Monday, December 28, 2009

Old Man Mac

With everything buzzing around in my head to write about, I get overwhelmed and don't write at all, but when mother asked me to write about Mac for a book that was being put together I knew I had to find the discipline to do it.

 "The Man Who Shot the Tractor and Other Stories from Wayside" is being written by Mac's widow, who's age I can't quote but must be late 70's.  She only recently "retired" from her post as activities coordinator at a local nursing home, I hear she still goes in two days a week! An icon in her own right: a former teacher, clogging afficiando, a pianist, event coordinator,  she is pressing those of us who knew her beloved Mac to write of our experiences with him. I spent more time with Mac than my own grandfather, Loved them equally but Papa worked running his construction company during this time.

 Mac was a tree farmer in my lifetime. He owned so much land that we would drive around all day and not see all of it. Between 14 and 17 years old I worked summers and weekends around his farm and sawmill, riding tractors, picking blueberries, muscadines and other veggies. Some days were hard and we were glad to see mac drive up at lunch to take us for "belly washers". On extremely hot days, he would knock us off early and head to the creek to swim for a while to cool off. Some days it seemed he had forgotten us, but would always be there eventually. I worked with other neighborhood boys, all older and in college by then, who we called "Mac's boy's". I LOVED working with them. Mainly because it was as close to boys as I was allowed to get. I worked hard and according to Mac they worked harder when I was around. I remember once Mac came to get me one Sat morning and told me "Go get your swimsuit, we going to the creek later on."  So I ran back and put on my suit and work clothes and  we took off to the sawmill. Upon arrival, the mill in is full swing, Mac's boys working hard. Mac tells me I got an easy job this day.... taking lemonade to his boys. I remember being slightly miffed to haved to stand around and hand out lemonade since i usually stacked lumber or rolled logs, but I played along. Turns out Mac knew what he was doing as they finished early that day and we all went to the creek.

Not every day was all work. Some days we would ride around and see various people in the neighborhood. He would check in on a widow, drop off some homemade goods to a friend, and deliver garden goods to another each time waving off the thank you he would always receive. There was some weird rule that you just didn't thank Mac.  One did not dare mention a need of something within earshot of Mac, or one would find it literally on the doorstep upon arriving home. Once he pulled right up into "Big O Ranch", Otis Redding's  home here in Round Oak and we strolled up to Mrs. Zelma Redding for a chat about something. I was in awe.

Somehow he would fit in collecting used eye glasses and selling brooms to raise money for the Lion's Club that he so loved, all the while managing his trees.

I will not forget the lunches, with an occasional treat of fried okra or peanut brittle that he would just whip up in a cast iron skillet. I still call Mom for his best recipes. Fall would always bring the question of "When is Mac's squirrel stew?", which was probably always on opening weekend, since it was he that would host a gathering for all the out of town hunters that came to hunt on his land. These were cool evenings with a bonfire, music, clogging and of course stew.  For several of these events I was blessed to have helped cook the stew out behind his house over a fire. It was no secret that stew consisted of whatever was in the freezer from that year... rabbit, squirrel, possum and all the tomatoes and potatos you could fit in that huge cast iron pot.

When there came a time that I took clogging lessons at the Lion's Club, Mac was there.  A Lion's Club lifer that would open the  buiding for clogging classes and the like. He would be found in the corner with his bag of gum to hand out while watching the ladies dance. While other husbands might not be caught dead up there, Mac was no fool.

Mac taught me about a little about trees, muscadines and tractors and even sparked my interest in welding for high school shop and beyond ;) but he taught me more about friends, family and community and that might have made him as happy as my knowing the difference between a paper oak and a water oak.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lunchtime Tie Dye

I don't normally break out the tie dye mess in the middle of winter, but a special request was made and since it was small scale, I decided to do it.
My mom called and as usual, wanted to suggest a gift for my father. It seems he liked the "do-rags" (tie dyed bandanas) I had made Mom for her hairless phase and had adopted them. She advised that since he disliked using "old man white" hankies, I could tie dye some special for him.
I bought a pack of 12 and sat up late one night folding and tying, so I could dye at work during lunch the next day. It was fun working on such a small scale, much less mess. And as with every experience, I learn something new.

The result is Tie Dyed Office!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Exposure Rocks!

Three weeks ago it seems the phone started ringing with requests for the mister to sing/play with various new groups around the area and even a band he used to play with years ago. Since he has been feeling somewhat better, he has taken every opportunity offered. It seems that his morale is improving with every gig. He was invited last week to the local *insert large furry animal with antlers* lodge to meet/jam with the house act.

We were there as guests of the "band" which turned out to be an act similar to David's- one guy with backing tracks- except with about $5000 worth of equip incl BOSE speakers that fit behind the seat of his truck!! There were maybe 10 folks in the bar, ~25 in the ?ballroom? and yes,  I was the youngest one there. As we got acquainted in the bar area I looked around and tried to imagine how old all these fellas  might have been when Gramma & Papa were members.
I tried to imagine it a different time, like when G & P would go, which seemed like alot. I remember when I was a young child seeing  Gramma in fancy pleated skirts, shiny jewelry and perfect hair leaving to go dancing. Of course they never said that. It was just "We are going to the Lodge." As I got a l little older, I can remember Pop saying they were going to "Paint the town red".  As i got even older it became evident what they were doing, it was DANCING!
Tonight, I saw them. I know not them exactly, but in that atmosphere. There were three couples that danced every song, including 'Up On the roof', 'Pink cadillac', and even a Kid Rock song. One couple in particular was trained. I mean they paid money to learn to dance like that. They took the floor first song,  David asked me if I wanted to dance and I was appalled at the thought. No Way, I said. For one thing we would get run over by them, they were waltzing, shagging and foxtrotting and some things I dont even know and had never seen. He was as ?elegant? as her, I would have placed them between 60 & 65. OMG they did not stop except for a glass of wine. They swapped partners often, seeming to be teaching some. They line danced. How did I not ever learn that?
At some point the inevitable happened, a man came to us and asked were we guests and musicians, we said yes. He introduced himself (my mind drifted to local businesses with that name...) and asked if we knew any Lodge members and we said no. He was nice and of course said we should consider filling out an application. He returned with two. He, too danced the night away with his wife ( I highly suspect highly botoxed, i put them late 60's and Jack Lalane fit!) I look around and see mostly they all are. Trim and fit that is. I mean there was still arm flappage, hell I contribute to that, but the calves on these ladies were enviable!

[So me thinks here that this is either some weird *recall furry animal name* cult where they stay youthful draining the blood of young inductees OR  maybe it's just that they dance their arses off 2-3 nights a week!!! Putting 2 + 2 together, I shall surf the net for ballroom lessons I can find for free. Plenty of room in the back room to practice.] 

David was called up to sing several songs and they seemed to loove the new blood. He sang Sweet Melissa, Margaritaville  and a few others.

We also had a friend sitting in with a house band at a club adjacent to the Lodge. Fortunate coincidence . We wandered  there eventually and he took the joint over for a few songs. We saw some old friends and made some new ones. Overall it was a very productive night!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Smashing Pumpkins

I am behind on blogging but I wanted to write about Halloweek and years past.

It is usually a busy week with a day or two for costume compilation, a day for the pumpkin, another for the pumpkin pies. I was the mom that would NOT buy a costume. EVER. My mom had always made mine, and I vowed I would do the same. I can remember so many evenings spent hot glueing, stapling, sewing, painting, stuffing, ironing and pinning our way to first place costumes.

I should dig out the photos of the wee ones as Little Miss Muffett and her Spider, or the next year as a large sunflower and bumblebee (utilzing same frame as spider for the boy). There was the year I rallied at the last minute for Carrie and in a fit, threw her to the floor on top of a doubled up white sheet, and forgetting everything my mama taught me about sewing, cut around her body, sewed it up and proceeded to dye large dots with food coloring. When it dried and she stepped in !voila! a clown! It rained that afternoon and one of the activities at the local
party included diving in the abundant fall leaves to find prizes. The leaves were fairly wet and by the end of the night so was she. When we got home and she stripped down, she was at first horrified then amused that (because i had cheated and used food coloring) SHE was covered in colorful dots. I regret not taking THAT picture. Mom would sometimes help with costumes and one year she came up with Mickey Mouse (The Apprentice) and the Sorcerer. Then there was the time we tried latex. Worked great. Latex remover, another story. She was a gypsy hag among pricesses and ballerinas and walked away with first place but slept in her make up.

Young master graduated to boyish scary things that were easy to do and I would always result to turning a black shirt into cat ears and tail for myself.
During all of this we would squeeze a pumpkin in somewhere,along with home made pies.
THIS year there were no children to dress and I was sick almost the entire week. I was NOT in a Haloweeny mood. I did muster the strength to carve a pumpkin on Wednesday evening and 2 pies on Thursday night.
Interesting that, since there were no competing ideas for the pumpkin, I carved what I wanted:

When mini-masculine (now living with his father) visited on the weekend, he did get to enjoy a time honored family tradition of diposing of pumpkin. This non-event was executed expertly and we watched happily as it carved an arc in the sky just before exploding in the pasture behind the house.

Memories........ I'll take 'em where I can get 'em.

Monday, October 12, 2009

42 & a New 'Do

Strange breeze on my neck.
Reaching for that which is not there.
"It was time." they said.
Silent tears and clenched fists.
"But look, hon" he said as he spun me around.
Audible gasp. (Is that a desperate house wife looking back?)
It is 42. I see it, embrace it and smile.
Everything is ok.

Yeah, it was time. That translates to "Can't you do something with that mop?". I have favored shoulder length or longer hair since age 13. I fully did NOT intend on lightening my load to this degree. And even though I clearly stated to at least leave me a ponytail, he seemed to know better. I guess that's what I pay him for, albeit it only once a year or more.

Combine this new do with the contacts (first timer) replacing glasses and I feel like a new person!

The birthday party was a blast. I ended up dyeing 6 sheets in all.

My husband reaaaaaaaally loves me because he went out of his way to find the exact Leatherman tool to replace one I lost recently. I love it!!

So far 42 doesn't stink too bad.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Once I get started....

I just can't stop.

Since last weekend the chance of rain for this Sat has increased everyday so we decided to commit to being indoors.
I must explain that our house is close to 100 yrs old, and was constructed as a school. We actively live in the front half (2 large bedrooms and music studio that is our bedroom). The back half of the house which was the auditorium, lunchroom, lecture hall has been used for years for storage by our landlord's family. Over the years I have consolidated the crap to give us ingress and egress through the back of the house. I took this a little further and decided to clean half of it for our gathering.
I then decided that I needed to cover the walls that show some peeling plaster, some boarded up windows, some bare plaster backing.
With help from a friend, and one busted toe & one sliced finger later we seemed to be successful at clearing the floor and covering the walls.
Let it rain!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just call me the Okra Queen

Let me preface this by saying I haven't had a vegetable garden in 10 years. Well, I tried the first year we were here in this house, but had very little luck in the location i chose. This year, i borrowed a dear friends tiller and thought I would till a small plot for tomatoes. He also has a garden every year, but incessantly battles deer and rabbits.
I chose to plant tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, zuchinni, green beans,cucumbers, crook neck and butternut squash. While he battled deer i was blasted with butternut, bowled over by green beans and have now been overwhelmed by okra. I lost the cucumbers to a heat wave while we were confined to the hospital and my tomatoes were destroyed by the large green tomato worm.
I was, however, treated to a "volunteer" tomato plant that is just now starting to produce. Honestly, how do you get a volunteer tomato where you have NEVER had a garden in that location?? I figure it came from eating hamburgers adorned with tomatoes during many of the times we have grilled and eaten in that general area.
Back to the okra! It is quite prolific, over head high and with the frequent rain showers I have had to cut EVERY DAY, a meals worth at a time. The Mountaineer White Half Runners ( green beans) are doing the same.

We have eaten enough for the year and given away more, so the next weeks haul will go to the freezer dusted with cornmeal and ready to fry (the heart smart way, of course, in several tablespoons of olive oil) with just a little left whole for stews.

While I praise the okra, beautiful bloom, blah blah blah, I cannot NOT mention the horror of picking it. I should have included a pic of how one must dress to accomplish this task. I usually go at it right after work while still in jeans and I have a longsleeved shirt by the back door (my okra shirt) to protect the arms. Too much contact with the leaves of the plants can cause extreme itching that only a cool shower can calm. Even more of a challenge, I contend with ants swarming the unopened blooms that don't seem to be hurting the plants or production. I picked an hour ago and am still finding ants.

I understand okra originated in Africa and came to America via slave trade but is enjoyed by many cultures mostly in stews. The frying part, well that's mostly a southern thang, i reckon.

I would be glad to share!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm tired.......

Not that i belong to the oldest profession, unless you consider being a dedicated wife the oldest profession. Wifely duties sometimes require us to "prostitute" ourselves to get what we need. This could be as simple as as the batting of eyelashes or pushing out the chest (some of us more than others) if it will get what ever need. Doesn't work well with nurses but try it next time when the old man behind the pharmacy counter is giving you flack..........
Let's face it, I am tired......

Friday, August 7, 2009

Keep on the Sunny Side

The sunny side is that, since i have been laid off ("temporarily"), I will have plenty of time to take care of ailing hubby. Thursday night he was rushed by ambulance to Luce Heart Center with very high blood pressure and chest pains. After much consideration it has been determined that he will have a defibrillator/pacemaker implanted. Although I can TYPE "implanted", I keep saying installed, as in "We installed pipe and slope mat today."

Yes, I should be sleeping, but I am just about to search out this thing they are going to put in my husband.......

I searched these out and they made me feel much better.

I loved this movie for Turturro. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spontaneity Vs. Common Sense

Seeing as I am someone who has issues with putting socks on standing up, and has even been accused of being dyspraxic, you would think I would learn to say NO to the river, but I can't.
Although I did protest and rant about being the bread winner and making good decisions, all the while I was leaping from slippery rock to moss covered rock and even had to scale 6' up and down over head gates to get to the desired location of 'below the dam'. Turns out that I developed confidence on the way TO that was overwhelming on the way back. Upon trying to pull myself up the 6' concrete wall, my right shoulder gave way and I heard a simple pop. I did not make a big deal about it.

We reveled in how brave we were and young we still are and went home to sleep hard.

When I awoke Monday morning, my first thought was "who is stabbing me??". When I gained full conciousness I was overwhelmed with the thought that I might have REALLY done it this time. My right shoulder screamed for relief and no amount of pulling, twisting or movement could give me less pain. I found the boys arm sling and put it on foolishly expecting immediate relief. Not so lucky.
Commenced the ride to work, inadvertently honking the horn every time I operated the gear shift with my left hand, took off the arm sling to avoid all ribbing at the office check in, then continued to the project. I should have put a sign on my forehead to avoid retelling the story all day, and finally found a place to hide out for the rest of the day. I awoke in the same shape this morning and had to make a hard decision: tough it out at work or admit my foolishness and go get x-rays.........
I have now just returned from the doc-in-a-box who advised after x-rays that it is probably a torn rotator cuff.


He advised that to save money, I wait a week to do the MRI. judging the need on pain levels(which are now diminished thanks to NSAIDS, a butt shot and small doses of narcotics-wheeeeee!).

Is it at all worth it to get a crummy cell phone shot like the one in which i am pictured below?

I'll let you know in a week.

On the up side, work has slowed since northbound and southbound traffic have been shifted the final mainline configuration, with 1 1/2 lanes left to construct on the outside of traffic.
I will be transitioning to my next bridge project which will mean a lot of paper work and file set up. Small miracles, since I would be hard pressed to test a load of concrete right now.

Please send common sense, prayer and happy thoughts my way!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

RIP Cory

I believe I have just realized the basis of my fascination with the Hispanic culture.
Corazon "Tita Cory" Aquino died this morning of colon cancer.

Even though the Philippines are technically considered as Asian they have a rich Hispanic culture, being ruled until the 1800's by Spain and I guess, as a child, I believed it was a Hispanic country from hearing the Spanish sounding monikers.

I can remember when we lived without television (6 yrs, the formative ones) I would listen to much news and even local channels on my stereo. I followed from the assassination through the coup and knew that this was major history. A woman could do this??

I can also recall finally seeing her on tv somewhere and being surprised. I had envisioned a large stern looking woman, but she seemed more slight and bright in her yellow dresses.

Already daddy was hard at work toughening me up for this world and making me believe anything was possible but here was proof. Add the Ferraro selection by Mondale and, man, I was certain that soon the chauvinism crap would soon be over.
Then for some stupid reason I joined the cause and strove to change attitudes. It has been a long hard, bruising, exhausting, enlightening and bumpy road.
I had a contractor once ( 'bout my grandaddy's age) threaten to put me in that concrete truck if I did not approve the load.
I have trained individuals only to encounter them 2 yrs later as my boss.
It has been assumed that I could not push a wheelbarrow full of concrete to it's desired destination.
I have been shadowed while inspecting steel 3 stories up since i would surely fall. And so on and so on.......
Of course none of this compares to the suffragettes, I would not even BE in a hard hat if not for them and women like Corazon Aquino.

Rest in peace Cory.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pick a happy adjective...

..... and it would describe our mountain getaway with parents and sibling & family. I think that mountian getaways should be required for yearly soul cleansing. I just THOUGHT the ocean was revitalizing, and it is in it's own way, but the Appalachian mountians just do something special.

The cool, sweet smell of of the trails was overwhelming and brought flooding memories of hiking these mountains as a child. Our parents dragged us up Blood Mountain and down Standing Indian, through Rabun Gap and under Anna Ruby Falls. Back then a family of four could easily hitchhike back to the car after tackling a mountain. Living for days off of reconstituted meals, berries & mountain water, we explored those trails in every weather imaginable. We would log in at check-in stations at various points along the trails. At some point my brother and I received a letter from our then-governor Jimmy Carter commending us as the youngest to have hiked the Appalachian trials in Georgia. Kinda cool.

While there was very little roughing it this past weekend in the 5BR 3 BA cabin we stayed in, we did try to spend a lot of time in the woods along the Chatahoochee River. We fished, floated the river and picnicked along the river.

On a sad note, Nikki (my D-70) may be terminal as she took a plunge with the mister who was trying for a daring shot on Dick's Creek.

Here he is seconds before, snapped by one of the kids who was, at that moment, verbalizing the thought that he might fall. She raced in to him, not knowing how badly he may be hurt. I was being taunted by trout up creek and thought the hooting was all about someone finally finding a fish hungry enough to bite. Imagine my surprise when i emerge from the bushes to see wet-headed husband and lens off of camera (*gasp).

What was he thinking?

Other family members who were set up across the creek with heavy duty glass and tripods seemed to have blinked and missed it, but are comparing their shots and sending me the 'after' shots. He was somewhat injured; trying to protect the camera, he says. Even though most of the creek is ankle deep , it seemed to have no bottom where he went in at the falls. Nikki was under for probably a second and a half and he had the sense (since everyone was screaming it) to snatch out the battery.

The body has a better chance of survival than the telephoto lens that was on it but we shall see. I will be purchasing 10lbs of rice and some panty hose tomorrow for the prescribed re-hab. Card compartment was dry and dad will try to recover the days shots.

Other than that, we had a great time and the only way to decribe the view is to show you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend Shenanigans

Weekends must be the exact balance of fun, work and rest. A good Satuday morning house or yard cleaning, followed by (insert fun here) with the required rest on Sun. Too much rest fills one with guilt that nothing got done. Too much fun, the same. Too much work, well you get it.
It is just this balance, that when upset, can send you careening into Monday unprotected from the eye daggers, back stabbing, mind f******, leg pulling, knee jerking, gut wrenching, heart breaking assholes.

I thought I had planned for the correct balance this past weekend with out-of-town friends visiting and the monthly Sat night jam. I raced throught the work to get straight to the fun, keeping rest in the back of my mind as something i would get to later on Sun.

Saturday went great with the invention of 'splash dye' in the yard. The stage backdrop had become faded in the sun and needed rejuvenation. We were determined not to have to take the sheets off of the frame so my friend and
I grabbed the ketchup bottles (regrettably no gloves) and went to town "splashing" the dye, working from the outside in. We gained some form (?!) halfway through and started rolling the frame around to direct the flow of dye. Looked great in the 100 degree heat between blender breaks. As I look at it now it kinda looks like first grade artwork, but who doesn't love that?? It rises proudly from the cow pasture.

The squiggly dark lines were some rit dye that did not fare well when rediluted after concentration in dry back room for a year, for some reason it doesn't like reconstitution like Dylon.
That night produced great music and reconnecting with old friends.

It was that night that evidently I agreed to float the river ("c'mon we'll just do the ONE HOUR float") with another friend and his niece/nephew and their friends the next day (mostly 20 somethings, note this).

Mister begs off with the expected bad heart, can't stand the heat, are you kidding me answer.

Something about losing 5 pounds makes you feel unbeatable and able to conquer the world, so I was ready. Packed a cooler in an available baby float (guaranteed not to flip, note this) grabbed my raft with a bottom and headed out around noon.

Spent 2 hours in the heat waiting on teenagers. Thoughts like, why am i here and not on the sofa balancing my weekend? Surely i will be home by 4. Somehow I was talked into giving my raft up for coolers sake and taking a standard river tube with no bottom.

The ride started innocuous enough, vaguely thought about calling dad to take pictures of the huge crowd having the same thoughts of cooling off. I thought he would be tickled to know I was reliving childhood (note this). As a child I remember thinking the river belonged to us since we seemed to be the only ones that ever used it. With subdivisions nearby now, those days are long gone.

The subdivision located on this river is appropriately called Tumbling Shoals. As I heard the hoots and hollers behind me, because i was inadvertently traveling backwards, I did not see the 5' drop to strong current and separated from my ride.

I came away with this, and more.

My elbow turned out to be the worst with a large hematoma that wasn't as impressive to the teenagers as the strawberry on my back.

These are the massive shoals that did me in.

I realized I should have used the baby float.

Dad pointed out I am not 20 something any more with out even knowing I was hanging out with 20 somethings. I was kinda insulted.

I was deposited at home sometime around 6 and I collapsed to be doctored by my smirking husband.

By this time i realize I have mucked up. Not only did I not rest, I seriously put at risk my ability to work and take care of family. WHAT A DOWNER! I wasn't really sure until Mon morning that I did not break anything. Carrying that weight and my wounded pride I went to work to make the best of it, and was faced with...... more crap. After debating for some time how to word what I am going through, I reread my post and realized I covdered that in the first paragraph.

Trying to be thankful I have a workplace to go to even if it is with fraught with degradation, discrimination and favoritism.

This weekend there shall be no problem balancing the equation. With an extra day off I will be able to store enough energy, willpower, superpowers and the motivation I will need to return to enslavement on Monday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well Deserved Break

Seeing how the only time I have had off in a year has been three hospital stays (recap: Mom-Tcell transplant, mister- heart attack, son-neck surgery) I took my parents offer of help to attend a family reunion in Florida. It was a whirlwind trip leaving fri and returning yesterday, but refreshing still. Refreshing more because (sniff, sniff) kids wound up not being able to go. I was very disappointed. I did not gloat.
The boy had a 4wheeler accident that resulted in a broken collar bone. This would cause panic for the average person but it caused rage in this mom. He wasn't even supposed to be riding, as anyone who knows me or him KNOWS. Note that he lives with his father and obviously wore him down to get permission to even be on one before his year of healing is up. I will not bore you with the obvious conversations that ensued but needless to say i was as mad as a wet hen and wasn't taking a broken/not-yet-set child to Florida. Minime chose to work the double shifts that were offered to her and opted out since bubba wasn't going.
My diabolical plan ( ?!) to have an all adult weekend was falling into place. I packed a blender.
We stayed in the same area as we ever did when I was a child, at Fernandina Beach. Not crowded, one of everything you could need and family on every corner.
Bittersweet for my mom who spent her very young to teen years there and it was sad to watch her need help to walk on the loose sand to get to the tight, flat beach. Chemo left it scars in the form of severe neuropathy in the feet and hands.
My mom, on the right with her younger sister.

Fun was watching my dad at work with his new lens, don't ask me what it was, but it was way more powerful that what i have. I managed a few shots on my D70 with it.

Mister thought it was a great backdrop for an album cover so i went at it.

I though about you guys really...
Somewhere on Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach

Things that made me want to stay at the beach and not return:

  1. The beach
  2. Mister getting his groove back
  3. Did not want to see another bridge....ever
  4. convinced myself that i really COULD make a living with an umbrella business
  5. the palms
  6. the way anyone can wear damn near anything they want, at the beach
  7. The way humid, salty air makes my hair act ( think 80's big, sexy beach hair)
  8. Could not get cell phone signal on the beach.... YAY
  9. Crab anywhere, anytime.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

History comes alive

An interesting phenomenon in the south is that some of us LOOOOOOOOOVE to live in the past.
I was raised near a state historic site, Jarrell Plantation, where i volunteered as a teen, and subsequently worked as an older teen. In that time I learned the required arts of the time period: spinning, weaving, dyeing, shearing, wood-stove cooking and dulcimer playing. (I am stashing those skills for the inevitable "survival of the fittest" that I sometimes think this world is coming to.)

In that time of my life I became attached to a rogue group of civil war reenactors that ate-lived-breathed the lifestyle. I joined the group, falling into place as a living historian. Dressing the part was enabled by my seamstress mother who made every day dress, pantaloon, chemise, ball gown that I salivated over. Some patterns were a premium, she once made me Scarletts' barbeque dress from Gone With the Wind. I traveled the the state to participate in various battles, Chickamauga, Resaca & Andersonville. Some, Griswoldville & Sunshine Church, were closer to home.

We were in deep.

The following photo would have been in my hey day( 21 or 22 yo), we won first place for authenticity that evening. The judges would even pull up our dresses to make sure we were authentic to the bone, guess they chose to overlook my braces.

I introduced my first husband to the group and after being punished for being the yankee that he is :) , we were allowed a civil war wedding in the local historic community, where we lived, Clinton.

The best picture, that I could not find, is the regiment dragging up a wooden coffin & asking him to get in, just to see if it fit. This is where he would reside in the event the he did something to hurt me. My great grandmother loved that.

Fast forward past years that I spent roaming the state, estranged from the camps, the lifestyle, the fellowship, the familiarity. When we moved home, i made a point to get Minime to Jarrell Plantation where she, too, volunteered and got a small taste of my childhood. She learned about cotton fields, textile arts, animals and history.

Several years after the photo above, she worked as and ice angel ( for girls under 16) on the battle field in Clinton, carrying water and ice chips to wounded soldiers. We have stopped short of dressing her up as a soldier and sending her out on the field. I was know to do that to be in a position to set off pyrotechnics for the artillery.

Fun Times.

Minime doesn't care too much anymore except to go see the folks that we have visited with over the years, but we went down today to see the Battle of Sunshine Church with some friends. It is an emotional trip for me, 5 minutes from the house. I drive by it all the time, but when it is seething with blue and gray, i get a little verklempt. We noted that some pictures had been added to the memorial wall, "Mountain" and "King", both long-time familiar characters at any battle. I remembered them fondly as each had their ashes blasted from a cannon at the end of a memorial volley, seen below.
I am not sure if this was a health violation.

Things have come full circle, I am home, close to Clinton. Below is the man in previous photos (as my escort and then the minister at the wedding). He is a driving force behind Clinton battles, which ultimately are to raise money for the Clinton Historical Society.

Here are a couple of battlefield shots.

I realized some years ago that some of the participants are more gung ho than others if you know what I mean, and when I was much younger I did not realize the stigma that may be attached to being involved in this sort of horse play. I have since been told by those opposed to certain ideals of 1880 to get over it and move on, but i was NEVER in it for more than the living history demonstrations and never to push a political viewpoint.

I believe reenactments have their place as educational, and those that are just a little too loud and proud about the whole damn flag thing are usually not over it and should, in fact move on.
I am simply proud to have been involved with a such great group, and hope that they have many more years of living history left in them.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The great ones just happen....

On Sat, since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to jam in the yard with a friend or TWO.
The following happened when word got out. I never even picked up the phone.

This was the first time he has played for an "audience" since the event.


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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Laugh at us while we freak out....

Middle Georgia. Need i say more?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hospital Vent II

So.............. I took Lime's advice and cooled the heels on blogging and worried about Mr.'s diet, minime's change of venue and young masters change of custody.
Things mostly going well with above, adding that minime moved in with girlfriend weeks ago and hubby has a handle on approved intake and forbidden foods.
I am discovering that it is stressful trauma that sends me here.
This story requires background for the lurkers that won't join.
Young master was cursed with a super macho daddy that envisioned his son a nascar driver by age 18. As i fought against this concept I was worn down by the cuteness (insanity?) of a toddler driven HotWheels thingy. You've seen 'em. He promptly drove it under his dad's truck which told my educated brain that maybe he wasn't cut out for it. I won the battle for a few years pointing the child into his fathers former forte of gymnastics (Ex went to Jr. Olympics on the rings) and this went on for a few years until divorce, finances and then instructor availablity put an end to it. SAD because this child executed a perfect dismount from an Applebee's high chair at age 3.
His dad did not give up the racing dream and by age 6 he had a Honda 50 and we were in the middle of a divorce that included mediation for me to keep boy off of the death machine. Mediation just said work it out and I said I would kill the daddy if the boy got injured.

Karma is hilarious. Daddy rode/owned his share of Harleys (proving he was a worthy rider?) and on one fateful evening he was instructing a wide-eyed 7 yo how to use the death machine. It got the better of him and he rolled down a hill and a even wider-eyed kid had to call 911 on an unconcious father who was subsequently lifeflighted to a local hospital to spend a week wondering if he would lose his polio-striken leg. [evening call goes " hello this is Rockdale County SHeriffs dept. Do you have a son named BLAH BLAH BLAH?" Mouth too dry to answer that question as he followed up with " EX MR has been lifeflighted to lala land".

He recovers from that mishap to buy a better more efficient death machine and move to a location where the boy could REALLY ride, with woods and trees and dirt roads.
So the young child rode, and rode and rode til one day in that 8-9th year he comes back from daddy's with info of a wreck where "somehow my helmet came off" that would require me to follow up with neck x rays which in turn found "nothing wrong" and "maybe some ligament damage" that was causing him to not turn his head correctly. He eventually compensated and time rolled on until about a year ago when he began complaining again of neck pain. Since i was under the care of a wonderful chiro i took the boy there and lo and behold was surprised to learn the his was the most effed up neck in the county with an OLD broken odontoid process at his C2. He went hands off and sent him to a neurologist ( which truly shows his worth).
Now here i sit 4 different types of x-rays, 3 MRI's and a second opinion later in Egleston's Childrens hospital in Atlanta while my son recovers from a "rib fusion". A wonderful surgeon cut a piece of bone from the rib and performed a graft at the C2 to an adjoining C and screwed them together to ensure this graft would take. He will have slightly limited mobility that he will be able to compensate for at his young age and over time.

In the here and now he is incorrigible. I love him but DAMMIT. There are so many babies on this floor that i feel weird crying out to nurses for help but I cannot make him do what he needs to do to get out of here. Surgery was Friday, he was supposed to go home tomorrow but no go.

He was not prepared(literally) for the pain. Step mom handled preop since daddy just had knee replacement (besides having polio see Karma above) and can hardly get around. She did not get near enough info for us to be the best caregivers we could be but I do not blame her. I have found those to blame and they have taken responsibility. Hope I affected change for the next person.
Step mom doesn't do hospitals overnight ( although she has turned out to be a good caretaker while dad is down) and dad can only hang around for a few hours at a time since after the surgery.

Add to this formula that for any spinal surgery the patient WILL experience extreme headaches and require complete darkness and silence and you can see by the length of my post I am damn near a basket case. I have been kicked from watching TV in unoccupied rooms across the hall twice and when it was explained why i almost cried again. "What if you left a germ in an already cleaned room and we placed a sick baby in there?" needless to say i felt like crap.

I was invited to a focus group for parents today. Oh lawd they shouldnt oughta asked me my opinion. I had a laundry list of suggestions, but the blue ribbon went to another mother who found her 7 yo in a bloody hospital room left unsupervised by the nurse he ripped out his iv and blew blood everywhere. This got the guest Liason's attention pretty quick. Although we did have a nurse who could not seem to understand written Dr. orders, it was not gory or life-threatening, just a pain/comfort level issue. Most of my frustration is with the dysfunctionality of mine and my son's relationship, which is why he went to live with his dad just before christmas. It was a friendly legal proceding designed to honor the wishes of the child and lessen the pocket pull of dad, but all for the better management of a child recently diagnosed with ADHD.

As I sit here trying to be delightfully descriptive and wonderfully witty it really just boils down that this is therapy for me since i have burnt up the cell phone battery and people have to continue living their lives even while mine comes to a tornadic stop.

Pray for me as I pray for a quick and complete recovery and please pray for me to not play the blame card while I am here. I will wait for Lloyd to do that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


We came home on the 30th.

We had CPR training on the 1st. A good friend of mine just became a certifier and was more than happy to give me back control of my life. Carrie and Mom and Dad also got certified.

The Mr is recovering, still very sore from the life-saving efforts.

We immediately assume a lifestyle that would shadow a nun's.

He rests mostly and can't/isn't supposed to venture outside until 1 week home. There are more tests and med changes coming soon. I had to leave him to go back to work yesterday and was very nervous about that.

I have a call in to EMS to locate the closest defribillator, for future reference.

We had our Christmas. He was my present. I thanked the dr.s profusely.

We developed a new routine for eating/sleeping and meds and I have learned much about the no-fad cardiac diet. I have faced these changes head-on and we were already halfway there, just had not committed entirely to whole foods.

I have taken days to post this since it seems so bland. I guess i am very distracted by recent events. I still take time to lurk and I resolve this year to comment more.

I shall end with more updates....

Minime is home now and we have successfully transferred her from GCSU to Macon State. Alot of people did backflips to get her in on time, even though finaid was dragging it's feet. Turns out her last semester excuse for grades were overlooked as a traditional first year gaffe and they weighted her more on her SAT scores, even scolding her about the poor performance at GCSU since it was obvious she could do better. She is home to enjoy the previously mentioned monastery existence, with new rules about coming and going. She "agreed" to be here on all school nights (S-W nights) with Th-Sat belonging to her. I explained to her that I must protect my investment. Seriously could not have gotten through the last 3 weeks without her.

Her ducks (and their poo) have tripled in size and moved to an outdoor pen that she constructed and paid for. We are encouraging her to persue Vet Science so she can get paid to love the animals.

The parents are doing well with their recovery, Mom to have tests this month. Daddy gave me a new lens (50mm) for Christmas and I will be learning all about it and posting some pics soon.