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micromanagement 101
Ya'll...I love my job helping sick people and all that but dammmit, these folks are cuttin' down perfectly beautiful trees to spy on employees. Sounds like something Dubya would do, if you get my drift. Get thee out oh noncompliant ones! Thou shalt lose thy job if you dare to break one of the brazillion rules governing your behavior at the day job place where sick people come and expect to lie in a clean room and not get dropped through one of the cracks that is the maze of healthcare today. More often than not, some angel who is doing his or her best to care for them will earn their wings on the spur of a moment, simply by seeing it as more than "just a job."

I've always been that kind of gal. Bored to tears with the automation that has become routine in the lab, I've wandered the halls meeting strangers and catching up with old friends and their families...even my own family. Mom and Daddy have volunteered for years. Harold was an EMT back in the day. My cousin is an OB nurse and two paternal aunts man the front desk out in the lobby. Every time I turn a corner, I run into a familiar face....often one that looks just about as tired as my own. We're fortunate to have well paying jobs while others scramble for food money. Many of those scramblers are our clients in the shift to shift world, and we love 'em just like they were our own. Well, most of us do.

The county commission sold us back in the early eighties to a not-for-profit organization that tried at the local level to make things work. For twenty years we had parties and meetings and places outside of the sawmill to meet each other aside from the work persona. Continuing education was paid for. Our facility did well and had great leadership for a long time. When that company's "vision" changed, the seven little stepchildren went up for bids. Think about group sex, only it's in the you know what. Conversion was a nightmare for all of us as we struggled with new software and changing ways of doing business. Non-profit companies have good accountants who can find a valid business expense and figure that it was worth it if the associate is happy. Yeah..we were associates. Now we're employees again.

I got the biggest kick out of an email that my boss shared yesterday. Seems as if the Chinese are shuttin' down their rubber glove factories for the Olympics so the tourists won't see how dirty the air is over there where they produce the goods for us here in the US. There's a shortage predicted! If you've got it, hoard it I say. It's the American way ain't it?

Until we, as a country, move away from cheap goods produced by exporters with slave labor nothing will ever change for us. Any one of us knows how to survive with less and be happy, yet we don't. Our collective balls are held by a tiny portion of the world where the oil is a constant pawn that controls our lives. We talk at work sometimes about things that affect us...movies and life events and stuff. Okay. Sometimes politics too ;) The Democratic party isn't very well represented there in the lab, and the few of us who are trying to believe just can't buy the candidate or his line. Sure, he's young and has little experience but god knows he has a cute family and went over to where the problem is. I refuse to vote for McCain though. That dude is a world war waitin' to happen.

I couldn't resist hittin' the high points of Dubya's administration today, sort of a synopsis of what pissed me off the most. Three words say it all...War, Katrina and Terri. The government that "we the people" put into office failed about 99% of us in some form or fashion during each of these events. They were busy chasing the enemy and shit. I've lost count, so forgive me for not sharing.

Yea,I know. Too much info for humpday.

Deal with it ^j^
How about them dog days ya'll? I know you would never dream this of the Poopster, so let me say it again. I.hate.the.heat. Most especially when it gets over 92 or so and I have to get in an old overheated car with three hubcaps and a shaky front end after a fun day at the office. Thanks to BE, this month's utility bill wasn't a penny more than the last one (which was outrageous, screw you TVA!) *whew* Now...I feel better. After the tiger lilies bloom it seems to be all downhill for the flora except for monkey grass and pink ladies unless one is a dedicated dead-header, which I most definitely am not. Too hot for that nonsense.

We had a near miss with the kittens yesterday when Butterbean thought one was a vole and decided to take it on. It wasn't a pretty scene, but the baby survived and the dogs stayed outside until bedtime as punishment for even thinking about eating a cat. Stinkin' dawgs. Damn cats. My friend Dak tells me I need to "get a life." Ya'll think he might be right?

This blog will be continued when I get in a better mood which will be when things cool off a little. Over and out from Pecan Lane. ^j^
swattin' flies
Those pesky critters love it when I fire the grill up on the back porch. It's usually a Sunday thing after payday when I have some bucks to buy good eats. I splurged on shrimp and grilled it in a basket after marinating with olive oil, butter and a whole bunch of spices. Hell yeah, that's all I'm saying. Me and my lunch buddies have gotten tired of paying the high prices for cafeteria food so we swap up bringing leftovers to share. I doubt there'll be any shrimp to share....maybe some chicken or cheddar dogs.

This past week or so has been a lot to process for an old tired gal. There are issues with family and the day job that are on my mind a lot. I have caught myself running way past empty just to try to keep the boat floatin' and we've still got a pretty dang big leak on most fronts. That's where friends come into the picture and thanks to Big Ernie, I've got more than I deserve. Just when I think I can't stand it anymore, one of 'em calls or send an email or a card and it's all okay because I know somebody's thinking about me fondly. That means a lot.

It's the dog days and all that. Around this time of the year is when I become a radar map junkie looking for the next invisible cool front, imagining that sucker trying to make its' way down from Canada or Siberia or somewhere with icicles. Ya'll probably don't know this, but I hate to sweat. And I more than hate snakes...no ifs ands or buts about it. I'm sure they're nice and have mamas and stuff but they creep me out.

Todays if-it-bleeds-it-leads story in the great state of TN is about a Sunday morning shotgun shooting at a church in East Tennessee. I've become immune to the main stream media during the past few years, choosing instead to focus my relaxation time on things that make me feel happy and/or stretch my imagination. My brother and sis-in-law have taught me that about the news business from their career changes that moved 'em from dark to light.

"It's not the heat, it's the humidity." That's a common phrase around the South during the months of July and August. When the rain that the crops need so depsperately comes in the form of summer thunderstorms, it saturates the atmosphere enough so you can work up a good sweat just by walking to the car. Forget makeup and hair until at least the middle of September. Today was cloudy so I went out to do the yard mowing so as to avoid a heat stroke later this week. I think it happened anyways.

A big old birthday shoutout to all my Leo friends who are having birthdays. Seems as if it's a popular sign with my Virgo personality. Freud would probably say it's my ego seeking her inner showoff side. Yaya's was Friday with several others waiting in line. Once you pass 50, it's all downhill.

only the good die young
I first saw Randy Pausch when he appeared on Oprah following his phenomenal rise to fame from giving "The Last Lecture" before students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon in September of last year. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told that he had only months to live. The lecture was taped and was intended, in his words, as a "bottle that would wash up on the beach for his children" years after he was gone. Pausch was an incredible practitioner in the academic world, urging his computer science students to push the envelope and find ways to merge computer technology and art in their careers.

After watching "The Last Lecture" on YouTube in its' entirety, I was captivated with the uplifting message that this (not so) obviously dying man delivered, not just for his children, but for all of us about living your dreams, achieving goals and giving back to society. I added his update page at CMU to my blogroll and checked it regularly to see how he was doing in his battle with the cancer. When I tried to pop in there this afternoon I couldn't get to the website after several tries and a sickening feeling washed over me. Right at that moment I saw the news of his death today posted on a news site.

His messages are simple and to the point, yet they are principles which very few of us practice in today's fast paced, often misdirected way of living life. Impending death gave him the courage not to lay down and go quietly into that good night but to go out and play....finding all the joy that he could in each and every moment he had left. That's a lofty goal, but one that I feel more determined than ever to reach. To Jai and his children, all I can say is keep the faith. He certainly did.

If you haven't see this, take the time...you won't be sorry. If you already have, watch it again like I plan to do.

every step i take
The critter population is about to get out of hand around Casa Poopie so if any of ya'll need a cute little kitten let me know and it's in the mail. Seriouly, I love you that much. Every time I go in or out the door there are three dogs right on my heels wantin' to stay upclose and personal with their mama. Poor things are probably bored silly all day running around Pecan Lane chasing squirrels and stuff. The highlight of their lives is when I pull up in the Camry and they get to guard me for awhile.

We had rain. Not a lot, but enough to make a difference in the dust level and help the crops along through this hitoniously hot'n'humid summer month. If you've never experienced summer in the south, you've missed an event that spawned many a book and movie. Why, the kudzu alone is enough to fill an entire chapter and then grow over the cover sealing it shut so that nobody can pry it open until after the first hard frost. Too late for the sweet corn, but it was already trashed anyway by a band of marauding squirrels and coons. *sigh* I did notice that there are actually PECANS on the trees lining our lane which is a good omen.

There is a nice breeze, a porch and there is beer. Life is good ^j^
the office
pictures don't lie
My friend Sue and I went on a whirlwind roadtrip to Nashvegas today for personal business. The outside temp as we cruised back toward the 'burg registered 100 during the entire return trip. When we crossed the Tennessee river, I took the wheel of her very large and hard-for-a-short-gal to get into Yukon after hauling my midget self up by the handle into the driver's seat. Lord have mercy, ya'll..I felt like a dwarf piloting a small plane!

When I arrived at her house last night, the first thing I spotted was the above birthday card sent to her by her very Republican son-in-law. I think the grandchildrens' refrigerator magnet says it all, don't you? Heh. Gotta laugh or we just might cry. We did discover a new to us great place to eat today, Ted's Montana Grill which features bison as a menu choice for many items. Besides offering great food, atmosphere and service, they use only ecofriendly non-plastic items in the process. Can't beat that with a wooden swizzle stick.

Gotta go do a rain dance or something. See ya'll on the other side of Monday. ^j^
the riverguy comes for a visit

Though I had never met him in person, John Ruskey and I have known each other for several years long distance. I first noticed his picture in the local newspaper dressed in period costume during a book festival featuring the Lewis and Clark expedition. He and his paddling buddy Mike Clark had made the trip themselves just a few years earlier and knew the subject well enough to eventually put together a book featuring river journals, pictures and John's art. They aptly named themselves Ruskey and Clark.

John owns a business in Clarksdale Mississippi called Quapaw Canoe Company that offers guided custom canoe expeditions on most any river you can imagine, focusing primarily on the "big muddy" Mississipi. Some of the folks here with our 'burg decided to explore opportunities to preserve and clean up the Forked Deere river which runs smack through the middle of town. They hired him to take a group out this morning and he arrived yesterday to scout the route, depositing the 26+ foot dugout canoe dubbed the "Ladybug" in my front yard along with the tent he would camp in. He and his partner took off with a smaller canoe and did a five hour run after which I picked them up down on the riverbank (in the boonies) a couple of miles from home.

This morning the group assembled at our new Farmer's Market downtown for the big paddle in the Ladybug. I didn't really feel like paddling a canoe with ten guys, so I just took pictures and wished them well. There were two bridges over the river from which to shoot when they crossed under and the one downtown was a breeze. HOWEVER.....the one on the busy by-pass proved to be pretty damned scary so I had to give up on that one before my smartass got run over by speeding traffic. I'd hate to be remembered as a greasy spot on the asphalt with a camera clutched in my hand.

John says a good time was had by all, and once again my faith has been restored in the power of reaching out to someone and trusting enough to meet them in person, like I did with Hossie a couple of years ago.

It's a pretty small world after all.
barkin' at the moon

Butterbean is the barkiest damn dog I've ever shared a bed with...well, since Marvin anyway. Somebody gets anywhere close to the driveway, she's all bark but no bite. The moon is full? bark.bark.bark. Some squirrel dares to make a move up the big old pecan tree and she's all OVER it like white on rice. Never mind that she never leaves the front steps. I spotted a lone turkey out in the newly cut pasture this afternoon and not one of the three dogs ever noticed. Well, duh.

We had some tasty grilled food down at Bubba's this afternoon and Daddy celebrated his last day at the age of 76 surrounded by family. And cotton fields. He felt right at home. There was NO ketchup bottle on the table this time. Only mustard, but by golly I got it in the picture :)

Things are changing for me pretty quickly these days in all areas of being Poopie. BG begins her final year of college in a month. I'll be working more because of an unfilled position at the sawmill. Still no Sugardaddy, but I've begun to see the possibilities of spending time with folks who are less about things and more about karma and shit stuff. Must be an old people thing or something.

My friend Amy up in Illinois is having a really hard time today. Ya'll keep the faith for her, please? And, thank you. ^j^
i see something that you don't see

My mother and I share this gift that some would call wishful thinking. We prefer to think of it as proof that we are in tune with mom nature and share a mutual love of cooler, less humid weather, aka FALL. When the cicadas strike up, we know that the shadows will begin to slant at the familiar angle brought on by the changing of the seasons. The beginning of the end of summer. Hoowah! Neither of us likes to sweat much, being the genteel southern ladies that we are. Floatin' in a pool with a beer can only do so much to knock the cruelty off of summer sun and humidity in the South. While the kudzu is at its' prime, we are wilting and fannin' and watching old movies on the teevee until it cools off to a respectable temperature so that we can sit on the porch. With iced tea, of course.

Back in the day, all family reunions were held in the dead heat of summer. Daddy's was always in northern Mississipi, Blue Mountain to be exact. Everybody would bring food in a cooler and as many kids as they could round up and head down there to catch up on the good old days. Mostly, I remember the pies and fried chicken. And deviled eggs! Oh yeah, and the heat in that big old house with no air. And all of them nameless faceless cousins from hither and yon. I could be wrong, and certainly am on occasion, but I do believe some of those aunts and uncles scooped up the neighborhood kids on the way out of town for the big feed. Most of 'em didn't look a bit like me.

Daddy will be 77 years old on Thursday, bless his heart. We always manage to make a birthday special in some way so we're going to Bubba's house for burgers and dogs tomorrow evening It's a tradition of ours to have a ketchup bottle on the table in most birthday pictures and I'm sure this will be no exception to that rule. Stay tuned for photographic evidence. Gift choices are always extremely difficult for this simple man who loves nothing better than critters and the outdoors. Can't give him socks and underwear 'cuz that's reserved for Christmas. I reckon I'll figure something out.

In the blink of an eye, that is how things change. I'm sure there's something biblical about that but I can't quote the verse. When I was younger, Daddy always told me that the older you get the faster time flies and that "this too, shall pass." As it turns out, he was right. As usual.

Happy birthday Billie G. You 'da man.

american history

Some smartass reminded me that a hard rain was gonna fall, and damned if it didn't. Big Ernie blessed us with a late afternoon shower that should make the crops seem a little bit perkier. As my friend the Little General says "like the grapes of wrath.." is about how the corn and beans looked this past week. Guess they need some humidity mixed in with all that heat. The kudzu doesn't seem to be suffering one little bit.

Sometimes when I feel creative I write over at that other place. Or this one. It's mostly fact with a generous dose of my vivid imagination sprinkled between the lines, but I love every minute of it when the muse visits. I never use photoshop on my pictures either. How pitiful is that?

My old dear friend Pam turned 52 today so ya'll give her a big fat sloppy birthday kiss, umkay? My present to her is a "to die for" creation from the jeweler at Beaded Blessings who just happens to be my current crack dealer. The way this woman can put crystals together and make a girl feel special is a real talent. Her stuff reminds me a whole lot of Christine and her design style. That's Pam up there arranging furniture on the patio at the kudzu bar. She always was a party animal:)

Things are just busy as hell now that I'm following my heart instead of worrying over the bills. This Saturday I'm working with my friend Sue to put on the feed for Big John since he "might" retire sometime in the near future. Depends on the insurance, I reckon. Sue had a heart cath today and it looks pretty good from what I hear through the grapevine. No surgery, just some meds.

As for the day job I don't rightly know what's up except for what the stock ticker tells me. The universal "we" are traded on Wall Street daily and that makes me very uncomfortable as a player in this whole healthcare thing. I get occasional updates from this guy out there in the farthest corners of the world. Today's caught my attention because, when the whole thing happened, it was just a passing byline on somebody's wire service in my part of the world. Michael's friend describes what it looks like now, some weeks after the cyclone hit.

In conclusion: I'll be away for a bit. Ya'll know where to find me. Don't you DARE forget to keep the faith either. If you do I'll tell 'yo momma.

robbing peter

I know this guy who is good friends with Earl Hamner, the creator of "The Waltons". Ya'll remember them, right? My friend shared with me that he had talked with Mr. Hamner this weekend and asked him how today's economy compared to the Great Depression. "No comparison" was his reply. He went on to comment that people living in this day and time in our country don't know how good they've got it. I must say, sometimes I don't. My parents were born in '31 and '33 respectively right smack in the middle of the whole ordeal. Without a doubt, I know from whence I come because they've told me about it from their unique perspectives.

Things were simpler then. Survival depended on planning ahead in faith and the kindness of others who were doing well that day. What's mine is yours and all that. As the American economy boomed during the fifties and sixties a movement was born that involved a whole bunch of nekkid swimming up in New York. Oh, and peace and love too :) There was a war on and those hippies were tired of seeing their friends and family come back from 'nam shellshocked and addicted. Some folks finally said no more, and the rest is history.

That we have let the "war on terror persist" for this long makes me sick when I consider the number of people, including Iraqis, who have lost their lives because we need oil to get to the job to earn the big bucks to pay for the toys that we bought on credit just because we wanted them. Right.Damn.Now. I'm as guilty as anybody else and when I think about the amount of time I spent away from my child while she was growing up just to earn a buck, I feel like sending her a sympathy card or takin' her on a cruise or something. Me and her Dad both worked our asses off to buy things that are mostly gone. She and I are partners now in every sense of the word. It makes puttin' up with her fourteen year old moody self somehow worth all the doors that got slammed in my face. She is a survivor which is all we ever wanted for her. Do I hear an amen?

This is the part of summer where I begin to lose my love affair with growing things because, well. Dammit it's hot out there. That patio up at the kudzu bar is the perfect spot to stretch out when the weather's nice but July means hunkering down under the AC and it's pretty loud in there what with all the domino slapping and karyokeein' and such. The plants are still alive in the shady corner though :)

No wild horses or fightin' dogs today. Maybe tomorrow.

wild horses and fightin' dogs

The horses have managed to step over the ancient barbed wire every day this week into the manna that is my yard and cornfields. Twice today. The highlight was me and Daddy tag teaming their return to the barn, he in hot pursuit in his truck and me minding the gate. Later Bubba came out to make the rounds of the perimeter and fix the holes while I attempted to keep Faith from killing the neighbor's dog who had come by to visit. Definitely an alpha female, that brown beauty.

Babygirl scored a free ticket to her first "real" concert (not trudging around in the mud at Memphis in May) featuring Kenny Chesney in Nashvegas tonight. There are a couple coming up at Mud Island that I'd love to see but the money doesn't look so good. She's out of school for six weeks leaving her with "just" work instead of work AND school until mid-August. There will be some kind of throw down once she gets that diploma in hand, I'm just sayin'. Ten months. Down to the short rows.

I walked Daddy's yard with him today and he educated me on the practice of thinning out the fruit trees. When I got home I was out pitching apples when this awful squawking commenced above me and I discovered that there was a bird nest with babies in it right where I was plucking and mama bird was NOT happy about the intrusion.

Watched the fireworks in town from the comfort of my porch last night and they were still going at 11:30. Somebody really splurged on the pyrotechnic budget this year. We've had no rain for two weeks so it's a wonder the whole county didn't go up in flames.

The kittens will be a week old tomorrow and are still cute as pie all in a pile. Faith is fascinated with them and loves to babysit while Lily is out cattin' around. Just another day in paradise, ya'll ^j^
happy birthday 'mercka
never a dull moment
These two horse's butts greeted me when I let the dogs out early this morning. Between the two of 'em they managed to knock over the bird feeder AND the bath..after they slurped up all the water.

The kittens are all still in a pile under Lily so they're not very photogenic right now. Maybe when their eyes are open they'll be cuter...ya think? I'm picking out their owners in my head as sort of a karmic payback for all the critter love I've been shown in the past. Otherwise, they'd just have to live at the dairy barn and catch mice for a living *meh*

When I was walkin' the yard this afternoon I noticed that the stargazer has bloomed. Usually they come before the tiger lilies do. Must be global warming or something. Somebody puleez call Congress ASAP!

The mood persists, in spite of my best efforts. It's hard to describe actually. Sorta' like the letdown on Christmas night when all the hoopla is over and tomorrow is just another day. Or the road to Emmaus after Easter sunday trumpets. I am a single middled aged mother of a college student who is working her buns off to become a social worker. We are roommates and friends. My parents are gettin' old...one can't see. The other can and chooses to watch Gunsmoke reruns in between taxi runs to town.

The day job is a circle unbroken, healthcare with a dollar sign attached these days. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this country can't get it right. Nobody can live forever, even Hoss . The key seems to be making the most of the journey and meeting patients where they are. Of course that's not a revenue center, by any means. Just a perk when you happen to run across an angel.
fun in the sun
Yep, that's the old Poopster chillin' on a day off. I take these little mini-vacations now and then that keep me sane and this was one of 'em about a mile down the highway at my friend's house. We talk and drink beer and work on our tans and generally just forget about real life for a spell.

The kittens were born early Monday morning on my bed. Lily never made a peep and I didn't know a thing until I woke up and felt some squirming and a wet spot. *ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww* There were six, but one of them managed to crawl up under me and get squished so now there's five. And yes, Jim, there's a spotted one just for you! There will be pictures :)

The 80% chance of rain this weekend turned into nary a drop so it's back to the waterhose for irrigation of the flora. Corn is coming along nicely and should be ready in a week or so. yum.yum.

I'll be working on the 4th so ya'll burn a firecracker for me. We have local fireworks that are usually visible from my front porch so I won't even have to burn precious gas to see them. Ain't life grand?

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