Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Town on A Saturday Morning

My town is a river town. The murky Ohio River flows past my town, rushing toward the nearby Tennessee River and the mighty Mississippi. It powers the local economy with marine jobs and gives life to recreation in these parts. About 30,000 people live in this city. By most accounts that’s a small town. Not single zip code small, but small enough. My town is here because of the river and has a special spirit because of those brown waters. Because it seeps into our daily lives in so many ways it’s easy to forget how much it defines our community.

Early Saturday morning I had to take Teen Angel downtown near the river to work at the bakery. The twenty minute drive across the county was quiet as the sun climbed silently upward, tugging people out of bed and into the sticky heat. Taking a cue from my pastor’s most recent sermon, I made an effort to pay attention to the little things during the drive, taking in the accessories that dressed up the morning. As I pulled away from the bakery I turned the corner and drove past our riverfront for a look at the water as people often do, and I found more than I expected in my town on a sleepy Saturday morning.

Apparently, the river is an early riser, even on the weekend, pushing and slapping around with glittery energy. And moving the fisherman who had long been at work by the time I stepped on the shore.They buzzed and glided among the waves, wrapping up their business in the humid cloudy air, and I soaked up their sounds as I walked along the riverbank.

The humming of the motors. And the swearing that sometimes accompanies failed attempts to drive the boat back onto the trailer. The splashing dogs that retrieve a driftwood stick for as long as their master will throw it.The far away toots of tugs and barges moving farther up river where the barge companies dot the bank. And quiet to my left.Except for the small splashes of a child sticking her feet in the cold water. The floodwall that wraps around our riverfront partially hid the treasure of our performing arts center: which sits on the other side of the concrete and beckoned me to climb the hill to see what was on the other side.There the city trolley was already clanking around its downtown route.Past the colorful murals that cover the floodwall. And tell my town’s history.
And lo and behold, Teen Angel came puttering down the cobblestone street on her way to take bread and cookies to the farmer’s market.Cars were sliding into parking spots on the shady Market Square.Bringing groggy customers to the bakery and the coffee shop for frittatas and scones and lattes. And gossip.

I walked around the riverfront and downtown for about thirty minutes, taking a really good look at the little things. And I marveled at how often I forget that small doesn’t mean quiet. And that big is in the eye of the beholder because my town is big. Big in spirit and in character. I like it. I like it a lot. This is my town.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hula's Photo of the Week-Still Life

In the key of "C" everyone...
I'm too sexy for my hat, too sexy for my hat, too sexy for my farm store hat. Guess who likes to pretend he isn't napping when he's in the pool.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fun Monday-My Purse

This week's Fun Monday hostess is the Church Lady and she wants a peek inside of my purse or my pocketbook as grandma used to call it. Here is the assignment:

Post a photo of your purse and if you care to share, describe what's inside your purse. Do you carry everything but the kitchen sink? Or, do you prefer to go light and carry only the necessities, such as your money and cell phone. For the men who would like to participate, post a photo of your wallet and describe what's in your wallet.

Well, isn't she a brave one. I've seen women that carried some scary things in their purse. Hubby's grandma used to pack a pistol in hers. It just terrified us to know she dragged that thing with her when buying new shoes or picking up a gallon of milk at the U-Tote-Em. Trust me, if someone had tried to steal her purse that 83-year old granny would have shot him once between the eyes and never blinked. And then she would have prayed for his lost soul, gone home and canned some peaches.

My purse is pretty simple. I just don't have time to swap them around all of the time to match my outfit or shoes. I carry the same one day in and day out until it falls apart, and then I buy another. It's almost always leather and is a shade of black or brown. I figure if I keep it simple I don't have to worry about it. This is the one I'm carrying now.

I think I paid $28 for it at J.C. Penney's. God bless J.C. Penney's. I keep my purse crammed full of stuff and had to dump it all out to take a picture of the contents because they were squeezed in there so tightly. There really weren't any big surprises in there.I found 3 tubes of lip balm. Burt's Bee's is my favorite. I'm not a lipstick kind of girl. I'm a chap stick girl. Lipstick is one of those girly girl things I've never quite gotten the hang of. It's always a mess on me. I've tried all of the tips that Glamour, Vanity Fair and the Avon Lady recommend, and I still look like a clown when I wear it, so I tend to stick with chap stick. I had 28 cents in change, some pens and my billfold, which I've had about four years. Again, I buy one and carry it every day until it wears out. I have two pair of sunglasses. One pair makes me look cool but doesn't fit well. The other pair fits really well, works great and makes me look somewhat Nascar-ish, so I trade them out. Nascar-cool. Nascar-cool.

I also had some fingernail clippers, a note from the house cleaner on some cleaning supplies she needed and a rubber band. There was my cell, which is about to fall apart, and a recipe for Red Rock margaritas that a friend gave me Thursday. The bottle of OPI "Pinking of You" nail polish is from my nail tech. She had to travel back to Vietnam recently because her dad is dying of cancer, and it will be five weeks before my next appointment, so she sent me home with the bottle and told me to layer on another coat as needed. Note that I picked a light color so it wouldn't show if I screwed it up. I'm not good at nail polish either. And finally, you'll notice a tube of Benydryl anti-itch medicine. I'm carrying that because I have a monster case of chiggers on my ankles, and they won't go away. Daddy thinks they're turkey mites. I don't care what they are. I'm just ready for them to GO AWAY.

That's about it. Oh, there was one other item tucked away in the side pocket.
I never go anywhere without Sweet 'N Low. Every day I drink a large iced tea in the afternoon. I'm probably the only person born below the Mason Dixon line who doesn't like my tea as sweet as honey. I order mine unsweetened and lightly sweeten it with Sweet 'N Low. Half the drive-thrus I frequent either don't carry it (You know who you are, McDonald's) or forget to give it to me. Therefore, I carry it with me. It's just one of those quirky little things that make me...me. If this were winter, I'd also be carrying around six brands of sinus medicine and some tissues. Now, follow me over to the Church Lady, and let's see what everyone else is toting around to the U-Tote-Em.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell Farrah

When Ed McMahon died earlier this week I turned to my husband and told him celebrities always go in threes so I didn't think it was looking very good for Farrah Fawcett and Walter Cronkite this week. I was surprised that Michael Jackson was the third celebrity to die. Well, I wasn't surprised in that anyone who has watched a loved one with an addiction or mental illness could see that the pop star was in serious trouble. I WAS surprised that he died on the same day as Farrah. It all makes me feel a little old since all three were icons of my youth. However, I smiled when I read about Farrah's passing. I smiled because it reminded me of the boys of my youth and how that famous red poster propelled some of them into puberty with the speed of a rocket.

You know the poster. Red swimsuit, no bra. N*pples blazing against the red lycra, pulling your eyes below that thousand watt smile and bouncy blond hair.In today’s world where boobs and hoo-hoos are put on display daily, that picture seems pretty harmless now, but back then it was a big deal. A really big deal. Every boy in America, and several men, had that poster. I was somewhere between fifth and seventh grade when it came out. I can't remember the year for sure, but Madd Maxx will because he was the first boy in our class to get that poster. He scored it from TV Guide before the rest of his buddies and for a while was king of the neighborhood playground where he proudly shared that poster like a marine with a new tattoo. His popularity soared among his hormonally charged buddies, and he basked in the glory. And suffered the wrath of his aunt for hanging it on his bedroom wall. Males weren't the only ones to fall under Farrah's spell. All of us girls pretended to be offended by the poster but secretly longed for Farrah's body and clamored to the beauty shop in search of luscious feathery curls. For us girls with thick, stick straight hair it was a difficult time.

Later that year, Farrah's famous pose would create one of the biggest controversies of the school year for the Franklin class of '78, the great T-shirt debate. It didn't take too long for the poster image to get slapped onto T-shirts. Men everywhere were wearing them, but in those conservative days it was rare to see someone younger than eighteen in one. One boy in our class, Jackie, was kind of quiet, so I was surprised the day he showed up in the famous Farrah shirt. We were all surprised. And impressed. We were impressed with his boldness, his bravery and his defiance of the school dress code. Personally, I was in awe of his parents’ endorsement of the n*pple display. If my brother had wanted to wear something like that to school my mother would have swatted his backside and signed him up for military school. Anyway, Jackie's move was so progressive I don't think the dress code even addressed something so scandalous. When the school day began, we immediately knew a showdown was imminent.

Looking back on it now, it reminds me of that scene in A Christmas Story where the entire class wears the fake teeth with great optimism and is quickly defeated by the teacher's firm hand. We were thrilled with Jackie's dress code defiance and indignant when the teacher immediately sent him to the office. As I recall a couple of boys made feeble Atticus Finch-like protests on behalf of Jackie and his shirt. The rest of us were too scared to say anything but supported Jackie in our hearts. As Jackie trudged silently to the principal’s office, we all waited anxiously for the result. It was like watching a lamb going to slaughter. We had an “old school” principal too, who hated to be challenged. He wielded a mean paddle, and any trip to his office could result in a flailing with the long board. Jackie returned a short time later. Again, my memory is faulty but I think he was either made to turn the shirt wrong side out or was wearing a shirt from the lost and found box . Charlie’s Angel was covered up. Our martyr in the fight for Farrah lost his battle, but we were proud of his challenge. It makes me laugh now to think about it and how much times have changed. Oh, I sound like my mother today.

Speaking of my mother, she did let my brother, SuperCop, have a Farrah puzzle. The puzzle showed Farrah in a light blue tank top, again without a bra, and I thought it was pretty progressive of her to let him have it. It was no t-shirt, but it was still pretty suggestive to a young boy. Teen Angel stumbled across that puzzle at Mama's house a few years ago and thought it was cheesy looking. She had no idea the significance that photo and the others held to so many young boys a long time ago. Poor Farrah didn't really get her due respect yesterday with all the Michael Jackson hoopla kicking in just a few hours after the announcement of her death. But while the streets of L.A. and Hong Kong are filled with folks mourning the loss of a quirky megastar, the homes of middle America are full of men who are remembering a certain red poster that carried them through puberty....and they're smiling. I'm so sorry for your loss Madd Maxx.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Long Goodbye

There are days when I’d like to yank my heart from my chest, stomp on it and tell it to stop. Stop throbbing with hurt. Stop stealing my joy and stop sucking the energy out of my already weary body. Fortunately, those days are rare, but every now and then my grief over Sissy’s suicide creeps up on me when I’m not looking and bitch slaps me. On both cheeks. And then grabs hold of my heart and squeezes. Until I can hardly breathe. It’s been two months since Sissy died, and things have slowly gotten better, but yesterday was one of THOSE days, and it made me wonder how long these intense bursts of sadness will continue to sneak up on me.

If I had been paying attention I would have seen it coming. For about a week now, every time Teen Angel and I have made the nightly trek to Sissy’s house to feed her cat and sort through a few boxes and drawers I’ve felt somewhat frustrated by the mess there. There’s just so much stuff to go through. Every piece has to be touched, and every thing you touch rips the scab off an old memory. Some good. Some bad. It’s intense, and it’s slow. It’s up to Mama J. to make decisions about Sissy’s belongings, and it’s just been too difficult for her to process more than a little bit at a time. She has her own grief to deal with, so I understand, but the selfish part of me has wanted to get the packing over with quickly. Walking into that house night after night looking at the stacks of boxes that seem to shuffle around the room and go nowhere has slowly worn me down. I’m tired of looking at it. Tired of dealing with it, and I just want to be done with the whole overwhelming job of disposing of Sissy’s things.

We’ve had a handful of auctioneers visit the house and give us estimates on selling the contents. Some were expensive. Some didn’t want to handle it the way we wanted to, and one just rubbed us the wrong way. However, yesterday the gentleman who showed up was kind. And knowledgeable. And reasonable. He was sympathetic to our situation, and Mama J. hired him on the spot. And he started hauling stuff away immediately to sell at his auction house. We won’t even have to endure a long day of watching strangers ramble through Sissy's house and bid on the things she called hers. Hubby called me at work to tell me the news, and I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to get home and see the progress. “Finally,” I thought. “We’re getting somewhere.” By the time I got home, changed clothes and shoveled down a tuna sandwich the auctioneer had come back for another load. He was picking up the big pieces of furniture and had left gaping holes in the piles stacked in each room. He had already cleared out much of the mountain of cardboard and plastic containers in the garage. I introduced myself and told him I could hug his neck, and then I walked into the house. And fought not to fall apart.

I wasn’t prepared for the emptiness of her bedroom or the slice of pain that seared my heart. The wave of grief caught me by surprise and literally took my breath. All of this time I had wanted the stuff to go, and now that it was I couldn’t stand to see it leave. “Why?” I wondered. “Why is this bothering me now?” and after pretending to clean a closet away from the watchful eyes of everyone else I fought for composure and answers.

I think it’s because this really is goodbye. Even though I had watched Sissy’s depression overtake her life and suspected for months she wouldn’t live to her next birthday, I guess a tiny, irrational part of my heart held out the false hope that she didn’t really jump from that bridge. That the coroner was mistaken, and it wasn’t really her in that closed casket. That she would call from Vegas or some far away place and tell us it was all a mistake and she had really run off to find herself. She would beg for forgiveness and ask someone to pick her up at the airport and we would laugh with relief over her latest adventure. That tiny little part of my heart surrendered last night, and hobbled out the door with her bed, dresser and sofa. Hubby and I stood at the front door and watched the trailer pull away with the remnants of Sissy’s life, thinking the same thing without having to say it. We stood there silently, communicating with our hearts the way people who have been married a long time do. I have never felt so united and yet so alone at the same time.

The garage that was full just two days ago was suddenly too empty to look at. I took a quick picture of it when I left because I felt an unexplainable reason to capture the moment.

The auctioneer will be back tomorrow to pick up everything else, and the house will be stripped to its bones. The essence of Sissy will be gone from there, and the emptiness will echo between the walls and repeat in our hearts. The sister I had for nearly twenty years is gone. I am finally going to have to end this long goodbye. I will carry her in my heart for the rest of my life, and some days that spot will hurt. Most days it will warm with pleasant memories of the way she used to be. I know this because yesterday was one of THOSE days. Today was not.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

First it was flowers. Then it was architecture. Now? Now, it’s sunsets. I can’t get enough of them. Every time the sun starts to drop in the sky I start snapping pictures. It’s cliché. It’s been done. It’s been overdone. And yet, I can’t help myself. It’s like biting your fingernails. You don’t even realize you’re doing it until it’s too late. Do all wannabe photographers go through this stage? I suspect they do. Bear with me, brothers and sisters, I’ll be over it soon. And then I’ll be on to something else. Like cute kids with ice cream cones and floppy hats. Or old people with weathered faces squinting into the sun. I should go ahead and warn you now. You have approximately three months until my vacation and the week you’re going to spend suffering through Florida sunsets.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In this hand, I hold a dart


Whew. I feel better. Sorry, and thanks for listening. If anybody needs me I’ll be in the corner eating some chocolate…and throwing darts at a Dialog Communications poster. Ass hats.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things Hula Loves

Friends who have chickens…because I get fresh eggs. I love the fact that the texture is mottled and that they come in various shades of tan and beige.Some are speckled. Some are not. They remind me of when I was a kid and mama bought eggs from my school bus driver. On Friday mornings when I climbed the bus steps I gave Hazel Schaffer egg money and on Friday afternoons I climbed off the bus with two dozen brown eggs. Until I was about eight years old I thought all eggs were brown.

Fresh from the hen eggs taste so much better than the supermarket kind, and they’re really tasty on a Sunday night when you fry them up, throw them on fresh from the bakery bread with some provolone cheese, a slice of salami and a little ham and then grill them in a buttered skillet. Hubby is a well done guy. I like mine a little over easy so the yolks run a little when you bite into them. By the way, Hazel’s doing fine. As so often happens in a small town, I ran into her at the funeral home a couple of years ago. She’s retired, but she doesn’t have chickens anymore. Something about that seems wrong.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pedaling as Fast as we Can

Some of you have asked about Papa T., and I appreciate your concern. He is doing much better. He had a terrible time Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All of the stomach distress and the medical tests, some of which involved fasting, left him weak as a kitten. He didn't even feel strong enough to give the nurses and doctors any trouble. After scoping him from end to end, they finally determined that he has diverticulitis, which makes sense given that he had eaten lettuce, berries AND cashews right before this attack. (My, he's going to miss his cashews.) They've been pumping him full of fluids, but he's still kind of weak. This morning, the doctor suggested they keep him at the hospital for another week for some rehabilitation because of the weakness. An exhausted Mama J. thought that was a grand idea. Papa T. disagreed. As I am typing this they are battling that one out at the hospital, and Hubby is on the sidelines refereeing. I think Papa T. is going to win this one, and I suspect he will be home later today.

He tends to improve remarkably once he's on home territory, so I'm not sure it's a bad thing for him to skip the rehab. One thing's for sure, he's going to have to change his eating habits. The nuts and seeds and evening junk food snacks are going to have to go, and we're happy about that. We've been trying to get him to give up the nightly Cheetos and Pop-Tart binges for a while to no success. But when someone's pushing eighty and wants strawberry frosted Pop-Tarts, who are we to demand he can't have them. Just because someone grows older doesn't mean he automatically surrenders his free will. This way, he's willing to eat better to avoid the gastrointestinal nightmare that put him in the hospital, and it was his choice, so to speak.

It's been a looong week for the Hula-gen's. Hubby, Teen Angel and Mama J. have all spent most of their time at the hospital, helping with Papa T.. In between spurts of rain and Papa T.'s medical tests, Hubby has been running home to mow and do errands. I've raced from busy days at work to the hospital in the evenings and then errands and home. My work day yesterday put me in the sun for about twelve hours. Summer finally arrived here, so it's currently 612 degrees in the shade and humid. I was whipped last night, and so were the rest of my peeps. We slept like hibernating bears last. In fact, Teen Angel is still sleeping. I am off of work today, and I'm glad. It will give me a little time to slow down a teeny tiny bit and do some paperwork and phone calls regarding Sissy's finances and accounts. I'm starting to get responses from all of the letters and death certificates I had to send out to various banks, insurance companies and offices. Egad, that's a long, drawn out process. We are pedaling along, we seem to be over the hump on this latest medical issue with my in-laws and we have an invitation to a ParrotHead party tomorrow afternoon, so things are looking up. I hope to be back to reading your blogs and commenting more in a day or two, but for now, it's still one bump at a time, and I truly appreciate your concern.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hula's Picture of the Week-Dances With Bees

Hula: “Here, hold this branch lower tall man while I take some pictures of this bee.”
Hubby: “Suuuure. What did you do Saturday? Oh, I held a limb for my wife while she stood on a ladder and took pictures of bugs.”
Hula: “Hula, what did you do Friday night? Oh, I took my elderly in-laws to Cracker Barrel for beans and greens.”
Hubby: “Point taken. Just tell me when you’re done.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

It’s been quiet around here for a solid week. Too quiet. So quiet that I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop because the Hula-gen’s lives are always filled with mayhem. It’s not that we like to roll that way. It just happens to be the hand we’re dealt most of the time, and we’ve come to expect it. And so do the people around us. Mama seemed shocked when she asked me this past weekend how things were and I said, “Calm.”
“Hmm. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
“Yeah, thanks.”

But honestly, it was hard to enjoy our week of peace because I kept waiting for something bad to happen. I know, I know. It’s a bad habit. What can I say? I’m a little scarred from the previous tragedies in our lives.

So it was no surprise when Hubby called me at work yesterday and said he, Mama J. and Teen Angel were on their way to the hospital with Papa T. Papa T. had a rough Sunday with nausea, vomiting and other stomach distress I will only describe as Mt. Vesuvius. He failed to get better, and he seemed really dehydrated Monday morning, so off to the ER they went because they couldn’t get him into the doctor’s office. Was the mayhem about to begin?

Nurses and doctors spent a few hours poking and prodding him until they decided he had some internal bleeding and he needed to stay for more tests. He was not happy. In fact, he was downright surly. “The only reason they’re keepin’ me is ‘cause I have good insurance!” he told the rest of the ER. Never mind the internal bleeding. Ah, perhaps the mayhem was beginning.

Papa T. is not a good patient. In fact, he’s a nurse’s worst nightmare. You also have to understand that when he turned 76 years old he declared himself finished with preventive testing. He feels like he’s lived long enough to quit most of the routine tests that roll around every few years, (including regular teeth cleanings). The only stuff he wants to endure is necessary repair work. After his last colonoscopy he declared that he was finished with colonoscopies forever and was pretty ticked off when they found polyps and they told him he’d need another rear end Roto-router in three years. “Bah! We’ll see,” he said. He just hates medical tests, and he definitely hates the hospital. He hates hospital food, and he hates hospital gowns. I expected him to be in rare form by the time I got to the hospital yesterday evening. Instead, he was pretty quiet. Surprising. We made small talk, and he seemed pleasant. Still waiting on they mayhem to begin.

Teen Angel and I took Mama J. down to the cafeteria for dinner, and when we returned we found that Papa T. had received and eaten his dinner, which consisted of broth, tea and a cherry Popsicle. He hates cherry Popsicles. In fact, he hates any meal that doesn’t consist of at least three vegetables and two pieces of cornbread. “How was your dinner Granddaddy?” we asked.
“Terrible. I had beef broth and it tasted like S**T!!! The only thing that was good was the tea, and that’s not sayin’ much. I don’t know how many dinners I’ve had in my life, but I know that was definitely the worst I’VE EVER HAD!!”

Ah, there’s the chaos I was waiting for. I looked at Hubby and Teen Angel and we started to laugh. And guess what? Papa T. has to have a colonoscopy tomorrow. Did you just hear the thud of the shoe dropping? Pray for us, brothers and sisters, it could be a long week. But at least things are back to normal around here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Spittin' Image

Mrs. Scrubs entered Special Delivery in the cutest baby contest at the festival in our hometown this past weekend. And there are some signs that he's going to be just like his daddy. She had Speical Delivery all dressed up in his little sailor outfit. His hair was nice and neat, and he was as cute as a bug’s ear. The obvious winner, in our biased opinion. The only problem? He was more interested in a nap than the contest. Now, in all fairness to him they held the darn thing at prime nap time for babies. He wasn’t the only sleepy one. But he certainly was the best one at sleeping. Oh, he fought it a little.And then right before time to go on stage, he gave it up.And it didn’t matter if she held him up Or to the sideHe was out. Like a light. And he stayed that way the whole time he was on the stage. He didn’t win Best Smile or Best Personality, but ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the 2009 Best Napper. Yep, that boy is looking more and more like his daddy every day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow

Psst. Come a little closer. I have something to tell you while Hubby's not around. If you haven't been coming to this site long, there's something you should know about the Hula-gen's. We love tomatoes. In fact, we are tomato nuts. As in welcome to our tomato patch. All fifty plants.
Each year we plant enough tomatoes to feed a starving country. It's really Hubby's project. Teen Angel and I are just the hired help. He carefully orders his seed, fertilizes the ground and plants his different varies every year, and then Teen Angel and I eat the bounty. Somewhere in there we weed a little and pick a lot, but mostly we just eat the produce. Big Boy's, Big Bertha's, Better Boy's, Fourth of July's, Sweet 100's. We have just a little bit of everything, and we love them all.

The three of us spend weeks anxiously awaiting the first sweet morsels. And then we spend two months giving away tomatoes to friends, family, neighbors, church members, strangers, people stranded on the side of the road and anyone who stands still long enough to fall for the line, "Here hold this." I chop tomatoes, can tomatoes, freeze tomatoes. I make salsa and bisque. It's tomato, tomato, tomato around here for weeks. But the real fun comes before the fruit ever ripens because, Hubby has a real competitive streak, and it's a race between him and our 86-year old neighbor every year to see who can grow the first tomato of the season. Try as he might Hubby always loses. And he's going to lose again this year because you see, this is what his plants look like right now.
By the way, that pvc pipe is his watering system, which is actually very effective but looks kind of goofy until the plants get bushy. Our plants are pretty and have some blooms.
But a few are small because we had to replant about a third of them due to too much rain at the beginning of the season.
Hubby takes great care in how he plants, where he plants, how he fertilizes and how he waters. And the neighbor? Well, he just tosses his stuff out there in no particular order and ends up with this.
A mere twenty feet away from Hubby's little bushes are three foot tall leafy green plants that beat the socks off of anything we have. And our neighbor already has little green tomatoes dangling from his vines.
But don't tell Hubby though, because he thinks he still has a shot at winning. And we're going to let him believe that because she who mocks Farmer Hula-gen won't get to sample the first ripe tomato from our garden. We also won't tell him that our neighbor gives me those tomatoes that Hubby thinks comes from the grocery store in late June before ours ripen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oh Emmy, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I snubbed my teenaged nose at your music when I first heard you years ago. My rock and roll arrogance deafened my ears to your brilliance for thirty, count ‘em, thirty years. I mocked your prematurely gray hair and called you backwards. Oh Emmy, I was wrong, so so wrong. You’re not a hillbilly. You’re not whiney. You’re something indefinable. Something unique. Your voice speaks to my soul. Your poetic lyrics on songs like Michelangelo are genius, and I love that you refuse to dye your hair or change your style for commercial radio.

Now that I’ve stumbled upon you again, I can’t get enough of you, Red Dirt Girl. I can’t believe I was so wrong before. Surely, it's not because I'm beginning to love country music? Forgive me Emmy; I know not what I do sometimes. I have seen the error of my ways, and I’m here to share my newfound love with the world. And I’m not letting my inability to post a video or copyright laws get in my way.

Go here, my friends and enjoy the love that is Emmy Lou Harris. And great Gertie, why didn’t someone tell me Emmy Lou and Dave Matthews did a concert together on CMT? ‘Cause I definitely would have shown up for class on that day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We Paws for This Message

I’m not naming any names but SOMEBODY in this house would rather go for a truck ride than eat. In fact, that somebody will literally fling himself against the back door when he hears the old blue Ford fire up. He knows that a ride means the wind flying through your hair.
And the warm sun shining on your face.
That SOMEBODY likes to hog the middle seat when we’re going fast.
But would rather hang his head out the window when we’re going slow.
And that SOMEBODY quivers from head to stubby tail with excitement when cars go by, especially those big brown UPS trucks.
And I’m not naming any names, but SOMEBODY literally had to go pee after this excitement happened.
SOMEBODY is going to have to buy a car seat harness if this keeps up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Know We're Going to be Okay Because We Can Laugh About This Stuff

We are in the midst of sorting through Sissy’s belongings and preparing her house for auction. To say she had a lot of stuff is like saying the Pope wears a funny looking hat. We have 3000 square feet of house to empty, and we’d like to get it done so it’s not hanging over our heads all summer and we can move forward in our grief. Hubby, me and Teen Angel sort through a box at a time when we’re at the house feeding Sissy’s cat, and we worked in the garage this past weekend. Teen Angel and Hubby’s sister worked there today and yesterday. Because Mama J. is the executrix of the estate, she is in charge of making decisions about what stays, what gets sold and what gets thrown away. She sits on the fold down chair of her walker and supervises the work. It took her a while to work up the energy to get started on this project, but she finally waded in with a toe or two last week. But it’s slow moving because she wants to save everything. EVERYTHING. And when I say everything, I mean stuff that no one is going to use (ie...old soap) or want to buy at an auction. Yesterday, she put a box of tampons in a “sale” box. Teen Angel yanked them out and very nicely explained to Mama J. why an auctioneer will not want to hold up a box of feminine hygiene products for bids. Mama J. seemed confused and moved on to the half used cosmetics.

The work continued today, and this afternoon I received some texts from Teen Angel describing the lack of progress and Mama J.’s unwillingness to turn loose of anything. Before you read it, you should know two things. One-Sophie is my niece’s three year old daughter. Two-Mama J. often confuses the purpose of particular items or the names of things and places. Like the time she wrote “straight penis” on her grocery list instead of “straight pins”. Anyway, the texts gave me the best chuckle I’d had all day and let me know that we really are going to get through this because we can laugh about it.

Hula-“Try to be patient.”
Teen Angel-“That’s the operative word. The point of this is 2 eliminate junk not keep EVERYTHING. Nobody wants half this stuff and can I just say Sophie does not need used earrings to wear as toe rings.”
Hula-“Does she need some tampons to play with?”
Teen Angel-“Exactly what I was going to say!"

Hee hee. It’s going to be a long summer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds an Acorn

I went stomping through the countryside Saturday evening taking photos. I was looking for an interesting shot to submit to a local photo contest and thought I might capture something interesting along the back roads near my home. Even though I live in a subdivision, I live in a rural part of the county, and I am surrounded by fields, streams and assorted wildlife. In fact, a wildlife refuge is about ninety seconds from my driveway by car. That was the first place I headed, with Hubby’s warning to be careful bouncing off my ears. I found a couple of decent beauty shots, but nothing grand. By the way, this kind of scene can be found regularly in this neck of the woods. I wanted something more interesting, so I drove down a two lane highway toward a little spot in the road that is more of a slightly congested area than a town. In fact, congested is an exaggeration. The busiest spot is the convenience store where you can buy a Coca Cola and a ring bologna sandwich made just the way you want it. They were closed. Otherwise, I would have snapped a few pictures at the meat counter for you. There was nothing going on around there. Not even a lazy dog lounging on a porch. So I turned back and headed down the road again, looking for a white cross I’d seen along the road earlier. It had potential for some interesting pictures, but I drove past it twice before I finally found a place I could park the car. It was about a quarter of a mile from the cross, so I started hoofing it, trying to be quick because the traffic was fast and kind of heavy for a country highway. The cross also sits near a shady biker hangout. And when I say biker hangout, I don’t mean the Harley riding, fun loving loud kind of biker who is misunderstood. I mean the racist, drug dealing kind of biker who hangs Confederate flags in the windows to hide a stash of meth and weapons. Hula didn’t want to run into any of those folks.

I highly underestimated the depth of the ditch by the cross and ending up jumping into it to get close enough for photos, praying the whole time that chiggers did not invade the legs of my shorts and that a big black snake did not slither across my feet. I snapped and snapped but just couldn’t get the kind of shot I was looking for. I finally gave up on it, but I had highly underestimated how hard it would be to get out of that ditch and had to grab onto some vegetation to crawl out, hoping that a big black snake did not slither under my chest. I headed back toward the car, disappointed because at this point I had been driving around shooting pictures for more than an hour and had turned up nothing. Two cars came zipping down the road from opposite directions and since there were no shoulders on this road I had no choice but to jump in a ditch, again hoping that a big black snake did not slither along my feet. I was up to my waist in weeds and already itching, but as I sighed and grumbled I looked up and found this:Hello God. Right in front of me was the prettiest sunset I’d seen in a long time. And I started snapping because the colors in a sunset change so fast.And while it may not win any contests, I sure got a nice prize for stumbling around in the weeds for an hour and a half.