Your Daily Dose of Mo

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Irish Blessing

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It is said the Irish ignore anything they can’t drink or love. And I’d say that’s not half bad advice to follow. Wherever you are this St. Patrick’s Day I hope you take the time to stop and say thanks for the people in your life that give you reason to believe in magic. I know I will be.

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. Walls for the wind, and a roof for the rain, and drinks beside the fire — Laughter to cheer you and those you love near you, and all that your heart may desire.

Here’s to a sweetheart, a bottle, and a friend…..the first beautiful, the second full, and the last ever faithful.

Cheers!!

The Fast and the Furiest

Friday, March 11th, 2011

I have a strange directory of chores I find vile and repulsive intrusions to daily living and changing light bulbs and pumping gas are at the top of that list. Its quite possible the first is related to my being ridiculously vertically challenged, but i have no idea why i loathe fueling up my Ford as much as i do. Just a latent strain of crazy in my DNA i suppose.

Driving home from work one night, I looked down to see that garrish yellow light indicating i was three miles shy of walking home in the rain. Pretty rainboots or no, this held zero appeal so i angled for the fillin station and coasted to the pump.  I pulled out my wallet, flung open my door and let loose a weary sigh as i stepped out into the misty air.  I started to insert my card only to see a sign declaring the card reader was dysfunctional and could only accept gas account cards.  Plan B it is! I leaned inside the backseat searching for my umbrella and quickly remembered I had lent it to a coworker earlier in the day and had not gotten it back. Blimey! While traipsing thru the rain to purchase gas inside was not my idea of a good time, i figured it certainly beat pushing my car thru rush hour traffic in Roswell so i tucked my head and took off towards the door.

In case you are wondering, medical scrubs arent exactly wet weather friendly and i was soaked from head to toe in less than 3 seconds flat. I caught a glimpse of myself in the glass doorway and noted with chagrin that i pitifully resembled somethin akin to a mouse drowning in a five gallon bucket. Suddenly something to my left flickered in my peripheral vision and i turned to see a little face even sadder than my own.

Wet and weary much like myself he meowed up at me from his perch amongst the soggy bundles of firewood for sale and i felt a fischer form across my heart.  Ive never really been a “cat  person”, generally preferring company of the canine persuasion. But, truth be told, there is little that lives and breathes that doesnt elicit emotion from me…..and if it has fur and appears in need, i am a total GONER.

“Mercy me,” i whispered  “what are you doing out here alone in the rain, little man?”

He answered back with a pitiful yelp and i felt the aformentioned fischer shift and stretch into a full blown crack inside my chest.

“I’ll be back” i promised as i pulled the door ajar. He looked at me with squinted eyes as if to say “I’m not really sure i have the hope of heart to believe you.”

I shuffled thru the crowd and took up residence in the long line snaking around 2/3 of the store. It was inching forward so slowly i was afraid Time itself might actually be standing still. As a red vest-clad worker brushed past me bearing a load of styrofoam cups to stock the coffee counter, I snagged his sleeve and asked politely, “Do you know the story on that water-logged little kitty outside?”

“He belongs to the folks in the house about 50 yards down” he said pointing towards the back of the store. “He makes his way over here through the field out back at least once a week. We are starting to think they aren’t feeding him often because his visits are getting more frequent. Sheila used to feed him some but she said she couldn’t afford it no more.”

I turn to look at the patron behind me in line as if to convey just how heartbreaking i find this information. He winces conspiratoriallyand shrugs his shoulders in resignation. The line continues slowly sliding forward and each time the door opens to deposit a customer in or out, I hear the sad little cry of the urchin feline. I am only three people away from the cash register when i suddenly can take it no longer and i break out of line and politely ask the clerk where the cat food is located. I snagged 12 cans of the good stuff and a 10 lb bag of dry kitty kibbles before winding back to the red vested clerk and asking if he could point me towards the lovely Sheila. I eventually made it thru her line and up to the counter. She smiles sadly when i mention Little Big Cry wailing away outside. I purchase the cat food and hand it over to Sheila who promises to make sure he doesn’t go hungry anytime in the future.

Walking back outside i stooped down and scratched the little guy behind the ears and smiled. “Chin up, buddy, i told you i was gonna come back” I said as i opened a can of food and chuckled watching him bury his face inside all the way up to his eyebrows.

It wasn’t until i got all the way back to my car that i realized i had forgotten to purchase gas! As i started to turn back towards the store i noticed a piece of paper tucked beneath my windshield. It was a gas station paper towel and penned across the back was this:  Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.

And then i saw him……The man behind me in line that had heard me ask about the plight of lost Little Four Paws….he was driving towards the exit but as he approached me he slowed his car and smiled out the window. “I filled you up, while you were filling him up” he said as he sped off. I cranked my car and sure enough there it was….a full tank of gas that i didn’t have pump.

Sometimes as they say, when you dig another out of their troubles, you find a place to bury your own.

Good luck, my furry friend. Here’s to full tanks and even fuller bellies now and in the future.

The Languid Lamebrain

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Conversation with a new patient that happens to also be newly relocated from The North:

Yankee:  Man, that’s some accent you have! Its almost like you have the speech pattern of someone slipping in and out of consciousness.

Me: Yeah, its a little thick i suppose. (chuckle)  Ummmmm…did you just basically refer to me as brain dead?

Yankee: It’s just that I bet i could change my shoes and socks faster than you could complete an entire sentence.

Me: You do that often do you? Change your shoes and socks quickly, i mean. I knew Yankees had some strange pass times but, that’s a new one for me.

Yankee: (Laughing) Its not like I’ve never been stereotyped before. I’m from New York and everyone assumes we are all rude. And the truth is, we aren’t.

Me: Clearly. Calling a complete stranger a functional retard based on her accent is exquisitely polite. Don’t let anyone kid you, you’re quite the charmer.

Yankee: I’m sorry, i didn’t mean to offend.  Ive just never heard anyone talk like that before except in the movies and they usually weren’t all that bright.

Me:  No offense taken, sir. Welcome to the South.

I learned long ago that there are people in this life that will make assumptions about you based on very trivial things…..such as an extra syllable or two in your everyday vocabulary.  But the thing is, that is their problem not mine. I’m well aware that I’m one quirky turkey, but Ive learned to embrace it because like they say to wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.

Plucky Duck-E

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

There is a pint-sized lake out back of Boy’s house and during the warm seasons it is home base to a flock of geese. They are as a general rule exactly what you’d expect of their breed: loud, noisy, and full of mischief. They vacillate between utter floating laziness to running round wild destroying any efforts by the maintenance crew at keeping the water’s grassy edge green. They rule the roost with iron-fisted impunity, most of their activity centered around the platform of the fountain that sits at the lake’s center. Ive occasionally stood on the deck watching their avian antics and marveling at their efficient communication skills. Some days I cant get all of my own HUMAN work staff on the same mental page, let alone walking cohesively and orderly in anything resembling a straight line and we have the aid of advanced language skills. Yet these jokers make tight formation and single-mindedness look like a breeze.

At the heart of all their roucus lives one solitary divergent. He is half their size and only spottable amidst their chaos due to his being several shades darker of feather. He’s a lively little fellow I have come to refer to endearingly as Duck-E. He does his best to keep up with his much larger lake-mates, sunning when they sun, swimming when they swim, feeding when they feed. By and large they tend to ignore him like a little brother they’ve been parently forced to share a room with but find more annoying than anything else. He seems not only not to mind, but to scarcely notice the indignant indifference with which he is treated paddling along at break-neck speeds just trying to be a part.

Somewhere along the turn of November, the geese did what geese will do: packed up camp and absconded town in search of warmer shores. Suddenly the lake so lively with activity was filled only by the single splashes of lone little Duck-E.

Day in and day out he circles the brink almost always with his head cocked towards the skies, ever-watchful for the return of his basin brothers. I find his lone vigil heart-rending. While having grown up a child of the country Im well-versed in the ways of nature and am aware that Duck-E is part of the wilder world of animal instinct, I cant help but sigh as I think of his solo status. On Christmas day I actually caved to my crazy and fed him because well, it was CHRISTMAS. He revealed his palate trends toward the more elite gobbling up the bakery bread and totally ignoring humdrum whole-wheat loaf. A bit of a picky eater myself, this of course only entrenched him further in my heart.

Yesterday, out of the clear blue, Duck-E had some bird-brained visitors. From whence they came or where they were headed I have no idea, but he paddled around puttin’ on the ritz, all lord of the lagoon. It made me quite happy to see him entertaining his guests and soaking up the sunshine of their company in spite of the desperately gray winter day.

 Loneliness is a feeling that is indescribable to those who have not felt it, and needs no description to those who have. But then it struck me. Within the human language lies another word that unlike “lonely” which defines the absence of others as pain, “solitude” defines the glory of the situation. And maybe that’s Duck-E. He’s finally got the house all to himself. He can put on his ducky pajama pants and eat ice cream right out of the tub if he wants. Or have a dance party in his underbritches. Or watch a terrible Lifetime mini-series starring Judith Light without fear of any judgement.  I feel you, Duck-E, I feel you.

Here’s to finding the beauty in the moments spent alone…..whether your isolation is voluntary or not. May it put a special burn on the sunsets and remind us that sometimes all you need to be happy is yourself.

Daily Dose: Fad Foodie

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

There is little I find more depressing after Christmas than Christmas decor. Except maybe that moment when I realize I have eaten enough calories this past month alone to keep 3 entire Saharan tribes alive during the drought season. I’m well aware I’m not the only one out there feeling like I’m toting around some extra stuffing in my Santa suit, and I’m not entirely looking forward to all the extra busy-ness my gym will take on in the coming weeks as resolutioners attempt to keep their newly minted promises to get back in shape.

The other night I pulled out my bathing suit and gave it a good hard stare. In terms of work days, my upcoming March vacation is light-years away. But in the realm of putting on a bikini it is approaching with alarming speed.  I decided to do a little “healthy eating” research and while I didn’t walk away with any solid dietary plans, I am pretty sure I burnt a few hundred extra calories laughing at what insane myths and outrageous lengths people will swallow to get thin. Some of my favorites include:

The Facial Analysis Diet–  The stroke of genius behind this spectacular plan is a facial analyst proposes a special diet based on your skin, hair and eye texture. There must be some magical formula that tells you what your mineral needs and dietary deficiencies are. Seriously? Im pretty sure if my hair or face actually HAD anything to say it would certainly be more profound than “Eat raw carrots twice a day”. 

 The Baby Food Diet– Wherein you eat NOTHING but bland baby food. You can’t maintain a healthy lifestyle with less than 600 calories per day, so this is just silly. Oh, and YOURE NOT A BABY.

The Grapefruit Oil “Diet” – while i would use the word “diet” loosely with ANY of these crack-pot ideas, I would particularly so with this one as you don’t exactly eat anything different but rather sniff….grapefruit oil to be exact…. your way to a skinnier you. (Smells like Teen Spirit!) Why? The aroma is supposed to affect your liver enzymes, activating nerves that cause fats to be broken down. My concern is if  you start toting around a vial to smell your liver into action you probably aren’t far from the days of whispering secrets to your kidneys or your spleen like a full blown mental patient.

The Martha’s Vineyard Diet– Sure, mud baths and spa treatments sound nice, but following them by drinking your meals through a straw and enduring weekly colonics and enemas DOES NOT. Besides, I like the feeling of actually chewing something, but maybe that’s just me.

Further research revealed that nearly 90% of the audience to which this madness is marketed, is of course, women. We may have gained the right to vote, broken the glass ceiling and become heads of state, but it appears we still have deep wells of immeasurable crazy within. But don’t sweat it fellas, we women often understand ourselves about as frequently as we make perfect sense to YOU. Ladies, if you happen to think you are totally sane ALL of the time, I’m here to tell you, YOU AREN’T. Most of us weep wacky straight out of our pores at least a couple days a week. But before you get too cocky gentlemen, keep in mind you most of you are only one more filthy habit away from being something truly only your Mama could love.

I’m all for keeping those well-intentioned midnight manifestos to get back to a healthy self, but here’s to doing so in a manner that doesn’t suggest we’ve lost all sense of reason. For those of you that need a kick-start, here’s a little video sure to make you laugh…my second favorite way to burn calories.

HappyNewYear, hoodlums.

Daily Dose:Christmas Party Etiquette 101

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

10 Simple Rules For a Happy Holiday

1.Avoid carrot sticks.  Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2.Drink as much eggnog as you can, and quickly.  It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two.

3.   If something comes with gravy, use it.  That’s the whole point of gravy.  Gravy does not stand alone.  Pour it on.  Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano.  Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk.  If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5.   Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating.  The whole point of going to a Christmas Party is to eat other people’s food for free.  Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.  This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies or pralines in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge.  Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes.  If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies.  Apple, Cherry, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one cherry. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake?  Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost.  I mean,have some standards, people.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Daily Dose: Email Overload

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

As 2010 nears the end, I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year and for the unyielding damage they have done to my psyche.

I now have trouble shaking hands with anyone who has been driving because I learned the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years as the food industry made a pact with the devil requiring they inject them into any possible edible product on the planet.

I can’t ever touch any friend’s purse for fear she may have put it down it on the floor in a public toilet.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about rat poo in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope I address.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to some sick kid, who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time,  but at least that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I can’t have a drink a glass of wine when out to dinner without wondering if I’ll wake up in a bath full of ice with my kidneys gone.

Thanks to you I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola without wondering how it isnt eating away my insides because i learned  it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer doesn’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up.

I no longer go to the movies because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.

I no longer go to the mall because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

 I can’t ever pick up $1.00 bill dropped in a parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

Good times. Good times. As you can see, its been quite the informative year.  Pretty sure my 2011 Resolutions List will include: never check email again.

By the way, f you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a huge hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor’s ex-mother-in-law’s second husband’s cousin’s best friend’s hairdresser .

Daily Dose: Who’s on FIRST?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

You know what makes me happy? Hot coffee:Laughing til my sides hurt:Cake:Tight hugs:Sarcasm:Love stories:Sloppy dog kisses….just to name a few. And lucky me, last weekend was FULL of all those and much more.

This year, Thanksgiving was all about “firsts” for me. Given I just crossed over into my 34th year of livin’ that is pretty unexpected because as old as I am some days it doesn’t seem there are all that many “firsts” left to be had.

It was the first year I celebrated a holiday away from my family.  Boy was slated to return to the Land Down Under the day after Thanksgiving and schedules being what they were, it simply made the most sense for us to remain here in Georgia and be with his family for the day. He is one of FIVE and combined with their spouses and children that is one big mess of people…most of whom I’d never met.

 On the ride over he attempted to give me a brief description of all the folks on the roster. For example: “My sister Tina is sweet, smart and quiet. Her husband Brian is seven shades of crazy and once sent my ex on a 4 day mental breakdown. Also, don’t even bother trying to help with the dishes. If you load the dishwasher my father will just come behind you and unload it and do it himself because he is under the impression no one on the planet save himself knows how to do it properly.  It will be a miracle if my mother actually sits down to eat dinner as she usually spends the entire meal hovering and apologizing for the food even though it all turned out delicious.  Nearly all my nieces and nephews are red-headed and they attend multiple different colleges in multiple different states and even I cant keep them all straight. My brother is funny, but somewhat reserved so dont be surprised if he doesn’t open up right away. You’ve met my sister Lynn, but today you’ll meet her husband and odds are he will be the first to crack a corny joke. ”  And on and on he went… The more he talked, the more I realized i likely wasn’t prepared for what I was about to encounter. In fact, I wasn’t sure it was even possible to prepare for such a thing even if I’d been given a solid month and a bottle of muscle relaxers to do so.

The first half I hour i sat in practically utter silence just trying to take it all in. Ive never tripped acid while laying in a hyberbaric chamber but i imagine the sensory overload i was experiencing to be quite similiar. Boy, having never seen me sit so still or so quiet for so long thought for a moment i might have grown ill. I assured him I was fine, I just needed a moment to take it all in, and sure enough by the time we sat down to eat i was starting to get a handle on the situation. Engaging so many new people  in conversation at one time felt a little like playing speed chess with my personality, but by dessert I at least knew what children belonged to what family and who was married to whom. I’d also established that above all else they were a friendly, accepting, loving little bunch….unless you happened to be the sister that forgot to bring the crescent rolls. (How dare you, Lynn!)

It felt sort of like being a lone sociologist discovering a previously unknown tribe in the rainforest and being brought into their village for the day….the added bonus being we all speak the mutual language of sarcasm. As somewhat the outsider you get a much different perspective of the villagers than they often get of themselves. Yes, his brother-in-law Brian is seven shades of crazy, but six of them are the good kind. I cant remember the last time I met someone so thoroughly entertaining. And while his sister Tina IS sweet, quiet and smart she is actually the key part of a comedy duo…she plays the perfect straight man to her husband’s silly act and the truth is, he wouldn’t be nearly as funny without her. True to form his Dad did oversee all kitchen clean-up and his Mama did her fair share of hovering….but what I also noticed was they spent equal amounts of time savoring the smiles, hugs and laughter of their many children and grandchildren.

Three slices of turkey, a one mile walk, and a half dozen bottles of wine later and I was one of the gang. Before I knew it I too was crackin jokes on Boy ( the running gag being that with his buff bod and his frequent trips overseas for “work” that no one actually comprehends that he is REALLY running covert ops for the CIA. Feel free to call him Chuck)  and helping pick out Christmas gifts for the senior members of the family like home defibrillators or truckloads of dirt to fill in the low spots in the back yard.  Thus making it not only my first holiday spent away from home but the first time I ever felt like there really could be more to family than just those you’re genetically related to.

This was also the first year I ate an entire piece of pumpkin pie without triggering my gag reflex. Don’t judge me, people. I’m no less American for it. I’m somewhat of a picky eater and Ive never been much of a fan of the texture but when repeatedly offered a piece the good manners my own Mama beat into me won the war and I took one. Congratulations Mrs. Fulford on shattering my 34 year running streak. (And special thanks to the entire Fulford clan for opening your home and your hearts to squirrely little me.)

This was also the first year in recent memory I didn’t purchase one single retail item.I chose instead to focus on food, family, friends, and fun. Quite frankly i didn’t miss the shopping chaos even a little. Henceforth, Ive decided that for me personally every Black Friday will now be all about how much chocolate cake I can eat before it starts to stain my teeth a lovely shade of rotten.

And speaking of cake, this was also the first year I didn’t worry one whit about my weight.I ate what i wanted, when I wanted and didn’t count even a single calorie. I figure 4 days a week in the gym routinely should buy me at least one weekend of guilt free indulgence. As previously mentioned, I have somewhat of a choosy palate and don’t actually enjoy much of the traditional menu served on Thanksgiving.  Its always seemed a tad cruel that the ONE holiday where overeating is actually the MOST sanctioned event turns out to be the one with the food I least care for. Mexican fair is my all-time favorite, so after dropping Boy off at the airport I headed home to TN and Daddio saw to it that I had tacos and salsa up to my eyeballs. I’m fairly convinced that had guacamole and margaritas actually been an option in Pilgrim times things woulda played out a whole lot differently.

I capped off the entire weekend by meeting my friend Andy for the first time. He and I became buddies 6 or 7 years ago on a photography centered website and have stay connected all this time online. He was passing through Atlanta on his way back home from celebrating the holiday and so Sunday night he met me and some buddies for dinner. Its amazing to me that now thanks to the world wide web you can interact with people on a daily basis and know vast details about their lives all without ever having been in one another’s physical presence. It was so nice to see his face in the tangible, touchable present and to hug his neck that it made me chuckle to think how entertaining it would be to gather all you readers I correspond with but have never met into one big room for an evening. On second thought, I’m not entirely sure that much awesome in one place wouldn’t bend the Time-Space continuum and irrevocably alter the Universe at large.

It is likely to take the remainder of this week for me to recover from all the activity this Thanksgiving provided. And while it certainly wasnt the first holiday I was made acutely aware of just how blessed i really am, I sincerely hope it is the last time I let the madness of Life let me lose sight of that fact.

Daily Dose: Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

It would take the whole of the Internet to contain a list off all the things for which I have to be thankful, and let’s face it, who has the time or inclination to read all that….well, other than my Mama of course. But in honor of the holiday I would like to pause and acknowledge that I am aware I am one lucky lady.

From my patients that fill my life with a sense of purpose and direction to my coworkers that daily do battle with me against all forms of  sickness and insanity – I wake up daily grateful for a job I simply love….and quite frankly, was born to do.

While most of them may be crazier than an outhouse rat, my family members remind me that no matter how old or ugly or rotten I become, there will always be a place to come HOME. You’d be surprised what kind of high wires you can cross in life when you know there’s that kind of safety net below.

One of the Universe’s greatest mysteries (and likely the tipping point for the eventual downfall of Mankind) is how i managed to wander straight into the arms of the most wickedly smart, insanely good-looking, ridiculously entertaining group of friends ever to have converged on the globe. We are ethnically, religiously and intellectually diverse and proof that liberals and conservatives can indeed cross the aisle and cohesively cohabitate no matter what political agendas we choose to embrace. Take a good look, Washington, and feel free to learn a lesson or two.  We may never solve any of Life’s truly profound problems, but we solve each other’s when it truly counts and at the end of the day I somehow wonder if that doesn’t make more of a mark on this ‘ole world than we will ever know.

I dont tell him often enough (mostly because I like to keep him humble) but Boy aint altogether half bad.  Some days I imagine he thinks I simply keep him around for good blog material and lets be real people, he does provide some award-winning, thought-provoking literary fabric with which to work. But he also happens write songs for me, wake me up at 3:30 in the morning to go see meteor showers, and cooks dinner more nights a week than June Cleaver. When we are out wandering around in public I find it wildly entertaining to see so many curious on-lookers take in the sight of him and his flawlessly carved physique and then notice curiously short, ordinary looking little me attached to one of his perfect biceps, tilt their heads to the side and marvel at the many laws of attraction we seem to defy. “He thinks I’m SMART and FUNNY!” I used to want to yell. Now instead I simply chuckle and enjoy what I have come to think of as a prime example that God above indeed has a wicked sense of humor. Women stare at him shamelessly and yet he claims he’s never witnessed said looks, but he’s entirely too sweet and and let’s face it, an awful liar. The other night, in mock exasperation I teasingly said “You could have any girl you wanted”. He lowered his lashes and a sly grin spread across his cheeks “I already do” he whispered “I’ve got you.”  There really is something extraordinary about waking up every day knowing that someone in the world loves you in spite of all your many shortcomings and vividly glaring flaws. I’m fairly convinced that if everyone had that in their lives the elusive concept of world peace would just naturally sublimate.

When I began the journey of this blog nearly two years ago, I dont think I could have been prepared for what it would grow to be or the many ways in which it would change me along the way. While the stories, incidents and antecdotes on here are all uniquely mine, it is the words I get in your private emails, dear readers, that are the most radical and moving of all. Im often simply staggered by the honest, brave, and heart-warming things you choose to share with me- a virtual stranger. Who knew that by opening this little window into my world for all to see that I would really be opening my heart to a whole host of new ideas, inspirations…and friends.

I am profoundly thankful for the life with which I have been blessed. My cup runneth over.

May we all learn to take the time DAILY to celebrate that which is truly abundant and meaningful in our lives instead of just once year with a side of gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya turkeys.

Daily Dose:Of Maps and Mamas…

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

If there is one thing I have absolutely never been short on it is being MOTHERED.  For starters, I have MY Mama, the most maternal human being on the face of the globe.  And following close behind her, I have a string of women that at various stages in life took me under their wings and nurtured the fool outa me right along with their own youngins.  This is the way of life in a close-knit small town. All those mamas weaved themselves through the fabric of little ole me and were it not for them my soul would be full of holes.  I owe much of who I am today to the ladies that took the special care to see that my belly and my heart were always full.

Mama Diane was one of those very special ladies. I’m not entirely certain what year she and my mother met, but they’ve been best buddies as long as I can remember. Given she had 2 daughters just a smidgen older than me , Mama D was used to the kind of sweet crazy only a female can bring to a home and she treated me like I belonged to her from the word go.  To me she always seemed to smell of fresh baked pie and perfume. Her laugh was the lusty kind that dares you not to join in with her even if you didn’t get the joke, and as God as my witness, Ive never saw the woman when she wasn’t absolutely perfectly accessorized.

Like me, Mama D could tear up and cry in heartbeat, but under that softness lay a steal backbone lined with stone and rebar ….a combination that made her a perfect fit for her job as a victim’s advocate in the judicial system for many years…one hand softly holding the wounded, the other beating back Goliath with a pocket full of stones.

Just as I can not count the number of times I sat down to dinner at her table or was folded into her soft arms for comfort, I can not put a price on the love she poured into my life.

The summer word got out that I was packin up camp and headin down to live in the big city, Mama D stopped by my house to wish me luck. She kissed me on the forehead, told me how proud she was of me and tucked an envelope in my hand on her way out the door. After she left I opened it to find a map of the city of Atlanta with a hundred dollar bill taped to it. Inside there was a small note that read: “Ive always known you’d go places, because you’re the special kind. Keep this in your car in case you run short on gas or feel you’re losing your way. I’ll keep you in my heart where you belong. You call me anytime you need me and Joe and I will come get you in a minute. I love you.”

Even though its long been outdated and i have since aquired a gps, that old map is still in my car….that way, no matter where I am, I never forget where I come from or the very special people that gave me direction when I needed it most.

Mama Diane left this world on Sunday after a long, brave fight with cancer, but she left behind the map of a life well-lived that Ive no doubt will help guide me and countless others in the years to come.  I always knew you’d go places, Mama D, because you’re the special kind. I’ll keep you in my heart where you belong. I love you.

*Mama Diane’s life  will be celebrated Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 at Westmore Church of God, Cleveland TN. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Pentecostal Theological Seminary Scholarship Fund, 900 Walker Street NE, Cleveland, TN 37311*

Daily Dose: Thank You, Village People

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Spend five minutes in my presence and it is easy to see I am a social butterfly of the highest order. I’m fairly certain I came out of the womb shakin’ hands and huggin’ necks. While I occasionally find it necessary to spend some quality time alone, I’m most often found in the company of others. As Boy would say, I’m a total “Villager”. I suppose he finds this aspect of my personality amusing (or aggravating depending on the day) because he is much more an “I’m an island” kinda person. Some days just discussing my collective community calender is enough to make him break out in hives.

But this week when work took a turn for the crazy and I spent 70+hours confined to my office I got all the proof I needed that havin a small army in your back pocket is the only way to go. Special thanks to the sweet little soldiers that fed me multiple times, came and put a new battery in my car when it died, brought me coffee to help me stay awake, delivered groceries without me even asking, said prayers and checked in on my Gram who is in the hospital,  and left me sweet notes reminding me to stay sane.

My little urban family may appear wildly quirky and intensely dysfunctional, but I never worry if there is gonna be someone in my corner, and that ladies and gentlemen, is something you just cant put a price on. Tennessee Williams once said “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose”…it’s a good thing I really know how to pick ’em. In fact, that may be my only REAL talent…anything else Ive accomplished is simply a bi-product of knowing how to surround myself with the best kind of people.

Here’s to the people crazy enough to think you’re still a good egg even when you’re cracked.  And may we never forget that the only way to have good friends is to be one. 

Daily Dose: Political Karate Chops

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Famous civil rights attorney Clarence Darrow once said “When I was a boy I was told anybody could become president. I’m starting to believe it.”

Funny though that may be, the political stage as of late seems nothing short of a cheap carnival side show. Everywhere you turn nowadays you are faced with the crazy. Trying to find a candidate to actually vote in favor of seems sorta like picking what manner in which you’d like to be executed when the selections are things such as “being turned inside out”, “forcibly eating snow peas until your abdominal cavity explodes”, or “dancing to disco until your feet have worn to nubs and you slowly bleed out”.

I’m desperately trying to adhere to my civic responsibility….reading up on candidates’ platforms, listening to the debates and researching their voting records….and ALL of it is dismal, depressing and downright discouraging. Quite frankly, I’m finding the entire process mind-numbing.

But just when i thought Georgia had it bad, i got a load of the hooligans that New York is wading thru.

Check out the Cuckcoo Critter below. Suddenly that whole ex-patriot idea isnt lookin so shabby.

Here’s to Four-Star facial hair and the hope that whoever gets elected this season is AT LEAST minimally sound of mind.

Don’t forget to vote, you MORANS.

Daily Dose:Call Me Crazy

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

During the workday my office resembles a cross between a three-ring circus and a rodeo….which is to say it’s fast-paced and full of clowns. Though there is a chair at my station, I tend to use it more as additional desk space or a temporary filing cabinet than as a place to recline. Ive heard of this “sitting still” business but I’m not entirely sure what it looks like. In short, around here we here are always on the go Go GO.

There are always patients to see, labs to process, or phone calls to make.  And after years of refining the process, we all seem to function best in this climate of moderately controlled chaos. We are a happy, albeit crazy,  little family here and we love our high-octane brutally-busy little land. We daily battle formidable disease and insurance companies so there is little of which we are frightened, but quite frankly this week we discovered a deadly enemy which broke our spirits and may prove to be the death of us all…

Its a little thing you corporate cronies refer to as THE CONFERENCE CALL.

We are in the throws of converting our entire office to a paperless electronic medical records system and the initial process involves painfully long stretches of time wherein we have been forced to remain seated listening to some yahoo out in Utah drone on over speaker phone about how this whole thing works. I am here to tell you, it has NOT been pretty.

The first day, every single one of us fell sound asleep for AT LEAST an hour. Thank god we had the decency to take turns so someone was always available to mumble a response when called for.

The second day I honestly felt like boredom could actually be a clinically cancerous disease that had infected every cell of my being and was busy turning my insides to goo. I swear I broke out into a fever mid-way through.

On the third straight hour of the third day, we as a collective whole began to question our faith in God. If a higher power existed, why would He let us suffer so? The counter-point being, clearly Hell must be real and this surely must be what it feels like.

We are slated for our fourth installment momentarily and I’m not entirely sure we are going to come out alive on the other side which is bad news for everyone except my life insurance beneficiary.  If  I do somehow manage to survive I’m going to need mood elevators and group therapy and even after which i still may never feel entirely whole again.

Here’s to long-distance lethargy and conversations that completely decimate one’s will to live. May my tombstone read: “Video killed the radio star and the conference call killed me.”

Daily Dose:Drive-by Hugger

Friday, October 8th, 2010

In Atlanta it shouldn’t be called rush hour, but rather rush HOURS. The cityscape becomes a traffic nightmare as early as 3pm and typically doesn’t abate until almost 8. Boy’s flight from Australia was slated to land last Tuesday night at 7pm which meant I would be traversing the highways at the peak of lousy. Not knowing how long it was gonna take me to break on free to the other side I left entirely too early figuring it better me standing around waiting on him than the other way around. Turns out all that new music on my ipod was just the ticket to help me hang on to my zen in the middle of all that driving madness…a couple dozen good tunes later and Id arrived.

Even after i’d parked my car and hiked all the way in to the terminal, I had some serious time to kill. I got a cup of coffee and sat listening to the piano man for a bit before deciding I best be makin my way down to the arrivals lobby. There was still an hour to go but quite frankly I was getting antsy and it was either walk it off or start dancin a jig to the jazz tunes Mr. Lounge Liberace was beltin’ out. I went with the option that would avoid public humiliation and possible jail time.

Turns out, the arrivals lobby is where ALL the real action is. Post 9-11 people obviously cant stroll past secuirty to greet their long awaited loved ones and so instead of being disbursed throughout the various gates all those intense and moving moments are packed into one big place and man is it entertaining to watch.  Put in theater seating and a concessions stand and the raw footage alone would qualify as an Oscar-winner. I squeezed in right up to the front so I had a perfect view of all the activity.

Each reunion seemed its own little scene unfolding and i was having quite the time making up stories for each and every one. Like the one guy I decided had just returned to his weeping worried wife having been out of state donating bone-marrow to a brother he just learned he had three weeks ago….or the lady that was hugging her son so tight because clearly he’d just returned from Somalia where he’d spent the past 3 years de-worming orphans….have i mentioned i have QUITE the flair for the dramatic?

I was so caught up in all the high-definition, surround-sound emotional drama playing out before me that before i knew it, it was almost time for Boy’s plane to land. Suddenly a hush fell over the cavernous room and I turned to see what kind of madness could possibly have silenced a crowd this crazy. I watched as a lone serviceman stepped off the escalator carrying an American flag. His shiny black shoes clicking  a rhythm across the hard marble floors. I stared in silence with everyone else as he walked with great purpose across the expanse of the waiting area, turned on his heel and stood facing the crowd. Then in a booming voice he bellowed out a strange series of commands I couldn’t quite make out and suddenly the entire place broke out into a cheer as a wave of men in uniform began pouring into the room. I, of course, was moved to tears. The great big crocodile kind. Shocking, I know. Even if you aren’t a total sap like me or all that patriotic, it was impossible to not be deeply moved by the sight of all those soldiers back home from war being enveloped in the arms of those that love them most…..all but one.

I don’t know if his people had gotten lost in the shuffle, held up in traffic or if he just plain didn’t have any, but the sight of that one soldier standing alone was more than i could take and crazy me decided it just wouldn’t do. I barreled right into him wrapping my short little frame around him and squeezed his midsection tight. He looked down at the squirrely brown-headed stranger forcibly squeezing the bejeezus out of him, grinned wide and said THANK YOU. I muttered something ridiculous about my gratitude for his service and how I couldn’t stand to see him the only one not participating in the hug-fest and that i have a tendency to act a fool sometimes.  He tipped his hat (who knew men actually still did that!) and expressed his genuine gratitude and with a wave he was gone.

Moments later when Boy arrived he asked if I’d seen the military men and had I been cheering. I informed I had indeed and he looked down at my face and said “Your eyes are red, have you been crying?” I told him the story of Mr. Lone Soldier and he simply chuckled and shook his head. While I wouldnt say he is used to my crazy exactly, he is well aware of its existence so at least it seems less shocking than it once did before.

So I hugged a stranger….while not entirely normal, its not exactly the most shocking behaviour of all time. Besides, hugs have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease so though it is quite the stretch, it could be argued I might have saved G.I. Joe from a future heart attack and if that isn’t noble, i don’t know what is. I’m considering contacting the powers that be to see if this warrants a medal of some sort as i could really use a kicky new broach.

Happy Friday, Hoodlums. Be sure to hug the heroes in your life today. After all it’s organic, pesticide and preservative free, contains no calories or caffeine, it’s non-fattening, inflation-proof, theft-proof, non-polluting and non-taxable…and really,what could be more all natural than that?

Daily Dose: Ticket To Ride

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

One of my first, most vivid, initial impressions of Boy involved watching him extricate his large, hulking frame from the confines of what seemed like an impossibly tiny sports car.  He did so with an effortless finesse that was surprising if not a little impressive. But later that same evening I also witnessed him dance for the first time and quickly learned not everything the man does is entirely graceful (Don’t tell him, but I actually find that wildly endearing.)

While Boy is every bit as much a cityslicker as I am a country girl, I was still somewhat surprised by his choice in personal transportation.  Im not entirely sure why, but I’d always pictured him in something much more practical and pragmatic…not to mention with more leg room than a matchbox. But man, does he love that little car. Which of course means I felt compelled to ridicule it.

“Hey Boy, Barbie called. She said Ken needs his car back.”

“Hey Boy, don’t forget to tie a sweater around your neck. The last thing you want is to look silly tooling around the Hamptons this weekend.”

“Boy, pop the trunk will ya? I wanna put my luggage in there…and by luggage I mean a hairbrush and a handful of loose change. What do you mean it wont all fit?”

Believe me folks, he can dish it out almost as good as he can take it and frequently refers to my American-made, 4-cylindered commuter as the Maid Mobile. (We are nothing if not supportive and sweet to one another)

At the end of August as he was preparing to leave for the wilds of Australia, he tossed me the keys to his little foreign friend and said “You really should drive my car some while I’m gone. September alone is a good reason to own a convertible.”

Laughingly I tucked the keys into the kitchen drawer next to the extra batteries and 13 pens that don’t write informing him the most I was likely to ever do was move it a couple times a week across the parking lot so it didn’t look like no one was home. Given I was in a couple of major, traumatizing car accidents years ago, I tend to think of driving as something to “get through” more often than something to enjoy.  So for an entire month the only thing I did was trade out parking spaces.

A few weeks ago when my friend Ellis discovered that I’d yet to drive it he nearly had my hide:

Ellis: He left you the keys to his convertible BMW?

Me: Yes

Ellis: And gave you permission, NAY, TOLD YOU to drive it?

Me: Yes. More than once.

Ellis: And you are capable of driving a stick shift?

Me: Yes

Ellis: And you have not once taken this thing for a spin?

Me: No

Ellis: You shame me.

Yesterday as I slid behind the wheel of the little rag-top preparing to scoot it over 5 feet for it’s little routine mid-week parking lot move,  it dawned on me that  September was almost over and Boy would be back in less than a week. All I could hear in my head was Ellis screaming “If you don’t drive that thing Mo, you will have failed me. DO IT.”

Maybe just a couple laps around the neighborhood.

I hit the switch and sighed a little as the top rolled back and the breeze tickled strands of my hair loose from my workday pony tail. For about 10 minutes I wound through the backstreets never once shifting past 2nd gear and internally arguing with myself. I finally concluded that at that particular time of day there would be little traffic and it was slated to be a totally gorgeous day so WHY NOT. I swung back by Boy’s place, grabbed my gear, locked my car and took off.

After about 10 minutes of red lights and stops signs I reached the open highway. What happened next was completely unexpected. Building momentum I slid from gear to gear smoothly and effortlessly and right as I reached 4th, that flirty little car of Boy’s skipped right past the formalities and went straight to 3rd base with me, pinning my spine pleasantly to the seat with a rolling wave of vibrations and sucking the breath right out of my lungs. It felt exactly like the first time a sweetheart ever pinned me to a wall and kissed me senseless: delicious. Turns out sun on your shoulders, wind in your face and serious horsepower at your fingertips is a pretty darn heady combination.  Fifteen miles and two right turns later and I was in a full blown love affair.

We both know it isn’t meant to last…the really big loves seldom do.  But truthfully, I think  maybe knowing it is elusive and transient only makes it all the more exquisite.

**Interesting Footnote** Yesterday evening I got a curious message from Boy asking if i was in fact driving his car. It appears his neighbor knew he was out of the country and became concerned when she saw someone take off in it and decided to email him and alert him of its disappearance. How this woman never once seemed to notice me move it twice a week but suddenly happened to be staring out the window right as i was driving off is beyond me. She was so worried in fact, she was quite close to calling the police and declaring it stolen. Once Boy, confirmed I was indeed the woman she’d seen behind the wheel, he explained to her everything was fine and not to worry. Who knew my little joy ride yesterday actually almost got me arrested. Seems all the truly fun things in this world are all somehow destined to make you an outlaw.

Daily Dose: Who’s Counting Wrinkles?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Conversation between my Mama and her 8 year old little neighbor girl:

“Miss Betty, how old are you?”

“Well, Sydney, in a few weeks i will be 62 years old.”

DRAMATIC PAUSE

“Ya know Miss Betty for a really really really really old person, you’re still beautiful.” (note the 4 “really’s”)

Just remember, Mama, growing OLD may be mandatory, but growing UP is optional.

Your wrinkles merely indicate the many places where smiles have been.

Pretty is something you are born with, but beautiful, well that’s an equal opportunity adjective…..and you will always be beautiful to me.

Happy Birthday! I love you.

Daily Dose:That Which is Simple

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Confucius said: “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Well, I might be inclined to agree Sir, if your definition of simple is equivalent to say, building a nuclear reactor from wristwatch parts in a darkened room using only one’s teeth.

Personally, its a chicken/egg sorta deal to me….either it starts out complicated or somehow we make it so….either way, the end result means we wind up spending a whole lot of our time just trying to navigate the crazy.

Sometimes, in the middle of all that madness it is easy to forget that while the living itself is often tangled and elaborate ,the things that make the experience of doing so most rewarding are actually usually rather simple.  I site as an example the joy one gets from a truly fantastic friendship. I myself, am fortunate enough to have a handful of absolutely amazing ones and today one of them is celebrating her birthday.

So this one is for you, Marishell. Thank you for making my life in particular so much more just plain FUN. May you celebrate many more years to come and never get too old to drop it like it’s hot.  Happy Birthday, Yum Yum.

And Happy Friday to the rest of you hooligans.  May your weekend be equal parts inexplicably awesome and hip-crackin happy.

Daily Dose: Yes, Alanis, It IS Ironic

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I fully admit I am a shameless social networking junkie. While I joined the Facebook bandwagon several odd years ago, I did not in fact surf the crest of that particular trendy wave. I held on to the sinking ship of MySpace longer than I care to admit mostly out of sheer laziness. It felt akin to abandoning a carefully built and recently remodeled home. I’m mean after all, Id spent countless hours finding just the right layout codes and music to express the “real me” and trimming my friends list to the perfect number and I was suddenly just supposed to start ALL OVER again? It seemed maddening. But eventually I was swayed by the masses and once I took up permanent residence on my little plot of Facebook soil, I never looked back.

If I had a nickel for every hour spent on there I could retire next year. Not only does is facilitate my sorry habit of light internet stalking, it has genuinely reunited me with some truly long lost friends that otherwise I may have never reconnected with again.

Which is why I find the story of Facebook and how it supposedly bloomed into existence to be so wildly entertaining…

You’d have to live under a rock to have not seen all the hype and hoopla concerning the coming release of the movie The Social Network that is the supposed real life story of how the website Facebook came to be.  Mark Zukerberg is the reported creator and founder of the site, but it has long since been rumored that he stole the idea from some of his friends while at Harvard University. The movie explores this tangled web of friendship and betrayal and the sheer genius behind the idea for the world’s most popular online hang out.

Facebook now boasts over 500 million active users which roughly translates to about 1 out of every 14 people on the globe. That staggering number has also brought in record breaking amounts of money, making Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in the world with an estimated worth hovering somewhere around the 4 billion mark. When you’re talkin that many zeros it’s no wonder there is a fight over whose bright idea the whole thing was.

I’ve followed along in the news as saga after saga has poured out regarding all the players in this sordid little tale. Quite frankly, none of them appear to be telling the whole story and if even a quarter of the things reported are true, then all parties involved have stolen, manipulated and cheated one another on some level.

Isn’t it fascinating that the one website singlehandedly credited with personally connecting and keeping together more friendships than any other is the direct result of the demise of several friends? Oh the paradox. Kind of like Charles Darwin, the man who gave rise to the importance of genetics in natural selection…who married his first cousin….or the fact that World War I was originally named the “The War To End All Wars”.

 And people wonder if God has a sense of humor…

 

Daily Dose:God Winks

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Have you ever had an encounter so seemingly random yet so intensely kismet that it seems divine providence MUST be directly involved? The kind of thing so astoundingly crazy, all you can do is scratch your noggin and say WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

 Let me give you an example…. There is the story of the famous American novelist Anne Parrish who while browsing bookstores IN PARIS in the 1920s came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites – Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf found the inscription: “Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado.” It was Anne’s very own book.

Or the story of how late one night,  a man named Slim Cornett was being shown around a county airport in rural Mississippi by a member of his church who managed the facility. “This switch lights up the runway,” the man said as he flipped it. “Then, let’s say there is a plane in distress up there. I would throw this switch and turn on the search lights.”As the night skies lit up, a small plane materialized out of the darkness and landed. Slim and his friend watched in amazement as Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist, stepped off the plane. The pilot had been flying Franklin back to school in Texas when the electrical system shut down, leaving them stranded in the Mississippi night without lights or radio or any means of guidance. From out of nowhere, the search beam had come on and guided them to the landing strip.

My friend Jackie calls those little moments of circumstantial destiny “Godwinks”…a little wave from the hand of Fate and the heavens above… and last night, I had one of my very own.

After work the weather outside was so lovely, I decided to take a bike ride down to the local library and spend a little time getting lost in the seemingly endless stacks of books.  After a couple of hours of mindless browsing I settled on three new novels and made my way towards the front to check them out. Just before I reached the librarian’s desk I realized my library card was buried inside my backpack and so I took a seat at one of the desks nearby to search for it. There was a woman sitting beside me busily studying the monitor at one of the complimentary internet stations the county provides. Suddenly she let out a gigantic chuckle that shattered the silence and startled me so badly I nearly fell off my chair. She apologized and returned to her reading as i returned to searching for my rogue library card. Twice more she burst out laughing and twice more she apologized.

Finally she leaned over to me and whispered “I’m really very sorry, its just that this blog I am reading is so funny I cant help it!”

“No worries!” i said grinning “It happens to the best of us!”

My library card now in hand, I stood and turned towards the door. And then at the last minute for a reason I cant really explain, I turned back towards her and said “Actually, I’m a big blog reader myself.  Mind if I ask which one you’re reading?”

The following seconds passed in that slow-motion everything-seems-under-water sort of way that leaves you feeling light-headed and slightly hard of hearing.  She angled the monitor in my direction and the familiar flowery pink background came into focus first followed quickly by short, intimate phrases of words…..MY WORDS….I was staring directly at my very own blog.

Dumbfounded I sank back into the chair next to her.

“Its called Big City Bare feet” she explained “and it is really great.”

I sat wide-eyed as this woman…this stranger…read back to me some of my very own random thoughts. She was laughing full throttle now and that combined with the shock of what was happening was more than I could take. Suddenly I was laughing right along with her. I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to not immediately shout “HEY! That’s MY blog!” but for whatever reason I didn’t. In my black bike shorts, faded t-shirt and pony-tail I realized this no-makeup, sweaty version of me must not look much at all like the personal images I knew were scattered all through my entries.

“I mostly read the Mommy-blogs, because Im a Mommy, but this one has been my favorite for a long while now” she whispered. (After a few stern looks from the staff we’d both managed to get our giggling under control.)

“Why is it your favorite?” i questioned.

“Mostly because I never know if she is going to make me laugh or make me cry. And because sometimes it is nice to escape being a mother and wife for a few minutes and remember what it was like to be glamourously single and free.” she replied.

“Honey, I’m single and childless and let me tell you, most days it is far from glamorous. I bet if you knew this chic, she’d say it wasn’t always so enchanting. In fact, I bet she is nothin but a regular old, ordinary girl like me.” I chuckled, marveling at how the grass really must always seem greener…

“Oh, this girl is nothing like you!” she exclaimed. (Honest-to-God she said those exact words) “Read a few entries and you will see. She’s much too interesting to be ordinary.”

The whole thing was so entirely odd that I kept waiting for one of my friends to jump out from behind the World History section and proclaim loudly that I had just been punked.

“Yeah, youre probably right” I sighed “How did you hear of this blog anyway?”

“Oh, my husband reads her. Someone from his work told him about it.”

We carried on for a few more minutes and she actually pulled out a slip of paper and wrote down the titles to the entries she proclaimed were MUST READS. I thanked her, checked out my books, and tripped out into the growing dusk in a dazed stupor.  The entire ride home I alternated between hysterical laughter and maniacal tears. In fact, this morning when i woke up I was so certain the whole thing had been a crazy dream that I couldn’t believe my eyes when I reached inside the pocket of my discarded shorts from the night before and pulled out that slip of paper.

While in the grand scheme of life last night’s little encounter didnt exactly change the course of mankind, it was just the little wink I needed to remind me that while I seldom ever arrive exactly where I set to go, I somehow always wind up exactly where I need to be.

*Shout out to the Lady of the Library! (you know who you are) I hate I didn’t get your name. Please email me, the ordinary extremely plain girl you met yesterday at the Roswell branch, here on MY glamorous blog. I’d love to chat again. Oh, and what i wouldn’t give for a picture of your face at this exact moment in time.*

Daily Dose: The Land Down Under

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Ten days ago I put Boy on a plane headed to Sydney to spend six weeks in the land of the Aussies for work-related reasons.  Until recently, pretty much the only things I knew about Australia were that it is an island and a continent, and that the first Europeans that settled there are rumored to have drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind….but given that the whole place started out a penal colony that isn’t overly surprising.

With a 14 hour time change, Boy and I are rarely both awake at the same time and when we are at least one of us is at work so communication is limited to mostly emails. So far he seems to be having quite the fantastic time. At this rate, my guess is he wont miss me for at least another 3 weeks.

Prior to leaving he gave me a book by well-known American humorist Bill Bryson entitled “In a Sunburned Country” which details his excursion to Australia and offers an eye-opening first hand account of what life is like in the country that doubles as a continent….just Boy’s little way of “sharing the experience” and “so you will know all about the places I will be seeing and emailing you about” he said.  I didn’t even crack the spine until a few days after he left, but now that i have, let me share with you a little of what I have gleaned from the pages thus far:

* Australia is the driest continent on earth.

*Australia is home to 1500 different species of spiders including ALL TEN of the MOST DEADLY ones in existence and EIGHT of the 10 MOST DEADLY snakes on the globe are also natives.

*The oceans and coast lines of Australia house the 10 most deadly of all aquatic creatures including the Box Jellyfish, the Salt Water Crocodile, the Blue Ring Octopus, and the Scorpion Fish. Its also renowned for its extreme reef break waves and the most powerful of all coastal undertow currents.

Awesome. This all totally eases my fears as to Boy’s safety and eventual return. The man clearly knows how to give a gift. Can’t wait to see what I get for Christmas.  Here’s to global travel and the hope that Boy somehow manages to remain top of the food chain.

Daily Dose: The First of Many

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

TO MY GODSON: SWEET BABY GRANT-

I can hardly believe that as of today you are one whole entire year old.  I sincerely doubt that you will remember any of the nights in your first months of life that I got to rock you to sleep and tuck you in. ….you’d fist your sweet, fat fingers in my hair and smile up at me as your eyes grew heavy and your breathing deep.  But you can be certain those are moments I will never forget. It is quite likely the closest I will ever come to having an armful of tangible magic.

I have very much enjoyed watching you grow from that toothless, wrinkled, little potato-shaped cutie into the adorable and often LOUD little pot-bellied munchkin that toddles around on a seemingly constant mission. Quite frankly, when you look up at me with a drool covered chin, giggle and say “MoMoMoMoMoMo” over and over there probably isn’t anything on the planet I would not give you.

Its pretty clear that you are gonna give your older brother a good run for his money and have probably already given your mama a few extra gray hairs. But given that MY only job is to spoil you rotten I see us having nothin but a good time.

Seeing as how you are not yet familiar with the concept of birthday candles and wishes, Id say its likely you haven’t any prepared at the moment.  No worries, I got ya covered. Now mine might not seem like the fun sort that someday I know you will be making on your own like: “please let me get a giant trampoline that I can jump off the roof of the house onto” or “please can i have a pet snake”…..but, mine are wished truly and whole-hearted and are as follows:

1. May you have a youth that you love every second of but are content to one day leave behind.

2. May you have a past just juicy enough that you look forward to retelling it in old age.

3. May you have a feeling of control over your own destiny.

4.May you learn how to fall in love without losing yourself.

5.May you know when to try harder and when to just walk away.

Happiest of Birthdays, my sweet little man. Here’s to many many more. I love you all the way to the sun and back down again.

Love,

Mo

(Love love love these sweet little feet!)

Daily Dose: Pimps And Preachers

Monday, August 30th, 2010

This past weekend the gang and I wandered down to the city to a section of town known as Little Five Points for a little birthday celebratin’ fun and some Saturday night shenanigans. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICKSTER!)  Geographically speaking, LFP is the exact center of downtown Atlanta and was aptly named back in the early 1900’s for five major avenues that once converged there. By the 1970’s the whole place had fallen into serious disrepair until urban-pioneer hipsters started snapping up the cheap housing and renovating the old Victorian homes. They slapped on new coats of paint and infused the entire area with a disco-hippy feel that has remained ever since. The whole place is an ecosystem all its own. It reminds me of a city block decorated for Halloween year round. Everything and everyone is tattooed, dreadlocked and sporting some form of face jewelry, and Id wager my next paycheck that 10 of the 15 vintage clothing stores in the area are fronts for hydroponic pharmaceutical operations. Everything about it is kitschy and unique and next to it my entire life seems like a very beige Gap ad.  You never know what you are likely to see or encounter ’round there which only makes it all the more entertaining. It is likely the best people watching place on the planet.

We had dinner at a well-known little joint known as the Vortex that serves delicious hamburgers guaranteed to give you elevated cholesterol and coronary artery disease. And if you are like me and prefer to layer your shame, you’ll order a side of their fantastic tater tots to accompany it.

Once we had sufficiently shortened the life span of our vital organs we walked down the street to one of my favorite musical venues of all time. Its called the Variety Playhouse and is a World War II era movie theater that has been converted to a concert hall. I reckon it only holds 2 or 300 folks and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. They cater to moderately successful indie artists most often but every now and then a bigger name passes through. On the docket for this particular evening was a fella by the name of Paul Thorn.

None of us were really familiar with ole Paul but his bio sold us all in less than a New York minute. He grew up in the wilds of Tupelo Mississippi under the influence of his Pentecostal preacher of a father and his uncle, an honest-to-goodness Pimp. What a pedigree. Somethin told us THAT was worth checkin’ out, and boy am I glad we did as I am his newest, biggest fan.

For starters, he’s got an accent so thick with delta twang if you close your eyes tight you couldn’t be certain what color is skin might be. It has that kind of lazy lilt to it that is soothing yet makes you wanna smile real wide… like a chuckle wrapped up in molasses.  His artistic style is a mix of blues and rock, and the boy can flat out pick a guitar. But his lyrics are where the real money is. I reckon you could relate to them even if you aren’t a southerner or never darkened the door of a pentecostal church….but if you are and you have, then the connection is laugh-out-loud relatable.

Some notable favorites include a song about his family reunion:

“MY FAMILY REUNION IS GOING ON TODAY.

MY RELATIVES HAVE ALL FLOW IN  

FROM PLACES FAR AWAY.

AS WE SIT HERE EATIN’ CHICKEN

IT HITS ME LIKE A TRUCK.

I DON’T LIKE HALF THE FOLKS I LOVE.

BUT IF THE TRUTH BE TOLD,

I LIKE IT WHEN THEY COME,

BUT I LOVE IT WHEN THEY GO.

I’M SURE THEY’VE GOT GOOD QUALITIES
 

B UT THE BAD ONES COVER THEM UP. I DON’T LIKE HALF THE FOLKS I LOVE.”

And I thoroughly enjoyed the one about a tent revival evangelist that also sold fireworks:

“I  SAW A BLACK MAN WITH A BIBLE AND A SPARKER IN HIS HAND

HE WAS HOLDING A TENT REVIVAL AND RUNNING A FIREWORKS STAND.

HE SAID THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING, YOU BETTER GET ON YOUR KNEES

TODAY BOTTLE ROCKETS ARE TWO FOR ONE, BUT SALVATION IS FREE.

HE SAID I QUIT MY JOB AT A BIG CHURCH WHERE THE MILK AND MONEY FLOWED

TO SELL CHERRY BOMBS FOR JESUS IN A TENT BESIDE THE ROAD.

I AINT IN IT FOR MONEY, MOST CARS THEY PASS ON BY

BUT I PAY RENT ON NEW YEARS AND THE FOURTH OF JULY

HERE AT THE HOLY GHOST BIG BANG THEORY PENTECOSTAL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE MISSION TEMPLE FIREWORKS STAND”

 

In the end it was the one he wrote about his Mama that won my heart the most. It seems she’d married his Daddy when she was only 15 and by 17 had given birth to 2 children. She has spent all her life known mostly as Sister Thorn -preacher’s wife. But of course, she was so much more than that….she was a mother and a daughter and a person all her own. So he penned a song that he hoped to immortalize her as such….the lyrics were simply all the little catch phrases she said all the time strung together and put to a melody. It was absolutely precious. Got me to thinkin’ about all the little things that MY mama says all the time and what kinda song they would make….

After the show we sat on the patio of a local pub enjoying the first cool evening in ages that was tinged with just the hint of Fall. As I sat watching the colorful characters that come out at night in the city’s quirkiest district i thought about the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote “We all boil, just at different degrees”….Im not entirely sure why but I find great comfort in knowing that though we are all different on the surface our substance remains the same….from pimps to preachers….suburbanites to inner city hippies….they truth is, we are all just different shades of the same color.

Daily Dose: Sweet Dreams Indeed

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Because it is the end of the work week and because I love you, I’d like to introduce you all to the latest and greatest the As-Seen-On-TV market has to offer. We all thought the Snuggie was a wish upon a star come true until the Dreamie came along and stole our hearts all over again. But this, THIS will rock your faces off, folks. I give you, THE SNAZZY NAPPER. Its like a blanket mated with a burqa. Quite frankly, it makes life before now suddenly seem so empty.

Here’s hoping that your weekend is full of true rest and relaxation.

Happy Friday, Hooligans.

Daily Dose:The Wonder of Words

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I clearly remember the very first time I cracked open the binding of a book, crawled directly out of my reality and into the world of a story. I was about 8 years old and it was a work entitled Summer Pony by Jean Slaughter Doty.

The entire novel is a concise 121 pages long and is a tale about a young girl named Ginny that dreamed of having a sleek, beautiful pony for the summer. What she’d gotten instead was a half-starved, shabby mare that left much to be desired. At first she convinces herself that any pony is better than no pony at all, but by the end of the summer Ginny would give her life- and almost does- to save the darling Mokey. Its a heart wrenching coming of age story about a girl that learns two important lessons:One- Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder and Two- Friendship is a sacred bond that can inspire you to reach beyond the limits of all you thought possible.

I bet i read that thing a 100 times or more. Id take the pillow from my bed and strip it of its lovely white eyelet case and stuff it down into a dingy blue one id found buried in the bottom of my Mama’s linen closet. Id slide the book down inside as well and tie the end of the pillow case to the side belt loop of my jeans. Then Id climb 30 feet or so into the leafy green top of my favorite tree to a spot where two giant limbs forked in just the perfect way. Id lean the pillow against the thick base of the trunk and settle down into the cradle formed by the smooth-barked arms of the giant oak.

Alone in this silent library in the sky I spent hours reading and dreaming and falling in love with the world of literature. 

   

Summer Pony, Old Yeller, and Ramona Quimby were my gateway drugs…..but before long i was into the hard stuff. In his childhood, my father had been given a set of novels known as the “Classics that Endure“. There were a total of 167 books encompassing everything from the likes of The Iliad to The Red Badge of Courage.  My mom had tucked them away on the top shelves of my brothers closet and i remember standing on a rickety old stool to reach them. In four summers i made it all the way thru the set.

I was nearing the end of the collection when I came across what is to this day one of my favorite novels, To Kill A Mockingbird. I was struck speechless that words across a page could not only be radically moving but could sincerely inspire change…..not just in oneself but the World at large. My passion for the written word has only increased as the years have rolled by. From cereal boxes to reference manuals to Brit Chic Lit, i still generally absorb everything in my line of sight. 

I doubt I could ever narrow it down to one book being my absolute favorite given that different ones speak to me for different reasons. When I want to laugh, I simply pick up anything ever written by David Sedaris. His dry acerbic wit never fails to make me cackle. I have read Me Talk Pretty One Day no less than 2 dozen times and it never gets old. My hands down favorite love story will always be Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Never has another book had such a profound effect on my heart.

Recently, I read a book that reminded me just how powerful words really can be. It’s called Three Cups of Tea. The book describes Greg Mortenson’s transition from a mountain-climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He did this by co-founding the Central Asia Institute, which has built over 131 schools in the most remote areas of the countries, educating over 58,000 students. The book’s title comes from a Balti proverb: “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”  If you’ve yet to read it, I sincerely hope you will. I’m not connected to this author or the charity he writes about in any way, but I was so moved by the story I simply wanted to do what I could to spread the word about it by speaking of it here on my blog. It is my sincere belief that this fella is on to the real way to bring about peace in this world.

C.S. Lewis once said “We read to know we are not alone” and I find that to be profoundly accurate…..individually we are but a drop….together we are a mighty ocean.

Daily Dose: MMMentally Ill Monday

Monday, August 9th, 2010

It’s Monday and as we all know, that’s when the skies  most like to rain the crazy.  I’d like to go on record as saying that this Monday in particular I feel like I’m living in the distorted reflection of a fun house mirror. While on ANY given day my personal reality is a bit twisted, it seems extra so today.  I could blame it all on the fact that Ive been up and out of bed since 3:30 am, but something tells me even 12 hours sleep wouldn’t have mattered. In an effort to spread the wacky around, Ive decided to share with you three lovely little things I have learned today:

1. Are you aware that the Nobel Peace prize medal depicts three naked men with their hands on each other’s shoulders? I, was not. And for some reason this morning when the announcer on my favorite morning radio news program shared this little tidbit with us listeners I found myself laughing hysterically. Strangely enough, I can actually imagine more than one scenario that might wind up with three naked dudes in a circle but not a one of them is anything I would ever relate to the words WORLD PEACE.

2.Just when I thought festival food couldn’t find any way to be more outrageous, I learn today that someone has gone and invented….THE HOT BEEF SUNDAE. Say it with me folks, HOT BEEF SUNDAE. It will be a race to see which happens first: your arteries clogging or your colon seizing. Thank you, rural southern America, for continuing to take things to new heights of bizarre in the world of all things edible.

And last but certainly not LEAST…..

3.Today I was introduced to the artwork of one Ms. Sarina Brewer. This chick takes the animal bodies of the recently roadside deceased and pieces them ALL together to create mythological lookin critters that haunt Stephen King’s dreams at night. She likes to refer to her technique as “carcass art”, but I like to call it “taxidermy by the mentally touched”. Im sorry, but when your medium is ROAD KILL can you market that stuff to MOMA? Because what every home really needs is a stuffed two-headed cat with the wings and feet of a vulcher and the tail of snake. That my friends, says “Welcome to our home. Enjoy your time here in Dante’s Seventh Circle. The demons will be with you shortly”. Classy.

So, now that you’ve lost both your appetite and a little piece of your soul, I wish you all a very Happy Monday! Stay sane, stooges.

Daily Dose: If The Shoe Fits

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Long ago in my high school days I made friends with a pretty girl named Alison that was an honest-to-god ballerina. Not the little girl dress-up sort, but the Juilliard-bound prodigy kind. The first time I ever saw her dance pointe I distinctly remember thinking “The word graceful was clearly invented to describe THIS”. The arc of her arms, the curve of her fingers, the long clean lines of her legs…..it was all so very exquisite.

One afternoon I arrived at the dance studio early for my own rehearsal just as she was finishing up hers. We chatted easily about school and boys, but when the topic turned to the upcoming performance she grew jittery. I found it so very fascinating that someone of her calibre still got nervous. Even though I’d chosen non-traditional forms of dance as a girl and had never danced ballet, I was aware that it was not easy and that making it look as effortless as she did was nothing short of astounding. I watched her wrapping up the long smooth ribbons of her pointe shoes and noticed how dingy the soft pink satin had become. I commented as such and wondered aloud if she shouldn’t get new ones before the show. She looked up at me, chuckled, and said “You’re kidding, right?” I wasn’t actually and said as much which only made her laugh harder. Sensing my confusion she caught her breath to explain. Pointe shoes it seems were TERRIBLE when they were brand new. Stiff and constraining they are like little corsets for the feet. You could barely walk in the things let alone dance. And there was quite the process to breaking them in….slamming them in doors, stomping on them repeatedly, and all sorts of other fairly violent things. They may be pretty right out of the box but they are terribly ineffective and useless.  It is only after the brutal process of being worn down that they are of any real benefit to the dancer.

A week or so later I stood back stage watching Alison in her spotless sequined spandex and her tattered toe shoes give the performance of a lifetime and it struck me  full force for the first time that sometimes in life shiny new perfection isnt always superior and it’s that which has been broken and weathered that really can be the most valuable.

I’m of the opinion that this isn’t only true of pretty pointe shoes….

Here’s to those of us that have been broken in, sometimes even violently….we may be a little worn, but in the end we are the best kind of fit and the ones that make the most difficult dances not only possible, but beautiful to watch.

Used
Like an old panio played for generations slowly fading out of tune,
Used
Like the sole’s on the bottom of my favorite pair of dancing shoes
I know I’m not some bright and shinny polished up car that’s sparkling new right off the salesroom floor
Yeah I’ve got some dents and bruises
I’ve been dropped and there’s a scar where my heart has been broke before,
but in the end I’ll be worth a whole lot more
Used

Used
Like a book read so many times front to back it starts to split in two,
Used
Like a house where a family lived till they died and there’s a soul in every room

I know I’m not some brand new new dress hanging there perfectly pressed, that never has been worn
I’ve got some button’s missing and there a couple stains and places where the fabric has been torn,
But in the end I’ll be worth a whole lot more,
Used

This fragile heart has been passed around
been ignored and been let down,
been learning since the day that I was born
But everything it’s been through has lead me down to this road to you and I can give like I couldn’t give before
In the end I can love a whole lot more.
Used

Daily Dose: Monday, Youre a Meanie

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

My friend Lisa is all sorts of the good kind of fun, but ever since I met her on the job years ago, Ive questioned her sanity. Given that she refers to Mondays as MonYAYs I now feel as if i have proof she aint right in the noggin. (Yes, Mrs. Archer, I’m talkin to you.)

Mondays have never been my friend. We very much have an Ike and Tina sorta love. It beats me down and im forced to go all Proud Mary on that pimp.

Today was no exception:

The brand new toner cartridge in the printer chose to seek a different life’s purpose and exploded today covering the entire front of the office in a cloud of colored dust so thick I thought we were all going to suffer pulmonary failure.

My lunch break consisted of a cup-a noodles and a 45 minute telephone experience in which i waded through 3,000 automated menus before being allowed to speak to an actual human being at an insurance company only to be “disconnected” 2 minutes into our actual conversation.

The coke machine RAN OUT OF DIET COKE.

It’s 8pm and I still haven’t made it home from work.

And i repeat: The coke machine RAN OUT OF DIET COKE.

But, I tell ya what, folks, in spite of all of that, THIS little video made me laugh so hard I nearly lost control of my bladder function. Maybe it’s because I once had a sweet little pug that liked to sing (god rest your soul, Simon, I loved you to pieces) or maybe its because this day has just been so long and brutal Ive totally lost what little cognitive function i did have.

Either way, I’m sharing it with you because that’s the kind of treasure I am.

Here’s to MonYAYs, crooning canines, and laughing to keep ourselves sane.

Come on Tuesday, love me like you mean it.

Daily Dose:Pick Your Pain

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

For as long as i have owned and operated a vehicle, car trouble has been the bane of my existence. More than just the general inconvenience that occurs when your ride leaves you stranded, there is the added feeling of helplessness that comes from not having the first clue what the problem is or how to go about fixing it.

Fortunately for me, I now have the WORLD’S GREATEST auto technician. (Shameless plug for my man, Andrew, and his fabulous services. If you need a mechanic in the greater Atlanta area, you cant do any better than this guy. He is the money.)

Whenever my car begins acting squirrely I call him up and attempt to explain what current crazy she seems to be experiencing. He finds my re-enactments to be rather entertaining.

“It went clunk clunk clunk and then hisssssssssssed for like 30 seconds before making a noise that sounds like a dog vomiting peach seeds.”

How much more clear could I be? How he ever figures out it was the timing belt is beyond me.

Funny enough, I try to solve similarly cryptic riddles myself every day. Given the nature of my job, I hear folks complain about being in pain on a regular basis. Attempting to decipher how severe and the exact location of said pain is a much greater challenge in communication than you might think. One of my particularly favorite descriptions of chest pain involved a metaphor about a porcupine and a too tight sports bra. The ways folks opt to describe their uncomfortableness is sometimes disturbingly funny.

In most medical establishments there can be found a chart that is supposed to help folks quantify their level of pain in attempt to aid us healthcare folks in diagnosis and treatment. The one in my office looks like this:

I’m not really sure Ive ever seen anyone actually change race due to extreme pain, but I’d say trying to pass a kidney stone might be traumatic enough to do that to a person.

Yesterday my friend, Sweet T, sent me a little something by a fellow blogger that not only made me laugh, I’m also considering placing a laminated copy in each of my exam rooms. It blows my dorky little pain chart right out of the water.

It seems this poor unfortunate soul encountered difficulty in an emergency room recently when trying to point out how they felt based on the pain chart in the room. Clearly, it isn’t exactly adequate:

0: Haha! I’m not wearing any pants!

2: Awesome! Someone just offered me a free hot dog!

4: Huh. I never knew that about giraffes.

6: I’m sorry about your cat, but can we talk about something else now? I’m bored.

8: The ice cream I bought barely has any cookie dough chunks in it. This is not what I expected and I am disappointed.

10: You hurt my feelings and now I’m crying!

And so she developed a pain chart she thought might actually be useful, and i for one find it quite the upgrade:

0: Hi. I am not experiencing any pain at all. I don’t know why I’m even here.

1: I am completely unsure whether I am experiencing pain or itching or maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth.

2: I probably just need a Band Aid.

3: This is distressing. I don’t want this to be happening to me at all.

4: My pain is not messing around.

5: Why is this happening to me??

6: Ow. Okay, my pain is super legit now.

7: I see Jesus coming for me and I’m scared.

8: I am experiencing a disturbing amount of pain. I might actually be dying. Please help.

9: I am almost definitely dying.

10: I am actively being mauled by a bear.

11: Blood is going to explode out of my face at any moment.

Too Serious For Numbers: You probably have ebola. It appears that you may also be suffering from Stigmata and/or pinkeye.

I love that every number is represented leaving little to no grey area. We should have adopted this model long ago.

Here’s to clarity in communication. If you continue to read my blog, may you never experience anything above a #2. If not, hope you don’t mind a bad case of ebolapinkeyestigmata.

Daily Dose:Wells, That’s a Deep Subject

Monday, July 19th, 2010

It’s Monday, which in my world generally means chaos and crazy abound. With 87 fires to put out and a To Do list the length of the yellow brick road, I tend to find myself in a whirlwind of busy. At times like these, I’m ever grateful for the advancements in technology that allow me to accomplish so much so fast and all at once.

For example, around 5 this morning, while I was waiting on my lab reports to generate my coffee maker clicked on thanks to a timer and I was able to enjoy a cup of java while reading one of my online newspaper subscriptions and listening to my voicemail. And i happened to run across something I found fairly entertaining…

It appears there is an annual short-story writing competition held to celebrate the works of famous author H.G. Wells. In case you don’t recall, Mr. Wells penned(among other things) the thrilling sci-fi novels “The War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man”. The grand prize is a respectable 1000 pounds. Not too shabby…

This year, in a unprecedented move, they required that all entries be submitted HANDWRITTEN only, the thinking being that this would help “address the low standards of literacy and handwriting these days”.  And would you believe, for the first year in it’s history, the competition didn’t get even ONE SINGLE ENTRY.

Shocker.

Because while folks can be bothered to create  unique story-lines and hash out the hairy details at great length, there is no way they can be bothered to write something out in long hand…because that would be too much work. Are the folks that judge this little beauty not aware that not only do we as a society no longer know how to spell (because that’s what spell-check is for) but that we often don’t even have to FINISH TYPING THE WORD thanks to the magic of a little thing called predictive text?

By the way, if youre interested in an entry form, you can DOWNLOAD one here….you know, because they don’t have time to mail all those things out.

Here’s to shortcuts and timesavers and EMBRACING MODERN MODES OF COMMUNICATION.

Happy Monday,  all you lackadaisical loons.

Daily Dose: I like it Spicey!

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Not something that happens to me often. I was running later than i wanted getting to work and as I turned into the parking lot I realized I’d left my breakfast sitting on the kitchen counter. The coffee pot quit working, my computer froze in the middle of printing a lab report i desperately needed, and a patient puked all over my shoes…all before noon.

I spent the better part of my lunch hour on the phone with an insurance company, dropped my sandwich on the floor and then burnt the popcorn I was making as a replacement in the microwave. The copy machine ate my payroll report and the toilet in the lobby overflowed because someone decided to try and flush A DIRTY PAIR OF UNDERBRITCHES.

I could use a laugh and I figure I might not be the only one. So here it is ladies and gentlemen…the best 30 second spot on the airwaves today. If it can still bring me joy in the middle of this albatross of a day, then perhaps it has the power to put a smile on your face as well.

Thank you, Monday, for treating me like a low rent call girl today. You’re a real gem.

Daily Dose: Boats, Bikinis and Blunders

Friday, July 9th, 2010

A few days ago there I was minding my own business when the Universe decided I was getting around to feeling too good about myself and something needed to be done about it. 

 Boy declares its time for me to get to know some of his friends and wants to know if I could make some time that Saturday to do so. I check my Blackberry and verify I’m clear. I’m thinking holiday brunch or a festive picnic and fireworks. I mentally scan my current wardrobe for something sassy and fun to wear with my recently purchased fantastic new sandals because there is little i like better than a valid excuse to wear fabulous shoes.

Suddenly his voice obliterates my happy little fashion daydream when he informs me this little get together is going to be on a boat. Clearly my new leather sandals wont weather water well and I feel a tad crest fallen. As he continues the whole little horror story suddenly becomes clear. This event, which no less than five minutes ago i declared myself free to attend, isn’t some harmless dinner at a local eatery or even watered-down drinks at an overpriced cantina…no no, its on a boat…on the lake…which means… BATHING SUIT.

I’m pretty sure i just heard a collective shudder from women the world over.

There is little that strikes fear in the heart of the adult female quite like the phrase: IN PUBLIC IN A BATHING SUIT. Even if you’re height and weight proportionate, it still causes your palms to sweat and your colon to seize.  Sure there were days in my youth where running around in a bikini occurred regularly and wasn’t reason for the least bit of concern, but after crossing into my 30’s those days are long gone.

I would also like to point out that Boy has ZERO body fat. His body is a temple. Mine however, is a poorly constructed sweat lodge made of adobe and wire mesh. He spends hours at the gym, which incidentally is how he knows the folks we will be floating around with on the day in question. Perfect. Welcome to my nightmare. Wade on in, the water is warm.

I can almost feel my brain swelling as he is giving me details on the boat and how many people I will be forced to stand nearly naked in front of. After a while he starts to notice my chalky pallor and the sweat beads forming on my brow and pauses to ask if I’m OK. Am i OK? Seriously? He could not have created a situation more racked with brutal awkwardness had he set out to do so, but when i inform him of this, he stares at me blankly as though Ive begun speaking a strange mixture of Portuguese and the native tongue of the Ewoks. Clearly, the man is attuned to what makes women comfortable.

Pull it together I internally scream. You have less than a week to find a bathing suit that will miraculously turn you from Cindy Lauper to Cindy Crawford, there is no time to waste!  And so the search began….i assure you, i tried every possible option in the greater Atlanta area. I went to no less than 8 different stores and spent a total of about 6 hours in  fitting rooms alternating between hysterical laughter and psychotic  tears. God bless the poor sales lady in Macy’s that knocked not once but twice to see if i was truly ok and if I needed additional sizes or perhaps the number to the local loony bin. I tried to inform her as politely as possible that when one is standing under fluorescent lighting wearing a piece of Lycra that makes you look like Borat after a three-week eating binge, it is perfectly acceptable behavior to shriek like a manatee caught in a crab cage.

I call an emergency session with the girls. Everyone is to bring every bathing suit and cover up they have every owned in the history of time, the goal being that somewhere amid our collective pool lies the magic combination of spandex and terrycloth that will make me feel more like the Little Mermaid and less like a bloated Finding Nemo. They sit patiently on my friend Pickle’s couch while i sashay in and out of the room modeling the many options. Everyone understands this is about brutal honesty….if the orange colored bottoms make my backside look like a lumpy peach on the verge of going rotten I NEED TO KNOW. This is not the time for pleasantries. You know your friends love you if they have the courage to tell you that the purple crocheted top makes your boobs look like two monkeys trying to break out of the zoo. Everyone offers advice on how to appear taller, sleeker and more confident. It was like the pages of every Cosmo advice column come to life.

Pickle: Keep your hands on your hips, it helps accentuate a thinner waist-line. And whatever you do, DONT SIT DOWN. Sitting is bad.

Me: Youre telling me I have to remain standing the entire 8 hours we are on the water?

Pickle: No, laying down is best. You should remain laying down as much as possible.

Me: I’m on a crowded boat full of people. How am i supposed to stay laying down? Pretend i had a stroke?

Nikki: Just tell everyone you’ve recently had back surgery.

A great deal of laughter ensues and I drive home with the knowledge that having friends in your life that love you exactly as you are is enough to get you through almost anything.

Saturday morning I wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 am (did i mention that this brilliant little outing also included rising at the crack of dawn on my day off? ) to shave every acre of my body and slather on a primer of sunscreen. I slide into my chosen swimsuit and pray that a miracle has occurred overnight leaving me with the flawless body of a lingerie model. Standing there looking at my bleary-eyed self in the mirror prior to sunrise wearing two small bands of poly-cotton blend is NOT, i have determined, the best way to start a day. I inform Boy that if I don’t get coffee STAT i am liable to go on a killing spree that would put Ted Bundy to shame. He wisely complies and before I know it we are pulling in to the marina.

As everyone arrives my worst fears are confirmed. Every female I will be spending the day with is gloriously fit. Im mentally debating which one Im going to tie to the anchor and throw overboard first when they begin to engage me in conversation. To add insult to injury they are actually NICE. I realize that is going to make drowning them all that much more difficult.

At some point we drop anchor to eat lunch and take a swim. The sun is beating down baking me from the inside out and my skin seems to almost sizzle as it hits the water. Boy edges to the side of the boat and looks down at me treading water and smiles, blissfully unaware of  the many techniques to break his spirit I am busy mentally compiling at that very moment. He had purchased two floats the evening before and throws one to me encouraging me to climb on and relax. Its the kind with a wire rim and a mesh center meant to keep a body submerged ever so slightly in the water so as to remain cool. I slide myself on top only to feel the entire contraption begin to plummet towards the bottom of the lake. Boy (who is normally rather brilliant) hadn’t blown up the outer ring. Instead he tosses me a device made of wire and mesh with no visible means of flotation and allows me to flounder aboard it and sink it like a stone….in front of everyone on our boat as well as the general lake-going public at large. Clearly this is exactly the kind of boost my self esteem needed at that precarious moment. Boy finds it all wildly hilarious and roars with laughter. I take comfort in plotting his painful demise.

As the day wears on, close physical proximity and southern manners require me to get to know the folks on my boat and after a few refreshing beverages, we open up and in typical girl fashion begin to bond. I learn that one of them leaves next month for vacation in Spain and that she’s been working out like a crazed critter because she is worried about her boyfriend seeing her in a bikini next to the beautiful Spanish senoritas she’s seen on the cover of travel magazines. Another outright admits she’s been staring shamelessly at my upper body all day wishing her own torso didn’t resemble that of a 14 yr old boy.

Like how i managed to keep myself from being photographed? Im good.

One by one secrets spill out and it soon becomes clear that I wasn’t the only one that wandered aboard the vessel that morning with a beach bag full of silly concerns.  How ironic that odds are no one is even going to notice the flaws you think so giant they must be visible from outer space because they’re all too busy waging war with their own crazy.

We could all stand to be reminded that being happy with yourself doesnt mean you think everything about you is perfect, it just means you managed to find a way to look past the imperfections.

The truth is people will forget what you wore, what you did and what you said…in the end what they really remember is how you made them feel.

And folks, for all you out there facing swimsuit shopping of your own I say follow the advice of the great Erma Bombeck: “Look for one with the same rules you would to find a husband or wife: Find something you’ll feel comfortable wearing and allow for room to grow.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”– Dr. Seuss

Daily Dose: Conversations Made of Strings

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Chattahoochi Nature Center

There is a concert series known as The Six String Social Club  held here in the city every summer at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Its a small venue that features high calibre guitarists playing for a crowd of less than a hundred seated on a dock as the sun sets behind the musicians into the water. What a spectacular concept. My inaugural experience was a couple of weeks ago and it was one of the most beautiful shows I ever attended.

The artist featured that evening was Beppe Gambetta. He is a flatpicker, which for those of you not familiar, is a style that was born here in the States and has its roots in Gospel and Bluegrass, making Beppe a bit of an oddity. You see, he is from the the city of Genoa, a small seaport on the northern coast of Italy. He jokes that were you to ask someone on the streets of his home town what a flatpicker was  that 99% of them would say “someone looking for an apartment?”.  Somehow, somewhere in his youth ‘ole B got his hands on some Doc Watson (generally known to be the father of all things flatpickin’)and he became entranced. He took to it like a duck to water and before he knew it he was the best flatpickin’ Italian around. To say folks found this a bit strange is an understatement. I like to think it would be similar to some poor kid in the heart of Harlem falling in love with the sounds of polka and fast becoming the best accordion player this side of the Atlantic ocean.

Right away this made me love ‘ole B with a passion. I don’t suppose folks necessarily look at me and instantly know I’m a bit odd, but it certainly doesn’t take long. I may still reside in the land of Dixie, but livin’ in a city this large often makes me still feel quite the fish out of water. I’m a gravel road, weathered-barn, farm kinda girl. I wore overalls long before it was a fashion statement in the early 90’s and i doubt i had shoes on my feet other than when in church or school for the whole of my childhood. Try as I might to blend in down here among the city-slickers, it quickly becomes evident to people that being urban is far from my one true north.  This coupled with my acute nerdiness and other assorted factors all combine to make me one  big ole ball of strange. This I feel, leads me to truly appreciate others who find themselves the odd man out. As i sat and listened to Beppe belt out twangy bluegrass lyrics with a thick Italian accent, I just wanted to give him a hug and holler “Welcome to the crazy fold, ya wacky Italian!”

It is also of note that B was rockin some seriously smokin’ bright red kicks. We are talkin straight-up, hot, Italian leather action. And i am nothing if not a girl that appreciates a sweet pair of shoes. He was stealing my heart by the second.

In short, Beppe is BRILLIANT. If you’ve never seen someone with real talent finger-pick the fool out of a guitar you simply haven’t lived. The dexterity of his digits is astounding.  I was totally awe-struck. I’m not sure i even remembered to breathe during the entire first half of his performance. During the brief intermission I found myself flirting about the edge of the crowd that had assembled around him wanting to say something but feeling peculiarly shy. One by one the people peeled away off to get another glass of wine and he was standing there alone. He looked at me and smiled and we had an extremely brief encounter that went a little something like this:

Me: I think you are so fantastic! It sounds so neat to hear an Italian sing bluegrass.

Beppe:  Thank you kindly. I must say, you have a marvelous accent.

Me: I like yours too.

END SCENE.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have sounded any more like a spastic, verbally-challenged handytard if I had outright tried to. Thank god no one witnessed that miserable mess.

There wasn’t a thing that Beppe played that night I did not enjoy. Every note pulled me in closer til everything else melted away and I could feel the vibrations of the strings he plucked hum across my skin. His rendition of “Church Street Blues” was so wistfully weary I felt like I was walkin down an empty side street in Nashville with nothin but broken dreams and a battered guitar. He penned an interesting version of “Ave Maria” so sacred and melodic, I’m pretty sure its what Jesus listens to on Sundays.  

 But it was a dead heat for my two favorites of the evening:

The first was entitled Madame Guitara. It spoke of an old man saying farewell to his cherished instrument. It seems he’d lived long and loved her well but he didn’t wish for her to be buried with him in the grave. Instead he asked that she find a new love and a new home in the arms of someone young that would worship her as he had and give her many more years making music. He spoke of his eternal gratefulness to have called her his and of his slightly selfish sadness to know she’d soon belong to someone else. He sang this one in his native tongue. It was the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing i have ever heard.

The second was entitledLoenidi and he claims of all the songs he has written it is the one he is most proud of. One night he took his girl and hiked up a hillside in Genoa. They lay beneath the sky during the Leonids meteor shower where the stars fell an average of 6 a second. Under the steady stream of light streaking towards the earth, he told her that he loved her and asked her to marry him. She has been his wife for almost two decades now.

I read somewhere once that there is a theory that the soul of a man is made of song and all the rest…the body….the mind…is nothing but a hull…a temporary home.  Supposedly it is for this reason, that music moves us so. It is the natural language of who we are and speaks the native tongue of that which is our essence. While i cant speak to that which constitutes the fabric of our spiritual selves, I can say it doesn’t seem like a theory void of possibility given that there is little else on earth that can elicit as deep a response from me as beautiful timbre and tone.

Beppe has a gift and it isn’t just a musical one. He is rare, but not just because he is an Italian flatpicker. He is a man that has managed to grasp the concept of passion…..but more importantly,  after identifying it, he removed the common obstacles of “afraid to be different” and “people wont understand” and let it flow through him unchallenged and unfettered….and the result is beautiful to behold. Oh that more of us were so clear-sighted and courageous.

Here’s to souls made of music and the artists that have real conversations with that which dwells inside us all.

*Special thanks to LMF for a night i will never forget*

Daily Dose: Dance Dance REVOLUTION

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Some things simply just go well together:  Macaroni and Cheese. Laurel and Hardy.  Thunder and Lightening.

They work so well in tandem they cease to be known in a singular fashion. You start to wonder how anyone ever thought of them as separate one from the other. Its as if all the stars in the Universe aligned simply to bring them into combination.

And then, every now and then you run across a union so unholy, you wonder why it doesnt have God himself scratchin his noggin and considering scraping the whole human mess like he did in the days of Noah.

I realize it takes real courage to find those winning combinations sometimes. I’m sure the first person to put the meatballs in the spaghetti wasn’t sure how it was all gonna work out in the end but aren’t we glad they shook off the fear and took the leap? The important thing is to know when you’ve crossed the line. And i believe the video below is a classic example of the worst kind of decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is what happens when Country meets Hip-Hop. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

Happy Monday Mash-up, ya redneck break-dancin fools. Yeehaw-Word to ya mutha.

Daily Dose: Stretch and Kick

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

While it’s been rumored I’d either fled for the Mexican border to run my own cartel or made for the Hollywood hills to act as Jessica Alba’s body double, I’d like to confirm neither is true. Just goes to show you cant believe everything you read in US Weekly.

I am happy to report I am alive and well here in the sweaty state of Georgia but I sincerely appreciate all the concerned questions regarding my whereabouts and why I haven’t posted very frequently these past couple weeks.

The truth of the matter is, I’ve been busy hacking away at my first ever contract writing job. I was approached a few weeks ago by a company to write some marketing copy as they were interested in my particular brand of “home-spun charm” and wanted to send some correspondence to their clients that had that kind of feel. I have never done anything of this sort before and was more than a little stunned by the offer. After a little thought, I decided to give it a whirl. It isn’t often anymore I’m challenged in unique ways and the stretch would be good for me. We hashed out a contract, set a deadline and I set to work.

About six hours in to the first brainstorming session, I had 2,000 drafts and not one of them sounded alike…or coherent. I reviewed my notes on what it should contain:

Make it sound homey but professional.

Apologize for mistakes made but don’t leave us open to litigation.

Take responsibility but don’t leave them thinking it was our fault.

Make it personal but retain a hint of authority.

Make them laugh but keep it serious.

I was reminded of the time my Daddio (who happens to be a music producer, by the way) was working with a particularly edgy, high strung artist in the studio that kept telling him he wanted the music to “sound purple”. Because that is not only rational but easy to accomplish.

So that folks, is where I have been….trying to write something that sounds purple.

The first draft deadline was yesterday and the second I clicked send on the email bearing my lovingly-written attachment, I lost the ability to breathe. I can’t count how many times in my life as a medical professional I have literally held someone’s life in my own two hands. I have re-started hearts that quit beating and eased babies out of birth canals and I was totally at home in my own skin. But THIS, this made me nervous. When I pontificated as to why with my buddy Jay, he said “because that is your job, and writing is your dream”…

I suppose he is right. As much as I love medicine, and I do love it, it’s already somewhat of a goal achieved. You study, you get a degree, you get a license, you get a job, you get good, you build a practice. It is objective and tangible and a good deal of your success depends on your being methodical and knowledgeable.

But with writing, my soul feels exposed. Sending your work out into the world is like letting a hatchling waddle through a den of gators with a pork chop tied to its neck and a sirloin on it’s back…more than a little dangerous and frightening. But the truth is, the rush really is like none other.

I’m happy to report I met my first deadline yesterday and the feedback was better than I could have hoped for. A few more tweaks and this one will be done. My first solid project complete and on the record books.

Maybe we should all run head long into that which scares us every now and then. Who knows, maybe on the other side is where you’ll finally find the truest version of who you really are.

 

Daily Dose: The Beautiful Bridge to Everywhere

Monday, June 21st, 2010

In my Father’s face I see two very distinct roads.

The first road leads directly back to my past and all Ive ever been. 

From my very beginning his mark on me is clear. He is my olive skin, my mahogany hair, and my eyes the clear amber color of good whiskey. His genetic contribution and his alone would ultimately define that which i am at the very heart of me….because right from the start, it declared me: WOMAN. The feel of his whiskers on my cheeks conjures memories of all the headaches, heartbreaks, and skinned knees he did his best to kiss better. His firm grasp a steady reminder of all the lessons learned the hard way about respecting my God, my country, my fellow man, and myself. He is my first steps, my first missing tooth, my first day of school and my first time driving a car. He will be the first to tell you he is not perfect. I will be the first to tell you it does not matter. He is the first man I’ve loved without reason or condition. He was the first man to break my heart. He was the first man I truly learned how to forgive.

The second road leads to my future and all I will ever become.

I can envision my life as this wildly fantastic success because he speaks of it as if it already is. He is all my books published, my dream home by the water, and all my travel plans realized and thoroughly enjoyed.  I can see finding a partner that I love beyond all reason that truly gets who I am and what I need because my father speaks of him as though he is real and stands simply waiting on me to turn the corner.  He is my long white trip down the aisle, my 50th wedding anniversary,  my retirement rocking chair on the porch facing the sunset. He will be the first to tell you I am perfect. I will be the first to tell you his love almost makes me feel so.

He is forever my Daddio. I am eternally his Babylegs.

My father is to me a bridge. He bends himself willingly over my life, a solid connector from everywhere Ive ever been to everywhere I will ever go. For him I hope to always be a home for all the things he ever dared to dream and proof not only that HE LIVED, but that HIS LIFE REALLY DID MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddio. I love you more than you will ever know.

Daily Dose: Fate and Fairy Dust

Friday, June 18th, 2010

I became close with my friend Emily somewhere around the pivotal junior high years. It was one of those instant connections that seemed destined to be and was cemented easily over a plate of chocolate oatmeal cookies and a glass of 2%.  The more time we spent together talking and acting a fool, the more we learned our lives had actually been overlapped and connected for many years. Looking back through old photographs we began to see one another in them unexpectedly. There she was turning a cartwheel in the foreground and there was short little me on the uneven bars behind her….turns out we had both taken gymnastics at the same YMCA all through elementary school. In my violin recital pictures she is sitting primly on the second row because unbeknown to us, we’d had the same teacher. And on and on it went…

While all this amused us greatly, I’m not sure it should really have come as a surprise given we lived in Small Town, U.S.A. With the population within the city limits being less than most major concert arenas can hold, this didn’t exactly qualify as a radical phenomenon, but for us, it just solidified the idea within that we were MEANT to be buddies.

Recently I read about a couple who experienced a similiar though admitedly MUCH more impressive such occurance. A week before they were married Alex and Donna Voutsinas were at her mother’s house looking through photographs of her childhood to use in the wedding video. Donna pulled out a picture of her and her brothers at Disney World and right away Alex saw something in the background that jumped out at him….his dad pushing HIM in a stroller. Alex said he picked his dad out of the crowd because of his jet black hair with a big white tuft at the top.
At the time, Alex’s family was living in Canada. Donna’s in Florida. The couple didnt officially meet until 14 years later. They actually went to Disney World on dates a few times long before they ever knew that picture existed.

Alex said  “When I tell people the story, it gives me goose bumps. I always knew it was meant to be, and this is just the icing on the cake.”

They now joke when they look at their own family photos from the theme park that they could be seeing their sons’ future wives and not know it.

Im not sure what the odds of this happening are. Since nearly 7/8ths of the population goes to Disney World in their lifetimes, maybe the number doesn’t loom as large as I imagine it does. Still, it is a reminder that you never know when someone that will change your life forever is standing right behind you.

Here’s to the idea that the hands of Fate and Fortune really do exist …and that some relationships (friendship and otherwise) really are absolutely destined to be.

Daily Dose: KittyTwitter

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

When I first explained the concept of Twitter to my Daddio he said “That sounds like group therapy where no one is getting better”.  At first tweeting felt sort of  like standing on the edge of a canyon yelling into the cavernous wide open and hearing nothing but my own echo. Now it’s more like sending my own little 140-character postcards to the internet. “The weather is here! Wish you were beautiful!”

I dont pretend to understand it’s relevance to modern cultural nor can I project  its future impact. I just know it’s spreading like a disease with increasingly addictive side effects. And it appears, our animal friends want in on the action.

A couple of weeks ago the folks at Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc introduced a lifelogging device….FOR CATS.  It is equipped with a camera, an acceleration sensor, a GPS, etc to record the activities of a cat, and then using the data collected by the acceleration sensor, etc, the device deduces the activities of a cat such as walking, sleeping and eating.  Said data is first transmitted to a PC via Bluetooth, and, then, comments are posted on Twitter. For example, it is possible to automatically post a comment like “This tastes good” when a cat is eating something. Currently, only fixed phrases can be used as comments for Twitter, and there are 11 phrases available but expansion is already in the works.

Brace yourselves folks, Kittytwitter action is on it’s way. Next thing you know, your dog will be asking you to help set him up a blogspot.

Here’s to communication in all it’s crazy forms…when it’s good it’s a stimulating as black coffee… and just as hard to sleep after.

Daily Dose: Nutty News Nightmares

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

It’s been years since I have been able to watch the news with any sort of seriousness. Often times there is a great deal of eye rolling on my part and I wind up yelling at the 2 dimensional anchors with bad hair plugs and atrocious pantsuits as if they can actually hear me. For starters, what somehow qualifies as newsworthy content simply stuns me. During the extended coverage of the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson I made a vow to avoid television at all costs lest I completely lose my mind and snatch myself bald in a fit of rage. Secondly, no one tells the truth. No one. They blatantly manipulate information to fit their agenda with complete disregard for journalistic integrity. Quite simply, the whole mess just sets me off.

But lately, I find myself getting fired up in ways that might qualify me to be fitted for a straight jacket and a padded room all thanks to the great natural disaster that is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Last night while watching my local news i heard the anchor-woman ACTUALLY say there was an investigation being launched to reveal the fact that the whole thing really is an act of Al Qaeda and that BP had been set up to take the fall. She got all wild-eyed and buggy and then proceeded to quote “sources” that indicate BP is employing only the most cutting edge ideas in engineering to solve this problem and shouldn’t be villainized so unkindly. Since when did Barney Rubble and Puff the Magic Dragon become credible sources? Sweet Jesus. It was the most bizarre broadcast Ive ever seen. (I actually tried to find a clip of her verbal diarrhea but there doesn’t seem to be one on the interwebs.) Her counterpart isn’t much brighter as he constantly refers to the “TALLEY BAND” like it was some wicked cool group that makes a mean Pandora station. Honestly, if i hear him pronounce it that way one more time i fear I may have a seizure brought on by over-exposure to stupid.

Someone really should volunteer to check on me nightly after each broadcast to ensure I am not planning a full-scale invasion of my local station.

Here’s to the truth…while it is rarely pure and never simple, we will not find ourselves or any real solutions until we face it.

(LMF, now I know why you no longer take the paper.) (Thanks for the video, JW.)

Daily Dose: The Wheels On The Bus Go Bang Bang Bang

Friday, June 11th, 2010

My Daddio grew up in the fine state of California, Sacramento to be exact,  and on trips out there to visit family I fell in love with the northern half of the state. Quite frankly, I think the Redwood Forest may be the most beautiful place I have ever been on the globe. If you’ve any soul at all, it will take your breath away.

Recently a friend and I were discussing the possibility of checking out the southern section as I have some publishing possibilities to explore out there. Ive never been below San Francisco so I started reading up on points of interest I might like to squeeze in should I be able to make the trip.  There are the cliche’ and expected things I’d like to see such as Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and The Santa Monica Pier just to name a few. I was browsing the interwebs the other evening looking at all things touristy and LA and day-dreaming about bicycling along through Venice Beach at sunset when i clicked across something I found wildly entertaining.

It appears for the mere price of 65 smackers, you can hook up with a little outfit known as LA Gang Tours and literally tour THE HOOD. This includes a trip to hot spots such as the county jail, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party and a lab where graffiti artists ply their trade. If you are so inclined you can also take photos with reformed gang members and ask them questions about the thug life. Alfred Lomas, a former member of the notorious gang Florencia13 now turned minister put this little operation together several months ago as a way to curb the violence in the area and create jobs. He hires reformed gang members as guides.

“Gangs like the Bloods, Crips and Florencia 13 came from out of South Central and have spread to Europe, London and South Africa,” he said. “More than 10,000 people in L.A. have died from gang violence, but despite efforts at increased incarceration, the gangs have grown in size. Gangsta rap glamorized the gang life, we humanize it.”

Lomas has a huge humanitarian presence in the South Central area which earned him the right to negotiate with members of the local gangs. All of the profits from the tours are poured back into the area for economic growth and development and in return the gangs guarantee a cease fire and safe passage for all persons on the tour.

Originally his main demographic consisted of academics and law enforcement but has recently seen an influx of folks from Bel Air and Beverly Hills as well as your average tourist visiting the Los Angeles area. It seems more and more people  have an increasing desire to get right up close with all things delinquent, dangerous and felon.

I’m not sure it would be in my top five, but I will admit it piques my curiosity a good bit. I find the idea of my tiny unapposing southern-girl frame slapped up against an ink-covered former yardbird to be quite an entertaining study in opposites. I imagine us trading hand signs and discussing the high points of our favorite hand guns. We could swap slang phrases and commiserate how no one ever understands our accents. I’d explain to him that saggy pants just make you look stupid not sexy and he’d be grateful somebody finally told him the truth. He’d return the favor by letting me know that white girls really shouldn’t try any dance moves more funky than the Cupid Shuffle because it just makes us look like we are trying too hard. We’d split a bucket of fried chicken and give each other one of our earrings. I’d get back on the bus to the shouts of him promising to call. I’d wave from the window and swear i would write.

Maybe the folks in ole NYC could look into starting up a similiar gig based around lunch with members of the mafia. Who wouldnt line up for a little chicken salad on rye and former crime boss action?

I’m currently thinkin about how i could wrangle up a business out of the  rough-housin’ redneck side of things. Maybe a little live action deer gutting excursion with a backwoods Georgia native or perhaps a little trip down a gravel road in a jacked up 4×4 at break neck speeds with a Tennessean spittin dip and drinkin shine. It would be a niche market for sure, but don’t tell me that package wouldn’t sell.

Here’s to the entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to think outside the box known as reason and safety-conscious behavior. Happy Friday, Hood Rats.

Daily Dose: Dixie Highway

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Knowing that I’m am usually up for a little adventure, my friend Richard suggested sometime back that we should make plans to attend the annual Dixie Highway Yard Sale this summer. It is 90 hot miles of roadside sales that stretches from just north of the city of Atlanta to just shy of the city of Chattanooga. There are 13 Dixie Highway communities featured: Marietta,Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face, Dalton, Resaca, Calhoun, Adairsville, Cassville, Cartersville, Emerson, Acworth, and Kennesaw.   Attempting to cover them all was ambitious, but we are nothing if not a little unhinged.  In addition to the yard sale event, organizers in each area are promoting everything the communities have to offer throughout the year. Since it began 5 years ago, local visitor centers report that folks start calling as early as December wanting to know details for the following summer’s event. It just seemed foolish to miss out on something with that kind of high-intensity, popular draw. Clearly we had to see what all the fuss was about.

We set out early Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a sweet bluegrass playlist drifting through the speakers. Neither of us were looking for anything in particular, we simply shared the singular desire to tackle the entire route simply to say we had. It always amazes me how quickly the cityscape of Atlanta gives way to farm country and I remark as such to Richard. We are only 20 miles outside of town and it is already endless acres of all things fenceline and bovine. Suddenly I realize how much it looks like home.

Round these parts the Dixie Highway is known as Old 41. It was one of the original interstate concepts and was intended to connect the US midwest with the US south. It was replaced with a newer, broader 4-lane version many years ago aptly named New 41 truly making it the road less traveled. If you’ve got a hankerin to get some place in a hurry this isnt the route for you. But if you’re interested in a windy back road that offers gorgeous vistas and just enough curves to get ya just this side of car sick then I’d say old 41 is where you wanna be.

I’m not sure anyone can truly be adequately prepared for what all we saw in the 8 hours we spent on the road. There were some moments you could have convinced me we had inadvertently wandered into a wormhole and gone back in time and others where i simply felt we’d vacated planet earth altogether or were perhaps tragic, unwitting characters on a new reality series based on the lives of rural rednecks with hygiene and anger management issues. It was all one big colorful carnival of crazy and I could hardly take it all in.

I imagine some folks find yard sales to be garish and tacky because you are purchasing used items right out of someone’s garage or off their front porch.  I wont lie and say we didn’t see some seriously disturbing things for sale including but not limited to a set of dentures, used surgical equipment, and a half eaten jar of jelly. But the allure of finding a rare first edition in a crate of old novels or that one of a kind broach worth a fortune that you buy for less than a buck always seems to suck me right in….a  modern day hillbilly search for buried treasure.

In the end I walked away with a beautiful stained glass window and the reminder that some of the most interesting things you’ll ever see are tucked just around the corner off the beaten path.

Thanks for the ride, Old 41.

“When all is said and done, all roads really lead to the same end. So it’s not so much about which road you take, as how you take it, who you take with you and where you bother to stop along the way.”

Daily Dose: Oh Happy Day

Friday, June 4th, 2010

I know you all visit my little patch here on the interwebs for the fascinating look I provide at the critical and hard news of our time, which is why i feel it vital to share the knowledge that TODAY, June 4, is National Doughnut Day. How we dont get the day off from work for this kind of thing is beyond me. Clearly mankind is losing its grasp on the truly important.

Before you healthnuts get all outraged and stage protests, you should know this isnt some fake holiday co-manufactured by Little Debbie and Betty Crocker as a way to heavily endorse snack food consumption and trans-fat intake.  It actually began back in 1938 as a fundrasier for the Salvation Army.  Once upon a time the brave volunteers of the Salvation Army spent time on the battlefields with the sole goal of lifting the spirits of the soliders fighting for their lives and our freedom by offering spiritual aid and comfort….a link to home and family. 

The idea for Donut Day began on the battlefields of France during World War I when Salvation Army workers served coffee and doughnuts to soldiers in the trenches. Rations were poor so the doughnut idea was conceived as a means of bringing the soldiers cheer. Word on the street is they actually fried the donuts in metal helmets but historians claim that cant be entirely confirmed.

It must have been a big hit because so many soldiers planned to open doughnut shops after the war that the military published a book on the subject.  Talk about making an impression.

The war still wages as to who gets credit for inventing that sugary, circular goodness.  The Americans, Canadians, and the Dutch all lay claim to the title. Who really cares how they got here, lets just say a prayer of thanksgiving that they did.

In honor of National  Doughnut Day the following locations will be giving them away:

*Krispy Kreme: All customers recieve a free doughnut. No purchase necessary (Can you hear the angels singing?)

*Dunkin Donuts: Free doughnut with the purchase of a beverage.

*LaMars: All customers receive a free original glazed doughnut. No purchase necessary.

*Shipleys: Free doughnut with purchase. Until Noon.

Get on out there and get your glazed, honey-coated, creme-filled action on. If ever there was a celebration i could get on board with it’s this one. Me and my sweet tooth  teeth just might see you in line at the counter.

Daily Dose:Whoops-a-Daisy

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

While I enjoyed my holiday earlier this week, I’ve not so much enjoyed the days following it. Its been so brutal it almost makes you consider the day off not worth it in the long run.  At any rate, Ive pushed through the suicide part of the week, now I just have to survive the capital murder portion. (I like to try to see the silver lining to every death cloud)

In honor of the rest of you out there slugging it through the hellacious overly-busy 5 day work week crammed into 4, I’m posting this little video guaranteed to make you chuckle.

What we have here is not only a failure to understand the laws of physics (specifically Newton’s Three Laws of Motion and Law of Gravity) but also a general lack of shame and ability to differentiate between a pleasant and painful sounding musical pitch. I hope it brings you as much joy as it did me.  Here’s to putting this wacky week to bed. And soon.

Daily Dose: Forget Me Not

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Memorial Day is to many the official start of summer. It’s cookouts and fireflies and sunburned shoulders…swimsuits and ice cream and toes in the water.

I myself was fortunate to be able to spend some time with some of the people i adore most in this world these past several days. There is little that centers me quite like a few hours with people that I know love me well, just because…

But may we never forget the reason we are able to celebrate all that makes us feel happy and alive…we are only the land of the free BECAUSE we are the home of the brave.

To those who’ve paid the ultimate price for the liberties we hold so dear, I say thank you. And you will never be forgotten.

And to my brother Chris….the bravest and most amazing Marine to have ever lived…I love you, and I could not be prouder. Come home safe to me. Soon.

Happy Memorial Day!!

Daily Dose: Righteous Rage

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’m aware that you don’t go to Wal-Mart to buy an expensive import vehicle or that you don’t go to an amusement park in the dead of summer looking for peace and quiet and a place to sit still and write your memoirs. So, I’m aware people come HERE for entertainment, amusement and perhaps the occasional moment of enlightenment but NOT advice or opinions of the political or financial nature.  But I like to take a moment to discuss something that keeps popping up into every conversation I seem to be having lately.

Everywhere you turn there is discussion of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s impossible to watch the news and see the beautiful Gulf of Mexico being swallowed whole by the ugly crude monster and not want to weep tears of despondence and despair. And it is only natural that the sadness gives way to anger and indignation. Everywhere I turn I hear the screams of BOYCOTT. Let’s stick it to BP, they say. Let’s get them where it hurts…their pocketbooks.

I figure if im gonna fight the good fight, I wanna be smart about it. After all, I want the most effective bang for my activist buck since it isn’t often I’m motivated enough to get out there and “be the change”. And so me being nerdy me, I did a little research.

What I learned is that in the fine state of Georgia where I currently reside, NOT A SINGLE BP filling station is actually owned by BP. Every single one of them is instead, owned and operated by a small business person. So, my boycotting them wouldn’t do the slightest bit of damage to the petroleum giant, but would instead only hurt my local economy which is already devastated to near collapse thanks to the nationwide recession. Clearly in this case, boycotting is NOT the answer….in fact, it is rather asinine.

Personally, I feel the best plan of action is to focus all our energy and efforts into finding a solution to stop the spill and ways to repair the damage that has already occurred. Once we get thru the crisis THEN we can decide who the real guilty parties are and punish them accordingly. And of course, set parameters in place to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t occur again.

I find it astonishing that in a country full of wildly bright engineers and scientists we can’t find a fix for this mess. We can put a man on the moon for heaven’s sake and make cell phones the size of a tube of chapstick! I bet if you put Steve Jobs and the folks over at Apple on it, they could come up with “an app for that” by the end of a weekday lunch break.

I’m stepping back down off my soap box now, and plan to return to the regularly scheduled sarcastic, witty program you are used to. Just keep in mind that righteous anger IS a good thing and often the catalyst we need for real change and progress. Just make sure yours is directed at the REAL enemy and not an innocent bystander. You wont win any war if all you’re killing are the soldiers in your own army.

Daily Dose: Hair Today Gone Tommorow

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I got some disturbing news today. Worse than the Dow-Jones taking another nose dive. Worse than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Willie Nelson cut his hair.

And no, I don’t mean trimmed. I mean, he took out some scissors and lopped off his beautiful braids of glory. Somewhere right now there are angels weeping. (And not because they were flying too close to the ground)

I hope he donated that silver, silky goodness to Locks of Love because it would make one magic head dressing. There’s probably enough THC residue in it to ease all chemo related nausea and send someone straight into the loving arms of remission.

When asked what prompted the new look his spokesperson simply stated it was a matter of “maintenance”.

I better not hear he’s getting botox. Put down the Oil of Olay, Willie! That sweet wrinkled visage is part of what makes you so endearing!

I think Hell must be freezing over. What’s next? Mamas letting their babies grow up to be Cowboys?

Thank God a holiday weekend is upon us. I’m gonna need some time to mourn and recover, folks.

Daily Dose: All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

As previously mentioned I have developed quite a dark and twisty sense of humor over the years. And I recently found something that appealed to my inner, irreverent lunatic in a big BIG way.

Meet Kevin Cotter.

Kevin’s wife of a dozen years recently up and decided to leave him and their marriage for reasons Im not completely aware of.

Her final parting guesture was to leave one thing and one thing only hanging in the otherwise empty section of what WAS her side of their master closet…her wedding dress.  Truly a kind and classy move.

When Kevin contacted her to ask about it, she told him in wildly impolite terms she had no use for it any longer and he could do whatever the $#@&% he wanted with it. Hello, Brutal.

And so, Kevin has done EXACTLY that.

Drawing on his own sick creative sense of humor as well as that of his friends and family, Kevin is putting that taffeta and satin to many good uses….101 uses to be exact.

And he is chronicling it all on his blog myexwifesweddingdress.com

Not only is the concept brilliantly unique it is literally laugh out loud funny.

Here are my personal Top Five favorite uses to date:

A VERY snazzy grill cover

A silky soft ice-pack

A fits-any-sink-size pasta strainer

An easily stow-n-go-able sports team banner

A Santa-aren’t-I sassy Christmas tree skirt

 

 

Some other suggested/intended uses include: Fish Net, Piñata, Hammock, Tent, Sunshade for windshield, Canopy, MC Hammer Pants,  Golf Net, Umbrella, Art Canvas, Pooper Scooper, Beanbag, Windsock,  Kitty Litter Liner, Rope Swing, Leaf Bag, Curtains, Sleeping Bag,  Parachute, Snuggie, Flag, Rope For Tug-of-War, Sack for Potato Sack Race, Fire Escape Rope, Soccer Net, Bar Towel, Car Mechanic Rag, Motorcycle Cover, Mosquito Net, Homeless Blanket, Yoga Mat, Pool Skimmer, Camera Lens Cloth, Matador Cloth (for bullfighting), SMART-Car Cover, Fire Blanket (put out a fire with it), Beekeeper Suit, and Cape.

As you can see that is still a bit shy of his goal of 101 uses so feel free to make suggestions of your own. I doubt there is any more qualified an audience than mine to come up with some seriously ridiculous and twisted ideas.

Here’s to remembering that the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it, because at the end of the day the most effective weapon we as human beings have against all that breaks our hearts is laughter.

 “A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.” -Billy Graham

Daily Dose: Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Most of mankind, myself included, is more often than not our own worst critic. While I consider myself to be a reasonably sane and fairly confident individual, I can still summon a list of flaws within myself or my life-at-large in a New York minute.

*I hit the snooze button too many times.

*My ears are too small.

*My teeth are too big.

*At my current rate of savings I wont be able to retire until I’m 94.

*I cant remember the last time i managed to vaccum and wash my car more than twice in a year’s time.

*On average I eat nothing but chips and salsa for dinner twice a week.

*My driving skills are somewhere between that of an old man with advanced cataracts and a preteen who has never read a road rules manual.

And while this is only the tip of the iceberg, it isn’t as if i dwell on these things every conscious waking second. If I did, heaven knows there likely wouldn’t be enough seratonin-reuptake-inhibitor meds on the globe to get me back to a happy place.  I realize that my flaws and failures don’t constitute the whole of who I am and I choose to not allow them control of my daily outlook.

But I ran across a cute little something today that made me realize it isn’t always enough to just banish the bad…some days we really need to take time to stop and glorify the good.

Check out outrageously adorable Jessica below. THIS chick knows how to start the day off right:

If that doesn’t warm your heart and inspire you, you’re dead inside.

Here’s to remembering that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start everyday with a list of the many reasons it is fabulous just to be YOU.

I’m funny.

And Smart.

And I have a really great head of hair.

I like my job!

I like my friends!

I like my smile!

HAPPY MONDAY!

Daily Dose: Hello, My Name is Stupid

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I’ve always been a fan of people who just go ahead and blatantly advertise that they are ridiculous idiots. For example, the baller rollin’ down the road in his ’92 Mustang with the license plate “P90-X Guy” or the lady at the mall wearing 8 shades of Chanel and pushing a mesh stroller of sorts with her three rhinestone-bedecked Pomeranians inside.

Its like a silent time-saving short-hand that tells you “this book ain’t worth readin'” so you aren’t forced to figure that out 6 chapters and many wasted hours in. At least with these people YOU KNOW up front what you are dealing with …..there is no shock, but there is still plenty of awe.

Recently I ran across a fella that decided to take it one step further: he rented a billboard to tell the world he is a moron. I have to say I applaud his desire to go national when the local level just seemed to no longer be a challenge.

His name is Todd Davis and he  is CEO of LifeLock, a company that sells anti-identity-theft services. Their ads feature Davis’s Social Security Number because their service supposedly works so well he can afford to publicize his SSN without being compromised.

To date, his identity has been stolen THIRTEEN TIMES.

Because seriously, that billboard is like a giant middle finger to the hacking world  that screams “I double dog dare ya!”.

Congratulations, Todd! I appreciate you and all your retarded kind that daily give me signs you are missing most of your gray matter so I shouldn’t expect much from you. I appreciate the time it saves me.

Happy Friday, Fruitcakes!

Daily Dose: Somewhere Out There

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Mankind has come a long way from draggin our knuckles and clubbing our dinner over the head with a stick. I seem to live in constant amazement at developing technologies that allow us to do everything from pinpoint the exact location of almost anything via satellite to send mutli-page emails from our hand-held phones. We can make a substance that looks like sugar and tastes like sugar but has no calories. We can airbrush and photoshop people into pictures of places they have never been.  But no matter how advanced we become as a civilization there are some things I find we simply can not do.

For example, I adore the smell of honeysuckle on the vine. It may be one of the most perfect smells in all of God’s creation…so perfect in fact that we simply cant re-create it. I’ve passed a million different lotions and potions under my nose all labeled honeysuckle and while they are fragrant in their own way, simply not a one of them is anywhere close to the real deal. Mother nature  keeps that formula more  guarded than Coke does it’s secret soda recipe.

Sometimes there is just no substitute for the real thing…especially if it is a person you’re craving.

Here’s to those who are thinking of someone far away today. Myself included. Oh that the shores and the sands of this world were shrinkable…

“Where you should be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. ” ~Edna St Vincent Millay

Daily Dose: Set Me Off

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Yesterday morning I rolled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am in hopes of getting to the office while all was still and quiet so I could catch up on the mountain of work that had developed last week while i was knee deep in wedding madness.

Still groggy from sleep I climbed the stairs in the shadowy dark and fumbled my key into the lock. On autopilot I went straight to the back wall to enter the code and disable the alarm. Strangely the usually brightly lit green keypad was completely dark. I thought it odd that someone had disconnected the alarm over the weekend, but given that I am often the one to leave the office last I figured someone had just forgotten it Friday since I’d left earlier than usual to attend the rehearsal.

I pitched my belongings under my station and hit the switch to crank on my computer. Suddenly the air was filled with the ungodly noise of the alarm’s wailing blast. I raced back to the key pad and attempted to enter the code but to no avail….the thing was dead as a doornail. I quickly flipped through my rolodex and located the number for the alarm company and dialed them up. Over the deafening sounds of the siren I told the operator my password and described the unpleasant situation I was in.  She apologized profusely and informed me that because the keypad had lost power she had no signal to it herself and that remote disconnection was not an option. She would instead have to locate a technician and dispatch them to our location.

Waiting on the line for her to connect me with technical support, my head begin to pound from the screeching racquet that had been filling our small little suite for over 15 minutes now. Given that it was not yet 6 am and I’d yet to have any coffee, i felt the edges of my ragged nerves begin to unravel.

At long last a voice came over the line and with one ear smashed to the receiver and the other plugged by my finger I again explained my situation and location. The noise level was at such a deafening pitch the floor beneath me was literally vibrating and I felt a wave of nausea roll up through my feet and crescendo inside my belly.

The technician informed me he was a minimum TWO HOURS from my location and was going to have to talk me through the disconnect over the phone. I strongly considered simply getting into my vehicle and driving to the other side of the state, but my responsible nature took over and I internally cursed my sense of duty.

“You need to locate the brown box about 1ft x 1 ft inside your utility closet” he screamed into my pulsating ear.

I placed the phone down and went in search of said box only to find it was tacked to the wall about 1 foot below the ceiling making it a good 12 feet above the ground as the closet in which it resides has no drop ceiling installed.

Just about the time I was rounding the corner to return to the phone the front door swings wildly open and there behind a flashlight and a LOADED gun stands Officer#295.

I screamed.

He shuddered.

After assessing short little me, my scrubs, and my still-wet-from the shower head he must have deemed me less than a deadly threat and he holstered his weapon and took a deep breath.

I shouted above the din trying to explain i was indeed not breaking into my OWN office and that i had the alarm company on the line trying to shut the bloody thing off.  He radioed back to his partner it appeared to be a false alarm and then proceeded to canvas the rest of the place making sure no one was hiding and telling me to send him away.

After securing the perimeter, robocop style, he joined me in the utility closet where i was trying to figure out how i was going to reach that god-forsaken box so high on the wall given we didn’t have a ladder or anything else of the sort. I should also mention this closet is only about 4ftw x 4ftd so even if i COULD have drug one of the exam tables (they weight about 42 tons) over to stand on, it would never have fit through the door.

At this point, the alarm has been sounding for over half an hour and I am dangerously close to having a psychotic break from all the racquet. I turned to Officer#295 with a tearful look and the sucker is sunk. For better or worse, we are now in this together.

“I have to get to that box” i say pointing “and open it and disconnect some wires. The tech guy is going to talk me through it, but i cant figure out how to reach it.” I look down at my short legs with disdain.

We both look around and ponder things for a moment before coming up with a less than stellar plan wherein he places me on his shoulders and then stands on top of some dense paper-filled filing boxes we drag in from the records room. It may not be the most safety conscious idea of all time but at that point Ive pretty much decided I would rather be dead from a severed spinal cord than listen to that WRETCHED NOISE for even one more second.

Straining I reach for the top of the box where i have been told a key lies that will swing the front cover open and reveal the wires I am to disconnect.

Only….

THERE IS NO KEY.

Officer #295 lowers me back to the floor and I suddenly notice for the first time that he is wildly attractive with slate blue eyes and the kind of rugged features that would make Danielle Steele blush. My own cheeks grow a little pink as i realize what a sight i must be in my wrinkled cotton and Converse.

I trip back to the phone and inform the technician there was no stinking key.

“Then youre gonna have to pry the door off, because there is no other option!” he hollers.

“Then give me all the instructions now because once i get that thing open I wanna take care of it all at once. It’s about as easy to get to as the top of Everest!” i screech. Clearly my patience is now wafer thin.

He runs through a serious of wires that i need to locate and the order in which i must remove the screws and pull them from the circuit board. The added bonus being that if I don’t do it properly I’m likely to flood myself with a non-lethal albeit rather painful surge of electricity that MIGHT “rattle my teeth a bit” he says.

FANTASTIC! I love Mondays!

I fill in Officer#295 while I am rummaging around in the tool box for something to pry the door off with. An extra large flat head screw driver is as good as it seems we are going to get so i stuff it and the Phillips head under my arm and we make our way back to the closet.

We are now going on OVER AN HOUR with the blasted siren wailing. I start to lose feeling in my eyelids and I plot a murder spree.

Once again he hoists me up on his shoulders and believe me, the humor of the fact that now for the second time in less than an hour i have my thighs wrapped around the neck of a man i literally just met is not lost on me and i force down the laughter i feel bubbling in my throat.

After several minutes of effort I  manage to slip the screwdriver into place and locking my legs behind his back I yank back on the handle with all my might. Suddenly the hinge gives way and the momentum sends me rocking and Officer#295 starts to stumble. He miraculously manages to right himself all with me still sitting across his shoulders just before we crash into the door frame.

I turn my attention back to the now open box and THIS is the mess that i see:

Really? Why couldn’t there be a few more wires, please. Something to at least CHALLENGE me. Sweet Jesus.

There is no time to lose as at any moment I’m quite certain my brain is going to implode and my cognitive function cease altogether. Officer #295 hands me up the Phillips head and with a quick squeeze of the fingers wishes me luck.

A deep breath and in i go, like a surgeon trying to repair a heart-valve in the dark with a butter knife.

Luckily, in just under 10 minutes I am able to loosen all the screws and remove all the appropriate wires only shocking myself once mildly in the process. Suddenly,  after almost 2 hours the office is  plunged into blissful silence.

Officer#295 and i both let out a whoop and he begins to dance a little jig beneath me. It wasn’t until he turned us a round that we noticed his partner leaning against the wall outside the closet watching the whole thing and laughing so hard his face was six shades of red.

Apparently, when Officer#295 failed to return to his squad car after calling in the flase alarm he had gotten worried and driven over to check on him. He walked in right about the time we were prying the door off but the noise level being what it was, an entire battalion of army rangers could have driven tanks in behind us and set off rocket launchers and we would have been none the wiser.

I’m fairly certain he snapped a photo or two with his phone and I’m bracing myself to see it on the interwebs or youtube in the near future. (My Mama will be so proud.)

I should note that a few hours later when the tech arrived on scene to fix the busted circuit board, I not only had him leave me a key but lower it to a place i could reach without sitting atop a stranger. Because as fun and as obviously un-embarrassing as that was, I don’t plan on a repeat performance in this lifetime.

This morning when i trudged up the stairs in the pre-dawn stillness I found something taped to the door just above the deadbolt. It was a note from Officer#295 ironically written on the back of a citation for noise violation and it simply said :”Have a nice day!” Beneath it was a small plastic box bearing a set of earplugs on a string.

I chuckled as i tucked them into my bag and let myself in to the office, disabling the alarm without the slightest problem. My life may be far from ordinary but at least it is never boring. I might not make it to 65 without sustaining permanent hearing loss and a host of other handicaps, but at least I will have some good stories to tell.

I’m starting to think that MY version of the 23rd Psalm should read: “…surely Goodness, Mercy and CRAZY shall follow me all the days of my life…”

Amen and Amen.

Daily Dose: Make Love a Verb

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Saturday my friend Nikki officially said “I do” to her partner-in-crime, Mike. I say officially, because she’d already kept him so long I’m pretty sure she couldn’t have exchanged/returned him if she’d wanted to so she was better off making it legally binding.

This wasnt my first time at the ole bridesmaid rodeo. Im a seasoned veteran and Ive got the closet full of taffeta to prove it.  Believe it or not this last one marks my 11th time down aisle. Not enough to top the Hollywood screenplay, but certainly plenty to fill at least a good movie montage.

If you have ever planned any kind party for a couple hundred people where there is a possibility they will all actually have a good time you are aware it is more than a little difficult. Combine that with trying to accommodate the wishes of everyone in both your families, staying within a budget, AND somehow not losing site of what it really is you are celebrating and it practically takes an act of almighty God.

In the end, Saturday’s ceremony was stunningly beautiful and I have never seen a more lovely bride. I, of course, wept pretty much continually through the entire thing, though this obviously shocked no one.

After brunch, and clean up ,and all the guests had safely departed for home, I crawled in bed last night exhausted but happy clean down to the bone. As I drifted off to dream i thought to myself that the real miracle this weekend wasn’t that they managed to pull off the perfect party…it was that Mike and Nikki managed to find each other in the first place and were both smart enough to realize the best thing they could ever do was never let go.

Congratulations, NiknEm. I couldnt be happier…and you couldnt be luckier.

His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was “I do”

Daily Dose: Bigger Than My Body Gives Me Credit For

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

As a general rule, the word “nice” is an accurate description of my overall personality. I do not mean to indicate that I don’t have my moments of polarizing crazy or irrational cranky, because well, I’m a girl and that is a given. (I think I just heard men the world over applaud. Shut up, John.) But for the most part, I tend to be pretty pleasant and polite.

This hasn’t always worked to my advantage. For starters more folks than would likely admit it see NICE as something of a turn off….a buzz kill…boring…mundane. Personally, I find that line of thinking ridiculous, but then again if you’re lookin for the kind of girl that would rob a convenient store with you on a first date, then I suppose I would be a bit of a letdown. However, I would like to think that I am proof positive that it is possible to be smart, funny, and wickedly entertaining all while still being courteous. If you thrive on negativity perhaps I could see how someone overtly copacetic like myself might not pack enough of a drama-filled punch to rev your engine, but what I can’t quite wrap my mind around is how people can translate congenial behavior as weakness.

Just because someone is sensitive and feeling doesn’t mean they are supine and delicate.  Sure I’m short and compact, but as Daddio always said: Dynamite comes in small packages. The summer after 7th grade I learned just how true that was when the town bully decided to pick on my kid brother.

Given that Kent was 3 years younger and had a cast from his hip to his ankle after just undergoing surgery, he was a bit of an easy target. When the insults and hazing started, I did what Mama had always told me: Ignore it and move away. But wherever we went, he followed and his behavior only grew more hostile. When it turned physical and he attempted to knock my brother off his crutches, I’d had enough. I put all 72lbs of angry me in his face and told him to BACK OFF.

He had me by a good 60 lbs and almost a foot but at the moment I could have cared less. He snarled down at me with a grin so evil and something about breaking my brother’s other leg and I can actually remember thinking to myself: “what could make a kid so mean so early in life?”

I didn’t have time to ponder an answer as suddenly I felt my head rock back as the square surface of his bare knuckles sunk into my soft cheek crunching the bones along my jaw line.  He hit me. Full fisted. In the face.

I cannot describe to you the rage that filled my tiny frame. I’d always thought it was merely an expression when people said they just “saw red” but I honestly felt my vision fill with that bright primary color and something inside of me snapped. I flew at him, and knowing me, in what couldn’t have been the least bit graceful of a movement. Blinded by toxic passion I swung like crazy and felt strange vibrations up my arms and into my chest whenever my fists would make contact with some part of his sturdy frame. By the time an adult pulled me off him, I’d broken his nose, blackened both of his eyes and ripped his shirt nearly half off his frame. Aside from the initial crack to my face, he never landed another punch. I’ll give him this; it was a good one though because I still have issues with it popping in and out of socket to this day.

Mama was more than a little mad until she heard the whole story and then she was secretly high-fiving me and telling me how proud she was.  The next day she was suddenly got very concerned about me going to school. I told her I wasn’t the least bit worried. I mean, Id beaten the bloody fool out of the guy and walked away with my hair ribbon still in place. I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to give me a hard time. And you know what? He didn’t. In fact, he tip-toed around me like I was going to haul off and snap his femur at any minute. I happened to walk by once as he was taunting a kid at his locker and he immediately stopped and walked away. Kids started coming to me for protection, like I was some kind of mafia boss.

Years later, that jerk and I made a truce and actually became friends. I lost track of him after high school, but I hear he went on to make something of himself and have a family.

I haven’t raised my fist to anyone in anger since. I tend to abhor and shy away from violence of any kind, preferring instead to solve things in a more adult and rational manner.  I don’t think physical assault in and of itself makes you brave or heroic…in fact, most times, it means you’re acting rather stupid. But I do like knowing there is something deep within me that isn’t afraid to step up and step out when the time calls for it…no matter how much bigger the situation is than I am.

In passing the other day someone said something to me regarding the fact that my often times very “sensitive” self probably didn’t have what it took to be of any real support when the going got tough. The thinking being that because I tend to weep at grocery store commercials and get my feelings hurt when someone says something harsh to me, I clearly would fold under any real type of tension and pressure.

I’d like to go on record as saying that may be one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard. Just because someone feels deeply and expresses it often does NOT indicate weakness. Id argue rather that it’s more brave to acknowledge how you feel and not care what the world thinks about your showin it, than it is to bottle that up for fear of what people will think of you….or worse because you are too afraid of what you will find if you tap in to that side of yourself.

I’m no wonder woman. And I’m certainly aware of the fact that I have limitations like the rest of mankind. But I also know that how strong you are isn’t determined by how small and soft you might appear to be on the outside. It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them. Toughness is in the soul and the spirit not in muscles and an immature mind.

I’m with Anais Nin on this one: “I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”

Daily Dose: Security Shenanigans

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I’ve always considered myself to be someone with a decent sense of humor. I know I appear to be quite the little Strawberry Shortcake, and in many ways I am. I gush over babies and cry at weddings and hug pretty much everyone with whom i come in contact. I doubt you will ever meet a more sentimental fool than I. But I also have a dark and twisty side that not a lot of folks get to see. I am a big, BIG, fan of the witty and the irreverent where sinister subjects like death, disease, or warfare, are treated with bitter amusement, usually in a manner calculated to offend and shock.  

For example, I have a running gag with a friend of mine where we create marketing material based on the idea that adopting children is like “going green” because you are in essence “recycling a child”.( Some of you just nearly regurgitated yesterday’s lunch, some of you just started to pray ceaselessly for my immortal soul, but SOME of you just chuckled out loud.)  

OBVIOUSLY adoption is a fantastic, wonderful, overwhelmingly positive thing and should be celebrated as such, but that ISNT the point. If you don’t get that, then you don’t get the joke. If you don’t get the joke, I cant explain, other than to say you clearly don’t have a dark and twisty side. Which is quite alright really. There are plenty of things i will openly admit I cant even begin to understand or connect with…like men who marry their body pillows or  that whole Live action role playing thing where modern day folks  like to roam around suburban forests wearing tights and tartans pretending they’re on some quest in Middle Earth.

Ive been fortunate enough to land smack dab in the middle of a group of friends with an equally disturbing appreciation for my sort of demented amusement and we crack ourselves up regularly. I occasionally wonder just how long it would take before all of us were forcibly committed should outsiders ever overhear some of our conversations.

I ran across something recently that I simply cant wait to share with my group of hooligans as I am certain their twisted take on it will be entertaining. It seems a new financial institution called Ally Bank has customers configure a security question and answer for customer service calls. In addition to all the usual: your SSN, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name they also ask you the question YOU specify and wait for the answer YOU’VE provided. Given that many of the standard security questions are somewhat “guessable” this adds an extra measure of safety to your account and let’s face it, in today’s world of identity theft who doesn’t appreciate that?

A real live operator asks you the question and then waits for you to answer. This may not only provide extra security, it has the potential to add a serious ammount of extra entertainment to a typically boring task.

For example, what about THESE particular question/answer combos:

Q: Do you know why I think you’re so sexy?
A: Probably because you’re totally in love with me.

Q: Need any weed? Grass? Kind bud? Shrooms?
A: No thanks hippie, I’d just like to do some banking.

Q: I’ve been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from my employer, and I don’t care who knows it.
A: It’s a good thing they’re recording this call, because I’m going to have to report you.

Q: Are you really who you say you are?
A: No, I am a Russian identity thief.

Q: Your voice is really turning me on.
A: I like where this is going. Tell me more.

Q: Condor 86171, Go Secure?A: Line Secured.                                          A:Authorization Alpha Tango One. Proceed.

Q. Why do fools fall in love?
A. Hormones, beer and low standards.

Q. Where have all the good times gone?
A. My pants.

Q: Whats the name of your first child?
A: Ham sandwich.

Q: What would you like to play to day?
A: Global thermal nuclear war.

Q: Do you authorize us to transfer a free gift of $1M to your account?
A: Thank you, offer accepted.

Q. You’re not going out dressed like that are you?
A. You’re not my real Dad! I can do what I want!

Q: What time does your wife take the kids to school?
A: I told you that can’t happen again

Q: Have you ever poisoned an atmosphere?
A: Only at Taco Bell

The possibilities here are endless. I could waste an entire afternoon coming up with ones that make me giggle, but since I have real work to do and burritos and margaritas to imbibe at some point, I will leave that up to you, my crazy readers. I look forward in particular to hearing what you  dark and twisty-minded ones have to say.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Daily Dose: Mind Your Manners

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

In case you aren’t from around here, you should note that MANNERS MATTER here in Dixie. The South is known and simultaneously loved for its age-old adherence to the ideals of hospitality and friendliness. There is an old saying round here that says: “The most well-bred person in a room is the one who makes the fewest other people uncomfortable.”  We share the conversation. We let everyone take a turn. We send thank you notes. We never ask what something costs. We keep personal problems private, especially at another’s expense. We offer to help the hostess. We say yes ma’am, and no sir, please, and thank you. We don’t talk with our mouths full.

From birth we are taught the fine art of sugar-coating which is the ability to make almost anything you have to say sound as though it were pleasant. For example, instead of saying “That is one ugly hat you’re wearing, Lila Jane! It sure does make your face look sour” we’d come out with something more along the lines of “Well, Lila Jane you sure do wear the most interesting head accessories. I declare it makes you look a little like Queen Elizabeth herself”. We can spin most things better than any seasoned public relations representative on the planet.

On the occassions where sugar-coatin it just doesnt cut it, we’ll just put the phrase “bless their heart” at the end and call it good. That way it comes out sounding more like a prayer than an insult. We figure if it sounds like we are beseechin’ the Saviour, its harder to take offense to. “He cant carry a tune in a bucket, bless his heart” or “Lord knows, she aint the smartest thing, bless her heart”.

And when the situation calls for it we aren’t afraid to stick to the good ole rule of thumb: “If you cant say something nice dont say anything at all”.

Sadly it seems that social graces in the world at large are in steep decline. I’m often shocked by what passes for acceptable behavior in public these days.

The other evening while patiently waiting in line to return a purchase at a large retail store, I found myself slack-jawed by the comments coming from the woman behind me. The poor little cashier was clearly overwhelmed and help seemed nowhere in sight. She was fumbling with the computer and the scanner so much that even I was starting to wonder if it was her first day on the job. The line was moving so slowly i felt like id fallen into a black hole along the Time-Space continuum. It was irritating to say the least and I’d already had an imaginary conversation with the manager in my head wherein i told him what a failure he was at running the store with any sort of efficiency. But, yellin insults at the little check-out gal wasn’t going to make things go any faster, though the lady behind me sure didn’t seem to grasp that concept. She started out muttering them mostly under her breath where only a few folks could hear, but within minutes she was all out hollerin. The more churlish and cheeky her insults became the louder the vollume with which she extended them. Even the fact that she was speaking with a heavy British accent, something i normally rather enjoy, didn’t make her belly-aching any less grating.  I felt my palm start to sweat in my pocket so itchy was it to turn ’round and smack her upside the face. When she let loose with “I wish these places wouldnt hire the mentally disabled because i have better things to do than stand here all day!”i lost it. I whirled around and gave her my best squinty-eyed, cheek-biting look of fury (the same look my Mama used to give me as a child and let me tell ya it would put the fear of Jesus in ya in a hurry) and hissed “Were you raised in a barn? Have you no manners, woman?”

She never answered but it sure shut her up and i found myself trying to stifle my giggles til it was my turn. Of course we ALL had other places we needed to be. For all i know, the guy three folks ahead of me was a cardiac surgeon late for an angioplasty, but you didn’t see him tellin the cashier it was a shame her Mama drank so much while she was in utero.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time and a place to speak your mind freely and without restraint. But hurling insults at a over-worked, teenaged store employee doesn’t qualify as a solution to a problem. Ever. It made me really wish the poor girl had jumped the counter and choked the lady with the cord to the scanner until she turned 3 shades of purple. I personally would have applauded her and demanded right there on the spot she be given a raise in pay. Shoot, I would have helped her. But, she didn’t have the guts, BLESS HER HEART.

I did however read this morning about a girl that DID. It seems some people at the birthday party she was attending were taunting her about her weight. When one of them outright, unapologetically got in her face and called her FAT, she went all Mike Tyson and BIT OFF A CHUNK OF HIS EAR.  If more people lost body parts because they failed to operate with decorum and manners in a social setting, I think we’d soon start seeing a whole lot less people acting like etiquette-less idiots.

Long live southern hospitality and the idea that politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.  Rudeness is nothing but the weak man’s imitation of strength.

“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daily Dose:Craptastic

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

It appears there is a restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan themed completely around…wait for it…A TOILET.

The place is actually called the Modern Toilet Bowl and guests are not only seated on thrones but served food in bowls shaped like them as well. Apparently they originally sold only ice cream….big chocolate piles of it served in containers resembling a squat toilet. THAT little number (*snicker*) became so popular they went on to open a full fledged eatery.

While I liked to think I’m an adventurous sort, I simply cant wrap my mind around slurping a bowl of noodles out of a potty plate. I cant even imagine a world in which this not only makes sense but does NOT trigger your gag reflex.

 Do they serve urinal cakes for dessert? Ala commode?

This is one of those concepts that makes me wonder how we the human race manage to remain at the top of the food chain.

Happy Tuesday, folks.

Daily Dose: Boobquake 2010

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Sadly, Achmed Ahmadinejad is not the only off-his-rocker crazy to come out of the country of Iran. It’s no secret that women are treated with less respect than most animals over there and given that it is disguised as religion i find it even more abhorrent. I’m constantly appalled by the things i read about that place and the atrocities that take place there. Recently i read about a man named Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, an Iranian cleric and Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader, that has been quoted as saying: “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupting their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.”

Clearly he didn’t pay attention in remedial science class because the rest of the rational thinking world agrees they are mostly triggered by tectonic activity associated with plate margins and fault lines. You know, because that theory has been backed up by things like EMPIRCAL DATA.

A student at Purdue University by the name of Jennifer McCreight was so outraged over this statement she launched a facebook campaign to prove his theory false. The idea being that women the world over would dress in a revealing manner all at the same time and see if earthquakes followed. The event is called Boobquake and is scheduled world-wide for today April 26, 2010. They are actually filming the phenomenon in Washington D.C.  Jennifer says she had no idea the project, which started out really as more of a boob joke, would expand as far as it did. The facebook event had 14,000 attendees (and 60,000 invited) in just over 24 hours.  Currently over 100,00 people are signed up to attend.

 So it isnt exactly scientific method she’s following here given that Mr.CrazyCakesSedighi actually said that it was the subsequent adultery that led to the rattling of the earth’s core and not just the flashing of a pretty piece of cleavage . But I’m pretty sure asking folks to commit adultery in the name of science wouldn’t really have been the most appropriate plan either.  I do however applaud Ms. McCreight in her efforts to raise awareness regarding this sort of insanity and discrimination because after all as the old saying goes: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. So maybe it’s a little silly…maybe it’s not the most brilliant or flawless of ideas(though I’m betting money my friends Ellis and Joel and a slew of other fellas will think it the most fantastic plan in the history of Time),  but AT LEAST it’s shedding some much needed light on a subject too many of us know or currently care too little about.

Here’s to breaking the silence and the chain of abuse….and to freedom not just for the women of Iran but women the world over.

Daily Dose: Lily Fair

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Yesterday evening after after I closed up the clinic I headed over to check on one of my favorite little patients that is currently in a rehab facility recovering from surgery. Mrs. C. has a heart of gold and the greenest thumb Ive ever seen. Her back patio is like a glimpse into what the Garden of Eden must have been like. She spends most of her days puttering around out there in her housecoat and wellies lookin entirely too cute for her own good. I knew she must be missing all her “babies” being cooped up in a hospital room so I decided to swing by and get her a little something. I veered off into the Harry’s Whole Foods in search of some small, low-maintenance potted plant she could sit in her windowsill and “tend” to.

As I was browsing through their “Spring has Sprung” collection I noticed a young man off to my left examining every single bouquet of fresh cut flowers with jittery impatience. He’d pace a few feet and then suddenly his entire face would break out into a grin. So spastic and seemingly unrelated were his movements that for the first few moments I started to wonder if he’d escaped from his field trip on the short bus. After the fourth time he stopped dead still and smiled like a cat that had caught the canary I couldn’t help myself and I chuckled.  Hearing me giggle, he wandered over and asked if he might prevail upon me for some help.

Up close I could tell he was likely a newly-minted 20 -omething whose idea of “all dressed up” were the jeans and white linen shirt he was sporting. I found the creases around his collar from what I can only describe as an interesting ironing job to be rather endearing. His name was Carter and he was having trouble picking out flowers for his date.

“I don’t want to get her something lame. I mean, do I go with roses because they are fancy or do i avoid them because they are unoriginal? The carnations seem pretty but I don’t want her to think I am cheap.”  Talking and pacing. Pacing and talking.

He is clearly concerned about getting this right and it melts my heart a little.

“Well, Carter, roses are in many ways a classic, but unless you plan on giving her 50 dozen, they likely wont make the kind of memorable impression you seem to be itching for.”

“I want this to be the best first date in the history of Time.” he says.

“Well, no pressure there” I chuckle “How about you tell me a little about this girl so I can help you make an informed decision.”

His face lights up like a Christmas tree and he launches into a 10 minute  monologue during which I’m pretty sure he didn’t stop once for a breath.  He met her in second grade. They lived next door to each other and rode the school-bus together. She taught him how to tie a slip knot and a square knot and he taught her how to open the old-fashioned screen on her bedroom window with a bobby pin. By junior high he was certain she was the girl he wanted to marry. But while she went straight from cute kid to pretty pre-teen, he found himself lost in a gangly awkward body that didn’t exactly entice the adolescent, female population. Then she moved away and he mourned the fact he’d never once told her how he felt. Fast forward a decade and they both end up at the same university. She’s still beautiful and he of course has finally blossomed into the heart throb he’s always been deep down inside. They’d been flirting for weeks now and he’d finally asked her out. This was his one big chance.

“Sweet Jesus, this feels like the script from a Hannah Montana movie” I mutter, “Any chance you are fixing to break out into song?”

“You’re funny” he says almost surprised, “Are you single?”

“One girl at a time, Cowboy” I laugh, “Focus. One girl at a time.”

He laughs out loud and in his pretty green eyes I see the hearts of all the college co-eds he is going to break over the next few years.

“What’s her name?” I ask shaking my head.

“Lily.” he smiles.

“Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?” I chuckle “That makes it easy.”

I wonder over to the section full of loose flowers where customers can create their own bouquets and start to gather several stems.

“These pretty orange ones are Tiger Lilies. And these pink ones here, with the bright red center, these are called Stargazer Lilies. The little white ones that look kind of like bells, those are called Lilies of the Valley. These sunshine yellow ones are called Day Lilies. And these, well these are my absolute favorite, and they’re called Calla Lilies.”

I wrap the the whole bunch in waxy green floral paper and tie it with the ribbon provided. I choose the small ivy-cornered white card and hand him the pen.

“Write this”  I say as I close my eyes and think for a second. “Of all the Lilies to have ever bloomed, yours is the only face that does justice to the word perfection.”

He looks at me wide eyed and smiles “Amazing. Its absolutely perfect and I never would have thought of it on my own. Its exactly the kind of impression I was going for.”

He clasps me in a tight hug and whispers a very sincere THANK YOU before heading toward the bank of check out stands.

Suddenly he whirls back around and yells at me. “Hey, I’m sure you’re pretty good at doctoring or whatever” ,as he gestures at my uniform, “but you should really think about becoming a writer.”

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Louisa May Alcott

Daily Dose:Killing Me Softly

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I’d like to go on record as saying I’m not the kinda person that spends her days trying to figure out how to sway the general population to believe as i do on ANY political issue. That being said: I’m a gun owner.

I’m completely comfortable in the presence of firearms since I’ve been around them as long as I can remember.  No, i didn’t come of age in a war -torn country NOR were there constant attacks by wild animals on the farm. However, they did serve their purpose and Daddio taught us all at an early age they were to be respected. I was to never touch the things unless he was present….and I never did. He saw to it early on that i knew how to operate one though and perhaps that is why they never seemed particularly threatening to me. I viewed them sorta like i did his big table saw or a sledge hammer….both of those things could kill ya dead in a heartbeat if someone chose to try and harm you with one, but it didn’t mean the tools themselves were inherently evil.

I have never once shot one at anything that was actually breathing, though the night the opossum invaded the confines of my deck i certainly would have could I have gotten a good angle on his greasy, hissing head. Mostly all i have ever done is target practice and i suppose the thrill is much the same as the one i get from my fascination with heavy machinery. I guess it must be something about harnessing the power….not sure I would love to hear what a shrink would say about that.

Own a gun, don’t own a gun. I don’t particularly care. I take that back, if you’re scared to death of one and haven’t the slightest clue how to operate one, then I guess I’m gonna have to say i prefer that you don’t.  When it come to politics I pretty much always land on whatever side of the issue affords me the most freedom, and this issue is no exception, though you wont see me holding poorly constructed signs sponsoring the NRA outside the local Walmart any time soon.

I once heard about a trauma surgeon who’d had a pair of cuff-links made out of the first two bullets he’d surgically removed from a patient. Not sure I would wanna go round wearing police evidence, but i did recently run across something similar that I find wildly interesting.

It’s fashionable rings made from used bullets. Certain kinds tend to blossom like a flower after the hammer has been tripped and quite frankly, they are rather cool looking. While i cant confirm the story is true, supposedly these little digit decorations were made by a fella as an avant-garde statement about “making something beautiful out of something deadly”. Interestingly enough, do you KNOW what bullets tend to be made of, people? LEAD.

That’s right, strapping this little beauty on your lady friend (even if it had been coated with an epoxy sealant of some sort…which it hadn’t) offers lovely long term exposure to deadly poison. Don’t all you fellas rush right out at once and buy one for your Mother in Law. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinkin if you wanna make a statement through art about the sanctity of life then I’d say it was a good idea to research your materials list and make sure it isn’t something you need a hazmat suit to handle.

“Peace can not be kept by force. It can only be achieved by mutual understand and tolerance.” -Albert Eistein
“What society really needs is harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan…..and World Peace.” -Gracie Lou Freebush

 

Daily Dose: I was Country when Country wasnt Cool

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I grew up in the home of a professional musician and garnered an appreciation for a wide variety of genres pretty early on. While Daddio is really more of a rock-n-roll, bluesy, jazzy kinda guy, he made sure we were exposed to as much as possible. The idea being that this made us more well-rounded as human beings.

Right away i took to “the oldies” and by the time I reached double digits I could sing all the words to the biggest hits of the greats like The Beatles and the Eagles. I pictured myself as a free-lovin’ hippie born a generation too late. I often lamented the fact that I missed out on Woodstock though truth be told had I really been able to understand just what all had gone on there I certainly wouldn’t have. Long hair, peace beads and daisy-covered paraphenalia I could get behind but three days of no showers and sleeping in a mud puddle would not have amused me. Interestingly enough, I would revisit the idea that deep inside I truly was some sort of bohemian beatnik along about my early 20’s.  Clearly, I am not, but i guess some things deserve more than one long look.

My flower child phase somehow segued into a short-lived era of sickly sweet bubble gum pop. I’m fairly certain that had Daddio and Mama been forced to listen to one more soul-stirring track from Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth album they may have both started to bleed from the ears. Thank heavens I was kind enough to break things up a little with some New Kids on The Block.

I discovered a love for country around 15 which just happened to coincide none-to-coincidentally with my first real adolescent heartbreak. It was still a bit twangy back then and not so riddled with rock rhythms like what they blast on the today’s radio. I had LONG been a fan of Barbara Mandrel, staying up late nights to watch her and her sassy siblings get into all sorts of trouble that was all miraculously solved by a barn-burnin’ sisterly jam session, but this was my first foray into ALL the artists the Grand Ole’ Opry had to offer.  I liked the stars of then-current fame, but I fell head over heels for Johnny, June, and Hank Sr. I was fairly certain that Patsy Cline and I were kindred spirits and had she lived we’d have taken over Nashville together wearing matching pink sweater sets and  rhinestone broaches.

Though I would later explore my heavy metal-hair-band roots and dabble a bit in the hip-hop, Country has long remained my drug of choice. Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hanging out at a little Atlanta hot-spot known as Swallow in The Hollow (the name is in reference to birds and a geographical land depression also known as a valley, you pervs) where i was reminded of the reason why. The Hollow weekly hosts song writers of the grammy-winning kind, and while most folks likely aren’t familiar their names, they are undoubtedly familiar with the names of the superstars they helped make famous by penning what would become their greatest hits.  The two jokers playing on Friday night had the combined age of Methuselah, but they plucked the strings of their acoustics like a pair of teens hyped up on Mountain Dew, their enthusiasm and love for their art apparent in every single note.

It’s an intimate setting which lends itself to audience interaction and making for a really entertaining evening. They played together alternating between songs they had each written individually. It was instantly clear they had unique styles of writing and clearly both approached the process from wildly different perspectives. But what they did have in common, was the one thing that has managed to cement country as my ALL-TIME favorite genre…haunting lyrics. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that nearly 2/3 of all country songs are nothing more than a simple three chord progression because what really does it for me folks, is the words. Shocking, I know.

For example: a song about a really sad love letter the chorus of which ends with the refrain “Who needs a knife, when you can take a life with paper and pen.”

It carves an image right on your heart. Simple and spectacular. My favorite.

Maybe that sort of thing seems sadistic to some, but I love lyrics that stick with you long after the song ends…speaking volumes in so few syllables. Living in the South I obviously don’t feel alone in my love of the genre. But nonetheless I still find that there are plenty of folks that will assume you are a raging hick if you claim to be a fan. I’m aware there are plenty of stupid or overly depressing songs out there, but that’s true of ANY category. I don’t see anyone apologizing to me for the mess that was “Rico Suave” and I don’t see people throwing out the entire Dance Mix Genre baby with that bathwater.

The other afternoon while sliding around some Georgia back roads in his Jeep, my friend Scott and I were listening to my personal iPod selection. He told me this hilarious story of how once years ago he had this enormous crush on a girl. At long last, he was given a brief moment alone with her while giving her a ride somewhere. Conversation was flowing, he was cool and suave and on top of his game. Suddenly his mp3 player rolled over to the next song and what should come pouring out of his speakers but the theme song to the Ducktails. That was it. GAME OVER.

As hilariously amusing as I found that story to be it also confirmed what I have long since known to be true. People who will judge you quicker by the soundtrack in your car than the set list of your life aren’t worth keeping in the band.

Since I am currently heavily in love with the Blue Grass subset of all things country Im going to share with pride one of my current favorite songs. I apologize if you arent a fan of the Gilmore Girls and therefore dont recognize the folks in the video…this was about all youtube had to offer) Lord willin and the creek dont rise, as my Gram likes to say, should i ever decide to marry Ive decided this is what i want to walk down the AISLE to.

Long live the songs that make you shake, rattle and roll…even if no one understands why they get your party started but YOU.

Daily Dose: Engineering 101

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I grew up on a farm where the handy-man skills weren’t just for hobbies but were necessary to daily living. My brother and I had access to more tools and equipment than some folks will see in a lifetime.

Daddio allowed us to use almost anything in the barn or his wood-shop within reason so long as we treated it with care and returned it to its proper place when finished with a job. He also willingly gave of his time and knowledge to instruct us how to use those items properly and in their intended capacity. One of his many mottos was “Always use the right tool for the job.”

By the time i was three feet tall i already knew the fastest way to strip a thread was to beat a screw in with a hammer instead of using the Phillips-head screwdriver for which such a task is intended. I could tell the difference between a hoe, a rake and a spade and I knew which one would kill a snake the fastest and which was better for clearing the rocks before the rear-tine tiller came barreling through the garden and got stuck.

One summer we prevailed upon my Daddio to help us build a fort deep in the woods behind our barn. He dug through his massive pile of scrap wood and every evening for a week, he’d slide a tool belt around his own waist and ours and we’d swing hammers til Mama called us in for supper.  It may have been made of leftover lumber but never was there a finer tree house in all the land.

The following summer, Kent and I got it in our heads that we were in need of additional space. Instead of waiting for Daddio to return home from work, we dove in and broke ground on our own. Calling on our extensive experience from the year before we threw up some plywood and by day’s end we’d completed construction on the extra room. We christened it with kool-aid and were bursting with excitement to show our folks. I will never forget my Mama trying to hide her giggles as she made her way down the dirt path we’d swept in the forest floor to see the hand painted sign welcoming our visitors to the “FORT ANNEX”. We’d poured our heart and soul into that endeavor and the resulting structure was one hot mess of crooked angles and lopsidedness. I’m pretty sure the only reason the entire thing never collapsed upon itself and buried us alive within is because it was held firmly together by my Mama’s prayers and the hands of our guardian angels.

My parents never said a word about the mistakes or blemishes, but rather patted us on the back for a job well done. And honest to god, you could literally see the pride right there in my Daddio’s eyes.

Emboldened by our success as Tennessee’s newest contracting duo, we took on more projects of our own. Ive been an anal little bugger from day one so at some point, I convinced Kent what I REALLY needed was adequate wall shelving inside the fort so I could store our play things neatly as i believed God intended. He wasn’t much for organizing, preferring instead to live his own life in a state of controlled chaos, but he loved me and he loved any reason to break out the tools so he readily agreed. 

We located some pieces of plywood just the right length and depth for shelves, piled it all in the wheelbarrow and headed back to the fort. We’d never hung shelves before and after sifting through the treasure troves of Daddio’s buckets of nuts/bolts/screws and assorted metal fasteners we decided it couldn’t be that hard so we’d just wing it. After studying on it a while, we came to the brilliant conclusion that the best method of installation was the following:

I’d place the shelf at the desired height on the wall of the fort and hold it there. Kent would then go around to the outside the fort and climb a tree facing the outside wall. I’d use my hands to bang a little on the wall so he could locate my exact position.  After he located it he’d somehow suspend himself on a branch and drive a long nail straight through the outside wall and into the board i was holding against it.

Clearly it wasn’t the most accurate of measures but as soon as the tip of the nail pierced through the wall i could tell him how far off the mark he was and it didn’t take more than two or three tries until he hit the sucker dead on. We hung ourselves a whole little wall of shelves in precisely that manner and afterwards I stood back and admired all our playthings put away neatly and felt like we’d really done ourselves proud.

There was no end to our home improvement projects. Why once we even took shovels down to the creek bed and using the broad straight edge we carefully cut the moss off the sloping sides of the bank in giant sheets like sod. We carried the pieces back to the fort and spliced them seamlessly together on the floor until we had “carpeted” the whole darn thing in a plush shade of emerald. It didn’t take long for the roots to take hold and it remained soft beneath our feet for all the remaining years we played in that thing.

Would you believe that whole ugly ole mess actually remained solid and standing until  I was in college when it had to be forceably torn down because they were clearing some trees that had become infected with a nasty parasitic worm that left them rotting and in danger of falling.

I will always be grateful to my folks for taking the time to teach us all the many things they did. And I am equally as grateful for the many times they stood back and let us do things in our own haphazard way. I firmly believe that to this day it was those sorts of adventures that instilled in us confidence and creative problem solving skills that are wildly beneficial in our grown-up lives.

Recently my Daddio ran across a website that he finds indescribable joy in. It features craftsmanship similar to that of mine and my brother’s during all those summers we spent working on our fort. While many of them are undeniably creative, most of them likely came into being because someone had a severe case of LAZY. It’s called ThereIFixedIt.COMand I’m passing it along for those in need of a chuckle. Below are a couple of my favorite shots. Quite frankly, looking at them took me back to my barefoot days as a kid solving the engineering problems of my universe with little more than tenacity and a good ole dose of inspired gumption.

Who said a sea-saw seat couldnt offer lumbar support?

 

Just cause it cant be electric doesnt mean it cant be big pimpin'.

Who said the bedroom couldnt double as a home theater?

To all you Do-it-Yourself’ers out there with weekend home improvement projects waiting in the wings i say GOOD LUCK and May the gods of duct tape and rational thought be with you.

Daily Dose:It Does The Body Good

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I am once again back on Georgia soil and I can feel Reality’s frosty fingers tickling my freshly massaged spine.  Bright and early Monday morning a wall of work hit me at speeds I could never have been prepared for and by week’s end it will attempt to buckle my spirit and bring me to my knees. WELCOME HOME!  

But you know what…it was so totally worth it, because those  few days in the Sunshine state will go on record as being among the most enjoyable of my life.

We arrived in Naples last Thursday evening just this side of midnight and the second I stepped out of the airport into the thick, salty air I felt tingly with excitement. It had practically taken 2 miracles and an act of Congress in order to arrange for me to go on this trip simply because life these days in regards to work doesn’t make sashaying off into the sunset easy. But my good friend Nikki is gettin hitched next month and this little all Female Florida Foray was organized by her soon-to-be Mother in Law, and I didn’t want to miss it. 

Kathy defies all things traditional in a MIL.  She is sassy and sexy and just plain FUN. Not to mention that even though she had 20 years or more on all of us, she could totally pass for our sister.

Friday, after coffee and breakfast under the lanai, we hit the town and did a little shopping. We stopped to lunch overlooking the coast and then headed home for a nap, because lets face it, we’d put in like 6 whole hours of being upright and that is bordering on brutal when on vacation. A couple hours and some little black dresses later and a limousine arrived to cart 4 smokin women to dinner high-roller style. It was all very Sex and City. Sitting on the patio of a cozy Italian eatery, we sipped Bellini’s and white wine and toasted the loved birds soon to become man and wife.

I watched Nikki’s face as she sat there surrounded by women she loves and that love her with an equal fierceness and i was struck by the solid weight of knowing that sometimes good people really do get the happiness they deserve.   Nik kissed more than her fair share of rotten frogs, but in the end, she found Mike who happens to be the perfect combination of crazy and amazing. Seeing them together reminds me that love profound can actually be boiled down to one simple thing: a good fit.

Saturday we didn’t lift a single finger except maybe to admire our freshly manicured nails. Somewhere around 10:30 a team of spa technicians descended on the house and pampered us until nearly nightfall. We spent the entire day in our plush new bathrobes bearing our personal monogram ( a gift upon arrival from our hostess with the mostest, Kathy) and little else. For me, poolside pedicures are the new standard by which all happiness will now be measured. In the end we all came away buffed, polished, massaged and pampered within an inch of our lives.

I will always look back on those short few days with great fondness. There is something quite enriching about laughing too much in the presence of ladies you love and celebrating everything about yourselves that is spectacularly female.

Here’s to fabulous friends that serve as a constant reminder that you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and more beautiful than could ever be put into words.

Daily Dose: Beach Blanket Bingo

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

In a few short hours myself and two of my best gal pals, swimsuits and sundresses in tow, will board a plane headed for the shores of the Sunshine State.

We planned this trip over a year ago, right after Nikki got engaged as sort of Phase 1 in her Sayonara Single-hood Plan and at the time it seemed light years away. But suddenly it’s here proving once again Time moves with astonishing speed.

The overall plan is to see how truly relaxed we can get in 4 days time. Personally, I’m aiming for just shy of a coma.  I’m pretty sure the combination of sun, spa, and shopping should do the trick.  Should my brain attempt rational thought at any time I figure I’ll just pour a glass of wine on it.

Id like to thank the airline industry for their valiant efforts at seeing we were at maxiumum stress level prior to departure. Your hidden fees that drive the price of a “cheap” ticket to be somewhat close to a Buckhead mortgage payment are a real treat! I especially loved the one stating that while my ticket purchase bought me passage, I would need to pay extra FOR A SEAT.

Ideally I’d like to come back with a good tan, some great memories and a much clearer head. Is that really too much to ask, Florida?

Here’s to good girlfriends that love you even when you over-pack and the chance to forget about the real world for a few days. Look out, Naples, here we come.

Daily Dose: Home Run Hurry

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Conversation with an 8-very-soon-to-be-9 year old patient who arrived at my office decked out in his baseball uniform:

Me: So Slugger, you all geared up for baseball season?

Little Man: We are just doing practice right now. Games dont start for 2 more weeks. Im pitcher this year.

Me: Well, THAT sure sounds exciting! (I squeeze his bony little bicep) You better take care of that big gun you’ve got there.

Little Man: I’m planning AT LEAST THREE no-hitters this season. (This is said with calm, quiet confidence. A statement of fact.)

Me: My, that’s ambitious, but good for you! I bet you must really be looking forward to the first game.

Little Man: Yeah, except all my games are on Saturday this year.

Me: (Puzzled) And that’s not good?

Little Man: Well, it pretty much wrecks my whole social calender.

Me: (trying not to laugh out loud) Your social calender, huh? I imagine all those weekend gigs must really ruin the birthday party scene. This can NOT be good news for Chucky Cheese or the inflatable Jump-Jump business.

Little Man: There is never enough time in the week.

I laughed for a very long time after Mr. Big League left wondering just how in the world someone from the Under 10 crowd, not even height qualified enough to ride the coasters at most amusement parks, had a grasp on the concept of a SOCIAL CALENDER and being over-scheduled. I can recall when i was 8 and Im pretty sure the biggest thing on my after-school agenda was summer camp and catching crawdads in the creek.

Thoreau once said  “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” Considering Im busier than a one-legged  Riverdancer most days, I hope he was right about that one. If so, maybe there are some home runs in my future after all…..and maybe Little Man will pitch those triple no-hitters.

Daily Dose: Yuckshire Farms – Go Meat!

Monday, April 5th, 2010

The countdown to my Maid of Honor gig in May is slipping by with increasing speed and the “get skinny or die trying” program has reached critical mass. Who knew a silk-blend bridesmaid’s dress could evoke enough fear to give a girl concentration-camp style anxiety.  I’m actually pretty happy with the results of my current campaign thus far, I just want to avoid any set backs. It’s for this reason that I spent a  great deal of time last week scouring cookbooks and the interwebs trying to find a dessert i could take to my family cook-out on Saturday that wouldn’t have me gaining 8lbs simply from handling the ingredients.

What I ended up going with was a kicky little angel food cake type number that involved a light cream cheese/cool whip topping and fresh raspberries. Quite frankly, once I saw it involved cream cheese that was really all I needed to know. It turned out pretty tasty and the added bonus is you didn’t feel the need to resort to wearing elastic-wasted pants after having a slice.

All in all a very win-win if you ask me.

During my quest for low-fat recipe perfection, I came across some WILD ideas as to what people consider appetizing and edible.  I wont bother to share them all with you, just the one that i thought rather…..took the cake.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you THE MEAT CAKE:

This little nugget of awesome is a triple layer of meatloaf “iced” with mashed potatoes and topped with a catsup glaze.

My intestines seize just looking at photos of this thing.

I know it shocks you that the jeeenius behind this was a man. Apparently the conversation went a little something like this:

“I hate that wedding cakes are all girly. There should be like a groom cake to go with the traditional wedding cake. A guy’s cake. Like..made out of meat. A meatloaf! With mashed potato frosting! OH MY GOD! And like, gravy between the layers and melted cheese for the writing!”

The thing is, I like meatloaf. And mashed potatoes. But this still manages to make my lower G.I. tract threaten to snake its way into my chest cavity and hide out permanently behind my lungs.

I’m all for taking creative liberties in the kitchen, but this may be one shade further than my colon can go.

And on that note, Happy Monday, folks.

Daily Dose: Tom Foolery

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Hello Fools, it’s April.

I hope none of you fell for anything too ridiculous today. I attempted a practical joke of my own which, while still entertaining, didn’t get the hysterically frightening reaction I had anticipated. (Thanks, John :P) Just further proof I’m not cut out to be a master prankster. Then again, I do manage to sucker the public into thinking I’m a functional adult most days.

Google’s “TOPEKA” gag gave me a giggle but Ive yet to seen a large scale joke I found nearly as entertaining as the year Taco Bell tricked the world into thinking they had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. That was a decade or more ago and the thought of hundreds of outraged citizens calling the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger STILL makes me chuckle.

Truth be told, it seems to be getting progressively more difficult to figure out what is real and what isn’t anymore on ANY day of the year. All I am really certain of anymore is a small handful of facts: A good nap can change your whole outlook on the world. Time really does heal all wounds…..even the broken heart you never thought you’d survive. Good friends that make you laugh til you can hardly breathe will do more to keep you sane than anything else ever will.

Here’s to realizing that life is too short to always be taken seriously. Happy Gullable Goofball Day.

Daily Dose: Double Dog Dare Ya

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I grew up on the outskirts of a small town; I’m talkin IN THE COUNTRY, people. There were no cul-de-sacs or neighborhoods….most of the roads weren’t even paved for that matter. For the first decade or so of my life the government didn’t even grant us a street address…..our mailbox was simply labeled “rural route 5 Box 65A”. It was acres of pasture and miles of fence line…..creeks, and barns and bales of hay. Horses and cows and all manner of farm animals. And everyone owned a dog.

Obviously, many of them were well-loved, well-cared for respected members of the family, but they weren’t just pets. They kept the coyotes away and alerted you to snakes lurking hidden in the grass nearby. They chased rodents from the hayloft, kept the coons and the possums out of the compost heap and warned us the second any unexpected human presence crossed onto the property line. Not to mention the furry shoulders they let ya cry on when all in life seemed out of sorts. In short, the four-legged furballs did what the rest of us did….they earned their keep.

I simply can’t recall a single moment of my childhood when i didn’t have a dog. There was always a litter of puppies around to play with. Fat and pink bellied with ears too big for their bodies, they were warm and wiggly and FUN. But even we knew they were puppies with a purpose and that one day when the time was right they would be sold off to locals in need of a new hunting buddy or cow herder.

My Gramps was a hunter himself and favored Hounds and Beagles and we owned our fair share of those breeds. We went on a crazy streak there for a while naming six of them in a row “Ralph”. I should note this was my Daddio’s idea and one he found very humorous for some odd reason. The name was finally put to rest when my brother got a Redbone hound puppy one year for his birthday and insisted on naming him LUKE BO DUKE after his biggest heroes on the Dukes of Hazard. Daddio’s favorite to this day was a Spitz named Fluffy. She had a snow white coat and cobalt eyes and im not convinced the wild was ever entirely bred out of her. Every single night of her life she made slow circles around the house pausing for an half hour or so on the front porch and then again on the back to sit and survey the landscape. Her ever watchful eyes keen and active until dawn when she’d sidle off to the shade and doze for a few hours.

None of them ever wore a collar. They had no idea what a leash was and would likely have chewed themselves free in under a minute had we ever thought to tie one on them. They slept on the porch or in the barn and were free to roam wherever they pleased.

 Everyone knew which dog belonged to whom and they were all welcome on their farms so long as they were friendly and didn’t cause trouble. The folks down the street had a black and white spotted mutt named Pepper with one green eye and one blue that sometimes strolled down to our place in the afternoons for a drink of water from the creek and a scratch behind the ears. There was Talon the German shepherd who belonged to the folks to our left and for all his enormous size was scared of his own shadow. 

We may not have had a Homeowner’s Association, tennis courts or a neighborhood pool….it may have taken a half hour walk to get from one of our front doors to the front porch of another’s, but we were a community nonetheless. And our four pawed friends were a vital part of it.

There really was only one main road in the middle of all that countryside and with the exception of the occasional passing tractor it was mostly empty save the few cars owned by my family or someone that lived nearby. You could literally stand in the middle of it for an hour and your odds of getting hit by some kind of vehicle would be about as good as winning the lottery three straight days in a row. Mama never had to worry about us being abducted or run down by a wild driver. It was for this reason that when a car DID come rolling by the dogs would go CRAZY. I suppose they considered this some form of madness meant solely for their entertainment. They would bark and run and carry on like clowns at a circus. They’d chase the darn things till they were clean out of site and then double back and run circles in the yard for 10 minutes. It was hilarious. When my Daddio would watch one of these scenes unfold he would always wonder out loud: “Just what do they think they would they do with that hunk of metal if they DID catch it?”

Sadly now, many of those old farms have been sold off and subdivided. The dirt roads have all been paved and there actually ARE cul-de-sacs and neighborhoods. All the doggies now reside in fenced in yards or indoors all together.  That main road is now so busy you practically take your life in your hands each time you try to just cross the thing to check the mail.

Somedays this seems like such a metaphor for my adult life. I grew up and things got all busy, and fast, and dangerous. Its certainly is exciting but many a day I feel like a dog going break neck speeds trying to catch something giant and shiny that outruns me at every turn. Some days I sure do miss the times when I could stand still in the middle of it all for an hour and feel nothing but totally safe.

Oh, and Daddio, I think we finally have the answer to just what a dog would do if it ever caught the elusive car it loved to chase. And wonder of wonders, while this was on national news last week, it took place just 20 miles south of Rural Route 5 Box 65A)

Daily Dose: Monday, You’re a Dirty Doozy

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I have a SERIOUS case of the Mondays today, folks. I’m about two shades shy of committing some kind of misdemeanor or manslaughter and I’m not currently sure which one might come first.

The past 10 days or so I have been feeling like I am living inside a novel co-written by Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Ive been secretly wondering when someone was going to jump out from around the corner and announce I’ve been on a secret game show designed to see what ordinary people would do when confronted with a never-ending series of crazy situations, heartbreak and physical pain. Spoiler alert: We eat too much cake and drink too much wine, and then feel guilty and search Craig’s list for cheap used treadmills and then reorganize our closets.

According to my most recent fortunate cookie, “I will soon turn a bright corner”, so there’s always that. I hope by “turn a bright corner” they really mean “magically make sense of the circus that is my life, win the lottery and suddenly have brilliant clarity regarding all the questions plaguing my feeble mind”. If so, I’ll fly y’all out  to my new private island in the Caribbean for a beachside bon fire and a v.i.p. concert with Jimmy Buffet, Bon Jovi, and John Mayer.

Until then, Im just gonna make crazy faces at anyone that insists on making eye contact with me and attempt to make it through the week without intentionally running anyone over with my car.

If there is a silver lining in this chaos, it would have to be the fact that I have been continually reminded lately that i have some pretty amazing people in my life that love me in spite of all my madness and my ugly. They give me space, and cupcakes, and the the benefit of the doubt. They bring me coffee and craft projects and send me funny emails. They answer midnight texts, plan imaginary vacations with me and serenade me with silly songs that make me laugh til I hurt. But most of all, they just take me for who I am.

Come on Tuesday, love me like you mean it.

Daily Dose: Hold On Loosely

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Everything I have learned about human nature to this point leads me to believe that ALL things are cyclical. Birth flows to life flows to death. Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter back to Spring. Even the food chain bends back on itself. Everything folds into something that folds back into everything. Like all of Life is a giant game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Believe me, I’m aware this sounds like rambling nonsense, functioning on very little sleep will do that to a gal.

 My point (and I assure you I do have one) is, just about the time you feel you have things figured out the whole of the universe seems to shift and suddenly you’re back to clueless square one all over again. I think Woody Allen described it best when he said: “To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness.”Somedays that act of trying to figure the whole thing out can downright drain your will to live.

 Maybe Life and Love really are best left undefined and unregulated. This is NOT ideal for a control freak like me. I love putting labels on things and putting them in neat little boxes stacked tidy in the corners. The trouble with that is that sometimes the life you might CHOOSE to build for yourself….safe and comfortable and content…. it isn’t the BEST life possible for you. Hence the reason I’ve instituted the new Recovering Anal Rententive’s Prayer: God grant me the courage to control the things I must, the strength to not regulate that which is best left unrestricted and the wisdom to know the difference.

 Here’s to the best life possible and whatever undefined roads it takes to get you there.

*Dedicated to my Daddio, for making me laugh in the midst of all the confusion. You’re my favorite ballerina*

Daily Dose: Honk If You Love Boobies!

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Breast cancer awareness month has come and gone, but im not getting down off my soapbox anytime soon. This evil little bugger has hit entirely too close to home and is the reason someone I care about deeply is fighting for her life when she should be here at work making me laugh too much as in days gone by.

So here is a little reminder to make sure you remember your self-exams and your mammograms. Save the TaTas!

Daily Dose: Universal Truths

Friday, March 19th, 2010

 There is a story my Mama tells about little Me around age 3 that occurred when she and I were doing some shopping at the local grocery store one afternoon. I was sitting in the front of the buggy (that’s a shopping cart, you crazy Yankees) my legs swinging contentedly as I took in all the exciting sights and sounds of a trip to town. I grew up in the country, people, you learn to celebrate the little things. I was an extremely verbal child (this shocks you, I know) that learned to speak early so Mama was used to my incessant chatter. Somewhere a couple of aisles into the excursion we passed a very frumpy and unfortunate looking woman. Taking in her homely appearance I wrinkled my nose, looked up at Mama and proclaimed:

“Mama, that lady is ugly!”

Pushing the cart quickly around the corner and out of earshot, Mama stifled a laugh and put on her most serious face. She scrunched down to my level and said:

“Melissa, that is not a nice things to say. You see, Jesus made that lady just like he made you and me. And everything Jesus makes is beautiful and special.” Score one for Mama for turning an embarrassing public scene into a teachable moment.

I looked at her skeptically as this information seeped into my formative grey matter. She smiled and went back to her shopping considering the matter closed, but a couple of aisles later I tugged her sleeve and said incredulously:

“Mama, ARE YOU SURE Jesus made THAT?”

In adulthood I would come to see that Mama (God love her crazy soul) was indeed correct. Whether you believe in the concept of a God or not, you can’t deny that just because someone appears appealing on the outside it’s not an indicator of how beautiful they really are, or that sometimes the things that seem most flawed and initially repelling can reveal themselves to hold immeasurable charm and divinity upon closer inspection. But as a kid, those kinds of greater universal truths are really hard to grasp sometimes. 

Another one of said truths that I always had trouble wrapping my mind around involved that whole notion of praying for your enemies. Say it out loud to an 8 year old and you will realize how ridiculous it actually sounds. 

“So you’re tellin me that if some punk pulls my pigtails and steals my lunchbox, I’m NOT supposed to kick him in the groin and make him weep? Pray for him??? Seriously? Mama, are you off your meds today? This whole turn-the-other-cheek thing sound seriously messed up.” 

The older you get the more you realize the whole principal or idea behind the praying part is really more for YOU and not for them. Learning to let go of your anger and resentment really can be quite liberating. Life is after all way too short to get mired down in all that negativity. But I gotta tell ya, even though grown up me KNOWS this to be true from personal experience, I will admit that sometimes this concept is still a difficult thing to practice from time to time.

The following video is likely something we have ALL wanted to pray sometimes. If you disagree, I won’t believe you because I have witnessed enough of human nature to know I’m right on this one. Fair warning: This is sarcasm at its best so if you are easily offended or had your sense of humor surgically removed DONT BOTHER WATCHING. 

Here’s to learning that sometimes the best way to cross an ocean of anger or heartbreak is to laugh yourself to the other side.

Special thanks to JW for alerting me to this video. Im convinced it is our mutually depraved humor that makes the world really go round.

Daily Dose: The Pursuit Of All Things Trivial

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Weeknights in taverns, pubs, and roadhouses across the country, folks can be found locked in brain battle engaged in a little game called Team Trivia. There’s a series of 8 rounds altogether consisting of 3 questions each covering a smattering of material and participants wager varying point values in an attempt to prove their mental prowess.

If your grey matter could slap on a 1980’s inspired spandex body suit and some leg warmers that is what i imagine it would look like.  There’s all sorts of intellectual straining and stretching going on up in there and it AINT pretty.

Ive been playing with my group of goofballs on Thursday nights for going on two years now. On any given week there are 6-10 of us gathered round the table munchin’ on hot wings, burgers, and all manner of high cholesterol inducing fodder and laughing at our collective mental abilities. We play at a little hole down the road known as Kason’s where there may be no Woody or Sam on the other side of the hardwood, but they do indeed know us by name.

Science, Literature, Pop Culture….we’ve got it covered…..but i’d vote to have the Sports and World History categories renamed “Things We Know Nothing About” and “Proof We Retained Nothing From 5th Grade” respectively. When in doubt we typically go with “A-Rod” and “Mexico”.

Winners receive house cash which can be redeemed to pay for your dinner and in 24months we’ve garnered enough to purchase a couple plates of deluxe nachos and a brownie or two smothered in ice cream proving were we required to sustain ourselves dietetically based on our trivial knowledge alone we’d all starve in a matter of days.

The final bonus question is worth a whopping 15 points and truth be told really makes or breaks the game. We always wager all 15 points regardless of our confidence level in our answer because we live by the motto: “You cant take it with ya”. Clearly, this seldom works in our best interest, but it has yet to deter us.

You’d think that eons of coming in second or third, or not placing altogether would leave us feeling like a bunch of neanderthals. But each week on the drive home I feel more smartish than ever before. Maybe not because im fixin to be inducted into Mensa, but because i was jeeeenius enough to align myself with friends that know how to love and laugh more brilliantly than most.

Wish us luck tonight, folks. Fingers crossed, maybe this is the day we hit the big time.

Daily Dose: Going Green

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

It is said the Irish ignore anything they can’t drink or love.  And I’d say that’s not half bad advice to follow. Wherever you are this St. Patrick’s Day I hope you take the time to stop and say thanks for the people in your life that give  you reason to believe in magic. I know I will be.

Here’s to a sweetheart, a bottle, and a friend…..the first beautiful, the second full, and the last ever faithful. Cheers!!

Daily Dose: Freebase the Fabulous

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I’ve come across something, ladies and gentlemen, so amazing its like a Unicorn wrapped in a rainbow and dipped in sunshine…..and they say dreams dont come true anymore.

What do you get when you add a Harvard engineering grad and a Parisian chef? BREATHABLE COFFEE. 

Just take a minute and let that little nugget of awesome sink in.

The coffee hits consist of powder inside lipstick-like containers that are pulled open, inserted in the mouth and inhaled. The sticks are sold individually for $3 or in boxes of three for $8 — and each stick delivers 100 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of a cup of espresso. A whiffer can get up to nine hits from an individual stick, depending on how hard they inhale.

Ive been trying to figure out how i could pump that sweet nectar directly into my vena cava for years.

But the heart-stopping happy does not end there, my friends. I know I know, im giving you too much joy to digest in one day.  I sincerely hope you all took your cardiac meds this morning.

They also make BREATHABLE CHOCOLATE which i would like to add is virtually CALORIE FREE.  Paging Willy Wonka! 

They claim it isnt meant to replace eating chocolate or drinking coffee altogether but rather simply offers one a new way to experience the decadence of both. I dont know about you people, but i am ALL IN.

Ideally, I’d like about a half dozen of each, so Santa, if youre listening, hook a sister up. Im coocoo for coco lungs!

Daily Dose:Daylight Savings

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Sometimes you lose your mind…Sometimes you lose sight of where you’re going…Sometimes you lose your get-up-and-go…Sometimes you lose faith…Sometimes you lose weight…Sometimes you lose your car keys…Sometimes you lose your job…Sometimes you lose your hair…Sometimes you lose your voice…Sometimes you lose your edge…Sometimes you lose your song…Sometimes you lose your marbles… Sometimes you lose an hour to daylight savings time. 

But may you never lose heart, hope, or the ability to love like there is no tommorow.

Here’s to a little less sleep tonight, so we can enjoy more time spent in the light of the sun in the days to come.

Daily Dose: WorldWideWebWeightWatchers

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I’ve received my fair share of bad gifts in this lifetime. I cite the Christmas I opened a GIRDLE in front of a room full of my brother’s girlfriend-at-the-time’s family as a classic example. It was flesh colored and teeming with so many hooks and underwires it looked like a harness worn by one of the Flying Wallendas. It was given to me by a relative who is herself overweight as a snide way of saying “Hey Fatty, you’ll never get married if you don’t do something about that extra 10 lbs”….no wait, that was actually printed inside the card I believe.  Or how about that one year I got a Barbie from a distant Aunt……when I was 17 years old.

 I know it is only March, but on the off chance you are already looking for THE WORST Christmas gift ever, I have found it. This will blow your past Secret Santa gifts of fake vomit, that mixed taped of the most incredibly racist country songs ever written, or those front row tickets to a Tijuana cock fight right out of the water.

 AS IF giving someone a bathroom scale isn’t insulting enough, how about giving one that spontaneously takes a picture (at the most UNFLATTERING of angles of course) and sends it directly to the world wide web?

 I’m just sayin, if you really wanna push someone over the edge this just might be the way to do it.

Daily Dose: Crazy’s Got Wheels

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I will be the first to admit I am NOT the most stellar driver on today’s freeway. I encountered some bad luck early in my career behind the wheel that resulted in some painfully ugly accidents all of which have led to a paranoia that makes me jumpy when in traffic.   But lately, I’ve heard two stories back to back that lead me to believe that while I may not be the most skilled, there are certainly others out there less mentally stable to be piloting ANY sort of motorized vehicle.

First, there is the story out of Ohio about a women careening down a road during morning rush hour talking on a cell phone and breast feeding her baby while taking her other children to school. 

“I’m following right behind her right now on Far Hills Avenue,” the caller said as he spoke to a Kettering dispatcher. 

“I approached her after witnessing her recklessness roadside and said I can’t believe you have a child in your lap!” 

Her classy response? “‘You want to pop your titty out and breastfeed this kid?” 

 Wow. Motherhood at its finest, I tell ya. The police came to the area and tried to locate the van, but could not find it. So they used the license plate number to track down her contact information. When a police officer spoke to her, she admitted she breastfed her child stating “she does not deprive her child when the child is hungry”. So, her youngin will be fat and sassy but might not live to see its next birthday? I’ve been in a car with a crying, hungry baby and I will admit it can make you feel helpless when you can’t get to them immediately to soothe them.  But, let’s assess our priorities, people! And this woman is molding and shaping MULITPLE little lives. Reminds me of the time years ago, when a pregnant patient called my office to ask if it was safe to play out in the snow in her condition. I advised her to stay cautious and avoid falls but that yes she was cleared for a little snowman-making action. 

 She paused for some time and then said “But what about my water?” 

“Your water?” I asked confused. 

“Yes, won’t the water the baby is in freeze if it’s too cold outside?” 

Sweet merciful Jesus. Not the first or the last time I lamented there wasn’t an intelligence factor involved in the process of getting oneself preggo. 

Secondly, comes a lovely little tale of sheer genius about a woman trying to drive and simultaneously shave her bikini line……all while……wait for it…… her ex-husband held the wheel from the passenger seat. Yep, you read that right. 

“She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit,” Trooper Gary Dunick said. “If I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have believed it.” 

If that weren’t enough, this little Mensa candidate was not supposed to be driving AT ALL and it seems her smoking hot 1995 Ford Thunderbird was not supposed to EVEN BE on the road. The day before the wreck, she was convicted in court of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license. She had been ordered to impound her car, and her driver’s license had been revoked for five years!! 

If you can get past the blatant disregard for the law and human safety, focus for a minute on the fact that she was driving…..to see her BOYFRIEND…..while “grooming”  her nethers(gag-a-maggot)……with her EX-HUSBAND in the car. And they say Elegance and Decorum are dead. 

I’m strongly considering encasing the entire interior of my car with foam padding and donning a helmet and mouth piece while engaged in the active of maneuvering through town. The idiot-disease seems to be spreading more rapidly than I anticipated and every one of them seems to be hitting the highways these days. 

Here’s to staying sane and staying safe out there. Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES.

Daily Dose: The Oscars Are Wilde

Monday, March 8th, 2010

 I drifted off to dream last night watching the Oscars.  I’m a fan of the movies, even though I don’t go nearly as often as I used to, but I’m not gonna lie, I watch the big show for the CLOTHES.  All that sparkly in one place could almost give a gal happy hives.

 As I lay there watching Tinsel Town’s brightest trip up to the stage to accept their statues, I wondered what I WOULD say if given 45 seconds to thank the most influential people in my life. Clearly, that would be a challenge for someone as verbose as I tend to be.  Odds are I’d cry a puddle so huge everyone on stage would need rain boots. Since I’m the girl that loathes the thought of disappointing folks, Id likely cave under the pressure of trying not to leave anyone crucial off the list and end up crediting people of lesser import like my dry cleaner and the woman at Target that gave me her buggy that one day when my hands were full and I had failed to pick up one at the entrance.

 Congratulations to all those who won last night, especially those who had the presence of mind to say something coherent and moving when they did.

 Since I will never stand on stage in front of millions with just under a minute to speak my heart, here’s hoping I can be mindful in the moment to thank those who matter and those without whom I’d be totally lost.

 Time may lead me nowhere and Faith might

Break into pieces

But I will always be GRATEFUL

 That in my life’s journey I knew true friendship and real love.

Daily Dose: Sidewalk Stripper

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The other day started off a little rough when I had to deliver some dreadful news to a patient regarding some test results of an unfortunate nature. While I never enjoy being the bearer of bad tidings, some days I find it harder than others. Seeing I had a case of the Sads, one of my co-workers whispered that she had a story the likes of which she was certain would cheer me up……well, that and she confessed she’d been dying to have someone to discuss it with.

“It all started at the mall…..” she says with a giggle in her voice.

It was a Sunday and she was spending a little bit of rare time alone doing some shopping. It was almost closing time and she was preparing to leave. She passed through the lingerie section on her way towards the exit and suddenly had a naughty little idea which she will be the first to tell you is not something she does often. She purchased a lovely little “outfit” if you will, meaning to surprise her man with something special that evening. I was intrigued by this admission simply because on a day to day basis I see her mostly as a nearly 50 year old mother of two that hosts a weekly Bible study in her home and volunteers at the local animal shelter. The raciest thing I think I’ve ever witnessed her do is use colored paper clips instead of plain old silver ones.

“I figured WHY NOT?” she laughed “I hadn’t done anything like that in 20 years and I don’t even know why I thought to do it that day.”

Dragging her bags through the brutal winter wind she made it through the now empty parking lot to the lower forty where earlier she’d felt lucky to even find a space. It was such a bone-chilling cold she actually ran the last 25 yards or so. She was still a little shocked by her final impulse purchase of the day, but admittedly a little excited.

“I felt like a newly-wed again” she sighs “The more I sat there thinking about how crazy and adventurous the whole thing was the crazier and more adventuresome I became. Before I knew it, I had crawled into the back seat and was shedding my clothes!”

It seems the thrill of the purchase combined with a dark parking lot exacerbated her inner vixen into overdrive.

“I took off all my clothes and put on my new, very small little outfit, and then put my long coat back on over the whole thing” she said.

“But weren’t you freezing to death!?” I puzzled.

“Well, my jacket covered me….mostly. And besides, I planned to go straight in and surprise him before the kids got back from their grandparents. It wasn’t like I was planning on hanging out in that get-up for long.”

Giddy and nervous she edged her car out of the parking lot and into traffic heading home.  Instantly, blue lights flash on behind her signaling her to median. The officer approaches the car and asks her to exit the vehicle immediately. She wages war with wanting to be compliant and not wanting to step out on the curb dressed like a prostitute.

Long story short, the officer had witnessed her running from the mall and changing clothes quickly in the back of her vehicle which he found suspicious. In her keyed-up state she didn’t realize she’d changed lanes without signaling and cruised through a stop sign without ceasing motion completely. Officer Ron it seems was under the impression she was shoplifting.

For 45 minutes she was forced to stand on the busy roadside wearing little more than some underbritches and not-quite-long-enough coat explaining to him her embarrassing plan and convincing him she wasn’t a thief.

The thought of her standing out in traffic in nothing but her slinky new drawers and her aged London Fog made me cackle till I shed tears.

“Well, I guess you learned your lesson, huh?” I sighed brushing the dampness from beneath my eyes.

“Absolutely” she said “Next time, don’t run through the parking lot. Oh, and wear a bigger coat.”

Here’s to the courage to remain sassy long after you’ve left your 20’s in the dust and that sometimes the lesson learned ISNT that you shouldn’t do it, but just that you should DO IT SMARTER.

Daily Dose: Winter Wonderland

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

You know how I know God has a sense of humor? He makes it snow in Georgia….in March.

It’s full on slushy pandemonium out there. After laughing till my sides ached over falling and busting my own backside trying to make sure a patient made it safely to his car, I’ve decided to just embrace the chaos.

Here’s to no school and snowball fights and all the shenanigans that abound when the Land of Dixie gets blanketed in white.

Stay safe and warm, even if you can’t seem to stay sane.

Daily Dose: Can You Dig It?

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I harbor a deep fascination with all things heavy equipment related. I don’t know if it is because as a kid, even though i was quite girly, i spent a lot of time playin in the dirt with my brother’s Tonka trucks or if maybe my diminutive stature subconsciously gets a rush out of the idea of wielding the controls of something large enough to actually topple trees and move mountains.

For whatever reason, I have ALWAYS been a fan.

While i would never marry a man for the reasons of wealth, power, or fame…..I might consider gettin hitched to a fella that could give me access to one of THESE on a regular basis:

              OR ONE OF THESE……..         

Whenever I pass a collection of construction equipment resting roadside, I always make sure to point out the many fabulously cool things about them to whomever might be riding along with me. Over time, my friends and family have grown used to the this strange custom and they now make sure i don’t miss a single bulldozer or dump truck along the way.

On the morning of my 30th birthday, I was instructed by my close posse of pals to arrive dressed in “outdoor friendly” attire and ready party like it was 1999. Awaiting me was the surprise of a lifetime and what will forever be remembered as my most favorite birthday. That day, as i had feared, I didn’t waste a single minute staring what felt like the beginnings of old age in the face because i was too busy ripping up every square inch of Terra firma within my field of vision on the back of a Terramite rented by my friends for an entire day of destructive pleasure all my very own.  I dug enormous holes so deep i felt as though i was surely only inches from the Earth’s very core. I pushed trees over and tore through dense underbrush like a hot knife gliding through butter. It was 8 hours of kidney-jarring, earth-destroying DELIGHTFULNESS known as “Mo’s Big Dig” and I’m convinced there will never be another birthday present as cool as long as i live.

Instead of satiating my hunger for all things large-and-in-charge, my big dig actually really only fanned the internal flames. Ive since spent some time on the back of a bobcat and a front-end loader and a few other assorted large tractor-like vehicles.  I had heard wild tales of a place out west where they centered entire vacations around this sort of addiction but i had never been able to locate one…..UNTIL NOW.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you DIG THIS where you can: “Get lost in our 10-acre site with hills, valleys and a spectacular views of the Yampa Valley.  Under the supervision of Dig This instructors, you can remove yourself from the external influences of life and focus only on the adventure at hand, automatically building self-confidence and adrenaline levels. Dig This adventurers can doze and excavate dams and ponds. Move and remove sand, gravel, rock, and other materials from your own individual work area.”

CAN YOU HEAR THE ANGELS SINGING, PEOPLE???

Now if i can just figure out how to convince the gang that November 2011 is the perfect time to make a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, then i may just have the perfect 35th birthday on my hands.

Here’s to the realization of life-long dreams……even the super crazy ones……and to the people that love you enough to help make the wildest of them come true.

Daily Dose: Tyra Be Trippin’

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

First of all, let me say that the best thing any television network exec ever decided to do was cancel the Tyra Banks Show. They cant shut that girl up fast enough, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong……she’s clearly a looker. And she certainly has a handle on how to brand and market oneself into the big bucks. But i would rather be drug buck-naked down a gravel road behind a pick-up truck than have to sit and watch a full episode of her madness. I actually tried to do it once…..watch an entire episode i mean. There was a part of me that wondered just how much i could take before i either had a seizure and went blind or lost all feeling from the waist down.  I couldn’t even make it to the second commercial break in my little immersion therapy experiment before i had to change the channel due to extreme nausea and tunnel vision. There’s no telling how many brain cells gave their lives for that 20 minutes of torture, the brave little soldiers. I’m pretty sure i could almost hear their screaming in my head as they succumb to the numbness.

At any rate, when i saw this lovely little photograph floating around the interwebs, i laughed for a very long while. THIS is the typical madness that woman was subjecting her audience to on a daily basis. Sweet Jesus. How is it that the networks havent yet called to offer ME a show? Or my couch or my toaster for that matter as they would be equally as entertaining to sit and watch for an hour as she is any day of the week.

The more i looked at this picture the more i realized that as absurd as it may seem at first glance, i myself am actually guilty of a modified, much less obvious version of this behavior. No, i don’t dress like Skeletor on national television……but i do sometimes contradict that which i advertise I want. Lookin at this joker the OBVIOUS question is “Hey Darren, just WHAT is it about parading yourself before a live studio audience wearing last year’s Halloween costume that screams I LOVE ALL THINGS DRAMA FREE?”

The truth is,  many of us proclaim certain things that we want/need in our lives while simultaneously contradicting those proclamations with our behavior. Seems to me if our ole buddy Darren indeed wants a drama free relationship, he should shed the Tim-Burton-Nightmare-Before-Christmas get-up and start behaving like a drama -free individual himself.

Believe me, I am preachin to the choir here, as my Gram likes to say.  I’ve always been a fan of independent people yet i draw in the super needy ones like moths to a flame, i tell ya. After a while, you have to consider the only common denominator all these relationships have is ME, so what kind of vibe am i floating? At the end of the day if I’m looking for the Positive, Emotionally- Available and Intelligent, then I’m better off making sure i act as such myself.

Put that little nugget of jeeeenius in your weave and smoke it, Tyra.

Daily Dose: Pretty Words For A Not So Pretty Day

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Its Monday. Its raining. I have a cold.
All of these seem like very valid reasons to crawl under the covers and hibernate.
 
Unfortunately, cathartic, uninterrupted slumber is not on the agenda today…..instead i must slay that beast known as Responsibility that has plagued every single one of these my grown up years.
 
Because in my unlovely state, i need something lovely to think about I’m sharing with you something i find beautiful. Here’s to a prettier tomorrow and the hope that i will feel back to my old self soon.
 
I Do
You are the explosion of carnations
in a dark room.
Or the unexpected scent of pine
miles from Maine.
 
You are the full moon
that gives midnight its meaning
And the explanation of water
For all living things.
 
You are a compass,
a sapphire,
a bookmark.
A rare coin,
a smooth stone,
a blue marble.
 
You are an old lore,
a small shell,
a saved silver dollar.
You are a fine quartz,a feathered quill,
and a fob from a favorite watch.
 
You are a valentine
tattered and loved and reread a hundred times.
You are a medal found in a drawer
of a once sung hero.
You are honey
and cinnamon
and West Indes spices,
lost from the boat
that was once Marco Polo’s.
 
You are a pressed rose,
a pearl ring,
and a red perfume bottle found near the Nile.
 
You are an old soul from an ancient place,
a thousand years, and centuries and
millenniums ago.
 
And you have traveled all this way
just so i could love you.
I do.
 
 

Daily Dose: Beastly BackPorch Battle

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

I have to tell ya folks, this has been one hellacious week. I figured the first couple of days might be rough trying to get back in the swing of things after having been gone to Seattle. But as the week wore on, the madness only seemed to snowball.

And I’m not talkin about your run of the mill kind of crazy that I’m used to juggling either. Heavy stuff, like setting a friend up in Hospice care, and trying to figure out why we were overcharged almost $10,000 this month for some medical equipment we purchased for my practice. To top it all off, I received some vague threatening letter from the state of TN stating i personally owed some sort of fine that if not paid in  10 days would result in legal action. I spent the better part of my morning on the phone discovering it was actually all just a clerical error but not before it shaved a few years off the back end of my life first.

After getting home, i immediately shed my scrubs and climbed inside the warmest clothing i own. I grabbed a fleece blanket and a bottle of wine and headed straight for the back porch. Bundled against the cold, I sat staring at the stars the wine a swirling warmth inside my belly as i leaned back and tried to clear my weary mind.

Suddenly i got the distinct feeling that i wasnt alone. Now given that my deck is only about 6 by 6 foot square and at least 12 feet off the ground, this is a somewhat strange feeling to have.  Looking around, i was beginning to think i might very well be losing my mind, when suddenly i saw them. Two red beady eyes staring at me through the darkness. Instantly i froze, afraid to move and yet terrified NOT to.  It was too dark to make out the shape of the creature even though it was likely only about 3 feet from the end of my chair.  I decided moving swiftly and fluidly was in my best interest and in one distinct motion i was out of my seat and moving towards the door. Just before i slid inside to safety i heard a terrible hissing noise that sent chills straight through to my very soul.

Protectively indoors, i flipped on the porch light to see what must have been AT LEAST a 10 lb possum. How he got up there I have no idea. Did he scale the tree that grows along side my deck? Or did he jump over from the brick retaining wall resting about 3 feet away from the deck’s edge? Either option gave me so much terror i was afraid i was on the verge of losing brain stem function.

Realizing of course that i COULD NEVER sleep again until i knew that varmit was nowhere near any entrance to my home, I decided i was going to have to take action. While i did grow up in the country, i haven’t had to deal with anything of this nature in quite some time. My last battle waged with an unwanted house guest involved me and a spider and the giant Atlanta metro phone book. Standing back about three feet i tossed the massive paperback on top of the unsuspecting arachnid and then jumped up and down on top of it ensuring he was indeed squished sufficiently. Clearly, my skills at critter home-defense are rusty.

Now, I do indeed have a gun at my disposal. However, the angle at which the creature sat crouched and hissing was too complicated. There was no way to get in a clear shot without hitting the metal table or one of the metal chairs or quite likely, my neighbor’s home. Besides, I would have had to open the door wide and for at least a few good seconds so as to aim the weapon in order to secure such a shot and i didnt want to take any chances on that beast darting past me and into the dining room. If that thing got inside, packing up and moving would feel like the only viable option.

As I sat debating my next move i watched with utter horror as he actually climbed the latticed side and sat atop the narrow 6 inch railing. Twice he moved. Both times closer towards the door. All the while, Im standing inside the house, now armed with a fireplace poker and an oven mitt. (Dont ask, both items just happened to be very handy) Im getting more perturbed by the minute at the intrusion of this disgusting hairy beast at the end of my very insane day at the close of my very crazy week.

Suddenly he starts to move again and without even thinking i throw open the door and swing the fireplace poker wildly in his direction all the while screaming like a mental patient. I never got anywhere near touching the stupid thing, but the combination of the hollering and the sudden movements must have thrown him off balance and he toppled over the side of the porch and fell like a stone. I didnt hear any movement after the thud of his impact but i needed to see if he was indeed dead or simply wounded and mighty pissed off.

I threw on my rainboots resting near the door, grabbed a flashlight and ran down to the garage. Im still wearing one oven mitt and brandishing the fireplace poker. Im now also carrying a can of Raid Ant Killer that lay resting on the ledge inside the garage. With shaky steps i make my way towards the area in which i think him to have landed. Sure enough, there he is…..dead as a stinkin doornail. I wont scar you for life with the details of how i KNOW he was dead but take my word for it, one look and it was certain.

Suddenly around the corner comes my neighbor. He’d been walking his dog and heard the commotion. Seeing me standing in the driveway wearing 12 layers of clothes, rain boots, and oven mitt while armed with a fireplace poker and a can of Raid must have been the highlight of his week. As i told him the whole saga he burst into fits of laughter until he couldnt catch his breath.  And before i knew it i was laughing right along with him. The absurdity of it all was just too much.

Some days we never know just what madness or monsters we will encounter. But it is good to know that sometimes all you need to win the battle is a good scream and a little crazy of your own to throw em off balance.

Its time to put this week to bed. Come on Saturday, be sweet to me.

Daily Dose: Solid Gold Denim Drama

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I gotta tell ya folks, i am a FAN of the Olympics. Even the crazier sports which i find inexplicably strange, like curling, suck me right in. Speaking of strange, I have to say those wacky Norwegians gave us something really special when they invented the sport of the Biathlon. Because when i think snow skiing i always think of rifle shooting and its about time someone paired those two up for good.

The winning, the losing, the breath-taking close calls, and the daredevil doings ……the inspirational stories about triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds……the controversy and the conspiracy theories……its like 2 straight weeks of the best kind of entertainment on the planet.

Ive really enjoyed all the drama produced by the American Snowboard Team’s uniform consisting of JEANS. I cant remember the last time i saw people get so up in arms about a pair of denim britches since Levi’s acid-wash hit the scene. I don’t really care if they roll down the slopes in a tutu and fishnets as long as it doesn’t hinder their performance. (incidentally, Im pretty sure that was exactly what figure skater Johnnie Weir was sporting in last night’s exhibition) Is there really ANY fashion choice that clashes with a GOLD MEDAL, people? I think not.

Ive never even come close to being considered athletically gifted…..my Daddio doesn’t call me Klutzo the Wonder Girl for nothin’.  I’m still waiting  for them to invent a category in which i might be wildly successful. Considering the Biathlon exists, I’m still hopeful. I’m thinkin Chess/Donut eating. I can see it now, a hush falls over the crowd as i capture the King and then go straight for the creme-filled in one swift motion. Id be on the front cover of every Twinkies box on the continent. Until then, I suppose i will have to be content cheering from the couch for the members of team USA. And just so we don’t feel left out, Ive found a uniform we recreational rejects can sport to make us feel a part. GO TEAM DENIM! I’m pretty sure the infomercial below guarantees the Americans have a lock on the gold medal in laziness.

Daily Dose: Back in the Saddle Again

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I made it back from the wilds of Washington in one rather rain-drenched piece. Those Pacific northwesters are a hardy bunch, I tell ya. How anyone steels themselves against constant rain and grey skies for days on end is beyond me. I’ll admit they have the corner of the market on breathtaking scenery however. All that water makes for some pretty spectacular trees. I felt like I was smack in the middle of a Bob Ross painting.

Obviously, seeing my good friend Heather and her little army was the best part of the visit. I’ve known Heather since late high school and we were co-nerd chairs of our college science department. We spent more hours together in the university library than is humanly healthy. She moved across the country shortly after giving birth to her first child so I’m still getting used to seeing her in “Mommy Mode”.  It always fascinates me to see that kind of personality transition. The idea that those facets of you are there all along just buried underneath is amazing and that all it takes to bring them to the surface is the soft cry of a newborn or a tiny hand wrapping itself around your finger and your heart. And I am here to testify, Heather’s newest little Tiny, Sweet Evie Rose, will steal your affection in a nanosecond with her fat cheeks and double chins. Lordy, is there anything cuter than a chubby baby? And to top it off, she was a real trooper as we drug her through the pouring rain on more than one world-wind site seeing experience.

 Pike’s Place Market is one of the more interesting places I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring and I highly recommend it should you ever be in the area.  Most of the folks there were quite friendly though more than once I was asked just where in the world was I from. If nothing else, my accent is always a good conversation starter.

I could take or leave the Space Needle, but I’m a FAN of the ferry boat. Riding back from one of the islands at night was something I will never forget. I wandered up to the top deck alone and braved the blistering winds to take in the view. The Sound was an inky black and stretched so far it was hard to distinguish sky from sea. Slicing through the dense fog was the cityscape of Seattle twinkling like a giant skyline-shaped constellation.  The water so wide and the buildings so tall offered one of those remarkable occasions in which you realize just how small you are in this Universe.  It’s quite humbling and inspiring all at the same time.

I returned to an office overflowing, 87 voicemails, 162 emails, and 15,000 things on the dockets that must get attended to immediately.    I’m running on 5 hours sleep, a power bar  and 2 pots of coffee……it’s good to be home.

Daily Dose: Cross Country Crazy

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I’m heading on over to Hartsfield-Jackson this evening to catch a flight out to Seattle. Brace yourselves, West Coasters, here I come.  Being as I have never been to Washington state before, I’m not exactly sure what to expect other than the fact it will likely be rain-soaked and bloody artic cold.

I’m making my way cross country to see my good friend Heather and her little tribe complete with its newest member, sweet little Evie Rose, born this past December (she actually arrived just hours before my other good friend Tamara gave birth to her daughter, Hattie Mae) and, I am over-the-moon excited about the prospect of kissing her fat pink cheeks for the first time.

I feel like such a hillbilly admitting that I haven’t been on an airplane in a couple years now. As much as I enjoy traveling I have been so engrossed in day to day living and trying to grow my practice that Ive not taken much time for such things. Aside from the visits back home, holidays with the fam, and a couple trips to the beach i haven’t been anywhere outside of driving distance since my little affair with New York City a couple winters ago.

I’m a little nervous about getting through security with my sanity intact as the last time I flew i was practically subjected to a strip search and forced to leave behind half the contents of my handbag. And with the recent terrorists scares, its only gotten worse. How they think I am going to take down a 747 with a pair of blunt eyebrow tweezers is beyond me, but I stowed them away in my checked baggage this go round in an attempt to be compliant.

Even though I tend to over-plan, I always end up feeling I am leaving behind something important even though I usually seldom do.  Why i even bother to worry is beyond me as its not like they don’t sell shampoo or underbritches west of Texas. Strangely, what I’m most anxious about this trip isn’t the hassle of schlepping my stuff to the airport alone, making it to my gate in time, or having remembered to pack my contact solution……its about leaving work behind.

Yes, I am aware just how completely insane that sounds, and I expect the men in white coats to appear any minute now. Due to the diagnosis of a very serious illness for one of my staff, Ive been working 12 and 15 hour days consistently….. and given that I’m already attached to most of my patients and the fact that my world has had little choice but to revolve around them it feels strange to leave them all behind. I’m not so egotistical as to believe that no one else on the planet is capable of giving them the kind of care that I do. I have every confidence that they will all weather my absence just fine……its really more about what will I DO without THEM? My practice is well-established but small and I wear many hats on a daily basis constantly juggling patient care and the avalanche of paperwork required to run a small business. I spend so much of my day over-scheduled and near-frenzied that Ive grown accustomed to the chaos. It feels odd to know I wont be paged because someone ran out of medication or forced to spend 45 minutes on hold with an insurance company fighting to get an emergency CT scan covered. How odd it is when pandemonium becomes your comfort zone.

I realize that it is vital for me to step away from time to time because no one can burn their candle at both ends and the middle for too long before suffering a major breakdown. Lawless, unscheduled anarchy may feel like a second skin at the moment, but I am aware it will wear  down even the strongest from the inside out and in a hurry.

Here’s hoping I can remember what it is like to unwind, and that when i do, I wont simply unravel completely.

See ya on the flip-side.

Daily Dose: Some Things Really Are Simple

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon my phone buzzed (as it does about 2 zillion times a day) and i looked down to see a message from my brother, Kent.  Messages from him are NOT rare by any means.

He texts me frequently with random science questions such as: “Hey Mo, what do you get when you combine hydrochloric acid and ammonia?” (He works a job where he is sometimes in large industrial plants and is concerned about the possibility of two chemicals unexpectedly coming into contact with one another) or “Hey Mo, is it ok to take NyQuil and Claritin at the same time?” (because what good is having a sister that’s a nurse if you cant get free medical advice?)

Some days its simply a silly message to tell me some ridiculous shenanigan he and his friends have gotten into or to report his latest kayaking adventure or rock climbing record.

But yesterday, when i clicked open the message this is what popped up:

The caption read: Just in case you didn’t know…..

It made my day.

It wasn’t the first time my little brother has said I love you and I know it’s not likely the last. But what struck me was how much a little message scribbled on a piece of notebook paper and sent in a 10 cent text message could mean.

The truth is, it’s often the simplest of gestures made in the most unlikely of ways that impact us the most because there is a lot to be said for the element of the unexpected.

Maybe Im alone in my thinking here, but I would rather have this kind of Valentine any day, than the ones that make Hallmark a fortune.

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” — F. Chopin

Daily Dose: Not So Super Sunday

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Well, my Colts werent able to pull off the win last night in the Big Game which was less than ideal.  I actually chuckled while writing that last sentence…..out loud. The only reason i cheer for ANY pro team is because they have some affiliation with Tennessee because quite frankly, college ball is all i can really be bothered to care about. I obviously have a bit of a soft spot for the brothers Manning, so last night i was cheering on the men in blue.

Truth be told, I really only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and all the junk food. I know that will really resonate with some of you, while others may consider me a heretic that needs burned in the street, but im just being honest. I have to say this year’s advertising theme seemed to be all about unattractive men in their underbritches, which put a bit of a damper on the binge eating. GRODY. Many of those not featuring hairy-bellied fellas in their saggy tighty-whities basically gave the impression that all men are pansies constantly bowing to the wishes of their vicious female counterparts that live to suck the joy out of life. Overall, not the most steller year.

There were however, a few standouts, the Doritos commercial was hilarious. I could watch that little kid slap his Mama’s date repeatedly. Good ol’ E-Trade came through with their always funny talking baby gag and The Dave Letterman/Oprah/Jay Leno spot was genius. 

My two favorites however were the Snickers add with Betty White…..because nothing spells funny like a Golden Girl getting body slammed in the mud….. and the Google add about Paris because it said so much without a single word being spoken.

I offer a slightly begrudging “Congrats” to all the Saints fans out there because it’s Monday and I could use the good karma.

Daily Dose:”But Youre So Pretty!”

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

When my brother got married a couple summers ago I found many of the guests’ reactions to my blatant singlehood to be wildly entertaining.

I can not count how many people approached me at the reception and with creased brow and sympathetic smile, patted my back and informed me “it would happen for me one day too” and that i “shouldn’t abandon all hope”. I honestly believe some of them thought i might throw myself from the top of the hotel at any moment just because my younger brother had gotten hitched before me. I know they were all well-meaning, if a little melodramatic, but i honestly had to fight rather hard to not chuckle in their faces.  Because that is just the small town way. You grow up. You get married. I just find it fascinating that no one wants to discuss how many of those marriages end in divorce and of the ones that do remain, how many of them are actually happy.  I find it also of humorous note that my brother is only 15 months younger than myself so its not like he raced to the altar himself……waiting until he was over 30 to find the right girl, yet that seems to escape everyone’s attention.

Last night I stopped by the hospital to check on a patient and on my way up to their floor i stopped by the gift shop. It looked like St. Valentine and Hello Kitty threw up in there. Browsing through the cards and flowers I was approached by a senior citizen aged sales lady smelling strangely of White Diamonds and Butter Cream frosting.

“Looking for a little something for your husband?” she grins.

“No actually, for my patient. But i think i have found what i need, thank you.” I say politely as i gather my card and balloon and head towards the register.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know your husband was a patient. I hope he will be better soon.” she consoles.

“The patient isn’t my husband. I’m a nurse. A patient from my practice is here and I’m simply dropping in to check on him.” I gesture to my scrubs and stethoscope.

“Doesn’t it bother your husband that your out so late on a week night visiting another man?” she asks with genuine concern.

“I don’t have a husband.”

“YOU DONT HAVE A HUSBAND? But you’re so pretty!” she gasps.

I tilt my head and look at her realizing she is dead serious. I simply have no words.

“Ummmm…..thanks.” I manage to mumble.

She prattles on and on as she is scanning and bagging my items with deliberate lethargy. I’m too tired to debate the fact that im fairly sure there are other qualifications one should have to enter holy matrimony besides being pretty and old enough to reproduce. I make my final escape and laugh all the way to the bank of elevators wondering which of my friends i should call first to enjoy this little piece of insanity with me.

Moving to the big city where many more folks my age have yet to take the marital plunge, i thought i might escape the kind of thinking that brands anyone over the age of 30 and still single as either weird or pitiful, but apparently not.

The truth is, I believe in marriage and i have every intention of taking that long walk down the isle one of these days. (Don’t lose hope, Mama) Id love nothing more than a houseful of youngins and someone to grow old alongside. I do NOT however want TO HAVE A HUSBAND so badly i am willing to mortgage my future happiness and mental sanity to get one. Id much rather invest in my good friends and myself than in a relationship i know to be a bad fit.

I don’t mean to disparage those who find their partner early on. Good for them. I simply take offense to those who deem folks like me “unsuccessful” based on the fact we have yet to make that long term commitment, completely overlooking things like the fact i have a graduate degree and a successful healthcare practice.

I wish now I’d had the presence of mind to tell  Granny Cupid that sometimes being single is a choice. Just because we aren’t married doesn’t mean we haven’t been asked. Ive met and dated some pretty fantastic people in my lifetime…… in the end, they just weren’t the right people FOR ME.

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or under the pretty white tent. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again — It has been said that marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do……and in my opinion, NOT out of desperation.

Here’s to getting married and staying (happily)married and those of us brave enough to wait to really fall in love instead of just falling to the pressure.

Daily Dose: Some Talents Might Should Stay Hidden

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I have a theory that everyone has at least one seriously strange talent. Maybe it is a skill you somehow acquired through repetition or necessity……like the teenagers Ive seen that can text message complete paragraphs with the phone inside their pocket because they aren’t supposed to be texting during class. Or perhaps its some freak thing you can just “do” and have no idea why…..like my brother who can lock his arms behind his back and rotate them completely over his head unbroken like his joints are made of nothing more than gelatin and a couple dozen pipe cleaners.

Half the free world claims they can tie a straight cherry stem into a knot using only their tongues but most of them are lieing. I’ve only seen one person actually do it, and I’m not entirely convinced he didn’t already have one tied in a knot and hidden in his cheek somewhere. Why is this supposed to be so intensely hot, by the way? Personally, i think if that is your way of showcasing your mad skills with the ladies, you need to get some new, less generic material, but i digress….

What is my wacko, hidden talent you ask? I’d say “charming the free world into doing my bidding”, but that’s not exactly “hidden” now is it…..and who am i kidding, its not a talent either since I’m pretty sure i haven’t actually “charmed” anyone since like 1986. But it sounds SO much better than “I am the Marshmallow Queen “. Yes, I, the girl that didn’t learn to whistle til i was almost 15 and cant wink without scrunching up one cheek , can actually put a dozen marshmallows into my mouth at one time.  If that isn’t impressive, i don’t know what is. I’m a real hit on the dinner party scene. I should be getting a call from the Guinness Book folks any minute now i just know it.

The fellas below have a talent i find not only moderately useful, but WILDY entertaining. Happy Hump Day, folks, make sure you take a minute to celebrate all the many ways (however odd they may be) that you are uniquely YOU.

Daily Dose: I Think My Pedometer is Broken

Friday, January 29th, 2010

A friend of mine said something to me the other night that I found quite thought provoking. It seems he believes that in order for it to seem magical when you find that special someone with which to spend your life, there have to be some poor schmucks that never have any such luck. Otherwise, how would it be special if it happened to everyone?

I’m guessing he is equating this somehow to the “how can you really know joy if you’ve never experienced sorrow” ideology. While I can certainly see how he might have come to this sort of conclusion, I have to say I don’t agree.

It’s no secret that times of sorrow can give greater distinction to times of joy….but joy is NOT defined by the absence of sorrow alone.

Love isn’t like other commodities of great cost. It isn’t valuable because it is rare but rather its rich worth comes from the fact that it enlightens and empowers one to be more and achieve far beyond that which we could ever accomplish without its power.

Some couples appear to find one another after a mere 50 yard dash while for others the search for love is more like the Ironman, the Iditarod and 8 weeks of navy seal training combined.

I certainly don’t profess to understand this phenomenon but regardless I firmly believe ALL hearts are of equal importance.

 At the end of the day it likely doesn’t matter why some of us have to run the road race longer than others, as long as we grasp that you have no chance of crossing the finish line if you don’t at least lace up your sneakers and continue to pound the pavement.

To those of you who’ve found the one for you I say hold them tight….

To the ones in the back stretch of what seems like a very long marathon, hang in there, it’s worth it.

 

*Dedicated to SER. Chin up, Cowboy, it will happen*

Daily Dose: Ive Got Something That Needs Sayin’

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Two posts in one day…..i know you people must be giddy with excitement. Before you get all worked up with joy, let me explain this isn’t my usual kind of entry.

I have been at this bloggin gig for almost a year now and since the inception of this web site i have received very little negative feedback. Most of the comments are sincere and earnest and i tell ya, greatly appreciated. When i get the occassional derogatory remark, i can usually chalk it up to the world being full of meanies and that some of them will slip across the border occasionally.

Today, however, i received a private comment that i simply cant let go unaddressed. It was made anonymously so direct communication with its author isn’t an option…..but by golly i have access to this public forum and so ive decided to take a moment to see that it gets a personal response.

 If you visit this site regularly, you are aware that i write about not only events in my personal life that inspire me, but in things i run across in the world at large or on the Internet.

While i find no personal conflict in sharing with you the things i find that make me laugh or shed a tear, I also would never want to steal anyone else’s thunder while doing so.

On more than one occasion i have gotten word that someone found something i had to say so enlightening or entertaining that they took to emailing it to everyone they knew and quite frankly i was more than flattered. But writing is nothing if not personal and i don’t claim to believe that some people might have boundaries more strict than mine and find that sort of behavior to be offensive.

If there is one thing i have learned in this life it’s that there is no real satisfaction to be found in hitchin’ your wagon to someone else’s star.

I pour my heart and soul into most of the essays written here on bigcitybarefeet.com…..to me it’s the electronic equivalent of wearing my heart on my sleeve for all the world to see.  While sharing my words with others is appreciated, i certainly wouldn’t want anyone to STEAL it.

While there may not be many original thoughts left to be had in this old world of ours, there are certainly still multitudes of original ways left if which to express them…..Id like to think that MY voice is unique…..that the way in which i view life at large is mine and mine alone…..my hope is that my words and outlooks, while intensely personal,  will resonate with something inside of you in a way that makes you feel connected to what i have to say. Connected enough to inspire you or at the very least give you hope that someone else on this planet is as equally loony as you are and that youre not as alone as you might think in your crazy.

Bigcitybarefeet is just the reflection of my little journey……its internal dialogue and personal reflection of the world around me turned inside out for anyone with an Internet connection to read at will.

So, to the unidentified reader that found my sharing of something i found entertaining to be akin to that nasty word plagiarism, i offer my apologies. This little acre here on the interwebs is my HOME. You are welcome to visit any time ya like…..but don’t be shocked to see a video posted that been viewed by 28 million people on youtube or a discussion about something 4 million people read last week in the paper or saw on the latest installment of American Idol.

To everyone else, thanks for all the support and encouragement you give me daily. I appreciate your enthusiasm more than you will ever know. I’ll end my diatribe now and get back to tuggin’ your heart strings and ticklin’ your funny bones.

Daily Dose:To Litigate or Not to Ligitigate

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I normally loathe these ambulance chasing lawyers, but this commercial inspires me.

Check out the action happening behind Mr. Sleezeball Attorney and tell me that is not a scene straight up out of Mission Impossible. I tell you what, people, if you survive THAT, then i agree…..call him up and SUE THEIR PANTS OFF.

Happy Thursday, everybody. Try to avoid vehicular manslaughter or cars that fly and spontaneously burst into flame.

Daily Dose: Pablo Neruda

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

My favorite poem is my favorite because with so few words it says so much……

I’m short on words myself today, because life has a way of sucking even the most verbose of us dry from time to time with the weary task of living.

And so tonight i share with you the words of another…..i hope you find them as beautiful as i do.

 

 

 

 

I do not love you
(Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
 

Daily Dose:Two Turntables and a Microphone

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

When I traded in small town life for that of the big city, one of the things that excited me most was access to cultural events and exhibits beyond the local tractor pull and high school musicals. Don’t get me wrong, i have a strong appreciation for such things and participated in more than my fair share of it, but i had always been intrigued by the idea that great works of art or tony award winning performances were more than just something you could read about between the pages of a book.

Truth be told, I have actually participated in MORE redneck activities since moving to Georgia than i ever did in Tennessee and i site Monster Truck JamNascar, and the Dirt Track Demolition Derby as embarrassing examples.

So last year when Atlanta’s major art museum, The High, touted a traveling exhibition of articles of loan from the Louvre in Paris, i decided it was time to get exposed to some major Renaissance culture.  I enjoyed it all from the broken shards of pottery right down to the nekked marble statues that likely would have given my grandmother a stroke to know i was viewing.

This year, they have been advertising an exhibit of  some of the collected works of Leonardo da Vinci and I’m quite lookin forward to checkin it out. LdV is one of my favs but not just because he painted the infamous Mona Lisa. I like the fact that he was a bit of a smarty pants and took great pride in finding ways to prove the rest of us just really weren’t up to his level.

Dan Brown set the world in a tizzy over the fictitious idea that Jesus fathered a child and that clues to the existence of his blood line lay hidden in the works daVinci. While that is merely the genius of an author’s wild imagination, the idea that there is more to his paintings than meets the eye is actually right on the money.

No, he didn’t pass on the secret history of the offspring of Christ through cryptograms or backwards crossword puzzle word searches or whatever. He just embedded a secret soundtrack into The Last Supper. Can i get a WHAT WHAT???

Those tasty dinner rolls scattered in The Last Supper may  be the notes of a musical arrangement.

Actually, not just the bread, but the hands of Christ and the Apostles as well. One musician found that by drawing a five line musical staff across the painting, the hands and buns seem to line up as the notes of a pretty little composition. This is assuming, of course, that the notes are read from right to left, which was of course how da Vinci wrote.

Not sure about it? Check this out:

Even skeptics have acknowledged that the composition’s harmony is too perfect to be a coincidence. Da Vinci was, after all, the full-on Renaissance Man embodied, and one of his many, many, many gifts was that of music.

But the madness doesn’t just stop with the notes. The same guy who discovered the music also claimed the painting held clues to the rhythm of the song and the duration of each note. So, technically, the first album containing a secret message when played backwards was The Last Supper. And you thought The White Album was clever.

There ya go, ladies and gentlemen, a little Tuesday afternoon, mind blowing, secret information for ya…..and you didn’t even have to save 6 boxtops and win a decoder ring to get it.

 

*NOTE: The Information regarding the discovery of a hidden soundtrack was taken from Cracked.com*

Daily Dose: Book Blunders

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Since I am such an avid fan of the written word, I decided that as my godson Grant grows up I want to make sure he always has a fantastic personal library at his disposal. A while back while searching for a book to give him for Christmas i ran across one at a local book store that made me roll my eyes and chuckle at the same time. It was entitled “Who Cares About Elderly People”. After spending a solid three minutes pondering the many ways this may be the worst thought out title of all time, I promptly took a picture and posted it on facebook where my sarcastic friends had a field day with it.

*Important side note: If you arent already a fan of mine of facebook, you should be ashamed of yourself. Clearly you are missing both the grand opportunity to support my swollen ego as well as the chance to expose yourself to even more forms of my awesomeness. You should immediately repent and then click hereto finally become one of the cool kids.*

I discovered today, however, that this little beauty isn’t a singular publication but actually just ONE in a ridiculously hideous SERIES.  Id seriously like to know what editor signed off on this beautiful little chain of literary labels.

My co-worker’s son received this little prize winner at his birthday party on Saturday, and i gotta tell ya, it makes me question mankind’s sustainability as the dominant member of the food chain.

If you’re not already convinced this book was a terrible idea, try reciting the title at a cocktail party and see if you don’t get beat down. And while the book’s answer to the question is actually “we should ALL care about disabled people,” the people it considers “disabled” include: fat kids, kids who huff paint, alcoholics, athletes and child prodigies (you know, because they’re so lonely). Maybe I’m not as tolerant as I could be, but the day I see a drunken, paint-huffing basketball prodigy park in a handicapped spot is the day I get arrested for vehicular manslaughter.

Clearly if children learn to see that everyone has their own unique imperfections, they will realize that intolerance harms us all. But the danger lies in the fact that kids reading this are liable to think: “Great, I’m surrounded by cripples. And you can get high by huffing paint? Who knew? Me, now. Awesome.” Not exactly a brilliant take-away message for the elementary school crowd.

Here is a list of some additional honest-to-god-in-existence page turners also guaranteed to scar your children for life:

 

1. “I Wish Daddy Didn’t Drink So Much”

It’s really hard to believe that an alcoholic father would buy this book for their own child, and we can assume if he found the mother reading it he’d smack her one. So who exactly is this book for? The theory is that it was written so kids with a functional family can learn that there really are monsters in the world, and sometimes they look like daddy. Because, yeah, you’re never too young to get that little life lesson out of the way.

The author’s other books—gems like My Big Sister Takes Drugs, Nobody Wants a Nuclear War, My Two Uncles and When Eric’s Mom Fought Cancer—suggest that she thinks any traumatizing event in a child’s life can be cured with about 12 watercolors and 150 words.

 

2. “Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry”

Ever wonder what someone with bipolar disorder looks and sounds like to their children? The answer is as upsetting as you’d imagine, and thanks to this book you don’t even have to develop a mental disorder of your own to let your kids know the depression and terror of that experience. Annie’s (single) mommy behaves like a coke fiend on one page and Debbie Downer on the next. Thankfully, Annie’s grandmother calls her on the phone to help talk her through things, and Annie learns a valuable lesson: her grandmother doesn’t love her enough to save her from her crazy mother.

Its true that mental illness in a parent is heartbreaking, and children need to know that it’s not their fault and that they can turn to friends and family for support, but you don’t want them wondering around with the idea that “No matter how normal our parents seem, they could easily snap at any moment and try to drown us in a bathtub.” Actually, i take that back….it’s pretty solid advice; probably saved some lives.

3.The House That Crack Built”

A parody of “This is the house that Jack built,” this book takes children on a magical, whirlwind tour of things they have no reason to want to know about: from the workers toiling in Colombian fields to the pushers on the street corner to the homeless crackheads auctioning off their orifices for that next sweet hit. It’s like the film New Jack City crossed with an episode of The Magic School Bus. Read this one to your kids at bedtime, and they’ll never look at Pixy Stix the same way again.

While it is true that the earlier kids learn about the evils of drugs, the better chance they stand of avoiding them you don’t want them running round thinking “That crack dealer lives in a MANSION! Forget being a fireman!”

 

4. “Alfie’s Home”

Take every author on this list, put them in a room together, fill that room with a gas that makes people retarded, and promise to kill their families if they don’t write the worst children’s book of all time, and it’s guaranteed they will produce Alfie’s Home. It’s not JUST that the book tells the story of a child getting molested by his uncle while his angry parents ignore him. It’s not JUST that the word “faggot” is emblazoned on page nine. It’s not JUST that the rudimentary artwork makes the picture of the “proper manifestation of a father’s love” look like Alfie’s getting molested all over again.

It’s all those things, but it’s mostly the fact that after 16 pages of the most screwed up childhood this side of Michael Jackson’s, Alfie has a single meeting with a counselor, and everything’s immediately fine. His uncle apologizes, his parents make up, and he realizes he isn’t gay after all. It’s like if Requiem For a Dream ended with a big tea party/dance number.

 

I don’t know, ladies and gentlemen, but my dream of becoming a published author seems a little less far fetched after pondering this list of gems.  I hope you are able to resist the urge you are likely now feeling to burn your local Barnes and Noble to the ground.  Happy Monday and don’t forget:  

Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow

 

*NOTE: Bad Children’s Books taken from a list on Cracked.com*

Daily Dose: Diet Delirium

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I have been on a scandalously strict diet for the past 10 days and I’m currently at the breaking point. If Jesus doesn’t take the wheel i may run someone over with my car today out of sheer frustration…..preferably that skinny slut i saw eating a donut and swiggin’ a  full-sugar coke in the parking lot of the bank today. Two full business weeks may not seem that long, but I’m here to tell you, when 90% of your diet consists of liquids it is an all out eternity.

I should get an academy award for fooling people into believing I’ve been a sane human being these past few days when clearly i am one step away from acting out a very violent scene reminiscent of an episode of Animal Planet where a lion takes down a gazelle and rips its entire spine out in one fluid motion.

I could get a real good sense of satisfaction right now, beating Billy Blanks or Richard Simmons or any other exercise loony about the head and shoulders with a 10 pound bag of processed white flour and then going to bake myself 2 dozen loaves of french bread.

So, you can imagine my rage when the sassy little pharmaceutical rep (who weighs all of 85 lbs) swaggered into my office today and declared “So glad to see you’ve lost weight! You look great! Don’t you just feel light years better?”

I’m pretty sure she has no idea how close she came to sudden and certain death.

This is a warning message to all you ultra-thin little hooligans out there with no sense of concern about how you are going to look in a bridesmaid’s dress come spring: If you enjoy the ability to walk upright without the use of a prosthesis, be careful what you say to a girl on a diet.

 **Also, Tony Horton, of P90X fame, you are on my list, Bucko. Literally 45 seconds in to the Insanity Fitness test yesterday my friend Stacy and i felt as though we had been directly transported to hell……your failure to include that this feeling may occur on your infomercial has me considering whether to sue you or yank your finger nails out one at a time.**

Daily Dose: Fast Food Filthy

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Its the start of the new year which means the many of the world’s fatties are slappin on sweatpants for their actual intended purpose instead of simply wearing them while watchin The Biggest Loser and eating a tub of Cherry Garcia.

I have a co-worker currently trying to break into a healthier lifestyle by leaving behind her fast food frequenting ways. We had a very hilarious and charged discussion recently on fast food establishments: all the love and all the hate.

Perhaps this list will give you further incentive to remain processed food free…..or at the very least offer you insight on where you might suffer the least ammount of nausea and colon revolt.

I should also note that i started writing this blog over a week ago but since i have been on what is basically a liquid diet lately, i actually had to put this aside because the torturous thought of cheeseburgers and shakes was too much to write about. And THAT, my friends, is a sad sad admission. Clearly, ive lost all sense of shame……

Burger King — 

Not only does their food taste of days old smoke, but their restaurants have a seedy feel about them, and their “mascot” looks like a deranged mental patient that goes on killing sprees late into the night. 

I steer clear because I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I find a big clump of hair in my Whopper, or get stabbed in the back during a drug deal gone bad in the next booth.

Ever notice that whenever one of those stories pop up in the news about employees spitting in food, it’s usually at a Burger King?

 If they were brighter, and didn’t rely on various hues of brown as their color scheme, and if the employees and clientele didn’t look like they need to kill something, I’d probably stop in every once in a while for a milkshake…..maybe….

At this point it’s only a last resort. Nasty. D

McDonald’s —

Conversely, their food is not fit for pigs, but their dining rooms are usually clean, and their employees don’t look like they’re wearing a house arrest ankle bracelet under their petroleum-based uniforms.

If you have not heard what their ground beef is actually made of, i beg of you to leave it in the great unknown. It will scarr you FOR LIFE, i tell you.

All the kids running around make it seem a little more wholesome than it really is, I suspect, but it is a pretty good place to expel urine during a long car trip — I wonder if they’ve ever done any studies to find out how much of their sales are piss-driven?

I’m also inclined to believe the chemicals that preserve their chicken McNuggets can possible induce addiction and mental illness as there are multiple stories in the news  about people going ape crazy when they cant get their fix.

One step up from a last resort, but still McNasty. The “plus” is for their awesome fries…  C+

Wendy’s —

Easily the best of the Big Three.

Their burgers are fresh and made on the spot, and feature actual produce if you so desire.

 Also, they have kickin chili, taco salads, various garden salads, and interesting chicken sandwiches.

I’ve had the opportunity to eat many a fancy-pants meal in stuffy restaurants, and expensive catered dinners at meetings and such.

And the truth is, some of them weren’t even as good as the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich combo with cheese, and a Coke.

Call me low-class if you’d like, but that’s a  fact.

And lets not forget the Frosty…..its straight up spoonable chocolately goodness in a cup.  A

Arby’s —

I have a fast-food theory that no meals should ever cost more than a five-dollar bill.

Yes, that’s right, I have fast-food theories, what of it?

I think it’s a reasonable expectation, and Arby’sbreaks it. The food is pretty good, but it’s too expensive. 

If i am eating out of my car from a Styrofoam container i don’t want to have to get a line of credit to purchase that meal.

Whenever I see their sign my brain cancels it out, and it goes directly to the kill file.

Plus, have you ever seen that big shiny beef ball they’re constantly shaving in the back? Horrifying.  B

 

Hardees-

I haven’t been to any of these joints in years.

My general impression though, based on past experience, is that it’s the worst place on Earth.

Granted, my memory may be a little foggy, but that’s what I remember. Frightening, sassy cashiers with an affinity for shiny gold teeth caps, parking lots with weeds growing up through the cracks, dirty tables and sticky floors, cardboard taped to the windows to cover up the bullet holes… it’s a dream come true.

And I also remember that they were constantly in search of an identity. One year they’d be a roast beef restaurant, the next they’d be selling fried chicken. I mean, what the @#$%?! I think they’re somehow affiliated with Carl’s Jr. now.

Who knows, and who cares?

As close as most of us will ever get to eating out of a dumpster. F

Taco Bell —

Good for a quick lunch, or after a night of bar-hopping, but it doesn’t really cut it as a dinner spot.

More a snack than a meal, really.

The food is OK, except they like to load things down with those grotesque re-fried beans, that are nothing more than diarrhea fuel.

Apparently that gray sludge is really cheap to produce, so they try to sneak it into everything they serve.

I think I was once served a hunk of it over the lip of my iced tea, but I could be mistaken. The mexican pizza however may be one of the most perfect midnight snacks. B+

Chick-fil-A

Also guilty of breaking the five dollar rule, but HANDS DOWN the best chicken sandwiches in all of fast food-dom.

Pretty much everything they serve, including their just-squeezed lemonade, is really fresh and good.

It ain’t cheap though. I saw a man complain about the prices to a manager in Atlanta once and he looked at him like he was wearing a hat of turds.

I don’t think he fully grasped the thrust of his argument; he seemed to say to him, with his eyes, “Dude, this is a Chick-fil-A. What are you getting so worked up about?” Whatever.

Their food is good and apparently they breed their own race of workers, because they’re all incredibly well-mannered, clean-cut, and look exactly alike. I like that. A-

KFC —

If there’s anything more disgusting than biting into a piece of “fried” chicken and having half a quart of hot water (or something) roll down your chin, I don’t know what it is.

KFC is grotesque.

Hard, deep-fried grease shells, “water,” snapping veins, people sucking marrow out of shiny bones, great sheets of animal skin hanging from the corner of glistening mouths… it’s like something out of a Dean Koontz novel.

This is a place for people not fully evolved to exercise their basic animal instincts, and indulge in a bloody feeding frenzy.

It gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

Oh sure, I’m a proud carnivore and everything, but I’m not a dingo! I just experienced a full-body shiver.  F

Long John Silver’s

Another place that likes to conceal everything on their menu in a hard grease shell, but they’re somehow able to pull it off.

Despite the fact that every meal there will remove twelve hours from the back-end of your life, it’s ALMOST worth it. 

Plus, all the grease will keep you regular and make your coat shiny. The one near my house is a LJS/A&W hybrid, so you can wash everything down with a big frosty mug of self-serve root beer!

Their fries are limp though, and those “crispies” are a little unsettling — especially when I see people ordering extras. But overall, a good place to block your colon. B+

Here’s hoping that the many of us vowing to get skinny in the new year will have success and should we find the occassional need to eat fast food arise, may our hearts continue to beat and our g.i. tracts be forgiving.

*See original list of fast food funny at http://thewvsr.com/fastfood.htm *

Daily Dose: In the Year 3000

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Driving to work in the predawn hours this morning i suddenly remembered that today is the birthday of my co-worker K’s youngest son and that some time ago in a haze of busy i promised him a cookie cake when he turned 5.

I swung by the Kroger wondering just what bakery disasters were waiting inside. I have never in all my life seen a grocery store baker so out of touch with reality AND basic knowledge above the 3rd grade. If it isn’t misspelled or mislabeled it is just plain creepy. For examples see this blog….and this one….and this one….

Now, unless i went to bed last night and slept a thousand years (Boy does that Ambien WORK!) then this cake may be my new favorite in the world of cruel Kroger bakery disasters. It was so bad i almost bought it simply to share the hilarity with others…..then i thought of the many hours it would take to explain sarcasm and dark humor to a 5 year old and i opted for the one emblazoned with a soccer ball instead.

That right there, ladies and gentleman, is 8 bucks of awesome. Happy New Year (17 days and 18 thousand years early!)