Friday, December 30, 2011

Pretty Soon I'm Gonna Have to Give her a new Blog Name

'Cause she's barely a teenager.  Guess who's nineteen today?

Wasn't it just yesterday she was crawling across the floor and playing with my pots and pans?  Somebody stop the clock.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fa La La La La

You better get all prayed up, brothers and sisters, 'cause hell is freezin' over. I went shopping yesterday and found three, count 'em, THREE, pairs of jeans that fit well. Of course, I had to try on eighteen pair, but nevertheless I found three pairs of jeans I really liked. It's a dadgum miracle. Buying jeans is right up there with buying bras and bathing suits. I'd rather get jabbed in the eye with a red hot poker than try them on. And don't even get me started about the lack of comfortable, well made pantries for women who fall somewhere between hoochie mama thong and granny panty. You just can't find a good panty these days. I was beginning to think it was just me, and then I struck up a conversation with a 40-something stranger at the underwear clearance rack at Wal-Mart who was complaining about the same thing. I felt much better about myself afterwards. However, a couple of minutes later when I was squatted in the floor looking for my size in the Hanes cotton low rise briefs, I witnessed her nearly get into a fight with a lady who walked up to her and said, "Karen told me at the cookout you wanted to whoop my a**." And then the other lady said, "Noooo, I said I didn't want to be around your a**." They went back and forth with some attitude, and there was some ugliness tossed around about panty lady's recent stint in jail, so perhaps she hasn't always made the best choices. However, I do not believe that incarceration should affect your ability to judge a good panty, so I still feel confident I'm not alone in my frustration to find adequate drawers for the middle aged woman. By the way, the police were called to that little catfight before it got out of hand, so I slipped around the corner and down to the grocery department before I witnessed something I had to testify to in court. That was two days before Christmas. So much for peace, love and kindness for your fellow man.

Teen Angel and I spent yesterday shopping. We didn't buy much because the sales were somewhere between fair to middlin'. I saw better buys before Christmas, but we did find a few bargains, and I scored big time on some capris for our upcoming cruise. Plus, we had some tasty Chick-Fil-A and good conversation. All was right with the world. It was a nice way to wrap up the holidays.

Christmas was good. All was calm, and all was bright. That's not always the case with Hubby's family, so we considered it a successful holiday. Santa was better to us than he should have been, but he didn't get too carried away. I got a new rolling hard case which holds all of my cameras, lenses and photography gear. No more lugging around three backpacks. Also, I got a new suitcase with 360 degree wheels. I can't tell you how excited I am about that. That one made it on my wish list this year after Teen Angel and I lugged our suitcases across Europe, up and down steps in buildings without elevators and across crowded airports last August. Exhausted, we were sitting at the airport in Paris for our flight home, when a lady in high heels went gliding by us with her spinner suitcase, pushing it effortlessly and acting like it was the easiest thing in the world. I looked at Teen Angel, pointed at her suitcase and said, "I'm gettin' me some of that." Besides, I needed a new suitcase anyway. Hours later, when we picked up our luggage in Dallas to go through customs, mine wouldn't roll right, and it was like draggin' a dog without legs on a leash. I finally stopped and looked at it and realized that one whole corner, wheel and all, was busted off that bag. I didn't know whether to thank the baggage handlers at Charles DeGaulle or Dallas International. I had to drag that heavy thing through customs, recheck it and drag it through the Nashville Airport with one wheel. It was a joy, I tell ya'. On the bright side, the bottle of French red wine we had shoved down in the middle of the bag made it through both flights in one piece. Salute!

I'll get to use that new suitcase in a couple of weeks when Hubby and I take off for Mexico. We are taking a cruise with several of my cousins and their spouses, and it should be fun, fun, fun. There are a million things to do between now and then to make sure that Papa T., the diabetic dog and Teen Angel are all taken care of while we're gone. We are spending one night in New Orleans before our ship leaves port, and it should be interesting. That happens to be the night before the LSU-Alabama BCA Championship football game. Every redneck in the southeast will be in NOLA, trolling Bourbon Street. I told Hubby it should either be very exciting or a good opportunity to get in the middle of some kind of street fight. You know us, we seem to find excitement wherever we go. I better where my clean underwear incase I'm in some sort of accident. Let's hope I find some decent new drawers before we go.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I didn't get Christmas cards done this year.  They kind of went by the wayside in the midst of all the work, family and photography craziness I've had going on.  I did manage a little verse that I jotted onto plain paper and mailed to our friends and family.  It was the best I could do.  I will share it with you my internet friends because you all brighten my life and make it richer.  Some of you I feel as if I've known for years, and I would mail this to all of you if I knew your real names and addresses.  

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.  May you find joy in this season and many blessings in the new year.  Now, get off the internet and go do some Christmas!

O Christmas Card, O Christmas Card

We meant to make a Christmas card, so pretty and sublime

but we couldn't get our act together and now we're out of time.

We even took a family photo, with plans to share with you

but frankly, it was crappy, and simply wouldn't do.

Our hair was kind of messy, our smiles were quite a wreck,

When Olan sent it to us, we said, "Mercy, what the heck?!"

We scrapped that plan and bought some cards, with plans to add a note

a letter telling about our lives, our plans, our year, our hopes!

But things got kind of crazy, we didn't get it done

And Christmas is a week away, this card thing isn't fun.

"Oh, snap!" we said. "What should we do? How shall we cover our butts?"

We decided to whip up a poem, something cheery without any smut.

Hang onto your seats, this is gonna be fast, we've got more shopping to do,

Christmas is kicking our fannies this year, did it come this fast for you?

The year's been good but kind of wild, it kept us on our toes,

It had some highs, some big adventures and even a couple of woes.

We laughed, we cried, we chased our tails, we even traveled the world,

we rate it an eight on a scale of ten, with two thumbs up and a swirl.

We gazed at Big Ben, saw the Eiffel Tower, and flew to the Big Apple in May,

we bought fake purses in China Town, even learned to pronounce si'l vous plait.

T.A. graduated high school, her honors were high, she made her parents' hearts swell,

She's studying nutrition to be a dietician, let's hope she finds work that pays well.

'Cause her parents are broke from purchasing books, and buying her new shirts and pants

not to mention the bucks that we blew in August when we took our graduate to France.

We lost Mama J., two uncles died too, we had to put the cat down,

we shed lots of tears for the ones that we lost and had our fair share of frowns.

But we patched up our hearts, said a few prayers and dusted off our blues

'cause life goes on, work's never done, and sometimes this place is a zoo.

Mom's taking pictures, weddings and such, it gives her some traveling dough

And Dad stays busying looking after his pop, 'cause he needs lots of care don't ya' know.

The year ahead will probably be crazy, we hope it's a good one for you,

with blessings and laughter and lots of good cheer, maybe a surprise or two.

We wish we had something besides this plain paper, with nary a pretty design

but we didn't have time to get to the store, so plain will just have to do this time.

May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his Hand, and calm all your worries and fears

Merry Christmas to you, Happy New Year too. Maybe our card will be better next year.

The Hula-gen's

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hallmark, you're killin' me!

I have only two emotions during the Christmas season, blissfully happy and sad to the point of tears. There's no in between, and I can jump from one to the other in a heartbeat. I'd like to blame it on my mixed up hormones, but I've been this way for several years. The death of my nephew probably has a little to do with it because Christmas just isn't the same after you bury a child. However, I think I just have to chalk it up to me being me. As my grandma used to say, I'm just tender hearted. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and I just can't help it. Those of you familiar with the Meyer's Briggs Personality Test will find it no surprise that I'm an ENFP. For those of you not familiar with that test, just know that it means I'm off the charts in the "emotional" part of my personality. Gold star, A+ with a smiley face on my paper off the charts. I'm an empathizer, a sympathizer and a sap. I'll laugh with you, cry with you and take on whatever emotion you're likely to be feeling at any time. Which means I can be moved to loud laughter, tears or jeers without much effort. And sometimes it drives my family crazy, although they've gotten somewhat used to me crying at the drop of the hat. They just shake their heads when I cry in church or at the movies or while watching a touching television commercial. Sister mercy, that commercial that's running right now that features the soldier in some far off country reading the Christmas book his child has recorded is killin' me! Killin' me. And I don't dare linger over the Hallmark Channel. Stopping on that channel is just asking for trouble. In fact, when there's a Hallmark Hall of Fame special on CBS, Hubby just groans because he knows I'm going to want to watch it, and I'm going to cry before it ends. I have to keep tissues in the house just in case there's a Steel Magnolias marathon on TBS. As Truvey says, laughter through tears is one of my favorite emotions. And that pretty well sums up the holidays for me.

I find plenty of joy during December. There are get togethers with loved ones, parties with friends, and I love the children's programs. I ran the audio/video booth at church the other night during the preschool program, and it was a doozy. I haven't laughed that much in weeks. They were just cute, cute, cute. But at the same time all of this is going on, I can't help but see the stark differences between the haves and the have not's as daddy calls it. Christmas is an economic divider. No doubt about it. While some are blowing money to the four winds on lots and lots of presents, there are so many people who just don't have money to buy necessities. Some of them can't afford their electricity or their medicine.

There are children whose Christmas dreams will be disappointments. A local gentleman who portrays Santa at local events came to our Stuff the Truck event. He's a wonderful fellow who has a radio call-in show for children who want to talk to Santa. He gets calls from all over the world each Saturday, and recently he asked a young caller what he wanted for Christmas. The little boy asked why it would matter because he didn't get anything last year. Not one single present. It broke my heart to hear that. It broke Santa's, too.

I've seen people in recent weeks who literally had no food on their shelves at home and had no idea how they were going to feed their children. While I'm sitting around dreaming about how I can wrangle a trip to Italy, there are those who don't have enough to eat. And there are those who are alone. A FaceBook post by a friend this week made me think about the number of people I know who lost parents or loved ones this year. Just this morning, I talked at length with a friend who lost her mother. It was about the fifth time this Christmas season that I shed a tear or two. I haven't even begun to think about the emotions that will be rolling through my soul on Christmas Day when Mama J.'s not around. Christmas was a very big deal to her, and Sunday will definitely be different for us than it has in the past as we feel the family circle on Hubby's side getting smaller and smaller each year.

And I'm not really sure where I'm going with all of this other than to say I hope you have noticed, too. You all seem like good folks, so I imagine you have. I hope in the midst of all the hustle and chores and shopping madness, you've noticed the folks among us who are in pain this season. The people who are spending their first Christmas without a loved one or dealing with the dysfunction in their families. When I went to Al-Anon, I learned very quickly that Christmas is a combustible time for many families. There are many people out there, some that are likely your friends, who are just trying to get through the 25th. I can't help but think of that line in that old Emerson, Lake and Palmer song, Father Christmas, "They sold me a dream of Christmas". Movies, television and stores sell us the idea that the holidays are joyous for everyone and that our families, homes and gifts should all be perfect. We can never measure up to that image of the season, and frankly, I've quit trying. I love Christmas folks, but I feel your pain.

I'm lucky, I have a wonderful family, and I find true joy in family and church at Christmas. When we're together this weekend, we'll get to talking about old times, and my peeps will probably make me laugh. Laugh until I cry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sittin' in the Kitchen

People fascinate me. I love talking to people, quizzing them about their past and generally just learning what makes them tick. Maybe it comes from working in journalism all those years. Or maybe I'm must nosey, but I love learning new things about people, especially those I've known for a long time.

Last Friday, we went to the tiny town of Hazel on the Kentucky/Tennessee border to meet Papa T.'s brother, and sisters-in-law for lunch. We met at the only restaurant in town, Anne's Country Kitchen, where they have some great catfish. It's a good thing their food is good, 'cause it helps you to overlook the fact that the building hasn't been dusted since 1987. It's the kind of place that serves hot coffee, plate dinners and mile high meringue on their coconut cream pie. While we waited for our food, I quizzed Aunt Kay about her brother, Byron who is a well known record producer in Nashville. We've been hearing Byron's name thrown around on awards shows over the years. As mama says, he's a pretty big deal. I knew what he did but I had never heard how he made the leap from the family farm in Puryear, Tennessee to making records with some of country music's biggest stars.

It seems Byron got a guitar when he was young and plucked his way through his teenage years with a little band that played at local events and clubs. He eventually won a songwriting contest that earned him a trip to Nashville to record it. The song didn't get him any real attention but it did get his foot in the door with the recording industry. He wrangled an introduction to some performers, and eventually Charley Pride hired him as a songwriter. He worked for Pride for many years and along the way honed some producing skills. One day, he was approached about producing songs for a new, up and coming singer who was expected to do well. He accepted. That singer was Tim McGraw. Yeah, that was a good decision. He produced Tim's first hit, and that was the start of a long and prosperous business relationship. Tim got hitched to Faith Hill, and Byron started producing her music, too. In fact, he won a Grammy for co-producing her big album Breathe. He was Billboard's Producer of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Not too bad for a country boy, huh? A little while back, he was asked to take on another promising act that record execs had high hopes for. Again, he said yes. Their name? Sugarland. The man knows how to pick 'em. Just a few years ago, he started a recording company with Tim McGraw, so he's doing pretty well these days.

I was completely fascinated by his story, and obviously, Aunt Kay is very proud of her baby brother. She loves to share tidbits about him. Not in a bragging way. She would never do that. It would be unseemly. Aunt Kay is very genteel. Picture Olivia DeHavilland as Melanie in Gone With the Wind, and that's Aunt Kay. Always sweet, always gentle and never boastful. She's a southern lady through and through, so she would never toot Byron's horn very loudly, but she's thrilled with his success. And it's led to some interesting experiences for her, like that time she went to a baby shower at his house in Nashville and met Faith Hill.

But the icing on the cake Friday came near the end of the Byron stories when a friend of hers walked by our table and said, "Hey, there's one of those famous Gallimore Sisters that I saw on the internet." He started talking about a video of her he saw on YouTube, and I almost fell out of my chair. I didn't even know she knew what YouTube was. Come to find out, when Aunt Kay was very young, she used to be part of a trio with her sister, Carol, and her cousin, Annie, that performed at events around the community, had a weekly local radio show and even sang at the Junior Grand Ole' Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. Carol still lives in Puryear, not far from Aunt Kay, but Annie's been traveling the world for years under the name of Rattlesnake Annie, recording music and sharing a microphone with people like Willie Nelson. Last fall, Carol, Annie and Aunt Kay were sitting around the kitchen table, when Annie broke out a cheap recorder and recorded them as they sang together for the first time in years. Aunt Kay doesn't think this is a very good recording because they were just goofing around, but obviously, the ladies know how to harmonize.  (Aunt Kay's in the middle.)

Now, I knew Aunt Kay had a great singing voice because I heard her sing a few years ago at a family wedding shower. I was bent over the refreshment table at the back of the tiny church we were at, when I heard her and her two daughters comment on a religious painting on the wall. The picture reminded them of an old hymn they used to sing in church, and the three of them spontaneously broke out into that hymn. It was some of the most beautiful harmony I'd ever heard, and I stopped in my tracks to listen.

However, I had no idea she used to perform publicly, and not only that, she dropped this little nugget on us Friday. Back in the spring, she made professional recordings of some songs with her old trio buddies. She has no idea when or how they are going to be released, but I found it very exciting. Not because she might get some kind of airplay for it, but simply because she's still nurturing a talent that she used so much when she was young. Can you believe it? Aunt Kay, the sweet beautiful lady who spent the last fifty years quietly raising her family in the country town of Puryear, used to perform at the Grand Ole' Opry and is now on YouTube. You just never know what you're gonna find out when you ask someone what they've been up to lately.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Around the World

One of my favorite things about late December is the Year in Pictures post that MSNBC does on their website. You can find them here, and I encourage you to check them out. There are actually several such posts on various websites around the world, and I enjoy everyone I see. I could sit and look at those pictures all day long, studying the composition and the lighting and trying to figure out what shutter speed the photographer was using or more importantly, what was going through her mind as she snapped the shot. So many of them are graphic and emotional, capturing a significant moment in history involving a war or a natural disaster. I can't help but imagine what it would be like to be standing behind the lens at that exact moment. To personally witness such a spectacular moment, and as soon as I snapped the frame, know that I had just captured an important glimpse of mankind's triumphs or failures.

In fact, I think about it often. I dream about traveling the world and photographing its people. Not posed pictures with special lighting or effects. Just honest pictures of everyday people in their natural settings. Children in Africa. Dancers in Bali. The women of Afghanistan, and fishermen off the coast of Italy. Oh, I'd also want to capture the sights and sounds of exotic places. Sunrises in Tibet. The blocks in the Great Wall of China. Whales off the coast of Alaska. The Eiffel Tower in the snow. But it's mostly people I crave to capture with the lens. The people of the world.

They say the difference between people who dream and people who make those dreams come true is a plan of action. I believe that. I dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower and the streets of London, and I made that happen with a plan this past summer. I'm not sure how I'm going to find the money to travel the world and take pictures when I retire, but I'm working on a plan, brothers and sisters. I'm working on a plan. In the meantime, I'm honing my skills, looking at other people's pictures. And dreaming. Always dreaming.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I've Been up to the Last Couple of Days

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the holiday season.  For the last four years my employer has challenged area schools to collect canned good for local food pantries.  The school that collects the most pounds of food per student wins $1,000.  One school gets a nice prize, we gather more food than we could ever buy with $1,000 and the kids get a wonderful lesson in giving.  The first year we did it, I was in tears before the end of the day because of how touched I was by the children's generosity.  Of course, I was also having an emotional time with Sissy, and Christmas kind of makes me cry anyway (I'm such a sap.)  Nonetheless, it was a very moving experience, and since the Challenge has grown each year, it's just a wonderful day when we collect the food.  The linemen help me.  We get two trucks with lifts, some pallet jacks and extra collection bins and we hit the streets for a day of holiday spirit.  Arriving at each school is like opening a present.  We open the doors and peek into the hallway for what is almost always a great surprise of more food than we expected.  I can't tell you how joyous it is to walk into a school and find food stacked up on the floor and spilling out of bins.  Joyous, I tell you.  Joyous.  It's the usually the day of the year when my Christmas spirit starts to kick in, thanks to all those kids.  This year was no different.  

This year, we had ten schools participating.  When we were finished gathering up food, weighing it and loading it into a semi trailer, we had collected 22,520 pounds of food.  Yeehaw!  We filled that semi trailer full.  And rather than rattle on and on about it, I thought I'd just share with you a video I made from snapshots our crews took along the way. And ya'll, I'm so proud of myself.  I made it all the way through the day without crying.  Although I did get a little misty when I launched into that little pep talk with those fourth graders about the power of one person when he joins with others to work toward a common goal. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt

Pray for me, brothers and sisters, that the wheels don't come off my wagon this week as I'm busier than a one legged man in a butt kickin' contest. And if you find my mind, let me know because I apparently lost it about last Thursday. I spent two days last week looking high and low for a gift card and a DVD that I bought online and had tucked away for safe keeping until I could wrap them. I looked through all of the other gifts that the wonderful Amazon fairy has been sending to my house. I searched in drawers and cabinets. I emptied the 50 gallon recycling bin onto the garage floor and dug through every piece of cardboard and paper we had. And we had a lot.

I finally decided I had accidently thrown away both small items. And then one of them came in the mail the next day. And the other showed up the following day. It appears I just imagined I had received them and tucked them away for safekeeping when they hadn't even gotten to my house yet. Oy vey, pass me some eggnog and make it spiked.  I should have my shopping privileges revoked.

Oh, and if you see the gift card I bought at Sears the other night, let me know. I put it away for safe keeping, and now I can't find it. I think.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another Goodbye

We had to put the cat to sleep today. Sabrina's condition deteriorated over the weekend to the point that we felt she was becoming very uncomfortable. In fact, I was almost afraid to check on her this morning for fear that she had died in the night. She had lost so much weight in the last two weeks, and she stopped eating this weekend. Her breathing was very labored. We called the vet this morning, and when he came to the house at lunchtime, he confirmed what we had expected. It was time to let her go so she wouldn't suffer any more. Her big yellow eyes looked at us pleadingly, as if to say, "Make it stop". So we did. And boy, was it difficult. It was one big sob fest as the vet started the anesthesia. Our pets are our family. Some folks aren't that way, but we are, and we don't apologize for that. They bring us great joy, love us unconditionally and make our lives better. We try to show them great love and kindness in return. We gave Sabrina two good years, and hopefully, that helped to make up for the first eight that weren't so good.

Sabrina was Sissy's cat. That's part of why this is all so painful. Sissy adopted Sabrina after Sissy's son drowned. It was a way for her to liven up her empty home and give her some much needed company. It didn't work that well, though. Sissy embraced her depression, and spent eight years spending money and using all sorts of vices to fill up the empty hole that was once her heart. It didn't work, and when Sissy killed herself, she left Sabrina, who had basically been a stranger in her own house. Sabrina never really got much attention from Sissy, and she was left for long periods of time in the house with food and water but without company. She was bounced around a couple of kennels for long periods of time each time Sissy moved. It wasn't a great life for her.

We weren't looking for another pet when Sissy died, and we initially looked for a new home for Sabrina. But she was an older cat and pretty unsociable, so no one wanted her. We knew if we took her to a shelter she'd end up euthanized, so we reluctantly gave in when Teen Angel begged to keep her. Sabrina didn't even like us at first. I think she didn't know how to receive love and attention. She had never had any toys, so she didn't know how to play with them. We would shake a toy mouse at her, and she'd look at us like we were crazy. Initially, we left her at Sissy's house where we'd visit her every day and then we brought her to our house where she stayed in Teen Angel's room for a few weeks. She was scared to leave Teen Angel's room, especially with the dog around. Eventually, she got the nerve to venture into the rest of the house, and we kept trying to show her some love. Then, one day, it was if she'd made up her mind that we were okay and that she'd be okay, and she climbed up on the sofa and made herself at home. She never looked back. For the last couple of years, she's been Teen Angel's buddy. She's been sassy and irreverent. She has smacked the dog's jaws on numerous occasions and she has given us a lot of laughter as we watched her priss around as if she owned the place. She would daintily dip her paws into the water bowl and dab her wet paw to her mouth instead of drinking out of the bowl. She would sit just so from her perch on the back of the couch, and she groomed herself religiously. Teen Angel and I, on a daily basis, would make up conversation based on what we thought she would say if she could speak. "Ooh Nana, can't we get rid of that dumb dog?" and "Is that cream I see in the refrigerator? I do loves me some dairy." We have gotten a lot of joy out of her, and while she was never an extremely loving cat, she had obviously begun to love us and would cuddle against us at night or crawl into Hubby's lap for a good nap. She was an interesting cat, and we were very attached to her.

I don't know if this would have been any easier if she had not been Sissy's cat. There is obviously an emotional attachment there that made this situation unique. Taking care of Sabrina was a way to cope with Sissy's suicide, and letting go of Sabrina is almost like letting go of a little piece of Sissy. We've had so much loss in the last few years that it's hard to take any loss at this point, especially so soon after Mama J's death. It starts to feel as if you don't have much control over your life and that about the time you think you've gained control again, it slips from your grasp in a slippery kind of way. Kind of like when you pick up a chunk of hard sugar with your fingers. It's hard when you first touch it, but the minute you grasp it, it drops into a thousand tiny kernels that fall through your fingers, and there's no way to catch them before they spill. We spilled many tears today when we laid Sabrina on her soft pillow in that sunny window she likes so much and stroked her while the vet injected her with the drugs. She drifted off to sleep, leaving us with an empty spot in our hearts but hope that she learned what love was all about before her life ended. The ground on our property is very hard right now, despite all the recent rain, so we are having her cremated and will figure out what to do with her ashes later. Ironically, the funeral home that provides that service is the same one that handled the funeral arrangements for Sissy's son. It's funny how life turns. And it's funny how you just don't see some of the curves ahead until you're right in them. How we negotiate those curves is what's important, and while we'll muddle through as always, I'm ready for a good straight stretch of road.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here Kitty, Kitty

When you have a blind dog, funny things happen. Jack has adapted pretty well to his loss of vision, but he still has issues getting around sometimes. Like last night, when he was sniffing for crumbs in the kitchen floor, hoping someone had dropped a tasty morsel while fixing or eating dinner. From the living room we could hear was him bumping repeatedly into the cabinets like a steel ball in a pinball game. He did it so much it got funny. Sometimes he gets stuck in a closet or bathroom and can't figure out how to get out so he gets mad and starts barking in a dammit kind of bark. And if you're not careful when walking him in the yard, he'll run into a tree 'cause he gets so excited about going outside that he runs without caution. If they made helmets for pets, we'd buy one.

Well today, Teen Angel texted me this picture of Jack snoozing on Sabrina's bed, next to her kitty toys and a couple of feet from her water bowl.

While the cat is in the habit of stealing Jack's pillow because she's ornery that way, he NEVER EVER wants anything to do with her, let alone her bedding. I mean never. From the moment we moved her into the house, he has pretended she doesn't exist. So this picture means one of two things, either he got lost and wound up in the wrong bed or someone's having an identity crisis.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Word of the Day-"Humiliation"


Pronounciation: hyoo-mil-ee-ey-shuh

Form: noun


1. an act or instance of humiliating or being humiliated.

2. the state or feeling of being humiliated; mortification.


1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin humiliātiōn- (stem of humiliātiō ). See humiliate, -ion

Related forms:

re•hu•mil•i•a•tion, noun

self-hu•mil•i•a•tion, noun


2. degradation, dishonor. See shame.

Used in a sentence: "The humiliation Hula felt when tripping on a rug in a dark hallway and falling spectacularly while going to pee was nothing compared to the embarrassment she felt when she realized it had been caught on the security cameras at work."

From now on, Hula will turn on the light when dashing through the building at night.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

iHeart Faces Photography Challenge-"On Your Feet"

It was either this or the one of her wearing my red cowboy boots.  What a fun bride!

For all of the other wonderful entries, trot on over to this place.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On a Wing and a Prayer

Has it really been Thanksgiving since I last posted? I think that's the longest I've gone between posts since I first started this blog four years ago. I have just had a couple of the busiest weeks of 2011 at work and home. Whew! This is always a busy season for me at work because of the holiday related community events my employer participates in, but sister mercy, it's been busy at home, too. Yesterday was the first day since before Thanksgiving where I could just sit for a few minutes, unwind and make a list of all the little things I need to catch up on. And that list covers a whole page. So what's new? Dear Lord, please send me two extra legs and more hands. Amen.

Here's what the Hula-gen's have been up to:

-We got Papa T. out of the hospital and back home with some physical therapy and home health. About the time we thought he was back on the right track, he had a very light stroke that sent him back to the hospital for two days. Fortunately, there was no damage to his speech or mobility but it certainly did give us a bit of a scare for a few hours. And it happened while I was in the middle of shooting a wedding, so I couldn't leave and help Hubby at the hospital. Aye, yi, yi. It all worked out though, and Papa T. is back home feeling pretty good and may I say just a little sassy.

-The photography business has been very busy in recent weeks. I had four family shoots and a wedding all squeezed into a three week period. I spent every spare minute this past weekend editing photos and uploading them to my photography site. I am now caught up, except for the wedding, and those pictures aren't due for a couple of more weeks, so I'll be working on those over the course of the next few nights. Weddings are hard work, but I do love seeing the bride and groom enjoy their big day. It brings back good memories. I'm lovin' the photography for pay thing even though it does consume a fair amount of time. Can you say vacation money? Dear Lord, thank you. Amen.

-Speaking of vacation, we are going on a cruise in January. It's been planned for quite some time, and we'll be on the same cruise as several of my cousins and their spouses. It's going to be a blast, and Hula was very proud of herself for scoring $62 planet tickets for the flight to our port city, New Orleans, and $59 tickets for the flight home. But she got a little greedy and was holding out for a great deal on a hotel room in New Orleans for that night before our boat leaves port. And then LSU got a spot in the BCA Championship game. In New Orleans. On January 8th. The night we're staying there. And suddenly the hotel rooms got scarce and expensive. Holy hurricane, Batman! A room at the Marriott Convention Center that was $149 a night three weeks ago is now $445 a night, and most of the mom and pop bed and breakfast inns have a four night minimum stay that week. After an hour and a half on the phone and online I managed to find a room for $111, three miles from downtown New Orleans in a hotel that is not next door to a crack house. I'll take it. It's better than renting a car at the airport, driving out of town to a hotel and driving back in the next day. And we won't have to stay with Madd Maxx and his family in Baton Rouge, which was going to be Plan B, even though he doesn't know that yet. We're still close enough to the French Quarter to boogie on over there if we want, and it occurred to me today that perhaps we should actually try to go to the game. Whatever we do, I'm sure New Orleans will be rockin' that night so it should be interesting.

-In the category of bad news never seems to be far away these days, we got word last week that Teen Angel's cat, Sabrina, has cancer. In fact, she doesn't have long to live. Her lungs are full of tumors so she probably has only days left. She doesn't seem to be uncomfortable yet, so we are keeping an eye on her and lavishing her with lots of attention. One of two things will likely happen in the next week. She will either start to hurt and we'll have to put her to sleep or she will die in her sleep. Every time we walk into the house we run to check on her and hope she hasn't died. This death watch thing is kind of hard. It's compounded by the fact that Sabrina was actually Sissy's cat. Sissy adopted her as a kitten right after Sissy's son died, and we adopted Sabrina when Sissy died. There's a unique attachment there, and it just makes losing Sabrina even more difficult than it normally would be. Dear Lord, please stop with the bad news. It's getting old. Amen.

-And on a really positive note, one of the things we do at work this time of year is to hold a two day event with the local hospitals where we try to stuff a semi truck full of canned goods for local food pantries. The event started last Tuesday with a bang, and then quickly slid downhill when the weather turned to poo. It rained early, turned to wet heavy snow, sleeted, rained some more and then turned very windy. As in it turned over our pop up tent. It was just miserable, and as I huddled with the other volunteers in the back of that cold wet semi last Tuesday night, I thought we were certainly going to go home with much less food than expected. But then the sun shined the following morning and cars started streaming to the truck. Hours later the truck was full, and we had more than 17,000 pounds of food. I couldn't believe it. I guess that's why they call it faith. Dear Lord, thanks for the affirmation that the world is not going to hell in a hand basket. Amen.