Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Movin' On Up!

So 'member when I said I was dreaming about babies and was blathering about new things and new beginnings and stuff last week?

Well here it is!

June's new addy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bitter Table For One!

I’ve been to the gym three out of the last four days. Where the Hell are my results? The number on the scale hasn’t budged, and I still can’t button my skinny jeans or pull them over my fat ass for that matter.

Don’t I sound like a typical 21st century American? I want results instantly and if I don’t get them I’ll make it happen. Thank goodness I don’t have the money to plop down in the direction of a plastic surgeon with a vacuum and scalpel I hope I wouldn’t even be tempted. The other ridiculous choice is this machine I saw this weekend. You stand on it and it vibrates you whole body really hard, “burning fat”. Oh what the Hell ever. The Girl and I immediately flashed on those vibrating machines with the waist bands. And you know what was really sad? Someone was seriously entertaining buying one. In this economy? Really? Dude, join a health club and employ a few people. People have way too much money. I would like to think I would use all that money to employ a trainer to baby-sit my exercise regime and my food choices.

And the other option behind Door Number 3: Puking and diet pills. Worse than the surgeon in long term side effects. What’s really alarming about that option is the fastest growing population of anorexics and bulimics are in my age group or so I read in nursing research a couple of years ago. Wow, just wow. If you missed the Dorm Barforama with your besties in 1983 here’s your second big chance! And God knows I hate being like everyone else so I guess I’ll stick to the gym and find a diet plan that works for me and doesn’t make me feel like I’m missing out on food I enjoy. This whole getting fat thing has made June bitter bitter bitter.

Or maybe it’s not the fat part that’s making me bitter. Maybe it’s the getting-my-ass-kicked-on-the-cross-country-ski-machine-by-a-woman-easily-in-her-seventies part that is making me bitter.

Granny better watch out. I’m gonna do level three for fifteen minutes tomorrow and then I’m going to faint and then I’m gonna have a moon pie.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Do you ever have those moments of pure unadulterated joy after an epiphany? I did this morning after I was greeted at the dark hour of 0630 by angry voices arguing over hair gel. Beav was quite upset a large dollop of gel had been scooped from his gel and started accusing Wally. At first, Wally took it in stride and laughed at him: “Dude, I don’t have any hair why would I use your gel?” But Beav wouldn’t leave it alone and just kept at his brother with increasingly heated accusations which naturally escalated Wally. I had to knock on the bathroom door because I truly thought it was going to come to blows. I also wanted to break it up because I couldn’t believe they were arguing over hair gel. Had they not been so grouchy and I hadn’t been half asleep myself I would have said something smart like: “Ladies, please, inside voices.” Instead I looked at the gel and shrugged my shoulders and told Beav to chill out and get ready for school. They were still fussing at each other when I walked downstairs to leave the house.

As I was sitting in the car beginning to fume over how much I hated to hear them fight with each other and over hair gel of all things…the realization of how these sorts of spats would be an almost daily occurrence if I had daughters. It was then the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding swept through me and made me whisper the following prayer for the thousandth time:

Thank you for sparing me teenage girls.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grill Zombie and other adventures in the suburbs

Marge is here

Have I mentioned how much I dislike cooking? I would rather scrub a toilet than cook. I’m not sure why I have such a strong emotion about cooking and blame my lazy nature. But really, cooking doesn’t interest me all that much. Food interests me. There are a few things I can make well but we can eat them every day. What I like to cook is old fashioned heavy sauces with lots of cream and butter. But like I said yesterday--


The Exploding Cheese Incident this week brought to light just how much I hate to cook. I was completely distracted by the pork in the oven which wasn’t cooking but was drying out and turning into something more suited for footwear. It was my self-inflicted ire which distracted me and made me forget the rule about hot glass and cold metal. And I was right about those pork chops: dry and tough. But everyone ate them out of fear.

And don’t tell me: “Oh honey, bless your heart you just need to learn how to cook and then you would enjoy it.” And I would say: “Oh honey, I know how to cook. I just don’t enjoy it.”

In fact, I used to lie and tell people I didn’t know how to cook. It worked on TG for almost six years until a few weeks ago we were at our second favorite French restaurant and the vichyssoise was like sipping clotted cream with a spoon. I was terribly disappointed and all the sudden the martini started talking: “This is awful; I can do so much better than this! This soup needs leeks and dill to finish it off.” My proclamation was met with raised eyebrows.

“You have a vichyssoise recipe?”
“Uh huh”
“Is it as good as your quiche?”
“You’ve been holding out on me, haven’t you?”
“Um, I guess so. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I like to do it.”

The gig is up and I’ve been outed as someone who cooks. Not only have I been outed as someone who cooks but the responsibility is now more or less mine most nights as TG’s hours have changed.

Oh. The. Horror.

You see, if it were just me, I would be happy with grapes and microwave popcorn on the rare nights I didn’t go out or have left overs from going out.

I can readily admit I enjoy cooking winter types of food. I don’t mind putting a very large piece of meat in the crock pot with vegetables and calling it soup or stew. I like to make chili and soup. My roasted chicken is always good, too. But summer cooking calls on a more imaginative cook to avoid heating up the kitchen thus the house. “So grill, June. Grill.” Was the girl’s remark to me the other night. And I had to explain to her

Why June Doesn’t Grill

Because I am afraid. Very very afraid.

Not the meat part. I do know people who are squeebed out by raw meat and can’t touch it or cook it. But, hello? I’m a nurse? It’s the lighting of the grill. Now before all my kind readers take up a collection to buy June and TG a nice self-igniting gas grill, put your checkbooks away and log off paypal because we have one. My fear is so deep set; I’m even tripped out about turning the switch on this one. Rationally, I know it’s probably safer than any of the gas ranges in any of the crappy rent houses I lived in during and just after college.

When I was a little girl, me, my sister and mom watched Marcus Welby, MD, religiously every Sunday night. I enjoyed the medical stuff and my sister enjoyed it because of this guy. ------------------>

And well…duh…James Brolin was so hot on that motorcycle, a new breed of doctor, with his sideburns, bell bottoms and his blatant 60’s prime time style sexuality.

Anyhow, there was an episode in the 70’s (it was in color so it was definitely the 70‘s) and a woman was hostessing a BBQ. It must have been a particularly festive party, too. My mom wore shorts or slacks when we had people in for grilled meat. This woman had on her 100% petroleum based polyester maxi dress with long flowing sleeves and to complete her groovy ensemble she had her hair (or a wig) stacked way way way wayway way up on her head secured--no doubt--with two or three cans of Aqua Net. Mrs. Maxi Dress is prancing around the kitchen and she goes into the backyard with her big tray of steaks or what have you and tries to light the grill. And tries again. She even leans her face down to see if something is the matter and can’t see anything so she puts more lighter fluid on the charcoal, steps back and throws a lit match and


Up in flames, burnt beyond recognition. The end. Her life is over. Bye bye.

It could happen to anyone, especially me because I always cook dinner in long flowing maxi dresses with drapy sleeves made by our friends at the DuPont Corporation and my hair saturated with highly flammable hair spray.

And because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like a mummy with gauze wrapped around my face and hands, struggling to talk; I won’t grill.

So what’s for dinner?

Probably mac and cheese if they are lucky.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Say Moo to the MuuMuu

The Girl has informed me the critter taking bites out of our tomatoes is a “tomato slug” I of course think this is some sort of mysterious Midwestern code for “raccoon” but she feels a raccoon would eat the whole tomato. Sometimes at night, I’ve seen raccoons walking down the street and they are so big they look like a gang of unruly preschoolers. They take a bite from a tomato and leave the rest behind to mock me.

I discovered yesterday we have a yard cow. And she is me. Moo.

I’m rededicating my life to the gym and possibly a diet program. I’ve never had to do a diet program. The only diet program I’ve ever been on is the “Eat Whatever the Hell You Want” diet. Since I quit smoking a couple of years ago and am creeping up on the big 5-0 coupled with new job which is mostly behind a desk, the numbers on the scale are getting bigger and my favorite jeans are smaller.

It was depressing getting ready for an evening out last night because I looked like Hell in everything I tried on and am becoming precariously close to not fitting into clothing from my all time favorite store. The only thing that cheered me up was squishing my lard ass into spanx and my new blue eye shadow.

Which I rocked. The eye shadow that is.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Excuse Me While I Offend Everyone I know

It’s been peaceful around here the last week. No one is asking for large sums of money for camp or computer equipment or remembering a project at 11 pm and they need specific gel pens and graph paper; nor are they wrecking cars or staying out until 3am and coming in suspiciously smelling of alcohol.

Now if Wally and Beav would just keep it together we would have the perfect household.

I jest. I jest. If I came in smelling of alcohol it would be about six hours before 3 am and TG doesn’t have to ask me for Jesus camp money, she could just pay for it herself and she has gel pins and graph paper.

It’s nice to be a boring mom of a teenager who does his homework and will speak to me over and above a grunt or grimace. It feels good to have a young adult who is engaged in a job. Yeah it’s a crap McJob but it’s a job and he’s happy so there you have it. And it’s peaceful having a dog that doesn’t start asking for dinner at 4:30 because the time has changed and it’s almost dark.

The only hiccup in this scenario is something is eating my tomatoes and it isn’t human. I’m not sure what it is but it can climb or burrow under the fence we built to keep Kipper out of the garden. Too bad I’m a law abiding citizen otherwise I would set up a little camp site next to the garden and keep watch over my late ripening heirlooms and when I saw the menace eating my produce I would shoot it. Dead. With a gun.

I’m not all about the NRA and my right to bear arms. Guns scare me and strangers with guns scare me more. I have a few friends in Texas who I know keep an arsenal in their homes and probably carry under their coats and in their trucks. And frankly I would trust any of them with their weapons drunk or sober. I’m glad those types have guns because they have taken the time to learn how to safely discharge a weapon and probably aren’t going to shoot an innocent stranger. Hell, a couple of them would probably balk at the idea of shooting a raccoon. Bloody fat help they would be in this situation. I just won’t ask them. Anyhow, if I did shoot my garden nemesis I would no doubt be arrested for it and that would cost way more than buying a bushel of heirloom tomatoes from one of the many Boutique Farmer’s Markets in town. I’m a little peeved over this law, too. I mean what about urban chickens being threatened by foxes. If I’m allowed to keep chickens, I should be allowed to kill unwanted wild life that encroaches on my property. Ok, maybe not kill it but scare it off because I doubt I could hit the broadside of a barn. But Wally…he’s a pretty good marksman, he could get the little bugger. . .

If we lived in Fort Worth Texas this probably wouldn’t be an issue, the cops would probably come over and high five me because I killed a raccoon eating my backyard crops. Hell, those guys roughed up gay guys on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the gay rights movements so killing a varmint within the city limits is fair game. (so to speak, I‘m gonna let that pun just bask in its punny glory). They might even want to take it home for supper.

Have I trotted out enough politically incorrect stereotypes? I think I have a few to go but I‘ll stop with that one. I need to put the computer away and run over to Walmart, just to take a look around the sporting goods section. For a soccer ball. You know a soccer ball. For Wally.

Gosh I hope a gun and ammo doesn’t fall in my basket next to that soccer ball.

Addendum: 20 minutes later:


I noticed the time as I typed that last sentence and had to dash downstairs to put dinner in the oven. Beav made queso dip to take to Young Life tonight and it’s in a glass Pyrex dish on top of the stove. It’s getting a little too toasty on the top and starting to boil. I didn’t bother to look if the burner was on under it and assumed it was still cooking because it was on the stove which lives over the the now hot oven. I grab two pot holders and pull it off and place it on a room temperature trivet.

Yeah…it went boom and I’m really lucky I didn’t get cheese on my cute new blouse or glass in my face. Of course Beav isn’t speaking to me because now he can’t take his “World Famous Queso” to the party. I offered to dash to the store so we could redo it. I offered to buy a cheese cake at fancy grocery store…but no…not good enough. So I’ve ruined his life.

All because I was talking smack about harming tiny woodland creatures who are just trying to get fill their bellies before winter.

Karma: 5,329,222,221,565,353----

June: -0

coonie found here

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Herding Ducks

When I signed my job description in July, it did not include the words: “Must herd ducks”. So color me stunned much of my job includes just this sort of activity.

Have you ever tried to herd ducks? One day when I was about 12 or 13 and bored out of my mind I tried to herd a flock of ducks living near our lake house. My method was completely improvised and probably based on something I read in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book as I stretched out my arms and did a creeping walk just on their heels, no doubt quacking at them, too. I would chase after two or three and try to gather them with a group of three others. For about a minute it would work and I would have a cohesive flock of six or more ducks and I was all yeah, I’ve got the ducks in a herd! I did it! Until one or two of them would lose interest and wander in one direction away from the flock and another would wander in the opposite direction and pretty soon I didn’t have a single-minded group but a mess of ducks wandering and running in circles.

Today kind of felt like I was thirteen all over again…except my poor self-esteem and lagging self-confidence aren’t crippling and I’m not quite as awkward and dorky. And the ducks were doctors.

Looking back over today and remembering a summer day 36 years ago?

The ducks were more cooperative.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Have A Dream

I have a reoccurring dream; I’m carrying a baby, a healthy happy baby who is genuinely glad to be with me and not squirming or struggling to be laid down. I am always walking along a body of water, sometimes it is a rushing river, sometimes it is ocean front. But it is always crystalline blue. Usually at some point near the water I cross a bridge, always a big sturdy bridge. Today, I finally decided to interpret all these symbols because I’m dreaming this over and over again and last night’s version of Baby on a Bridge was particularly colorful and vivid.

My favorite dream dictionary is at swoon.com. Which is a site linked to--of all things--Glamour magazine. The women’s magazine in my opinion which is perhaps the most irritating and trite magazine in the world. But I like my ruts deep and wide and way back in 1998 I found this site and have stuck to it. Once I had a reprint of a Dream Dictionary which was published around 1910. It appealed to me because the author seemed like a quaint old man who was in complete denial that Freud was developing psychoanalytical theory based on dream symbols. But it didn’t serve me well because if I dreamt of flying an airplanes close to the ground I was out of luck; however if I dreamt of struggling with a button hook while riding in a carriage I could have easily sussed out just what sweet Morpheus was trying to tell me. Too bad I can’t remember what the button hook meant, I’m sure if was something about a suitor presenting falsehoods to my father or something like that.

My dream is about a new idea which comes to me easily and assures me prosperity.

Well isn’t that just the best news! So watch this space. Just watch it.

And follow that link when it appears.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whispering Bees

And another thing.

Yesterday the Mexican Oregano was covered with honey bees, and even though I was hacking through their brunch and they were landing on my arms, they didn’t sting me.

Does this make me a Bee Whisperer? Is there a movie in this phenomenon?

“Sharon Stone as The Bee Whisperer!”

Could there be a more boring movie?

The Bee Whisperer would make A River Runs Through It,and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button seem like rollicking fast paced car chase blockbusters.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


That picture is worth about 500 words. My weekend has been busy but not crazy busy because I don’t do crazy busy at home because my job is 98% of the time crazy busy. And to continue multi-tasking at home is a sickness as far as I'm concerned.

I really don’t have that much to say because it was just mundane busy stuff, nothing exciting. I made two gallons of infused oil. Perhaps the most involved project I’ve done in a long time. It's involved because of the harvesting, cleaning, grrrr-ing the herbs and prepping the jars and oil. It doesn't help that I can't stand our food processor. It's terrifically complicated and the first time I used it, I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get the freakin' top(s) off. Breaking into Fort Knox would have been easier than opening the damn food processor. It's like a four step process and drives me wild after about the third repetition. But the best part of the oil project is when I get to clean up all the oil I've sloshed and dripped and spilled all over the kitchen. I'm a pro at spilling. (To further digress, the first time I typed this I wrote: "spelling" and we all know I aint' no kinda pro at spelling)

As I went about each one of these tasks first on the back porch and then in the kitchen my brain felt like that photograph: all muddled with eight things going on at once while I was trying think of something to blog about and everything I came up with was boring as Hell.

The most exciting thing that happened this weekend was Kipper went for coffee with us and didn’t make too big of an ass out of himself whining and yipping at other dogs. He loves other dogs and resembles Sonny the coo-coo bird when he sees one.

(thanks youtube)

It’s rather embarrassing and people probably think we keep the dog chained to a rock in a tiny backyard completely isolated from people, food, and other dogs. Either that or he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. I'm thinking of hanging a sign on him when we go out with him that informs people he is a few bulbs short.

Yesterday Beav wanted to spend some of his birthday cash and wants to keep it old school with CDs so I took him to two of the used record stores I know about. We ran across a couple more but didn’t stop because he has his “Back-To-School Cold” (why can’t we all just wash our hands?) and wasn’t feeling 100% and we were both hungry and on our way to a little taqueria I know which has some of the hottest green chili ever and it was just what his cold needed. Spending most of yesterday with him one on one was good and made me realize he is becoming a young adult capable of adult conversation on far ranging subjects.

But he’s still a kid, today he mouthed off at me when I told him to slow down in a parking lot. “But I’m a guy, and guys like to go fast! I’ve got the ‘guy gene’.”

Oh what the fuck ever, I’ve got the keys to the car and you might not get to drive until your 25 and your frontal lobe has developed a little more. And then it‘s gonna be a 1981 Honda Civic four banger.

But I resisted saying that and just gritted my teeth and dug my fingers into the side of seat. Praying we made it home before I tore open the upholstery or chided him while hanging on for dear life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You probably had to be there...

On Tuesday afternoon I received the following text message:

Company is in the house. I’m setting up the beer and nacho bar in
my best Bobby Spencer outfit. We’re gonna have a great day! See you tomorrow
OOXX Trixie.

Company. Yay. If you take some time and look at the pictures of satisfied customers as they flash on The Joint Comission’s website the smiles are forced and probably fueled by handful of xanax and a mouthful of scotch. Because that’s how The Joint Commission makes me feel and Tuesday afternoon I started to feel the Ebola virus coming on. I swear my eyeballs looked bloody. But I sucked it up and went to work, praying all the way no one would bother to ask me questions.

“Trixie” is one of my co-workers and isn’t it convenient that she already has a nickname and I don’t have to assign her one for the ‘net. She came up with this name for her alter ego who is a little bit slutty a little bit ghetto and a whole lot Filters Off 24/7. I love Trixie. She’s the perfect example of what the balance of taking your job seriously without losing the ability to laugh looks like. She also refers to Bobby Spencer in her text because I have nicknamed one of our co-workers this because she is apparently very adept in high heels. Bobby ran a crash cart down the hall after a staff meeting the other day while wearing 4.5 inch heels. It was a thing of beauty and the poor woman will never live it down. Fortunately, the victim survived and her ankles survived.

“Fern” was on the desk Tuesday, I’m glad it wasn’t me because I am not the real charge nurse. “Fern” (not her real name, duh) is the second non d’plume for the “Real Charge Nurse”. She was first known to me as “Amazon Barbie” when I was “Martha” (for Martha Stewart who I adore! I renamed myself because Martha no longer fits) But it seems about a year or so ago, an elderly man with just a dab of dementia marched up to the desk barked out the following comment: “What is your job anyway? All I ever see you do is sit next to this computer like a houseplant.” I swear to God, she said he said this to her. And Fern may be a houseplant sitting next a computer all day but she doesn’t lie, especially about funny things said by demented people. And who knew that houseplants could multitask the way our Fern does! My houseplant doesn’t multitask.

I love Fern, she’s one of my favorite people which is sort of narcissistic because we share a brain. Seriously, we share a brain and because we share a brain, we share offspring, too. Only she’s saddled blessed with three of the monsters darlings. She too has boys who have only just learned the miracle of running water and enunciating clearly when speaking so everyone can understand and not just fellow teenaged boys. She also has a young adult who has lost all motor ability to clean up after herself! Amazing the parallels! Our medical director thought we were being “cute” when we told him we shared a brain. But about five minutes into unit rounds the first day I was training for my old job-that-is-now-my-new-job, he got this funny look on his face and realized we weren’t kidding or being “cute”. I think he’s just a little afraid of us, too. That we are both about a foot taller than he is doesn’t help the poor dear‘s situation. But its not a bad thing to keep the little man guessing. It’s also pretty awesome to share a brain with Fern. I’m not sure she feels the same about me because she’s about five thousand times smarter than I am. But we do educate one another about nursey things. In fact, I explained to her the indications, side effects and dosages of Abilify right after it came on the market. Only I did it completely in Ebonics while doing my best impression of The Ladies Man. Oh come on people! Get your politically correct panties out of a wad! It was funny! Politically incorrect on so many different levels--making fun of psychotics and Ebonics, yeah I freely own that--but really? What a stupid name for an antipsychotic! It’s just begging to be made fun of: “This medicine will abilify me to differentiate between what is real and that which is not.” Was one of the lines in the riffs. In fact, our riff was so funny that we took it home to our families and now whenever Fern or June sees an Abilify commercial we riff on it.

The tone for a rather--at times--ribald work environment is set by all of us because we are just that kind of team. Once upon a time before The Joint Commission Of American Hospitals or God or the Chief Nursing Officer or the housekeeper (probably the housekeeper, they have all the power) took exception to our collection of “dolls” prominently displayed in the nurses station, we had a whole array of Hawaiian dolls, both boys and girls and a mermaid doll. People from all over the hospital and multiple departments knew about our dolls and would contribute to them. They would send visitors to us to cheer them up if the visitors were having a rough time of it. And it worked! Always made them laugh! We even had one that looked like our then medical director, balding pudgy guy with a ukulele and a grass skirt. It was brilliant. My favorite Rehab talisman was a stuffed monkey our case manager (like a social worker. Her nickname is “Cujo” which is pretty self explanatory. I’m afraid of her and I don’t scare that easily) had stolen from her then eleven year old daughter. The monkey would make monkey noises if you slapped it against a hard surface like the desk. It was a magnificent stress reliever. When I was doing relief charge, it lived not on the shelf next to my head but in a drawer next to me so I could take it out and hold my very long arm away from me and slap it repeatedly on the desk whenever I talked to particular people who were either acting like assclowns or stupid assclowns. One day Trixie told me I had a phone call and got the monkey out of the desk drawer for me before I even picked up the phone. Because on Rehab, if we aren’t anything else we are finely tuned machine and can anticipates one another’s needs.

It was about this time the unit down the hall from us received a really expensive make over and we started the hospital wide trend of referring to it as “Beverly Hills” or “The Bev” or “90210”. Therefore, we being the unit sadly in need of a remodel, referred to ourselves as “Compton” or the “hood”. We even had a rap song about the differences in the units complete with grunts and posing. I can’t remember how it went but the nurse manager from the other unit was not amused when she found out about our rap and The whole Beverly Hills thing. What would she have done if she saw our mock gang signs we threw at one another when we talked to her on the phone? Or announced we were going over to The Bev for supplies. Oh and they never remodeled us they just moved us to another part of the hospital so they could further gentrify the entire floor. The hospital she is like a big city. Still Compton after all these years.

So I wasn’t surprised when Trixie announced her intent to serve beer to the surveyors. I’m just relieved she remembered to put lids on the beverages so we didn’t get dinged for open drink containers. Dinged for that would make Nurse Bitchy McCranky-Pants bitchier.

If that’s even possible.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Collectors vs Horders

The Girl has a new favorite television show and she’s getting me hooked, too, Pickers . Its Antique Roadshow meets Horders. These guys from Iowa head out in their van and travel all over the Midwest and South. Despite the fact I’m not into the antiques they find: old cars and car parts and signs what has me hooked are the characters they meet and the mesmerizing nature of all the crap, treasures, junk and stuff people collect over the span of several life times. It’s a little overwhelming to think about all that stuff just sitting in barns and sheds and attics and basements. A lot of the stuff featured on the Pickers was made during The Great Depression when people supposedly didn’t have any money to buy stuff so why is there so much of it? This doesn’t follow my limited understanding of supply and demand economics.

But anyway, we look upon junked out places with new eyes after watching a season’s worth of Mike and Frank’s adventures on the road, and this weekend was no different. The place we stayed in the mountains has been in the same spot since, 1900 and has a charming rustic vibe to it. There were a few old cars sitting around the property and stuff just piled under a couple of the old cabins. It is also an antique store with more stuff crammed into that you can imagine. Tables and tables of figurines and tiny vases and stacks of saucers and plates and baskets of god only know what. Three rooms stuffed to the rafters with things for sale. It was so full and busy I didn’t know where to look first and TG was so overwhelmed she went outside to talk to April, Kip’s new girlfriend. But I stuck it out and snapped pictures of things which were randomly grouped together and either made comical or poignant tableaus. What had me awestruck was where in the Hell did all this crap come from and why do we keep making stuff when there are mounds of stuff just sitting in barns all over the American south? Why were little angel or puppy or kitten or bird figurines made to begin with?

The other night, Frank and Mike were going through an old barn with a guy easily in his 80’s. This guy had forgotten what was even there and it was like he rediscovered his stuff all over again but he wouldn’t part with it. Maybe I’m way too puritanical but I’m thinking if you don’t know you have it, you don’t need it. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know hording is a sickness. I can’t even watch Horders because those people are so terribly ill it makes my stomach turn. But I seriously wanted to put this old guy on the couch and find out what was it he was trying to relive or what kind of hole in his life was he trying to fill with that stuff in his barn? Stuff he didn’t even bother with anymore. He was almost wistful as he came across things he had once loved and grief caught in his voice as he told the guys he couldn’t sell this or that artifact.

And I also started wondering if you piled up all the stuff hidden away in barns, sheds, storage units, basements, closets and attics along with all the unsold stuff already in antique shops, thrift stores, discount stores and tag sales would the pile be as big as Venus or just the Earth. I’m voting Venus. My nephew said it best a couple of years ago when the economy fell down and went boom. “I’ll start worrying about the economy when Americans stop buying useless stuff.”

Watching the guys pick and going into places like that makes me want to throw my stuff out and parse living down to four changes of clothes three pairs of shoes, a sauce pan, two place settings and four glasses.

If I winnow my life down to that, I’ve got a long way to go. Maybe I should call our new TV boyfriends to come over and pick through our treasures.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When Good Things Happen

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with several heroes and they probably don’t even realize what their courage has meant to a stranger.

1. The guy with the bumper sticker which read something like: “Questions about Islam? Call--” That his car hadn’t been beaten with sticks by angry bigots is amazing. Talk about walking your walk and living your faith. I wonder how many Christians would have the courage to drive down Iraqi streets with Jesus stickers on their cars. Unoccupied Iraq I’m not talking in armored hummers but just regular old cars. I sure has heck wouldn’t put myself up for martyrdom.

2. The waitress at Village Inn. This young woman was expecting a baby a few weeks ago and hadn’t worked for a number of weeks. A couple of the regulars asked about her baby and she had the tenacity to rehearse the story of a child born with an overwhelming defect (the same one we thought Beav had) who was simply not viable and how they had to let her child go. If this had been me? I would have had to start my life over again some place else because telling that story would have been too painful to bear.

3. My young stroke patient. All I can say is if I had a dense stroke at my age, I would have been placed on a suicide watch and refused to eat or move or do anything so I could just die, rather than be trapped in a useless body. Because regaining strength and agility after such a stroke is extraordinarily hard work. Harder than training for a triathlon. Her tenacity to keep on going is bigger than the tenacity it took any one of the soldiers ever decorated with the Medal of Valor.

Heroes are kind of few and far between in this bossy stick finger pointing world we live in today. But I think courage is like kindness and valor can be paid forward, too. If we all behave a little more bravely towards the roadblocks in our lives, the big stuff, and the really hard stuff won’t be so overwhelming. People treating one another with kindness fall in the category of heroes, too. Which leads me to hero number four:

One of my favorite commercials--an insurance company, too I am soMadison Avenue's little patsy-- is the one about paying it forward. People practicing acts of kindness towards strangers and how one begets another and another. But it works and I was lucky enough to watch kindness spiral out of control one afternoon in our neighborhood Walmart.

4. The People Of Walmart: I was approaching the stop walk and a car many feet away, slowed and the stopped smiling and motioning me across the walk. I entered the store and the greeter’s genuine smile made me notice how beautiful she looked in red lipstick and so I told her this. After she thanked me for the compliment, the greeter turned and noticed a woman younger and stronger than herself struggling with a basket so she found one that wasn‘t jammed into another. This woman proceeded into the fruits and veg section where a young mother, distracted by a toddler, dropped a large bag of oranges that bounced and rolled akimbo. The older woman left her cart and gathered the oranges and handed them to the appreciative young mother. Later, I was standing in one of the impossibly long checkout lines and I noticed this young mother, in an equally long line, allow someone ahead of her because they had fewer items. I was awestruck for just a few minutes at the ease in which humans treat one another with kindness and how it really does spiral out of control.