Jun 28, 2007

Sad News 

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it  is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Roland Lawrence LaPrise (Larry) LaPrise, the man that wrote "The Hokey Pokey" died peacefully at  the age of 95.

He will probably be most remembered for his innovative approach to music. His funeral was attended by thousands which only illustrates the impact this man had on so many.

 A curious thing about the funeral was noted by a Mr. Smith, of New York City, NY.  "I've never seen anything like it,"  he said, through tears.  "After we all paid our final respects, they played the 'Hokey Pokey' as a tribute to him.  That's when things got a little wild."

"One minute he was laying in his coffin, peaceful as could be.  Then when that music cranked up, well, he put his left foot out, and shook it all about, then put his right foot out and shook it all about, which by this time, I'm shaking like a sonofabitch myself!!" Mr. Smith took a ragged breath, dabbed at his eyes, his hand still shaking.

"I guess the worse part was when he turned himself about.  That's when all hell broke loose.  Everybody screamed, some fainted, I remember at one point his widow shouting, Die you fucker, die! and that's when I lost it.  I remember climbing over some rich bitch in a full-length mink, screaming "And that's what its all about!!!" over and over...and running into the street."

"If I never hear that song again, it'll be too soon. Crazy old bastard.  I heard the fucking priest is too scared to go back in there. Even the funeral director won't drive the hearse to the  cemetery.  He said he wasn't putting somebody that lively back there. 'If he can do that Hokey Pokey shit, he can damn well walk!'  Oh, its all so awful!" 

I got another email that is being apparently sent to all those whose names appear on the "dumb as fuck" mailing list. How I got on this list, I still haven't figured out. And, no, its not what your thinking, either. I can be naive, but usually its when some friend, neighbor, or family member comes along with a minor tale of woe and I just go into my "well, we'll just take care of that right now, you poor baby...". This has left me knocking on the poor house door on more than one occasion, so I'm starting to get a little wiser. Especially when the poor house people, say " You gave your money away?!? What, are you crazy! Go away...the insane asylum is down the road!"

But, this email, after I read it, I just laughed my ass off. Call me callous, call me jaded, call me what you will, but I just burst out laughing. I guess its because some of these body parts I never heard mentioned in anatomy class. And I stayed awake 60% of the time. I swear! It reads:

"My name is Mrs. Zaila Wrights undergoing medical treatment in Johannesburg South Africa. I am
married to Dr. George Wrights who worked with British Judicial Commission in England before his death
on the 5th July 2003.he made a vow to use his wealth for the less privileged.He deposited the sum of
10 Million Pounds with one Security Company in Europe.Presently, this money is still with the Company.

Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next 4 months due to a rare form of cancer of
the pabcreas but what disturbs me most is my stroke.

I have decided to donate this fund to a God
fearing person who will utilize it as my husband wished. direct your response to this email for more
information and for sake of confidentiality

Mrs. Zaila Wrights"

Ok, Mrs. Wrights has a pretty bad pabcreas. I can sympathize with that. Hell, they took out a huge chunk of my coilin because of that very same problem. But the thing that gets me is she is more worried about her stroke. Ok, now where do you think that would fall? The good news or the bad news?

*Doctor: "Mrs. Wrights, I got some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?"

Mrs. Wrights: "Whooaaayy oottiii arrrggghhh??"

Doctor: "Exactly, Mrs. Wrights, you had a stroke! Did the nurse tell you that? That little tattletale!"

Mrs. Wrights: "Baaattt neccchhhee?"

Doctor: "Bad news? Oh, that was the bad news. The good news is that your pabcreas is all fucked up and you only have four months to live. Think of all that money you're going to save on physical therapy, and in home care...a small fortune! Why you could give it to charity, hell, even pick someone from the "dumb as fuck" email list." I'll make sure my nurse drops off a copy for you. Well, see ya, wouldn't want to be ya...ha, ha, just kidding..."

*This will probably offend someone, but it is written in humor, which is one of the best healers of all. I have worked with stroke patients, and when their speech is affected it is very frustrating. But, I have also witnessed the few who could laugh at themselves, during their recovery, and they usually recovered faster. This is vain excuse at best to excuse my black humor. It probably failed.

Jun 26, 2007

Well, I did ask....

While visiting Future, I read a post where he was interviewed, and in my comments I said I would like to be interviewed as well. We all do this crazy things from time to time, so here are the interview questions sent to me. Gosh, I'm so nervous!

1. Let's first address the painful. You lost your Son in the Iraqi war. You wrote a beautiful tribute here, starting with your pregnancy with your Son, and ending it with "But, one thing I can't do Travis, I can't say Goodbye. Not yet, babe...Seems just yesterday I said hello." If you wish, will you describe your feelings in the hours, days, and weeks immediately after you got the news, how have you coped since, and what you would tell any other parents in such an awful position?

Its a feeling of unreality. A feeling that this is not real, none of this is happening. Inside you are screaming so loud, such a primal thing, but outwardly you really don't know what to do. You want to run, and keep running, hoping somehow you can escape the reality that is being forced on you. But I had EJ. I think that is what kept each of us sane. From truly going ''away from here". A few people stopped by to pay their condolences, the local Foreign Legion called me every hour to ask me to do this, and would I be in this, and they were kind, but I couldn't make decisions. The local VFW also were kind, and made requests for my appearances at this or that, and I kept saying, I didn't do anything. My son, my son is the one who gave his life.

At night, I walked and cried. I was staying with my son and his girlfriend at the time, and because I don't like people to see me cry, I did my crying and walking at night. I arranged for a local newstation to come out and talk with us because I wanted all of Travis' friends to know. I wanted the world to know of this young man's passing. I guess I still do. I kept thinking that God had made a terrible mistake, that he was supposed to take me! I kept thinking each night I would wake up in the morning and it would all have been a nightmare.

As I was not the surviving next of kin, I had no funeral to arrange, nothing of that sort to deal with. I had no say so over how the funeral was arranged period. I waited for phone calls. For when he would arrive at Dover Air Force Base. I spoke with my daughter-in-law, 7 months pregnant, who was an absolute mess, and tried to be comforting. She was upset because the crazy church in out west was going to protest his funeral, and I said, "They're crazy. What would Travis do? He would moon them, right? Throw rocks at them." She said, yes, that's what he would probably do. So, we never saw the protesters. I won't describe the wake. Or the funeral.

Someone in the neighborhood brought us a card, and a cake. Jonathon came by on several occasions and that was comforting, but he too looked so lost. And then he was gone. To San Diego, and then he was gone. My sister died. My son's girlfriend took her life.

I haven't coped well. I tried grief therapy, I tried counseling, I've tried a lot of things. But just seeing a box of Keebler Club Crackers, hearing one song by Green Day, driving by Macdonald's and seeing the play area, I immediately see that young boy right there, smiling up at me. Advice? For other parents going through the same thing? Connect with others like you, start a support group in your home, reach out to those going through what you are going through. You have to be able to talk to someone about how you feel, how much it hurts, and so do they.

I've sent flowers to the families of local fallen soldiers, to the funeral homes, after reading their obituaries in the newspapers, and then sat back and wondered what the family thought when they saw those flowers? Someone surely said, "Who's that?" "I don't know!" "Might be someone Uncle Robert works with."

And I thank every one I see in the military for his service to the country. Its the least I can do.

2. In this post, you wrote: "I wish I had been in Arlington when Bush made his big speech. I would have brought a big bag of dog turds and chucked everyone of them at him." Were you able to have 30 minutes face to face with the President, what would you tell him, or ask him, and would you have the press cover that thirty minutes, or would you wish it to stay private? Two parter here...what's your feelings about Cindy Sheehan, her struggle, and the general way she handled it?

Let's start with Cindy Sheehan first. At the beginning of the war, the woman was pretty much treated as a joke. An anti-American, unhinged by the grief of her son, and now, that she has given up, washed her hands of the whole mess, she isn't thought about at all. But, how many people have come over to her way of thinking? Ummmmmmm....a lot! The way she went about it, parking her ass outside the White House, and then outside the ranch, made a statement of sorts, but one more of dogged determination than anything else. Had she been able to stand at a podium, composed, well-dressed, and state her case, I believe she would have made a greater impact. As much as I hate to admit it, in today's visual world, wandering around looking like a homeless person, isn't going to get you much attention. It's cruel, but its true. She needed someone who knew about the media, the ins and outs of it, to help get her message across. She needed a Press Agent. Or at least someone who could pass for a press agent. And, I will admit, there are aspects of the Cindy Sheehan story that are just too painful for me to look at too closely right now.

If I had 30 minutes to speak with George Bush face-to-face, what would I say? The press could be there, I don't care, I really don't give a shit. I'm not sure I know 30 minutes worth of curse words, but I would start out by saying "What the fuck is your fucking problem? Are you insane or are you just stupid? Do you know there is such a thing as foreign policy, and diplomatic relations? That sometimes, that is the best way to go? That you don't always start with the big guns first and then decide to sit down and have a chat?

What else did you do besides few lines of coke? Did you happen to drop a few hits of acid, and now you're stuck in a He-man flashback? Do you realize that you have made the US the biggest target for terrorists ever....ever? Canada would probably like to take a few pot shots at us right now, you stupid motherfucker, fool, knotheaded, Texas redneck!! Is there anything that comes out of your mouth that isn't a lie? Would you be willing to take a lie detector test? Its one of those things the cops know, you've seen them on TV...God, how did you get elected? Why haven't the people stormed the White House with pitchforks, and clubs, while you climb on the roof and get struck by lightning or some such shit?

Did you really ever go to school? Or are you taking crash courses here at the White House somewhere? Would you like to see a picture of my son? Do you know why he went to Iraq? So his 4 year old son wouldn't have to! Even he saw the long term effects of your idiotic war on terror in Iraq. He was a corpsman, supposedly protected under the Geneva Convention. You know, Mr. Bush, if you would quit toting your bible and actually read the damn thing, you might see that to be the man you claim to be, you need to learn humility. Like saying I fucked up. I fucked up big time. And I'm sorry. If you were a good man, like you think you are, you would step down, and take that thing you call Cheney with you. And the rest of your crew. Let the aides handle it for awhile. God knows, they can't do worse.

You know France still might have that Guillotine. A little oil, hell, it would work just fine. Actually, what you need Mr. Bush, is a good old-fashioned, down-home, southern style ass-whooping. Come on, there's some boys out here I want you to meet.....

My God, what were you thinking? In my eyes, you have become no better than the infamous dictator you sought so desperately to condemn.

3. In your profile, you wrote: "About me? I'll let you figure that one out." But it turns out that hunk of a Dish repairman guy isn't married - the wedding ring is just to keep the wolves at bay, and he shows definite interest, but he says "I can't seem to figure you out." What would you tell him to keep the spark smoldering?

Not much, because when he says, "I can't seem to figure you out." in my mind I see DO NOT PASS GO DO- NOT COLLECT TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS and a whole host of similar conversations. "What does that mean?" "You're always so sarcastic!!" "Are you laughing at me?" "You want to do what!!! Now! In the car?" I would probably say, in my most sincere voice, "Bye, bye, now, and don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya!" I don't want to own the guy, I just want to use him for a few hours or so...maybe twice a week. Oh, how shocking!!!!

4. You are one of the most talented story tellers I've ever read. Pick what you think are your five "best works", and give a brief explanation for each as to what your criteria/decision making process was. Please give links to the posts you choose.

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I needed that. My five best pieces...Gosh, they are all so good...hey, don't throw rocks, that's not nice! You could poke somebody's eye out doing that shit!! Let's see.

1.The Family Christmas Tree I chose this one because it makes me laugh, and brings back some of those great memories. And its true. The writing could be wittier, and just re-reading it, I can see a re-write in the making, but this will do fine. I still picture the man on his front porch in his underwear, now the proud owner of a truck load of new cats.

2.1996 This post is actually a composite of several different experiences I had during the years between 1996-1998. When I finally moved in with my dad it was in June of 1998, and I had just gotten out of this relationship. I choose this post because it actually might help someone in a similar situation. Give them a much needed wake-up call. The whole sordid tale would take many pages to write, and ties into one of my other choices.

3.She needed fresh air This post actually scared me! And I was there. Everyone has a demon or two in their past. Some secret, some skeleton hanging in some family closet. This was mine, or one of mine. It didn't occur to me until a few days later that I once told a therapist , referring to my abusive relationship, "Jesus, I lived with the prowler, the man outside...!" That, my friends, is what is called some heavy shit.

4.Twas the Day after Christmas I picked this one, well, because I like it. And, to me, its a pretty real portrait of how most adults feel the day after Christmas. We plan this huge event, the most extravagant day of the year, and the morning after, we kind of look around, and think, What happened? And, invariably, some parent will say, "You're bored?!? Why aren't you playing with all that new shit you got yesterday from Santa? I mean stuff? You know how hard Santa had to work for that shit, I mean stuff?"

5.Things I have Said to My Children I chose this one because it was a very simple concept, but brought back a ton of memories, all of them funny. When I forced my oldest son to read it, and he got to the part about the four wheeler catching on fire, he became the 14 year old kid again, launching into yet another version of the whole escapade.

5. Everybody has those "I can't believe I just did that!" social moments in their life, when they want to just crawl in a hole and die. Describe three of detail, please.

1.When I was 21, it was like me and a group of my friends? And we were hanging out and stuff? Like having a good ole time, smoking reefer, listening to music, busting our eardrums, man, acting sooooo fucking stupid, man, it was unreal, and then I turned to this guy, and like, I told him, you know, just joking, you know, to kiss my ass, right? So, he breaks all bad and shit and says, "Well, make it bare...". So, man, I can't believe this, but you know what I did? Like I did, man! Just yanked them drawers down, and, man there was my ass, just shining. It was so freaking cool! Ya should a seen it, man! His eyes was bugging out, and, course, I had been, like sunbathing every spare moment I could find, you know, with the baby oil and iodine, and there was this black light burning, I mean, man, you had to have a black light back in the days, so's anyway, I guess my ass pretty much glowed! So's, anyway, I like turned to the guy next to me and, I says, man this is funny, I says, "Your turn!" And , damn, if it didn't go around the whole room that night. Damn if we didn't all see some assholes , I mean, for real! Shit, yeah, everybody dropped their drawers. Man, we all showed our asses, and, like we saw a few nuts, too. And I ain't talking crazies, either. It wasn't until the next day, you know, that I got to thinking that, wow, everybody saw my ass last night. But it was cool, cause like all everybody said was, "Wow, you have really got a white ass, girl..."

2. I was on vacation with my oldest sister. She was 15 years older than I, so there was somewhat of a generation gap between us. We went to a club I had heard of, and she immediately hooked up with the this tall silver tongued stranger, the ballroom dancer, the mysterious James Bond type of guy. Along comes Mr. Sailor Boy and sits down beside me, and after a few drinks we decide to take off. I tell my sister, and she said, "Well, I'll see you back at the hotel." So, Sailor boy and I spend a some time getting to know one another back at his motel for an hour or two, and talking and whatnot, and he takes me back to the hotel. I reflect on my wicked ways, hoping my morally correct sister can't tell by looking at me that I've led myself astray, again.

I decided to pop in the bed before she gets home, but too late, there's the key in the door, and her smiling face. Which suddenly looks puzzled. "I just got here myself, "I say, to fill the silence, smiling brightly. "So, then why is your blouse on inside out?" she asks. Busted.

3.When I worked at the hospital, a good friend who was an RN, and I, were responsible for transporting a patient to the third floor. We had his paperwork in hand, maneuvered his bed out of the room on our floor without killing anyone, and moved out the unit doors, stopping at the first elevator we came to. After much turning, and haggling, while a small crowd gathered to watch the show, we finally got him backed up as far as possible in the elevator, but the end of the bed, and his feet were still sticking out the elevator doors. We did some more maneuvering, but there they were, sticking out the elevator doors. I was somehow terrified the doors are going to close, the elevator go up, and poor Mr. So-and-So would be on the third floor and his feet would still be on the second floor, and we'd be responsible for this poor ill man becoming footless. Well, maybe not me, because I wasn't an RN. Insane, yes, but the mind does run on at these times.

Finally, a helpful voice from the crowd. "You guys know this elevator doesn't go to the third floor, right?" Across the bed, my friend and I look at one another, poor Mr. So-and-So, lying there in a stupor, his feet sticking out of the elevator doors, and both said "Shit" at the same time. What did we do? What could we do? We maneuvered him down the hall to the main elevators, faces on fire, calling each other stupid idiots, and finally transferred our patient to the third floor. The little crowd waved us on our way, one man laughing so hard we hoped he would choke and have to be admitted. I'm glad someone spoke up though, or we might still be there.

So, there are my answers. This was quite the challenge. And I appreciate the time it took for Future to come up with these questions.

Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them
five questions.

Jun 24, 2007


You will notice a few links in my blog now to various merchant sites. I feel like I have sold out, but not necessarily. I am just trying to see if the affiliate program actually works. And, money, as we all know, is a necessary evil, much like the little patch of forest on the long, lonesome highways, miles between rest stops, when you really, really have to go. "There! There! Pull over there, I don't care about the barbed wire fence, I'll climb over it...just hurry, dammit!" Let's hope I don't turn around and find a giant leaf of poison ivy tickling my backside.

I'm at one of those points in my life, God, there seems to have been so many, where I'm not quite sure what is going to happen. Things can go this way or they can go that way. One of the hardest things right now that I am learning is that my family, meaning the people that I grew up with, that I called family, no longer exists.

I pretty much knew that would happen when my father passed. He was, after all, the glue that held us together. My mother, God love her, was the wedge that kept us apart. I don't know why the hell she did it, to be honest, but she did. My oldest brother owns the land where I grew up. It was willed to him by my father, after he was tortured unrelentingly by my mother and sister. He once showed me the piece of land he wanted to me to have, and let's just say it had great meaning and love attached to it. It was where the gate to the old hay barn used to sit, and about an acre surrounding it.

I remember once, when he was in the hospital, going through 'sundowner's,' a condition where older people become disoriented at night, as he raged on about machines chopping up little animals, and the horrible things he saw in the x-ray department, (you don't want to know) he suddenly became Daddy again. My daddy. He said, clear as a bell, "You know, Deb, you could probably break the will."

It's not about money. It's not about you got this and I didn't. Its about not being able to go 'home', because I no longer have a home to go home to. They have torn down the house where I grew up. Yes, it was falling apart, but no one was living there, and a house not lived in, doesn't hold up well. It grieves. When I left, I thought I would never return. But age and life changes all of that. My ex-husband and my kids hated going to 'Mama's' home, as they called it, because my Mother was so mean, there was no one around but older people, and "Mama, there's nothing to do..!"

Now, not to sound like a complete ass, my brother and his wife did work hard helping Daddy out. And they were there through my mother's illness, which was enough to drive all of them bat shit. I know this, and I appreciate that. But, so did I before I left. So did we all, while we stayed. I think everyone assumed, as the youngest, I was the one who would stay home and take care of Mother and Daddy. But the old wild hair got hold of me, and wouldn't let go. I did manage to help Daddy out a little, though, I'm still not sure as to who helped whom. Those three years were the some of the most beautiful and agonizing times of my life. But I cherish them. And always will. But, here I've strayed from my original rant.

It bugs me that I have to ask my brother's permission to walk on the land I grew up on. The land where I played and dreamed, where terror stalked me like a shadow, where my childhood still exists, plays out, over and over again. And the house, the house my father built, painted every year, that held all that laughter, and terror, and insanity is gone. It hurt someone too much for their eyes to gaze on it day after day. Because of all the memories.

The giant hay barn where I played, my castle, my fort, my mansion, my whatever I wanted it to be, is gone. It has been replaced by an open tin roof shed, much more convenient, much smaller, and looks much nicer. But that ole hay barn, the children that played there, the battles fought, and the animals it housed, gone now, forever. Strange things happened in that old barn, but those secrets are gone as well.

Perhaps many of you feel the same as me. I guess it is a rare thing indeed for people to have what we called the old home place still in the family these days. Those days are gone. Even for old stump jumpers such as me. I have my son, and together we have a family. He hears from his father maybe once a month or so. And, we take in strays from time to time, and seem to make do somehow. But a part of me screams inside to be able to reach out and claim the past, to own that little bit of me that grew up wild and ragged, to be able to touch it, hold it, if only for a little while.

Not one of my immediate family members made it to my son's funeral. They will say they didn't know him well, or that they were not close. But isn't it just a simple little thing called respect? Isn't this a time for a family to come together? I know I must let this go, somehow, someway, but it hurts. To have brothers and sisters, blood kin, and know they could care less, when you have, is a hard thing to realize and accept. God grant me the grace to do so, and the humility to understand there's a million more out there, just like me.

Jun 21, 2007

Why are we women so attracted to the man of mystery? The man with the tortured life, of secrets, living in pain, too proud to ask for help, but we so ready to give it? Have you ever met such a man? He, whose voice sent such longing through the very fiber of your being? The man whose eyes engulfed your soul, and you believed you saw your destiny there, hidden, in his eyes, if you just searched long enough, deeply enough? The man whose touch set your body afire, the soft, careless caress on your thigh, the fingers that traced the line of your throat, the hands and lips that knew your body better than yourself? Have you ever known such a man?

Jun 19, 2007

She needed fresh air, so she fashioned a tiny hole of sorts in the sheet covering her tiny head. It had to be getting close to daylight. She strained her ears for the slightest sound of birdsong, but couldn't hear anything. The air was fresher, but still hot. Sweat trickled from every pore in her five year old body, but she was too scared to throw the covers off.

Chancing to peek into the darkness of her tiny bedroom, all she could see was blackness, and out of the blackness, strange shapes seemed to form and then dissipate, reform and dissolve magically before her eyes. She didn't think they were real, but she wasn't sure. You could never be sure.

From the open door, she saw that a light was on in the kitchen. Her mother was up, and she relaxed a little. Her body attuned to the slightest noise, she waited to see if her mother was on guard, or had just gotten up for a glass of water.

"I know you're out there, you goddamn son of a bitch!" Oh, God, he was back! Her mother had heard him, too! She had wanted to call out to her, but the coal train was making its nightly run, and she truly was the coward her mother said she was, for she was afraid to make a sound. Lest the man outside would hear her. Come for her and rape and kill her like her mother said. She didn't know what rape meant, but she did know what killing meant. Her mother said that rape was worse than death, which conjured unimaginable horrors in her mind.

"If it comes down to being raped or dying, well, its best you were to die." her mother had told her time and again. "You'll be ruined. And no man will want you." She didn't understand about being ruined, but her mother's tone told her it was bad. Like being in hell bad. The only men she knew of, besides uncles, (which she had finally stopped hiding from) was her daddy, and Marcie's daddy, Danny Lacy. She couldn't imagine what he would want her for, as she wasn't big enough to do much work. But, she didn't want to be ruined. She hadn't even started school.

She heard her mother load the shotgun, saying, "You think I won't shoot through that door, you got another think coming you bastard. I'll kill you. Don't think I won't."

Suddenly, her mother was in her room, leaning over her, shotgun cradled in one arm, looking through the curtains out the window. Her mother cocked her head to one side, then quickly ran toward the back of the house. Now her heart was beating so fast, the sound of it made her eardrums hurt.

Why would someone want to hurt us? She wished her father was home. The man outside was never around when her father was home. His presence scared him away. But, even then, mother would sometimes hear his footsteps and daddy would put on him shoes and go outside, and her terror was so great then, she thought she would die from it. He always came back, saying, "I didn't see a damn thing! It's you! It's always you! We can sell this place and move to Frametown, you know we can!" Then she could fall asleep while they argued, knowing if they argued the man wasn't outside.

Now, her sister was up. "I think he's out by the cellar steps, Mommy. What are we going to do?" Her mother raised her voice, making sure the man would hear, "Why, if he tries to come in this house, we'll kill 'em. I hold my hand afore God, he'll have to come through me to get to you girls. You motherfucking sonofabitch. Come on, try me, try me."

Curled in her bed, the little girl tried to block her mother's voice. In the morning they would take down the bottles that lined the window sills, move the furniture away from the doors, and she would run outside, run as far from the house as she was allowed. In the daytime, it was safe. Nothing could catch her when she ran. But every so often, she knew, while she played, she would stop, and look around. Scanning the tall weeds that grew about the property. Feeling unseen eyes crawl over her skin.

Covered in sweat, listening to the words her mother shouted, nighttime words, forbidden in daylight, she waited for the first song of the birds, the first faint light to chase away the shadows in her room, waiting for the sounds of morning,


Jun 18, 2007

Travis fell in love with a group called Pearl Jam. I listened to their first CD Ten, and enjoyed it. Travis came to me one day, and said, "Mama, listen to this song, you will love it." And I did. And I always will. Enjoy.

Jun 16, 2007

Daddy's mother, my grandma

I walked into her house, unsure of what my reception would be. I was 8 and had ridden with my father to see his parents. My mother had told me so many horrible things about them, and having not seen them in so long, I was frankly afraid. The house smelled of long lost suppers, heavy on the cured ham. The floors were free of dust, and the rooms had that empty feel of people long gone.

Then she came out. Chewing tobacco, all of 5 feet, she said, 'Well you must be Rays youngest girl. What are you doing in here? Why ain't you outside playing? I don't allow younguns to play in my house."

Wordless, and too scared to move, I nervously glanced around the room, and stared at an old rag doll hanging on the wall. "Don't think you can play with that doll, girl. That's my doll. You can't have it. Now, git outside and play. I don't allow children in the house."

I ran outside, making sure the wooden screen door didn't slam shut behind me. I was terrified. My mom was right. She was the meanest woman I ever saw. I saw my Dad, and ran to his side, where he was talking to my uncles. But seeing his smiling face, animated and happy, I left him alone. It was a rare thing to see him so happy, and I didn't want to spoil it. I wandered around, wanting to go into the old tobacco barn, dark and huge, but afraid of the spiders that my brother said lived in there. He said they dropped on your head and crawled around, and you wouldn't even know it until your head started to itch.

I saw my cousin, my age, playing in the dirt with another girl. I went over and said Hi. I was shy back then, or backward, as my Mother said. My cousin said Hi, and asked if I wanted to play. When I sat down, the other girl asked what my name was. I told her, and she asked how do you spell it. I told her. She proceeded to write my name in the dirt with a stick, and then looking at me with a sly grin, said, "That spells poop." I said, "No, it doesn't, that spells my name."

They doubled over in giggles, and I finally figured it out. They were calling me shit! I ran to my daddy's car, and waited, crying, pouting, plotting revenge against my blonde haired cousin and her evil troll friend until we went home.

Years later, I would still not like my cousin, but I would learn much more about my Grandmother. Grandma was born in the late 1800's. She was kicked out of her father's house when her mother died and he remarried. She was seven years old. She found a place to work, cleaning and cooking, and lived there until she was 14, when she met my Grandpa. They were married, and she bore him 9 children that lived. A set of twins died shortly after birth, and, from what I was told, she had a miscarriage while cooking supper. As it was told to me, she "shoved it aside with one foot and kept on cookin".

She always chewed tobacco, grown by my Grandfather, picked by the grand boys and hung to dry in the huge barn. Don't know if she drank corn liquor, but I do know that my dad had many stills that dotted the countryside during the 20's and 30's. He did tell me his father came upon one of his stills by the banks of the Coal River and promptly through it into the middle of the river. He said it was a mighty fine still, and was sorely missed.

By the time I came around, Grandma must have been in her early seventies.

When all of her children were home, she cooked a breakfast, dinner, and supper, for her huge family and all the men who worked for them. From the time I can remember her face was deeply wrinkled, her hair snow white, a testimony to her Indian ancestors. Perhaps when she saw my skinny-legged, bean pole self, she was aghast that her son could produce such an off-spring. I know I favored my Grandma on my mother's side, and there was no love lost between the two Grandma's. Actually, one of her son's (my dad) married my mother, and my mother's brother married my father's sister. I'll let you decipher that one. That made the children of these two marriages, again, what I was told, "cousins twice over." People today still can't tell me and my cousin Joan apart, especially when I'm skinny. And we speak in the same soft-spoken way. Half the time, my dad would call me Ruby, his sister's name. Perhaps that's where the family curse began, but I don't think so. My uncle lost his son. My brother lost his son. I've heard stories that my Great Grandma lost her son, and of course Grandma lost the twins. But, back to Grandma. I try to imagine what her life was like living in rural West Virginia at the turn of the century.

What a time to live and be young. Working from dawn to dusk, Sundays going to church, and Saturday's driving a mule-drawn cart into town, to sell vegetables or buy supplies. Church was the only outlet for fun and social gatherings. Where young women were courted, and gossip was whispered, and new clothes were shown off. If anyone really listened to the preacher, it's a miracle. . . Back then when you were baptized they dunked your head in the Coal River, winter or summer, and fire and brimstone lit up the pulpit like fireworks at a Kiss concert. My Grandma's life was hard, I know that much. Harder than even I can imagine, but she lived to a grand old age, making people jump to her tune to the very end. In her old age, she had acquired a certain wealth, and we all know how that affects the heirs. I hope she had a good time making them all hop to her demands. Though, I doubt by that time she had many demands, except keeping her supply of chewing tobacco well-stocked.

She and my mother never patched things up. Looking back, I can see that Grandma believed her son married beneath him. And that she thought my mother was nuts. But, then no one is perfect.

Grandma was not known for her affectionate nature, and was quick to criticize, but given her background, I would probably be a little harsh myself. My father was the oldest son, but was not her favorite. As my mother loved to tell me over and over again. All I remember was that Daddy was very respectful to his mother, and continually offered excuses for my mother's absence.

Not long before my Grandma died, a young woman doing a thesis on Appalachian culture, interviewed my Grandma. She found her story so fascinating that the tapes and transcripts are now locked away in the West Virginia archives. Quite an honor for a cantankerous, tobacco-chewing, salt of the earth hillbilly, now is it?

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Jun 14, 2007

A little filler here because I'm not up to writing anything worth writing at the moment. So I'm cheating! Found this little quiz over at blog things, and I must say, I believe they are off on this one. I have not known any serial killers to run from me ever. But, then I have not known any serial killers at all, except for my ex-boyfriends children, and they were just in the making. Which does make me wonder how many of you guys watch the HBO series Dexter and like it as much as I do? So, how scary are you? (Actually, I didn't think I was scary at all. I thought I was cute and snuggly like that creepy blue bear on TV, now that's creepy, if you ask me!)

You Are Creepy

Serial killers would run away from you in a flash.

Jun 12, 2007

Reading through the local news I came upon this disturbing little story involving a 4 year old preschooler, and his understandably upset mother. The full story is here, and, if you are like me, when you read it, you are going to be furious.

Evidently, the little boy in question, did something that upset his teachers, and I use the term 'teachers' for lack of a better one, so they ripped his pants off, spanked him, and, when he wet himself, they dressed him in a dress. To punish him. The mother stated she had clothes there for him, a change of clothes. Then they sent him home. And, like all school systems in Virginia, and probably everywhere else in this country by now, they do not feel the need to explain their actions to anyone. WAVYTV-10-on-your-side is pretty good at getting results, but even they can't do much about the school system "wall of silence".

Many moons ago, my son's friend, BW, came home from school with a broken jaw, no calls made to his parents, he just got off the bus, holding his jaw together. After being hospitalized and having his jaw wired shut, and his father was furious, as is this mother, and tried to sue. His lawsuit went nowhere.

Travis came home from kindergarten with a broken collar bone, for Christ's sake. When I went to confront his teacher, and whoever was in shouting distance, she said he had complained about his arm hurting, but it was time for the buses, so she just sent him home. Though I hopped around and said obscene things, it basically boiled down to not being able to prove exactly when the bone was broken. Travis remembered clearly when it was broken, an older kid pushed him against the wall, but, we had insurance, we didn't pursue it. However, now, they knew my name. The superintendant knew my name. I visited his office on a regular basis. He hated my guts. He hated my guts and liver.

Anyway, from my research, the school in question in this article has to be Bowling Park Elementary School, not Bolling.'s proofreader's suck. The phone number is 628-2515, which is also the fax number. The address is 2861 E. Princess Anne Rd., Norfolk, VA 23504. The principal is Mrs. Brenda P. Shepherd.

Michaell Spencer, Chief Operations Officer, may be reached at 628-3930, or by fax at 628-3977. All of this information can be found here. The mission statement for the Norfolk District School System Reads as follows:

"To educate each student to be a successful, productive contributor to society by providing powerful teaching and learning opportunities."

Some how, I get the feeling this little boy is going to have a hard time taking advantage of those opportunities in the future. God, I'm so pissed.

Jun 11, 2007

Things I Have Said to My Children At Various Times

Put that down. That's not a toy. You might poke your eye out with that thing.

Don't squirt me with the water hose. I mean it now. I ain't playin. This isn't funny guys, come on. Be nice to your dear old mom. Please.....

Can't you find something to do? Isn't there something you can find to do in your room, or do you want me to find something for you?

So if Mark says its ok, then that makes it ok? Well, I guess if he said it was ok for him to jump off of the roof, that would be ok, too? Are you crazy??

No, I will not buy you a Big Johnson T-shirt to wear to school. I don't care if the principal wears one to church, you will not!

Ok, if you all you boys don't stop fighting, I'm, I'm, I'm gonna call the police. Yes I will.

Ok, who flushed the apple down the toilet?

Why am I so mean? Why its my ultimate goal in life to make your life as miserable as possible. I thought you knew that.

When you grow up I hope you have 6 kids, and they are all boys!!

No, you can not buy Playboy's at Will Kitchen's Food Mart. You're eight years old. You are too young. Put your sock money away. I know, its not fair.

And you guys gave all your sock money to Jennifer to keep, knowing she was going back to Georgia today, because...?

What's a condom? Well, let's wait till your dad gets home, and ask him.

The big boys called you all faggots and chased you out of the park? What? What's a faggot? Let's wait till your dad gets home and ask him..

No, EJ, did not get struck by lightening, Travis. I swear he didn't. I know. I was there!

You shot your brother in the hand trying to shoot a bb down the water hose? Travis! Travis! it didn't break the skin, honey! You're ok! You're not bleeding!

Ok, tell me the truth, you really didn't have anything to do with breaking the basement windows in the Methodist church, did you? No, I won't get mad. I promise. Well, I might get upset.

I guess you could say that Mary and Rudolph are making doggie love...quit laughing...ok, if you're going to laugh go in the house, wait, I'm coming with you.

Ok, which one of you knotheads called 911, and don't say Jonathon because his knothead was in the refrigerator...

Travis, come out from under the bed and at least say hello to this little girl out here who came over to see you..

If you can live in this mess you call a room, then that's ok with me. If something starts creeping around in here, don't come running to me. And no, I don't mean Travis...

EJ, you mean the cat really crapped in your bed, and you climbed in and didn't know it? I'm not laughing...I'm not...

Hey, you guys come here, your Daddy's chasing the dogs around the garden with his sling shot. Yeah, I know, they think he's crazy, too.

What do you mean you and BW were chasing Mr. Bracey's hogs? Is that what that smell is? Are you crazy?

So, tell me again, real did Richard's four-wheeler catch on fire? And who threw the water on it? And you didn't come and tell us because...? Oh, that's what you're doing now. ARE YOU CRAZY!!!

Ok, you were walking down the hall and someone pushed you into the fire alarm and it accidentally went off. What's it got, like a hair-trigger?

Ej, Travis, come here a minute. Yeah, now. Your Daddy poured himself a shot of that bourbon that's been sitting on the fridge for about 3 months now, and you know what? He said it tasted a lot like water. Yeah, you do know something about it. Is the word stupid tattoed on my forhead? You see me laughing?

Travis? Slow down, let me get this've had two wine coolers, and you don't think you should drive, so you're going to stay at Ryan's....ok, I appreciate your honesty. Don't drive.

Just because that little girl has cockroaches in her bookbag doesn't mean she has cooties. Does she sit close to you? No, I was just curious, that's all.

My God, Travis, there are things crawling around on your head. I think its lice! Does the word shampoo ring a bell?

Ok, guys, it says you have to apply this stuff to all of the hair on your body...ok, ok...God, I'm leaving already, I was just trying to help...I used to change your diapers you know!!

Come here, I said come here, come here right now, right now this very minute, don't make me come over there, I said come here, don't make me chase you, I'll win, my legs are longer, ok, ok, one last chance come here NOW! damn, Honey go get that boy....

Jun 5, 2007

Putting one hand on the sofa behind her, and carefully maneuvering her awkward body, she managed to rise to a standing position. She was so tired of being pregnant. The hot Pensacola sun was heating up nicely, and the humidity, as always, was close to 100%. Why do people want to live in Florida? she wondered, not for the first time. Without warning her dark-eyed 10-month old son came running across the room, and climbed into her lap. She hugged him tightly and wanted to cry.

There's no way in the world he's going to understand who this baby is, she thought. He doesn't even understand the word brother. He'll hate me! I know he will. Shit. We'll will work it out, won't we EJ? Won't we? Hey...

The little diaper-clad boy scrambled from her lap, off to find something new to discover. God, how she loved that boy. The love was so strong it hurt. Absently she rubbed her stomach, feeling movement, not as intense as it once was, but still movement. She recalled the night she sat up for hours waiting for movement, terrified the baby within had stopped moving. Finally, a little kick, and she was relieved. She was in her 42 week of pregnancy and vowed to herself she was having this baby today.

He sister-in-law, who had come up from Georgia to help her out, had already left to go home. She could have at least stayed for the big event, dammit. Ok, don't be mean. At least she was here. It saved her having to talk to her husband and her dumb ass brother-in-law.

Time was wasting and she had diapers to wash, and supper to cook, so she got busy. With the sun this hot, it wouldn't take long for the diapers to dry.

As the evening settled in, the supper dishes done, she grabbed the stroller. Ej, come on, babe, she called. Let's go for a walk. He climbed in and she sat off walking, or wobbling, down the street. She was soon joined by a neighbor girl who had a crush on her brother-in-law Ricky. How any girl in her right mind could have a crush on Ricky was beyond her understanding, but she only half-listened to her prattle. She thought about what it would be like when she brought the new baby home. Would she be able to cope? Would she be able to do all the things her husband wanted her to do and the babies would need her to do? Did she want a boy or a girl? Oh, please, she thought, as long as it comes out looking like a baby I'll be happy.

They completed one square block, and she said, come on, we're going again. I'm having this baby. Its time. So, with her little neighbor, and now a few others, she continued walking. One of the neighbors was a warm-hearted lady who extolled the many uses of the vegetable zucchini. Zucchini casserole, Zucchini bread, zucchini this, and zucchini that, which could be irritating, but she was on a mission, and nothing would deter her.

She had heard the words "induce labor", and other medical terms, and didn't like the sound of any of them. I know how to induce labor, and its called walking.

About 5:00 am the next morning, a Friday, she felt her water break, and the first pains began. Calmly she woke her husband, and told him, its time. He and Ricky, the brother-in-law, decided that EJ would stay with Ricky while he drove her to the hospital. He stayed long enough to get her checked in and then went back home to sleep.

While they hooked her up to everything they could think of, they had trouble hooking up the fetal heart monitor to the baby's head. This one tried, and that one tried, and everyone tried, until she said, "I know, why don't we have a contest, and whoever gets it right gets to keep the baby," and burst into tears.

Her doctor said, "We'll let you rest for a while now, and try again in a few minutes." The nurse said, "It must be boy, only a boy would give you this must trouble." When she had her first child he was premature, and she was alone during most of her labor. Now she felt she was in the middle of a convention. She found she had an unreasonable hatred for her doctor. And her husband. Where was his dumb-ass? Alone with EJ! Were they watching him? God, watch over my little boy please, because those two dumb-asses are too stupid to.

After about four hours her pains began coming faster and faster, until they seemed to be one huge unending pain. Suddenly she felt the need to push. "I'm gonna push,"she said. "Don't push!" they said. "I have to push!" she said, as they wheeled her to the delivery room. "Don't push!" they said.

They transferred her to the delivery table, positioning her as God never intended, and the Doctor crouched between her legs, waiting. Where's his catcher's mitt? she wondered. "Ok, now you can push." And push she did! On the second push, the baby's head emerged. "Ok, just a small push, now." She obliged.

In a few moments she heard a baby's cry, and said, "Oh, my God, its a baby!" Well, duh. After a brief glimpse, the baby was whisked away, and she learned she had a new son, and, yes he had everything he should have had, and she would see him in just a few.

When she finally got to her room, they brought her new son to her. Eight pounds and five ounces worth of baby. A very good weight. She had prepared to breast feed him, and, when they put him in her arms, she positioned him to do just that. The nurse stopped her, and said, "No, hold him like this. You'll never get him to eat holding him like that. But you're milk hasn't come in yet, so you're really wasting your time." The nurse held out a bottle of formula to use until her milk came in.

It was important for her to breastfeed. Now it became vitally important that she breastfeed. She had tried so hard to breastfeed her first son, and just now had learned why she had failed. She hadn't held him right. No one had showed her how. And now this old nurse is going to tell me what I can and can't do. Yeah, right.

She squeezed her nipple and a stream of milk shot across the bed. She cast a wicked grin in the nurses direction, and the nurse merely said, "Well, every mother's different."

As she put her baby to her breast, felt him suckle, gag, suckle, choke, suckle, and finally developed a rhythm, she smiled down at him, stroking his tiny little hand.

Travis, she whispered. Travis, my baby, welcome to the world.

Travis would be 28 today. He was a joy to watch and care for as a baby. He was joy as a toddler and as a young boy, and a challenge as a teenager. He always made me laugh. During some of the darkest times in my life he was there, at 14, keeping me company, making me laugh, playing his music for me, teaching me to find humor and joy in the simplest things in life. We never actually talked about my cancer, but we both acknowledged it and we both knew it could go either way. How many times I have wished that God had taken me instead of this wonderfully gifted young man. I can still see his second grade teacher running down the hall of the elementary school, so excited about about the test scores Travis had made that were off the charts. The gifted program. The punk rock years. The absolute uniqueness that was Travis. The absolute love he had for his son, and the growing pride he had in his unborn daughter. The love he bore for his wife. The life left unfinished. The huge gaping hole in the universe that was Travis, and now we fill with memories. Yes, I believe he lives on, in another place, in another life, but I so want to see him, and touch him, and hold him again. I want to see him grow old with his family, I want to see him become a grandfather. I guess its true. What they say. Only the good die young. I miss you Travis, so much, so very much; more and more, as each day passes, more and more as I come to painfully realize and accept that there was no mistake, there was no mix up, there will be no call telling me it didn't really happen. But, one thing I can't do Travis, I can't say Goodbye. Not yet, babe...Seems just yesterday I said hello.

In loving memory

Travis Levy Youngblood

June 5 1979-July 21, 2005

Jun 2, 2007

Your Score: Katharine Hepburn

You scored 23% grit, 28% wit, 52% flair, and 19% class!

You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I got this from Anne and got the same result she did. I guess we are both a little on the oddball side. But the site it came from, a dating site, I guess, was a real eye-opener. Seems to be based on age, so I got paired up with a bunch of mostly old farts, which, unfortunately, is exactly where I belong.

That's not what got me, though. Its the old farts that are into S&M, or D&S, or whatever the hell they call it now. I shouldn't be surprised though. Seems like a few of the young couples on the street where I live have a blast beating the crap out of each other every weekend.

And then there are some wonderful profiles of genuinely nice people, not the least bit old farty, one especially I just had to respond to. No, I'm not looking for anybody. (Except maybe that Russian guy). Ok, enough about him.

I'm kinda hoping this little high period I've found, probably due to the switch in meds, stays around for a little longer. I know I have more energy. We'll see. You'll know its a problem when I start writing about a wonderful man I just moved in with named T-Bone, and how we're looking for investors in our new Alpaca farm.

Jun 1, 2007

This is being written with Google docs & spreadsheets.

Haven't had much to write about the last few days or so. I guess the next two months are going to be rough. This coming Tuesday would have been Travis's 28th birthday. Then, through July the second, he and his brother would be the same age. They were eleven months apart. Last year I went to Arlington. I may go back, but what I really want to do is have a party for him. Sounds crazy, maybe. But, what the hell. He is located in section 60, and, let's face it, that is where most of the new funerals are taking place at Arlington these days.

I wish I had been in Arlington when Bush made his big speech. I would have brought a big bag of dog turds and chucked everyone of them at him.

The other night I walked across to a neighbors house where they were celebrating in the garage, and there sat a young marine in full dress blues, drinking a Heineken, chilling. Of course I had to do my routine, thank him for his service to the country, and beg him not to go back to Iraq. He said he had already volunteered to go back. And, of course, it is because his unit is still there. His buddies. This is why they volunteer to go back. They have such guilt about coming home and leaving their comrades there. I don't know if it has been like this in all wars, but in this war, the bonds that are being forged in battle between these young men are unbreakable.

As I sat there with these young people they eventually started talking about politics, and Bush, and they asked this young marine if he had voted for Bush, to which he replied yes. He quietly affirmed his support for the war. He listened to everyone telling him basically what an idiot he was without saying a word, and when I left to go home, I whispered in his ear the only thing that I could say in way of comfort to him. And it came straight from the mouth of Spadoman, who says it better than anyone. I told him that no matter what people think about this war, we honor the warrior, not the war. It wasn't enough. I don't feel you can ever do enough for these young men and women. But it was all I could think to say. Regardless of how I feel, he's the one over there, fighting, doing what he feels is right. However much I wish he wasn't, I respect his motives, which have nothing to do with Bush and his ilk.

And, now I will segue into something a little more lighthearted. See how smooth that was. Sometimes the words just flow. The Dish network guy came out to do some fine-tuning and damn, I wish it was me that needed some fine tuning. He had an accent, which I always love. He had salt and pepper hair, blue eyes, was about 6'3", and a wonderful build. He was definitely a rugged manly man, with a giant big-ass wedding ring on his finger. It's not like I was gonna put a move on the guy or anything, but, who knows? Oh, hell, its been so long now, I wouldn't even know how. But, it sure was a treat. My son was here, and had to listen to me ooh and ahh. I told him I wanted to keep him, and he said he didn't want to talk about it.

When I was over at the party with neighbors, a young man named Lorenzo was talking about how he did the 'helicopter' for his girlfriend. I said, (because I don't care), what's the helicopter, and all these young men got embarrassed. So, I looked at my neighbor, and said, Oh, that's where they they make there dicks spin around in a circle, isn't it? My son said, Mama, don't you need to go home?

This morning I told my son I would like to see the dish guy do the helicopter. He got up and left the room. I did find out this gorgeous man is from Uzbekistan, part of the Soviet Union, which probably why he said he was from Russia. Russia!! So exciting, especially for someone from my era. You know, the spys, the cold war, the fall-out shelters, the cloak-and-dagger bullshit, the let's practice hiding under our desk in case we're hit by an atomic bomb era...a lot of good that would of done, right?

But, I digress. The more I think about it, the more I want to see the Russian dish technician do the helicopter. A wondrous thing to behold it would be.