Amy Sue Love, This Is For You

So I had a garden last year.  Does that surprise you?  It surprised me.  But I like to think I have enough of Madre in me to grow stuff and not always kill everything so I tilled up a bunch of space and planted a bunch of rows of seeds.  I tried for green beans, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, okra and jalapenos.  And dill, because I wanted to make pickles (Ha! Ha! Yeah, that was successful . . .).   

Naturally, of all the things I planted, the thing that I didn’t love was of course the thing that grew well.  I could pick 5 or 6 scraggly green beans to throw in a pot of soup, or one or two spindly-looking cucumbers of a week but those freaking jalapenos that I planted specifically for a person who was a large part of my life at the time grew like wildfire.  Unfortunately, right before the jalapenos turned into a bumper crop, that person and I parted ways and I was left with hundreds of those damn peppers as a lovely, constant reminder of a failed relationship.  Yay. 

Still, I made new friends with those jalapenos.  Jose took about 500 of them and made sauces and spices for his kitchen which indeed brought us closer together as he eventually traded me a washing machine for those peppers.  I befriended Felix who liked to make salsa with them.  I put them on the break room tables at work hoping people would take them home and out of my sight.  They were taken, not as quickly as donuts were, but taken nonetheless.  In the spicy-loving crowd, I was popular for the summer.   

I also learned to make a few things with those jalapenos for my friends to enjoy.  Just because I don’t eat them doesn’t mean that others won’t, I reasoned.  All in all, it didn’t turn out so badly to have grown about a million peppers I would never eat.  All things work for good and all that . . . .

Now, fast forward to last week.  I have a co-worker, Rosita Wang, who has recently been uber-pregnant.  It’s adorable because before she became with child she weighed about a buck o’ five and from day one, that baby had nowhere to go but out.  Rosita Wang developed the cutest shelf which I often caught her using to hold her cup when she typed or as a table for writing memos to herself on post it notes.  I thought it was great fun to say, “Rosita Wang, that outfit makes you look pregnant.” Anyway, last Friday she asked a few of us how to use the bag of jalapenos her neighbor had given her and naturally, I chimed in with my two cents.  I sent a couple of recipes and we all discussed how to best use those spicy peppers in chili.  On Saturday, Rosita Wang sent me a running commentary via text on her success with my jalapeno recipes – her husband and father-in-law were impressed with her jalapeno cooking prowess and everyone enjoyed the spy-sheee.  The chili we all brainstormed on was a hit as well.   

Until Sunday.  Rosita Wang went into labor on Sunday, two and half weeks early.  The baby, a boy, is healthy and fine as is Rosita Wang, so I don’t think the prematurity was harmful.  However, I can’t help but feel slightly responsible for the birth of that baby.  Maybe if she had laid off the spicy stuff, Baby Tater would have stayed put a couple more weeks.  Instead, Baby Tater decided to come early and honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think Rosita Wang should thank me.  I did her a huge favor, right?  I made the baby stop pressing on her bladder and just come home already.  Don’t y’all think I should get some credit here?  Yeah, me too.

So, Amy Sue Love . . . .  this here story was for you.  I’m offering something here – if you get tired of hauling your own Baby Tater around on your bladder and writing memos to yourself on your baby shelf, you give me a holler.  I’ll send you some recipes involving jalapenos and you can make them and eat them and have a baby 24 hours later.  You’re welcome!

Congratulations Rosita and Mr. Wang!  Baby Tater is beautiful!

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Love Note From A Savior

Lately I’ve been enamored of the sky.  I leave my office almost every day and stare in wonder at it.  I drive places on the weekends and just soak it in.  My heart feels full, sometimes to overwhelming notes, as I look at it and appreciate the beauty that I see.  I wish I could explain it.  I cannot. 

I can tell you some of what it is.  It’s the great puffy white clouds that roll lazily across the blue expanse.  It’s the proud arc of the rainbow after a thunderstorm.  It’s the small cloud, the size of a fist, in an otherwise clear sky.  It’s the sunbeams that break through the cloud cover like the most perfect horizon during midday.     

I try to take pictures of it often but can never quite capture it; it’s too big. 

My heart is so full of this beauty and these feelings are bigger than I expect – I’ve wondered why the skies have affected me so much lately.  I’ve always enjoyed a beautiful sunset or sunrise.  Who hasn’t?  They are glorious.  It just seems as if every day, I find something new to sigh over, to marvel at and it dawns on me that what I feel is bigger than the feelings evoked from a pretty sky.   

Slowly, I’ve realized it is the Something in me, responding to the Something up there, like they call to one another.  Slowly, I’ve realized that, like the landscape that is too large for my camera to embrace, my fascination is something larger than what I can see with my eyes.  It’s not the tiny cloud that promises rain. It’s not the colorful rainbow that promises no more water destruction.  It is the meaning behind those things, the promises made.  I see my God, my Savior. 

I imagine Him saying to me:  

Look up and see Me.  I’m here.

 Look up to see what you search for. 

Look up, to Me, to find your Happy, your Beauty. 

Stop looking in your world, for it is not Mine.  It is only temporary. 

It is not your Beauty.  It is not your Happy. 

I Am.  I Am, forever.

So I look up to the beauty that He gives me.  I look up to the promises made to me.  I look up and know that I am loved. 

In return, all I can say is, “I love You”, and I am thankful. 

  

This Weekend, I Went Drag

Remember when I told you that I missed my family?  And how I said I would nag the mess out of them until we all got together?  Well, mission accomplished!   

On Saturday a whole pile of us got together to hang out, eat, ride in canoes, eat, drink beers and wine, eat, shoot firecrackers, eat, listen to Martie sing, eat, and visit at Madre’s house.  A good time was had by all. 

On Saturday night, some of us wanted to continue the fun by going out on the town.  You should remember that I grew up in a small town with other small towns around it.  I told you about it.  It’s where people hunt on every major winter holiday.  It’s where my brothers tried to teach me how to gig frogs.  It’s where I raised chickens when I was in the fourth grade.  Obviously, I needed to look my best. 

I was all dolled up in my swirly-skirted sundress, my gold wedge sandals with the giant flower at the toe, gold glittery eyeliner and some smell pretty.  I was glamorous and girlie and my hair did something I wanted it to do despite the humidity and the heat.  Then Madre and I hauled ourselves up into my cousin Axle’s truck because he offered to drive.  This was a massive truck and even Madre, at 6’2”, had difficulty getting in it.  I should have known that the good times, they were a’comin. 

Axle, his wife Daisy, Madre and I rumbled off in Axle’s man-truck through our small town, through Amish country where we saw the young men getting ready to go out on dates with their hats and pipes and buggies, through the county until we got to the next small town.  We turned left by the tee pee and left in front of the Amish bread store, paid ten dollars each, met other assorted family members and prepared to see the show of our lives. 

I pranced in wearing my big old shoes and all my glitter, had a seat and listened to the opening prayer.  I do not exaggerate here. 

Heavenly Father, we’d like to thank You for Drag Racing. 

We’d like to thank You for the sport of Drag Racing.

We’d like to thank You for Sportsmanship.  

We thank You for the Brotherhood of Street Racers.

Thank You for saving us from our sins. 

Amen.   

We watched this show for hours.  We breathed smoke and nitrous oxide.  Brother Bear and his family loved every minute of it.  Axle and Daisy enjoyed it immensely.  If it weren’t for Axle, most of us would have been clueless about the majority of the cars we saw.  That boy knows every car ever made, and can tell you the make, model and year if he just gets a glimpse of the headlight.  Coach and Pooh and Tigger had been to this show before and knew what to expect. Tigger wore giant earmuffs, Pooh had ear plugs, and Coach bought snacks.  And Martie . . . .  Wow. Martie LIVED for this show.  Every car that reared up off the ground at take off had her in raptures.  Every blast of nitrous that shot out from the car gave her goose bumps.  Every rumble of every engine made her sigh.  And every car there was her dream car.  Coach has his work cut out for him if he’s planning on buying her the Best. Anniversary. Present. Ever.   

We finally left, far dirtier than when we arrived.  My hair was limp and scraggly.  My skirt no longer swirled.  My pedicure was covered in dust and possibly a little grease.  We rumbled off towards home in Axle’s man-truck.  We turned right by the Amish bread store and right by the tee pee and hit the ruts left from the Amish buggies in the road.  We all arrived home safely.

Later, I prayed my own prayer.   

Heavenly Father, thank You for my family. 

Thank You for the safe passages in all of our travels. 

Thank You for the sharp razor that I can use to shave off this beard I grew from the testosterone overload I got at the Drag Races.

Thank You for the Old Spice I found in Poppa’s bathroom.  For some reason, I really felt like smelling like Man today. 

Thank You for saving me from my sins.

Amen. 

(Special thanks to Coach for the title of this here post.) 

 

Ode to Freddie

This isn’t really an ode seeing as how it is not in verse format.  But “Novella to Freddie” sounds stupid.  And “Random Musings about Birthdays and Cake and Freddie”, while accurate, sounds lame.

First, a bit about Freddie.  She was an unexpected surprise that came with my newest job.  I had worked loosely with Freddie on an ongoing volunteer project for about three years.  She was kind of on the fringe of it so when I changed jobs to come work at her firm, I didn’t really know what to expect of my new co-worker.  She had always seemed nice but I guess I just didn’t expect to connect with her so well and so quickly. In short, she’s awesome.  Let me tell you why. 

She’s open and warm and funny and when I have a bad day, she puts pictures like this on my desktop:

 

When I am indignant that someone changes my desktop Clive Owen picture to a desktop Hall and Oates pictures, she  changes the Hall and Oates picture to this when I go to the bathroom:

When we send emails that say “I’m in a funk” we know that “I’m in a funk” really means, “Today I hate people. Go away and know that I still luff you.  And while you are at it, keep the annoying people away from me or I can’t be held responsible for my actions.” 

When I have a birthday she makes me a red velvet cake like this:

Isn’t it pretty?  It looks so professional. 

And now about birthdays and cake.  Birthdays are special.  I have a philosophy about them built over years of celebrating.  On your birthday, you get your favorite cake.  You get the meal of your choice.  You get presents wrapped in birthday paper.  And married people get uh . . . other stuff, stuff that we don’t talk about here. 

Yesterday was Freddie’s birthday.  She’s young.  I made her a cake.  I picked a new recipe for the icing titled “The Best Icing I’ve Ever Tasted” and the instructions included the directive to “beat the hell out of it.”  Who in their right mind wouldn’t pick that one?  That is just a recipe for awesome, right?

I’m telling you now, don’t pick that one.  Sure, it tastes pretty good.  Really good in fact. But beating the hell out of it to me means standing in the kitchen with a book in one hand, mixer in the other, mixing away for 10-15 minutes until your hand gets numb.  In my world, that should be plenty.  In the real world, it isn’t. 

This is what happens when you don’t beat the hell out of it:

Happy Birthday, Freddie!  I’m so happy you make pretty cakes.  Wish I could do the same for you . . .

And randomly, I have two funnies for you. 

An email exchange between Jimmie and Quan:

Quan:  I would recommend you buy frozen peas instead of canned – much less sodium. 

Jimmie:  You are the second person this morning to suggest the frozen peas to me, which are actually my favorite.  Hilarious!

Quan:  Seamus will be much friendlier when he isn’t bloated. 

And a conversation between Jimmie and her boss:

Boss:  I need a band-aid.  You don’t want to know why.

Jimmie:  I-

Boss:  You don’t want to know why.

The End.

A Love Story

You guys know I have two cats.  You know that Murphy is Mr. Personality.  You also know that Seamus barely tolerates me.  For whatever reason, they both love me without condition when I have to pee in the middle of the night.  They follow me into the bathroom and wend their way around my legs, telling me how pretty I am and genuinely being affectionate.  But unless I’m having a call of nature at 3:00 am or unless I’m feeding Seamus, he pretty much wants nothing to do with me.

I’ve tried everything to win his love.  I’ve purchased ridiculous cat toys for him.  I bought grooming items and offered to use them on him whenever the urge hits.  I’ve put new blankets on my bed to try to entice him to snuggle with me.  I spend a lot of money on kitty treats which do work at the precise moment that I come home every day.  Seamus greets me at the door, makes sure I’m looking at him and then makes a beeline for the food bowl.  Once he makes it there (after sometimes braining himself on the couch in his excitement and inattention), he purrs and is generally very charming to me.  After the treats have been consumed, about 5 ½ seconds, he reverts back to indifference and hiding under the bed.

The other night I made dinner for myself.  It was standard fare, nothing very exotic.  As I was eating, I noticed that Seamus was paying special attention to me.  I had already given him treats and tried to love on him so I knew that this was unusual.  He kept purring and sniffing around, wrapping himself around my legs and acting a lot like Murphy.  I found it odd yet I was thrilled.  I knew there was something behind it; I have no idea what made me try this, but I put some of my peas on the floor.  You would have thought that his Dwayne Johnson equivalent had walked in the door and proposed marriage.  He was so excited! 

So I got out a plate and filled it up and gave it to him.  I’ve never felt so much love from that cat.  After all of the money and cat therapy and time I’ve spent with him, I am shocked to know that all along, it would have only taken an 88 cent can of peas.  Weirdo.  I’ll take it. 

Stuff I Lost, Part II & An Open Letter

Yes, I’ve lost more stuff.  I need no yelling from you.  What I do need, however, is the following: 

Pepto Bismol

Hairbrush

Comb

Dignity

Water hose

Support

Please send immediately. 

I haven’t talked about things I’ve lost in a while because I haven’t really lost anything of note.  I was lulled into a false sense of security and maturity since I’ve managed to keep hold of my possessions and personality for a few months now.  Yet I am nothing if not true to myself and so begins the story again. 

On Friday of last week, Freddie and I took off on a road trip.  Freddie has a younger sister, Sammie.  Sammie applied to and was accepted into Nanny School which is just about the coolest thing I have ever heard.  Turns out, though, that Nanny School is a long way from Nashville and Sammie, brave little soul that she is, needed a ride up north so that she could attend.  Freddie volunteered and then I volunteered and then three women wearing sparkly eyeliner and carrying teddy bears and extra pillows piled up into a vehicle and took off on the open road.  No how, no way could that ever be a recipe for disaster (or lost stuff). 

The day we left, we got very specific instructions from a co-worker on proper snack etiquette for road tripping.  First, you must stop at Sonic for jalapeno poppers.  Later, you must stop at a gas station for Ruffles.  Finally, you must stop at Wal-Greens for Twizzlers.  By the time you have consumed all that, you will have reached your destination.  She didn’t mention this next part but she should have.  By the time you reach your destination you will also have some intestinal disturbances that require immediate attention.  I’m writing that down for future reference. 

The drive up on Friday was very pleasant.  We stopped at a hotel for the night in Cincinnati.   I inadvertently flashed the nice security man with my full on matching underwear set when Freddie opened to door to receive extra pillows.  If any of you living in Ohio find my dignity, would you please send it back to me? 

Sammie and Freddie and I got up early on Saturday morning to finish our journey and in the interest of “saving time” I was fixing my hair in the reflection of the car window while they packed up the car.  I’m so nice.  Anyway, I put my hair stuff on top of the car for easy access, then buckled myself into the front seat after I was satisfied that my part was straight and my eyelashes looked okay and away we went.  With my stuff still on top of the car.  Sigh . . . I never learn. 

On Saturday night, after we had gotten Sammie all settled in to her adorable “dorm room”, Freddie and I headed for another hotel.  Due to a snafu in making hotel reservations, I almost had to sleep in the same bed as Freddie.  She’s great, really cute and nice and all that.  I’m sure Ian likes to sleep in the same bed as her lots.  But I don’t.  I prefer to snuggle with my own pillows, not my friends.  Freddie thinks I’m really cute and nice and all that but she doesn’t want to sleep with me either.  She wants to snuggle with her husband and her pillows, not her friends.  We managed to eventually secure a room suitable for two non-dating, non-related friends.  I’m writing down for future reference to always double check room reservations before 11:00 pm on the night of arrival.  I think that will be helpful. 

While I luff Freddie and enjoy her company, I was overjoyed to get home.  Until I noticed my tomato plant was on the brink of death due to dehydration.  I should know better than to ever leave my house for three days with my stuff lying around outside.  I ran around the side of the house to get my hose to perform CPR on my tomatoes and discovered my hose was missing.  So here is my first open letter on this here blog: 

Dear Shitweasel –

I understand that today’s economy is tight.  I realize that many people are struggling to make ends meet.  Sometimes we have to do things we prefer not to in order to find our way out of this mess we call “recession”.  Usually that means taking on a second job or even selling off things of value in order to pay the rent.  I myself have found that tightening the belt is helpful.  Your methods, in all honesty, leave something to be desired.

I don’t begrudge you the use of my water.  I’ve noticed you’ve been using it for a while now.  I even appreciate the new and various placements of my two water hoses every day when I come home from work. I’ve left those hoses out for you even, thinking that maybe your need is so great that you would come to harm without the water.

But now you’ve gone and pissed me off.  While you thought you were being helpful and friendly by curling up my one admittedly crappy hose into a perfect circle and placing it gently next to my water spigot, the fact that you stole my good hose with the snazzy sprayer on it has put you on my poop list. 

I’m now going to “Impart Wisdom” to you, my friend.  You reap what you sow, shitweasel!  Your stealing my hose will come back and bite you where the sun can’t get you.  I laugh now in anticipation of that!

Smooches,

Jimmie

And finally on Monday I ran a 5K and it was the worst one in my running history.  I ran with Jane who is always a blast but the race itself wasn’t great.  My time sucked and it was too late in the day and too hot.  Community support was lacking.  Water stations were only okay.  And while the offer of free beer after the race may appeal to some, the thought of it made me want to barf.  However, Jane and I looked adorable in our running gear. We were very festive and very patriotic and while we may have sweated like hogs, we sweated like stylish hogs.  Plus the race benefitted the organization Not Alone and we ran simultaneously with our service people in Afghanistan.  That in itself made it worth every drop of sweat, every cramp, every tear that would have fallen if I had had the energy or the water reserves. 

 

I really did have a very nice 4th of July weekend despite all my whining here.  Sammie, I send you well wishes for this journey.  Mostly I send them because you promised me to land a position for a single fabulously tall wealthy man whom you will give to me as the best present ever seeing as how he won’t want me to birth any children because he already has some.  I remember that. I’ve written it down.  See you soon! 

Photography by Carter Andrews at Music City Faces

 

Proposal

Before I propose to you, let’s get the pleasantries out of the way.  Happy Belated Fourth of July!  I hope you all had safe and fun holiday weekends.  I went on a road trip and have a post about my weekend in the lineup.  Since I’m having trouble getting it to come together you get this one today. 

I’ve noticed that a lot of you out there have a shortage of rain.  Here in Nashville we often have more than we know what to do with, especially in the parts of town that I frequent.  (See:  Nashville Flooding 2010).  I’ve been knocking this conundrum around in my head for some time now partly because every time I post (or whine) something about rain either here or on Facebook I get a reply from someone saying SEND. IT. HERE.  And I always respond with something unhelpful along the lines of “What I wouldn’t give . . . .”  But since I’m a genius, albeit a slow one, I’ve come up with the perfect solution.  This here is what I propose:   

I want you, the rain-needer, to invite me, the rain-bringer, to your city.  I can almost guarantee that this will work.  There are several scenarios in which we can do this.   

Scenario One:

  1. You determine that you need rain.
  2. We book my tickets to fly to where you live.  (I prefer interesting places if it’s all the same to you.  I mean, I’ve been to Hohenwald.  I don’t really want to go back.)
  3. I arrive, rest a bit, see the city, take in some sights, eat some good food and do some shopping (because it can’t be all work, you see).
  4. On the morning of the chosen monsoon day, I prepare for a half marathon-training long run.  I will put my hair up in pigtails, lace up my running shoes and head out the door.  Just so that God gets on the same page as us, I will holler down the driveway, “I’m heading out for five miles today!”  And then I will go for the run.  Guaranteed rain – The end. 
  5. Bonus rain points if we can time it just so I am at the furthest point away from the turning-around-to-go-home marker when the rain begins and I have to finish at least 2.5 miles running in it.

Scenario Two:

  1. You determine that you need rain. 
  2. We book my tickets to fly to where you live.  (I prefer interesting places if it’s all the same to you.  I mean, I’ve been to Hohenwald.  I don’t really want to go back.)
  3. I begin preparations to see the city, take in some sights, eat some good food and do some shopping (because it can’t be all work, you see). 
  4. Preparations will include applying expensive treatments to my hair, using the curling iron that will scorch me raw in a split second if I accidentally hover it near my skin (ask me how I know this and why it looks like I sometimes have hickies on my neck) and then shellacking my perfect coif into an unmovable helmet with the toughest hairspray on the market.  Just so that God gets on the same page as us, I will holler out your front door, “My hair looks marvelous.  I’m so happy about that!”  And then I will leave in a taxi.  With no umbrella.  Guaranteed rain – the end. 
  5. Bonus rain points if we can manage to make the man of my dreams appear at exactly the moment that my hair takes on the crunchy papier mache quality and plasters itself fetchingly to my skull.   

Scenario Three:

  1. You determine that you need rain.
  2. I go on a road trip to your city.  The crucial bit here is that it needs to be a trip in which I have to stay in a hotel room at least one night.  (Ha! Ha!  Hohenwald is too close for an overnight stay!)
  3. Along the way, I will see the cities, take in some sights, eat some good food and do some shopping (because it can’t be all work, you see).
  4. Timing and intent are critical for the next part.  You must book a room for me that is entirely inappropriate for the journey meaning you book a single bed for two females who are not dating nor are they related. It must be the last room in the entire hotel.  And there must be no roll-away beds available.  Once you discover your mistake, you must then have the clerk send me to the wrong hotel for the second attempt to get the appropriate sort of room.  Make sure that the second hotel only has a single bed with no roll-aways available for two females who are not dating nor are related.  Only then can you have that clerk send me to the correct hotel with the correct sort of room which includes two beds for two females who are not dating nor are related.  During all of this process I will make sure that God gets on the same page as us by hollering out the car window, “I’m so tired!  I cannot wait to sleep in a bed all my own tonight and not have to share.”  Guaranteed rain through every step of the outside process – the end.
  5. Bonus points if we can manage to have me scurrying from the car to the hotel THREE TIMES in the rain clutching all of my overnight possessions in my grubby little paws with no plastic or anything to cover them.  

I am certain that any and all of these situations will work to clear up your crusty grass issues.  They work for me EVERY TIME.  Call me.  We can work out some payment arrangements.  I look forward to hearing from you.