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ring out the old
My favorite New Year's memory is when my cousin Debbie and I dressed my little brother up like Baby New Year at my grandmother's house, oversized diaper, banner and all. He was too little to tell us no, but was definitely not amused. We were mean creative like that, using my brother and her little sister sort of like dolls. Her sister was often a princess, complete with a dixie cup crown on her precious head.

Instead of making resolutions that I surely won't keep, I'm more in the mood to count the blessings of 2006 as I see them in my life. To some of you they may seem minor, but as you all know I'm an easy to please low maintenance kinda gal.


My twenty two year old BabyGirl, after fits and starts, has finally chosen a vocation that I feel suits her personality and will provide opportunities for her to make a real difference in the lives of others that she touches. Social work is a profession that requires a certain amount of "been there lived that" experience to be able to keep the professional detachment needed to not lose yourself while helping others. She has definitely been there, done that. I am so proud of the path she has chosen that I could just bust a gut. And besides, she'll be well trained to take care of me in my old age :)


After four years of more or less putting out the fires that follow a divorce and allowing myself to heal, I feel like a new person. Still broke, still struggling with not having a partner to lean on, but finally okay with life. I go out more instead of sitting in front of the computer for hours on end because there is comfort in spending time with friends, even if it's just drinkin' a beer and discussing life or singing and dancing and cuttin' up. Life is too short to be spent behind closed doors waiting for SugarDaddy or Prince Charming to show up. Sometimes real fairy tales happen where you least expect them to.


Though I post and read b**gs less, I feel a much stronger connection to those who make up that part of my life. A lot of that is due to my visit from Hoss back in the spring. Anyone who has ever doubted whether blog friendships are "real" can surely take heart in the fact that the master b**gger traveled all the way from Oregon to Tennessee just to meet the old Poopster. As a community, we have been there for each other in so many different ways that I cannot express what you all mean to me without getting sappy. *sniff* Love ya....mean it.


The people of America finally got off their butts and raised hell on election day in November of this year. 'Nuf said, and amen.


My mother survived a near fatal car accident on Easter morning and is able to walk again thanks to her steely determination and some good medical care. She should start physical therapy soon and then we won't be able to keep up with her. I still live in the beautiful old farm house that is one mile, as the crow flies or the cow wanders, from my parents. They are aging gracefully and are in good health. I can only pray to do the same.


My baby' Daddy has been in rehab/halfway house for almost a year now after hitting the jail wall. The two of them talk and visit often and are restoring a relationship that was almost lost forever.


My middle brother revamped his nightclub and it's lookin' good. There's a big old kitchen in there just begging for a woman's touch and I'm gonna do my best to make a go of it. When I'm not at the day job, that is. Or chasing SugarDaddy.


Even though times have been hard, I still have (most of) my teeth, a sense of humor and the ability to see the glass as half full, the majority of the time. I could care less what people think of me as long as I'm true to myself. I have rediscovered parts of me that I thought were buried through the years and those little quirks bring me comfort when it's just me and the dogs and cats like it will be tonight. Watching Dick Clark.

And keepin' the faith.

happy shit
Me and Redneck Friend are lookin' for some good news. Y'all got anything to share? Her boss and his best friend are all about hunting ducks while we work our asses off answering the phone and such. My boss is a duck hunter too, I've heard. I haven't seen him in awhile because he's busy. His loss, I say.

Anywho...last night YaYa danced on the tables at the Kudzu bar and had a damn fine time doin' it. She's been on vacation for a couple of weeks and has enjoyed every nanosecond of it. HER boss is quite the prince in my book. His other half has a new camisole that he bought her for a Santa present and she's just about to bust out of it. I do so love me some happy marriage stuff.

Poops is at a loss as to how to bring in 2007. I could probably get a New Year's kiss anywhere I end up because that's what alcohol does to people. One can only hope I'll get to dance with a cute guy who doesn't tell me I get on his nerves.
merry hannukwanzaa!

I talk a right smart about faith around here...keepin' it, losing it and finding it again in the oddest places. By its' very nature, faith is capricious and magical and never moreso than it was all those years ago when an angel came along and said to Joseph " Dude, she hasn't been messing around on you. Just pack up and go to Bethlehem to pay your taxes and you'll see what's up." Umm..okay, then. Can you imagine the surprise on his face when the wise guys showed up with all the goodies after following that star?

Jesus was a humble sort of guy partly because of his humble beginnings. Born to an unwed mother in a cave surrounded by farm animals with nothing to wear but rags, He grew into a man who performed miracles and looked after the least of these every day of his life. Then along came another hard-to-believe kind of deal with his death and resurrection and the persecution of His believers.

I happen to be a Christian, because that is the theology that works for me personally. Does that mean that I think others are wrong in their beliefs? Not at all. I believe that we all worship the same God in different ways and that the basic rules are the same no matter what the name of the religion. The rest is just details.

Which brings us back to faith. I realize that I haven't been through near the hardship that some have endured, yet life has been tough and continues to be filled with spots that require great faith to navigate. I passed on the church service and dinner with cousins last night and treated myself to a string of Christmas movies that I haven't had time to sit and watch and right there towards the end of "Miracle on 34th Street" Maureen O'Hara delivered the best definition of faith that I have ever heard to little Natalie Wood....

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.

I've enjoyed keeping it with all of you. Let's do it again next year!

feliz navidad
what would big ernie do?
I should know better than to tune into the "local" evening news on the teevee. Tonight's lead Christmas holiday dramatic story on NBC out of Memphis was all about how the senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church is on the hot seat for not rattin' out an associate for a confidential confession concerning an "indiscretion" many years ago. All of Adrian Rogers' sheep are up in arms about the fall from grace. His widow swore on camera that he never knew a thing about it and I don't doubt that for a minute. I reckon it means that singing Christmas tree tickets are half price.

In a world without evil, not a one of us would ever sin. That damn snake back in the garden pretty much sewed that one up for the rest of humanity. What I don't understand is how one human being who has been given the gift of a life in paradise could possibly want to mess somebody else's up in the spirit of pitching stones at glass houses. I used to drive myself crazy as a kid tryin' to figure out all this no beginning and no end thing...it seemed too much to comprehend. Daddy told me when I asked him about heaven and hell that he thought heaven was right here on earth, according to what you do with it. Now..don't get me wrong. I still think I'll see him and Mama and all the rest of them out there somewhere doing unto others as they always have. As usual, it seems to be about the journey.

See y'all at the stable.

this is my life
deck the halls in shorts and tank tops
......falalalala la la la la. Here I sit a week from Christmas wearing shorts and trying to keep myself from turning the AC on. Hmmm. Tennessee is notorious for its' unpredictable weather and this little taste of spring is par for the course around here. A high temp of around 70 today will moderate to more normal for Santa weather by the end of the week. No chance of snow for the sleigh though. He'll just have to improvise.

The toothache is becoming a bad memory like all unpleasant things eventually do. Other than labor pains, there's nothing more miserable. Thanks be to Big Ernie for nitrous, even though it makes me cry. If it weren't for the gas, I'd have to be strapped down on a papoose board for heavy dental treatments like that.

What shopping I have done will be the extent of it, and it ain't much. Lots of socks and underwear :) Hey..it beats switches and ashes or a lump of coal. I've tried to be a very good girl this year so maybe Santa will remember me. I'm thinkin' about leaving him a kitten instead of milk and cookies. Whaddya think?

I've been trying to get a shot of the kittens crawling in and out of the wood duck box on the front porch but they're quick so I haven't been successful yet. I don't know what it is about cats and crawling through holes but they LOVE it! Needless to say this box won't make it down by the water any time soon.

Merry Christmas eve eve eve eve eve eve eve eve.

Love ya...mean it. ^j^
the poop-o-meter
This blog has been a particularly soft place to land when it comes to gettin' over a good case of the whiney buttitis. Many times the only thing that has kept my faith alive is a comment or an e-mail or a real live card from someone whose life I've stumbled upon...recently, lately and in-between.

I had a tooth pulled out today and the best thing I can say is that at least now I know the pain will have an end. Ain't nothing like a bad toothache to make you realize that your mama was dead on about peaks and valleys and all that sort of boring stuff.

Life is good though, because of the way that..in spite of our control freak inner demons, it turns out okay. You know..the way it was intended to. There's a lot of comfort in drifting off to a nice long sleep knowin' that.

I'm just saying. ^j^
learnin' the hard way
I suppose there's something to be said for that way of living life. I never was one of those sheeple who follow the crowd, though sometimes I wished I was. Life must be so easy when you're not burdened with the angst of questioning every little speck of activity and authority since time began here on Mother Earth. So far there's still some green here and there and it's not "too" warm yet...except in July here in Tennessee. That's what tank tops are for, y'all.

* * * * * * *

My little scare with HPV taught me a lesson about the big bad world. It's the virus that causes cervical cancer and there are genotypes classified as low and high risk. It causes subtle changes in the cytology of the cervix which, if you are faithful to the principles of preventive care, will be picked up on a yearly PAP smear. Just because it's there doesn't mean you "picked it up" recently. Sometimes viruses lie dormant for years and decide to go wild for no reason other than a full moon. The good news is that there is a vaccine now that gives girls who haven't become sexually active a chance at NEVER having to deal with cancer of the cervix. One of the other big C's might slap them on the behind, but it's a start and and it beats being a nun.

* * * * * * *

Doctors and lawyers and preachers and politicians and movie stars and teachers are human beings just like us and they do dumb things sometimes and live to regret them. There was only one perfect human ever, and every time some idiot doc rips me a new poophole because he's having a bad day and I'm doing my job, I try to remember that. It more than makes up for it when I go to see an old friend for legal advice and get treated like a princess when I need it the most. Thanks, Elton and Jason. Love ya...mean it.

* * * * * * *

I went to work twenty nine years ago as a bona fide college graduated med tech for the princely sum of $4.92 an hour. Had I stayed inside the walls of the clinical laboratory and not experienced life with the patients and their families I would have missed the journey entirely. Earning a living in healthcare has given me the opportunity to feel every little detail of what makes it a growth experience and what can destroy human dignity in a heartbeat.

* * * * * * *

There's a time and place for reality and then there's the escape from it. I prefer equal parts of both as doled out by Big Ernie. Love thy neighbor. Kick over the tables in the temple when things don't seem quite fair. Believe in miracles. He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

* * * * * * *

There is great joy in laughing your ass off along the way. I would have given up the ghost eons ago had it not been for SNL, Dave and Jay, John Boy and Billy and Comedy Central making me *snort* these past few years. Oh yeah..and Hoss too.

* * * * * * *

Y'all have yourselves a merry little Christmas, ummkay? Your card's in the mail.

visions of sugarplums

All available Kudzu Kweens gathered last night for the first annual dirty Santa, kudzu style. As usual, a good time was had by all even when the gift stealin' got down and dirty. For the life of me I can't figure out why I'm always the one with eyes wide shut and mouth wide open in these pictures. Guess I need to practice my "on camera" pose a bit.

My cousin called tonight for a little memory jog on the name of the place that our grandmother always took us at Christmas when we were kids. Only one year apart we were, and still are, more like sisters than cousins. Gaga found herself a widow at the young age of 43 so she had plenty of time and money to spend making memories with her two eldest grandchildren on road trips to the Enchanted Forest in Memphis. It was a magical place buried deep in the basement of the old Goldsmith's department store. We would load up in her white station wagon early in the morning and drive the eighty miles south to fight the big city traffic to get down close to the mighty Mississippi River where all the finest stores were located, surrounded by cotton warehouses and government buildings.

Goldsmith's had an underground parking garage which was way cool for us small town girls, and we would make our way through the maze of concrete and steel toward the place where the magic of Christmas came alive through animated snowmen, elves and of course Santa himself. There was more bling in that place than you could shake a candy cane at, with holiday music blaring all around as we became enchanted as only children can with the gaudy trappings of a holy season. There were escalators and a huge candy department featuring confections of every possible shape and size made of pure chocolate and marzipan.

I remember in the first or second grade when some wiseass know-it-all girl told me flat out that Santa wasn't real. Idealist that I am, that didn't set well and I've never truly been able to wrap my brain around that denial of the magic that is a jolly old fat man in a red suit who rewards the good little girls and boys. It sure keeps me in line during the month of December, and my daughter as well.

Call me a dreamer, but I still believe.

more babies

It's calving season here on the farm which keeps Daddy and Bubba busy most afternoons around sunset as they cruise the pastures seeing who got born. Last week they had twins! When I was a little kid, the calves were usually born in the dead of winter and I remember, on more than one occasion, Daddy going out in the middle of the night dressed in insulated coveralls and gloves with a chain to help some poor cow out with the delivery. They've tweaked the breeding schedule to where they're mostly here by the first of the year before the really bad winter weather arrives.
Notice the brand on the bull's backside. I honestly didn't realize that they still did that!

Y'all got your shopping done? Um..not you, Jules. I know you do :) I'm waiting for a payday next week to do what little that I will do. BabyGirl gave me an early gift last week when I was having a bad hormone day. Check it out below.mom

My kid. Gotta love her. ^j^
in memory honor of junior
Who among us hasn't been scared to death, out of our element and just looking for somebody who cares. My Daddy told me back when I was a kid seeking religion that when you do something good for somebody it's best to do it in the closet away from the adoring crowd and enjoy the warm fuzzies alone. It seems to work out best that way with Big Ernie, in my experience.

Here's a case in point, a tale woven with threads of friendship over the years. I first met this couple at church when me and BabyGirl were regular attendees up on the corner of Main and McGaughey with the Methodists. Her Daddy was never there after our wedding day, very much. He got raised up in a place where fingers got pointed at everybody who even DARED to look like they were having fun and you had to march down there and confess all of it in front of everybody. Promise to do better too. Now, that confessional thing works well for Catholics because it's just you and the priest but DANG. Don't make me go up front and ask for forgiveness from the blue haired ladies in the back row. Even Jesus wouldn't ask that of his kids. If you believe in Jesus, that is.

Anyway...back to the story of that couple. They met in college, married and had a child. Her name is Anna Lee and his is Jason. We met in Sunday School when she was pregnant with child number two and we were all desperately searching for who we would be as adults. I went to the house when Ashton was born to bring some food and meet the dog. Later on, Ashton got really sick and came to the hospital with her scared to death parents. It just so happened that I was the one sent to draw blood from her little bitty self and boy were they happy to see me! A friendly face can do wonders at times like that, ya know? Another time they were up there visiting their friend Junior when he was dyin' and low and behold, I ran into them then too. Old Junior was one of a kind...Lake County through and through.

Before we knew it, they were splitting up and going separate ways. Her folks lived in North Carolina so she headed that way with the girls after saying goodbye to her dear friends in the 'burg. Everybody at church whispered about how Jason had a girlfriend and did Anna Lee and those babies wrong with his mixed up notions about women and God. The way she told it, he was just never the same after his daddy died.

....to be continued.

P.S. My apologies to Clyde Edgerton.
faith watch

*update* Tuesday: Biopsy was okay...shout out to Big Ernie!
take your cervix to work day
Heh. Catchy title, huh? True to form for my recent streak of luck, I had the pleasure of having a cervical biopsy done Friday afternoon following an abnormal pap smear report. Talk about F.U.N.! Since the specimen is going to the hospital where I work, I just brought the little formalin filled jar home with me to take in on Monday morning. It won't be processed until then anyway. What sounds like even more FUN! is the LEAP procedure that may follow this one if the dysplasia is more than mild. I'll know by Tuesday when the pathologist du jour takes a look see.

The asshole gene continues to amaze me each and every day. When fully expressed it takes rudeness to a whole new level. For instance....take the guy at the Kudzu bar with whom I thought I had a friendly sort of relationship that might grow a bit. The last time I saw him he told me that I "get on his nerves". With a straight face...serious as hell. Okay then, buddy. That was solved in a New York minute by quickly moving out of his personal space with a vow never to get closer than ten feet again. Ever. My bad for even thinking you were worth the effort to begin with.

The tree is up and smells heavenly. Shopping will be sparse to non-existant this year so there won't be much under it but hey...it's beautiful to look at. My ornaments range from funky little BabyGirl made angels to the ones that my mother hand crafted when I was a child out of egg shells. There are several that were on the first tree that she and Daddy had as a married couple. That is what I like best about Christmas...the traditions. Candle number one of the Advent wreath is burning brightly as I type, giving me a sense of anticipation about the miracles of the season. The ceramic angel's wing got broken while unpacking the nativity scene but it's all good. Elmer's glue took care of the damage and she's keeping watch over the stable.

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