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New Year's Eve finds me at home with the critters deep cleaning the house because, frankly, I can't stand it anymore. I'm not a neat freak or anything but I do like to be able to find something when I need it. Like the remote, for instance. I couldn't find it for three whole days until I dug down to the bottom of the dirty clothes laying in front of the washer. Don't ask me...I guess it was in the sheets!

This just about sums up the last six weeks of my life, living and breathing pecan season '08 up close and personal. I've taken three loads down to these folks to sell and made some pocket money. I'm also in much better shape physically than I was in October. Free money and good exercise. Can't beat that with a stick. I sat in a line of cars ten deep waiting to unload in the back today and finally pulled out and got a handtruck to haul them through the front door. Some nice fellow got out of his car and helped me get 'em stacked so they would travel. His mama told him to :)

Remember how I caught the pasture on fire a few years ago while burning off the asparagus bed? Well, Daddy did the same thing to his YARD yesterday while burning some boxes. Back in the day country folks did that on purpose so it would come back all green and even in the spring. We shall see if that holds true!

I had several invitations to attend get togethers this evening and it looks like I'm gonna pass on all of them. It just feels so good to have time to burn and be at home. Do ya'll know what I mean? I reckon I'll blow a kiss to Ryan Seacrest at midnight if I'm still awake.

The new year will be a big one for us. BG will graduate in May and things will change a lot then. We have been soldiers in the same tent through this ordeal and it will be bittersweet when it is over. Already, we are becoming fondly used to the lightening of the load afforded by her quitting the 3rd shift job. She can sleep at night and I can make noise when I want to. Win, win situation.

I wish for you and yours, all of the best that life has to offer in 2009. There will be pain and tragedy as well, but friendship makes it all bearable and turns bad things into blessings.

Keep the faith ^j^
According to ex-Bush aides it was all over but the crying after Katrina for Dubya's political career. In the words of a ten year old " Well,like,DUH!" These bozos knew what was happening at the time and chose to ride the train that was presently big dog on the track. Now that it's down to the nut cuttin', they're telling all. Where were they back in '05 when the rest of us were raising nine kinds of hell? Oh, yeah. They were busy making history. My bad.

That sound you hear is a huge sigh of relief to be off work for 3 days of whatever looks good. You know how sometimes when the computer won't work unless you do a hard reboot? Uh..yeah. That's what my body feels like right now. This too shall pass.

follow that star
Back in my early blogging days, there was this guy in Dallas who moved to Colorado and that was his blog persona...FTS. I had forgotten about him until I started thinking about Epiphany and all of the star following that is a part of the days between Christmas and the time that the wise guys finally got to where they were going. It's only twelve on the calendar....in all likelihood it was months or years before they caught up to baby Jesus. I never knew there was such a chunk of time in the year of the Christian church until I heard a sermon preached on it one Sunday night in the chapel of the place that raised me up right. Ever since then, Epiphany has been as much a part of my holiday season as Advent.

I had a slow day at the sawmill on Christmas, with home cooked breakfast from the fam delivered to the doorstep right in time for lunch. I hooked up with them after work and we exchanged gifts and visited a bit. Totally laid back and unorganized, which is my style. Mom and Daddy went to church on Christmas Eve to witness the parade of miniature Marys, Josephs and assorted other nativity characters head toward the altar prior to communion. I am still picking up pecans from under their trees, by the way. Maybe the profit will offset the thieving ways of DirecTV. No...I haven't forgotten, ya'll. My attorney will be in touch.

My sole involvement in the big wedding this weekend has been talking my friend Claudia from Knoxville and back through the boring part of I-40 between Jackson and Nashville. She's counting the miles until she gets back to her little buddy Kyle. Meanwhile the crack head roaddog is over in Chattanooga having a beer with Peggy. What a small state this is!

Miss Kitty seems to have turned a corner, though I'm not a vet or anything. She eats now and talks and purrs, but doesn't like to drink much and still walks in circles around the house. BG and BF have nicknamed her "Circle K." She's got a long way to go before she can laze on Daddy's porch and eat dry cat food, I'm just saying. Looks like I've got another mouth to feed. *yay*

It has been a splendid day with a bit of a chill but nothing like what we've already seen this month. Yesterday? Hmmm...around 72ish. It was kind of eerie crawling around on hands and knees picking up nuts with a warm wind whipping the old hairdo right straight up into the air. The extended forecast looks good for a wrap on Pecan Season '08 over the next few days.

Two days to work, then three to play.

miss kitty
For any of ya'll who don't believe in Christmas miracles, let me tell you about how that beautiful cat up there came to my house.

Yaya loves animals like I do...it's a firm plank in our friendship platform. A few weeks ago she was heading out to work and spotted something on the side of the busy highway that leads to town. Soon she realized it was a cat in distress so she stopped to check things out. This poor baby was so cold that several hours later the vet couldn't get her to register a temp until she was warmed up by them. Yaya told me about it, adding that she was late to work because of taking the time to stop and pick her up. Miss Kitty spent several hours in her office before she made it to the vet. She and one of her co-workers vowed to split the cost of saving her or puttin' her down, whichever seemed best.

Mama and Daddy adopted a tomcat earlier this year when he wandered into the bushes next to the house. They fed him on the porch and he knew where to get not hungry. But, toms will be toms and he went off chasing tail like they do so the porch was empty again. I don't think he ever had a name, but they sure did miss him. Earlier today I was down there introducing Miss Kitty to them who will be theirs when she's recovered from her hard times. We were thinking of a name, and Gunsmoke was blaring on the TV while she snuggled in Mama's lap. The rest? Is history.

Miss Kitty has a long road to recovery. She is presently walking crop circles through all the rooms in the house doing physical therapy. She slides sideways and flops over sometimes. That's when the door facing comes in handy :)

Peace and love to you and yours.

Keep the faith ^j^
taking the high road

I think I mentioned that the competition was "take no prisoners" up at the sawmill for decorating departments and parade floats. I use the term parade loosely because it seems there was a traffic jam when it came time to change floors. The employees loved it....the patients were nicely surprised. I have seen team work going on inside of our ranks where I never thought it possible just because of things like this. After the sale, we all kind of gave up the ghost and soldiered on through a long tough transition. Let's hear it for those who play just for the fun of it without expecting to win.

I am officially on Christmas vacation which lasts until Thursday at 6AM. If I get up at the usual time I just might catch the big fat ass red guy crawling out the door. Just for Hoss' sake, I hope that he doesn't show any buttcrack. My kitchen table is covered with prints and mats and frames and I am more content with that than any sort of vacation destination. My family is close by and the ice has stopped pelting us. All is well^j^
some things never change

Every year around December 22nd, the error of my procrastinating ways comes around to bitch slap me into the realization that Christmas is three days away. At this point, my "whatever" attitude toward those who shop the sales and have the whole event in the can by mid-October morphs into a deep and abiding respect for organized people and how easy their lives seem to be. Somehow, in spite of genetic predisposition toward organized living, my youngest brother and I managed to become two of the most haphazardly happy slobs people in the world. Bubba, the middle one, can put his finger on the very first dollar that he ever made and tell you where it's been since he moved out of my parents' house. I guess the organized gene is a recessive one and I was lucky enough to get the homozygous dose.

My work on the house has been a never ending saga that began in earnest just a few short years ago and has stopped and started a million times, at least. It is still not done, though it could have been. However, I am traveling the slow road to gettin' my shit together which involves hours spent examining the contents of boxes and deciding on keepers. That's why the molding in the bathroom is still unpainted and the cabinets doorless. There are treasures that need to be separated and wrapped in tissue for the little girl who received them, now a woman about to begin life on her own. I remember when my mother packed up the contents of my room and sent it to my new apartment for me to mull over while she enjoyed the much needed space. It was kind of the beginning of that nagging feeling that we are all somewhere on the road to becoming orphans. And that? Just made me plain old scared.

My big dreams about making homemade gifts has turned into a mad dash to the photo center to pick up prints amongst the holidy crowds. WHY did I not do that a month ago? I've got two double chocolate pound cakes in the oven because, well, some things are traditional and folks come to expect them...like the crew up at the Plaza Food Store where I shop every day, at least once a day. Let's just say if I didn't turn up with the cake, they wouldn't believe in the spirit of Christmas.

And NO. Those prints aren't framed yet but they will be. I'll be at the sawmill on Christmas Day and the day after. So much for the great sales! That's okay. I wouldn't have braved it anyway. Right now the very best thing Santa could bring me is a day to do nothing but lay in the bed with a book and my dogs.

Maybe next year.

Merry Christmas to all of you who drop by here to visit or comment or just lurk. I pray that your holiday time with family and friends is filled with the spirit of love and joy that this season represents.

wedding crashers planners
Ya'll don't be surprised if the devil himself ice skates on December 20, 2008 because I never thought I'd see the day that redneck friend let us give her a hug, much less get married to the handsome man who's been dying for the honor to become her husband since back in the day when we all first met up in the kudzu one afternoon. She's the one with the smirk.

I don't want to brag or anything but dang, we've done a good job of decorating the reception hall. Christmas is easy what with all the free stuff from nature to lay on the tables for a day. I've still got to do some cooking but that's my chance to unwind. I've ironed tablecloths and am about to broil some bbq bacon wrapped liver delights. Love you guys. Really ^j^

I'm sitting here listening to, of all things, classical music. It's a Christmas thing to me, redneck that I am the rest of the calendar year. I suppose that's the influence of my aunt and uncle and their love for the art of musical therapy for the six year old country girl soul. Mama and Daddy got me delivered for early morning lessons all through grade school, then I switched to Mrs. Fisher as an instructor up in her house on Sampson. She was also a French teacher, by the way.

Thank you for the prayers. I can tell a big difference in my outlook on life and love and rock'n'roll. All I'm saying, is that me and the babygirl see the light at the end of the tunnel, and together? We are a force to be reckoned with.

snow day

Merry Christmas, my friends ^j^
It has been a circle of life kind of week for me personally, with all of the accompanying emotions. I managed to sneak away from the sawmill long enough to visit Sisa before her Pop's funeral. Guess who I ran into? Um hmm...my own parents :) We had a group hug and cried. As I exited the parlor, I passed by Pop's casket and stopped to salute a fallen soldier. Rest in peace and tell jokes like you never told before.

The last funeral I went to where there was a flag draped over the casket was George's way back in February. His death was sudden, totally unexpected and more than likely due to negligence. As a healthcare provider I am slow to place blame on the medical community, but this was a full blown case of a man lost in the system. A very young man with a lot of golf left to play. His widow Sue and I are good friends from inside of work and out and this has already been a tough holiday season for her and their family. We have faith, together, that closure is around the bend.

My friend the crackhead roaddog of I-40 told me the other day that he didn't "like" funerals. What I really think he was saying is that he's afraid of death, but I could be reading between the lines. My ex always did say I'd try to f***ing analyze people. He said it in such a way that it wasn't taken as a compliment to my analytical skills.

Cousin Deb's second grandchild was on the way this morning when she called me at work. This has been the year for procreation in this family, I'm just saying. We haven't seen a growth spurt like this in decades!

One.more.day at the sawmill. Just like the little engine who could.

in memory of pop

Daughters - John Mayer

When Sisa and I were teenagers, we tended to run with the wild bunch, if you know what I mean. The longer the hair the better with lots of rock. I knew her older sister first but when their house burned and they moved into the Plaza hotel it was party time. She and I grew tired of the whole anti-establishment thing after a few years and set our sights on going to college. Her major was drama and mine was, of course, science. I remember the day well that she came to hug me goodbye on her way to Knoxville, our lives changing forever. I ended up back home and she took off out of Tennessee after awhile. Now she lives in Seattle with her husband and young daughter, teaching drama and theatre to college students.

Over the years she has made trips home, almost always calling me for a sit down at her family's kitchen table with her parents in attendance. Sometimes there was a brother or two around and we'd talk about stuff from back in the day. Pop and his brother were TV repairmen of the old school variety...a long lost blast from the past of the fifties and sixties when things were simpler but beginning to get complicated. Ms. Ruth worked right alongside them in the business all of those years.

After Sisa's daughter was born and got old enough, she and Pop visited on Skype and kept in touch. He started getting sick several years ago, and things came to a crisis point last month. The last ditch surgical effort to save his life kept him alive long enough to get some things done...goodbyes,mostly...and move on peacefully to his next life.

There are lessons that I've learned from this family that I will never forget as long as I live. Pop and Ms. Ruth are representatives of the good parts of my past and the continuity of family and friendship over a lifetime, and I treasure that.

To Sisa and the brood.....I love you with all of my heart.

Keep the faith ^j^
another close call
*whew* We have a cut tree...and it's decorated. And it is beeyotiful. And there's two weeks left before Santa comes!
the grinch who (almost) stole christmas
It's a tough call to name top grinch this year because I have so many personal favorites to nominate for this very special honor when times are as hard as they are in my little world. I do believe, though, that this year's grinch shall be the money grubbing bastards at DirecTV who robbed me blind with an unauthorized charge to my debit card. HOWEVER....a close second goes to my local bank for not reimbursing me for this nearly 500 dollar hit which they allowed to go through without a blink. I am beyond broke. And I am tired of fighting the system and losing. Don't you people know it's Jesus' birthday???

After attempting to fix (and failing miserably) my mother's printer this morning so that she can do her Christmas cards, I headed east on Hwy 104 to the place out in the boonies where they crack pecans and blow the dust off. NINETY SEVEN POUNDS is what those four bags weighed. No wonder I'm so sore!!! There is probably that amount again laying in their yard, which I will get to when the weather becomes a bit more picker friendly.

I think I've mentioned before about the old guy who comes out and piddles around under the trees picking up a sackful now and then. He was out like me this morning, scouring the ground following those high winds. He stopped by where I was working and asked "What do you do with those pecans?" "Crack 'em...eat 'em" was my reply. He then offered to give me the pile that was in the bottom of his bucket. My basket was almost full and I told him I didn't think it would hold them all. "You got no faith" was his reply. And he managed to fit them all in there with room to spare.

Yep, mister. I got a little faith, but I'm always praying for more.

all i want for christmas
...is to have the tree up before New Year's Eve. Seriously, I am that far behind on gettin' the sugarplum dance going on around here. My poor babygirl came home with a two foot tall fake tree from the dollar store last night just to remind me that I've been way too busy stalking pecan trees and ignoring my duties as the creator of holiday cheer. "Two weeks!" she exclaimed. I want to see some damn lights shining in the darkness on my way home. You see, the problem is that the maid is on vacation we've been so busy that the house is a total wreck and we just can't stand to deck the halls over the dirt. We're funny like that, even though we sleep with dogs and cats.

The lack of a tree makes the absence of gifts much less bearable though I do have one with MY name on it waiting for a place to rest. All of that will come after this week's payday unless our respective employers decide to bailout before then. If they do? Hmm..Santa will surely do the switches and ashes thing to them, if there is a speck of justice in this universe.

Up at the sawmill, there's a fierce competition in the works between departments in the decorating and parade contests. Never fear, there will be pictures and our theme is top secret.

We've had a freakin' MONSOON around here last night and today with high winds and heavy rain. Needless to say, Mama and Daddy were up all night due to the excessive noise of those stubborn pecans giving up the ghost and smacking their tin roof like little bombs. Me? I slept like a baby with Faith and Sam. Soon as it dries out a bit, I'll be bending, stooping and scooping again. In between trips to the Dollar General, of course.

And lastly, to those of you who have it all under control with the fire burning warmly and all the trappings of the glorious holiday season in place I have just one thing to say.

meeting grace
Against all odds, I made to to Alli's bridal shower today. It's a long story about twists of fate and Murphy's law so I won't bore you with it. Her future mother, grandmother and aunt in-laws were all there. Her girlfriend Jill did the honor or writing stuff down for posterity. That girl's got her Daddy's eyes, no doubt.

Otherwise, it's the same old pecan season thing....bend, stoop and scoop. Daddy says that commercial pecan growers have these tractors and put a big old bag up around the tree and then shake the nuts down outta' those stubborn upper limbs. We ain't that high tech yet, but maybe someday when I'm too old to make the effort and Sugardaddy buys the hardware.

Tried to burn the asparagus bones yesterday but it was a bit windy and damp. Maybe I won't catch the pasture on fire this year, huh Deb? Johnboy had intended to go tree hunting in the woods today but got caught up in all of our drama. By the time we got done, it was dark. Maybe sometime later in the week.

I'm outta here. Ya'll keep the faith ^j^
i see dead people
One morning this week as I was headed to the time clock, I scurried toward the elevator so as not to be late and get a demerit. As I rounded the corner the funeral home guys wheeled their velvet draped gurney out toward the hearse waiting at the east entrance on the ground floor over by the morgue. Unless they're unclaimed or there is suspicion of foul play, nobody chills very long at our place because their families are anxious to get them outta there to make arrangements. Many of them never saw it coming, or if they did there was some major denial going on with some of them and precious time was being wasted on hand wringing, treatment plans and projections of life span.

It reminded me of why I fell in love with the concept of end-of-life care improvement years ago. Each patient that we serve is at some turning point on the journey of life. They trust in us as healthcare providers to help them through the scary times and do the right thing for them and their families. Unfortunately, healthcare today is all about making money for stockholders. I have a serious problem with that way of doing business when it comes to the dignity of human life as a commodity.

One of my favorite books on the subject was written by Dr.Ira Byock about his experiences as a physician caring for his terminally ill father. He later began a project in the small rural city of Missoula, Montana to study how everyday people deal with the rituals that accompany death and dying and the social dynamics of families and communities in response to that death, aside from reading obituaries in the newspaper and showing up respectfully at the viewing.

Life is a circle, you know? I've stuck a lot of big fat pregnant women in labor with needles and watched their babies wiggle in their little bonnets and gloves in their respective nursery cribs while I drew blood from their heels. Babygirl was one of them. So were Sara, Jane Carolyn and countless other kids of friends and friends of friends' kids. Sometimes they have to bring them back in for a bilirubin check, all dressed up for their first outing in the infant carrier. Usually there's a nervous granny hovering close by causing mucho anxiety but lots of support for the new mom. Sometimes there's no moral support whatsoever and that's just plain sad in anybody's book.

I have a weekend off and Lord knows I need the sleep. Us old pecan pickers don't do well without some catch-up-with-the-dogs-under-the-blankets time. I'm just sayin...it's how I keep the faith.

Dust In The Wind - Kansas
ho made
There is a certain artistic license that flows easily when a girl is dead ass broke during the Christmas season. Forget the Wii and the diamonds...just shop Avon and get creative to show the ones you love that you cherish them as much as that baby in the manger. That's what it's all about, right? Well, it used to be, and still could be. While I certainly hate to see corporate America taking a nosedive into the shitpile but it sort of makes me grateful that I never bought into all of it. Good morning America...it's wakeup time. What a cool holiday gift.

cookin' with gas
Monday is about the only day that I'm allowed to make noise due to Babygirl's sleeping schedule so I've been doing kitchen duty this evening. Tomorrow afternoon is our office Christmas party. As we all have known for a few years and the experts confirmed for us just today, we are in a recession so we have decided to forego the luxury of a bought honeyglazed ham this year. Instead, one is baking in my oven as.I.type for 1/3 of the purchase price of one of those fancy schmancy ones. Well, I guess you have to tack on the cost of my propane. I'm also in charge of wine, though I can't imagine why anyone would put a beer kinda' gal on that. White zin all around, I say. It goes well with my world famous spinach dish.

Just talked with Yaya and she is headed to the Christmas parade with grandson Huck in tow. I remember the last time I was forced into that deal attended it as one of the high points of Babygirl's life, right along with the last obligatory trip to the county fair and trick-or-treating. Sometimes, moms just want to have fun or take nap instead of showing up at the appointed hour to pick up a child a pack of kids from an oh so important social function.

We were treated to snow showers today in the 'burg and I had forgotten how pretty it can be when the temp is just right so as not to make it a driving hazard. Sorry, no pics. It was what we optimists call serendipity.

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