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




Water hose


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!



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


Fatherly Advice, From the Best Fathers I Know

The best advice I got from my Daddy-O:  Go to bed.  Your house will not burn down. 

I’d only been married for a few short months when I had to call my Daddy-O for some advice.  It was a middle of the night, freak-out panicked call, full of hysteria and rapid heart beats and excessive crying.  I’m certain I woke him out of a dead sleep but I didn’t care.  And as the best Daddy-O ever, neither did he.

Right after I got married, my husband and I bought a Spanish-style house that was built in the 1930s and as such, all of the vents and electric sockets were built into the floor.   We got a couple of cats to add to the family. Because my husband was a sucker for cats in general, we also provided foster care to some other cats who were in between owners.  Sometimes foster kitties have difficulty adjusting to new environments with other established kitties, and not surprisingly, we had one of those challenged foster kitties.  Once he came out of hiding from behind the shower curtain, he peed everywhere, a lot.    

A particularly memorable urination is the focus of this story.  Challenged Kitty was mad about something and stalked into our bedroom, poised right over one of the electric sockets on the floor and let a stream go.  In retaliation, the socket shot out a spark the size of a roman candle and zapped that kitty on the butt.  Oh, the howling!  Oh, the hysteria! Served him right.  But I was left with the smell of burned cat butt, scorched electric socket and panic.  My husband worked third shift and I was alone in a house I was certain would burn to the ground because of faulty electric wiring due to cat pee.  I called the husband, he came home and checked it out, reassured me, and went back to work.

The only problem?  I wanted my Daddy-O.  I wanted him to tell me it was fine.  No other man would do.  So I called him in the middle of the night in a panic to babble incoherently about omigodcatpeedbigsparkburnedi’mgonnalosemyhouse – waaaaaaiiiilllllllll! And Daddy-O was very calm.  He said, “Go to bed.  Your house will not burn down. I love you.”  With that, I was appeased and slept just fine.   

That’s what daddies do. They calm their daughters no matter how old they are.  And just because Daddy-O says it is so, Jimmie knows that everything will be okay.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy-O.  I love you.


The best advice I got from Poppa:  It is your born Christian duty to lie to nosy people.

I don’t think that advice needs any explanation, do you?  

One of my favorite things about Poppa is the way he talks to us.  He calls us “love” and that endearment is usually followed by a gentle hand to the cheek.  It is one of the sweetest gestures in the world and I’m happy to report that he taught his sons the same endearment.  His boys, my brothers, treat their wives and children the same way that Poppa treats us – with so much love and respect.  I cannot imagine my life without that man.    

Happy Father’s Day, Poppa. I love you.   


The best advice I got from Coach:  I’m here for you too.  Please call me if you need me.   

I’m going to tell you that for the most part, I am a pretty level-headed person.  I’m calm in the face of panic and usually handle big catastrophes pretty well.  One exception would be when cats pee into electric sockets.   

Another exception is a bad break up.  I had one and it was horrible.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.  I called Martie daily to cry and to yell.  She was perfect; she knew exactly what to say every time.  The surprise was Coach, though.  I never really thought about his reaction but I guess I expected him to react like a lot of men do:  eye-rolling, big sighing, rolling hands to get you to hurry up to the end of the story.  Coach never did any of that.  Not once.  Instead, he waited a couple of weeks to let the emotions level off and then called me to say, “I know this is hard.  I’m sorry.  I’m here for you too.  Please call me if you need me.” 

It was so comforting, so nice.  I’m certain it made me cry but in that case, it was the good kind.  I know that Pooh and Tigger are in good hands.  They have a daddy that will not do the eye roll and the big sighing but will hug them and tell them he is there and that it will all be okay.   

Happy Father’s Day, Coach. I love you. 

Knowing that I will forget some, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the other daddies I know:  Vaughan, Boo, Adam, Will T., Keith, Marris, Brad, Damon, Stefan, Will B., Stan, Zeb, Casey, Aaron, Brian.  I send big puffy hearts to you all and wish you complete control of the remote for the day. 

Giddyup! Now with more photos!

Saturday morning I went horseback riding with Madre.  (Yes, this will be that post, the one I teased you with earlier.)  Now Madre has ridden horses her entire life.  I know she rode until she was eight months pregnant with me and likely only took that break because the doctor made her.  I, on the other hand, have not regularly ridden a horse since I was a toddler.  I’ve had interludes here and there but nothing with any sort of consistency.  Plus I was thrown once.  It was a small fall but it was enough to put a stop to my riding for a while.  I say it again, I have no great skills but I can bounce along merrily on occasion. 

Before I get further into the story, I should introduce you to the cast of characters. 

Meet Monty, my valiant steed.  Isn’t he handsome?  Apparently he’s a sports car.


Meet Precious, Madre’s majestic beast.  Gorgeous, ain’t she?  She’s also classified as a sports car. 

Meet Girlfriend. She didn’t get to go but I had to include her because she’s just so pretty and she was slightly miffed at being left out.  She’s the limousine of the bunch.

Madre and I saddled up and with the help of some cinder blocks, I wriggled my way onto Monty’s back.  Those are some tall animals and I’m not nearly as flexible as I like to think I am.  I snuck an apple to him in an effort to butter him up, you know, so that he wouldn’t do anything wild and crazy with me atop his back.  I also gave him a few horse cookies on the sly.  As we took off, Madre explained that our mounts for the day were her sports cars (see above) and I had a momentary freak out where I imagined all of the racing around the fields they were going to do with us clinging on for dear life.  This was not what I had signed up for.  I wanted a stroll really, not some sort of NASCAR preview in Mr. Sisk’s hayfield.  Gah!

We moseyed down the hill from the barn and I was preparing for battle with the reins, just knowing that Monty was ready to take off at a canter as soon as we hit flat ground.  Madre even warned me, “Monty will be full of piss and vinegar for a bit but then he will get it out of his system and you’ll be fine.”  Heh, heh, shaky grin.  I was slightly nervous but I was not going to let it show!  I was brave!  And here we went, plod, plod, plod, five minutes pass, plod, plod, plod.  And then! Trot, trot, trot!  Ten paces at trot, trot, trot, then back to plod, plod, plod.  No canter in sight.  Apparently that was it.  That was the piss and vinegar.  Madre then had to explain that “sports car” only meant “smaller horse” and “limousine” meant “larger horse”.  Oh.  I can’t say I wasn’t slightly disappointed.

To make up for it, though, I got these pictures of our lovely horses.  Once you stop your guffawing at the Amish head gear, Madre will explain with only the smallest of sniffs that the proper term for these garments are “fly bonnets” and they protect the horse’s ears from the flies.  Again, oh.  My bad. 

We ran into a bunch of neighbors and one sneaky little cat named Jezebel.  I really wanted to get a picture of her but as I said, sneaky . . . .

I took a picture of my dream house. 

I gave my most winning smile to the couple that owns it when I asked if they would leave it to me in their will.  In reply, they told us about their new puppy. I suppose charm and winning smiles only go so far. 

We saw this swimming hole, complete with perfect little cabin which you can almost see in the background.  If I weren’t certain that the water was just infested with giant poisonous snakes in every make and model, I’d go swimming there.  But I’m a big old chicken.

We crossed two creeks.  Monty was ready for both of them and I was not.  Trot, trot, trot right into a big old ravine and there was no stopping him.  I just knew I was going down and I was mentally preparing for it.  He stopped suddenly, my toes touching the water, his belly skimming it, and started flailing around in the water.  I was a goner.  We both were I was certain. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic.  I was ready for The End.  After a moment of the horrors, I realized that Monty was only playing in the water, splashing both of us in his excitement.  Oh.  It was the most rowdy I had seen him.  I was soaked, of course, and so was he which was most likely the point.  Heh, heh, shaky grin.

We rode through a whole pile of cicadas.  Apparently I smell like the best of potential cicada girlfriends.  A charming young cicada attached himself to my hair and made sweet, sweet love to it for a while before I could figure out how to kindly extricate myself from the tryst and not hurt his feelings. Denied.  He was pissed off and let everyone know it by flying off in a noisy huff.  I’m such a heart breaker.  He just could not accept that it was nothing personal – he’s just not my type.

By the time we ran into Phranke’s mom (her house is on the way to Madre’s), my butt was starting to go numb and my legs were tired.  Holding yourself upright on a horse isn’t as easy as it looks.  You have to use INNER THIGH muscles, people.  And SMALL BACK muscles.  Neither of which I was aware I possessed.  Let it be known that I have both and they are making themselves known to me, even still.  Ow. 

We plod, plod, plodded our way home after hours of riding around glorious scenery and the minute Monty realized that food and bath were imminent, it was canter, canter, canter all the way up the hill.  Heh, heh, shaky grin.  I sort of slithered my way off his back when we stopped and gasped a bit, my head smushed into his neck.  Here I should say that I love the smell of horses and the feel of those long slabs of muscles.  They are such powerful animals.  Anyway, when my legs came back to life, I waddled him into the barn to be de-robed and then back out to be hosed off.  I was overjoyed to have made it home in one piece with only a minimal sunburn and no injuries to speak of.  Madre was flitting around like a bird, jumping around and such.  Oh the humiliating irony of that . . . .

Other than my really sweet farmer’s tan and a plethora of mosquito bites, I think the entire trip was a success.  Of course if I find a tick on me I will lose my mind and rewrite the whole weekend as a tragedy.  So far so good. 

Memorial Day

Saturday was one of the most gorgeous days of my life.  Sometimes you just get one of those days that has so many perfect moments you just don’t know what to do with yourself.  I don’t mean to make any of you jealous, but I’m going to share that day with you. 

Memorial Day weekend brought lots of plans for me.  I’m nothing if not a planner.  I had the whole weekend mapped out by Thursday afternoon and took off down south to the homestead on Friday evening.  Madre and I planned to ride horses Saturday morning.  We also planned to pick blueberries.  Later that evening we were invited to a cook out with Martie and family.  After that, I was going to drive back to Nashville so that I could make my Sunday morning run.

Saturday morning I got up at the crack of dawn and drove from Martie’s house where I had spent the night to Madre’s house.  I got there early and was ready to go.  After running some errands, we saddled up the horses and launched our journey.  You’ll see a separate post about that later, but now I can tell you that it was a gorgeous ride.  The sky was exquisitely beautiful as it often seems to be after big rain storms.  The weather was perfect, breezy and warm.  We rode for about three hours, just kind of leisurely and slow.  I last rode a horse in September and can’t say I have any great skills but I can plod along just fine.  My butt now hurts.  I thought you’d like to know.  I also got a really sweet farmer’s tan. 

 After we gave the horses a bath and turned them out, we picked blueberries.  Several years ago, Madre and Poppa decided to plant a few blueberry bushes.  Now a family of 6 can have all the blueberries they want for a year out of just a couple of blueberry bushes, maybe three or four.  Madre and Poppa planted 14 of them not knowing this, so every year they extend the invitation to pick blueberries to everyone they meet.  Everyone.  I’m more than happy to do my part in weeding out the excess. 

Later I whipped Madre’s arse in a couple of games of Spite and Malice.  That’s okay because she will whip my arse next time we play.  It all comes out in the wash.

Saturday evening we were invited to a cookout at Coach’s parent’s house.  (Does that sound complicated?  Let’s call them my sort of in-laws.)  Granddaddy and Grandma are nice people and I’ve always enjoyed them.  Granddaddy cooked ribs and chicken and the rest of us brought side dishes. 

The girls played outside like children are supposed to do.  They played hide and seek, tag, and rolled down the hill in the grass over and over again until they got so itchy they had to stop.  It gave me so much joy to watch them run around the yard with no shoes on in their dresses, cheeks flushed and hair blowing back in the wind.  Their tinkling laughs and giggles were good for my soul.  I love that childish abandon when it comes to having fun.  We ate watermelon and had a seed spitting contest.  I won.  That’s what having a big mouth is good for, apparently.  I also won the affection of every single mosquito in the county.  I have the bites to prove it.

Martie sang for us and played her guitar. She has the most voluptuous voice, full bodied and rich.  It fills an entire room, and being outside and listening to it expand was amazing.  Coach watched her, enraptured, which is very special to me.  I love seeing those moments between couples.   Martie sang a song or two for everyone until we exhausted her voice and her good will with our requests.  It happens when you’ve got that kind of talent. 

When it was getting dark, we made half-hearted attempts to catch a few lightning bugs, then we piled up in our respective vehicles and headed for home.  I just sighed all the way to Madre’s house.  It was such a perfect day.

I felt and commented so many times throughout the course of the day, “I’ve got such a nice life.”  I really do.  I’m very fortunate.  I’m so thankful that I’m aware of it as it happens so that I can send up my gratitude and really squeeze every bit of loveliness out of it that I can.  I enjoy my family.  I’m so blessed to have a good one.  I love you guys!

I hope you all had a nice Memorial Day!  I say a big thank you to everyone who serves in our military, for our country, for us.  I ask for blessings for the families who have lost loved ones during that service.  I ask for blessings for the men and women who have served and who still serve.  My heart is filled with gratitude for all of you.   Thank you.  


Vignettes of a Mother

This weekend Madre came for a visit.  She wanted a pedicure and since she’s never had one, we thought it best that she come to NashVegas and let me treat her to one.  Okay, that’s not the full story.  I believe she’d heard the rumor about how I laugh like a hyena at the nail shop when they scrub my feet because it just tickles so badly.  I also believe she’d heard the rumor about how the staff at my nail shop gives me grief because I have long feet and because of my hyena laughing.  They say things like, “We charge you extra, you so loud.” And “We video you and send it in to funny videos.  Ha!”   But she also heard the rumor about the massage chairs so I feel certain that clinched it for her.  NashVegas and my nail shop were the places that won out so she packed up and came here.

We had pedicures. They were awesome. She is hooked.

Martie did her share of pampering Madre too.  Madre got a new haircut and new color, courtesy of Martie. The best part about Martie doing our hair is that she’s quite talented and we always leave looking better than when we came in.  The worst part about Martie doing our hair is that we cannot always re-create what she does in the shop and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make it stand up this way and poof up that way and sweep across our foreheads in the correct manner.

Saturday morning ablutions rolled around and Madre was in my upstairs bathroom attempting to create Martie-quality hair when her hair blower thingamabob which had been on the fritz lately just stopped working.  I heard it shut off and didn’t think much about it until I heard Madre bellow down the stairs, “I’m throwing that mother f@cker in the trash!” 

I laughed like a hyena at this. 

I love you, Madre.  Happy Mother’s Day.

A couple of years ago Martie and I were in the car or in the movie theater or in her living room or somewhere, and we were digging through our respective purses for something.  Probably this would be a better story if I could remember the circumstances around it but you read the post where I’m facing forty in a few years, right?  They say the mind is the first thing to go.  Anyway, we were digging around in our purses and I said, “I can tell I’m a chick because I have 4 chap-sticks and 3 lip glosses and 2 lipsticks in my purse.” 

 Martie gave me a thoughtful look and said, “I can tell I’m a mother because I have loose raisins in my purse.” 

 She won that one. 

 I love you, Martie.  Happy Mother’s Day.

My parents divorced when I was pretty little and my dad re-married when I was still in the Cinderella phase of my life, meaning that all my sister and friends and I knew of step-mothers was the wicked one who made Cinderella clean a lot and wouldn’t let her go to the ball.  So when I told all my school friends that I now had a step-mother, you can imagine the looks of horror that crossed their faces.  They would ask me questions like, “Is she mean?  Do you have to scrub the floor with a brush?  Are there mice in her house?” 

The thing is, she wasn’t mean and she didn’t make me scrub the floor with a brush and I never saw any mice.  I wanted to convey the fact that having a step-mother wasn’t so bad and that it was actually kind of nice.  So I mustered up all of the wisdom and knowledge a five-year-old has to explain it in the best possible way to my friends so as to gain their admiration and respect and possibly their jealousy.  And I told them the truth.  “She lets us eat raw cookie dough.”  Score!

I love you JiJi.  Happy Mother’s Day. 

And for all the other mothers I know out there: Aunt Jean, Jane, Vonnie, Christy V., Chandra, Monica, Jamie, LaCole, Melissa, Judy, Nikki, Cheryl, Elizabeth, Rhonda, Dawn, Andi, Kat, Katie, Michelle, Julie Ann, Christy H., Anne, Sarah, Jade, Barbara – oh I’m going to forget so many and I don’t want to – Happy Mother’s Day!  Love to you all!

Proverbs 23:25

 . . . May she who gave birth to you be joyful!