Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

My darling ~J~ seems to think I am deserving of the "Versatile Blogger Award," and has thus proceeded to bestow upon me this lovely and colorful honor.  Which he made himself.  In all realities, he is the star, and has been since our toddler years.  I learn more and more from him each day.  Almost as much as I miss him and his bony hugs... skinny bitch. (Tee hee).

Part of said award is to divulge 7 unknown or little known facts about myself, as well as tagging 5 new bloggers with this honor.  And thus the chain keeps going.  I must be careful in the stories that I now share, for at one time, all of my most embarrassing moments happened to involve dear ~J~ in our pre-fabulous stages...

7. In kindergarten, I tied a fellow classmate's lunchbox to a cafeteria table because I had found a piece of yarn.  I had been tying it up and breaking it free, pretending to be a superhero with incredible strength, when all of a sudden, the bell rang to go back to class, and I could not for the life of me get it untied.  The girl started crying, and I was taken to the principal's office.  There, I was questioned and reprimanded for being mean to another student.  When I tried to explain the superhero thing, I was called a liar and my mother was notified.  This moment has instilled within me a great fear and distrust of authority figures.

6. I have, and always will, be affected by my weight.  I was a real porker from the age of 8 up until the age of 16, when I discovered anorexia and bulimia and running, and lost around 50 pounds in 3 months.  The dance with food is ongoing, as is my perception of myself.  In my head, I know if I look like a Victoria's Secret model, I'll feel better.  In my heart, I know that if I look like a Victoria's Secret model, it still wouldn't be good enough.  So, focusing on healthy life choices and ignoring scales is the only way I can win this battle.

5. I was my class Valedictorian.  Number 1 out of 380 students.  It seemed like a huge accomplishment at the time to my family and friends.  And that has left me feeling like I will never ever again have such a grand achievement in my life.  I am terrified of my own dreams of greatness.  So terrified that I am afraid of giving them a chance to come true.

4. I dream daily of a house in the woods, with a creek running behind it, and a garden full of fresh veggies, and three kids running around with an abundance of animals and wildlife.  On the porch, Patrick and I stare out over our progeny, smiling and watching the sunset slowly into the trees.  We're both drinking Miller High Life.  Champagne of beers, baby.

3. I foolishly and vainly love when people say that I "look EXACTLY like" famous and gorgeous so-and-so.  I don't act like it, but those comments can be the very highlight of my day.  I am not good at being vain, and feel extremely guilty when I am, so I laugh off these comments and say it isn't true.

2. My imagination will never die.  I am constantly spinning and weaving tales and stories in my mind.  Making up things about the person sitting across from me at the restaurant.  Deciding the fates of people I see walking the street.  Sometimes I can hardly sleep for the things I see in my head.  And I wouldn't trade that for the world.  I want a child's heart forever.

1. My name is really Amelia Earhart.  I didn't really disappear in 1937.  I just found the secret to youth everlasting (the Tucks had it all along) and have been living out my existence in various places throughout the world.

Ok... that last one may or may not be the actual truth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day of Birth

Darlings, it is my birthday.  January 10th of 1985, at 8:48 PM, I officially exited my mother's body and entered the world a screaming, bloody, wrinkled mess.  With a full head of black hair.

A tradition that I have always loved about my family, on our birthdays, our particular birth stories are shared with whatever group of people happen to be gathered to celebrate.  So, since the age I started remembering everything, I have known that my mother was going for a check up the day she popped me out.  Her water broke on the exam table around 11 AM... yadayadayada... they admitted her, and eventually, here I am.

I think, once hubby and I conceive and birth a baby, I will be sharing that story with our children as well.  Their birth story, not my own.  I'll embarrass them in front of friends and family with tales of amniotic fluid, vagina, and breasts leaking with milk.  That's what parents are for, right?

I am now 27!  I am no longer a child.  I am officially grown up. I am in my late 20's.  Three years from 30 as Patrick keeps reminding me.  Only one week apart from my soul counter, Jestoso.  Wish him a happy birthday as well, my darlings.

So please, if you all would, stand and raise your glass to my mother and father for raising me, and not giving up on my so many times when they could have.  Raise a glass to my dear friend, Gayisevolution, and wish us many happy more years to come.

Here's to keeping childhood alive forever!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ducky Demise

As I have shared already, the hubby flew us to Philadelphia and New York for our 1 year anniversary this year.  Or last year, I suppose now.  But as we have a small farm in our house, we needed someone to care for our brood.

A dear friend, someone we have both known for years, Kurt, planned to stay at our house for the week we were leaving.  Wednesday, the yippy chihuahua, was packed off to her grammy and gramps's house, while George and June, the bumblingly adorable and loving pitts, and Reggie, the angsty and stand-offish cat, were to be guarded and cared for by Uncle Kurt and Max, the eager to please Golden Retriever.  Also to be watched were our two fish and Peggy and Sal, our female and male ducks.  The story thickens.

You may be asking yourself, "Friday, really, how do you manage to have three dogs and two ducks and live peaceably?"

The answer to that is simple.  You beat your bird blood thirsty dog when it gets near your ducks.  And then chastise for any aggressive behaviors afterward.  And watch them together.  Since we acquired the ducks in July, we really thought we were past all of this.

We packed off for the big cities, and forgot about our menagerie for the moment.

Until the second day of our trip.  Nay... we had been gone for less than 24 hours...  We get a phone call as we walked around downtown Philadelphia.

Ring ring (Actually, Patrick's ring tone sounds like the phone from Crank)
P: "Hey Kurt, what's up?"
A: "Tell him I said hi..."(Theatrical whisper)
Patrick begins to look serious...
P: "Oh.  Did you beat him?  Yeah... I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.  Just put her in the freezer.  We'll take care of it when we get home."
Click.  End of phone call.  Patrick turns to me...
P: "Well, Peggy is dead.  George snapped her neck."
My mouth drops.  Then laughter.
A: "Well, serves us right for having ducks and dogs.  Damn..."
Together: "Poor Kurt."

Don't get me wrong.  I love animals.  Hubby loves animals.  As should be clear from our pack.  But the ducks?  Mainly for food.  We wanted eggs.  Farm animals, all the way.  And humor.  Those things are hilarious to watch run.

It seems that Kurt took all the dogs outside for a potty break.  He came back inside to grab something, leaving the dogs and the ducks alone for a fraction of a moment (which we have been doing, nothing different), and George felt the need to jump on top of our female duck.

When Kurt returned outside, he said George looked petrified and was just laying on the duck.  Not trying to eat her, not trying to dismember her in any way.  He knew better.

Thus, we have one duck, and one duck only.  Maybe we'll get some more.  Peggy is still in the freezer though.  Hubby has plans to have a duck roast.  We need to do it soon, or I'm putting the kabosh on that.

No one wants spoiled duck meat.


This utterly proves... if you believe these facts... that men are more disgusting than women.  Twice as dirty and filthy, in fact.

But this is purely as a race in entirety.  If you stop to look at the individuals, well then, much difference can be had.

Patrick, the hubby, for instance.  He can get outside and get filthy - grease, oil, mud, shit, grass stains, blood, etc, etc...  But get him inside, and he's scrubbing the muck from under his fingernails.  He's picking up his dirty underwear, wiping out the sink after he shaves, cleaning up after himself in the kitchen, and so on and so forth.  Then me... well, I can be two creatures all together.

Some days, I want the house to be sparkling.  I want dust swiped, dishes sparkling, clothes freshly laundered, sheets changed, floors without blemish... you get the idea.  Other days, it's honestly lucky if I get a shower.  My mind wanders off in different directions.  

There is always an exception to every rule.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Sickness

It is very fitting that today's calendar entry speaks of passing follicle mites from person to person... I have caught a virus (not a mite, mind you) from someone, and I am lying here in my bed, drifting between sleep and wakefulness.

I hate being sick.  More than hate.  I detest it.  I loathe not feeling 100% and capable.  So therefore I moan and groan and grumble, and thus make those around me just as miserable.  And yet, somehow, my smiling Patrick looks at me with love and worry, and continues to bring me tea and herbal remedies.  Maybe a dash of whiskey here and there to send me to sleep with the chamomile.  How did I get this lucky?

A swift kick of fate, I assure you.  I did nothing to deserve one so noble and kind.  Someone who looks at me with the deepest devotion that stirs within me a knowledge that I will never be alone again.  I thank God for sending him into my life, or perhaps for allowing me to stumble into his.

The sickness makes me mushy.  Forgive my rambles.

Jarrett, my darling, are you warm in your Floridian existence, forever protected from the Tennessee winters?  Send me some sunshine, honey, and hurry it up.  You mustn't steal it all away like this.  Your Royal Messenger deserves more, Master of All...  Now there are some old names.  Drudging up the past.  High school was ages ago... drama club and middle school even further away.  And do you remember Bobby Ray?  Ancient history.

My mind is wondering and wandering now, my dears.  Perhaps I will allow sleep to take me for a few hours.  Then I can awake to write more.  The Tale of the Departed Duck must be told.  Please remind me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day By Day

Sister-in-law gave us a rip-a-day calendar of facts to scare the shit out of you.  Today's, the fact that office desks are filthier than toilet seats, is a happy little reminder of the desk side fate I escaped back in August of 2011.  Now I spend my days cleaning our home, writing, and making things with my hands.  I love creating, and thankfully the only desk I encounter is the one in my own home office.

Finally the holidays are behind us, and I can finally breathe again.  No more running and scrambling to go to different places.  I can enjoy my husband, my animals, and my quiet time in peace in my own home.  It feels lovely.

Our family has grown slightly as well (along with the passing of one member - story to follow) by a kitten.  For Christmas, I received a tiny grey tabby kitten.  With a tail, unlike our first cat, Reggie.  Tail equipped kittens are just as fun.  Frank Lyndon Baines Johnson is 11 weeks old and already spoiled.  Darn my love of all things small and furry.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LOVE From Philly

My darlings, my hubby took me to Philadelphia and New York for our 1 year wedding anniversary.  Cheese and crackers, I cannot believe we have already been married for an entire frickin year.  But I am soooooooooooo happy.

Also extremely happy about the trip.  As many of you may (most likely may not) know, as a child, I did not travel as much as my heart wished.  And as a young adult, finishing my degree, getting married and divorced rapidly, selling my personal possessions to keep myself fed and in a warm, dry place, I had too much going on to travel yet again.  Then he came along and changed all that.

Now, within this past year, I have been to Chicago, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New York, and various other places close to our home in Tennessee for visits.  A trip is already in the works for New Orleans early next year.  *Smiles and claps hands like a Victorian mistress*

More about the marvelous but extremely tiring trip later, my dear ones.  I have much to tell and share with my friends both near and far.

We look damn good in that photo, in my humble opinion.  But that is just the tricks of love and happiness.  Underneath, I have gained ten pounds since last year at this time.  Nowhere near my ungodly heaviest weight, but still, what girl wants to weigh ten pounds more than they need to?

So, I am vowing now to get that ten pounds off my 5'2" frame as quickly as possible.  

LOVE from Philly.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ah, Nostalgia

How many of you remember this fine fellow?  McDonald's was THE place to go as a kid.  I never finished my burger or my fries, barely ever drank my drink, but I got the toy and I worked my butt off on that AstroTurf covered concrete playground.

ALL of the playground equipment was metal.  EVERYTHING.  I think about today and how children are forced to play in relative safety on grounds made of recycled tires or foam with plastic slides and climbing structures (none too high, mind you, without a safety net).  Their biggest threat is a bad static electricity shock.

My biggest threat as a kid was falling to my death on concrete from a towering metal construction.

But I remember this structure like it was yesterday.  I loved climbing into his burger head, always squirming out of reach of my parents as they couldn't fit in the tiny hole at the bottom.  The lower half of this tower at my McDonald's was swathed in a sheet metal cocoon, discouraging any parents from even attempting to grab their kids.

But I was terrified of his helmet.  The very tip top.  I glared with envy and awe at those kids brave enough to climb to the top and view their kid-dom before them.  An entire playground, viewed from the tallest peak.  I remember how my hands did shake and sweat as I attempted to pass the burger jail.  I could only imagine my foot slipping out from under me and my collar bone breaking neatly in half, along with my legs as I hit the bottom rungs.

But that day did come, my dear ones.  It did come.  A summer day, bright and warm, the sun's rays turning each playground piece into an oven or a stove top.  Scorched fingers were normal.  But I knew what I had to do.  I steeled myself as I put my feet on the ladder.  And then I climbed.  I climbed what felt like forever, until, I had reached that window.  I inhaled the clear air of those who have been enlightened.  I looked at MY playground.  And I laughed at the kids riding the fry horses.  How they must wish to be me, in my blue castle tower, shaped like a hamburger man.  Yes.  I was awesome.

I climbed down that day, convinced I was a childly god.  And when I reached my mom and dad, and they presented me with a hot fudge sundae, a commodity among children, a rare event that happened once a year, I nearly wept with joy.

Ice cream and fudge never tasted sweeter...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Right Before Destruction

Our cat and one dog playing in the hallway... I had to get a picture... and speculate as to what they were thinking.  I am usually in the way of their playing and destroying.

Mom's are always killjoys. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Steeldrivers

For the second time now, Patrick and I have devoted an evening of our lives listening to a band play.  We stood in line in the cold for an hour waiting to be let inside, in fear that the venue would sell out.  What band could so engross our hearts and ears that we would do this, you ask?

The Steeldrivers.

Patrick turned me on to them at the beginning of the year after stumbling upon their powerful song "Sticks That Made Thunder" came on his Pandora station.  Ever since then, we have been hooked.  Luckily, this band plays frequently in Nashville at The Station Inn, and seeing them perform in person is life changing.

Within the almost three hours we sat and listened to them play, I felt joy, bottomless sadness, and a sense of urgency.  Each song somehow moves the very essence that makes me a human.  I had emptied my beer glass, but I raised it high, just to feel the reverberations moving from their instruments and vocal chords through me and the rest of the crowd.  We were joined as one.

During their encore performance this time, I cried.  "Where Rainbows Never Die" is a song sung from the point of view of an old man, ready to die.  I love this song.  As they began to strum and sing the first verse, suddenly, I saw my grandfather, plain as day, standing beside me.  He grasped my hand as he used to in life, and pinched my cheeks.  I could hear his deep rumbling laugh, and I could smell his Old Spice aftershave.  Time stood still for a moment, and I was able to actually talk to my Papa.  

He never met Patrick in this life, and I had to introduce him.  I told him how happy I was with my life now, how Patrick and I were thinking about a baby, and how much I missed seeing his face and hearing his voice every day.  That's when the tears started to flow.  I couldn't hear the words of the song anymore, I just heard the melody, muffled, almost as if I were underwater.

While he was in the hospital, a few weeks before he died, I took turns with my mom and aunt, staying with him over night at Erlanger.  He had been suffering from dementia, calling us all different names, talking to loved ones long since dead by the side of his bed.  But one night while I slept there (if you could call it that.  I basically dozed in a chair beside his bed, listening to him breathe) suddenly I heard him calling for my grandmother.  I got up off the chair and held his hand, hoping to just calm him down.  He looked in my eyes and said, "Mandy... where am I?"  He was lucid.  So I told him about his fall, about the brain bleed, about the life flight and emergency surgery.  He said he loved me, he loved everyone.  And not to worry about him.    He was going to be fine.  And after just a few more moments of talking, he was gone again, confusion clouding his eyes.  That was the last real conversation I ever had with my grandfather before he left this earth.  So at the concert, I spilled my guts and said everything I could think of to talk about.

He smiled at me, told me how proud he was and held me tight; I could feel the love welling up in my heart.  As I kissed his scratchy cheek, the song ended in an explosion of clapping fans, and I realized how wet my face was.

I talked to my grandfather tonight.

I'm an old man now
I can't do nothing
Young folks don't pay me no mind
But in my day I sure was something
Before I felt the heavy hand of time

I'm an old man now
I'm bound for glory
Time to lay these burdens down
Had enough of this old world of worry
Gonna trade my troubles for a crown

I will make my way across the fields of cotton 
And wade through muddy waters one last time
And in my dreams I come out clean
When I reach the other side
Waste away the sunsets
Where the rainbows never die

I've got one last thing to do
One more mile before I'm through
Casting off these earthly chains
Going where there's no more pain

I will make my way across the fields of cotton
And wade through muddy waters one last time
And in my dreams I come out clean
When I reach the other side
Waste away the sunsets
Where the rainbows never die

I'm an old man now
Can't do nothing
Young folks don't pay me no mind

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Good Offense is a Good Defense... And Vice Versa

I believe in guns.  

I believe in protecting myself and my family.  If I need firepower to do so, then so be it.  I do not want to be a statistic, and I never want someone I love to become one.

I was raised in a family that believed in guns.  Not so much that we prayed to the holy rifle, and crossed ourselves before cleaning our weapons, but I am proud to say that when I went away to college, my dad gave me a handgun to carry with me.  My first.  A .32 revolver owned by my grandfather.  Now I own a Baby Glock, a graduation present from my husband, and I love shooting that gun.  The key to not being afraid of a gun, is to know how to use it.

That is why I was much aggrieved to see a forum of women debating on the above "mace gun."  

I am not a violent person, believe you me.  I am the last to throw up my fists in anger and the last to allow my words of discontent to stain another's ears.  But I do believe in being PREPARED and READY to protect myself.

What I found on this website, was women calling this mace "cute", "fun", "adorable."  I rolled my eyes and ignored all this.  It's pink.  If it gets a woman to put it in her purse in case of an attack, awesome.  (Although I don't recommend mace in all cases.  You are at risk at being exposed to the spray as well if not used properly.)

What really got my goose was a certain woman shaming everyone else for buying the "mace gun" and other weapons to protect themselves.  This woman said that attack was no form of defense or offense, and perhaps women shouldn't be putting themselves in situations where they could possibly be accosted.

I'm sorry.  What?  I'm a "bad and violent person" for wanting to protect myself in case a situation arises?  "Attacking an attacker" is a selfish and unproductive way to protect myself?

People, we are about to see Darwinism take effect.

I wish no ill for this woman.  I hope her plan of staying at home and not going out late at night do keep her safe, and she is never attacked by anyone and no one in her family is attacked either.

But there are home invasions every day.  There are people who rob banks in daylight.  There are people who hijack cars in the middle of the day, in parking lots and on side streets.  You don't have to be in a back alley behind a dive bar at 2 AM to be mugged, raped, and murdered.  You could be jogging in the morning in the middle of your neighborhood, doing garden work in your backyard, sleeping in your bed.

And I want the two handguns in my house or on my person to be there to protect in case it ever does happen.  Or the multitudinous other weapons and guns in our house.  Just as a word of caution:  If you ever come to visit us, announce your arrival and entrance.  Otherwise, you could be staring down the barrel of a glock or a kimber, with three dogs ready to bring you down as well.
(Actually, the only reason to fear the dogs is if you are afraid of being smothered by wet tongue kisses and heavy bodies begging to be held.  But the chihuahau will eat your soul.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sleepy and Sneezy and Doc and Dopey...

I'm Grumpy.

I woke up in a bad mood today.  As a result, and without meaning to be so horrible, everyone is paying for it.  I just had one of those dreams, you know?  The one where unthinkable things happen, and people you know would never hurt you in real life stab you in the heart.

I know how dreams work.  I know that the reason I have those bad dreams is because I tend to over-think and over-analyze everything that I do.  So if I worry about something enough, low and behold, it pops into my dream world.  Which, upon awakening make me angry for experiencing my nightmare and angry at myself for thinking about something so much that it manifests itself in my dreams.

In the midst of my terrible, horrible mood, I stumble upon a girl from college that I knew in passing.  She had her baby in August of this year, but instead of taking him home like one expects when having a baby, it is learned that her little Tyson has Shone's Complex.  So he has been fighting for his life for the past two months, braving open heart surgeries and tubes and monitors, and she has been only able to watch and pray for her child.  Help Tyson Fight.

Now there is a nightmare.  There is a reason to be grumpy and angry.  Not my pettiness.

I like how God reminds me gently that I am blessed and have no reason to be grumpy.  Life is precious.  Why waste it by being in a bad mood?

Meg, I am praying for you and Justin and your Tyson.  He's a fighter.


Have a prospective writing career waiting in the wings...  working on my submission today and should hear back within a couple of weeks.  It's part time freelance, but hey, it's definitely a start.

Hopefully I will have something positive to report back to everyone in the blogging world.

Fingers crossed, people.


Monday, October 31, 2011

St. Jude... No Shave November

My husband is an amazing caring man.  This November, he has decided to participate in St. Jude's No Shave November fund raiser.  This is the link to his personal page:


Any donations to the cause would be amazing.  During this month, Patrick will not be shaving at all, growing out his beard as people donate money for St. Jude.

Luckily, I like my men a little hairy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Little Details

When I develop a character for one of my stories, I really enjoy adding the tiny details about their lives.  That's how I create personableness in a fictional person.  It's like a painter adding the tiny dots to the whites of eyes to make them come alive.  Or a cake decorator making a flower out of fondant and icing that looks more real than real blossoms.  And usually these quirks, as you might call them, come from one of my own or are directly copied from someone I know or a stranger in my life.

I think that was why Amelie was my favorite movie for so long.  As they introduce characters, they add a few tiny details that have nothing to do with appearance or physical traits, but everything to do with  character and inner thoughts, desires, and struggles.

These are mine.  Get your own.

I LOVE::::

  1. Having our three dogs.  But I hate the licking noise they make as they clean themselves.
  2. Waking up to find that you have thirty minutes left on the alarm clock.
  3. The smell of hay and animal inside a barn.
  4. Feeling babies move inside their mom's tummy before they're born.
  5. Standing perfectly still in the rain and imagining all my problems and bad thoughts are getting washed away.
  6. When my husband comes up behind me with a hug for my waist and a kiss for my neck.
  7. Hugging my dad so hard that I shake because it reminds him and me both of when I was a little girl.
  8. Talking on the phone with my mom for hours (though I don't do it nearly enough).
  9. Reading books.  But I hate that my mood changes to the tempo of the book because I am so empathetic.  Same thing happens in movies.
  10. That I HATE to cry in public.
  11. That my eyes are green but change to blue and grey on occasion.
  12. The noise that rain makes on a tin roof.
  13. The feeling of a smooth egg as you reach into a nest under the hen.
  14. The sound of milk squirting into a pail as you milk a cow.
  15. The warmth of towels out of a dryer.  Conversely, I hate the warmth coming off my dress clothes out of the dryer.
  16. Having a completely clean house, top to bottom, with superior organization.
  17. Having OCD - most of the time... until I HAVE to count or impose a strange rule on myself for some unknown reason.
  18. Getting out of the shower after swimming, putting on pajamas, and crawling into bed.
  19. Elephants.
  20. Standing in a creek, pants folded up to my knees, looking for minnows and crawdaddies.
  21. Watching scary movies.
  22. The smell of autumn.
  23. Driving in my car at night after a hot summer day, and the temperature drops to chilly.  Roll those windows down baby.
  24. Fire.  Staring at it.  Playing with it.  Feeling its heat.  Marveling at its beauty.
  25. Imagining that I am a ballerina whenever I go swimming.  No one can see me pointing my toes and dancing Swan Lake underwater.
  26. Talking about the future with my husband with a glass of wine in hand, staring at the stars.
  27. Front porches.  And back porches.
  28. Playing checkers in front of Cracker Barrel.
  29. Saying something that sends my group of friends into peals of laughter.
  30. Laughing so hard my stomach hurts, I get a headache, and tears are running down my cheeks.
  31. Singing in my car as loud as possible with mucho feeling.
  32. Hearing my dogs sigh in contentment as they fall asleep stretched out or curled in a ball.  
  33. Getting a bit tipsy with close friends.
  34. Swimming at midnight.
  35. How beautiful and soft women are.
  36. How handsome and rugged men are.
  37. Watching my cat catch the goldfish I buy for him.
  38. When you walk into someone's house and it smells like them.
  39. That I can smell my own house's scent after I have been gone for a weekend.
  40. The sounds of many words.  But I hate the word "discharge."  Ugh.
  41. Making breakfast on Saturdays and eating in front of the tv (watching cartoons).
  42. Reliving my childhood constantly.
  43. How getting my period now is a mixture of relief and disappointment (keeps leaning more and more toward disappointment).
  44. I want to break down a door. (Don't add "I love..." to the beginning of this one; it won't make sense).
  45. Not making sense.
  46. Rolling down hills.
  47. Roller coasters.
  48. Being in love.
  49. Decorating and redecorating my house.
  50. All types of creativity.  If I can make it with my hands, I wanna do it.
This could go on for days...  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dream Manager

My mother-in-law gave me a book earlier this year, and to my chagrin, I never took the time to sit down and read it.  As with most things, I put them off, convincing myself I'll get to them eventually, and does it really matter if I read it now or tomorrow?  Turns out, this one does matter.

While The Dream Manager is aimed at corporate America, managers and owners in particular, I felt refreshed and eager once I finished the last page.  Actually, I wanted to throw the book down in the middle and start writing out my list of dreams, but I forced myself to go through to the end.

It is a simple concept, but not one that surfaces in your mind.

Write down your dreams.

Actually saying them, seeing them on paper (or on a computer screen) and reviewing them daily can help you move forward in achieving them.  Too often, we are caught up with surviving life.  When we're all going to die anyway.  And this concept has always been a mystery to me.  I watched my entire family slaving away, working hard, but for what?  Yes, we had food on the table, we had clothes on our backs, a roof over our head, and I know my parents love me, but what were there dreams?  Did they accomplish any of them?

What scares me is that I think a lot of their dreams they purposely said were out of reach.  But why should they be?  Why should anyone's dreams be out of reach?  What is to stop you from traveling to Japan, or starting your own business, or buying that car?  You.  More often than not, I am the one person who stands in the way of my dreams.  I think about them, what I want to accomplish, where I want to go, who I want to become.  I get excited and make plans.  But then, somehow, I always convince myself it is all unattainable, all out of reach.

And I don't want that anymore.

You may read this entry and laugh at my childishness.  At the idealism that surely will fail.

Laugh away.  But if you start thinking about your own dreams and maybe you write something down and maybe in a year from now you are booking that trip to Spain that you wanted to take for the past 20 years....
You're welcome.

Friday, October 21, 2011


He dealt the cards as I took another sip of my whiskey, neat.  I can't stand cold liquor, preferring the warmth spread into a fire, instead of hell freezing and then melting in my stomach.  I studied the amber liquid swishing about in the glass, waiting for the last card to be laid down.  Never touch the cards before the dealer is finished dealing.  Rule number one.

Rule number two.  Don't watch your dealer as he deals.  Look anywhere else.  Which is why I allowed myself to be mesmerized by the pattern of the glass, cut crystal into a multi-pointed star.  My head was beginning to feel light, the sure sign I was becoming tipsier than need be.  I was pushing to break rule number three.  Don't get too drunk to play.

The dealer grunted, ready to play, and I picked up my cards.  Made my bet.  Traded in three cards.  Waited for the my dealer to decide his move.  The sweat was on my face, but my body was cold.  I had broken rule number four at the beginning of our game.  He just didn't know it yet.  Never bet more than you have.  I was up for a long time, each hand giving me more money, my greed building.  Until I blew past rule number five.  The most important rule of them all.

Never get cocky.

I'm trying to remember how to pray.  It's been a long time since I sent a message to the man upstairs; even longer since I felt like anyone was listening to anything I have to say.  Begging isn't my strong suit, and that's all praying ever felt like to me.  Begging someone to fix my problems, give me what I need.  I certainly heard my daddy begging enough times for God to spare my soul and lead me back.  He wanted me to hear him begging for me.

All bets are off.  We stare at each other now, my hands shaking slightly.  Damn it.  I always have tells.  Fanning out my cards, I show what I got, hopeful.  Four of a kind, King high.  He starts laughing.  Asshole starts laughing.  I need this hand, I need this hand to get it all back, to break even and walk away with my life.  And he's laughing.

The anger, I feel it bubbling up in my throat as I reach for my gun.  I know he's won, and I'd rather go to jail than have him kill me.

The 32 bullet hits him square in the forehead, throwing him backwards in his chair and to the ground.  I've always been a better shot than I was a poker player.  The cards flutter down with him, splattered with his blood.

As I'm shuffling the money into my bag, desperate to get on the road before the cops are on my tail, I notice his cards, being enveloped by the pool of blood escaping his wound, turning sticky in the chill of the room.

Two kings.  Three queens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Motivated

As many of my readers know, I live just outside of Nashville.  This past Monday, the "Get Motivated" seminar came through our town, with speakers such as Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Howard Putnam, etc encouraging people to get off their rears and get something done.

My mom and dad were planning on attending, and having an extra ticket, invited me to go with them.  And me, wanting to spend time with my parents as I rarely see them enough, decided to tag along.  I knew going in that this was not a purely motivational speech type seminar, but also a marketing ploy for people to purchase things, in all honesty, they really did not need.

They picked me up at 5:45 AM, and we headed on down the interstate to the Bridgestone Arena to sit and listen to people talk from 8:00AM until 5:15PM.  Sheesh!

I had a good time, don't get me wrong.  General Colin Powell is hilarious, which is strange to say of the past Secretary of State.  Bill Cosby is Bill Cosby.  Lou Holtz seems like a sweetheart, even if he is a football coach (and they don't have the best reputations for being kind and lighthearted).  All in all, some terrific personalities and orators.

What I personally did not care for was the talk of spirituality.  Don't get me wrong.  I am very religious.  My personal beliefs are centered around a one and true God and His Son that came to save us from our sins.  I don't mind when people speak their minds and tell me their true opinions.  I openly welcome those situations.

But throughout the day, and between each presenter, the emcee made mention of surveys they do at each seminar and what people ask to hear more about.  She made it clear that people emphasized wanting to hear about spirituality over finance.  And then went on to say how they planned to accommodate the wants of the people.  Suddenly, it all felt fake to me.

I do not want people talking about religion and their supposed beliefs because of a survey.  I do not want people to force Christianity or other beliefs into their conversations just for the hell of it.  One man even asked people to recite a prayer on the spot and receive his CD to become a Christian.  To me, and this is purely my opinion, but that can be misleading and damaging to someone's religious journey if their heart is not in the right place.

I realize I do not often speak on spiritual topics.  I do not feel a need to push my beliefs and what I feel in my heart onto other people.  It's just not in my nature.  If you ask questions, I will answer them.  But I see no reason to force someone into my way of life.  Or tell them that their way is wrong.  If I live my life the way I should, then people can see my choice.  No need to plaster "Jesus loves me" or fish on my car.  No need to carry my Bible everywhere and scream out "I'm a Christian" to everyone I meet.

Actions speak louder than words.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


He was a man among boys, a god among men.  Among the gods, well, the pattern is identifiable.  Walking down the street, his head held high, swagger far from being in check, ignoring the masses scurrying beside him, we could barely keep in stride.  He did not actually need friends (us) and I am not really sure he would have considered us as such.  We needed him, and that was something he liked.  He enjoyed our feeling of dependence upon his words and actions, our hope that the world that shined so strongly upon his countenance would reflect in some microscopic way onto our own faces.  Never in my life, before or since, have I ever felt like such a leech as I did those three years I was a follower of Darrell Harris.

Harris.  No one ever called him Darrell, not even his parents, as far as I knew.  He called himself Harris, and the world seemed to follow suit.  Who were we, the mere mortals that played to his whims, to question his word?

In the summer of our fifteenth year he moved to our town.  School had barely been out a week, and most of us were already bored out of our minds with the long empty months that stretched out before us.  The air itself seemed to be stuck, melted down all over everything, causing Father Time to travel slowly, jerking each foot free after every step.  Even he grew tired with the great effort of moving, eventually sitting down to rest, catch his breath, and pray for a breeze to come his way.

So there we sat that Thursday afternoon, air melted down over us, hiding in the shade of the general store’s overhang, every one of our shirts stuck tightly to our backs with sweat.  The only breeze came from Bryan’s swinging leg, smacking repeatedly against the concrete barrier he reclined on; that boy could never sit completely still.  My eyes were closed, listening to the radio program Doc Malone had on in the store, hoping just a smidgen of the high priced air conditioning would creep out from the slightly open door along with the tinny hollow sound of the music.  So when suddenly, the air seemed to become less oppressive, I assumed finally a breeze was coming our way. 


“Is this the only entertainment this little hell hole offers?  Sitting in front of an open door, straining to hear the same 20 songs repeated over and over.  All day?”  And this was our first greeting from Harris.  I lifted my head slightly from my prone position, attempting to show my position as leader of this assembly to the newcomer by exhibiting my lack of interest in his presence, but as my eyes landed on his shadowed figure, sun illuminating his back, I felt the words I had so craftily concocted and perfected in my fifteen years (“Fuck you”) catch in my throat.  I still, to this day, have no idea why I paused, why I let him take the upper hand.  Why his standing there reminded me of the way the preacher stood up on Sundays at the pulpit and blasted his filth about hell and brimstone and the devil searching for whom he may devour.  But it did.  And I fell silent.

“Christ on a bike.  Are you all retards?”  He stood, somehow staring at us all at the same time, waiting for a response.

“It’s too hot to do anything else, man.  What should we be doing?  And who the hell are you, anyway?”  Finally my mouth was free, no longer frozen in mysterious silence.  But I knew it was already too late.

“Harris.  You can call me Harris.”

Friday, September 30, 2011


It is a bacon day, my friends.

I am about to go to the store and by bacon to try out three bacon recipes I read about.

We will be having bacon for dinner, then breakfast, and lunch.

Yea for bacon-ny goodness!

My husband loves me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In less than three months, my one year anniversary is approaching.  For some reason, that seems unreal to me.  Yesterday we were walking down the aisle.  The week before he was on his knees asking me to be his wife.  A mere month ago, it seems, I saw him for the first time.  And now, almost married a year.  Time flies.

We were engaged on September 17th.  Which is in fact my grandparents wedding date.  I hadn't realized that as he knelt on the side of the road, but it makes that date even more special in my mind.  It's a promise, that I finally did something right; I chose the right path.  That maybe my grandfather was looking down on me and smiling at my new life.

There was a tattoo I wanted to get about three years back.  After my divorce, after my life changing decisions, after I felt everything I knew had been ripped apart and haplessly glued and taped and sewn back together in the wrong order.  I wanted this tattoo desperately to signify that change in my life.  I drew it up, I chose colors and fonts, I chose placement on my body.  But somehow, I could not get up the money (was that all?) to sit down and have it placed permanently on my body.

Patrick talks about tattoos.  How even if you get one and end up not liking it down the road, you don't regret it.  That you remember the person you were when you got it, and that memory is what is important.  Like a page in your own personal history book.  If I didn't bookmark that spot in my life with this tattoo at that time, should I still do it?

I do want to remember that person, that me of back then.  Because as long as I remember how miserable I was and how miserable I made every other person, I am less likely to be that person ever again.  

I don't want to be that person ever again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love, In Small Moments

The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead.
-Marilyn Monroe

I hear my husband in the bathroom.  It is early, still dark outside, and my covers are warm, sleep still holding my eyelids down.  I wish fervently that he would return to bed, just for a moment, so I can hold him tightly before it is officially time for morning.

Suddenly he comes back in the room, fiddling with his phone, then lays back down beside me.  Instinctively, I wrap my arm around his waist and draw up my knees into his.  

"What are you doing?"

"Resetting my alarm so I can sleep longer with you."

We've got some sort of mind communication going on, here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Post: Ridgeline On The Run

This is a guest post by a previous coworker of mine.  This tale of his weekend is completely normal.  And he also warns the reader "The thing is, most people aren't going to believe these are real stories.  Hell, I don't believe most of the the things that happened to me, and I had a front row seat..."


One of my good friends from college, Brandon, has surfaced in town again.  I'm pretty excited because he was one of my good hunting buddies, and now I finally have someone to hunt with again.  This past weekend, we decided to go to LBL (Land Between the Lakes) in Dover, TN to do some deer scouting.

We didn't even make it out of Springfield before we made a stop for some grub.  Little did we know that the gas station / mom and pop special of the day was Fred Flintstone Slab Ribs.  Only $8.00 for the meal... seriously.  We are going back again.

Naturally, on the way to LBL, with me being myself, we had an incident involving a black biker gang outside of Clarksville.  There were five of them - three on Harleys and two on crotch rockets.  I think this is what got us in trouble.  We were staring at them trying to figure out exactly why they had that mix of bikes, and evidently black biker gangs don't appreciate being stared at by white rednecks in camo driving a black Ridgeline.  I'm not sure how it started or what all transpired, but I do remember at one point yelling at them, "You stupid fucks, I watch Son's of Anarchy!"
Then I told Brandon to get my son's pellet rifle (with the scope it looks like a high powered rifle) from the back seat, and I casually showed it to them through the window.  They decided to leave us alone after that.  I know what you are thinking, "What if they had pulled out real guns?"
I had that under control - Plan B: Run them over.

As we are passing through Clarksville, we drove by a Toyota Dealership, and I make the comment we should probably stop and get a real 4x4 before we drive out to LBL.  This would prove to be prophetic later on.  I see a sweet black Tacoma sitting on a hill off to the side.  I almost stopped to look at this aftermarket raised beauty, but we kept on going.

We make it to LBL without any more problems, and now it is time to scout.  We start out where I hunted last time, and find some good signs of deer activity.  I mark a couple of trees for us to hunt at on a later date, and we see 8 to 10 deer before we leave the area.  That pumped us up because we knew we had a good location.

Next, we drive down a logging road to the bottom in some fields.  On the way down the hill, Brandon says, "At no time did Honda have plans for this truck to be used in this manner.  We are going to die because you are going to knock a hole in the bottom of everything, if you haven't already, and a spark off the rocks is going to ignite us into a ball of flame."
I told him to calm down, and the Ridgeline made it out battered and bruised, but we went off to the next location flameless.

We were starting to lose daylight, but that never influenced any of our endeavors before, so we headed out further to Brandon's spot.  Again, there is another hill where rocks banged off the bottom of my truck.  I had never been down this trail before, so I stop part of the way down and ask Brandon if he thinks we can make it back because it's getting pretty dark, and no one knew where we were.  Brandon said, "I think we can."  That was good enough for for me, as I trust his word, and we head toward the bottom of the hill.  Once we hit the swampy bottom, Brandon shares with me that he hasn't been down this trail since 2002.  Great.  Now I'm wondering how far we'll be walking to find help when we're stranded.  Then I realized I won't have to because when the Ridgeline explodes, it will double as a signal fire.

As we walk through the swamp, leaving my truck, and into a thicket, I feel lucky I'm wearing my 24" high rubber boots for this.  It's almost impossible to see because, oh yeah, we don't have flashlights either.  We pop out of the thicket to another logging road, follow it awhile to another thicket.  Brandon says we had to go through that thicket to get to a cornfield where the deer go when hunters are in the area.  I decided that we have gone far enough for now, and his dumbass can bring me back here in the daylight so I can see what he's talking about.  By this time it is completely and totally dark, and if you are scared of the dark you would have been fucked.  We start heading back to the Ridgeline, not through the swamp, but through some fields. I could have sworn I heard wolves.  That's how far back in the middle of nowhere we were... in a RIDGELINE.  I started looking for a place to sleep high off the ground for the night so the wolves won't eat me.  We made it back to the truck and out of LBL, even if the Ridgeline does have the ground clearance of a Civic.

On the way home, I stopped at the Toyota Dealership we passed earlier.  It was around 9 or 10 PM by this time.  I was ready to trade, and they lost a sale by not being there after dark.  Where is their dedication?  We looked at all the new and used ones, then decided to go look at black one I mentioned earlier off on a hill.  The lot was two tiered, and the the grass hill was on the upper lot.  We couldn't see a road to it, so we just drove up the side grass hill from the first lot.  Pretty sure we weren't supposed to do this.  That's when we noticed the entrance to the second lot from the main highway.  Oh well.

The black Tacoma looked sweet - lifted 2 or 3 inches, different wheels, bigger tires, tinted windows, push bar, tube steps, and a tunnel cover.  Almost exactly how I want one set up.
Brandon decided he had to pee, and so went in the lot.  We are men.  We don't need bathrooms.  Then we went home and to bed and decided that was all behind us.

I wake up Sunday morning and see where 5 people died in a camping trailer over night at a biker charity event in Clarksville.  Uh-oh.  I called Brandon and asked him if he saw the same story.  Brandon said,"Yep, 5.  We are screwed."  Since we are on tape in various sections of Clarksville, we are pretty sure we're prime suspects.

I'm thinking about calling my insurance agent and reporting hail damage to the bottom of the Ridgeline.  See what he says.


  1. Biker gangs are rude
  2. LBL has deer
  3. Honda wants to buy back the Ridgeline from me to save face
  4. Caught on camera climbing hills at Toyota Dealer in muddy Ridgeline
  5. Brandon caught on camera peeing on Tundras
  6. Headed to Canada to avoid prison

Night Terrors

I woke up, a scream in my throat, panting, trying desperately to forget the dark and twisted dream in my head. Someone had been shaking me, but upon opening my eyes I was alone.  My bedroom was empty, except for my cat who was hissing and growling in the corner of the room.  She never slept all night on the bed, always slinking off while I slept, scratching at the door to be let out.  My heart pounding, I laid back down, but I could not shake the feeling of someone staring at me.

This was not an uncommon occurrence.  As a child and teen in my parents' house, I was awoken at least once or twice a month by being shaken or by my bed itself shaking.  Then there was always the feeling of being watched.  One night, worse than any other, I woke up in my bed and stared into the face of a teenage boy.  I squeezed my eyes shut (also pretty sure my heart stopped for awhile) and prayed for God to not let the knife or gun or whatever this guy prepared to kill me with hurt too badly.  Then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Cautiously, I opened my eyes to see... nothing.  I sat up wildly, but no one was in my room.  But I could feel someone watching me, yet again.

Fast forward to today.  I get a text from my dad that says, "Stanley stopped by.  We started talking.  You won't believe what he told me.  Give me a call when you get a chance."  Stanley is the son-in-law of my parents' neighbor at the end of their dead end street (they are the only two houses on the street).  The street is actually named after my parents, as for the longest time it didn't have a real name.  Yes, I grew up in a very rural area.
So I call my father.  And the talk that transpired did not sit too well on my mind.

Dad: "Hello?"
Me: "Hey dad, so what did Stanley tell you earlier?" (I'm doing the dishes in my kitchen.)
Dad: "Whew, I still have goosebumps..."
Me: "Why do you have goosebumps?"
Dad: "You and your brother.  What kind of experiences did you have in the house when you were younger? What did you see?"
(I leave the dishes and walk into the living room, sitting on the couch.)
Me: "Well I never really saw a person.  I just had feelings.  It always felt like a teenage boy.  Matt kept seeing that man in the white suit.  Scared the bejeezus out of him.  I never felt really threatened by the boy, but Matt was scared of that man.  Why dad?  What did Stanley say?"
(...Long pause...)
Me: "DAD!  Tell me!" (I'm trying to laugh this feeling off.)
Dad: "Stanley was talking about the boy that got killed by his father in our house."
Me: "What?  You're joking!" (Goosebumps are on my arms now.)
Dad: "Nope.  He thought we knew about it.  It was the Byars family.  The father was punishing his son, hitting him with a bull whip.  And it killed the boy.  He was a teenager when he died.  Stanley said there was a scandal because the father was never reprimanded or punished for killing his son.  But it was a different time back then."
Me: "That's a little eerie..."
Dad: "Yeah.  And I can't help but think about this time... It was after you left for college, and Matt had moved in to your old room.  The original bedroom of the farmhouse.  He was smarting off like he does sometimes.  And I told him I was going to whip him and pulled out my belt.  He was around 15, and when I said I was going to whip him he changed.  He turned toward me and said, 'Whip me.  I don't care.  Hit me.  I won't cry.'  Then he bent over.  And I felt sick.  I felt physically ill, and I had to walk out of that room and go outside.  I still don't know why that time felt so horrible."

We talked a little longer, about the house, and feeling odd in my old bedroom.  Feeling watched.

My parents' house was built in the late 1800's, so a few people had died there, in my old room, to be exact. But that was just a fact of life, and it didn't really bother or concern me.  But for some reason, this story about the Byars family and the son is sticking in my head.

I need to do some research.  Perhaps my bad dreams and night terrors weren't just in my mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bartender, I've Really Done It This Time...

A gust of cold wind whipped into the room as the patron came through the bar door, bell chiming to announce their presence.  Customers are thin and far between around the lunch hour.  Or any hour, really.  My regulars were sitting at their claimed seats around the bar, two to my left, one in front of me, and one to my right, nursing two beers, an Irish coffee, and a whiskey straight up between them.  As they have every day for as many days as I can remember.  And I was behind the bar, cleaning glasses, refilling drinks, keeping the peace as I do, day in and day out.  For an eternity it seemed.

The newcomer, shrouded in layers to block out the frigid temperatures, made her way to the bar, pausing to partially unwrap herself.  She took a seat next to Dave on my right, one of our newer members, and looked in my direction.

"Rum and coke?  I need something to get my blood moving."  I saw Doug smirk, as he took a long gulp from his beer bottle.

"Sure thing, sweetheart."  I started making her drink, leaning on the rum a bit.

"Please don't call me that."  Her eyes were intent on me, her arms crossed and resting on the old wood of the bar.

"Don't call you sweetheart?" I asked as I sat the drink in front of her.  She nodded taking a sip, wincing at the strength.  "Well what should I call you?"

"Amanda.  Just Amanda."  Andy turned from his beer and shot a look down her way.

"Why are you here today, Amanda?  Doesn't seem like the place a girl normally goes on a daily basis."  He was always smiling.  He nudged Chris, who nodded in agreement.  But Chris was not smiling.  He looked almost sadly at the newest bar member.

"I'm actually a little turned around.  I've been driving for hours, and it was time for a break.  Maybe someone here could give me directions?"

As quiet as everyone was before, the bar became even more silent.  No one even breathed.  Amanda looked around nervously, as we all eyed each other.  Finally, Dave gestured toward me.

"Ask Casper.  He knows the ins and outs of most of this area around here."

Expectantly, she looked at me again.  The fabric of the towel in my hand was rough.  The juxtaposition of the smooth, cool glass.  I stared down at my fingers, looking for the words to speak.  Not sure how to say what needed to be said.

"So where are you headed, sweetheart?"

"I asked you not to call me that, please.  And I was headed home.  I left from..." Her voice trailed away, eyes looking in to her rum and coke.  A moment's confusion passed on her face.  Pushing her hair behind her ear determinedly, she said, "I am not exactly sure where I was, but I left hours ago.  And I should have been home by now.  I haven't seen any street signs in ages, but I saw the open sign in the window here.  So I stopped."

"Then where are you trying to go?  Where is home?"  It was easier this way, coaxing the truth out of them slowly, letting realization hit in waves.

"I..." her voice wavered.  She shook her head.

"I was headed home, too." Chris raised his whiskey in her direction, then finished it off in a gulp.  I went to refill it, but he waved me off.

"I was going home.  But... I don't know where that is now."  She looked slightly panicked, her voice higher than it had been moments before.  The inside of the bar was dark, but I could see her face paling in the faint light.  She knew the truth.

"Am I..?" The question laid unsaid on her lips, but I gave an almost imperceptible nod, walking in front of her and placing my hand over hers.

"Then is this...?" Her eyes were wide with fear.  I remembered seeing the same look in Dave's eyes when we shared the secret with him.

"Heaven or Hell?  Neither." I shook my head.  "That I can tell, anyway.  We're not sure exactly what this place is.  But we've been here a long time.  Almost as if we are the forgotten, the unclaimed."

"How do I get out?  How do I get home?"  The panic was real now, tugging at her, making her want to run.  She was wrapping and unwrapping her scarf around her arm, her eyes fixed pleadingly on mine.

"If you can figure that out, Amanda, then please let me know.  Let us all know."  I went back to cleaning the glasses, the rough towel a comfort, something to do to keep my mind from dwelling.  Amanda eased her head to the bar, closing her eyes tight, whispering to herself, dark brown hair spilling around her.  Everyone stared in to their drinks, remembering.

And I was behind the bar, cleaning glasses, refilling drinks, keeping the peace as I do, day in and day out.  For an eternity

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It Doesn't Hurt As Much

If you don't know it's coming...

Walking down the street was uncomfortable.  No.  That wasn't the right word.  Walking down the street, looking in to peoples' eyes, seeing their deaths, it was frightening.  Painful.  Especially when she knew that death was coming soon.  A mother smiling at her daughter, not knowing in a week's time she would be laid to rest in a family plot.  An older couple not realizing the car accident that would leave one of them hooked to a machine in a hospital bed.

She avoided the streets as much as possible.  She avoided people as much as possible.  Somehow, imagining that if she couldn't visualize the death it wouldn't happen, comforted her.  But yet pictures and voices still filled her mind, refusing to be ignored.

When she was younger, a teen in school, dressed in black and ostracized from her peers, she felt a barrier between her and the rest of the world.  What she felt as normal was in fact a freak show to everyone else, including her own parents.  Once open to talking with her family about her predictions, they laughed at her imagination.  Until the predictions repeatedly and without doubt came true.  

Psychiatrist and psychologist after other mental care provider asked her questions, gave her pills, but nothing made the visions stop.  So she lied.  Claimed to be "cured." Normal.  Sane.  Anything to stop the barrage of questions and accusations and stares.  She kept her knowledge to herself.

People don't want to know their own deaths.  Even if they are asking for how it will happen, when it will happen, they don't want to know.

It hurts less if you don't know it's coming.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I went to bed last night, snuggled against my husband, talking as we normally do before drifting off to sleep.  We had spent Sunday as two lazy lumps, getting out of the house only to take the trash and then to get ice cream.  We did not do chores, we did not cook, we did not build shelves or paint our bedroom - no, we sat (reclined) on the couch and watched an almost endless amount of television (thank you Netflix).

As we burrowed into our covers I said,"I feel incredibly lazy and terrible after doing nothing all day."

He pulled away from me, holding me at arm's length, looking in to my eyes and said,"No you don't.  People need this type of day every now and then.  A day not to think.  A day not to rush.  A day not to try and get as much done as possible.  I laid on the couch all day with my wife, and I loved it.  I rested.  And tomorrow, admit it, you'll feel like getting everything done at once."  Then he kissed me.  Which normally shuts me up anyway.  We fell asleep, and I dreamed.  Many dreams, as I often do.  Ones in which I am there, and others in which I know none of the key players.

I awoke this morning.  Made his breakfast and lunch.  Fed the dogs, took them out.  Sent him out the door.  Started cleaning the kitchen.  Getting ready to finish painting our bedroom...


I hate when he's right.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Like Dags?

My puppy, ready for her immunizations, squirmed in my lap.  She wanted desperately to be on the ground, to run up to that fluffy excuse for a cat and yap her little head off.  She wanted to sniff the sleeping terrier, run circles around the front desk, and pee in the corner.  So for the moment, to make herself feel better, she growled softly in my arms, making me notice her sacrifice for my happiness and to warn any animals getting near that I was her human.

The door to the vet's office jingled as an elderly woman, hair wrapped in a kerchief, awkwardly made her way in with a large pet carrier.  As she signed in, smiling at the receptionist, I caught a glimpse of two ancient, cataracts-for-eyes, black pugs huddled within the carrier.  The old lady walked to the only open seat in the room on the bench beside me.  Her pugs whined softly as she set their carrier down, and she busied herself with taking them out and arranging them on the bench beside her, whispering in what sounded very much like German.

She saw my little black puppy and asked smilingly, "Chihuahua?"  Her voice was heavily accented; her eyes kind and inviting.  Like a cup of hot cocoa after being out in the snow all day.

I smiled back, nodding, as the she reached her hands out.  I dropped Wednesday in her arms, and she laughed at the squirming mess of puppy.

"I remember when my two old men here were puppy like this."  Her eyes shined with what seemed to be tears.  And suddenly Wednesday stopped squirming and just licked the old lady's hand.  She kissed my dog's head and placed my dog back in my arms.  She pulled both her pugs in her lap, and I saw a few tears slide down her cheeks.  She stroked their heads, eyes closed, humming softly.

"Are your dogs sick?"  My eloquence in uncomfortable situations has never been stellar.

"I bring them here to die."  She attempted another smile at me, the tears stopped for the moment.  I then noticed that both pugs were obviously blind.  "They are very old, my men here.  Almost eighteen.  They stop eating now.  They hurt.  They want to go.  So I bring them here to help them along.  And they would want to go together.  They have never been apart.  Cannot part them now."

I ran my hand along the pug closest to me.  My puppy, as puppies often do, had dropped in to sleep like a narcoleptic, exhausted from growling and squirming.

"So you are getting them both put to sleep at the same time?"  I couldn't fathom the pain this was causing her, losing them together.  She nodded at me.

"Sometimes is easier this way.  Easier for them.  Easier for me.  I miss them.  But is time.  There is always a time."

There is always a time.  It has been almost five years since I had this conversation, but I remember it vividly. She carried both of her "old men" to the back and said goodbye to each of them as they fell asleep on the table.

But there is always a time.  A time to let go, a time to move on.  Sometimes it can hurt like hell; the right thing doesn't always feel good.  But that shouldn't hinder you from making the right choice.

Regret is a nasty thing.