Monday, March 29, 2010

Blue Eyes

Years and years ago, before I was a grown and settled adult with my own family, a bunch of us decided to drive up to New York City to party. This was in the heyday of Studio 54 and our hope was to be allowed admittance into this Disco icon. The only transportation we had available to us was a wreck of a car, running low on its last life. I don't remember its make, but it was a big green thing with fins. And it was OLD. We weren't sure if it would even make it on that length of a trip but we figured that 'nothing ventured, nothing gained,' and so we packed enough glitter garb to get us through a night on the town, and we headed off.

It was a close call, and there were more than a few engine death rattles, but we made it. We pulled into a parking garage, barreled out of the green tank and gave cheers and high fives to one another.

Our joy was interrupted by a loud bang! bang! bang! and we turned to see a woman of an indeterminable age, pounding down on the hood of the car. She had dirty, shoulder length, snarled blonde hair, a grayish complexion and, despite the heat of a typical July evening, a full length brown winter coat that was probably older than she was.

"Nice car!" She said as she continued to pound away.
"I sure wish I had a car like this!"

I looked down at Bruce's old green finned sedan to see what she saw that I didn't. I mean this car was a serious mess.

"You like this junk car??" I asked.

"Oh, yeah I wish I had one!"

She reached out to stroke the side of the car and as she did so, the sleeve of that old beaten coat rode up. I could see track marks going up the length of her arm for as far as I was able to see. I had never seen anything like that before. I glanced at her face and was stunned to see that, despite anything else, she had the most gorgeous blue eyes. Those eyes broke my heart.

"Where are you from?" I asked her.

"Nebraska." she answered.

"Don't you have family?" By that time I was near tears.

"Yeah I got a sister but I havent seen her for a long time now."

I stared into those eyes and felt the tears beginning to well up in my own eyes and stream down my cheeks.

"Get out of this place!" I knew yelling at her was not getting me anywhere but I couldn't seem to control my anguish.
"You aren't making it here. You'll die if you stay!"

She just stared at me with a blank look.

"Beej, come on we need to go." One of my friends grabbed my arm and pulled me away. The blond lady, definitely an addict and most probably homeless, began to follow us.

"You're a nice girl!" she called out to me.
"You got any money?"

A few other street people joined her and began to follow us, all the while begging for cash.

"Get the f^^K away from us!" Bruce angrily yelled, and soon after, they disappeared.

For years, no exaggeration, I was haunted by those eyes. Something in them told me, "I am a human being, just like you. And, but for the grace of God, you could be me." I saw her as a fellow human. And I never ever forgot her.

I'm sure she's dead by now. In fact, I'm sure, unless she received swift and serious help, shes probably been dead for years and years. But despite her circumstances, despite her choices, she taught me such an important lesson, that deep down inside, in that part of each of us that thinks over the day as we fall asleep, we are not much different from one another.

Not at all. Not really.

(Oh ,and to end on a lighter note, I'm happy to tell you that we did, indeed, get into Studio 54. But I'll save that story for a different day.)


I think I'm beginning to recover. I'm not going into the truly sordid details, but I've had a heckuva week. Your caring messages to my last post touched my heart. Thanks guys. I'd like to thank you by telling you there are checks in the mail, money to express my gratitude, but it would be a lie. (Sorry..) Instead I'm sending you big fat wet sloppy (but sincere!..) kisses.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Let Me Explain

I haven't posted for a few days and I apologize for 'disappearing.' I have felt like shit been a bit under the weather and not up to my usual witty, wonderful (HAR!) self. Nothing serious just, you know, not feeling well.

But, I try to check in every day to read your (much appreciated) comments. I shall be back, with rings on my fingers and time on my hands.
Be well, my friends.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Designer Laptop; THE ROLLTOP

How fascinating is this?! I wouldn't mind having one when they become available but I'm sure they'll cost a least for a while.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Entrepreneur

Of course, I wasn't a bad kid (I didn't develop my bad side until I got to college) and I wasn't really mischievous; I was what I would define as a 'non-thinker.' A good example of this had to do with this library we had at our home.

My dad liked to make things and one of the things he made was shelving for a large room we had upstairs. It was called the 'library,' tho it was really a bedroom.

On these shelves was a collection of wonderful books. They were all hardcover, most very old, and some were collector books.

The other kids in my neighborhood didn't have anything like this in there homes so they thought it was very cool. My neighbor/friend, Lynn, was looking through them one day. Lynn was a preemie and weighed about 2 lbs when she was born, had super frizzy hair and was the shape of a string bean. But she was BRIGHT. Very Bright. Capital V. Capital B.

"Hey, can I borrow one of these books?"

I began to devise a plan to get some candy money.

"Sure! But we charge a quarter a day."

This seemed like a fair price to Lynn (Who maybe wasn't as bright as I remembered..)

"Okay! "She said. "You gonna keep track of how much I owe you?"

"Sure!" and I ran downstairs to get a permanent marker (Which I wasn't suppose to touch after a particularly creative day when I drew on the living room walls.)

I took the book from her hands and drew something like this on the inside of it:

"Sign it there."

I still remember the book. It was "Aesop's Fables.' (more on that a little later..)

Lynn kept the book for two days so I 'earned' myself fifty cents. Easy money!

So, as I'm walking home from the corner store, eating my tootsie rolls, I hit upon an idea. A potential Gold Mine; I would put a thing up on the school bulletin board, advertising books to rent!

It took me a couple of weeks to draw the sign-in sheet in all of those old books. Now, remember, I was maybe seven years old. What did I know about running a library? And what did all the other kids know about borrowing books? Most couldn't read anything much beyond 'See Dick, See Jane, see Sally, Run Spot!"

I advertised my library by word of mouth (my word, my mouth..) Soon I had a troop of kids following me upstairs to my library. I checked to make sure they each had a quarter in their hands. Yup. I was good to go.

There were probably a half dozen kids so I was thrilled to have myself $1.50. The last of them was printing her name in the book she was 'borrowing,' when my mom entered the room.

She picked up on book, saw my rudimentary sign-in form drawn in black marker. I watched the color rise in her face. Red. It was red.

She took a book out of another child's hands and opened it to the sign-in form. She was not a happy person. She reached on to one of the shelves and pulled out another book, and another, and another, to see if I had written in each of them, which of course, I had.

She quietly told all my 'borrowers' to leave, and she gave them each back their quarters. She could hardly even talk to me, so all she said was "Why did you do this?"


"Go to your room, NOW!!"

And of course, I RAN while I had the chance, grateful that my hiney didnt get a blistering.

Now, here it is all these years later and I am very careful with my books. All my books are in pristine condition and I wouldn't dream of writing in one. But I do have this one, the old copy of Aesop's Fables that my little friend, Lynn, borrowed long long ago:

Bubbly..It Starts In My Soul..

Good morning! It's sooo good to see you here! Have I told you lately how much I enjoy your comments? Have I told you lately, my darling friend, that I love you?

When I drop in here at my blog, whether it be first thing in the morning or later in the day after I come home from the bookstore, or even in the middle of the night when demons of the day are still haunting me and I can't sleep, and I read your sweet, sweet greetings, it makes me feel, well,


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Presentation and the PB&J

Lately I've been looking at a lot of cookbooks while I'm fucking off working at the bookstore. Why am I doing this? Do I think I'm going to run across some culinary masterpiece that's going to cause me to become a legend in my family a few generations from now? I pour through these books, looking for something that doesn't take a ton of obscure little ingredients, something that LOOKS PRETTY!

I'm beginning to think that I don't care how it tastes, that it doesn't matter if my family screws up their noses in absolute disgust. Presentation is ALL. Presentation is GOD.

I've made some wonderful dinners through the years. And I've made some real pieces of shit flops. Take the dolmades for instance; Those were real pretty. They were inedible, but they looked good. So who cares if they tasted like crap. Not I..I'm just as happy with a PB&J.

I need to go get ready to fuck off work at the bookstore right now. Maybe I'll find a new recipe that will visually knock your socks off. Or maybe I'll come home tonight, put on my flannel jammies and make a PB&J.

Sayonara, see ya latah.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All the Birdies go 'Tweet Tweet Tweet..'

I've been restless the last few days and I think it might be because of the time change. I awoke the other morning feeling this way. Dissatisfied. But with what? With whom? I have no idea.

I wrote the previous post, a letter to my mom. It helped my mood. Am I just tired? Am I not leaving enough time to myself, for myself? I find myself stretching my energy to the outer limits at times, doing what has to be done, worrying about what I can't change.

I decided to branch out online. A friend told another friend that they 'found' me on twitter. I joined twitter a few months back but after receiving a bunch of emails telling me people whom I have never knew existed were 'following' me, I backed off from it because I found this to be a bit unnerving. Why would strangers want to follow me? But after hearing that this friend wanted me to 'tweet' them, I went over there last night.

I discovered that I was following 22 people. Huh? I never said anywhere that I wanted to follow any of them. Most were celebrities whom I don't care one whit for or about. There was that one friend and I 'tweeted' him. (Or at least I think I did..)

I decided I really don't care for this twitter business. I'm still there, but I don't understand.

Apparently I can 'retweet.' From what I gather at a glance, retweet is when someone says something that I consider so interesting that I believe it should be repeated. So far, I have seen nothing I wanted to hear the first time, much less again and again.

I might go over to Twitter again today and see if there's something I'm missing, something so amusing that I will become convinced that I must 'retweet.' If that doesn't happen, I'll just stick with my 'next blog' button.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

an Open Letter To My Mom

Dear Mom,

Hi, mom. It's me, Beej. It's been such a long time since I've talked with you. I want you to know I never stopped missing you. So much has happened since you've been gone. I have a family now. You missed meeting your two grandchildren, my two kids. They're pretty much grown now. You would have adored them. And they would have adored you. What a shame, what a horrible joke that you left me so soon. Too soon.

The world is a different place than the one you left. There's the internet now. How in the world do I explain the internet to you? I suppose I could say its a way to talk to other people the world over, to gather information right in your own home, all with the push of a button or two. Is it real? I don't know. I know it affects my life more than it should. But I don't want to spend too much time telling you about that.

My sisters are both doing well. They are grandparents now. Isn't that amazing? I'm not yet, but it's only a matter of time.

I've told lots of people about you and dad and what wonderful parents you were. I guess that's my way of keeping you alive and a part of my life.

Am I happy? Not really, but that's ok. I don't think people are meant to be too happy. We might become complacent and get eaten by a reptile. :) Just kidding.
Am I content? To an extent, I suppose.

The world had really really changed mom. I'm not sure you would like it now. One positive thing is that we elected a black president. Remember how the south used to be? Remember the time when I was a wee thing and we went to a restaurant and I had to go to the bathroom..I went to the closest one I could find. It happened to be a bathroom for the black people and a waitress came and got me and she scolded me. She scolded me!! You didn't tho. Well, in that regard, the world has improved but in other ways, it has not.

People are greedy now, mom. Maybe they always were and I was too young to know that. But now, folks are not happy with one car. One tv. Sometimes even one house. Everybody wants to go around as if they were wealthy. And most folks are far from it.

Priorities have changed. I remember when priorities included kindness. Goodness. God family respect love. Oh, I suppose those things are still there somewhere. But there are more important things. Like work. Everybody is frantic to make more and more money. They don't have the time to play now. Used to be kids would go outside and run and laugh and enjoy the sun and enjoy the rain. Now kids sit inside playing what we call video games. They've gotten fatter and lazier and more selfish. Fun. Money. Everybody is hunting frantically for fun and money.

You would not like it here now mom. And tho i miss you and will always hurt for you, I am glad you did not live to see the world as it is now.

Mom, I promise you, I have tried to keep the standards you taught me. I have tried to emulate you in so many ways. Sometimes I feel like a failure but for the most part, I think I've done okay.

Oh, and mom? I love you. I love dad. And I thank you and bless you every day for what you gave me. All the music. All the music!!!! All the laughter and all the lessons and all the memories.

Mom thank you. Always, thank you. A Billion times over, thank you! Tell my dad I said "hey" and that I love him too.
Take care.



A few things my mother taught me. There were manymanymany of these, but here are my favorites. My sisters and I call these 'MARGIE-ISMS':


By this she did not mean that money was all important. She meant that it's not easy to worry about love when you can't feed your family.


This was something that proved invaluable to me when I was a teen. It means do not fall for someone's (in my case, a guy's) charm. Charm is only that. Charm.


this means if you hang around with trash, you will smell trashy.


I have the 'company like family' part down pat. It's the 'family like company' that's easier said than done.


self explanatory. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My House of Mirth

My house is always busy. Not that we're running around being productive or anything like that, mind you. There's just always commotion. You figure with 2 big kids, 2 big lizards, an evil cat, a big dog and a little (temporary resident) bat-dog, it would be weird if it were calm here.

My big dog, Abby, is not feeling well again. I'm telling you, this dog has the sweetest disposition in the world (I once saw her wag her tail at a fruit fly that landed in front of her nose) so it breaks my heart to see her feeling poorly. Right now she seems to have a stomach bug and has vomited a couple times. She has a checkup at the vet's tomorrow for another problem we've FINALLY got on top auto-immune disorder, so I'll see if he needs to giver her something for her tummy.

Little bat-dog is hyper as usual. I am not her mommy; I am gramma, or at least she thinks I'm gramma..probably because my daughter refers to me as that when she says anything about me to "Go see if gramma will feed you. Go see if gramma will let you outside.."

The lizards are always calm. They just lie there and look at me, bug eyed, waitin to see if I'm going to throw a few crickets into their cage.

Now, the kids are a different story. Boy-kid is 20 and girl-kid is 23. My daughter moved back home a month ago. She's a pretty good girl but like most young people, she loves a party. She went to another at Paul's house last night. (My profile picture was taken at Paul's house...I'm posed there on the back of his Harley..and, no, I did not get to drive it, tho I have taken his real spiffy car out for a whirl.)

Anyway, Paul is heading toward middle age, has no kids, has never been married. He inherited his mom's house a while back, but.. due to an electrical mishap.. it burned to the ground last year. So he has just finished building a new, cute-as-a-button little house. Paul works a lot and loves a good party, so his house is where Shannon and her friends like to hang out.

This weekend, Paul hosted a birthday party, complete with a live band, for his friend's birthday. Shannon, two of her friends and bat-dog spent the night there. She came home this morning, looking like hell.

"You look like hell." I pointed out to her when she came into the kitchen for a glass of water.

"Yeah I know. I feel like hell."

"What's that orange stuff all over the front of your shirt?" I try to be inconspicuous as I bend slightly forward, trying to get a whiff of whatever it was.

"I think it's orange juice. And vodka."

"Did you spill it?" I can ask really dumb questions but I'm mom, and I'm kinda hoping she will tell me no, that she, personally, just drank milk but some stranger accidentally spilled it on her.

"I think so but i don't remember."


"Ma, I have to go to bed. I need to be at work by 5pm."

"Didn't you sleep last night?" (Another dumb mom question.)

"I drifted off at 6."

"But it's only 9 now!"

"Yeah I know. Niters mom."

What can I do? She's 23 years old. And she has lived on her own for several years before now. I can't tie her to the crib and give her a ba-ba!

No sooner does she take off for bed when my son pops in.

"hey ma."


"Kim (his girlfriend/fiancee) and I are moving in together."

This does not surprise me; they've been planning on this for months. What DOES surprise me is that they are doing it now. Their finances are, well, kinda on the skids.

"You think you'll be able to afford it?"

"Yeah we found an old 2 bedroom trailer but it's only $350 a month. And..."

he stops to drink a gallon of milk in a single gulp.

"I got myself a second job."

"Really? Where?"

"The mall."

"Tell me about it!"

"Well, I get to wear a uniform."

Visions of 'MY SON, THE SECURITY GUARD,' fill my head..

"That's great! A security guard, huh?"

"No, ma. Easter bunny."


"I'm going to be the Easter Bunny."

I stared at him with what had to be the blankest look I've hever had on my face. I tried to picture my young man dressed as a bunny. I tried, I swear I did, not to laugh. But the image of him with his little cottontail was more that I could handle and keep a straight face.

"Wonderful, son! Hey, would you like to eat before you go to get Kim? I can chop up some carrots for you real quick!"

Even he laughed. As he hopped away. (Har!)

DISCLAIMER;( with explanation.)

I had originally embedded a video called 'Kids Scared of Easter Bunny.' It was filmed, I presume, by their mom. These were really, really polite kids, awesome manners, soft spoken, all that neat and nice stuff. Well, it seems someone (dad?) dressed up as the Easter Bunny and as mom was telling the little ones about the eggs she carefully had dyed, the bunny, in full regalia, appeared at the kitchen window. The kids went ballistic. They were screaming and crying, one running, the other frozen in his chair in terror. Mom kept taping and laughing. The entire thing was less than two minutes, but I kept thinking about it during dinner and decided it was just plain cruel. My heart just could not bear it, so I removed it from my blog. I don't know if anyone saw it while visiting here, but if so that's why it has been removed.

What the heck was wrong with that mother, laughing and filming while these babies were screaming in terror?

So instead, I leave you with this:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Make Way For Ducklings

My dad loved competition and he loved old timey country fairs. Back when I was a kid, before PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) carried its heavy hammer, you could go to these shindigs and with the right toss of a coin or a ball or a chip..depending on what game you're playing, win a little animal. So off we went to the fair to have a good ole family bonding time.

We weren't there very long when we came to some sort of game..I don't remember exactly what, when dad pulled out a pocket of change and began to 'compete.' He won (Of course he did. He was MY DAD.) The prize? Four little yellow ducklings.

So there I was, maybe five years old, sitting in the back seat of our car, a big box with holes punched in the top, on my lap.

I was amazed. Never in my life did I think I would come home that day with four little adorable baby ducks. Again, my memory fails me as to what we did with them the very first night, but early the next morning, dad got up and went to the hardware store to purchase what was needed to make a cage.

All the while our dog, Blackie, watched. She had given birth to a litter of puppies a few months earlier and we had just given the last of them away earlier that week. I think she thought we had brought them back to her because no sooner had we put the ducklings into that cage, when she went over, did her sniffing thing, and lay down beside them, a contented gleam in her big brown eyes.

We had a fenced in yard, erected a couple years before to keep me from 'escaping,' so later that day, dad decided it was okay to let the ducklings out of the cage and wander around our backyard. Blackie was all excited, wagging her tail and sniffing the little backsides of the yellow babies. Now, ducks do not have humongous brains. Soon one little yellow birdie began to follow Blackie around the yard. Soon all four formed a line behind her, following their new 'mama' wherever she went.

Blackie never left here new 'litter.' For days she stuck by them, watching their every move, protective, loving, focused, as only a mother can be. Eventually, we let them all out of the fence and the entire neighborhood would laugh and laugh, to see this medium sized black dog strut down the sidewalk with four ducklings in a straight line following her. She was theirs and they were hers and that was that.

The ducklings did what nature intended for them to do..they grew. Their yellow feathers began to be replaced with tufts of white and my mom and dad soon broke it to me that the ducks needed too go to a new home.

I remember crying and crying, sobbing my heart out, for myself, my ducklings, for Blackie. But my folks had friends who owned a small farm in the country and they convinced me the ducks would be happier with more space.

Soon, the duck cage was loaded in the back of their friends truck, the babies locked inside, and we followed them to the farm.

"Don't worry, honey," mom comforted me, "We'll bring you to see them."

So, I began to feel good about giving them a bigger area to play in.

At first, we went quite often to visit mom and dad's friends and my duckies but it didn't take long for life to take over and so we didn't get to the farm for a couple of months. Then when we did, I bolted out of our car and ran into the farmhouse.

"Where are they?" I asked the kind farmers wife.

"Out back, sweetie." she told me.

I took off like a cannonball. I was going to see my beautiful yellow babies! I rounded the corner of a rough wood shed and heard them. Their sweet little voices had changed and instead of a high pitched peep, i heard a deep gravelly, 'quack.' I stopped dead in my tracks. My babies were no longer itty bitty yellow balls. Now they were white and BIG! In fact, they were almost as big as I was! Suddenly, they all stood still and stared at me with these frightening beady eyes. I stare back. I was horrified but not as much as I was a few seconds later when these huge white, loud birds began to run straight at me.

I took off. I ran, they chased. I did not even want to think what would happen if they caught me. They batted their wings in a display of toughness. The woman of the house must have seen this because she came out with a broom and chased them away from me.

"Those aren't my ducklings! " I sniffled.

"Honey, they grew up is all."

It was a while before I asked to go see them again, but eventually I decided to 'man-up,' as much as a little five-year-old-gal CAN 'man-up,' and went again to the farm.

I timidly walked outside and peeked nervously around the corner of that rough-wood shed. Nothing. Nada. Nosirree, no ducks, big or small. I glanced around me. Still no ducks in sight. I meandered back to the house. all the grownups were sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating pie.

"Um, I can't find my ducks."

They all just stared at me.

"Where are my ducks?"

Someone, I do not remember who, began to tell me about the purpose of a farm and how things are 'different' than they are for 'city folks.' I listened, my little girl brain not fully understanding, but understanding enough to get the drift of what was being said to me

"You ate my ducks???"

No answer, but I knew that was exactly what they did.

It was a long, long time before I forgave the lot of them. They ate my ducks, for God's sake! How could they eat some kid's pets? How could they do that??

Eventually, I forgave them, tho. But it took many years.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Fricassee


3 to 3,1/2 lbs broiler fryer chicken cut up
3 to 5 cups water
2 whole carrots, pared
1 large whole onion, skin on
2 t0 3 celery stalks
6 whole black peppers
6 to 8 whole allspice
3 tblsps butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/2 to 3/4 cups light cream
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 lemon, sliced
snipped fresh parsley

In covered kettle, simmer cut up chicken in water, with 1 tblsp salt, carrot, onion, celery, whole black peppers and allspice--about 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. Arrange chicken on heated platter; keep warm.

Strain broth. In double boiler, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. then add 2 cups strained chicken broth. While stirring, cook sauce over boiling water until thickened. Combine egg yolk, cream and lemon juice; add to sauce, stirring constantly; cook 1 minute. Season with 1 tsp sugar, salt. Add 1/4 tsp ground pepper.

Pour some of the sauce over chicken; garnish with lemon slices, snipped parsley. Pass rest of sauce, sprinkled with snipped parsley. Makes approx. 6 servings.

These are most of my ingredients but not all. I like to take an antibacterial dish soap, such as Dawn, and rub it on my raw chicken..of course, rinsing well after. However, my family is convinced that I am leaving it on and they are afraid of inadvertently getting poisoned, so now I just rinse it well in cold water.

See how I leave the skin on the onion? This is an old trick to get that golden color in the broth.

I serve the veggies on the side. Nothing goes to waste here.

I usually use cheesecloth to strain my broth but I didn't have any. Paper towels lining a colander work fine.

That onion skin sure did give my broth a pretty golden color..

I don't own a double boiler. Never have, but a large pot on top of a smaller pot of simmering water works like a charm.

This is the beginning of a roux. Looks like a big mess of a glob..

But this is how it looks when its done..thick, smooth, wonderful.

Sauce; finished and ready to set on the table.

Chicken, on the platter and garnished.

Voila! I served brown rice and garlic bread with this. Dinner is served.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tempting Fate

My friend Jim Etheridge is a remarkable man. He's one of those people who leaves an indelible mark on those he meets. Jim retired from his long standing job as a prison warden and began to do something he had always wanted to do, something he had discovered he had a real talent for during his tenure at the prison. That talent was that he could make a difference in the lives of the young inmates in his care.

Jim began to volunteer his time and talent as a counsellor for troubled teens. He was like a drill sergeant but the kids and their families discerned quickly that his toughness was outshined only by his love and devotion to these kids. His aim was to straighten these kids out and to keep them from entering the system. So despite his toughness, teens respected him. They knew he was genuine, the real deal.

One day I was talking to Jim, confiding in him about a series of events that had plagued my family.

"Jim, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep asking myself, what else can happen!"

"Beej, do not ever, ever ask yourself that!" He said.

"Let me tell you a little story."

(Jim LOVES to tell 'little stories. He tends to be long winded but his stories usually pack a big wallop, so I knew I was in for a treat.)

"And I promise you," he continued, "this is a true story.

A while back I had a series of misfortunes. It seemed that no sooner had I solved one problem, two more replaced it. I was beside myself. I was talking about it all to my brother and he said, "Jim, lets go play golf." So I gathered up my irons and off we went.

We walked the course and I vented to my brother. I raised my hands to the sky and asked no one in particular that very question you ask;

What else can happen?

No sooner had the words escaped my lips when a bird flew overhead and shit on my head!"

I laughed at the thought of distinguished looking Jim standing on that golf course, hands raised to the gods, a huge blob of bird poo plopped on his head. It was a pretty good story, one Jim has always insisted was true.

I tend to think it really did happen, just as Jim told it. But it doesn't matter one way or the other because it stuck with me. And ever since I heard it, whenever I want to think nothing else bad can happen, I think of Jim and that bird and I realise anew, things can always be worse. Especially if you tempt fate.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Castle.

"We're going to an all night party at Paul's house."

This simple comment made me do a happy dance. Yay! No kids, no caravan of kids' friends! The house will be mine again for an entire night!! Wow! I try to not show my joy. I'm afraid if its too apparent they might wonder what I'm up to and change their plans.

"Oh okay."

"I'm taking Sophie (my daughter's min-pin 'batdog') with us."

Oh, faster, more exuberant happy dance!

"Oh, okay. When are y'all leaving?"

"Well, we want to go get something to eat so we're leaving now."

"Oh okay." (Yippee I kay yeee!! Joy oh joyous day!!!)

So, my son, son's girlfriend/fiancee, my daughter and their large caravan of friends leave. And I am so delighted, so hopelessly and joyfully happy. I look around. I plan how I'm going to spend my evening, my quiet, undisturbed, peaceful evening. I envision bubble bath, book, a half a glass of wine, and a couple other real nice activities, sans kids. (even tho 'kids' are young adults.)

I sit outside and listen to the soft sound of nature. No music blasting, no arguments, no slamming refrigerator doors. Heaven. For about 30 minutes.

They all traipse back in.

I want to scream, "What the hell are you doing here?!?" But I'm mom, so I restrain myself.

"I thought you were gone."

My son's girlfriend/ fiancee smiles at me. "We're back."

"What about your party?"

"It doesn't start until 9pm."

"Isn't it 9 now?"

"No, its only 6."


"No nonono. Your watch is wrong, It almost nine. You need to leave NOW." I grab my son's arm and try to pull him off the sofa.

"Ma! It's all good! "says my boy. "We're going to play wii."

"You can't!"


"Um, I think it's broken."

My daughter turns on the wii. It works fine."

"Ma why don't you want us to play with the wii."

Okay, I am done with this game. This is my house, after all. I need to be straight forward and stand up for myself. No excuses. No lame lies. No fear of ruffled feathers.,,

"Get out of my house NOW."

They all look at me, stunned.

They all get up and leave.

"Bye mom."

Bye Shannon. Have fun. And lock the door behind you."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Van Gogh, Tormented

My darling, my tormented Vincent,
Why did you allow your heart to deny the final truth,
Still as a breath held as a sigh, Still as a heart that denies The final truth, the breaking news, On the edge of a moment Where we hope and we pray That there's still time.

There's always time...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Southern Fried Living

Life in the South is like living in a world of its own. Things are different down here than they are up north. People are different. For instance, life is slower. I can always tell a transplanted Yankee by the way they drive. Down here, when a red light turns green, we sit there for a little while, waiting. I'm not sure what we are waiting for, maybe in case some big old truck on monster tires is about to turn in front of us. Or maybe we are too busy eating boiled peanuts to even have noticed the light has changed. A southern driver knows this. A Yankee honks their horn.

Rule one, do not ever, ever honk your horn at a southerner. (The one exception is if you see one of those bumper stickers that says 'HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS.' But, even still, if you have a northern license plate, y'alled be better off laying off your horn.) We will do one of two things. We will sit there longer to teach you a lesson or we will get out of our car and approach you:

"Y'all honk your horn at me? what fer?"

At this point the northern driver is nonplussed. He does not know how to deal with the sudden lack of anonymity.

"The light turned green."

"So? Whats yer point?"

"Well, you didn't go."

At this point the southern driver might wipe his nose on his sleeve, brush corn bread crumbs left over from lunch off his bib overalls and glance into the distance.

"Y'all are gonna come down here from the north and tell me when I have to go?"

By now the northerner has figured out that he should have just kept his mouth shut. The moral of this is, do not try to hurry a southerner. He will move when he's good and ready.

One reason he might just sit there is so he has an opportunity to rev his engine. Car engines are a bit different down here. They make noise. Loud noise. I'm not a mechanic but I know people here spend good money attaching something to their exhausts..or order to increase the level of noise. It's a status thing and one of the few opportunities to show off your loud truck is when a light turns green.

Speaking of trucks, there's another tradition down here. Teens, 'most anywhere else, spend their evenings driving up and down the main drags of many cities. Not here. Here they all head down to the local Home Depot parking lot. They get their beer and the trucks line up on one side of the lot and the cars line up across from them and and they sit there and guzzle the beer and stare at each other. Periodically they will rev their loud engines to let everyone know how tough they are. When they have drunk all of the beer, they go home. We parents know where our kids are. We see them down at the Home Depot parking lot.

Okay, let's head on to language. We talk different here. We say things like 'y'all.' Now y'all is both singular and plural. Y'all might just be 'you.' Or it might refer to a bunch of you. One way to differentiate is to say' All of y'all.' But it is not said like that here. We say 'Alla-y'all. Run it together is what is meant to mean 'All of you all' has now become one word. Alla-y'all. So, lets say I'm talking to a bunch of neighbors. One of them has just had her hair frosted. I want to tell her how much I like it (even if I don't like it at all. Southerners are full of BS if it makes us appear to be charming.)
I would say "Y'alls hair is nice."
Now, let's say they've all had their hair frosted.
I would say, "Alla-y'alls hair is nice."
I think you understand by now.

Another thing is our use of quirky colloquialisms. I recently messaged my English friend Sheila (who is now in India) about her blog and something that was going on over there.. "Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!" I wrote. She wrote me back and told me, "that had me in stitches, Beej. Not a phrase I'd ever heard, so funny." Down here, folks grow up hearing that and don't even give it a second thought.

Speaking of boiled peanuts..I don't know if these are readily available up north. They are just what they say they are..peanuts boiled in their shells in big vats usually by the side of the road.

I won't even try to explain how they taste because I don't think I can. They're very unique. Anyway, a northerner might take a boiled peanut and shell it. Nonononononononono!! You do not shell a boiled peanut. You stick it, still in its shell, into your mouth and suck on it. After you get all or most of the unique taste out of it, THEN you chew off the shell, toss the shell away and eat the peanut. That how you do it. It's an unwritten law. Southerners eat tons of peanuts because there are so many of them here. They are rotated with the cotton crop and so, if the soil is to be replenished in order to grow a healthy crop of cotton, there will always be an abundance of peanuts.

Let's move on to beverages. And no, I'm not taking moonshine (tho there is always the king of it all, Everclear, around.) I'm talking tea. Do not come down here and order iced tea. We will laugh at you. It's 'sweet tea.' And it's the best. You do not make sweet tea in a kitchen here. You make it outside, in a big jug, set in the sun. Up north it's referred to as Arizona sun tea. Down here its' sweet tea.

The list of unique southern ways goes on and on. The biggest, and one we don't usually talk about with northerners, is that y'all think the war is over. The civil war. It's not. We have long memories here, even if none of us were born yet. We know you whupped us. So what?

Regardless of all I have written, I want to end this with one more southern 'thang.' Hospitality. Southern hospitality. We are a charming lot and as such, no matter how fast you move, or no matter who won the war, we love company. Y'all come visit and we will sit on the back veranda and sip sweet tea. And when you leave, we will tell you,

"Y'all oome back real soon!"

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