Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sticky Messes

This is a story I wrote a little while ago. Since it’s been so long since I’ve had an actual blog post, I’d thought I’d share this one with you. I’ll be back after Christmas, refreshed and ready to write.

We were sitting on my sisters’ bed playing Monopoly when we heard it. “Girls.” It was Daddy and he was using that voice! The quiet, scary one. The one that meant somebody was in big trouble. “I need y’all to come in here.” We hustled off the bed, ran down the hall and crowded into the tiny bathroom where Daddy stood waiting for us.

It was my most favorite room in the house. Once, all four walls had been the exact same color as a yellow Crayola crayon. But earlier in the week, Mama had spent a few precious dollars and a whole morning covering the splashed and spattered wall behind the sink with Contact paper. It now bloomed with hundreds of little yellow flowers and tiny green leaves. Being in there was almost like being outside on a warm spring day.

Which would’ve been a good place to be. “Does somebody want to tell me who did this?” Daddy asked, moving aside and pointing to the pretty flowered wall. And its newest decoration - an intensely purple, well-chewed, globby wad of grape bubblegum. As ugly as a big ol’ pimple on the nose of a prom queen, it had been smooshed into the wall just above the hot water knob, and had started a slow, stringy drip toward the floor.

“Well…? I’m waiting.” He was still using the voice.

“Not me, Daddy.” “I didn’t do it.” “Wasn’t me.”

“Girls, your mama and I don’t chew grape bubblegum. It had to be one of y’all. I want an answer. Now.” The look he gave us made us wiggle. It made us wriggle. It made us shuffle our feet. Still, no one confessed.

“All right,” he sighed. “If y’all aren’t going to tell me who did it, I’m going to have to punish you all three. For two weeks, there’ll be no going out of the yard, no having friends over and no bike riding. And bedtime will be at eight o’clock.” (Oh, no! Not that! That meant no Brady Bunch!) “Now, go put the game away and get ready for bed.” Like the losing team leaving the field, we trudged back down the hall, each trying to convince the other two of her innocence.

For two weeks, we stayed in our yard and played with each other. For two weeks, our bikes stayed parked in the garage. For two weeks, we went to bed at eight o’clock and for two weeks, we missed the Brady Bunch! But every single day, Daddy laughed with us and played with us. And every single night, he tucked us in bed and kissed us goodnight. He had been angry and disappointed that one of us had lied to him. But he never, for one minute, stopped loving us.

That’s the way it is with people you love. No matter how sad they make you or how much they disappoint you, you just keep right on loving them through all of their sticky messes.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

What It Meant to Me

“I am sooooo not in the mood to be nice to anybody who’s callin’ my house at this unholy hour of morning,” I snarled at phone where it lay on the kitchen table. Now, it may be, that in your world, 10:00am is not considered an unholy hour. But in my world on that day, it was positively blasphemous. Too much caffeine, twitchy arms and legs and an insomniac Little Dog had made it impossible for me to fully participate in that ever-popular nighttime ritual known as sleep the night before. By the time my body parts had worn themselves out and the dog had finally found the spot on my feet on which to sleep, the alarm hollered, letting me know that it was, in fact, time to get up.

With every chromosome in my body urging me to stay right where I was and let the day go on without me, I struggled (and it was a struggle) to stand beside the bed. I patted blindly around the bookcase for my glasses and groped my way to the bathroom, where I somehow managed to do little girl things, wash my hands and brush my teeth without drowning. Amazed that I could actually put one foot in front of the other, I trudged down the hall to the kitchen and began the morning performance of the Bee Family Circus.

I made JD3’s coffee. I made his lunch. I let the cats in and fed them. I took Gracie out and waited for her. And waited. And waited some more. (She won’t go unless I’m there to say, “Good girl.” That’s why I have to wait.) Just when I was about to rudely awaken the entire neighborhood by bellowing, “Will ya pee already?!” she found that elusive, only-one-in-the-whole-backyard, perfect spot and did just that. We went back inside and I let the cats out. I let the Little Dog out. I let the cats and the Little Dog back in and gave all furry critters their morning treats. I let the cats out again. And back in, again.

When JD3 gathered up his coffee mug and his lunch box, I opened the door for him, kissed him goodbye and sent him on his way. As I turned back into the room, I heard growling and hissing. And it was scaring the dogs and cats. It was clear to me that if I was going to make it through the day without biting somebody, I needed more sleep. So, I put the cats back out, dangled Puppy Cookies in the dogs’ faces so they would follow me and I went back to bed.

Two hours and a trip to The Twilight Zone later, I woke up with a dry mouth, a full bladder and a headache. For the second time that day, I tumbled (and it was a tumble) out of bed and zombie-walked to the bathroom. After I brushed my teeth, I put the toothbrush back in the glass and just stood there trying to get both of my eyes to open. When it became apparent that tea was not going to come to me, I hobbled down the hall to tea.

I was taking that first, life-giving sip when the phone rang. Clearly not understanding that I wanted it to Just. Shut. Up. it rang again and again. I side-stepped Gracie, stepped over the Little Dog and scooted a cat out of the way. Thinking nasty, evil, mean thoughts about the nasty, evil, mean person on the other end of the line, I answered the phone.

It was Mama. “Guuuuuuud mornin’! What’re you doin’?” she sang in that voice. The voice that used to irritate us out of bed on school mornings. The voice that woke us up at six o’clock on summer mornings asking if we’d like to go pick peas and butterbeans with her. (As if we had had a choice.) The same voice that, then and now, had me wanting to break Commandment 5 by breaking Commandment 6.

“I’m drinking tea and trying really hard not to step on the zoo inhabitants. What are you doing?”

“Well, he’s gone uptown and I need you to come over here. I want you to see my curtains. Can you come right now?” Immediately, a heated debate broke out between Bad Bee and Good Bee.

Bad Bee put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to one side and said, ‘You can’t go. You haven’t even finished your tea yet, for Pete’s sake. And even if you had, just how do you think you’d get there? Walk?! Remember, JD3 took your car to work because his has that funky bump thing in the right rear tire. And girlfriend! Have you looked in the mirror? I know you’ve brushed your teeth, but you haven’t washed your face and your hair looks like an unraveled pot scrubber. It’s, uhmm, actually kind of scary. Besides, he might come home early.” (He is my mother’s husband and we are having some issues and find it best to avoid each other for the time being.)

Good Bee shook her head, sighed in exasperation and looked at me over the top of her glasses. “You have to go. She’s your mama. You can finish your tea while you’re getting ready and you can always have another cup when you get home. JD3 said it would be all right to drive the car if you needed to. Just don’t go over 50mph. Heck, the speed limit for most of the drive over isn’t even 50! Now, go wash your face and pull your hair up into one of those sloppy casually elegant twisty things. Put on a bra and some shoes and get on over there. And don’t you let him keep you from visiting your mama!”

Darn that Good Bee. “Ok, I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I told her. “But I won’t be pretty.”

I sloshed down the rest of my tea and headed off to get ready. I washed my face, brushed my teeth again and manhandled my hair into a ‘do that wouldn’t scare small children. I even put on a bra AND shoes. Back in the kitchen, I asked Gracie to please not eat any of the furniture while I was gone, grabbed my purse and keys in one hand and the door knob in the other.

I didn't get very far. “Crap! These are the wrong keys. I need JD3’s.” His key didn’t like the crowded conditions on my key ring, so it doesn’t live there any more. Instead, it hides out in a black hole that is suspended between 2 brown leather straps; a really scary place known as My Purse. When I couldn’t seem to grab the slippery little boogers by merely reaching in, I turned said black hole upside down and shook my very important stuff out onto the counter where I could see it. Aha! There it was, under 3 weeks worth of grocery receipts, 2 flashlights, an Almond Joy wrapper, a pair of scissors, and some random dollar bills. “Ok, here we go.”

As soon as I opened the door to step out, Gracie, thinking that “Ok, here we go,” really meant we, slinked out around me and trotted off into the back yard. How a 75lb dog with a chest like a bulldozer can slink anywhere is beyond me, but she did. So, I waited. And I waited. (Can you tell where this is going?) Finally, she finished and I took her back in the house, again told her to be a good girl, walked out and closed the door behind me.

Before my foot hit the bottom step, I thought, “Just hunky-dang-dory! My cell phone is in there on the counter!” Back up the steps I went. I unlocked the door, walked in and grabbed the recalcitrant little piece of electronic technology and, after giving Gracie the look, the play-nice-with-the-others-and-don't-eat-my-socks look, I left the house.

At long last, I sat down in the driver's seat of the car and heaved the 3-ton door shut. After buckling my seat belt and adjusting the rear view mirror, I slid the key into the ignition and started the engine. It was then that I heard it. JD3 had left the radio on and the haunting, dulcet sound of a flute spilled out of it and poured itself all over my very bad mood. Along with the music came the lyrics; words that I loved but hadn’t heard in years. ♪ ♪ Snot running down his nose. ♪ ♪ It was Jethro Tull! It was Aqualung! Suddenly in a very good mood, I rolled the window down, put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.

I know. Aqualung is most definitely not a happy little song. But it didn’t matter what the song meant; it mattered what the song meant to me. For just a few minutes, I was no longer a grumpy 51-year old woman with messy hair driving a limping, old vintage Volvo to visit her mother because she felt guilty. For just a few minutes, I was a happy 16-year old with wind-tousled hair driving the ‘bu across the causeway to the south end of the island. There, I would spend my days babysitting and my nights sitting on the dock star-gazing and listening to great music. ♪ ♪ Feeling like a dead duck! ♪ ♪ Life was good!

I know I’ve unwrapped my musical moment on a Saturday morning. But I’m still going to send y’all to Tuesdays Unwrapped over at chatting at the sky. A lot of nice people unwrapped some of their own special moments and managed to actually do it on a Tuesday!


Friday, October 9, 2009

I Hope It Gets Here Tomorrow

She felt every bit as weather-beaten and time-worn as the splintered, gray wood on which she stood. Sitting down on the top step, she rested her elbows on her knees and, with both hands, brought the pretty red and white polka dotted mug to her lips. As she sat sipping her morning tea, she watched the dog she loved so much sprint after a rabbit she would never catch. Neither the quick-like-a-bunny bunny nor the big, silly dog was aware of the chain link barrier that separated them, assuring one’s safety and the other’s failure.

“This isn’t right,” she thought. Labor Day was a memory. The big sweet gum tree that she hated, (and loved,) had decorated the back yard with a smattering of citron-colored leaves. Just down the road, a happy-faced scarecrow and a family of pumpkins sat beside big pots of luscious, colorful mums on the neighbors’ front porch. Officially, it was autumn. But it was too hot. And too humid. “It should be cooler than this. I need it to be cooler than this.”

An almost smile ghosted across her face as the dog gave up chasing the rabbit to dance with a butterfly that waltzed just above her nose. Across the road, the trees shivered with excitement at the touch of a light, mellow breeze. The sky was blue, birds were singing and morning glories were blooming on the fence. In spite of the clinging, soggy heat, it was a pretty day. Yes, it was a very pretty day, but it brought her no joy.

Summer had been hard for her. In the season when the very clocks had been manipulated to ensure plentiful sunlight, her days had been dark. Like an over-protective mother, the humidity had knit a sweater from melancholy and draped it snugly around her shoulders. Oh, she was tired of feeling this way. She needed the crisp, cool darkness of autumn to wash over her and refresh her soul.

When the little wind tired of playing with the trees, it tiptoed over to where she sat steeping in her gloominess. Wrapping its soft, warm arms around her, it kissed her gently on both cheeks and then leaned in to murmur in her ear. “Hold on, my friend,” it breathed. “Fall is coming. It won’t be long.”

She took the last sip of her now cool tea, stood up and called to the dog. “I hope it's tomorrow,” she said as she turned to open the back door. “I hope it gets here tomorrow.”


Saturday, July 18, 2009


...I've been busy beginning a new chapter of my life, I'm posting another story from an earlier chapter. Until I have new stories to tell, I hope you like the old ones. Jo, at Mylestones is telling some pretty good stories, too! Maybe you could stop by.

All Boxed In

She walked toward the door facing her at the end of the long hall. The house was quiet except for the squeak of her left tennis shoe on the dark hardwood floor. She paused at the arrangement of family photographs hanging on a wall that was precisely the same color as the organic butter she bought every week. She adjusted two of the frames and, satisfied that they were once again positioned the way she wanted them, continued down the hall, humming her favorite song.

Standing in front of the door, she reached out with her right hand, turned the knob and pulled it open. She flipped the switch on the wall just to the left of the door and a pale, golden light illuminated the closet . There, on five shallow, evenly-spaced shelves climbing the back wall, sat the boxes filled with her things, all of the stuff she needed to keep her life in order. She smiled as she took it all in. She loved that shelf paper; had chosen it because it was covered with tiny little flowers that matched exactly the wall color in the hall and coordinated nicely with the soft, muted red fabric covering the boxes. (Even people who had known her for a long time were surprised that red was one of her favorite colors.)

The arrangement of boxes reminded her of a regiment of soldiers, immaculate in in dress uniform, standing at attention before its commanding officer. There were two boxes per shelf, each placed exactly the same distance from the front edge. Their sides were parallel, the amount of space between a box and its neighbor the same as that between the box and the side wall of the closet. Centered on the front of each box was a creamy white label printed with bold, block letters proclaiming it’s contents and warning anything different to keep out.

Boxes marked “BLUE,” “RED,” “YELLOW,“ “GREEN,” “BLACK,” and “WHITE” were placed on the shelves at her eye-, shoulder- and waist-level. It was here, within easy reach, that she stored familiar items that could be relied on to function the same way every time she needed them. These were the things she used to keep her life running smoothly; to make sure there was a place for everything and that everything stayed in its place.

Two “BROWN” boxes occupied the bottom shelf. These boxes were, in fact, filled with things from her husband‘s past. Early in their marriage, he had shown it all to her. The things that she could use, she had put in the easiest to reach boxes and everything else had been packed away on this less visible shelf. Occasionally, he would want to take the things back out and tell her more about them, and she'd sit with him and listen patiently because she loved him very much. But she didn’t like the way it made her feel and was glad that he didn’t want to do it often. (It made him as uncomfortable as it made her. )

On the upper shelf, accessible to her only if she stood on the wooden stool that her husband had built for her, were boxes that were rarely opened. The one marked “WILD COLORS” held gifts that had been given to her over the years, gifts that made her feel unsettled and insecure. She didn’t know what to do with them or how to use them. But she knew that , somehow, they were important to her and that she shouldn’t throw them away. Sitting beside this box , was one marked “PLAID.” In it were the things from her past that didn’t belong in the life she had now. They, too, were important because they had contributed to the person she had become. The things in these two boxes were messy and hard to control so she kept them up high, where she wouldn’t be tempted to take them down and expose herself to all of that chaos.

Lately, her things had become unhappy being confined to the boxes in which she had placed them. They wanted her to know that there was more to them than red or blue. They wanted to show her that even plain old black and white had wild color talents and that they could do wonderful things if she allowed them to work and play with each other. But each time they tried to show her something special they had created, she would lift the corners of her mouth in what might have been a smile, murmur “That’s nice” without meaning it and put them right back where she thought they should be. There was no light in her eyes, no joy or celebration, no appreciation of what they could do.

Now, unaware of the hurt and disappointment that lingered there, she reached into her neatly organized closet, took the “BLUE” box from its shelf, removed the cover and checked the contents. When she was sure that everything there was trying to do no more than be blue, she replaced the lid, turned on her squeaky shoe and started back down the hall to get on with her day; a day which would, for the most part, go exactly as she had planned it. Her things would make sure of it. Just as they always did.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Although I didn't write it until November, this story is about being out and about on a rainy August afternoon. For about 5 minutes this morning, as I thought about all the unsettled-ness of my life lately, I changed my mind about knowing what's up ahead and around the corner of life's highway. But, I've decided I still like surprises.

I'm linking this story to Jo's Stories in My Pocket over at
Mylestones. You should go visit.

Reflections at an Intersection

The light changed from green to yellow as she approached the intersection. If it had been a bright, sunny day, she might have tried to “squeeze the lemon,” her daughter’s way of saying, “Give it some gas and hurry on through before the yellow light turns red!” But it wasn’t a sunny day. Rain was spilling steadily down from a fuzzy gray sky that seemed to sag with the weight of all the water it held. She adjusted the windshield wipers from Intermittent to All-the-Way-On, and, instead of squeezing that lemon, she pressed gently down on the brake pedal and came to a soft, easy stop just as the light changed to red.

She loved weather like this. The pavement was as black and shiny as the brand new, patent leather Mary-Janes she‘d worn every Easter when she was a little girl (except for that one year when, for some unknown reason, she‘d worn white.) The shimmery reflections of the red and white car lights on the wet street sent a little shiver of Christmas spirit right through to her soul, even though it was a warm September day. She had turned the radio off and the patter of the rain on the roof of her car had muted all of the normal busy-day traffic sounds. She felt secluded, happily cocooned in her own little world with just her thoughts to keep her company.

As she sat there enjoying the wait for the green light, it occurred to her that whether she turned left or right or continued straight ahead, she’d still get home, her favorite place in all the world, in about 20 minutes. And, no matter which direction she chose to go, there would be something to see along the way that would make her smile. Of course, no matter which direction she chose to go, there would the possibility that something would annoy her and make her scowl a bit, too.

If she turned left, she could cross the little creek that ran through town. Always lovely, it was especially pretty in the rain. After making the turn, she’d drive straight for about a mile, at which point the road would curve and she would cross a kind-of-bridge. The houses that lined most of the street would fall from view, making her almost forget that this was a residential area and not a country road. On both sides of the bridge, she’d see lush green ferns and willows and that plant with the pretty white flowers; the one she didn’t know the name of. (Granddaddy would have known what it was.) She would see trees standing straight and tall in the dark water, with kudzu and Spanish moss wrapped around the trunks and hanging from the branches. Maybe, if she was lucky, she’d see an ibis or a crane. The surface of the water, more graphite-gray than black, would be sprinkled with thousands of little pewter-colored rain dots. But - and there was always a but - that mile before you got to the creek had a reputation for being a speed trap; a well-deserved reputation that she could personally vouch for. And, once you crossed the creek, the country road once again became a city street lined with non-descript, (some down-right ugly,) houses and businesses.

If she turned right, she could ride by her favorite house in town, the little cottage with the stained glass windows hanging on the porch. A picket fence enclosed an overgrown garden filled with late-blooming flowers, birdhouses and quirky yard art. The owner was in the process of painting, so the house was half pink and half green. And had been for years. Though they had never met, she was sure that the woman who lived there - and she just knew it was a woman - had embraced her inner Bohemianess just as she had, and must be quite a wonderful person. The thing was, to get there she’d have to go through that goofy intersection, where she’d have to cross a busy street at an odd angle, zigging to the right, then zagging quickly to the left. You had to be very careful there because, when the light turned green, drivers unfamiliar with the area, thinking there was no opposing traffic, would turn left smack dab in front of you making you call them and their mamas ugly names.

Straight ahead, the road was lined on each side with massive oak trees whose branches met overhead and formed a lacy green tunnel. Traveling through it, she’d pass some of the town’s oldest houses; houses that were built when this area was still considered “way out in the country.” On her left, she’d see the new built-to-look-like-an-old-farmhouse house with the oh, so cool tin roof. A little further up on the right, would be the pretty white house and it’s wrought iron trellis that was all but hidden beneath a big yellow-flowering vine. What would be her most favorite thing to see, though, was the little garden that had been planted on land bequeathed to the town by the Shack Lady. For a long, long time, and to the consternation of her affluent neighbors, an old woman had lived in a broken-down, not very pretty little house on a much desired, very valuable piece of real estate. After her death, it was discovered that she had been quite well off and had owned the land outright. In her will, she deeded the aforementioned real estate to the townspeople, with the stipulation that no houses would ever be built there; that it would become a garden, instead. Now, instead of being ugly and unkempt, it was one of the prettiest places on the pretty tree-lined street. But - here’s that infamous but again - those pretty trees had big ol’ roots that had buckled the pavement in places and years of bad weather had caused pot holes that had never been repaired properly. The bumpy street just plain needed paving. AND, it headed straight into Five Points, the intersection where six, (not five, but six,) of the busiest streets in town came together. The state-of-the-art traffic light did a good job of keeping things sane, but sometimes you had to wait what seemed like forever for your turn to go.

While she was sitting there trying to name all six points that came together up ahead (much like she sometimes tried to name all eight of Santa’s reindeer or Snow White’s seven dwarves,) the light changed from red to green. She slid her foot from the brake to the accelerator, pressed down, and for no better reason than just because, went straight. “Hmm,” she thought. “Wonder what it would be like if life were like this; if every time you chose a particular life path, you’d know ahead of time just what was ahead, the bad as well as the good.” In her heart, though, she knew that it wouldn’t be a good thing; that fretting over all the bad that could happen would keep you from fully enjoying all the good that was to be had. And besides, she just loved surprises.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Those Three Little Words

I know you’re thinking, “I love you.” And, actually, at that moment, I did love this woman. I would have happily kissed her on the mouth if she had been standing next to me in my house instead of sitting in a doctor’s office way across town.

I had called earlier, hoping that the results were back before I left for a day of shopping with Anna. The receptionist very nicely explained that the results usually took 7-10 business days and somebody would call me when they were available. “But the nurse at the hospital said five days,” I whined. She kindly offered to put me through to the voice mail of Dr. Meanie’s nurse and I thanked her.

I left a message and explained that I would be gone most of the day and was hoping to hear something before I left. Leaving my cell phone number in case the call came while we were on the road, I ended the call and woke up Miss Anna so she could do listen-for-the-phone duty while I got dressed. “Is your phone charged?” she asked. Well, of course, it is no. I plugged it in and headed for the shower.

I forced myself to shower slowly. I took extra time with my hair and skin care regime, and actually put on mascara. As anxious as I was for answers, I also dreaded getting them. It was the same way I felt when I got my State Board exam results after nursing school. I would pick up the envelope and put it back on the table. I would grab it and start to lift the flap and then throw it back down. I knew that what was in that aforementioned envelope could possibly change my life for the worst. What if I had failed? I would lose my job! How would I make my car payment?! That's how I felt today. What if the results were bad? It would most definitelychange my life for the worst. Did I really want to know that right before what was supposed to be a fun day of shopping with my sweet baby girl?

All dressed up with somewhere to go, I went to my bedroom and picked the phone up. The tiny little words on that tiny little screen told me that I had not one, but two missed calls from Robin, the nurse. I checked the voice mail and she had, indeed, left a message. “Please call me back when you get this. Tell the girls up front to have me paged.” Have her paged?! It must be really bad, I thought.

Hands shaking, I dialed the number and waited the 5 hours and 33 minutes it took (at least it seemed that long) for her to come to the phone. Actually, in less than a minute, I heard her cheerful (was that a good sign?!) voice on the other end of the line. She said something about last Thursday and the office being closed Friday and a letter that had been mailed to me and scar tissue and blah, blah, blah. I heard bits and pieces and this and that, but then I heard those three little words: “The polyps were benign!” Ok, maybe two of those words were big words, but hearing them was every bit as sweet as hearing I love you. They were benign!

Happy ending, right? Well, of course it is. But there’s more to this story. Last week, I wrote here about how afraid I was and how I could barely think of anything else. Very soon after I posted that story, I was wrapped up in love and support and held up in prayer by friends I’d never met. Their words of encouragement and concern were balm to my aching spirit. One friend beautifully advised me to ”let that fear go out that all may unburden you a bit. and let that fear remind that we are gifted of every moment.” I did let it out and I was unburdened and reminded. And myy heart was filled with those three little words. I love you, my friends.

For more stories of precious gifts, go see Emily at chatting at the sky.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I’m Scared

“We removed three polyps – one big one and two little ones. “ He stood at the foot of the stretcher with his hands on his khaki-covered hips looking somehow older than he should have. His hair was dark; his lightly tanned skin, smooth and unwrinkled. His oxford blue shirt was as unwrinkled as his face and the creases in his pants were sharp. His eyes, partially hidden by trendy dark-rimmed glasses, held no sparkle and, had his voice had any tone at all, it would have been one of arrogance. He explained that the polyps looked okay, but that, of course, we’d have to wait on the biopsy results to be sure. If there had been something bad, he was sure that the removal of the meanest looking polyp would have gotten it. “You’ll need to be scoped again in a year,” he explained and he turned to leave. “You’ll hear from me when we get the results.”

He would have been gone if I hadn’t stopped him to ask what I could do to keep the polyps from coming back. I’d be willing to bet that he thought I didn’t see his shoulders slump with irritation as he turned back to answer my question. And answer he did. He gave the Universal Physician Response, the Med School 101 answer to all patient questions, whether it’s about treatment for ingrown toenails or how to keep hair from growing out of the bottom of your feet. “Lose weight, exercise and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.” And then he really was gone.

Feelings of every color created a vibrant collage on the canvas of my psyche. I felt dislike for the wooden-faced doctor. I felt gratitude for the kind, proficient nurses who had cared for me. I felt giddy and fuzzy thanks to the lovely medication that had been shot into my IV prior to the procedure. I felt warm, gooey love for my sweet daughter who had waited with me, talking grown-up talk and telling me about the plans for her life. I felt hungry and thirsty and ready to go home. But I didn’t feel fear or worry.

After Dr. McNotdreamyatall finished his totally-without-feeling lecture talk, I was free to go. I made the bumpy wheelchair ride (I really could have walked!) down to the car and climbed into the passenger seat. Anna put the car in gear and we left the hospital. Mr. Fear and his friend, Ms. Worry, were nowhere to be seen.

Nor did they show up for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We ate quesadillas and talked and giggled and enjoyed being together. When we finished, we stopped into the grocery store next door for the always needed just a few things and then headed home. I took a long, delicious nap undisturbed the troublesome pair and woke up feeling refreshed.

Later, JD3 came home from work and I told him all about my day. Fear and Worry didn’t try to interrupt or give their account of the happenings. I don’t know where they were, but they weren’t hanging around when we decided that we needed Japanese food for supper. They didn’t ride to the restaurant with us (yes, we ate out twice in one day!) they didn’t join us at our table and they didn’t ride back home with us.

But they were there in all of their hateful glory, Fear and Worry, waiting for me when I walked in the back door. They had sneaked in through a tiny crack in my faith. Each picked a shoulder to sit on and there they’ve been ever since. Sometimes, they’re very quiet and I’m just vaguely aware of their presence. Sometimes, when I’m minding my own business and just doing the things I do, I can feel them breathing down my neck. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just being silly and that they were never there at all. That’s when they dig their claws into my shoulders and whisper nasty, mean things in my ears; “What if…” and “It could be…” And once again, I’m scared.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Miss Him

I miss hearing him whistle. I don’t remember ever hearing him sing, but I heard him whistle just about every single day. To me, it was as sweet and lovely as any birdsong.

I miss his hands. Big, strong, hardworking hands that could fix anything, yet were soft and elegant and neatly manicured.

I miss how he used to point at the three of us when we hadn’t been his little darlings. His ring finger and thumb would form a circle while each of the other fingers aimed straight for the heart of an errant little girl.

I miss how handsome he looked in baby blue.

I miss how he combed his hair. Not his hairstyle, but how he combed his hair.

I miss how he called his truck, his “cruck.”

I miss seeing him drive; how he leaned into the door, left elbow hanging out of the window. His right arm extended loosely up and over the steering wheel which supported his wrist while his fingers hung between it and the dashboard.

I miss how he used to run “up the street” or “around the block” and come home later with three tiny little brown paper bags filled with bubble gum and brightly wrapped candies sure to make the three of us very happy and the dentist very rich.

I miss answering the phone and hearing him say, “Hey, Bebbo…” or, “Hey, Bebby.”

I miss hearing him call my daughter “Anniebelle.” I wish he could know her now.

I miss hearing him say, “be sweet,” because I knew that really meant “I love you.” For some reason, those words came hard to him, but I didn’t need them. I knew I was loved and loved well.

I miss playing cards with him and hearing him holler with laughter when he “whupped the pants off” of us again and again. And again!

I miss his version of Br’er Rabbit and the Tarbaby. Nobody did sound effects like he did.

I miss calling out to him and hearing his cheerful, clipped, “wut?” in reply.

I miss getting birthday cards signed “Pop” in his tiny, neat handwriting.

I miss how he loved America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn.

I miss how he loved squirrels; how he’d sit on his deck for hours and feed them peanuts, trying to make friends with them. I don’t think he would like it if he knew that she hated them now.

I miss his quietness; how he didn’t need to fill silent spaces with chatter. When he did speak, it was worth listening to.

I miss everything about him. I know that he wasn’t a perfect man, but I loved him with all of my heart and longed to chase his demons away. I wanted to know what caused that quiet sadness that was a part of him and somehow make it all better. Some days, the loss is bearable; no more than a vague, dull ache way in the back of my heart, barely noticeable over the happy clatter of my life. But some times, like this weekend, it’s loud and sharp and raw and it hurts and I would do almost anything to have just one more hour with him, to hug him and tell him I love him. I miss him.

For the last two days, I’ve ridden around town in a little blue truck with the other man in my life. As we’ve gathered plywood and 2x4’s and screws and paint and all the things to set our girl up in housekeeping, I’ve had a chance to think about just how much he’s like my daddy. He has the same values and morals and politics. He, too, has strong, hardworking hands that can fix anything. He doesn’t whistle, but he sings like an angel. He’s a quiet man who loves America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn. And me. He chases my demons away and makes it all better. I am blessed to have found him and will celebrate that every single day for the rest of my life.

For more celebrations, please visit
chatting at the sky

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I just linked up to Jo's Stories in my Pocket series over at Mylestones. There're some good reads over there. You should stop by.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just Under the Hypothalamus

It was a dark and stormy night. Undisturbed by Nature’s temper tantrum raging just outside her window, she slept deeply and dreamlessly. The previous day’s events, although not catastrophic as she had feared they would be, had left her bone-weary and emotionally drained. Knowing that this was not a night for mindless television nor meaningful conversation, she had kissed her family goodnight and headed off to ready herself for bed two hours earlier than usual. After brushing her teeth and washing her face, she had put on her favorite worn pink T-shirt, turned the fan from low to medium and crawled between the soft, floral sheets.

Within minutes she was soundly asleep, oblivious to all that was around her. Hours later, when her husband clicked off the lamp, turned on the music and slid into bed beside her, she was unstirred. The snores of her little dog, which usually had her wishing for earplugs, were unheard. The thunder boomed and the lightning flashed, and still she slept. Aware only of the fact that she was sublimely comfortable, she let out a small sigh that sounded like “Ahhhh,” turned onto her left side and snuggled her cheek into the cool spot on her pillow. Suddenly, the walls shook and a shrill, terror-inducing wail sliced through the night air, making her bolt upright in bed.

Ok. It wasn’t stormy and it wasn’t night. (I just love saying, in a deep voice British accented voice, “It was a dark and stormy night.”) It was, however, dark. The “shrill, terror-inducing wail” was actually the alarm clock’s annoying little beep beep beep waking me up waaaaaay before I was ready to be awake. I, in fact, did not “bolt upright in bed,” but reached blindly toward the bedside table and felt around for my glasses. Once I finally found them, and every other unnecessary necessity that cluttered the surface, I poured myself out of bed and headed off to the bathroom. I already knew this was going to be one of those days.

I had spent most of the day before fretting and worrying about my 1:30PM appointment with doom my doctor. The very appointment where she would tell me my cholesterol was so bad that nothing short of an IV infusion of Drano could possibly lower it. The same appointment where she would say to me, “No, no. You don’t need to lose weight. You just need to grow 12 inches.” And the appointment where she would look at my blood sugar results and determine that the only thing sweeter than I am is a Krispy Kreme donut covered in chocolate syrup with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. As is turned out, my cholesterol was great, I had lost 5 lbs and my blood sugar was darn near close to normal. What a waste of all that fretting and worrying!

Of course, after a good report from the doc, I felt invincible and eager to attend the Extreme Couponing workshop scheduled for later that evening. After all, a healthy, vibrant, intelligent young thing like me should be quite capable of grasping even the most complex couponing strategies. Excited and sure that I would soon learn to feed my family gourmet meals on a budget of $0.29 a week, I signed in, (with a borrowed pen because mine dried up before I had even completed the B in my first name!) Two hours later, I left with a full bladder, a toothache from clenching my jaw and a head that felt like spiked ping-pong balls were bouncing around in it. I guess I had expected Extreme to mean extremely easy to understand. I guess I was wrong. I went home, took a Goody Powder and went to bed. And slept “deeply and dreamlessly” until that hateful alarm clock woke me up.

As I stood there in the kitchen making coffee, I talked myself into a really nasty mood. “Why does he need coffee, breakfast and lunch?” (I didn’t mention to myself the fact that, in just a few minutes, he would be heading out to work 12 hours in a hot steel mill.) “Am I the only one who ever fills up the sugar dish?” “Could these animals be any needier? I mean, why can’t they just go to the bathroom like the rest of us and then get themselves a Pop Tart or something?” Clearly, my CPABC (The Center for Promoting Awareness of Blessings and Contentment - it’s a little glob of nerves in your brain right near your hypothalamus. Trust me, I’m a nurse.) was malfunctioning. Otherwise, I would have remembered that it was not only a privilege, but one of my greatest joys to take care of my family at any hour of the day.

With a great deal of effort, I got everyone fed, watered and off to work. As soon as the door closed behind JD3, I locked it, called Gracie and we went back to bed. Where again, I slept “deeply and dreamlessly.” And again, a “shrill and terror-inducing wail sliced through the air.” The telephone. It was Mama. “Are you up?” she sang. (I am now. And I want to hurt you.) “What time do you want to go shopping this afternoon?” (Oh, crap. I did tell her I would go with her to buy curtain fabric, didn’t I?) We talked just long enough to set a time for my next appointment with doom her to pick me up.

Since there would be no more sleep, I decided to ease slowly into the day. I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to check my email and read my favorite blogs. I played with the dog and let the cat out. I made my breakfast and forced myself to drink a big glass of water. About an hour before the appointed time, I took a shower. About 45 minutes before the appointed time, Mama came bustling through the back door.

“I know I’m early but you’ve just got to keep Stan’s Father’s Day present here for me.” (No, I don’t mind. Really. I’d be glad to.) “I just love your new canisters let me show you what I got for him I started at Kohl’s but didn’t really like the sale they had going so I went to Penny’s instead where the sale was better and I got all of this for less than $80 so you say a friend sent you those canisters well wasn’t that nice of her they look real pretty there I’m ready anytime you are.” I was pretty sure she didn’t hear me when I told her that I also was in possession of the pretty salt and pepper shakers that matched the pretty canisters.

As soon as I was dressed, we got into her little blue truck (it’s really purple, but she says “blue”) and headed down the road – the middle of the road! I tried with all of my might to lean hard to the right, in hopes of pulling her back into her lane, but I was unsuccessful. The looks of sheer terror on the drivers of oncoming vehicles left her unmoved. Because she was looking at me, telling me all about her kitten and her doctors’ appointments and why she was driving the truck that made her knees hurt to climb in and out of it and how Stan was home working on the car now and she sure hoped he could get it fixed soon (I was doubtful, because he is decidedly un-handy) because this power steering didn’t seem at all like power steering to her.

Surely, Guardian Angels were with us, because we arrived at Hancock Fabrics unscathed. However, we didn’t find exactly what we were looking for so we got back in the truck and went to check out the fabric department at Hobby Lobby. There, we found the perfect fabric, only there was a good deal less than the 20 yards she needed. The nice sales lady informed us that her supervisor could order it for us if we’d like. We told her that yes, we would like and off she went in search of Miss Tallulahbelle. (The names have been changed to protect the kind and very patient innocent.)

While we were waiting, Mama decided that she would get 22 yards “…just in case. I’d rather have a little extra than not enough.” Agreeing with her, I told her that if she did have left over, she could always use it to make napkins. “Ooh, that’s a good idea,” she said as Miss Tallulahbelle walked up the counter and asked if we were the ones who wanted to order 20 yards of this lovely blue and white fabric. “Yes,” Mama says,” I’m making curtains for my kitchen she’s going to help but I think I’m going to get 22 yards instead because that way I’ll be sure and have enough and I figure if I have any left over I can make matching napkins.” (Didn’t somebody just say that?) “Good idea,” says Miss T. “Now, I’ll need a name a phone number?” When she heard Mama’s name, she said that it sounded familiar and asked her if she was from around here. “Well, my husband was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Texas and then spent 30 years in the Navy and then moved around quite a bit so we say he really is the man from nowhere.” I don’t know if Miss Tallulahbelle was at all interested but she smiled anyway. Since I’ve heard that story 9623 times, I was not so inclined.

Fortunately, Hobby Lobby is next door to Lowe's so it was a short, safe drive to our next stop. We were in search of PVC pipe (or PCV pipe as Mama chooses to call it,) curtain clips and cup hooks, which we were planning to use as hardware with which to hang our beautiful new curtains. We made our way to the window treatments, where we looked at some pretty, but expensive metal brackets and decided against them. Sticking to the original plan to use cup hooks, we put three packs of clips in our buggy and went in search of pipe.

As I stood in front of a bin holding 5-foot sections of half-inch pipe, calculating how many we would need and which connector we should use to make a rod long enough to span the big, middle window, Mama motioned for me to “come here. Here it is in 10-ft pieces. We can just get one of these.”

“I don’t think it’ll fit in the car, Mama.”

“But we have the truck.”

“I don’t think it’ll fit in the truck, Mama.”

“Oh, sure it will.” Undaunted, she wrangled that 10 feet of flop-doodling PVC pipe out of the bin and into the buggy, (well, sort of into the buggy.) Somehow managing to maneuver to the cup hook aisle without impaling anybody on our pipe, we looked for a big ol’ hook that would accommodate our half-inch pipe. (I knew it was half-inch pipe because there, in bold black letters right beside the bar code it said, “1/2 inch PVC .”) It seemed that any thing that was big enough to hold the pipe would also leave a ghastly hole in the wall. Thinking that I needed to think this out some more, I suggested to Mama that we just get what was in our buggy and we would figure out the rest later.

“Oh, no. Let’s just ask this nice man.” Well, this nice man was not. Nice, I mean. Apparently, his little red vest was too tight in the arm pits. Or he was busy wishing he had stayed retired. Or maybe his moon wasn’t aligned with Jupiter or something. But he wasn’t nice. He sighed, turned his pinched little face towards us and, sounding like he’d rather be counting his screws, asked what he could do for us. I explained to him what we were trying to do and what we were looking for to help us achieve our goal. Faster than Billy the Kid, he whipped out a tiny steel tape measure and measured the pipe. “You have half-inch pipe here.” (Really? No kidding?) “I don’t think there’s anything here that will help. You should try over in Window Treatments.” I explained to him that we had already looked there and really didn’t want anything that expensive. “Well, I’m just trying to find something that will help you,’” he snipped. Well, you didn’t, but if I ever need to scare small children, you’re the man I’ll come looking for. Before I could say anything out loud, Mama took me by the arm and led me to the check-out.

When we got to the truck and tried to put the 10 feet of still flop-doodling pipe into the bed, about 4 feet of it hung out of the back. “I don’t think this is going to work, Mama.”

“I’ve got bungee cords. And we’ll tie that hat to the end of it.” Said hat is a now-pink Santa hat that has been riding on the passenger head rest for over 2 years.

“You can’t bungee PVC pipe, Mama.”

“You don’t think? I know, let’s try to stick it in through the passenger window. That might work. You’ll just have to hold on to it.”

It didn’t work. Instead of hanging out of the back, it was now flailing out to the side of the truck. Knowing that howling at your mother in a public parking lot is not only breaking the Fifth Commandment, but is probably also considered trashy and therefore, socially unacceptable, I calmly told her that I didn’t think we were going to be able to get it home in this truck. So what did she do? She marched back in Lowe’s with pipe in hand and exchanged it for 4 5-foot sections and one connector. Can you say, “Aaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhh?!”

When our goodies were secured totally in the back of the truck, we decided it was time for a late lunch. After mulling over all of our options, we made the short drive to Zaxby’s for one of their great grilled chicken salads. It was a short drive, but I had plenty of time to fear for my life as did the man who happened to be leaving the parking lot as she was driving in. For some reason, he seemed bothered by the fact that she was turning into his lane! Passing a parking spot that she could have simply driven into, she chose one that required her to pull in and back out. And pull in and back out until she was within her white lines. It was, after all, two feet closer to the door.

Part of the reason we had chosen Zaxby’s and salads was that earlier, we both had talked about eating healthier and taking better care of ourselves. So, when the cute little girl behind the counter asked if she could take my order, I said, “I’ll have the blackened Bleu Zalad,(they call them Zalads, isn’t that cute?) no dressing and a cup of water.” Mama then said, “I’ll have the House Zalad with extra Ranch dressing. And sweet tea.” Shaking my head, I chose a table for us and waited on them to call our number. Soon, the salads were ready and they looked delicious – fresh green lettuce, orange carrots, purple cabbage and bits of white cheese sprinkled about. The kind of salads that you see in magazines and advertisements. Three servings of dressing later, Mama’s looked more like potato salad than the healthy one she had chosen from the menu. We asked God to bless our food (and I added a silent request for my safety on the trip home) and ate our lunch.

Finally, the day was over and I was on my way home. When the truck came safely to a stop in the driveway and I climbed out, I tamped down the urge to fall to my knees and kiss the ground. Because she had consumed a lot of tea, Mama came in to use the bathroom and as she walked by the table, she said, “Oh look. I didn’t know you had the salt and pepper shakers, too. Aren’t they cute?!”

It had been a long day. But when I got home, my sweet Annabanana had been standing on the back steps with her arms open waiting to give me a hug. Gracie was standing just inside the back door, her whole body vibrating in greeting. She, too, had given me a hug, albeit a painful one. JD3 had driven up just as Mama was leaving. Here they were, this family that I had groused about taking care of early that morning; these people (and animals) that I love more than anything in this world and who were as happy to see me as I was to see them. They listened and laughed as I told them about Hobby Lobby and the “PCV” pipe and the mean little man. As I told my story, I realized how blessed I am to have a nearly 70 year-old mother who is healthy and able to take care of herself and drive me nuts on a regular basis. I guess my CPABC wasn’t malfunctioning after all.

Please stop over at chatting at the sky for more Tuesdays Unwrapped

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why I Believe in God

Why can’t I write this? I asked myself that question about 193 times yesterday. I mean, the subject matter was important to me. I had prayed about it. I had googled how to say, “Oh, my God,” in about six different languages. I had looked up passages of scripture and then decided how best not to use them. I was ready to write and it was going to be great! It wasn’t going to be a theological dissertation or a scientific presentation of evidence proving that He exists. I wasn’t going to proselytize, evangelize or, worse yet, criticize. I was simply going to tell everybody why I believe in God and then, when non-believers read it, they were going to believe in God, too!

Well, I sat and I wrote. And I deleted. A lot. “Maybe I need a little break,” I thought. So I made myself another cup of tea. I went outside and played Slime Ball with Gracie. A lot. I sat here and looked out of the window and made cloud pictures. I even called my mother. But somewhere between my brain and the screen, my thoughts would scatter and refuse to fit into the words that I had chosen for them. Finally, when I had worked myself into a really nasty mood, I decided that today was just not the day. I saved my notes, closed the program and set out to do some mindless chores around the house.

I made spaghetti sauce for supper. I washed and dried some strawberries and put them in the freezer. I unloaded the dishwasher and hand washed a few special pieces that were in the sink. I played Slime Ball some more. Eventually, I ended up in our bedroom changing the sheets on the bed.

As I tugged and tightened, I talked to God. I talked to Him about friends and family who were in some sort of crisis or the other. I talked to Him about my plans to save money. I talked to Him about JD3 and Anna. And I talked to Him about how aggravated I was with myself for not being able to write this. Then, out of nowhere, there was a brilliant flash of light!

Ok, that’s not entirely true. There was no flash of light. But I did have a moment of crystal clear understanding. I realized that it’s not really a matter of why I believe so much as it’s a matter of how could I not believe. I mean, He’s my best friend. He’s here with me all of the time. When the sky is blue and the birds are singing and all is right in my world, He’s here. When the sky turns dark and the storms rage and the music stops, He’s here. I can’t tell you that I’ve ever heard His voice or that I’ve actually seen Him in person. But I can tell you that when I stood crying in the shower because life had become too much and I called out to Him, I felt His presence and I was comforted.

And He’s not here because I want him to be here. He’s here because He wants to be here.

Here’s how I see it: God created the world. (Now, you may come to me and say “Oh, no. Here’s a scientific explanation for the whole thing.” And I would probably say, “You know. You’re right about that!” I just happen to believe that God was the scientist behind it all.) After He created the world, He created us because it was so beautiful, he wanted to share it. While he was building our bodies and our minds, he hardwired a Belief chip deep into the mainframe, so that we’d want to share it back. So that we’d want to be with Him.

But, we messed up. We messed up the earth and we messed up each other. And when we couldn’t clean up those messes, when we couldn’t keep children from dying or innocents from being slaughtered or people from starving, some of us tried to turn off that little chip, saying, “If there was a God, He wouldn’t let these things happen.” But it can’t be turned off. This embedded instinct keeps working, even in non-believers. Instead of a belief in God, it becomes a belief in Fate or Karma or Luck or even Science. No matter what it’s called, it’s still a belief or a reliance on something bigger and more powerful than we are.

While it saddens me to hear someone say they don’t believe, it is never my intent to cram my God down anybody’s throat. And I hope that these heartfelt words are not taken as invitation by non-believers to prove to me that I’m wrong. All of your arguments and evidence wouldn't change the way I think, anyway. I just wanted to tell you why I believe in Him.

I know I said that I wasn’t going to quote a bunch of scripture. That would be like trying to prove the theory of evolution using only articles written by Darwin. But, since I did all of that research and I hate to see it go to waste, I’d like to leave you with these two passages:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139:14

And you shall seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'll Never Look at Dandelions the Same Way Again

I'm unwrapping another Tuesday at chatting at the sky

One day last week, I was outside with Gracie. It was a gorgeous spring morning. Even with the sun shining brightly, it was just cool enough and there was a soft little breeze whispering to the trees. Still, I was feeling more than a little aggravated. I hadn’t had my tea yet and I wanted to be inside just sitting, being for a few minutes before I started the day.

As I stood there waiting for her to bring me the stupid ball, I looked down and there they were - a little family of dandelions, swaying in the gentle breeze as if they heard music that I couldn’t hear. I closed my eyes and lifted my face to the sun and listened. I didn’t hear the song, but my grumpies went away.

Part of the reason they made me smile was that they are just so darn pretty. What little girl wouldn’t love to have a frilly, yellow skirt like that in which to dance and twirl and celebrate spring mornings. “A weed,” some say. “A wildflower,” I say.

But that was only a small part of the reason they were able to adjust my attitude. As I watched them there, I thought of Tuesdays Unwrapped and Emily's Picture from last week. I thought of the times I had laughed and cried with women that I’ve never met. Women who, sometimes in the midst of great sadness or difficulties, have shared such special moments in their lives and have, in doing so, touched mine. I felt connected. I felt un-aggravated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's In His Kiss?

I'm joining everybody at Chatting at the Sky as we discover that, most of the time, it's through the little things that we learn how much we are loved.

♪ ♪If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.♪ ♪

At least that’s what Aretha Franklin said. And she told us it’s not in his eyes, his size, his face or embrace. According to the song, it’s not even in the way he acts. Well, while I have a lot of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha, I think she’s wrong about this. Let me tell you how “I know he loves me so.”

It was in the scrambled eggs he made me when I was really sick. (Best scrambled eggs ever!) It’s in his hand resting on my knee as we’re driving down the highway. It’s in his telling me to quit a job I hate, even though we could really use the second income. It’s in the way he says nothing when his sisters say, “Thank you for marrying my brother. I know you put up with a lot.” (Because I know he puts up with a so much more than I do.) It’s in how he can just be with me without either of us having to talk; or how we can talk about everything. It’s in the way he says my name, whether he’s calling me Bee, or Beverly or Mama. Nobody says it like he does.

I know he loves me when he doesn’t run screaming for the hills when I ask him to remodel the house with no more than a circular saw and a screwdriver. I know he loves me when he does odd jobs for my mother; simple jobs that are made aggravating and not-so-simple by her husband’s fumbling attempts to help. I know he loves me when he makes sure the oil is changed and the tires on my car are safe

I know he loves me when, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, instead of watching baseball, he’ll come and sit beside me on the bed. He’ll take the jumbled mess of fabric in his hands, hands that are strong and nimble and meant for guitar playing, and help me figure out just how you use this toothbrush handle to make a rug. And he’ll keep trying to help, even when my frustration wells up inside of me and spills all over him.

And I know he loves me when, just before we go to sleep, he tells me so. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been a total bitch a little touchy all day, he says, “Goodnight, I love you.” And kisses me on the cheek. So, I guess It’s In His Kiss, after all!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photo from

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses - Lessons Learned from my Dog

If you know me at all, you know that I’ve been completely besotted by a big, goofy brown dog with beautiful amber-colored eyes. From the day that colossal jerk mysterious benefactor dropped her off in our front yard, she has lived in my home and in my heart. I am head-over-heels, make-you-act-silly, can’t-stand-to-be-parted, totally in love with her.

Even when she comes to me 532 times a day asking to go out and play. (Yes, asking. She talks to me.) It doesn’t matter to her if Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are about to kiss and live happily ever after. She doesn’t care if it’s raining a rain like Noah saw. She’s sorry, but undeterred, by the fact that a little man with a jackhammer is at work in my head trying to break up the concrete of my brain. Gracie wants to play! If I try to put her off, she’ll walk around the kitchen table/island, jump up to look out of the back door and then come back to sit at my feet, where she’ll gaze up at me with those big wet, puppy-dog eyes. (What did you expect?!) Unable to resist her for more than a minute or two, I stop what I’m doing and say, “Let me get my shoes.” When she hears these words, she starts laughing and singing and dancing around the kitchen, because she knows that when I put on shoes, it means that she’s worn me down and we’re going outside. (Well, maybe she doesn’t laugh and sing, but she does dance.)

Out the back door we go. I take up my position at the top of the deck steps, while Gracie lumbers on into the yard. There, she scoops up two tennis balls and heads back to me, looking very much like some kind of mutant, radioactive chipmunk with huge neon-green cheeks. Just before she reaches the bottom step, she turns and proceeds to trot and canter around the back yard like a riderless dressage horse performing before the judges. Back and forth she prances between the swing and the sweetgum tree. When she’s satisfied that I’ve watched and appreciated her presentation, she runs up on the deck and doesn’t give me the balls. You see, as brilliant as Gracie is, she failed Puppy 101 because, while she was very good at fetch, she never quite caught on to release. Meaning that every time I reach for the balls, she turns her head away. (Just like I do when JD3 is trying to kiss my cheek after he’s said something really stupid and made me not like him very much.) As we’re playing this reach-and-turn game, her tail is beating out a rhythm on an old chest that sits there patiently waiting to be refinished. Todda, todda, todda. She wags and turns. Todda, todda, todda. I reach and miss. Eventually, drawing on my super powers, I use lightning speed and gymnast-like agility to reach over and grab both balls from her mouth. I need them both so I can throw one and use the other as a bargaining chip. Now, we can play!

Sometimes, I throw a ball high into the air, sending her bounding off of the deck after it. She spins around once or twice while she tracks the ball. When she has it in sight, she throws herself toward the sky like a dolphin at play and catches it before it hits the ground. Other times, I throw it low so that it bounces a few times on its journey to the back fence, which is covered with honeysuckle and neglected rose bushes that, not realizing they’re neglected, are blooming anyway. As soon as the ball leaves my hand, Gracie dashes after it like a hunter in pursuit of survival. I keep throwing and she keeps fetching until the tennis balls reach MSC (Maximum Slime Capacity.) Then we go inside, get a treat and have a little rest.

One day last week, on a particularly pretty day, we had gone outside to play. Having made it through the preliminaries, we were in the I-throw-the-ball-and-Gracie-brings-it-back part of the game. I took the ball in my right hand, drew it back, and like the world’s greatest bowler that I’m not, sent it bumping along the grass towards the fence. Gracie, like she always does, took off after it at a dead run, making me worry that she wouldn’t be able to stop in time and would end up with her snout wedged firmly in the tiny bit of chain link that wasn’t covered in vines. But she was able. She came to an abrupt stop, ignored the ball and stuck her nose right in the center of one the roses. She stood there for almost a minute, smelling first one and then another of those dark, pinkish-red flowers. Then she picked up the ball and leisurely trotted back to the deck. We played for a few more minutes and then went back inside for our treats and our rest. But not before I realized that I had learned a valuable lesson from Miss Gracie.

What I learned was that, even in the middle of the busiest of days, there’s always time to play a little. And that, even when you’re in hot pursuit of something very important to you, you need to stop and smell those roses.

Once again, I'm a day late in joining everybody at
Chatting At The Sky in unwrapping the special in the middle of the ordinary. If you click on the button below, you can go read the stories of those more punctual than I.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

She's Home

Please join Emily and the others at Chatting at the Sky , where we're unwrapping the extraordianary gifts found in ordinary days. You can get there by clicking the button below.

JD3 and I woke up early Saturday morning with a plan. We would drive to College Town, take our sweet baby girl to lunch and then, while she was taking one of her final exams, we would visit with my mother-in-law. When she had aced the exam, (which I was sure she would do,) we would meet her at her dorm, load up all of her non-essentials, kiss her goodbye and drive home. She would stay behind with just the bare necessities and come home Tuesday after her last exam.

That was the plan. This is what happened. We did drive to College Town, and we did take our sweet baby girl to lunch in a beautifully converted old train station. While she was taking her exam, we did, indeed, visit Granna (my dear mother-in-law.) She had just moved in to a new apartment, so we spent some time unpacking boxes and moving furniture. And talking. And talking some more. We talked about family - the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the just plain weird! We talked about the contents of the boxes and whether the couch should go here or there. We wondered which lamp would look better on this table and would the cord be in the way if we put it here. We talked about lots of things, including our plans for the day. At some point during all of this talking, Granna wondered why we couldn’t I had the brilliant idea to just move Anna and all of her things home while we were there. College Town is just over an hour’s drive away. She could come home for a long weekend and then make a day trip back Tuesday to take the exam. So that’s what we did. We loaded up the cars, waved goodbye to dorm living and headed for the green, green grass of home.

Once again, three opinionated, stubborn, sarcastic people, (two of whom are hormonal females,) are living in our little house. Once again, the bathroom shelf, (the one in the only bathroom in the house,) is too small to hold all of the schtuff we need to make us look pretty and smell good. We run out of toilet paper faster. Groceries cost more and mornings are 5’ 9” grumpier than they were before. A mini-refrigerator is living in the back of my car and I have the unparalelled good fortune to have a driving coach, (“You know you can change lanes, don’t you?”) and an editor, (“Do you always double space there?”) living in the same house with me!

I love it! I love it because she’s home! Home for what may be the last summer that she actually lives here. In July, she will move into her first apartment and I know that this move will be one more little snip in those old apron strings (not to mention these old heartstrings.) But, being the good little Southern girl that I am, I'm in touch with my inner Scarlett O’Hara, and I won’t “… think about that today. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Today, I’m going to celebrate our renewed three-ness. I’ll get a goodnight kiss every night and I’ll go to sleep knowing that she’s just on the other side of that wall. I’ll boss her around and I'll let her boss me around. We’ll laugh and cry and talk. And every morning, when I walk into the bathroom, I’ll smile. Because her toothbrush will be right there in the glass beside mine and her daddy’s. It’ll be a little gift to unwrap every day, a little reminder that, for at least this summer, she’s home.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gracie's Eyes

Last Monday was not a good day. In fact, it was probably a day like that which gave Monday it’s bad reputation in the first place. When I tell you about it, you may roll your eyes and cock your lip up on one side and say, “That’s what you call a bad day?” But it was, I tell you. It was bad.

The bad actually started on Sunday night. I stayed up past my bewitching hour to finish a blog post in time to enter it in a writing contest. It was a hard story for me to write; the subject matter was deeply personal and more than a little painful. Even though I had already begun to question the wisdom of sharing something so tender with the world, I published it anyway and emailed the link to the contest site. I shut down the computer, turned off the lights and went to bed.

And did not sleep well. Even though Monday was the beginning of a down week at JD3’s job and I was able to sleep a little later than usual, I was still up before sunrise. Unable to shake that uneasy feeling, I stumbled to the kitchen and made myself some tea in my favorite red and white polka-dotted mug. I let the big white cat out, sat down and booted up the computer, then headed off to meet my friends for our morning chat. When I got there, I found that the not-so-long-lost friend who had returned yesterday to stir up trouble had had tremendous success with her endeavor. She had turned what started as a little joke between good buddies into a sinister conspiracy designed specifically to make her look bad. Singing, “I Am Victim, Hear Me Roar,” at the top of her lungs, she chastised us all for being shallow, mean-spirited women. And she continued to do so for most of the morning, long after we had given up the futile attempt to prove that, in fact, we were not shallow, mean-spirited women.

In spite of the fact that I was in a really bitchy mood not my usual cheery self, I decided to go see Mama. Now, you know I love my mama, but sometimes she - and her husband - can be irritating. Bless their hearts. (For those of you north of the Mason-Dixon line, here in the South it’s ok to say something bad about somebody as long as you preface it with, “Now, you know I love so-and-so, but…” And then you must end the statement with, “Bless her heart.”) But I went anyway. I oohed and ahhed over the new curtains and pillow shams in the guest room, did some more oohing and aahing over their cute little kitty and then settled down in the den where we actually had a pleasant visit. Until the talk turned to the economy.

They told me all about Dave Ramsey’s course and how excited they were that their church had offered it. They told me about all of the positive steps they were taking towards being financially secure in an insecure world. I heard about the new freezer and Mama’s plans for fruits and vegetables. I heard about their budget and how they were really sticking to it this time. They were excited and not nearly as gloom and doom as they usually are. But I felt gloomed and doomed. “We aren’t doing any of that!” I thought. “Why aren’t we doing any of that?!”

I drove home convinced that by Friday, I would be living in a tent, eating cold beans out of a can with a plastic spoon as I guarded the shopping cart that held all 15 of my worldly possessions. I walked in the back door, put my purse on the table and laid my keys beside it. I took one step towards the den and then I heard it. The news channel. I hate the news channel. I hate it all of the time. But I really hated it right then because the subject was, of course, the economy! I couldn’t seem to get away from the bad that had become my day.

Hoping to find a happy place where I could, at least for a little while, ignore all of the ugly in the world, I sat down at the computer and logged on to the internet. My plan was to read only my friends’ blogs; lighthearted places that would make me smile or maybe even laugh out loud. I would see what cute things their children and grandchildren were doing. There was a chance I’d get a good recipe from one of them or read about somebody’s vacation plans. I’d read my darling daughter’s journal and see what she was up to in College Town. I might even get to see pretty pictures. It would all be nice and it would make me feel better.

When the home page came up, I scrunched my eyes and turned my head a little so the news headlines were blurry and unreadable. Using just my right eye, I searched my bookmarks for the first blog, clicked on the link, and waited for the pretty page to load. “Oh, good,” I thought. “She has a new post!” My spirits already lifting, I leaned in to read the title and… had my heart broken. She had shared something personal about herself; something that, to others would have been no big deal, but left me reeling. I knew I needed to say something, to tell her how I felt. I struggled to find the right words, but they just weren’t to be found.

It was only 7:30pm and I was ready for this day to end. That funny feeling about my story hadn‘t gone away. My friends’ and my character had been attacked. My head had been pulled from that nice, warm spot in the sand in which I had buried it and I
had been forced to listen to, horror of horrors, the news! And I still needed to talk to my friend. It was too much. I needed Divine Intervention and I needed to go to bed. After asking all of my friends to pray for me, I took my little rain cloud and did just that.

I fell asleep hoping for a good night’s rest and a better tomorrow. I would wake up and find that my story had at least garnered an honorable mention. The world would know and acknowledge that my friends and I were truly wonderful people.
JD3 would get a huge bonus in spite of the economy and our future would be secure. The words that I needed, so beautiful and eloquent,would be pasted to the back of my eyelids when I woke up. The birds would sing, the sun would shine and all would be well.

What I got, however, was not much sleep and a monster headache that had me getting out of bed at 4:00am. The only words that came to mind were, “I need pills!” and I groped my way to the kitchen where I swallowed a handful of ibuprofen and a Benadryl,
and sat down to check the contest site. I didn’t win. I didn’t get an honorable mention. And what’s more, since I was one of the last to submit an entry, the link to my story was waaaaaaaaay down on the bottom of the page. I sat there wallowing in pain and self-pity. I was a failure; an inarticulate, untalented, un-frugal (is that a word?) middle-aged, wrinkled, gray-haired,chubby woman with a headache. (I was really into my wallowing!) With a deep sigh, I leaned back in my chair, looked out of the window and saw a falling star. Sure that it was a sign of great significance, I ran out to the back yard and poured my heart out to God. Feeling a little better, I went back in the house, went back to bed and slept until late morning.

Now, you’re probably expecting me to say that when I woke up, all was right with the world; that everything had, indeed, been worked out. It hadn’t. Tuesday was just a continuation of Monday. But when I sat down in the kitchen and put my head in my hands, thinking, “Oh brother. Here we go again, “ Gracie came to me. She put her front paws on my thigh and looked at me with such love that, for a few minutes, all was right with the world. It was quiet and peaceful and no words were needed. She wagged her tail and nibbled my ear and I felt taken care of. She looked at me as if she knew how I felt and all she wanted was to make me feel better. She expected nothing more of me than that I love her back.

And I do. We weren’t looking for another pet when she came into our lives. If we had been, we probably would have gotten something smaller than a 60lb Pit Bull mix who thinks she’s a lap dog. But somebody made the mistake of not wanting this precious animal and dropped her off in our front yard. His loss is one of my most precious gains. Because, when things are falling apart and I’m having one of those days, I need only look in Gracie’s eyes and I’m comforted.

I know this is Thursday and that it's Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky. So, I'm a little late. But I think Emily's message is a good one all of the time:
In every bad day, there's a little gift of something good if you take the time to unwrap it. Gracie is my every day gift. You can see the stories and see the pictures of those who do things on time if you click on this pretty button.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Write Away

Scribbit is having a writing contest and this month's theme is "Mom." I hope y'all will visit there and read all the stories about motherhood.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Mother's Arms

This post was removed to protect the memory of someone I loved very much.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


“All our words from loose using have lost their edge.”
Ernest Hemingway

I’m pretty much a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. I go to bed when I’m sleepy. I do laundry, not on any particular day of the week, but when we‘re out of clean underwear. We eat supper at whatever time it‘s ready, which is usually after I’ve spent a frantic hour or so deciding just what it is that supper is going to be. The little dog gets her hair cut when I can’t see her eyes anymore, and I make an appointment for my annual check-up only when my daughter reminds me that it’s been well over a year since I had the last one. In short, I am a woman without a routine.

Except for early mornings. Even my most chaotic, un-schedulized, let’s-just-see-what-happens day starts with a routine. With few exceptions, I get up before the sun rises and make the coffee. While it’s brewing, I make JD3’s lunch and feed, water and yell at love the animals. When all of that’s done and I’ve kissed my honey goodbye, I make myself a cup of tea and sit down at the computer. After reading my email and checking in with my Board Buddies, I farm a little on facebook and read Anna’s latest post on livejournal. And then I begin my daily visits in BlogLand.

One of my first stops is Mary Carroll’s photo blog, In A Soft Light, where every morning, Mary posts one of her beautiful photographs. Often, she pairs the photo with by a quote chosen to complement the picture much like the right wine does a great meal. One morning last week, it was as if she had chosen the picture and the quote just for me. Together, they seemed to speak right to my heart. Anxious to tell her how moved I was, I quickly scrolled past the comments of others, clicked on the “Post a Comment” button and waited with poised fingers for the comment form to appear. When it did, I…had absolutely nothing to say. All of the words that I wanted to use sounded shallow and worn and insincere. It was then that I realized the full import of Hemingway’s words; that, just as we have with our beautiful earth, we’ve carelessly and casually used up one of our most valuable resources. Our most powerful words have become platitudes, useless for conveying great thought and emotion.

Consider the word awesome. “Oh, you can come to dinner Friday night?! Awesome!” Or, “I just got an awesome deal on a new car.” How about, “You look awesome in that dress?” Can any of these experiences come close to making you feel what you feel when you see the Grand Canyon or watch the sun set over Key West? Is getting a great deal on a new pair of shoes even remotely akin to the experience of holding your little baby for the first time?

What about love? I don’t just like snickerdoodles, I love, love, love them. (Three times the love!) I love polka dots. I love red. Or, as we Southern girls say, “Honey, I love ya new hayah-do!” (That’s hair for you Northerners.) Really? Love? Isn’t love that wonderful and profound feeling I have for my husband, my child, my God?

Which brings me to Oh, my God! In my opinion, those words should only be uttered when calling on the magnificent Creator of the Universe, not to convey excitement and delight because some TV decorator has just re-decorated your whole house with $35 and a glue gun! They should not be flung out so that others will know just how shocked and disgusted you might be, as in “Oh my freakin’ God, did you see that guy she was with?!” Excitement can be communicated without saying, “OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod! He’s so cute!” These words should be said in worship, in supplication and in wonder that yes, He is my God.

Imagine Heaven. The sun is shining down on the polished streets of gold. Flowers of every color are blooming in front of the many mansions. The angels are at choir practice and their beautiful song fills the air. In the distance, on a hill covered with soft green grass, sits God on His brilliant white throne. Just to his right, with His hand on His Father’s shoulder, stands Jesus. Together, they are looking down at the world that they love so much. Sometimes they smile. Sometimes they wipe away a tear. Sometimes they laugh out loud. Jesus leans down and says to God, “Father, I hear Susie calling your name.” God shakes his head sadly and says, “Son, Susie isn‘t really calling me. She’s just excited. She got some awesome new furniture and she loves, loves, loves it”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yay!!! It's Monday

Do you know what this means to me? It means that last week, that perfectly awful, most hateful of weeks, is now part of history. The week that lasted two hundred and thirty-two days, seventeen hours and eleven minutes (It did!) can no longer wreak havoc in my psyche. No, nothing catastrophic happened. The toilet didn’t overflow. I didn’t break my most favorite dish in the world from when I was a little girl. I didn’t attempt, and, subsequently fail, to bake bread yet again. I just felt, all week, like some unseen cosmic force bumped into the tablescape of my life and dis-arranged everything so that when I reached for my Spice of Life shaker, it was just to the left of where it should have been.

That cosmic jolt was hard enough that it caused my body to revert to PMOS, or Pre-Menopausal Operating System. After 9 months of thinking that I was totally through with that part of my life, (and being quite happy about it, I might add,) I had an honest-to-goodness period, complete with cramps, bloating, and bitchiness and tears a slight decrease in cheerfulness. As if that were not enough, I got what was either a cold of epic proportions, monster bronchitis or a really nasty flu bug. Whatever it was, it knocked me on my asthmatic butt. I spent most of the week puffing on my albuterol inhaler, eating Mucinex and ibuprofen and squeezing my knees together so I wouldn’t wet my pants every time I coughed. I still haven’t found the baseball bat that JD3 must have used to beat me about the head and chest when I went to sleep at night.

It must have been a lack of oxygen to my brain that caused me to string words together into stupidity and direct them at two of my most favorite people in the world, one of them being my daughter. I said what I said to her out of love and concern for her happiness, but it came out all wrong and I hurt her feelings. My motives were pure and I said it kindly, but I was waaaaaaay off base. When I think about it now, I think JD3 would have been justified if he really had beat me up with a bat.

I hurt my friend by being insensitive to her feelings on a particular issue. I laughed at and participated in a joke, which on the surface, seemed innocent enough. However, when viewed through the window of her life experiences, it wasn’t funny at all and made light of something which is very special to her. And then, I tripped over my clumsy apology and landed right smack dab in the tender spot that remained from the original hurt. She told me that “No, it didn’t hurt,” that I had been a part of it. But I think it did and I still feel awful about it.

Yes, I’m glad that week is done and I can start on a new one. After all, today is the first day of the rest of my life. And I have big plans. Today I get on with the business of starting that simple life I’ve been yammering on about for so long. What better way to begin than to join Peggy Hostetler at The Simple Woman's Daybook in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity...the beauty of the everyday moments around us.

March 2, 2009

Outside my window... It’s gray and windy and cold. But it’s not snowing like they said it would.

I am thinking...that I really, really, reeeeeally want it to snow.

I am thankful husband. I don’t think he realizes how much I love him and appreciate him.

From the learning rooms... It is very quiet. No, I didn’t home school my daughter, but when we were together, we were always learning from each other. She’s away at college now and I miss her very much. This past week has been especially hard.

From the kitchen... I think I will get one more cup of tea.

I am wearing...jeans, my favorite paint-spattered pink T-shirt and pink socks. The pinks are not the same color!

I am creating... a dishcloth and a pillow cover; both of which I plan to finish this week.

I am going...Wednesday to have lunch with a friend I worked with at Hospice.

I am reading... The Secret Life of Bees - very slowly. Very, very slowly.

I am hoping...that Anna feels better this morning and that there was a 2-hour delay in her class schedule so that she could rest a bit longer.

I am hearing... house noises - the refrigerator running, the heat pump humming. And an occasional car on the road in front of the house.

Around the house... the pets are sleeping peacefully.

One of my favorite things...peacefully sleeping pets!

A few plans for the rest of the week: I plan to clean and organize. Then sit down and actually write out goals for the week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

One of my goals for the week is to bake a prettier loaf of bread than this one!

Monday, February 9, 2009

16 Things About Me

A while back, when I logged on to my FaceBook page, I found I had been tagged! “Oh, no. What does that mean. And Anna’s not here to help me!”
(I tend to panic over computer stuff that I’m not familiar with.) And then I noticed that it was Anna who had done the tagging! So of course, I called her up and asked her what to do.

She led me to her Notes where I found this, her entry entitled Dang Memes! 16 Things About Me. These were the instructions:

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

Well, if you know me at all you know that it takes a minute (or day or week) or two for me to get my thoughts together. By the time I was ready to post my own note, I noticed that people everywhere - or at least on FaceBook and in BlogLand - were doing 25 Things About Me. So, to be loyal to my sweet baby girl AND keep up with the newest meme (don’t you love that word?) out there, I decided to title this 16 Things About Me but actually tell you 25. And they are:

  1. I am a Christian. I may not talk about it all of the time because I believe, as Benjamin Franklin did, that “A good example is the best sermon.” I have a real problem with those who call themselves Christians and quote scripture and speak fluent Christian-ese from atop their pedestals of self-righteousness, but don’t show the world any joy, or love or compassion. That, to me, is most un-Christ like.
  2. I have been married for twenty-one years to a man who, although not perfect, is perfect for me. (Shhhh! I’m not perfect either!) We have one daughter who has grown into a beautiful young woman in spite of her goofy parents.
  3. My sisters are my best friends (besides my husband and daughter.) They always have been and always will be.
  4. I want to be a writer when I grow up. I’m so grateful to have a daughter who believes in me and always encourages me to go for it. (The writing. Not the growing up. I don’t think she has much hope for that.)
  5. I have good friends, really good friends, that I have never laid eyes on.
  6. Except for an occasional weekend or day trip with JD3, I’d rather be home than anywhere else.
  7. My favorite place in the world, outside of home, is the mountains of NC. The thing is, it’s the mountains of NC. Mountains are high and I’m afraid of high. It’s a real love/hate thing.
  8. I love hearing my husband play guitar and sing Neil Young, early Beatles and Moody Blues songs. Well, I like hearing him sing anything, but those are my favorites
  9. If I ever won the lottery, I really would give most of the money away. I‘m happier now than I‘ve ever been. My life is simple and good and I don’t want it to change.
  10. I spend an awful lot of time (and energy and flour) trying to make bread. It‘s not going well and I’m beginning to feel like a failure at Domestic Goddess-hood. I will, however, continue to fight the good fight and hope that one day, I can make a loaf of bread that will have my husband begging me for more and telling that his work day is intolerable if he can’t have a baloney sandwich made with my bread.
  11. I cook for my dogs. I make their dog food and their treats. They always eat it all. They always want seconds. And they don’t care if it didn’t turn out just like the recipe said. (I’m way better at this than making bread.)
  12. I think I sing better than my family thinks I sing. I know I sound good in the car and in the shower
  13. I have big feet. Not clown-sized, can-we-borrow-your-shoes-to paddle-down-the-river big. But big.
  14. I can blow spit bubbles off the end of my tongue. I don’t know the mechanics of it exactly, but I can form the perfect little round bubble right on the tip of my tongue and then, by exhaling and sliding my tongue back in at the same time, I can send that little darlin’ out to play with all the other little bubbles of the world. It’s a nice talent to have while waiting in a long drive-thru line.
  15. I try really hard to be a kind and loving person. But sometimes, the mean that is in me rears its hateful head and I become quite impossible to live with.
  16. I hate, hate, hate talking on the phone
  17. I Love A Rainy Day - No, not the song. I really do love rainy days and I don’t care if rains every day for a week Except when the septic tank backs up. Then I don’t love it so much.
  18. I’m going to paint my house red in the very near future. Bill Blass said that “Red is the color of happiness.” I have a happy house and I want it to look that way.
  19. I like getting power tools for gifts. For Christmas, I got a drill press. For Mother’s Day, I’ve asked for miter saw.
  20. In my glorious past, I was a runner. I ran 5 miles almost every night. Then one night, I didn’t. And the next night, I didn’t. And now… Well, I don’t run every night.
  21. Like my daughter, I am a grammar snob. It makes my eardrums bleed when I hear someone use I when they should use me and use bring when they should use take.
  22. I’m ambidextrous. The really important things in life (eating and writing) I do left-handed. Some things I do right-handed. Most things I can do with either hand. I can’t use scissors at all!
  23. After almost 30 years of drinking coffee, I have switched to hot tea and like it so much better. Why ever did I wait so long?
  24. I collect old doorknobs, old tablecloths, old dishes and quotations.
  25. I’m one of those GRITS - Girls Raised in the South - and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, and I hate to admit this, I like oatmeal better than I do grits. In fact, at this point in my life, I’m not even sure I like grits at all. Oh, the shame.

One thing I didn't tell you above, is that I am a world class procrastinator and nowhere is there more evidence of the fact than here, at poor, neglected little BeeMusing. I have things to say that I just don't get around to saying. Bear with me, friends. I hope that's getting ready to change.

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