds. It solved the dilemma of what to give Poopie for years. They're mostly in boxes themselves now, waiting for the mother of all yard sales. I had a fascination with containers with lids to hide stuff, and the prettier and more character, the more I cherished them. They collect dust though, as all knick knacks do. I'm enough of a Pandora to believe that one of these days I'll open up something that overwhelms me and gives me direction. So far, it's been safety pins and old Christmas tree bulbs.

I will never forget the CFO at the day job who allowed me my dream, if only for a few short months. He knew that in the grand scheme of things what I wanted to try was not do-able but not too much of a financial loss. He let me learn the hard way that while thinking out of the box might not get you where you dream of being, it serves as a lesson worth remembering on down the trail.

I've been searching for something, and that search has led me down many paths. At one time I knew with all my heart that horticulture was my thing. I studied greenhouses and plant life. Later on, hospice care called my name. I can write well, speak well and take pretty pictures. I can even make a link.

All things good and kind trackback to those who believe and keep the faith. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. You can bet your permalink on that. ^j^
*raising hand*
If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.
Taken from Open Book and Blogin Idiot .
What Goes Around Comes Around
b4b.jpg July 12 entry

I’ve always been one to give the kid a long rope. I figure it works out better that way, though it’s a scary proposition. With this gal, well. It’s the only way to keep halfway sane. She’s my baby girl, Lacey and I love her with all my heart. We’ve learned some hard lessons together that I’m hoping will serve her well when she remembers who she is.

I should have known that the proverbial “payin’ for my raising” would come at the most inopportune time for me. My momma had jokingly told her when she entered her teen years “ Now, you just call MeMaw, honey, when you get ready to climb out that bedroom window. I’ll bring the ladder up there for you!” Momma’s sense of humor is wicked now that she’s got us all grown. I did a lot of sneaking around as a teenager, and one of the few times I got caught was when I snuck out of the house late at night to meet an older boy with his own truck. No sooner did we find us a little dark place down the road to make out than I saw every light in that house come to life. Busted! Figuring I was already in trouble anyway, I just stayed there in the truck smooching a while and working on my alibi. My empty bed was camouflaged as a body with stuffed animals and pillows underneath. Those were the days when we slept in rollers and there was even a full curler cap topping that stuffed body. What a genius I was! No? Not quite. I tiptoed back into the house about an hour later to the sound of silence. Whew. So far, so good. Right when I rounded the corner into the living room, I spotted Momma sittin’ on the couch still as a mouse with her arms folded looking madder than I’d ever seen her. Plastering a happy smile on my face, I came to sit by her and told her all about my middle of the night jog and how wonderful it was. “Oh my yes! All my friends do it too!” I continued. “Your daddy’s out lookin’ for you right now young lady” she sternly replied. “Sit right there and don’t move.” After what seemed an eternity, Daddy came through the door, head down and forlorn. “ I couldn’t find her” he said quietly. Right then he looked up and saw me sitting there safe and sound, and he began to cry softly. I’m here to tell you, my Daddy just does not cry much. I had never,in my entire thirteen year old life, felt so evil. That was punishment enough. But of course I got grounded too.

Surly attitudes were the norm around the house when my own daughter hit the magic age of thirteen. She could slam doors and pitch a fit like nobody’s business, knowing all the while what it did to my nerves. The house was always full of girlfriends and giggling in spite of the melodrama of being an early teen. My old man Jimmy had left his tent out following a wet camping trip to a NASCAR race and it sat in the yard drying out in the warm spring breeze. My baby girl,Lacey, and her friends Alice and Hillary decided to spend the night out in the tent in the side yard. Watching them through the window on occasion, I could see the beams from the flashlights bouncing around and the tent jiggling with every little movement. They ended up in the house, of course, about daybreak. “We’re hungry” they cried in unison. Jimmy fixed ‘em all some bacon and eggs as I was leaving for the 6AM shift at work. “Y’all have a good one” I quipped as I left home.

When I got home from work, only Hillary was left as company for Lacey. I noticed a couple of odd numbers on the caller ID but didn’t think much of it. One can’t worry about every little thing, you know. I went to bed early that night, leaving the girls up watching TV and chattering. A couple of hours later, I felt Jimmy slide into the bed beside me and we were both out like a light in no time. When the telephone rang, I struggled out of a deep sleep to look at the clock. It was one- thirty am. Everybody knows that no phone call at that time of the morning can be much good. Either somebody has died or there’s a crisis of some sort. When I answered, it was Lacey’s strange friend Andrew. “Is Lacey there?” he asked. Mumbling into the phone I said “She’s asleep” and hung up. I was almost back to sleep when a disturbing little thought jumped out to jolt me awake. “Why hadn’t Lacey answered the phone?” Hmmmm. If there’s one sure thing about thirteen year old girls, it’s that they get the phone as soon as any semblance of a ring is heard. As much as I wanted to drift back off, I dragged myself up to check out the situation in her room. All was quiet and dark and I could see the sleeping forms in the bed. I reached over to touch her and guess what? Oh, yeah. It was the age old stuffed bed trick coming back to haunt me!

I stumbled back to my bed to wake Jimmy. “ The girls are gone” I said. “Wake UP!” He slowly came to life, and we went to the living room to talk and wait. As he watched TV and tried to ignore my growing hysteria, I paced and worried. By three thirty there was still no sign of them, and we called the sheriff’s department. An officer was dispatched to our country house quickly and he joined us in the living room. “Does she have a boyfriend?” he asked. No, not that we knew of. “Have you had any trouble like this before?” Quietly, we shook our heads no. “I’m sure they’re fine” he said. And about that time, in they walked from the back of the house. Their eyes were as big as saucers when they spotted the cop sitting in the middle of the living room. “Sit” I said. Lacey stood behind the chair where Hillary took a seat and the cop began his questioning. “Where’ve you girls been?” he asked. “Um..well. We caught a ride into town with some guys. All innocent fun, you know?” Hillary was the spokesperson, as Lacey stood still as a stone. This was a common scene for this kindly cop, and he finished his drill quickly and went on his way. The girls didn’t have to be told to get to bed. They scurried away like scalded dogs.

I had to be at work at six am again so there was no sense in lying back down. Jimmy was off to watch them and that day was the longest of my life as I dragged myself through the anger and fatigue that threatened to take me under. This is when I knew for sure that justice had been served and that I was redeemed for my own mischief as a teenager. After work that day, I took the girls to see the Easter play at church and you could have floated a boat on the tears they cried when they saw the pretend Jesus carrying that cross down the center aisle. “Good” I thought. “Y’all need to feel guilty!” But I was crying too. Because that’s what mommas do.
back to work with thee slacker!
to town
Wow..three days off is such a pleasure it feels sinful ;) That's okay though. That kind of sin is what God intended for us to grab ahold of when the opportunity arises. This is the view leaving my driveway to head into civilization. Can you blame me for not wanting to go anywhere but home? I've had enough rest that I got inspired to start back on the re-modeling I started over a year ago. Did a little spackling and regrouping in the kitchen which will be my next project. Nothin' says shake the dust off like a new coat of paint.

I knew a gal one time who do that kind of thing for recreation...changed the wallpaper semi-annually to cure her boredom. My decorative spurt is more of a rebirth, if you will. I've lived in this house for almost 17 years and haven't altered much about it until the past year. It's rather healing to change the look and feel of your home to suit your personality. It is WAYYYY past time for anything with country hearts on it to go.away.forever. Yuck.

Truth is, I could entertain myself listening to the grass grow right now. We got a half inch of rain on the 4th and the crabgrass is doing the happy dance. Ditto for the soybeans and cotton. Not to mention the kudzu.

I picked my first ripe tomato today too. YeeHawwwwww for homegrown.
Dysfunctional Fun
Back when BabyGirl was in her mid-teens, one of her best buds was a gal named Alice. They were inseparable for many years..a through-thick-and-thin kinda friendship. Alice's parents had been divorced for several years and she lived with her Mom. Ever so often her control freak of a Dad would decide to shake things up and take her back to court for custody. This is how I ended up on the witness stand.

Now, Daddy was camped out on his ex-in-laws couch for some odd reason. He and ex-mother-in-law were partners in crime on this thing of showing the world what an un-fit mother Alice's mom was. Alice was a great kid.....smart as a whip and talented. But like all teenagers, she tended to embellish the truth a bit when she knew the consequences would be a brow beatin' by those two micromanagers. On a Friday night when BabyGirl was spending the night there, the Dad and his evil sidekick Grandma confronted her on a little lie she had told a week earlier. She got an attitude, and the dad decided she needed a butt whoopin'....told her to pull down her pants and take it ( remember, this is a 14 year old girl ) When she refused, all hell broke loose and the cops were called. I was awakened from a deep sleep by a phone call from the dad telling me to come pick up BabyGirl cuz there was trouble. When I arrived, she was standing outside the house illuminated by the lights of a cop car. Alice was inside telling her story.

Fast forward to the custody hearing about six months later. I was the lone witness as testament to Alice's mom's fitness as a mother. The lawyer told me he probably wouldn't need my testimony but to hang around just in case. I sat outside that courtroom all day watching one after another of the daddy's "allies" go in and out of the courtroom. By the end of the day, I was sure I'd dodged the bullet. Courtrooms makes me nervous, ya know??

Mom's lawyer peeked outside the doors of the courtroom and told me " You're next." Oh Shit.
I walked in there slowly as if to the electric chair, and was greeted with a warm and hearty "Well HEY girl! How you been doin'??" by the judge. heh. "And how in the world are your mama and daddy and your old dog?". The daddy and his lawyer were visible to me from the stand and they were slowly sinking under the table. Alice's mom just beamed up at me, as if to say " Ain't this special?". After the judge and I caught up on family and pets ( he used to board a horse out here ) and the daddy and HIS lawyer came out from under the table, Mom's lawyer proceeded to ask me about my experiences with the family and what kind of mother I thought she was. I told them that she was a great momma with a very close relationship to her daughter, much like my own. Etc. etc.

He then asked me about the details of "the night". As I began to recount the ridiculous scene I watched the daddy's lawyer turn to him and start fussin' at him. Evidently he had forgotten to share this little incident with his lawyer and they got blindsided with it. After the tongue lashing, they both sunk even LOWER under the table and glared. I was dismissed and went on my merry way.

Of course, Alice's mom retained custody. Her lawyer told me later on over a beer that he had used me as the "final nail in the coffin" on that case. He's a genius whiz, no doubt.

Moral of the story? Keep your kids out of scraps with your ex, don't team up with your ex-in-laws and always tell your lawyer EVERYTHING!

Epilogue: The daddy married him an internet bride from South America and finally got a life and left poor Alice alone.
Let Freedom Ring
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free."
Emma Lazarus : : 1883

These words, a part of a poem entitled The New Colossus, were written by Jewish poetess Emma Lazarus. A plaque with these words adorns the Statue of Liberty in honor of the waves of immigrants that have come to call the USA their home over the years. Boy, if a statue could talk, could that old girl tell some tales!

I have pondered all day about what to write about on Independence Day 2005. Many questions have run through my mind, not the least of which is "Why do so many people the world over risk life and limb for the privilege to live in our country?" They wade rivers and float on rafts and smuggle onto trains and planes and many of them make it, illegally of course. Many others go the legal route and traverse the miles of red tape to become legal citizens of our country.

Why is that? What does this country stand for that draws the attention of others worldwide and promises such a glowing future for them? That answer is simple. We have freedoms that they can only dream about.

Our constitution guarantees certain inalienable rights that we enjoy without much thought to those who have fought and died for their preservation. We are a nation rich in material wealth and bursting with opportunity for more. Yet we squander the natural resources of our great land for one more opportunisitic buck in the pocket of "he who gets there first." We are at odds with each other over political lines and we open our mouths like baby birds to be spoon fed news stories from media outlets that have political ties as well.

One of those precious rights is the freedom of speech. If I have concerns or problems with the way my government is conducting business, I am free to express those concerns without fear of retribution. I do not have to wait until the "next election" to let my voice be heard. I can speak up when I disagree and, while there is a chance that nobody will listen, there is also a very good chance that my voice will be heard if I speak clearly on the subject at hand. If others speak up too, eventually the collective voice of America will have a forum.

An old friend came by to visit last night and we sat on the porch listening to crickets and watching lightin' bugs. His comment to me was this: "You're very fortunate to live here." And I had to agree, not only about this farm but about this country. We are free to pursue liberty and happiness as we see fit and I pray it remains that way. As long as we remember that our government does not belong to the elected officials, but to the people who elected them, we have a chance to keep our heritage alive.

Hide and watch.
The Stargazer Lily Festival
This is the one bloom that I anticipate for 11.5 solid months...the stargazer lily. Not only are the colors awesome but the smell is absolutely heavenly. The scent can actually overpower a small room or one with poor ventilation. There's presently one on my piano spreading a pungent aroma that closely resembles a French "house of pleasure". Not that I've ever visited one, mind you;)
At one time there were many of them scattered around my yard but only one remains, though it has many blooms. It also makes me a bit sad to see them because it's the last perennial to bloom around my place until the autumn clematis does its' thing in late August. When that happens, I know my birthday's not far away. And cooler weather!

Excellent essays of the "common sense " variety are here and here . We could use more of this kind of dialogue and less finger pointing, name calling and partisan calculation.

Watch out for those roman candles backfiring! ( Your mama said to tell you that ;)
Respectful Disagreement
Ruth tagged me for this meme because she knows I'm peacefully opinionated. Her challenge was this: Choose 3 people you disagree with and say something nice about them. Note that she didn't say 3 bloggers ;) It'd be hard to find three that I read regularly that I disagree with. Why bother reading something you don't believe in?

I disagree with....

Bush,Cheney,DeLay,Frist et al: Y'all are really cute when you think us Merkins are too stupid to know what's up.

Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology: But you look really hot next to Katie's young self. Have an SRUI , hon.

Michael Jackson: * blank *

Keepin' the faith here. ^j^

I received some of these in the mail from Risible Girl but I can't tell you what they look like. Why, you ask? Is Poopie blind??? And if so, how does she manage to blog like a fiend. No, my eyesight is failing but I can still see ( with reading glasses ). Truth is my BabyGirl hijacked the "funny thongs" from the mailbox and claimed them for herself this weekend. *sigh* Can't have nothin' around here. I also received some wedding flowers from Danielle. I do so love me some roses.

Y'all think about old Poop while you're out frolicking away your holiday weekend. I'll be you-know-where saving lives and ummm...prolly eatin' well. We do like to eat at the salt mine ;) I figure it's one big party around here in North America with Canada Day plus Independence Day on a four day stretch. If you need a blood transfusion, I'm your gal! Grateful not to be in the sand box, and appreciative of those who are.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Good housekeeping tip

Always keep several get well cards on the
mantel..... so if unexpected guests arrive,
they will think you've been sick
and unable to clean.
Compliments of my OLD friend Kay ;)
friday butterfly blogging
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