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see ya'll next year

Ya'll up for a little game? I thought you were since it's New Year's Eve and all. There is absolutely no prize, cuz I'm on a budget. This smart(ass) photographer buddy of mine is wrapping up 2007 by posting some unpublished pictures in the final days of the "year before the one that we will get a new president for better or for worse." My shoutouts to Big Ernie are for something a little better. I ask in a nice sort of way though, and bless his mama'n'them.

Anyways...I thought I'd post a few of my favorite pics from the past year just for old time's sake. Gotta get the peas and cabbage cooking so we can have some good luck in '08. If you get bored with the last night of this very looooooong year, just think of smartass stuff to say about these folks. It will be great amusement...trust me.

We find ourselves at the end of a year that was, whether we liked it or not. I have never been one to make empty promises just because the calendar flips a page but this time around I've been thinkin' about what I'd really LIKE to do with the coming 366 days of 2008. You can be sure I'll not meet all of the challenges, but making a list is the first step to making it happen. Right?

This movie is one that I need to watch in a dark theater by myself. I deserve a date with him, or someone pretty dang close.

I saw this hotel from a distance on my one trip to Hot Springs. Me and the BG desperately need to feel special and pampered. I think this might be the place that could cure what ails us.

Organization is not my strong point, but I'm learning to embrace my inner tidy child and actually enjoy knowing where things are. There's a lot to be said for putting one's hand on the stapler when the papers are out of hand. Ditto for the file cabinet and the colored tabbed folders.

Mom and I have done the advance work on the latest edition of From the Back Burner. Since we missed Christmas by a long shot, the next logical target date is Mother's Day. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we'll get 'er done by then. I so want ya'll to share the joy :)

This chick is freakin' hilarious in a southern redneck sort of way that I totally relate to. I plan to track her down like a trashy heifer and laugh my ass off again.

I've never had a real garden like where you till up a few rows and plant with a purpose. This year, that will change so that me and BG can make our fortune at the local farmer's market. Just got to figure out how to keep the critters out of the crop. Daddy can probably help out with that little project.

Sugardaddy who?

Jimi Hendrix...check. Elton John...double check. Linda Ronstant..check, check. James Taylor? check.check.check. I've never seen these guys live even though I was raised on their tunes. Maybe they'll go on tour again now that we're hooked on Long Road Out of Eden.

If all goes well, I'll be within spittin' distance of being current with the bills sometime in '08. If you've ever read much here, you'll realize what a miracle it is for me to be able to see that faint light at the end of the tunnel. Do I hear an Amen?

oh, shit !
My immediate reaction when I read about Bhutto's assasination was exactly that. While "we" have been busy making money off of lucrative government let contracts in Iraq and drafting almost retired guardsmen and women to do the dirty work, the war against terror has been marching on under our radar. During that time, we lost a good part of New Orleans to the sea and our government was woefully absent.. from the Corp and their levees to FEMA and their half assed recovery efforts. California damn near burned off the US map.

It has always been thus and so in that region. Sunni vs Shiite. Israeli vs Palestenian. It is NOT our business until they show up on our doorstep with weapons of mass destruction. So what if some country lobs a big fat nukler bomb at us? In my opinion, we've spread our resources way too thin by chasing the elusive mystery terrorist since the catastrophe at the WTC. The number of Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq has now passed the number who perished on 9/11. Can't we just call it even and take care of business at home?

The business at hand might include opportunities for the working middle class who support both the upper and lower brackets with their tax dollars. Working our lives away for some unappreciative corporation, we often miss the best parts of life like school plays and picnics with the kids and grandchildren. Tax breaks go to the wealthy and entitlements to a few who need it and a whole bunch who abuse the system.

The teevee folks say that shopping whorefest 2007 was "less than retailers expected." There's a glimmer of hope in that statement somewhere. Perhaps the worker bees have finally realized that it's stupid as hell to go neck deep into debt just to trade gift cards because it's Merry HannuKwaanza time.

Maybe, just maybe we have seen the enemy.

so drop the ball already
I don't know about ya'll, but 2007 seems to have been about five years long to me. Oh, time goes by quickly like my Daddy always said it would when I got older. The seasons run all over each other in a very non-distinct way that leaves me wondering if it's summer or winter or Valentine's Day or Independence Day or maybe Epiphany eve.

This afternoon found me back in the saddle stirrups again for the umpteenth time since the first abnormal pap back in '06. Since then we've biopsied and LEAPed and still the abnormality persists. Mild dysplasia, HPV positive, high risk strains. Cervical cancer waiting to happen.

Santa brought me not one but TWO pyracanthas! I planted them today against the barbed wire and fence posts out back by the patio horses a few feet past where I started the brick patio last year. Ran out of bricks pretty quick :) It's my favorite place to hang out in the summer because there's a big old elm tree shading the area and lots of perennials with a stellar view of the barn and pumphouse. On a warm day I can see the golfers over on the ? holes putt puttin' away while I pull weeds from the flower beds.

My brother turned me onto Peggy Noonan some years ago and I must say it's been a love/hate affair as I've read her frequent "I feel his pain" articles about Dubya. But this one? Right on, sista. Last thing we need is a preacher in the White House. What would the speechwriters do??????

I was watching the local news last night where they show live video of soldiers talking to their families back home during the holidays. This one guy was all buff and decked out in camo and broke plum down right there on camera. Dude wanted to be with his family so bad he couldn't stand it.

Body count to date? That number changes from day to day. Public opinion on the "War on Terror"? Get the hell outta there right.damn.now. I need my income tax refund.

Gotta run 'cuz the dogs are ready for bed.

the ghost of christmas present
...is still warming me with its' simplicity. Babygirl spent a sleepless night on duty at her job and called to wake me up around nine as planned. Then she headed off to Mom and Daddy's house to assist with the breakfast preparations while I took my time greeting another Christmas day. Daddy and Bubba were out on a mission of some sort in the truck when I got there, maybe looking for more dead calves. They've had five born dead already with no plausible explanation. One got taken for an autopsy a couple of weeks ago to try to solve the mystery of CSI Bovine. We shall see.

Us girls cooked and the guys snoozed in their chairs until the feast was ready. Denny's ain't got nothing on us when it comes to cooking breakfast. I'm just saying. About the time we finished up, baby brother and wifey called from Virginia for a conference call about the festivities. We passed the phone around and chatted about the weather and the dogs and life in general, accustomed to not being together anymore but feeling the familial tug to connect on this special day. Me and Harold were deep in discussion about friends and their families when I got the "time out" sign to get my smart ass off the phone to play Santa. Mama just LOVES to get creative with gift delivery so there were some original moments like when Babygirl opened a box with three wheels off of a toy car and a receipt for three new tires! Me and Daddy got notes stuck on a little tree telling us to go look in the back of Bubba's truck where pyracantha trees waited for us to plant. Fun stuff.

Mom settled into a rocking chair in front of the fireplace and me and the BG stretched out on the couch to rest a bit and then she got to talking about the history of our family and how we ended up there to begin with and continue to be here some fifty one years later. Most of this, BG had never heard straight from the horse's Memaw's mouth. Great stuff.

We talked about the ghosts of Christmases past and silently pondered the future. Nobody said it, but I know that we all believe more than ever. And that, my friends, is the greatest gift of all.
down to the nut cuttin'

That's the phrase that my friend Yaya used to describe these last few days before Christmas. I am, of course, thrilled beyond belief to not be out there at a mall fighting crowds. But ya know what? Not ALL the people are there. There were about 8,000 of them in our ER today getting their colds and such looked at since there's no doctor's office time until Wednesday. *sigh* As luck would have it, the ER doc on duty was the one who orders every lab test he can think of on everybody who walks in the door. You got a sore toe? Let's work you up. Rash for six months? Full battery of tests. Just once in my life I'd like to meet a doc who can rule IN instead of rule out.

Speaking of nuts, if you've got pecans lying around lookin' for something to do, here's a tasty easy recipe for roasting them:

Melt 1 stick butter and stir in 2T worcestershire sauce and 2T Country Bob's Sauce ( or A1) Dump in four cups pecans and stir to coat. Bake on a cookie sheet at 325 for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring and salting every ten minutes. See? Easy as pie..and addictive as hell. Nobody can eat just one. Or ten, for that matter.

If you're a duck hunter in West Tennessee today, beware of the Ides of December...the wind is blowing at gale force bringing in a cool front. Not a good day to be out in a boat. In the space of a week traveling to and from work I saw deer and wild turkeys and several raccoons moseying around the lane like they owned it. I guess they do, huh?

The dogs are slowly making peace with the new kitten, Lily. I don't know where her crack dealer is hiding out, but I'd like to find his butt and kick it. This cat is wired for sound, especially when Babygirl isn't around. I had forgotten what it was like to have one that can jump like that from pillar to post knocking over everything in its' way. And the places she can find to hide! I have the grates off of my vents because I'm working on the floors ( okay, well I'm THINKING about it ) and she did a smooth escape move down into the vent one day to escape the evil canine that was after her. When I looked over, I saw her little calico head peeping out at floor level to make sure the coast was clear. Priceless.

If ya'll see Santa around anywhere, tell him I've been really really GOOD this year, much to my chagrin ;) Hey..if I got any gooder, I'd be living in the convent.

Merry Ho-Ho to you and yours from me and mine here on Pecan Lane. My wish for you is that you will continue to keep the faith even when it seems like the farthest thing possible from what you think you can do. ^j^
christmas is for kids
I remember many a PM boo-hoo on December 25th when I was a young'un. Too much build-up and excitement about the whole Santa thing that when it was all over and cleaned up, I crumbled into a pile of disappointment that it was so far away again. Magic..that's what it is to a child. You (try to) be good for a few days and even if you screw up, you know for sure that Santa Claus will deliver the goods whether you have a chimney or not. You believe.

White Christmases in West Tennessee are pretty rare. I remember once my Daddy took advantage of the white stuff to drag a lawn chair over the snow to make sleigh tracks for us! Hmm..made us think. We always stayed up to watch the ten o'clock news so we could see the Santa sighting on the weather radar. Usually didn't sleep too well afterwards :) Anticipation is the best part of the holiday season to some folks, including me. I don't get all tangled up in the details of shopping and stuff because, frankly, I can't afford it. I'm doing well to keep the utility bill paid right now. Babygirl understands because she lives it with me. She remembers all of the childhood years when she woke up to the loot feeling all warm and fuzzy. These days, we're just happy to be together as a family for another season. I remember when she was little, but big enough to understand, we bundled under the covers and pulled out the bible to read the story together of what it's all about. Even then it was all about taxes and hardships. Maybe that's why the miracle is all the more special.

I called my little friend Robert the other night to see what color icing he wanted on his cookies. "Bwue!" he exclaimed. Very retro....blue Christmas trees. I'm sure he forgot about it ten seconds later and kept on barrelling his way through the joys of being a four year old. A few minutes ago the phone rang and when I answered I heard this little voice say "Hey Poopie!" He had called to tell me thanks for the cookies. And that he got "just what he wanted."

Yep...I believe.
not wordless
'Sup ya'll? It's hump day, ya know. I'm off for a couple of days prior to a working weekend of Christmas cheer so I'm celebrating by listening to The Eagles and kicking back. When I first bought those CDs just one song caught my attention. But by golly, I've learned to love just about every track. The guitar work is to die for.

Today was a celebration at the sawmill...free lunch and the awards!ceremony! for us old-timers. Since it's the holidays and all I'll not be a grinch about the whole thing. Let's just say that me and Lunch Buddy would have liked bologna and pork rinds just as well. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of the company in recognizing our thirty years of service hard labor and dedication to the sick and infirmed while juggling our own families around the task at hand. At least we got applause from the other worker bees :)

Lily the new cat slept over my head last night so I guess the dogs don't seem to be a huge threat as long as one of us girls is within meowing distance. The claws are deadly, though. She likes to sit in my lap in the morning when I'm putting my face on and cuddle my leg with those claws. *yow*

The treats are made, some delivered. We still have presents and paper strung all over the dining room table and redneck lights hanging in the living room window. I love the holiday season not for what I'll get, but for what I get by relaxing into the atmosphere of what's important. Like friends and family. And cheese grits.
terrific tuesday

That's what Jerry's name is for the day after Marvelous Monday. Gotta love an optimist wherever you meet 'em. He happens to be a service rep for instruments at work. I've never seen the man without a smile. And he brings Elvis doughnuts too :) Those smiling folks are my Daddy and my friend the little general. They're expecting Santa to be good, as you can tell by the grins.

I bounced walked my big old middle aged smart ass into the lab this morning to find one of my co-workers hard at work in the blood bank. Seems that two emergency surgeries happened at the same time so there was much scurrying about by all involved. That probably doesn't sound like much to a big place, but in our neck of the woods it is. Trust me. She handed it off to me so she could finish what she was doing when the poop hit the fan. Teamwork is highly underrated these days.

My best friend from high school is here for a few days visiting her parents. Pop is sick so she traveled from Seattle alone to help around the house and celebrate her mother's birthday. Bless her heart...she's got a little girl in kindergarten too. And teaches drama too. YIKES!! Anyhoo..she's gonna look up RG and compare notes with her on how precious I am *snort*

Saw this little blurb on the news tonight about Bush lighting a single bulb on a porch or something to increase our awareness of the dangers of being oil gluttons. Now ya'll know I'm not a real fan, so you'll appreciate my first bitchy little thought: " Damn..for a minute there I thought he had an idea."

It's T-7 days and you know what that means. Yep..time for a Valium. Seriously...ya'll be careful out there. Those mall Santas can be real pieces of work.
the day the music died
Being the shameless groupie that I am, I have had mad crushes on more than one musical artist in my 52 years and Dan Fogelberg was one of them. He died, at the age of 56, from prostate cancer and my heart is broken. His music reminds me of my twenties when life stretched out like an endless two lane highway to the next adventure. When I visited his website earlier today after reading the news, there was a post about his death and testimonial from him about the importance of early detection by digital rectal exam and PSA level. Not fun things to think about, but often lifesaving tests.

Cancer of the prostate is unusual in that if it detected when the cancer is confined to the prostate itself, it is easily curable. Once the disease progresses to the bone marrow, its' secondary site, it can be handled with medication and or radiation but it will never be "cured". Such was the case with my Uncle Jimbo, the band director. He died at age 54 from prostate cancer that had been detected by an enzyme test during a routine physicial that showed increased bone activity. Though it had spread, he lived happily and healthily for four more years until his disease decided not to respond to the treatment any longer and became aggressive. In the end, the cancer took over his bone marrow requiring numerous transfusions of blood and platelets for survival. Eventually, even that was not enough. During his last days he was constantly busy with his hands "making platelets". So, in honor of both of them, I dedicate one of Fogelberg's most memorable tunes, Leader of the Band.


I love to cook even more than I love to eat so it makes sense for me to gift folks with things that I whip up in the kitchen. One night last week I baked multiple batches of my Mama's cookie recipe with the tree cookie cutter. This weekend, I added colored icing and sprinkles. It's one of those traditions that I'll never give up until I can't drag my old butt to the stove. By then, I feel sure somebody will bring me some in the nursing home ;) Wearing felt reindeer antlers and singing carols! My hands are stained with green from the food color, and I made some blue ones too for my little friend Robert, Yaya's grandboy. His favorite color, dontcha know.

Today was cake baking for the folks up at the grocery store that I stop at every.single.day.without.fail. Family owned, which is a nice touch of rurality in today's fast paced world. I can't ever remember it NOT being there in my lifetime. They stock whatever you ask for because they know you're a regular and will habitually drop by for the sake of convenience and a smile.

Just in case you're in a cookie makin' mood, here's the recipe.

Mama Staff's Cutout Cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups self rising flour

Cream soft butter and sugar together. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour a little bit a time and stir well. Roll dough out thin on a floured board. Cut with cookie cutters and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until very slightly brown around the edges.

For a bright glaze, combined powdered sugar, food color and a few drops of hot water. Or, use the canned kind! For a Santa's face you could use blue eyes, red mouth and hat and white whiskers and beard. Let your imagination run wild. That's the fun of it...kinda like painting. Sprinkle with candy decors. The kids will have a ball and so will you :) It kinda puts the "merry" in Merry Christmas.

Janice Stafford
From the Back Burner
it was a cold and rainy day....

No wait..that was dark and stormy night. My apologies to Snoopy! North Pecan Lane was covered with water this afternoon when I ventured out to do a little shopping. It's not really an unusual event during a hard rain because the ditches are not often cleaned out. I'm just grateful it's not ice, ya know? Lily met the dogs today and I had to referee a few times, but it's all good. She made believers out of 'em right off the bat. Let's just say that there's a huge element of canine respect for hissing, jumpin' and clawing kittens who are scared.

I am home and I am content to be here. It's amazing how much shit stuff one can get accomplished when one abandons the search for Sugardaddy and focuses on oneself. I'm just saying. We are "creating" Christmas presents this year which is a lot more fun than chasing sales at the mall for socks and underwear. Each one is unique and well thought out. That's the kind of gift I love to get and give.

If Clarksdale wasn't five hours away and the weather had been a bit nicer, I was gonna go party with this guy's bunch tonight. I have never met the guides, but I've watched their adventures online for the past few years and there is never a dull moment. There is an after-school apprenticeship program for at risk Clarksdale youth, teaching them the meaning of literally floating your own boat. See you on the Hatchie in '08, dude :)
friday ramble
If ya'll are anything like me, you're simply amazed and astounded that this week has found its' way to Friday. TBEIF and all that! As a sometimes weekend worker the "big day" doesn't have a punch to it on those weeks I'm scheduled to show up at the sawmill at 6AM Saturday. Nothing short of a note from the funeral home is reason enough to call in on a weekend and everybody respects that. I've done it once in thirty years and I gotta say, though I didn't have a note I thought I was dead. But this week? Ahhhh..it's me and the beer candles and the brand new kitty named Lily that BG brought home this morning. Poor baby hasn't met the dogs yet. We're planning on a slow meet'n'greet.

Thank you for your concern about my Mom. She was right where she was supposed to be and "the chauffeur" was a litle confused. She is his better right half and he panics when he thinks he's fallen down on the job of keeping them both at their appointed places. The job of driving fell to him after Mama had her third wreck last year and gave it up. She couldn't see...but didn't want to give up the freedom that comes with driving. I can certainly understand. I remember when my grandmother left my house and ended driver's side up in the ditch at the end of Pecan Lane. Guess who became "Miss Daisy" and loved every minute of it?

The steroid thing is kind of funny in a way. I mean gah...who wouldn't shoot up with 'roids if there were millions of dollars riding on performance. Kinda like corporate America except that we get drug tested randomly. The scary thing to me is that it took an investigation like this to show what many folks already know and still buy into. Nobody should make that kind of money for doing a job well, including artists and CEOs. Take what you need to live comfortably and give the rest to somebody who does their job or plays the game just because they enjoy it. And yes, I love baseball. And apple pie. And of course, hot dogs and beer.

I'm beginning to see a day of the week theme here which is probably a good thing . There are other times and places for serious writing and ya'll know where they are. I remember back in my neophyte blogger days anguishing over missing a day for fear that my one reader would be disappointed that I had failed to publish a post. Then I got a camera and it got easier. One picture? Worth a thousand words. Every year at Christmas I get cards from fellow b**ggers reminding me of where I've been and who I've spent time with and prayed over during the past four years. Dammit! Missed my blogoversary again ):

If you've got snow, play in it. If it's a cold rain just cuddle up a pet and enjoy the warmth. If your job is a bitch on wheels and so is your mother-in-law, forget it.

It's Friday. ^j^

was lost but now am found....
Hoo boy. Just when you think life is about a inch away from being boring, you get a phone call at work while you're grubbing on cheesy bread with the lunch bunch. "Janie..is your Mama up there?" Daddy asked. "Uh..no is she supposed to be?" He proceeded to tell me that he had dropped her off in front of the clinic where her doctor's appointment was and went on to do his tutoring thing at the elementary school. When he returned to pick her up an hour later, he found the doors to the "pain" clinic locked. When he called the number on the window he was told they weren't seeing patients today. Where the heck was MOM????

He called her cellphone..no answer. He called my brother to see if he had picked her up. Couldn't get him. By the time he called me he was scared half to death that either somebody had swiped his precious wife or she was wandering around in the cold lost. Me and the boss hopped into her red Hummer and raced out there to find Daddy sitting quietly in the car, expecting the worst. "Call the police" he said. So I did, and repeated the story for about the tenth time. She told me they'd send somebody right out, and my brother pulls up about that moment. Boss took one end of the strip and I started from the middle toward the other end to search the other offices.

Very first one I entered, I spotted her leaning into the receptionist's window. "Mom!" I exclaimed. "What are you DOING here?" The gal behind the desk gave me one of those "here's your sign" looks and patiently explained that Mama had been in the back for quite some time and now they were making her another appointment. Cellphone had not rung. What was up? We made a few jokes about that line from Amazing Grace and all's well that ends well.

I went back outside and told Daddy and Bubba and Boss that I'd found her and didn't even have to pay ransom to get her back ;) Twenty minutes later we were all pulling out and the cops STILL hadn't showed up. I tried to get through to them to tell them it was all good, but couldn't get an answer. As me and Bubba eased out on the highway the cruiser moseyed on down into the parking lot with the cop chatting on his cellphone, probably to his girlfriend. I hope he got the message that Bubba left with the dispatcher along the lines of "good damn thing she wasn't getting beat up!"


Never a dull moment in Poopieland.
the office

I've gotta tell ya'll..we've eaten a lot of food up there at the day job on the run. We get thirty minute meal breaks and snacks when time permits :) We are a dedicated hard working bunch of folks up in that lab. Many of us are ready to move onto something other than slaving away at the sawmill. I guess I should be grateful they still want me. If I didn't have a job I'd probably stay up all night and sleep all day.

We had our first most recent off-site Christmas dinner this evening. It was nice to not have to answer the phone or hop up and catch that annoying tube when it hits home bringing a specimen to our testing area. The boss was gracious enough to open up her home for a pot-luck gathering of 24/7 laboratorians plus one well coiffed party cocker, a 911 guy and a kid with a new camera. Good times. Twenty five or so years ago, we partied on a regular basis with kids in tow and volleyball + beer in hand. We met at work, fell into love/hate and have been together ever since helping each other out and sometimes going off at the worst possible moments. Some have left forever...a few have come back into the fold. Others are newbies that we've come to adore just like they were old timers. Eventually, they will have war stories to share as well. Yep...that's the old Poopster under the mistletoe. No takers. Yet.
rainy days and sundays

And so, the second Advent candle is lit and burning softly on the dining room table next to the first. The tree is decorated with heirlooms and tiny white lights and the brightly colored string hangs proudly across the front, a testament to the true redneck woman that I am. There are a few presents under the tree but no cat to nap under it this year. Babygirl has declared that her one wish from Santa is a mature beautiful kitty from the shelter, which comes with a spay for the price of the adoption fee. No more strays with unfixed gonads around these parts.

Global warming marches on, with the strangest lookin' weather forecast I've seen in years for the next few days in the Pecan Lane vicinity. It's in the fifties now, and overcast and rainy like it has been for several days. Heavy fog. Tomorrow it drops to the forties, then up to 70 on Tuesday with another dip into the forties on Wednesday. No wonder I never buy sweaters! Of course, one might come in handy later in the week when snow showers are predicted. Whatever.
'Tis the season, ya'll. Get out there and kiss somebody under the mistletoe.
dear dubya
I'm pissed off at you. If you had been listening these past few years you would have heard my voice. Instead, you chose to hide behind the facade that the Republican party crafted to win the race and secure their lucrative business contracts. Bless.Your.Heart. I don't really blame you, per se, for the mess. Big Ernie takes care of pawns and idiots.

I heard through the grapevine that my 2007 income tax refund is gonna be late so ya'll can fund the war a little bit longer. If I were your campaign advisor, I'd say that's a bad move. Most of us were against it from the start but nobody listened to us. My old buddy Alan used to keep me current on the stats, but he's been busy of late. Can't give you an exact body count, but it's way WAY too many for the price of a barrel of oil.

Just so you know...I paid out the ass in interest when I defaulted on my 401K loan post-divorce. Poops is most faithful that you and yours will return the favor during the upcoming tax season, with a hefty bonus.

Santa is watching, dude. And I think he's registered to vote.

on the cover of the rolling stone!

Make your own here.

Hat tip to Fletch.
what would poopie do
Once upon a time...there was a girl named Poopie who gave every ounce of her soul away just to feel worthy. There were gobs of people and institutions just dying to accept the gift that she gave away so willingly. There was a Mom and Dad and brothers plus a bunch of aunts and uncles and cousins who knew her from back when she was a snotty nosed brat smearing poop all over the walls of the log cabin she grew up in. Think Ward and June Cleaver in the country. There was more than one Eddie Haskell, by the way :)

Poopie went to school almost every day and remembers the days that JFK and MLK were murdered just like it was a lunchtime. She still carries a mental image of the first black student in her fifth grade class at Alice Thurmond elementary school. No buses involved...Vernell just showed up with a pencil behind his ear to torment old Mrs. Nixon for a year. To Poops, it was a non-event. She always wondered why the kids she played with on the farm didn't go to school with her anyhow.

That farm was the most boringist place in the whole wide universe to a girl with two mischievous little brothers and very little private time. Her mama worked at the newspaper office as the society editor, doing weddings and teas and such. Later on she collected recipes from everybody in Dyer County and printed 'em on Thursdays. Daddy was..and is...an ag man. The day job was with the USDA as a plant pest protection specialist. A bug man, for short. His maps at the office were full of pins noting just where the Japanese beetle had been spotted. The night job was all about lookin' after the farm, critters crops and all. There was always a garden and Mama spent countless sweaty summer nights canning and scalding produce so we could eat good during the winter. The calves were born in the dead of winter and Daddy had to go out in the middle of the night a whole lot to help them heifers and cows out when the going got rough. He used chains sometimes. Other times it was just his gloved hands pulling that baby into Big Ernie's world smack onto the snow covered ground.

First chance she got, she caught a ride with Tootsie and Cathy Lou to club meetings at the high school and they rode around afterwards then took her back home. It was about 1969 then and Vietnam was raging full force. She saw several guys come back to the 'burg who were never right after that. Runnin' around all lost and shit acting like big shots and trying to kill the pain of their memories in the jungle with LSD and pot. The same year that a brazillion hippies converged on Woodstock, Neil Armstrong and company landed on the moon with one small step for man and a giant leap into the seventies.

She married young and partied like a rock star for several years. Then the Babygirl came along and that changed a lot for about 20 years. From that point on, her focus was on being a mom and doing her best at the day job. Most of her close friendships were work friends..folks that she spent her days with under pressure pausing to talk about life and love now and then. Kids were born and family members died and we ate a lot of good food. When somebody had enough of their spouse or was in a bad wreck the faithful were there to pick up the pieces and soldier on. We met often at the funeral home or at somebody's bedside. Once we even dangled our legs over the Mississippi River bridge and talked about jumping. We didn't though..ate french fries and talked instead.

The husband had a lot of demons that he just couldn't bear to face. Every time Poops tried to get him to talk he told her she was "fuckin' analyzing him." Beginning recovery from co-dependency was more a survival technique than anything else. Melody Beattie and John Bradshaw will do that for a gal against the wall. They divorced once and got back together when he went to jail for posession. Babygirl was thirteen at the time. There was a bankruptcy and several strained years of co-habitation. About a hundred years, at least. He never hit Poops, but he never paid any attention to her either. Just acted like she was part of the woodwork. I think he enjoyed the food too.

Babygirl did the usual teenage getting-into-everything act and ended up in college without a clue what she wanted to be when she grew up. Nurse? nope Phlebotomist? me thinks not Cook? dang good one Social worker? damn right Would she marry Colbert? in a heartbeat. She has taught her old Mom a lot about tolerance and justice. Helped her to realize that it was okay to let go of the family that was and blend with others on a wing and a prayer. Thanks girl. Loveya..mean it.

The single Poops was a total mess for a couple of years, addicted married to the computer for company. Seemed much safer than lookin' for a real live man and all his baggage. This guy came along who was a friend with benefits and it was all good for a long time. He came, she went and vice versa. They talked a lot about life and dogs and nature and shit. He showed her a thing or two about poop in general and birds specifically. Dude likes to shoot their asses and fry them up real nice with gravy after the dog fetches 'em. I never!

Anywho..i think it all turned out alright. She's still kicking. Still lookin' for the real thing, baby. Excited about decorating the tree and the Advent journey. Expecting miracles every.single.day.

"Leave room for the drummer" Rvrguy

funeral clothes
Ya'll all know how the little counter thingy works where it tells you what brought folks to your place. For some odd reason the biggest search phrase that lands folks here is "funeral clothes." Every day, several times a day. I don't even remember ever posting about funerals or clothes to wear. Humph. And I thought everybody came here for the wit!

Today was balmy by Tennessee in December standards so I did a bit more yard work after sleeping in for TWELVE hours. I can sleep like a trojan, I'm telling ya. I've learned to listen to what my body says when I'm sick and tired... my overachiever days are long gone.

We are countin' down the days until finals are over and Babygirl gets a break from the grind, meaning she only has to work instead of do both. She's testing the waters as a single gal for the first time in six years and I'm glad to see it. Like I've said before, some things never change and it's better to cut your losses and move on. It's been a long drawn out thing that has been hard on both of us. 'Nuf said.

Like my old and wizened buddy Hoss I forgot to do the rabbit routine on the first of the month so here I am on December 4th with my Rabbit!Rabbit! Wonder if it will still bring me good luck? Only time will tell.

There are colored Christmas tree lights strung over the inside of my front window in true redneck style to keep the spirit going until I get a tree to put 'em on. Tacky? Of course. Makes ME happy though. If they're still there in March, then we've got a problem.

Ya'll be careful out there. And keep the faith.

somewhere over the asparagus...
A rainbow appeared out of nowhere. It has been a gloomy overcast day..the kind that feels just right for spending under the covers with a good book and a sleeping dawg. Right about sunset the clouds parted here and there just enough to allow for the colors to show themselves in typical Noah fashion. Gawd..I love it when that happens.
wild rosebush 1 - Poops 0
The last "must do" yard chore around here is cutting down the asparagus in preparation for next spring's bounty. The bed is located next to a barbed wire fence row that surrounds the pasture where the horses hang out and do their lazy imitation. Until about July, I manage to keep the wild stuff fairly well in check, but by then the ferns are so tall that I can't get around 'em much so the climbing wild roses and poke take over on the pasture side until I get out there around NOW to cut the mess down. What a tangled bunch of airy little ferns wound up with thorny branches. Yikes..my hands and arms look like I've been picking blackberries or something! If the wind dies down..there WILL be an asparagus burnin' going on. Better than fireworks with all that nitrogen feeding the blaze.

Today is, of course, a holy day in the Volunteer state as the Vols take on the LSU Tigers for the SEC championship and a Sugar Bowl berth. I can already hear strains of "Rocky Top" wafting on the breeze out there ;) Go Vols! Love ya...mean it.

The day job was the usual steady stream of sick folks being poked with needles and diagnosed with the results of those blood tests. You would be astounded at the sheer volume of precision quality control and checks and balances that go into generating one clinical lab result like a potassium level. Many of the tests requested are not performed in-house due to their complexity and these are shipped by courier to a reference lab in another city. Today we drew a blood specimen on a newborn for a chromosome analysis to determine if the infant has Down's syndrome. We gave blood to a dying AIDS patient. We heard the obnoxious buzz of a tube falling from the pneumatic system that transports specimens drawn by nurses in the ER to the lab. We managed to get a small amount of blood from a 93 year old lady who doesn't know that she's in this world to check the level of her IV antibiotic for toxicity. All behind the scenes where folks don't have a clue what's going on. It's amazing. To most patients, everybody who works in a hospital is either a nurse or a doctor. The allied health fields are largely taken for granted which is a major contributor to burnout....lack of professional recognition.

How many of ya'll donate blood on a regular basis? Fortunately, our blood supplier manages to keep us adequately stocked because it is a rural market with no big usage problems like places where liver transplants are performed and gunshot wounds are everyday's business. An amazingly miniscule 5% of the population of this country donates blood to meet the blood needs for the other 95%. Like 43% of the population, I am O positive which means that I can ONLY get type O blood, either positive or negative. Those poor souls with O negative can only get O negative. Needless to say, we treat it like liquid gold.

Do me a favor and roll up your sleeve just one time for the Poopster. Red cells can be given every 56 days. Platelets and plasma can be given more often because they are removed by a process called apheresis where the part that is needed is removed from the blood through a machine that resembles a dialysis get-up but the red cells are returned to the donor. All you're losing is the water part of your blood! Giving blood is something that most folks don't think about until they or someone they love needs a transfusion. Once you're there though, it's hard to forget the feeling of depending on someone else's selflessness in giving of themselves anonymously.

No tree yet. Still savoring the anticipation of a slow roll-out of faith through Advent to Epiphany. Some things never change.

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