Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Living with Critters

When we lived in Scotts Valley, California we were very accustomed to frequent visitations of wildlife. The most common animals in our area were, deer, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, and opossums. We had a family of skunks that frequented us and we had no problem discerning when mother was anxious. We caught glimpses of them travelling along, little babies following their momma. They looked so cute, but ooooo weeeee can that fragrance linger. Believe it or not, we got used to it. I am not sure what predator can reduce the population of skunks but there are too few of them in that area. The skunks are prolific. You really have no choice about the frequency of skunk musk.

We also had several encounters with opossums. One mother chose our garage room for her litter of kits annually. This animal is perhaps the only species whose babies look scary. Those alligator shaped jaws with rows of teeth, beady eyes, and ratty looking fur, do not look approachable. Baby opossums also hiss like snakes. I was unsure of how repulsive these creatures were until one morning when I saw three of the babies in the window sill of the garage room. Piglet was three. We had a large lovely redwood deck that my husband and his sons had built with a very well made fence of 2 by 6's hooked together with bolts. It was beautiful and secure. The girls felt very safe and loved their play area. I asked Piglet if she would like to see some baby opossums. We studied all kinds of wildlife when they were small. We went on lots of field trips and learned about all kinds of critters so I thought she might be interested. Wrong!

Piglet took one look at the opossums in the window sill ,and began running. she stuck her skinny little arms straight up in the air as she ran laps around the deck. "Call the complice! (police), Papa, where's Papa, oh Jesus come and save us!" She was running fast, and yelling for all she was worth. I thought I might pee my pants from laughing so hard. I did not mean to frighten the child. That was when my suspicions about opossums appeal ,even in infancy, were confirmed. They are not ever interesting animals. Papa did come to the rescue. He had very big welding gloves that went to his elbows. He was good at catching those buggers. He always put them in a tall bucket and drove them down to the creek. He should've drowned them but he didn't. He can't kill anything.

Another one of these critters must have eaten 25 pounds of science diet cat food. Papa's daughter was living in our garage room and she kept trying to tell her Dad that some kind of animal was living in there and eating up the cat food. She finally trapped it in there by closing all the doors. We used to keep everything open. She came inside and urged her Dad, "Poppy come out here you won't believe this!" He went to our neighbors to borrow a large animal trap. This opossum must have weighed 30 pounds, it was huge! Papa and daughter made a slip noose on a rope and lassoed the giant fat creature by the neck. It was hissing. when they picked it up to put it in the trap the noose tightened. The 30 pounds of hissing began to writhe, fight, and poop. It was a relatively short trip to the cage, and the animal pooped everywhere. Scared poopless.
When Pa returned from the drive to the creek he had the garage and the trap to clean up. Our monthly use of cat food decreased significantly. That opossum would've made a hillbilly a fine stew, fattened on premium cat food. We did not care to indulge.

My husband the non-alarmist didn't worry about the same things I did. The weather was so nice we loved to have the house full of fresh air almost year round. We had the windows and doors open most of the time. My only exception to this, was leaving our bedroom door open at night. We had French doors but no screens. There was no other way to get air into the room, but I had fussed about screen doors. I hated being an available meal ticket to mosquitoes all night. In the summer it gets pretty hot, so Pa won and the doors stayed open.

One night I awoke to a scratching sound underneath our bed. I quit breathing. Listening intently, I waited and heard it again. My nerves went into overdrive. WHAT was that? That's all we needed, a skunk in the house. I woke Pa. "There's sumthin under the bed!" Pa was not pleased. He was grumbling and irritated. I insisted, "You have to look!" The man of the house, our protector, got up and turned on the lights. He was grumbling. "There's nothing in here, wake me up in the middle of the night for nothing," he was now bending over and looking under the bed with a flashlight. His countenance changed. His voice softened. He chuckled. "It's a liiiittttttle baby opossum," he said. He went to the garage and came back with the long gloves and the bucket. I was sitting bolt upright in bed. We have established that even baby opossums are not cute. He began trying to catch that critter. All opossums poop when they are scared and this one began running laps around the perimeter of our bedroom leaving streaks of opossum diarrhea all over my light rose rug. Glorious! He finally caught the little poop and went to the creek in the middle of the night. When he came back to bed I had one question for him, "Just how far away is that creek?"

Monday, April 28, 2008

When Life Isn't Fair

Why do I expect justice? My mom tried to tell me when I was little that life isn't fair. I have not learned that lesson yet. The end of the story is, I resigned from my job today. The wicked supervisor not only lied she had other people lie and sign statements. I felt like I was in a nightmare. The investigator had my resignation slip out on the desk before I even came in. Tough choice, would you like to be fired or resign?

My brother had wanted to hire a lawyer and sue them. He told me it would go exactly like this. He was right. It just felt all wrong to go to war. I am a nurse and basically that is a servant. My job is to help people when they are the most vulnerable. I have been doing this since I was a little girl and put band aids on my dolls. Somehow being in a big legal battle doesn't jive with big court battles. War is for men.

But, I expected justice. I thought when this man looked into my eyes he would see that I was telling the truth. I cannot play poker. I cannot bluff. If I try to lie I wear a big sign of confession on my forehead. Life is about politics. Life is about how you play the game. I may have lost this round, but in the eternal perspective of things I did not lose. It is better to obey God than man. I will let the Lord go before me. I was not completely innocent. I admitted getting upset. This supervisor however flat out lied and she lied BIG. HUGE. Shocking really. As I answered the questions, "No sir, she did not identify that she was a house supervisor." "No sir, she did not inform me that I was on a speaker phone and she had witnesses." It got better. No soap opera could actually beat it. I did not cry in front of him. One tear escaped.

There is more out there to do. I know I can get another job. For Pete's sake I'm a nurse. I liked my job, that's the rub. I really liked it. Would I do it differently? Probably not. I have never had anyone talk to me like she did and I would probably get just as mad. Maybe next time though, I'll be more careful. Our message on Sunday was about the tongue and it having the ability to be a consuming fire. James chapter 3. Fires can escape our control. Fire can do a lot of damage. Fire can lay waste to what was good. Fire burns.

If there is anything besides being a fat bottomed girl that I have to struggle with, it is the tongue. Think before you speak. Respond don't react. Drama does not run in our family. None of us are rash, hasty, or quick to put our feet in mouth and chew.

Here is the geeky sheep thing again. I the geeky, can't run right, die easy sheep, have met with a wolf, a snake, or a lion, however, I am not an alone sheep. I have a super shepherd who can do all things. That includes making a way of escape. That includes making a different route, another path. Even if the geeky can't run right, hoof in mouth sheep has messed up, the shepherd loves her and will come to her aide. It is good to be with Him.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tiggers Blog

Tigger likes posting on my blog so much she made up her own. Tiggers Treehouse, ya'll go by and say hi!

The State of Things.

Today is walk day. I awoke to thunder, lightening, rain and the overwhelming desire to go back to sleep. I tried very hard to talk myself into going. Breakfast did not help. Thunder did not help. Chickens have heads about 2 inches wide. Chickens have enough sense to come out of the rain. So why would I go out into it? My head is wider than 2 inches, so are other anatomical parts but we will not go there now. We will go back to bed.

A couple of hours later, I got up to clear skies. this is Mississippi. If you don't like the weather and wait a little bit, it will change. Really could go for a big walk now. The kitchen is in a glorious state of destruction, which is necessary when you find yourself in the middle of an unplanned remodel. What to do?

I'm thinking blueberry coffee cake. I'm thinking coffee and a nice warm slice of fresh coffee cake with all those blueberries. It's a pretty healthy concoction, kinda like a fritatta pancake. Better than a pancake, no syrup, no butter. I'm feelin this, not feelin the walk. What do you think wins?

Cats-By Tigger

Tigger is getting into this. Being the adoring Grandmother that I am, she is writing this post. The cat on your left is the infamous Kiwi-iwi. the cat to the right is her adorable son Puffins. This story is by my adorable grand girl, don't let her fool you she's crazy about these cats. Does she say something about moving out? Does she not know she will pack them up and take them with her?

If someone asked me what I thought about cats I'd tell them to not buy one unless they plan to vacuum and dust their house every day. I didn't always think that way, in fact you could have said I use to be a real "Cat-Hugger". So what happened? Fur, that's what happened, horrible masses of fur. I became sick of having cat hair get shot up my nostrils every time I sniffed the fresh air, and waking up in the morning to pluck cat hairs off of my tongue. Don't get me wrong cats are soft, cute, and affectionate little balls of life that tickle your insides when they sit on you to purr. However I have three cats. Not one, or two, but three cats who shed like beasts every other week. My cat Kiwi( or Big Mama) is the worst at shedding. Every time I vacuum Nannie's brown velvet couch my loving cat waits until I'm finished and then hops on to shed a fat mound of fur all over! If I spank her Kiwi only hops back on to shed some more, and the only solution my Grandma can think up is "vacuum it again". Give me a break, I'm not going to vacuum a couch every time that cat sheds on it! Now my calico cat Cali( or Cali Baby) just sheds in one particular spot which is our glass table that sits in the living room, and she only sheds on there after eating. So Cali doesn't really bother me with shedding, but she does give me love bites on my chin when I go to bed WHICH REALLY HURTS. Finally there's Puff Puff. Oh, he can give you that poor pitiful, and googly-eyed look when you catch him red-handed in mischief. Puff Puff is the only cat I've ever known to just shed everywhere because he thinks he's so special. When I go to bed he sits down on my chest with his ahem, "rump" facing towards me and purrs! So now you know why I'm not obsessed with cats anymore. I love them, but I'm not excited with their gifts. Will I ever have a cat when I move out? I don't know, because my Grandpa has lead me to believe that the only sanitary pet in this world is a gold fish.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This is another outta my head creation. It's good enough to make again.

2 heaping cups bisquick
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c oil
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
about a cup of blueberries maybe more, definitely not less.

stir with fork.
place in cake pan or whatever with non stick spray already applied.

cover with a mixture of sugar and chopped pecans. Bake at 350 until knife comes out clean.

It was sooooooo yummy.

Tiggers Story

Tigger wants to post a story to my blog. I was going to write this one up too, so you have our unique perspectives.

OK so like my Grandma and I were butting heads together, right after she came home from yoga. (Grandma said to turn the video game off.) I began to throw a temper tantrum, believing my Grandma never listens to a word I say. (Grandma, is exasperated with Tigger turning in incomplete and late schoolwork) Yikes. Then I begin crying and saying ,"Lord, my life sucks, just strike me with lightening." Be careful when your messing with God like that.
(Grandma is wishing for Valium, is there a quick way to stop drama, like drama delete?)
Suddenly, I felt a sudden pain at the back of my throat and sticking my finger in there,I felt too my horror a big fat lump. (Amazing, she did not gag herself, was it answer to her prayer?)
I shrieked and ran to my Grandma,"I think there is a bone from my spine growing in the back of my throat!" (Is this kid for real?) My Grandma said I was crazy and over dramatic.
(yes, exactly my diagnosis) I implored my Grandpa, who chuckled a bit. Grandpa came downstairs to Nannie and convinced her to check my throat. Nannie got the flashlight, and I can tell you that it wasn't the most wonderful experience. My Grandma cracked up and said my tonsils were swollen to the size of walnuts. She said I had a fever. (Yep, I offered to just snip them out in the kitchen but she didn't want me too) LAME-O I was so irritated, and now the fact that I'm sick! (Pitiful really just pitiful, and did we mention dramatic?) In my mind, I imagined my Grandma having tonsils the size of melons. HA the mind is a beautiful thing!

I (Lame-o Grandma) told her I had my tonsils out when I was 5 years old. They lied to me and said I could eat all the ice cream I wanted when it was over. I did not want ice cream, I couldn't say anything, my throat had been cut. Another near death experience. I also woke up in a big crib, a five year old kindergartner! Tigger was not so mad anymore, because she was feeling sorry for Nannie at five. Nannie was feeling sorry for Tigger who actually did not have bones in the back of her throat, just the biggest tonsils ever seen. Nannie gave Tigger ibuprofen and salt water to gargle with. Nannie repented of impatience. Tigger repented of drama and temper. They all lived till morning, no kidding no body died! It runs in the family.


Yesterday, I was reading Coffee Beans blog when she required a rescue and it brought up a memory of my own. Sometimes I think it is not healthy to go to the doctor on a regular basis. I was seeing a pulmonary doc who kept me on all kinds of drugs, I had meals of pills. My stomach did not appreciate the meals of pills and was rebelling causing exacerbation's (freaking out) of my asthma. My pill loving doc prescribed Reglan, 4 times a day before meals and bed. This is usual and customary.
One evening shortly after taking my pills I was feeling really strange. My legs kept bouncing and my muscles felt tense and unnatural, like to much caffeine. I was having trouble relaxing my body and then whammo!!! My face began to contort into a really grotesque shape. I could not control my mouth, drool was rolling out one side. I looked in the mirror, yep, sudden onset of Cerebral Palsy. What the heck was happening? I was not calm. I was seeing myself in a nursing home in a wheelchair with hairs on my chin that needed plucking. I was freaking out, to put it mildly. I ran to my husband who promptly tried to put my jaw back into shape. These muscle contractions were so strong I thought he was going to break my face. I also couldn't talk well. Ok I'm having a stroke. Husband call Dr.Pill; she (meaning myself) was having a reaction to the reglan. Take a Benadryl now. Me the one who is having a stroke and going to the nursing home takes two Benadryl. I would have taken the whole bottle! My heart was fixing to go into sv-tachacardia a lethal rhythm.

Try and relax. Dr. Pill had said try to relax so the bendryl would work. More facial gyrations, this was starting to really hurt! My throat started feeling tight,that's it! I picked up the phone and dialed 911 and handed the phone to my husband. I could not talk at all. He ASKS me what to do. In a wild charades style I gestured for him to speak into the phone and request assistance. I was dying, of this I was sure. Mental pictures of the nursing home would not go away. Then suddenly my face relaxed. It hurt so bad, but it relaxed. I wanted to cry. I had been too scared to cry. Just then there was a knock at the door. Six big hunky, gorgeous paramedics came into the front room. Did I mention gorgeous? Yeah, I felt better. "It's OK guys I'm alright now." They sat down. "Tell us about it." As I began speaking my face had a return spasm and I flipped out,"Let's go let's go!" I hollered. Did I mention that I lived on a very steep driveway? Did I mention that I was a very big woman from taking so many doses of prednisone curtesy of Dr.Pill? Again I was having mental pictures. This time the six big hunky paramedics were losing their grip on the gurney and I was careening into my neighbors garage through their garage door in true cartoon fashion. I was scared. "You guys cannot hold me on this gurney, can't we walk down the hill?" They on the other hand had total confidence in their big hunky muscles,"you'll be fine, we got ya." You have me, well whose got you? This night would end in my death it was for certain. They made it. I know they laughed about it over coffee and a donut. How could they not? I did not lay down on the gurney, I sat straight up with the frozen deer in the headlights look, face twitching.

In the ambulance the fella who was going to start my IV was looking all over my hand for a vein. That is not a good sign, maybe he was a beginner. I am not an easy stick. It was also freezing cold in that truck. Without warning he stuck me in my knuckle! PAIN, shocking awful pain, it felt like he had just broken my finger! My other hand had involuntarily clenched into a fist and was ready to 86 him in the jaw. "You stuck me in my finger! Your so lucky I didn't hit you, you should warn a person." He did not heed that because he proceeded to inject undiluted IV benadryl into my already broken knuckle. FIRE! More pain. This was a rescue? This was feeling like a big mistake. This guy was not looking hunky anymore. Was that a big wart on his nose? Did he have spinach in his teeth? Was he an undiscovered psychopathic killer? Arghhhh, what a night.

We arrived at the ER. I was now transferred to a different gurney and a nurse took my vital signs and pulled the curtains. I now had 100 mgs of benadryl in my system and was wide awake. My face was relaxed, but hurt like crazy. My finger was broken and burning, my nerves were totally shot. I was so freaked out that I didn't even need to pee. I then laid on the gurney for hours being observed, racking up a big hospital bill to be watched. The doctor had only one comment, "I can't believe your awake with all that benadryl." Being awake impressed him. Very strange that this was the event of the evening on which he would focus so much thought. I kept trying to explain to him their was also gallons of adrenalin pumping through my system but since it was organically produced he was not impressed. I did find out that I was indeed having a reaction to Reglan. Facial Dystonia, one in 17,000 people have this. I do not win many contests, or the lottery, or the cake walk at the county fair. One in 17,000 chances of having facial dystonia? What a time to hit the jackpot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Espresso, Pets and Vets

Spoiled rotten. It's spring the windows are still open, that's a very big deal, and I am sippin on a homemade latte thinking about what to blog about. I found a little pink stove top espresso maker at Marshalls for $5. The box was in Italian and there weren't any directions. I tried to go on line to look up some kind of instructions for use. Nada. Ok well, with a spirit of adventure I started looking it over. The bottom holds the water and the steam rises through the coffee. I have a grinder so powderizing the beans was no problem. A tapper,...humm I have a teaspoon. After mashing the coffee into the little coffee holder spot, I really looked at the bottom part. How much? Was that a line? What is that little dingie ma bobber on the side? Some kind of steam release button? Better not overfill it. Is this really supposed to sit on the stove top and not melt and get ruined? What if I put boiling water in the bottom and then put it on the stove on medium and watch it real real close. IT WORKED! It didn't fall apart or melt, or overflow. The dingie ma bobber was a steam release and in just a few minutes I had a little pot of lovely espresso. Half a cup of organic milk in the microwave for a minute, add the lovely dark brew and wahlah; what a way to start the day!

Old ladies love to reminisce about the past. I am not old yet but I am practicing. Meandering around in my memory bank thinking of stories I remembered our hippie vet that used a delivery truck for his practice. When we lived in Felton we had the great good fortune to be acquainted with a wonderful travelling vet. He had redone the inside of a big bread type truck and he made his rounds, by parking on certain streets in different towns every day of the week. He charged $15.00 for a visit.
He did not rely heavily on expensive testing, he was a crackerjack diagnostician; had wonderful remedies, and did low cost spaying and neutering out of his home. He would pick up your pet keep it overnight and then you went back the next day for pick up. What was so cool was this idea actually made a significant difference in health care for animals, on the simple basis of easy access and affordibility. Is that a word?

One of my cats left a fettucinne noodle the other day, not really. Not to be gross but I know what that is. In the old days I'd go stand in line, wouldn't even have to bring the cat. Tell him what's up and leave with enough wormer for everybody. Just like that. When my poodle would get yeast in his ears, he gave me 7-1 ointment that cured up everything and made the dog feel better. Very reasonable at $11 a tube and $15 for a call so who wouldn't go? If you didn't bring the pet he just sold you the meds. How cool is that? The vets here in our town are very high class. They give high class human style care. To get a yeast infection cleared up we must have a micro study, $50, a visit, $40, the meds, $25 - $30, over a hundred to clear up an ear infection. Now that's sick.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Desperate times call for desperate measures so a tube of over the counter yeast cream for women for $5. In the ears massaged liberally for 7 days. Did it work? Well it helped, may need another week she still has a little funky red/brown gunk in her ears. hopefully the cream is compatible with a dogs tympanic membranes. Lord. I have diflucan too but cannot find anywhere on the internet what the mg/per pound dosage is. Being a liver toxic drug I am not foolish enough to guess at that. Here's my beef. Where are the hippie vets that love animals and want to help you take good care of your pets? Can anyone pay a hundred bucks a pop for routine stuff? How come we have to send stool specimens to the lab and spend hundreds of dollars for tapeworms. I need a country vet. I cotton pickin need a country life.

Daddy BB and I were talking about selling out and buying a piece of land. We only have enough for the land and the septic. I could put up an A frame and take it one step at a time. I am not beneath bargain shopping for sinks. Shoot we could have an outdoor solar shower in the summer. In fact solar would be great here it's so sunny and warm.

If I was a vet, I'd buy a bread truck and get to work. What can nurses do without docs? Not much. Time to quit dreaming and start grading papers and getting ready for this high school graduation. Will figure out the rest later, Scarlett O Hara your my hero.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Since You Didn't Ask

There are a lot of people thinking about the economy, a recession, and becomming debt free. Dave Ramsey has made quite a name for himself telling folks to eat rice and beans today; so they won't be eating Alpo in their old age. I would eat rice in my old age if need be, before Alpo. I am not so fond of meat to enjoy the finer aspects of canned dog food. Actually I would not feed my dog Alpo, it gives most dogs really stinky gas.

As usual I am digressing already. My topic of the morning is financial freedome not the digestion of dog food. Dave has some good points and some good ideas. We also have some good ideas. My husband represents a company that offers a software service to cancel out interest on your mortgage. We can save the average person at least 5 years and $50,000 in interest. I say a service, because it's for life. All computer upgrades are automatic and there are real people in customer service for as long as you live. Yes, the software is transferable, no it does not work on more than one property at a time. Yes, it is easy. Yes, it is internet based. Yes, it does in fact work. Yes, the banks love it, they like being repaid early. Yes, we can give you a free analysis to show you exactly what our software can do for your financial life. It works on any amortized loan of any time length, even a neg/am. It is more beneficial in the beginning of the loan than for someone who has paid 20 years on a 30 year note, which is by the way the one half mark for a bank. They do weird math.
A friend of ours who built a house 3 years ago and has a $200,000 note will be paid in full in 5 more years, without changing his lifestyle, and without refinancing. No kidding, no tricks, not magic, it's just math. Which is why my husband, and not I do this. He is very good with numbers. I get lost somewhere after three digits without a calculator. So go ahead ask.
You have nothing to loose but your debt.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Growing Up Nerdy

In third grade we had an eyesight screening at school. It was the first time I had my eyes tested and I couldn't see anything. I had to walk up closer to the chart to see the big E. No one could figure out how come my grades weren't suffering. Well, that was an easy explanation. To avoid the hazards of the playground and there were many; I went up to the blackboard at recess so I could see what was written. It made me into an auditory learner. By the time I got my first pair of glasses and realized leaves were not just on the ground but also on trees, I was a hopeless klutz. The only time I ever caught a ball I was swinging my arms in right field and the ball just miraculously landed in my mitt. Of course I pretended that I did it on purpose. No one believed it I was as branded, as the Scarlett Letter, but with a *G* for geek.

My grandmother wanted to send me to charm school to practice walking with a book on my head and learn how to suck my stomach in. My mom put about a pound of real butter into every meal. I was not an obese kid, but there was no way I wanted to learn how to suck in my stomach all the time. I wonder what would have happened if mom would have made me go. Maybe I'd be a southern belle of the gardeners tea society. Nah,..charm school wouldn't do anything for the way that I think. That's a whole separate issue, as in topic. I did have half a dozen ballet classes. At first I hated it. Then one magical day a "big" girl as in grown, or impressive, or taller, than me; took my arm and virtually flew me around in the circle and a miracle occurred. I was doing it right! It was fun! Dancing was exhilarating! In the car I could hardly contain myself, and Mom said my classes were finished, I wasn't going back. Bummer. I still dream of being a ballerina. I don't like the tutu poodle prancing steps. The swooping graceful swishy dresses just had me enthralled. How could anyone be so graceful or move like their feet didn't even touch the ground? It was even better than silent Indians that could sneak up on you. Swooping ballerinas, that was cool.

The one time in junior high that I went horse back riding with my friends we went to some place that had trails. My horse pulled some trick to make my saddle slip. We hadn't gone 50 feet before I fell off. He then stepped smack tab on my foot and I was just standing there screaming until I finally pushed him off. I didn't know you could push a horse. I did not get back on. Chicken. Big pansy chicken, cluck cluck.

When in college I learned to swim. I took two swim classes in a row and told the coach it was the last chance, do or die. He said I'd learn and I did. I became a good swimmer but never could build up any breath. Didn't know I had asthma. Then we went on to bicycles. Now that, I loved. Solo sports were awesome. It begins and ends with you. I ended up totally nuts about speed bikes and covering miles and miles of road. When I got divorced I stupidly also divorced my bike, it was his idea. Now that was dumber than dirt. It made sense at the time.

Contact lenses transformed my self confidence. Retiring the Clark Kent look, I boldly went where I had not gone before and quit being a nerd. Even my brothers would say, "Sis you were so cool". However the stress of this was just too much and now in my happy golden years of middle age I have reverted once again to glasses, Clark Kent, Buddy Holly, and not holding my stomach in. If only I could type like Clark Kent.

A Good Idea

Dear Internal Revenue Service:

Enclosed you will find my 2008 tax return showing that I owe $3,40700 in taxes.
Please note the attached article from the USA Today newspaper;dated 12 November, wherein you will see the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is paying $171.50 per hammer and NASA has paid $600.00 per toilet seat.

I am enclosing four (4) toilet seats (valued @ $2,400) and six hammers valued @ $1,029), which I secured at Home Depot,bringing my total remittance to $3,429.00.

Please apply the overpayment of $22.00 to the 'Presidential Election Fund,' as noted on my return.

You can do this inexpensively by sending them one(1)1.5' Phillips Head screw (see aforementioned article from USA Today newspaper detailing how H.U.D. pays $22.00 each for 1.5' Phillips Head Screws).

One screw is enclosed for your convenience.

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.


A Satisfied Taxpayer

I did not write this, my Dad sent it to me in an e mail.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Things We Do For Love

Mama said, "Wanta-bees, oughta-bees, should-bees, and coulda-bees, don't give any honey. There is a lot of truth to that. I oughta vacuum my car. I should scrub the toilet. I wanta be skinny. I would be patient if I wasn't cranky. I oughta be more energetic, and efficient. What's on your list?

When is the last time one of those gave some honey? Ummm let me think, in 52+ years not even once. Why then, do we insist on torturing ourselves with all those bees? When we get buried will someone say, "this woman worked her fingers to the bone keeping her house clean". I actually really like my house to be clean, but that is not how I hope to be remembered.

If each day has "enough trouble of it's own" do we need to go looking for extra? Solomon had it all, he had riches, power, prestige, a choice of wives over 300 of them, he philosophized, and tried drinking, food, everything. He did it and had it all. His conclusion was that the whole shootin match was vanity, or worthless. His advice to us, eat, drink and enjoy your work, enjoy each day. How many of us actually can say we enjoy our days? Or enjoy our meals? Do we take time to prepare food and eat together? When do we talk? When do we relax? What are we working for?

One benefit of working with dying patients and cancer patients is watching how quickly people can prioritize what is important when faced with severe illness. Most people focus on their relationships with others exclusively. A pastor friend of mine once gave a message and he said one of those things I can't forget. "If you knew a building was scheduled for demolition would you invest everything into it? Would you decorate it and embellish it and invest all you had into it"? Then came the one, two punch, "Isn't it all scheduled for demolition"?

What is lasting? How about simple sweet memories? Taking the time to bake something with your kids, or lay on the floor and watch a movie together. People, our families and friends are all we really can invest in to make a difference. We are a funny people though, we get involved with all this other stuff. We polish it, paint it, and fix it up, only to remodel it again in the future. When I look back on my life at home, growing up, I remember family dinners and holidays. I remember my brothers pulling stunts on me, and getting even with them. I remember our cat.

When my mom sold our home the lady that bought it came in and painted, she changed the paper in the cupboards and put new linoleum in the kitchen. It wowed me. The house looked brand new. I had some critical thoughts of my Mom. Why didn't she fix up our house? When I grew up I would paint and not let my house get all beat up and nasty looking. Hummm.
My mom fixed us delicious home made meals. Mom grew flowers and got jiffy pop for watching a movie. Mom grew up on a farm where the walls probably needed painting. She rode her horse bareback because he was a field horse and they had no saddle. She picked cotton to buy her school clothes. She had one pair of shoes if any, at a time. Mama died when I was 26 and I discovered it was not so important the impressive things that could be done with a house. I miss little surprises like someone buying you some new underwear, or a nice bottle of hand cream. I miss getting to pick my favorite food for my birthday dinner; and don't remember any of my presents. I'll never forget the peach pie my mom could bake, or her fried chicken and biscuits that she cut out with a glass.

Sometimes Piglet says that all I do is remind her of her chores. Not good. not the kind of memory I'd like to make. What are the things we do for love? What can we do to put good memories into the hearts of our families? How do we communicate love and fill up their love tanks? When Piggy was a little girl and wanted to cuddle and snuggle she'd say,"I have the poppin feelin" that meant she was feeling her heart get full. It's more challenging these days to figure out what makes the girls feel the poppin feeling. I still get distracted with the house and it's projects, but what I really want to do is fill them up. My family, my friends, my realm of influence, those are what is lasting. Am I a sentimental old lady, or too soon old, too late smart? When I read about the stress young mothers are under it makes my heart break. Life is too short not to choose carefully. Some are getting it. Young women that go somewhere without makeup and in their slippers because they are tired and know their limits. Some take pictures of their babies feet in the bread dough. There are women out there who want out of the mold that says" you must look good". "Your things define your worth". Some have figured out that it is a big fat lie and a jip. Others are on the journey and figuring life out; keep on keeping on and do those things for love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chocolate Fondue!

Ya'll we had a blast! My friends girls and my girls we're gabbing and giggling as much as we were. Piglet took them to our little lake to go fishing. Her youngest was ready at the crack of dawn each day thereafter to go back for more. We basically cooked, ate, talked, cooked, ate, talked and shopped; and did I mention that we cooked and ate? We had wonderful mouth watering delicious gourmet everything. She brought some Californian extra virgin olive oil that was like a fruity nectar, so yummy. We also decided to have a little tea party one afternoon with the main event being a chocolate fondue. The girls cut up strawberries, bananas, apples, and a bit of lemon blueberry pound cake. We chose a very rich dark chocolate from the Fresh Market and could hardly keep enough melting in the little bowl. Six females with warm gooey delicious chocolate was almost a divine encounter. Talk about happy hormones. The tea was black current and for cleansing the palate between choices to dip. We drizzled the rich melted mesmerizing stuff onto the cake to keep the fondue bowl from getting full of cake crumbs, and also drizzled our fingers, the tablecloth and the camera. Messy is as messy does. I actually had one of those moments of complete satisfaction, and wondered if maybe I might not ever want to eat again. We discussed Johnny Depp and the movie "Chocolat," my girlfriend has actually tried the chocolate with chili in it and said it was wonderful.

The delusion of not eating vanished a few hours later, when we fixed an incredible gourmet dinner; including grilled asparagus, warm sourdough French bread with a Bruchetta topping, more roast beef, sauteed spinach, green salad, and a little taste of Merlot.

When we weren't eating or gabbing which was almost exclusively when we slept, which was brief; we went out into the country meandering around lovely areas where the Spanish Moss drips from the trees and the quiet is only broken by birdsong. The weather was perfect for having the windows down and our hair blowing, it was grand my favorite way to relax.

Our little holiday would not have been complete without some adventure. Air travel is not quite what it has been in the past. Coming here wasn't easy. When they got off the plane in Memphis they were told their flight into Jackson was cancelled. PERIOD. No idea when they could catch another, no apology, no ideas to help out, a big tough luck to 55 people. The airline personnel were very tense and nervous which made all the travellers nervous. I was thinking about driving to Memphis when some kind hearted airline agent routed them to Monroe LA. It took us as long to drive to Monroe as it did for her to fly there. We also gave a fellow airplane traveller a ride. She was sitting in the backseat receiving text messages from her daughter that went something like this;
" R U telling me that not only did your flight get cancelled but now you are in some peoples car getting a RIDE to MS? Mom, do I need to get in my car and drive 9 hours to come and get you"?
It was so funny because of the ridiculousness of it. The airline NWA now part of Delta deserves this bad rap. They refused to give refunds or credits towards another flight because they were willing to fly them eventually, someday, at their convienence, yet undecided. Alrighty then!
I suggested to the nice lady that she text back that she was riding in the back of a pickup truck sitting next to a couple of chained pit bulls and a rack of guns; but she didn't think her daughter would see the humour. It got even better when we offered to drop her off at the home she was going to stay at, and her hostess declined asking that we drop her off at a gas station near her house. We discussed rolling down the windows for the windblown hairdo that would suit the situation. More texting from frantic daughter,...a gas station?
Needless to say I showed my friend a very nice campground by the reservoir where her family can park next time they come for a visit and drive out. Considering the service and the tension from the flight it sounds like a much more reliable and pleasant way to travel. Hopefully the whole family will come next time including Dad. We will have to get a bigger fondue pot.

Quick hello

My friends are taking off in 5 minutes to go home to Cali. We had a wonderful, food and gab filled visit. Drove through pretty country and fixed gourmet meals. She wanted to try the roast I posted and I wanted to try her broiled veggies with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, yummmy!
We wore ourselves out! Our girls had a great time of sharing and giggling. They went to our lake and fished and the littlest little caught 7 her first time to fish! We are tired and everyone is going to lay down and nap.
On a sad note my sweet friend went home to Jesus yesterday morning. Her services will be tomorrow and Saturday.
No marathon training this week. Human life and need is more pressing.
I will post a detailed and fun note of our adventures after some rest.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Do you know what challenges me about blogging? Besides spelling, that's a given. Those stupid wiggly letters to confirm your comments to a post! My glasses cost more than $400 for just the lenses. The extra light trifocal progressives with no lines in them. Regular glasses look like coke bottle bottoms for me and they break my nose. Now my eyes are changing again and I'm back to switching glasses and wearing my reading glasses for up close stuff. It's the pits when I go somewhere and realize that my distance vision is fuzzy because I forgot to switch back to my regular glasses. These wiggly weird letter combinations with double consonants and z's and x's drive me batty. The other day I was visiting "Because I Said So", you know Dawn that gets like 250 comments a post. It's like she's another Beth Moore or something. I got the first post, number one, numero uno; and guess what? I must've messed up the stinkin eye test because my comment got lost, zip nada nothin. Well maybe she deleted it, but probably not. Nope it was the wiggly stupid letters. Who thought of that stuff?


Words. So much of our understanding or lack of it is based on our interpretation of words. I was thinking today about Oprah and her new guru. Oprah thinks the answer is within us. I think the answer is where God says it is, with Him. Why do some people insist that we are good? They have issues with the word "sin" or the word "good'.

The word sin actually means to miss the mark, in reference to a target. Doesn't that seem more acceptable? Who doesn't miss the mark daily? Who doesn't wish they would have been more patient, kinder, less irritable, more understanding, a better budget keeper, a wiser mother, and on into infinity. I know that I miss the mark frequently. Why is missing the mark called sin? Why is that the definition of sin? Sin has emotional connotations of negativity, and nobodies perfect right?

God the creator of this universe is perfect. He is good. He is love. He sets the standard or the target of perfection and it is, what only He can do. That is why the scripture says, "There is no one good, no not one". That can just flat out stick in some folks craw. They think, "I am too good, I would give an old lady my seat on the bus, I was a girl scout, I support our troops. Whatever your idea of goodness is, are you flawless at it? Is your record in that area of your own definition absolutely and totally perfect? I know I am not. Jesus came for the sick not the well. He hung out with the local street people and prostitutes. He didn't hang with the traditional church folks and they killed him for it. He was too revolutionary, too unorthodox, and he irritated them to no end. The religious elite of Jesus day assumed they had all the answers. Their God was in a nice neat little box of convention, custom, and tradition, so much so that when God made himself flesh they didn't see Him. What about us? Where do we fit in? Would we see God if He showed up? Would we hear him if he spoke? Would we do what He asked us to do?

Really I have been thinking about this. Aren't you glad you were not Noah? Think about it. We talk about how bad the world is and carry on, blah blah blah. In Noah's day he was the only one who followed after God. No one else in the world believed, just Noah and his family. That's one enormous obstacle, talk about being a maverick. Next up, it had never rained before. The Earth had a kind of dew every day. That's two pretty big obstacles. Here you are in the middle of dry land and God tells you to build an ark and that it's going to rain and flood the Earth. Alrighty then, what's rain? What's an ark? Talk about a crisis of belief.

People lived to be much older then, and Noah actually worked for 120 years as a ship builder on dry land, not near any large body of water, and was constantly ridiculed for his activity. You have to give him credit for perseverance. It also makes him very believable that when it was all over and they finally landed, he planted a vineyard and got drunk. Who wouldn't? Talk about a traumatic experience. Be careful about those self righteous thoughts. No one in our lifetime has experienced a stress of that magnitude.

That's what I like about the Bible. At first glance we think it's a book of super heroes. When you look close up the super heroes are super sheep. They all made stupid mistakes. They all have warts. Some have big serious offenses like murdering somebody. David wasn't the only one who killed a man, Moses did too. Then Jesus comes along and says if you have even thought it in your heart you are guilty as if it is a done deed. Ever felt road rage? Ever wanted to wring your husbands neck for another inconsiderate comment? OK your better than me, you don't think about doing your husband in, not even giving him a swift kick.

I know Jesus came for me, I knew I was sick, and full of flaws, full of mistakes, full of regrets. Full up to bursting. When the message came through the darkness, that I could have a clean slate and a new start; the dam broke. I couldn't stop weeping. How could it be? How could there be a God that would really know everything about me and love me?

Most of us go around presenting the face we want everyone to see. We polish it. We work on our presentation that is for the public and our friends. Not many of us let others see us how we really are, or let them in on our hidden secrets. But God,... not only sees and knows all of that, but there is nothing in us that He has not seen or doesn't know. You might feel naked under His gaze, because you are. It is out of his great love that He offers to clothe you, and wash you. To give you a new heart of flesh that is now stone. Don't need it? Not stony? Are you sure? Have you no dead relationships? No regrets? No, if only's? I mean really, am I the only person who still remembers being mean to Billy in the third grade? I don't know if Billy ever forgot but I didn't. Partly because he never came back to school. I never got to say I was sorry. I was his only friend. It really didn't matter that a bunch of kids ganged up on me and kicked me because I was his friend and he was a Mexican. It didn't matter that I caved to third grade peer pressure and told Billy, "you stink". I can still see him walking away with his head hanging. Me yelling, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry". I was crying but Billy didn't look back. Gee that was in the third grade you know how much stuff came after that? Do you think forgiveness is good news?

God doesn't offer us a consequence free, new pie in the sky deal. He gives us peace. He gives us insight. He gives us the ability to walk through our present circumstances with a different perspective. You may never get more income. You may never get well. You may never get married or have a long wanted child. Your life and situation may actually get worse not better.
Aren't you glad that I'm sugar coating this? Actually there is way too much sugar and false hootenanny out there. It's not about me, it's not about my inner self, my realizations, and I am so grateful that it's not! Even if, "I am always on my mind". I am not on your mind and the world really doesn't revolve around me. Shucks, that's a disappointment to you I'm sure. We are flawed, hopelessly imperfect. We are never going to get it right. You see all religions are about man trying to rescue himself and do something to right his sinking ship. Jesus reaches out with His gift of his own life. He offers to restore yours. You don't work towards anything. You say yes. That's why we are called the "bride" of Christ. When you get that proposal of marriage it's a yes or a no. We don't earn our husbands. We work pretty hard after the, I do, but it starts with a yes. It starts with love, with a relationship, with spending time together. That is what God wants. It really is that easy. He wants to know you, and for you to know Him. HE wants to spend time with you. He's available every minute to even your thoughts. He wants to rescue you from your worst enemy,...uh hum. He wants you to experience His presence and His love. It is the honest to God best news we have ever heard or ever shared. So how about you, do you know, that you know, for sure, know Him? Do you remember the moment that you met? When your heart first opened, and your ears first heard? If you aren't sure, would you like to be? Just write me. I'm just a beggar sharing where I found the bread, and it's delicious.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Big Mess- Decisions Decisions

Well I'm in deep weeds. I decided to try and redo my outdated kitchens wall paper. Stripping it was necessary because there was more than one layer. Unfortunately the contractor who built this house put the first wall paper up on the sheet rock without any prep. I now have to mud, sand, and prime, and work work work. My friend is coming Monday so I put everything back for now. I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to paint it or paper it. It all started with some wallpaper that I found at Hudson's salvage for $1.99 a double roll. It's a really pretty soft applegreen/lime in a more contemporary pattern. Now that the walls need so much work it doesn't seem to make any sense to put more paper up. My kitchen is on the small side so there really aren't a lot of walls to work on. I'd like to tile my back splash areas. We went to ceramics last week and I painted a square door knob, if it turns out cute I may do enough for all the cabinets.

Ya'll can help if you'd like, whatcha think? This patch of color is some paint I got at Lowe's for $5. It's brighter than in the photo. I tried to get a pic of the wallppaper and it just ain't happening. The paint color is brighter in real life and less brown. Anyone want to suggest something?

My dishes are all different colors. I have some blue and yellow pottery and also the Franciscan Apple. I have been thinking about a red and cream combination but my floor and counter top are in the brown tones, which is why a terra cotta color might be pretty. I'm going to paint the space above the cabinets with the white that is on them. Now you know, I don't spend all my time blogging after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blog Hoppin and Back Packin

I have only been blogging for a couple of months but my TV is collecting dust. I don't watch anything anymore. I realized that all my evenings are spent reading, writing, and hopping around finding cool blogs. I am also realizing that I cannot list every blog I like on my favorites list.

One of my most favorites is "Kathy's Dusty Trails" she is a vet and just reading about her cabin and life up in the Sierra's makes me feel so good. After all I am a native born Californian. Eight years in the south have messed up the way I talk, but pictures of California's rugged mountains stir my heart. I loved the Felton redwoods. When my daughter was little we went on several back backing trips into Mammoth. There is a wonderful hot springs spot called "Ida Bell Hot Springs" in that park. Devils Post Pile, and Rainbow Falls are there close by too. Ida Bell found a campers paradise. It isn't too bad of a hike either except for 1 and 1/2 miles of switchback trails that go straight down. I can still remember the entire trail.

We started from a base camp where they have a little eattin joint that makes a great homemade hamburger. After piggin out and loading up our packs we headed out. The first part of the trip is all down hill through shady forest and lush with ferns and soft redwood chipped earth. About mid morning when it began to get warmer we started moving up and out of the shade into some granite country. As we hiked along the edges of one mountain our first views of wide open mountain country emerged. The beauty and the silence are breath taking. I had the good fortune of being with an avid mountain climber and back packer who knew this country well. We left the trial for a bit and scooted sideways down some steep granite rocks. Hidden from view was an amazing little waterfall and rock pool. It held freezing cold water, good for a drink and to rest feet in, but way to cold for me to swim. I'm not that brave. I'm actually feeling the hike quite a bit not being a big out doors type, but the beauty is propelling me along. The country changes frequently and the diversity impresses me. We are moving through a grove of aspen trees and they seem to be winking at us with their twinkling leaves, and they play with the light, the effect is enchanting.

By midday I was really feeling the weight of my pack and wondering what the heck was so important to bring along besides food and water. Packing light was taking on a whole new meaning. I was wishing that I would've listened better. All my gear is new, this being my first trip and we are hiking 8 miles today and 4 the next. It's hot, I have stopped talking and started working and breathing. My body has never experienced this much sweat in it's lifetime' but it's so beautiful. It was a good thing that I had youth on my side because I didn't exercise much other than dancing, and this was a workout! Just when I thought I couldn't take another step we turned the corner of the mountain and looked down on Fish Creek. It was in the bottom of the canyon, we we're on the top. Between us and the place we would camp was a straight down steep trail of switchbacks. I had never heard of switch backs. My feet were in for the biggest pounding of my life. I didn't even think about coming back out. It was hard enough going down. Finally at dusk we took our packs off next to this beautiful river. It's really not a creek. I perched on top of a nice granite rock and relaxed in the water. Every muscle in my body had worked to exhaustion, and I was hungry. A steak would've been great, but we were back packing and we we're having freeze dried astronaut stuff. Yuk, but with a work out like that no one is gourmet, or picky, it's about fuel. I don't even remember falling asleep. The next morning I was so stiff, no one even suggested stretching out, what a bunch of dummies. It didn't take too long to walk before the kinks got worked out. This half day walk along the river was mostly just hiking, the view didn't change up like the first day, and I concentrated on the work. When we entered a meadow full of wild flowers blooming I thought I was in heaven. " This is it" said our guide. We had arrived. We were facing a mountain side and I could see a waterfall. "That's the cold water", and over next to it a warm water fall, hot and cold water. Impressive! What you could not see until you passed it was the hot spring pool. A deep sulfur smelling but clear to the bottom pool of hot water. After all that hiking and sweating and sore achy muscles it was paradise. I soaked for hours, coming out long enough to eat and then get back in. I soaked until my fingers shrivelled up into wrinkly prunes. When it got dark I saw the stars for the first time in my life. We don't really see stars in the city. The sky was jam packed full of them. I saw the Milky Way and the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and we had the good fortune of having a full moon. It was a spectacular trip. A little like boot camp but wonderful. I felt strong and light when I got home again.

I did not become an avid back packer. I made a few more trips, oddly to the same place. Knowing what was waiting for me was motivation enough to take those switchbacks going down and going up. It's surprising to discover that down hill is harder. I also found out I didn't like hiking boots, running shoes worked much better for me. I finally hung them from a tree and wished somebody a nice find. A hundred dollar pair of Pivetta hiking boots. It wasn't worth it to carry them out, and I didn't want them. My second trip I packed much lighter. If I ever go back again I'll ride a pack mule.

Piglets Pooch

Piglet has her own dog. He lived next door tied up for three years and had always wanted to be our dog. When he escaped he'd run like a rabbit and then come over here. She fell in love with him and begged our neighbors to give him to her. They really didn't spend time with him. He was just a yard dog. It took him about a year to really become a great dog. He's very smart. He potty trained ASAP. We believe he is an English Shepherd. As you can see he is quite content and very loved. He even gets to sleep in the bed with Piglet. His name is Axel Indiana.
One of their favorite activities is to go skateboarding. Piglet has a harness for him and
she holds on with both hands to his back.
Then she squats and rides the board with him basically
acting as a "sled dog". They both get a work out.


Another storm coming batton down the hatches. Good thing I have a couple picchas of the yard it may get blown to smithereens. The Mississippi River is thinking about flooding out in Vicksberg. My girlfriend from Cali is flying today! She's going to see her sister first and will be her on the 14th. Wow we just saw alligators leaving the river on TV now that's freaky.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fat Bottomed Girls on Grits

When I stepped outside this morning I couldn't believe what had happened overnight. I really do have a spring garden. Little by little I have added the different perennials for each season. A large bed in back has mostly summer and late summer plants. The front beds are predominantly spring. Even though that tell tale black spot is raising it's ugly head already, the first flush is the best one. Since some of you are snow bound and still cold, I'm sharing not bragging. When you are just right I will be in sweltering heat. All of my gardening is done in two binges, spring and fall. I was more resilient to the heat when we first came here. I also wasn't packing around all this extra fat. Food is good here and fattening. Being a good Baptist there seems to always be a foodie function to attend and even if you just taste each thing, you've eaten a platter. The first time I ever tried FRIED dill pickles, I couldn't believe it. That just sounds so nasty, but,... it's great. I decided then and there that in the south fried cardboard would be good. Don't get me wrong I do not fry food at home. I do not make rich gooey desserts unless we are having guests. I try to fix healthy meals. However my bo hiney is a walking advertisement for fat bottomed girls on grits.

No longer! Up early and out for a long walk and an interval run. I cheated. I walked up a small long hill to get a burn going and then ran down the other side. I had both dogs slightly pulling and the hill for momentum. WHATEVER it takes! So I trotted along for my first block and man all the jelly was shaking everywhere. Jam don't shake like that. I like working up a sweat, it feels so good when you stop! Yoga is tonight to stretch out whatever tightened up.

May I abruptly change this discussion? My study about "Knowing God" is really phenomenal. The study today was mind blowing because it challenged a "set" of beliefs I have had. It also was so true it immediately banished those ideas. Truth is like that, it just cuts to the quick when it's heard. Whammo, no debate. He presented 4 concepts today.
  • God uniquely spoke to His people.
  • They knew it was God.
  • They understood what he said.
  • When God spoke it was an encounter with God.

Moses didn't say when he saw the burning bush, "this happened to my dad and my uncle now this is my experience." No, there was only one burning bush. Moses heard exactly what God wanted and that is why he argued so much. Noah knew what kind of ark to build, the exact dimensions, and what kind of wood. Jesus sent his disciples out with exact instructions. God is very precise.

How did we come up with this open door, closed door hit or miss idea? If I'm going the right way then let me proceed, if it's wrong shut the door. Sounds like a crap shoot. Blackaby says this, "Often people trust these ways because they appear to be easier than cultivating an intimate walk with God". Ouch. Whoops. I am a doer not a waiter. I'm a talker not a listener. I want what I want not to yield to another plan,....whoa wait a minute. How quickly the mighty have fallen. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, which is what He says in His book, then He is still specific and He is still speaking. If He is in a still small voice and I am going ninety to nothing working out my day and the LISTS for the day, where is the still small voice?

Would we stand up a great date? Would we leave our husbands or children, or even girlfriends just hanging? Then why do I treat God like that? If I mess up and don't spend time with God I just berate myself for it, do my penance. God doesn't want that, He wants me to show up.

Blackaby suggests,"God may withhold directions to cause you to seek Him more intently. Don't try to skip the relationship to start doing something. Wait and pray". Zing again. I am a type A personality to the max. When there is a problem my first response is, "What can I do?, How and I help"? My first response is not to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary. I would be whippin up the fantabolous meal in the kitchen. Cleanin house and giving Jesus the best seat so someone else could visit with Him. After all this time I'm still doing the same dumb things,, baaaaahhhh.

My husband says this quote, I'm not sure who said it first, "Insanity is doing things the same way and expecting different results". Alright. I'm getting the message, in order to hear God I am going to have to go about life a bit differently. "Be still and know that I am God." It's not about religion, or a code of conduct, or a set of behaviors, or the way I dress. It's about relationship. An intimate loving relationship takes time, takes listening. I'm glad for all these walks and soon to be runs. God can be with me while I am out there. Pounding the pavement tends to drum out the noise of life. Maybe then I will hear. Speak Lord your servant is listening.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For the snow bunnies

If ya'll are still cold you can send me a package of snow in about a month. From the increase in heat and humidity lately I have a feeling that the heat is fixin to crank up around here. I'm postin posies for your pleasure, and to brag on my grandgirls talents at shootin these picchas!

Packaging up Presents

Fun fun, I love to make packages and give away presents. I'm going to come up with a challenging contest next time. I think ya'll should have to write a story or sumthin. You know a rEaL contest. Kayla took a lot of cool picchas of the garden which is going crazy! Thought I would post some. Congrats again to the winners and Kelly next time I'll rig it for you and you'll win a roll of TP or a box of Preparation H, something that involves poo, maybe Boudreaus Butt Balm.
Here is Mabunny's second place prize and Kayebee's little extra, she got a package of Fine Herbs from Fresh Market. Mabunny's little package shipped today. I might get a Super Sheep DVD since I talk about it a lot for the next give away. I'll be thinking on the prize and the story topic.

We All Struggle

I was trying to think of something to write about and it just wasn't happening. I'm depressed about my job. I probably have messed up one of the best jobs I have ever had. I've also never been in this kind of a mess before and it's not fun. I never was suspended from school. The most trouble I ever was in, required writing sentences, thousands of them. They all said the same thing, " I will not talk in class". Man, you'd think it would work but it didn't. Once the teacher was putting my name on the board and I objected, "but" he said "check", I said "but", he said "check" I continued with this until I had about 6 checks and around 2000 sentences to write. I finally ShUtUp! Brain damage all kids are brain damaged.

My philosophy of people is basically shaped by two profound works, Bill Cosby's "Himself", and Ken Davis's "Super Sheep". Bill Cosby talks about his kids the way families really are with kids, and the way parents really are. It's not as funny now that his son has been killed but if you don't think about that awful detail it's very funny, because it's real.
Ken Davis on the other hand is also funny, but his funny stories are full of deeper truth. Super Sheep is actually something I have kept in my heart. I relate to being a dumb sheep. I can't claim the sheep thing as my, idea it's not. Ken's whole spiel is about being compared to sheep. He grew up around sheep and doesn't like the comparison. Sheep are dumb geeky animals. For example, he says "Ever seen anyone pick a sheep for a mascot?" He puts his arms up with fists and makes little geeky sheep feet motions and says" fleece em fleece em bah bah bah". Like I said it's a riot. We are like sheep, and we are also created in the image of God who is not like a sheep at all.
Another mystery. I identify with the stupid, can't run right, geeky animal part. The image of God part is not so easy. God doesn't mess up ever, I can't do anything right at least some days that's the way I feel. God is all knowing, I can't remember the date or the day of the stinkin week without looking at my cell phone. God forgives, I struggle with grievances, injustice, and kids making bad decisions. God never gives up, and I feel like quiting some of the time. God is faithful, I won't even start on that one. You get the idea.

My friend Kelly wrote a very thought provoking post today about parenting. It made me think. She read parenting books. I bought parenting books and didn't read them. I have one child who hasn't spoken to me in years. My one child has struggled with alcohol and drugs. She blames me for most of her problems. In some ways not speaking is a relief from the litany of blame.
Maybe I did a lousy job. I was a teenage single mom. I didn't have an abortion. I raised my kid warts and all. I made lots of mistakes but I loved her. I gave her too much, and not enough. I read her stories at night and tucked her in with kisses. I cleaned up her barf when she missed the bucket. I changed her bed when she peed in her sheets. I baked cookies. I taught her to make a tuna sandwich. I fixed pancakes that looked like Micky Mouse because she like them.
I also left her alone too much at times. I also had too many boyfriends for a season. I was a wreck in my early twenties, my mom had cancer and died. There was a lot of trauma that is called LiFe! Basically my daughter finds fault with me that I had any faults at all. For some reason that I don't understand she feels she cannot get through her day to day life and have any relationship with me. That ban has extended to her own two daughters who live with me and it grieves them. Where's the parenting book for that one? Who could offer an answer for why a child would turn on not only her mother but her own children? In her messed up thinking she is of course right.

It's not a question any person can answer. Only God knows. I am grateful to leave the whole mess with Him. As long as she is still breathing God has a plan for her. He doesn't ever quit. I know she gave him her heart so there is my glimmer of hope. It's tiny, but it's there. I have wondered if my daughter would even care if I died. I don't know. I always thought I'd be a better mom if I could do it over. Honestly I am pretty much the same. My grands however have a very close walk with God. They have experienced a lot of pain and it has created a very big place in their hearts for God to fill. They have chosen to fill it with God and not boys, sex, or rock and roll. For that I take absolutely no credit whatsoever, it is totally God. He brought them here. He settled them and gave them their church and new friends, a future and a hope. Just exactly as He promised. He kept them, His arm was not too short to save, He wasn't sleeping when I prayed and cried.
He gets the glory. He has done it. I know who I am, I am the geeky can't run right sheep, but I also know who I am with, I am with Him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

And the Winner IS!!!

Kayebee. I let Tigger pick. We didn't quite wait til 8 o'clock. We made a slip for each name and stirred it up. I told Kayebee she would probably win! She wins just about everything she enters. The Lord just blesses her like that. I am sending a second place little surprise to mabunny. Kayebee gets a special little treat from Fresh Market some Italian Provance herbies. Congrats to the winners! mabunny if you will e mail your address I'll put your lil package in the mail!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

5 K

Saturday was really busy. The 5K started at 8am. Driving over there I was amazed at the damage. the roads look like a tornado was skimming along at about 10 feet off the ground. the reports said no tornado ever touched down but that is hard to believe. Humongous oak trees were pulled out by their roots and had streets completely blocked off. Lots of fencing just picked up and smashed to smithereens, trees down on top of houses. A block from my house is a gas station where the overhang came apart and smashed a car. I was a little late to the race trying to find a street I could get across and no power for the traffic lights, so it was a little nerve racking. I wondered if we would still meet. We did, nothing stops the marathoners. I walked my race as fast as my little feet could go. It was another milestone to complete. We are supposed to be ready in June for a half marathon. I signed up. I figured why not? I wouldn't have believed that I could be in a 5K either, but we just did that and it wasn't bad at all. I've lost 7pounds and have three more to go for the second set of five. I'd like to loose 5pounds twelve more times. It's just easier that way, than to say some big impossible number.
After the race I went shopping, and came home to clean house. We had a business lunch. I barbecued hamburgers and made baked beans. I make killer beans. I learned when I worked for a deli. I'll tell you how if your really want to know.
We were busy all day and it was a great day except for my back flared up again. I'm skipping yoga today. I hope that is a good decision. My back feels like it's about to completely lock up again so i thought maybe rest and ice today. The bummer is yoga won't be available until Wednesday.
Can you believe that as bad as my spelling is I can spell Wed-nes-day? I say it out in my head that way and can remember. I think my mom dropped me on my head when I was little. I fell out of the bunk bed too. Not really, but it would be nice to have an excuse.
Lu had bath and a haircut yesterday. She almost ended up spending the weekend at the vet! I kept waiting for the call to pick her up and they closed. Fortunately one of the vets was coming in to take care of their patients and he let me come and get her. Whew!
I tried to snap a few pics of her summer cut. My friend Jean at Solo Standards has a beautiful new litter of 13 puppies! She has the best dogs. If Daddy BB would go for it I would get another one, I'd like to have a pair. Lu will not stay clean she has such a love affair with mud and puddles, so I got her hair cut short. She looks good.
My friend that has cancer isn't doing well at all. I need to pray for a way to talk to her family, she really looks ready for hospice. That is always tough to bring up. No one is ever ready to hear that. She's in a lot of pain. Again I can't explain these mysteries of pain and suffering but I'm going to do whatever I can to help relieve their pain. God help me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Easy Contest Rules

Welcome to the new folks. The contest is way easy, leave a comment on the "Let the Game Begin" post and mention Fresh Fixins on your blog. The prize is a nice box of tea, a good book, and a special little surprise. It's over on the 7th at 8pm, will draw names out of sumthin.

New Storms and Old Shakes.

Big storms! Power out and trees down, our storm sirens were going off like crazy. I now have southern nerves. This used to not affect me much. Now when windows start popping out, and houses burn down, along with hail the size of ping pong balls, well I get scared. But God,..
My beautiful girl was out in this stinkin mess and it was my fault. I called her at work and told her to hurry home. The storm hit and I tried calling back to tell her to stay put, she didn't answer the phone. Whew I just prayed, because I knew she was driving in this. She came home visibly shaken and I felt like bawling. We had a little talk about what to do in bad weather. When you see trees down and the wind is trying to blow your car off the road you take cover. Our local news said there are 50 ambulance reports so far. I'm so grateful it wasn't my girl. The Delta is expected to flood and we are under severe weather watch until after 10pm. When I first came to Mississippi I wondered why the people talked about the weather all the time. Now I know. Nothing was scary to me at first if it wasn't an earthquake.

I was in the big earthquake in 1989 in Santa Cruz California. It was the scariest experience of my life. I was in Mervyn's shopping. The quake was so strong none of us could stand. A girl in front of me was panicking, I grabbed her and shielded her head with my arms, always the nurse. It was purely instinct. The clothes racks were falling and the ceiling was coming in. It was unbelievable.

Earthquakes are short, it lasted 15 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. My first thought was to check on my best friend Lucy. She was a live in nurse aide with an old lady that we just loved she was such a character. Her home was a very cool old wooden house right on the Aptos beach cliffs, and it wasn't very sound structurally. Alice used to say the walls would fall in if the termites quit holding hands. Lucy was scared to death but they were OK, the house was still standing.

I was driving our old Travelall it was a 4 wheel drive vehicle that got about 7 miles to the gallon. I figured I could get home but I wasn't sure how. I decided to try the back way up through the country. I figured the highway would be bumper to bumper. It was a good decision, and it was a one way trip. The after shocks and liquefaction loosened the mud and trees and the roads began to have mudslides. As I travelled home the roads became impassable behind me. Talk about Divine protection. When I got home my house was a total mess but it was standing. I was overwhelmed with the amount of broken glass under my feet. My two piece kitchen hutch had flown up and turned upside down, and then wedged into the refrigerator. The good thing about that was the food did not fly out of the refrigerator. It broke my heart to see the hutch. I had just received that pretty blue and white Danish china from my Grandma. I had the serving pieces displayed and most all of them were broken. A pretty set of glasses was so demolished there wasn't even any dust left. Odd things happened, I had a set of three pottery bowls, and the two smaller bowls were completely crushed inside the largest bowl. Everything on my window sill was broken except for one little Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother. Some things were partially broken and I threw them all away. Later I was sorry. I didn't know china could be repaired. A friend of mine makes beautiful stepping stones with broken china and I could have made a gorgeous patio. I filled half a garbage can with broken china. At the time we were in so much shock we just didn't think.

That first night was so traumatic. The after shocks happened every few minutes, until I thought I might really go crazy. All the power was off. In an earthquake power lines and gas lines can break, so you can't use matches. I didn't know if the water was safe to drink. I couldn't stand being in the house it shook so badly. I stayed in the Travelall all night by myself with a flashlight and a battery operated transistor radio. My husband was on the "other side of the hill," in San Jose. Communications were knocked out between each side of the mountain. His news said he could not get over the mountain due to mudslides. My news said Highway 9 was open but he didn't know that. Cell phones were actually not in existence yet and the phone service was intermittent and lines jammed. My Grandma had called me early and I told her I was OK but the house was a wreck. My husband called Grandma, she said,"I'm so sorry about the house." My husband thought this meant that our house was in the street. He never could get threw to me. Because I could hear my radio I knew he couldn't come home. It was a long sleepless night. Every time I dozed off someone drove by and their headlights would shine in my eyes and wake me up. I would wait until I couldn't stand it anymore to use the bathroom, and then run inside quickly go and get back out. More than once the toilet shook while I was on it.

The next day when my hubby got home we just bawled. He was so glad the house was still standing and that I was alright. My nerves were totally shot. I couldn't function. I'd pick up a broom and set it down. Pick up something broken and set it down. I finally went to bed. The aftershocks lasted for over a week. The most maddening thing was the news coverage. They kept showing the same scenes over and over mostly a collapsed overpass. They called it a San Francisco quake when it happened in the Santa Cruz mountains about 10 miles from my house. They hardly mentioned all the damage we had or the horrible aftershocks we went through. It made me angry.

My honey had an elderly aunt that lived around the corner from us. She was a sweet old lady that would show up at our door with some wonderful little southern dish she had whipped up like her terrific biscuit pudding. She had a house just jammed full with stuff and she made piles. When Daddy BB got home I sent him to check on her right away, she was in her garage inside her car completely terrified. He brought her home to our house and she laid on the floor in our hallway hanging on to her flashlight for dear life. I told Daddy BB we needed to get her out of town before she had a heart attack and we put her on a Greyhound bus to her daughter in Reno. She never came back. She let her kids pack her stuff and move her, the trauma was just too much.

When we first moved to the South, I'd be doing dishes and the thought would go threw my mind; they don't have earthquakes here. It was a huge relief. When you have actually gone through a big earthquake it stays in the back of your mind all the time. A little shake can scare you pretty bad. That earthquake leveled the Cooper House a really cool old building down town and a lot of other building were totally destroyed. After something like that the weather here didn't scare me. I kept saying." at least we have warnings." I have learned, tornado's are unpredictable as to where they are going to hit, and even if they don't happen the winds from one of these storms can tear it up!

Watching the news tonight and seeing all the devastation I am full of gratitude. I have power, my family is home and safe and we are all fine. Once again the Lord has kept His hand on us. My little trip down memory lane has reminded me again of His faithfulness to keep. He has been merciful and we are safe. I am polishing the monuments of his provision, we only lost things. Our home wasn't in the street. It was a long night but only one and then we were reunited. Lucy and Alice were fine, the termites didn't quit holding hands, and Alice's little rickety beach house on the cliff didn't blow into the ocean. I even had a place to go potty. It's all a matter of perspective isn't it? What survivors we are, because of the grace of God.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


OK I just found the compose button and the spell check. I've been writing under the wrong tab, imagine that. So I went through all my old posts. I told you I can't spell. But misspelling words like "little" ? Guess I can't type either. And do punctuation marks go in or out of a quote?Now to figure out the rest of this cool looking toolbar. Who says you can't teach an old lady new tricks"?
So none of you will tell somebody they have spinach in their teeth or what? You guys can't spell either? I'm dumb but not that dumb. Zowie it was really bad., moving right along.

When Life Throws Us A Curve Ball

It's 10:45 in the morning and I am still in my pajamas. Pajamas comfort me when I'm moody. Leaving the girls loose, and the feet barefooted, it helps and I'm not sure why. This morning I woke up in a struggle, wishing for a bridge to jump off of. Not really, it's just an expression, but I was focusing on my circumstances which at the moment are not good. When you tangle with piranha you might get eaten. I can't go back to work until we get a mess straightened out, and that is depressing. Not to mention scary. It doesn't matter if I was right or wrong, when there is no paycheck. I never have been good at eating crow and I didn't. Now I am in a position of dependence on the Lord to deliver me from my enemy.
It doesn't help that this month I spent more money than I should have, way to much. Now I have the worry of the bills and the lack of funds,.....my solution is to stay in my pajamas. Actually what I should do is activate my agency job and just get some shifts in. Now there's an idea.

I'm working through a study called "Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God," by Henry Blackaby. Instead of the bridge I thought it would be more constructive to read today's study and see if I could have an attitude adjustment. Have you ever wondered HOW to know what God wants you to do? He doesn't arrive in burning bushes that don't burn up anymore, at least not lately, so how do we know?
I think I make everything in life more complicated than it has to be. My approach would be a hit and miss deal, I'll try this and if it works then God must be blessing it. Like a blind man groping about looking for a seeing eye dog. Don't think that's it. Like I said before, I relate to sheep.

The suggestion by Blackaby is so simple and right that I can't believe I never thought of it myself. "Work where God is already working." If we ask God to open our spiritual eyes to see and then look for where He is, that is it. When he shows us what He is already up to then we know we are invited to put our hand to the plow. Right there. Now think about our possible responses to this. I'm not qualified. Ask somebody else. I can't possibly do that. (Like sell everything and take 7 kids to Africa) That's not my gift. I don't have time. I don't like working with .....fill it in, kids, old people, or whatever.

OK so now we know we all have a lot in common with Moses at least his first conversation about being the deliver of Israel. What is totally cool is that Moses was right about himself. Everything he stated about his own personal inadequacies was right, he forgot his temper at the moment. Did God care? Did God NEED a together individual to do the work? Did God ever choose a together individual to do a work? No one except Jesus, he has a category of his own the God/man. Humans on the other hand are only required to follow, only asked to be willing, only need to love, and listen. Lord open our spiritual eyes to see, and our hearts to love.

"I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt. (the world)
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. (ever fed a baby?)
But my people would not listen to me;
(Karen) Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts ( who me?)
to follow their own devices. ( but I thought,...)
If my people would but listen to me, (alright)
if (Karen) Israel would follow my ways,
how quickly would I subdue their enemies (mean supervisors)
and turn my hand against their foes!" PS. 81:10-14
Do you think maybe God knew what was going on in my life today? Do you think if God puts His hand on my problem that it will remain a mess? It will never cease to amaze me how often my focus is on myself and what my situation is. I just don't get it. I always need to be reminded. When I focus on God, my whole perspective changes even while the circumstances have not, not yet; and I always marvel every time just like it has never happened before. It's a baaaaahhhhh thing.
But God is like that. He doesn't quit us when we act stupid. He doesn't even remember our dumb stuff. He casts it as far as the east is from the west. His love is so big, we just don't get it. He tells us to open big because His plan is to fill us up not just give us a sliver or a bite.
OK so to apply, while in these nice loose pink pj's, I'll spend some time on my knees and ask the Lord for deliverance, forgiveness, and thank him for the reminder that He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. It's not about me, it's about Him and that is something to be happy and grateful about. I'm so glad the closest bridge was at the lake in shallow water.