It’s an Honor Just To Be Nominated

Despite my recent vow to remain positive and spare myself the heartache, I did watch the Detroit-based sporting event, and went pretty much the way I thought it would (though I did not expect the epic fourth-quarter collapse).

Even though we Lions fans may be disappointed, to those of us who lived through the 0-fer season and the 2-fer season, a playoff appearance just three years later is nothing short of amazing.

Good job, guys.  Well done.

New Years Day, Observed

I like to try to start the new year off right, because my mama drilled into me that what you do on New Years Day, you’re destined to do for the rest of the year.  Well, if yesterday is any indication, I will be sleeping late all year (even though I was in bed by about 9:30), perpetually having a very bad hair day, and cleaning up after construction workers at work.

So, I figured that if the government, the banks, and the post office can observe New Years Day today, then so can I, and I get a do-over for yesterday.  I actually awoke ahead of my alarm, took a nice, long shower, and somehow managed to style myself up some good hair — even Dianna, the self-proclaimed arbiter of good hair, said so — and put on a little mascara (the fact that we have cutie-pie Russian construction workers roaming about all day has nothing to do with this, I assure you!).  I’m having yesterday’s leftover creamed spinach and pasta for lunch, and yesterday’s leftover Hoppin’ John [made from my super-secret recipe of crumbled, cooked breakfast sausage, chopped onion and green pepper (if you can get the frozen kind, that ups the laziness quotient quite nicely), frozen blackeyed peas, and boxed dirty rice mix — cook until done] for dinner.  I call it New Years Day, version 2012.2.0

Sadly, though, the construction workers are still slobs.

So I Went Away for a While

It’s a long story that’ll probably come out in bits and pieces over future posts (the important parts, anyway).

Now that my least favorite holiday (NYE) is over, and I’ve had my Hoppin’ John and greens like a good Southern girl and emailed my mother the pictures to prove it (we take our superstitions very seriously ’round these parts), I’m looking ahead. I don’t make resolutions because I know myself well enough to know they won’t last, so rather than trying to lose weight, intending to exercise more, or insisting that this will be the year I consistently remember to do laundry before I run out of underwear (ha!), I intend to just remain positive, supportive, and creative, and some other words that end in “-tive” that I can’t think of right now, and just try to be an all-around mensch, because, really, that’s all I want from the people around me.

[Note to self: the outcome of the Lions-Packers game did not do a lot for my positivity, and some of the words I said were probably not very mensch-like (though they may have been creative!).  It might be advisable to avoid certain Detroit-centric sporting events if I want this thing to last more than a week.  Just sayin’.]

Now I must investigate why the cats have suddenly developed the evening crazies.  Methinks there might be another squirrel in the walls, which means I’ll have to move, because I’m not evicting another squirrel from my kitchen.  Once was enough.

The Lookout
He’s coming for me. I just know it.

¡Prospero año nuevo!

Sunshine on My Shoulders . . .

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I have a sort-of free day (meaning that I worked day shift yesterday and I work night shift tonight), so I’m currently lazing my day away on the front porch in the old Papasan chair my best friend gave me when she moved 900 miles away (*sniffle*).  I have a big, fat Stephen King book I can’t seem to put down (but, then, I never can seem to put down any good book).  It’s breezy, it’s partly cloudy, and it’s not too hot (yet).  The crew renovating the apartments behind my house seem to be done with the really loud demo work.  It’s summer break at the university, so no one’s around to bother me.  I’ll be watching the season finale of Glee once it finishes downloading to my phone.  I’m drinking a homemade lemon shake-up.  The dog is soaking up sunshine, chasing twigs and leaves around the yard, and warning off any errant birds (cardinals, mostly) who have the affrontery to land in her trees and take baths in her gutters.  I’m exchanging a series of gramatically-correct and perfectly-spelled* text messages with the aforementioned best friend, because that’s just the kind of people we are – Geek Pride!  I have mushrooms in the fridge that are going to become garlic butter mushrooms with capers and lemon, and then I will most likely eat them all, because when you live alone, you don’t have to share anything you don’t want to (betcha couldn’t tell I’m an only child, could ya?).

Now, if I could just keep reminding myself that there’s no reason to be terrified of the random bumblebees who occasionally meander into my line of sight, and remember that they respond much better to polite requests to go play somewhere else than they do to shrieks and throwing of books and/or water bottles (betcha couldn’t tell I’m just a leeeeetle afraid of things with stingers, could ya?), it would be divinely perfect.

*I just know I’m going to find some glaring grammar or spelling error in this post in a couple of weeks, because I’m writing this on my phone and I can’t figure out how to turn off the stupid Autocorrect.  (Edit: Apparently, Android’s Autocorrect does not contain the words “capers” or “stingers”.  Yet.)

Fun at the Store

Curry Tacos?  I think I’ve got an idea for a show on fusion cuisine!

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Macho?  Well, at least they got right to the point!

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Does anyone else find something  . . . um . . . odd . . . about the ear of corn in the middle?

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During late spring every year, ducks take over our parking lots!

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In a world gone mad, isn’t it nice to know that Little Golden Books still survive?

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If I’m spending 15 bucks on a chunk of (frankly, not awesome-looking) meat, someone had better be cooking it for me.  With sides.  And beer.

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I’m almost tempted to buy it just to keep on the mantel, like my can of spotted dick, but that would mean perpetuating this crime against nature!

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And I, child of the countryside, grew up believing puffball mushrooms were poisonous!

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These regal grapes were spotted just one day before The Wedding of the Millennium.  Way to cash in!

To provide some background, I’m afraid of persimmons.  The Homestead has a persimmon tree in the front yard which likes to throw its hard little fruit at us.  All.  Summer.  Long.  They’re not edible (we tried), they dent our cars (seriously), they lay on the ground and rot faster than we can rake them up and get stuck in our shoe treads, they smell like baby poo, and when they’ve decayed sufficiently, the butterflies come and feed on them and weave drunkenly around our yard and get trapped in our cars and try to land on our heads (which is not really as magical as it sounds).  So, to see a persimmon the size of my fist next to a pineapple (which I love) bred to one-third its regular size was more than a little disconcerting.  For perspective, look at the nice, regular-sized bananas in the background.  I emailed this to my mom later that day with the subject line “Mummy, I’m afraid of the fruit . . .”.

To My Badass Mother

(My thanks to Uncle Henry for scanning a ton of old photos and putting them on a CD several years ago, because I just realized I don’t have any good digital photos of my mom.  I do, however, have a ton of pictures of the back of her head, or her shoulder, or her left earlobe.  She’s really good at ducking cameras.)

To the marvelous lady who:

  • Taught me to walk properly in high heels (and that only trashy girls walk on their toes while in heels).
  • Tried to teach me to dance (epic fail, by the way).
  • Nearly got into a fistfight defending my honor during a middle school football game.
  • Let me wear the abovepictured dress as a Halloween costume.
  • Gives the world’s greatest back rubs.
  • Escaped a dysfunctional, abusive family, and as a result, never once spanked, slapped, or otherwise corporally punished me.
  • Brought me up to love animals, children, and Frosted Mini Wheats.
  • And a million other things, every day.
Thanks!
Oh, yeah, and thanks for that whole birth thing, too!

Daylight Come and Me Wan’ Go Home

I’ve been working 2-3 night shifts per week for a couple of weeks now, and a profound dearth of qualified applicants means I’ll probably be doing this for some time to come.  I don’t mind the occasional night shift – it gives me time to catch up on my hulu-ing or reading or trying to beat the Super Mario simulator on my phone, and I can usually squeeze in some free or reduced-price laundry.  Besides, I started out at each of my hotels as a night auditor before being promoted – two years at my first, three months at my second, and a little over a year at my current – so its not exactly unfamiliar territory.  But I’m a trifle elderly now, and I’m still working day shifts the rest of the week.  I don’t bounce back and forth quite like I used to.  And it confuses the heck out of the dog.  (Admittedly not a remarkable accomplishment.)

But, hey, I got an obscene phone call right around midnight – brightened my whole evening!

Must sleep now.  I think I’m going to be a bad Kentuckian and miss the Derby for the first time in my memory.  But, who knows? Maybe my subconscious will wake me up anyway!

Edit: I actually did wake up in time to see both the Derby and the end of Justin Verlander’s no-hitter!

Perspective Needed, Apply Within

Don’t get me wrong, I do think the dispatching of Osama bin Laden was a newsworthy event, though, sadly, one which probably won’t expedite the end of the war on terror (there are too many other global factors at work). We’ve had our fun now, taking to the streets and waving our flags. Heck, even Fox News has changed his name from “Osama” to “Usama;” to what end, I do not know.

The reason all this gets under my skin is because the timely death of one man (ok, one monster and a few human shields) halfway across the world has taken all our attention away from the very real problems we have going on here at home. Tonight, thousands of people across the South will go to bed in temporary shelters because they no longer have homes to sleep in, and they are burying hundreds of their nearest and dearest who were taken at the whim of Mother Nature (that bitch). Communities along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are facing the worst flooding they’ve seen in decades, flooding which may well eclipse the 1927 floods (and blowing up levees, which does sound like fun, may or may not be the answer).

These are people who need our attention, and our help. Give where your heart tells you — personally, I’m no fan of just blindly giving cash, especially to organizations who funnel a big chunk of that cash to “administrative costs” — but please don’t let these people suffer unnoticed. So many of us don’t have cash to give right now anyway, but we do have roofs (rooves?) over our heads, and I’ll bet we have goods we can share, whether it’s gently-used clothing or toys (toys may seem like a frivolous thing to give, but it could mean the world to a child who has lost everything), or nonperishable food items, or cleaning supplies. If you check in your area, you’re likely to find a church or charitable organization collecting items for transport, and a handy-dandy list of the items they’re collecting. Or, if cash donations are your thing, do a quick google search for “Alabama Tornado Relief” and try to give to the lesser-known organizations that are actually located in the communities they serve.

Please help, not because you want a tax deduction, or because you’re looking to create some karmic balance, but because it’s the right thing to do. And because, if it were your home, your community, your family, you wouldn’t want the public to forget about you as soon as the next story came along.

The Fluid Nature of Grief

Sometimes I think there’s a sixth stage of grief, right there after acceptance.  It’s happens when something catches you out of the blue and taps you in the back of the head — not particularly painful, but it causes you to take notice.  That happened to me today.

Let me back up.  Brandi and I were very best friends all through grade school and middle school.  We were inseparable, so much so that on one memorable occasion, we passed a particulary nasty case of head lice back and forth.  She was the first person who ever painted my toenails (we had this foolish idea that my mom, who had a no-nail-polish rule for quite some time, wouldn’t figure it out — she did).  We even broght the house down with our marvelous and nuanced performances as playing cards in a very, very gliterry local production of Alice in Wonderland.

We drifted, eventually, as adolescents do, and didn’t reconnect until adulthood.  I went away (a whole 90 miles) to college, and she went to beauty school and started cutting my mom’s hair (come to think about it, she may have been partially responsible for Brandi’s career choice, because she’d been a hairdresser before I was born, and cut and permed Brandi’s hair when we were younger).  Brandi was a gifted hairdresser, and embraced what she called her “natural electric pearl highlights” (stray silver hairs, which I seem to have inherited from her).  And she loved my mom — she had a tortured relationship with her own mother and I think she appreciated the relative stability my mother tried to give her.

She died (I originally wrote “passed away” but scratched it because “passed away” sounds too peaceful) on December 30, 2007 as a result of complications from an acute asthma attack.  She was 29 years old.

Anyway, I was reminded of her today, when I turned on the TV and found the movie Beetlejuice.  When we were in fourth or fifth grade, Brandi’s stepdad brought home a satellite dish and a projection TV (both of them enormous — it was the ’80’s, after all!).  We quite happily spent that entire summer indoors, watching over and over again Beetlejuice, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray (the original with Ricki Lake), and Spaceballs.  I can’t watch any of these movies today without thinking of her.  A couple of years ago, it would have been painful, but now it’s more of a warm fuzzy.

So, Brandi-Beth, wherever you are, I watched Beetlejuice for you.  And I’m rockin’ some sparkly purple toenails, too!  I know you’d approve.