Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My friend Kim

I lost a friend this week. She was one of the funniest people I know. She had lived an entire lifetime in 27 years and carried the burden of responsiblity for everyone in her family. I loved to hear her talk and imitate her father's voice, because he is a character too. She was a daddy's girl all the way, they loved each other but argued constantly and then she would come to work and share their life and humor with us. She was a beautiful person inside and out. She never failed to make us smile.
Rest in Peace, Kim. We will miss your funny heart and smile.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New writing prompt: Is our world today a better or worse place than it was when you were a kid?

I don't know if it is better or worse, but it is for sure different.
If there is one thing I CAN remember it is some of my childhood and I believe we had more fun than these last few generations. And I am not saying that because I think my generation is better or anything, we just had more fun. We made stuff up to do, because that was the only choice we had. We had 3 channels of TV, but the only time kids got to watch TV was maybe Saturday morning before the parents got up, because they had to watch racing, baseball, soap operas, or "stories" as my mom called them. and whatever Jack Lalaine was doing. Lawrence Welk was a huge favorite at my house. Of course my dad watched every war movie known to man.
We would actually GO OUTSIDE in the summer and during the school year if we could get away with it. I remember getting a spanking because my mom had to call me more than once to come in. I remember getting in trouble for writing some unsavory words on a neighbor lady's screen door with a hard boiled Easter Egg. We would stand on the corner and wave at cars, and if it rained, wait for them to come by and hit a big puddle of water and splash us. We ran around barefooted and cut our feet to shreds. We rode bicycles everywhere and trolled the streets till way after dark. There was no creepy men lurking around trying to kidnap us. We didn't know about sexual predators (but they were there), we were blissfully ignorant. No one talked to us about "appropriate touching" or "just say no to drugs".
I know that stuff was out there back then, but I am now aware of how naieve we were then.
I feel sort of sorry for alot of today's kids. They are so electronica and gadget oriented, that they have no imagination. I think they are being short changed.
I'm trying not to generalize, but many young people I know, just don't have any. They are one dimensional and sad. If there is any challenge, they have no idea how to find their way thru it, they wait for someone else to change it.

So, maybe I have tunnel vision and maybe I don't. I am not anti technology at all.
I love gadgets myself and have lots of them. I especially love my computer, Ipods and digital cameras.

Our generations will always evolve or devolve. Depending on society.

That is all............

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More (positive) thoughts on holidaze.

All that ranting and raving and woe, and Extreme Grinchiness.... and whod-da thunk it? I actually had fun. After all the shopping and wrapping frenzy, I actually got to hang out and relax. The best part was getting to see my brothers and nieces and nephew, who I haven't seen in a long time. We really did some catching up.
Santa brought me a beautiful digital SLR camera, so you know what that means...Im gonna be posting some of my attempts at photography for your perusal along with my "blatherings". AFTER I figure out how to use it. Hell, it does everything but drive me to the location. I haven't even figured out how to load the battery, much less all the bells and whistles....

So, Onward and Upward to the new year. Here's hoping that our troops come home, our new president stays safe and sane and is wise and honest. Let him pick advisors who can help him lead us out of this mess and stop the corruption. Here's hoping that we can get some of our people into good jobs with some health benefits and retirements that dont get swallowed up by greedy wall street devils.
But I digress.....

Here is hoping your New Year is rich and rewarding and healthy and prosperous.

For me, my personal goals are simple. To be the best person I can be, and to get back in the habit of daily exercise.

Peace and Love and Happiness to all................

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Queen Mamma D

Well, here it is...Almost Christmas. This is Scrooge reporting. As every year, I have a hard time at Christmastime for a number of reasons. I have a hard time getting into the "spirit" of things, I have a hard time with the whole idea, really. Sometimes I really resent it, right up until the week of. I will angrily go out and buy useless gifts for my family, who really HAVE everything they need already, feeling really hateful and resentful. My husband and I have never really done anything for ourselves so that thought bubbles up and keeps things stirred up in my heart.
But its my own fault. I created that monster who sits in my head and says, "you didnt get enough for child number 2, or wait, number one has more than number three" And don't even get me started on the grandkid who just asked for a ball of string and some paper bags this year, so she can "build a treehouse."
She's getting the most "stuff" of anyone, PLUS the ball of string.
So, basically it boils down to guilt. This weird guilt trip I put myself on.

This year started off the usual way, but I had vowed to keep it simple and just give some of those groovy Simon cards so they can do the shopping for themselves to the grown kids, and spend my energy on the grandkids.
So it was okay, until that guilt critter kicked in. So I said, "okay, clothes PLUS gift cards". And it went from there, you can imagine the rest.
So the crappy feelings started up again, getting all pissy and angry and being really impatient and hateful to my grown kids, who test me on a daily basis.

Then suddenly my heart piped up and told my mind to hush. "Stop questioning everything and just go with it. It's just money and stuff, the important thing is our family is intact, healthy and we care about each other, we support each other and we love each other and there is no room for all that pessimism now. Something about unconditional love and devotion and celebration of all that is good in humanity. THAT is what we need to focus on." That is what my heart said.

Ok, so maybe I didn't come up with that all by myself. I think It is an idea that started a couple of thousand years ago.
I'm not necessarily a religious person, but I know that we are creatures of some bigger design than we can imagine.

I may have bought into the whole "buy stuff till you puke" mania that grips the country several times a year (Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween, threat of snow, sleet, or year 2012)
BUT if we can keep our spirits alive, our hope and our joy. If we can recognize our blessings and our good heartedness, then buying "stuff" isn't so bad.
But next year, we are cutting back and giving the extra to shelters and we are working next year as volunteers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Ok, I'll bite. Why DID the chicken cross the road?
Well, I think she did it because she needed a change of scenery. She was fed up with the same old same old and saw something new and amazing over that road, where she had to brave the cars and trucks zooming by at obscene speeds. She had enough of the life of drudgery she was living, tending to chicks and scratching in the dirt for any bugs or food she could find. She wanted some of that new action over there where all the strange young pullets and youthful fluffy chicklets were. Her friends told her she was nuts, that she would be killed trying to get over there. She didn't care, she had made up her mind to change her situation.
She had to crane her neck to be able to see much at all, but it sure looked like they were having fun, milling about, pecking around and flapping at each other, doing young chicken stuff. She had so much to look after on THIS side of the road that she was actually thinking about making a run for it. She stood on the side of the gravelly median, her skinny chicken legs posed for a quick run, a mad dash into the unknown, from which she never intended to return.
Suddenly a large truck blasted by her and she was nearly sucked beneath the wheels as it passed by. She flapped frantically back to the safety of her side of the road. Wing over her heart, she gasped in panic at her near death. When her little chicken heart had slowed a bit, she eased back over to the median, looked both ways this time and half ran, half flew across the road, and made it safely with plenty of time to spare.
When the dust settled and she could see again, she saw a crowd of chickens going about their chicken business. Why, it was the same over here, as on her own side of the road. They were scratching around in the dirt, too and tending to their own chicks. No one came over and greeted her or even looked up. The only difference was that she didn't know anyone...She looked longingly at her side of the road and decided that somehow she had to get back..............

To be continued.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Think of the last movie you saw. Write a review...

Well, the one movie that i want to talk about isn't the last movie I saw, it's the movie before that. So Im already cheating on this writing prompt...plus the actual prompt sez" In ten words or less". Hahaha...like I can do ANYTHING in ten words or less.

Since I am a rabid fan of the book, Secret Life of Bees, I had to go see the film. Now I love that book so much I have read it multiple times, and I know that the movie is never like the book, so I really didn't expect to like it.
I loved it.

Queen Latifa was the most perfect August Boatwright I could have imagined and no one but Dakota Fanning could have played the part of Lily Owens.
I took my teen aged daughter and niece and they also loved it. My daughter had read the book already, but my niece, who isn't a reader, said she wanted to read it now.

I just really enjoyed this chick flick and recommend it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gurning: What a weird sport.

Those UK folks are kinda different, aren't they? I mean, blood pudding??? EW!!!!
And frickin' haggis, what the hell is that about? I can hear it now..."Hey guys, I have a good idear, here's a big leftover sheep stomach...c'mon, let's stuff it with barley and boil it..." Gag me.

Then there is the sport of gurning. According to Wikipedia.....

"Gurning contests are a rural English tradition and were once common at travelling sideshows, fairs and freak shows. They are still held regularly in some villages and the contestants traditionally frame their faces through a horse collar - known as 'gurnin' through a braffin'. The World Gurning Championship is held annually in Egremont, Cumbria as one part of the Egremont Crab Fair. Those with the greatest gurn capabilities are often those with no teeth as this provides greater room to move the jaw further up. In some cases the elderly or otherwise toothless can be capable of spectacular gurns covering the entire nose."



Now for your viewing pleasure..And in no certain order....
(Ellen, this one's for you)

The first one...I couldnt resist putting on here, is a camel...I guess you might have guessed that, but might have thought the guy who is "gurnin thru a braffin" might be a camel too...He is this year's champ, by the way..
I personally don't think he is gurning, he is just butt ugly. Or as my hubby sez..."fugly".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Random Phone Photography

Here are some more phone pix, if you didn't get enough the first time........My nutty animals and my baby.

Random Phone Photography

Dont you just love having a little handy dandy camera built into your phone? I like whipping mine out and having unplanned pictures. You know, little snapshots of my life and things that catch my eye along the way...silly things we do at work...my crazy cat and kids. Stuff like that
Here are a few of mine..By the way....Thats me at the bottom!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Decorating the Carnivorous Christmas Tree

Last night we ventured forth to procure the perfect christmas tree, a symbol of the season and the constant renewel of life. No, we did not go into a forest and walk for miles and miles. We did not take our ax and smote a massive evergreen. Instead, we went to the local "Big Jim's" Christmas tree stand and selected our precut and grown at a Christmas tree farm tree. The temperature was hovering around 30 with a brisk wind and quite frankly, I was cold and maybe not as attentive as I usually would have been. I was also slightly distracted, because the Mrs of this mom and pop business was yelling at my son for smoking around the trees. Ok, so he should have known better but he insisted he didn't see a sign and we were outside. So anyway, the tree was the right height, the right shape and the right price, I told my husband, that one is fine and I shuffled up to the RV to pay.
When we arrive back at the house, we have to wrangle it out of the truck, into the house, and sometime in this time frame we discover our tree is of the "sticker bush" variety. I maybe should have felt this tree up a little bit because it is definately NOT decorater friendly. The simple act of applying lights has left me with a burning prickly rash up and down both arms and my hands, and it feels like I have been stung by jelly fish.
Only after we delievered this fiendish tree into our house and mounted it on its round plastic stand, did we notice the gnarled and twisted, impossible-to-make-it-stand-up-straight trunk. After resetting it into the base several times, we decided that it looked alright, even thought it seems as though it is thrusting out it's chest proudly, as if saying, "You got me in here, but I'm not gonna surrender to the likes of YOU".
So today I bring my first granddaughter over to help hang a few ornaments on it, and only after hanging two ornaments, she declared, "Im done, it keeps sticking me." So, I put her to work on the little Norman Rockwell village, as I bravely approched the tree, ornament in hand, to adorn this symbol of the spirit of christmas. Well not only did it stab me repeatedly, but it has the type of limbs that do not support decor. So, yes, I had to twist the hanger on as well as stick my hands back into this vampire tree.
So now, as I write this, my arms and hands are very inflammed and burning. But the tree stands,leaning back, in the corner twinkling merrily away. Now tommorrow I have to water it and put the presents under there..........

A strange memory

Sitting on that swing with all of my girl cousins, I can almost taste that sweet juiciness of watermelon in my mouth, as the aunts and mothers frantically cleaned for my grandmothers return home from the hospital. That summer of 1967, Mizz Nowlin, as we all called her, had suffered the last of several devestating strokes that would soon lead to her death. The stink of the nearby papermill was always with us, as was the constant hissing and rumbling of the trains loading and unloading just yards from where we sat. Suddenly we noticed a large hole in the tree holding up the swing, a hole we had never noticed before. We speculated for hours about what might live in that hole and finally we settled on bats. Yes, bats lived in that hole in the tree, so that, of course, called for a song (because we SANG about everything). The littlest and most talented of us came up with this..."There's a bat in the hole in the tree.", (sang to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.")This activity kept us occupied for quite a while.
Later, an ambulance pulled up into the driveway and we watched from the swing as they unloaded my old granny into her newly delivered hospital bed. The aunts and mothers fussed over her for what seemed like days, curling her hair, applying rouge to her pale face and getting her into her nicest dressing gown. Finally, they let us in briefly, to file by her bed and kiss her and say nice things to her, then we were shuffled back outside. Soon, she called us back in to administer a stern yet puzzling warning about dead wasps and how they can still sting you. We still to this day, do not know what she meant by that. She said many strange things that day, but it was one of her last days on earth so we decided, surely it must have been something deep and meaningful.
Nowadays, my grandmother, also known as Mrs. Nowlin, lurks about in the corners of my adult mind and doles out warnings and I-told-you-so's. She is that voice of reason that just won't shut up. She ambles about in my life and reminds me of how hard times were when she was raising my mother and aunts, and how wasteful and frivolous I am. Suddenly, my mother appears beside her and nods her head in agreement. Am I hopelessly lost? I ask them. They look at each other, chuckle, then fade back into obscurity. Well, thanks for nothin', I think.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An item you own that isn't worth much money but has great value to you.

Around here, everything qualifies as the first part of this writing prompt that I borrowed from the "One Minute Writer Blog", but actually, I can only think of a handful of things around here that might bring some monetary value. But only if you have a group of ecclectic collectors. Saying that, there is one item that stands out in my mind that might meet the criteria.
You would most likely find it in a junk shop, or the bottom of a junk drawer in a junky house, with lots of other junk. To me, this particular piece of junk is like a priceless blue diamond or a Rembrandt painting.
It has a special place in my home, a place where nothing else occupies and Woe Be It to anyone who mishandles it or misplaces it.
It's purpose is clear and precise, to deliver the dark and primitive granules that will become the bubbling brew that revives my lizard brain in the morning, and sometimes in the evening. It brings to a lowly measure of water, the bitter, the hot and flavor, the daily brew if you will.
Can you guess what it is?
My mother used it everyday for the same reasons. She has not used it in 19 years, but I have. Every day. The metal is thinning. The copper has worn off. But it is as dependable after all of these years, as was she.

I love coffee, I love tea, I love the Java jive and it loves me. Coffee and tea and the Java and me.
A cupacupacupacupa coffee.

Mother's old copper coffee scooper came to me 2 years after her death and she is deeply imprinted into it. I feel her presence every morning when I pick it up to scoop in 4 scoops for 8 cups of French Roast Brew. That particular ratio jolts me out of my lethargy and shoves me forward. Bitter and hot, black and dark, it is a bit like when she would shove me out of bed for school. No sugar for sweetness, just pure Java for the soul.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"How do you strive to be similar to, or different from, your parents? "

As previously decided, this is a writing prompt borrowed from One Minute Writer and elaborated upon here, in my own blog-dom. Thanks Kristen for the idea....

Here it is...

"How do you strive to be similar to, or different from, your parents? "

My parents are both gone on to the great beyond, so I am safe to say that they wouldn't object to my thoughts on this. Besides, it's nothing they didn't already know, I am beginning to suspect they knew alot more than I thought that they knew. I know this because I have entered the phase of my life where things are more illuminated and I can see a little more clearly. In other words, I am the age now, that my mother was when I was approaching my teen years. Actually, I think it would delight them to know that I would like to get some advice and encouragement.
Needless to say, everyday I wish I could call my mom, who as a teenager, I fought with every day. I would like to ask her "how the hell did you put up with me?", as I struggle with my own issues in childrearing.

As a child growing up in the 60's and 70's, I disagreed with everything they stood for, authority, old age, rules, oppression, responsibility and order. I especially detested their views on race, relationships, and curfew. We yelled and screamed and I whined and threw fits and manipulated and was defiant. I was, in effect, a royal pain in the ass.

Of course they were hopeless squares, old fashioned to the bone. They had never had feelings like i was having, never knew the angst and anger I felt. Never felt rage and the feeling that they could change the world and bring peace and tranquility to all if they would just smoke some weed. They were born old, lived in a shell and were trying to keep ME in a shell with them, and dammit, I was bustin' OUT. I knew it all, didn't need their damn help or advice and you don't own me and Im leaving.

I distinctly recall my mother, hissing at me thru clenched teeth, "I hope you have one just like you."

Well, I had three. You know that old saying, something about "whatever you do in this world, you will reap back thrice" ? It is true.
In my own version of living pergatory, each one is distinctly different from me, yet so like me in the defiance and manipulative ideas, that I can hardly keep up. I used to like to say things like, "you can't come up with anything new to shock me because I invented it" but I don't say that anymore.
Now, I find myself saying things my mother said just about everytime I open my mouth. It's like she's some sort of ethereal puppeteer and she has the strings that control me. I have to make myself stop snooping around, and to stop using the weird phrases that made her so unique.

So in an effort to be unlike her, I have in fact BECOME her.

It's mind boggling....


Friday, December 5, 2008

Writing inspiration from One minute writer blog

On the One minute writer blog, one of the prompts was "As a kid, what job did you dream of? What job do you do now?

It's been a long time since I was a kid, so maybe my memory is a little cloudy, but I distinctly remember at one point, wanting to be a paleontogist, but I only knew it then as "archeology." Only after I was in college did I know the true meaning of archeology after taking a class called Evolution of Man. I found out archeology spanned many schools of thought about our past. Palenotology was just one of them. But I dreamed of going on the big digs, with brushes and pith helmets, safari type clothing and lots of interesting people. I could see myself digging in deserts in far flung places looking for the missing links. I always envisioned myself with a big find. Big mysterious giant lizard creatures with lots of large sharp teeth.

Fast forward to now. I don't exactly dig with shovels and brushes, I don't wear a pith helmet or safari clothes. (But I probably should, cuz its a jungle out there. ) Actually now, I work in a large inner city hospital in a busy critical care. Instead of shovels, brushes and plaster cast, I am armed with an arsenal of paperwork, medications, fecal management systems, personal protection shields, and sometimes restraints. Our clientele is the indigent and homeless, drug addicts and alcholics of our fair city.

So, you see, sometimes our dreams have a way of morphing into something else. I don't hate what I do, quite the opposite. I think of how my life might have turned out, had I not had the opportunity of helping some of those people maybe have some hope, or finding the help they need. My hospital has always been very patient centered, of course all of the economic problems of our country is trickling down to the medical centers, too and lots of jobs affecting patient care are in danger or have already been cut. But we nurses remain at the front line, between the bureacracy and the patient. We are patient advocates and we stand between young foolish doctors and helpless people. We are the voice for those who may not have a voice. We translate the complicated diagnosis that the doctor just laid down on a shocked family. We listen to fears and dry tears and do whatever it takes to help the soul who is our charge for the day.

I believe what I do now, Is much more important that what I dreamed of doing in my youth.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Writing Prompts and inspirations...

I am following the blog 1 minute writer which states, " there are 1,440 minutes in every day, write during one of them." The idea is just this, they give you a prompt, such as "What is your least favorite food?" Or " How you got a scar, or injury even if a scar didn't occur." So you take this prompt and write about it for one full minute, and post it to that blog. Its an awesum idea but for one thing. Your inspiration is limited to one minute, and its lost among hundreds of other posts. So I would like to take it one step further and post my replies to the prompts here, on my blog and perhaps give it a little more attention than one minute. There are some really good prompts and I believe they deserve a little more than 60 seconds.

Such as this one.

"If you had $100,000 to give away, who wold you give it to, and why."

Well, now, Im glad you asked because I was just thinking about this the other day. Of course I do NOT have $100,000 to give away....LOL.... but if I indeed DID, I know exactly who I would give it to.

We are a homeschooling family in Tennessee, and our state laws dictate that we have to either be a member of a Church Related Umbrella School, or have and advanced education degree and cow tow to the state laws that require testing and snooping into our private home and choice of how to educate our children. Anyway, I digress....

We chose the Umbrella school option. Our umbrella school is Gateway Christian School. Now this is not some huge conglomerate church with more money than God himself, but a small, humble, kinda funky little church in an old and sketchy neighborhood in Memphis. They have their sanctuary separate from their school buildings and for the massive amount of homeschoolers that they keep up with, and they really do keep up with them, they never cease to amaze me. They are staffed with homeschooled kids, moms, and one amazing dude named Greg. There is guidance counsel for seniors and they help with college plans and send your transcripts for absolutely free. Not only that, but they have a bookstore in what appears to be a storage area. They make do with what they have and are the nicest folks.

Their office is nuts. The amount of students that they cater too is growing in leaps and bounds, as our own public education systems fail, and the sheer amount of papers stacked up and constant phones ringing is a testament to their efforts. Most of the time, you cannont get anyone on the phone, but if you leave a message, someone usually calls you back within 24 hours. They have 3 options for students. They work hard there and I think they believe in what they do.

They could have that 100,000 dollars . I wish I had it to give them. I dont subscribe to their particular brand of religion, but thats the beauty of it. You dont have to.

Gateway, your work is important. Keep it up.

Now see?? That required a bit more than one minute.........