Sunday, June 30, 2013

Link to the blog wordle

Wordle: blog wordle

One good thing about the blogathon and other challenges, I learn a little more. I created this wordle using www.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Patience Please

This is my submission to

Patience is said to be a virtue. Well the truth is: 1. Patience is a survival skill; 2. Patience is a survival skill; 3. Patience is a survival skill.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nail Salon Blues

The things you learn at the toenail shop. No, I'm not getting new toenails. I'm not even getting a pedicure. Can you feel my sadness. Dipping your feet into hot water, wonderful.

We all came for a pedi but only one technician is working. It would be too long a day for my mom. I appreciate the good thoughts and prayers people sent our way.

There is a young guy working but he only does fake fingernails or the young hot chicks toes.  There's a piece me that is hot. However it is not a news flash. Sort of a flash of overreaction if I do not watch it. But I am hot as hell with sweat pouring. I understand my face reddens. I try to think about it. Lol

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life is the Journey

When I go to schools, I miss the noise. That loud rackety excitement of children sounds good now.

I spend my days in domesticity which was never a natural fit for me. My mother has two doting chihuahuas that are the recipients of my mother's natural mothering instinct. I gave both of them a bath tonight and could not find any fleas on them. After the big "tick bite", I am policing for bugs. I take them out in the evenings when I do yard work. They play like crazy and a bath is their reward. They are so small they fit in the kitchen sink. I know that does not sound that hygienic.  It's just a relief on my back. Besides I have soap and clean the basin afterwards.

Tomorrow, I need to fire up my new computer. The one I am working on now is disintegrating more and more. It constantly shuts itself off for me to reboot. Yesterday's post was lost several times on word. I gave up and put it on blogger because it would save the rough copy. Anyway, I've been shut down twice since starting this. I'll post pictures from Ocmulgee National Park and then publish.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fishing in time

In response to Trifecta Writing Challenge

Day was breaking; Jimmy was getting his gear together in the boat. Earl, the king of dogs waited patiently to board. He had at one time bounded from the shore into the boat. Now he needed a little help getting in, gingerly settling himself on his bed.

The old wooden boat was like the one he rode in as a boy. His grandfather would put trotlines out. The largest fish, he would take home for the family to eat. His grandmother would take planks of fish and bread it in cornmeal before placing it in lard to fry.

His grandfather would sell the fish and wait in town for people who wanted to hire day labor. Jimmy remembered his grandfather's leathered hands,

Jimmy's life had dwindled to living at his office and the hospital. He the healer watched a wife succumb to cancer. His one daughter was married and busy with a young family.

A man and his teenaged grandson came one night to the emergency room. Jimmy thought the thin, wiry man was the patient but his calloused hands lifted the boy's shirt to reveal a boil and rash on his back from a tick bite. Numbing and draining the boil, he told the grandfather to make a follow-up appointment at his office. The grandfather hemmed and hawed. Giving him the antibiotic from the hospital stores, he softly said, "Come by the office and tell my receptionist who you are, she'll give you the rest of the antibiotics."

The grandson went into the military. The grandfather died of a massive heart attack. Jimmy wondered when the sting of death would never stun him. He watched the young on-call physician try to save him.

Such is life; he saw the rusty boat for sale on the side of the road that night. He and his grandson went out as often as the boys schedule would allow. Who would think a high school student would have a more hectic schedule than a doctor would.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yard dog Grooming Club

When I took Muffin to the vet, he hazarded she had some poodle. Previously, no one would make a guess. She has some terrier and is trouble for mice. A wild rabbit can stand beside her. The point being, any dog qualifies you for the grooming club.

The pre-requisite for membership, have you or have you not purchased food solely for your dog in the drive thru of a fast food. You qualify for a lifetime membership, if your dog has preferences.

I got a pitbull, muffin, Frank the poodle, Buttons the chihuahua mix as regular biscuit riders in the morning. It started innocently enough. They would have a two for one offer. I ate one. I split the extra between whatever dogs were riding.

Who would know dogs like Hardees biscuits best. They must use lard. They delicately eat the biscuit after the meat. For McDonalds, they eat the biscuit if the other dog looks like they want their bread. Otherwise, it is meat only. Then, what the hey, we will nibble on the bread since no more meat is going to magically appear.

I use coupons. The dogs know those pieces of paper have something to do with their treat.

If I drive by the restaurant, the dogs look at the restaurant and then look at me. Sometimes I turn around.

Anyway, I think their favorite biscuit is the bacon. egg and cheese from Hardees.

They also love a McDouble for lunch, pickle and all. Afterwards, if you have an order of fries, everyone is content to have a fry doled out to each of them.

I haven't consulted the vet about the wisdom of this fast food diet. Like all fun food, I'm sure he will have some healthful suggestions. The dogs don't want to hear about it.

We're all in trouble.

Paula Deen is in trouble for saying the "n" word. From her deposition, and I may very well be wrong, she used the word in the 1960's. Seeing as she is 66, that means she was 20 years old in 1967. So she said the "n" word as a teenager.

I remember when the "n" word was used matter of factly. My mother thought it was crude. We were to say negro. It was sort of like the word pregnant. You didn't say it in polite company.

What bothers me is the hypocrisy. A Canadian on CNN who is married to a black man said racism does not happen in Canada. Yeah, right. Racism is a problem. It's particularly a problem when people are in denial. Thinking that it doesn't happen outside the South is ludicrous. Many jabs at the President bother me in that I feel they are racist in origin.

I try to do right. Being immersed in black culture as an educator, I am more open minded. More importantly, I recognize the difference between working class and sorriness. We had a painful class situation in the South in the recognition of "poor" white and white trash. Trying to move to something better, poor whites and blacks were faced with the same dilemma. Being loyal to their roots and moving into the soon to be Twenty-first Century.

My dad has a story. Shortly after WWII, at RAFB, an old man informed all the young guys that the world was messed up when he came and it would be messed up when the young guys left.

This is true. As a white Southerner, I understand the perils of the "n" word. It can cost your job. To hear it bandied about in hip hop and casually by younger African Americans, you feel anger. Why do they casually say something they can turn your life upside down with.

I'm proud of Paula Deen for telling the truth. I am proud of the African Americans who are taking her side. It's not what we have said in the past that is so important; it is what we have done. The "n" word needs to be dropped from everyone's vocabulary. More importantly, one word from the tongue should not define people. We should respect the humanity of everyone.

I made it a practice to never curse. The wrong word would slip at school. I had a terrible habit of saying "shoot". Occasionally I would be slowly saying "shhhhh" You know what young teens knew I was saying. I could not defend myself. Only an idiot would think I was slowly saying "shoot". However, that is the word.

The point is. You can only clean up your own act. Personally, I plan to watch my language. Hopefully, I will not be caught with a deposition like Paula Deen. If someone asks me to fess up to something that will blow up in my face, I'll answer the question I wish I had been asked. Last of all, I will not judge people as harshly lest I get called out for my transgressions.

I'm not much of a fan of Paula Deen's stick of butter in everything cooking. I do feel sympathy for her trials. I'm not perfect either.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Three times the charm - Blackberry Pie

Baking a special pie

Blackberries, sugar, cobbler crust makes a gooey clump.

Blackberries, sugar, biscuits, oh why?

Blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and thinly rolled pie crust below

Lattice on top is just right.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ambient blog posts rule

I know that doesn't make sense. But it does to me. There are some blog posts that consistently get steady hits everyday no matter what. I am such small potatoes that I check my stats regular and know which posts get attention. I even know when I hit the publish button how popular they will be.

Anyway, the ambient are outdoing whatever I have posted for quite a few days. I have a science education blog which I haven't posted in quite awhile. What works, works. Even during the summer, the activity posts are being consulted. I will start back in July consistently posting on that blog. I broke a computer and jumpdrive with my activities. I have them on a back-up CD and of course a hardcopy. When I find the CD or pull the data off the hard drive of the broken computer, or find a jump drive with the information, I'll be much more consistent.

Well this blog is supposed to be about my dogs and McDonalds or fast food in general. I'm working on it. As fortune would have it, the computer I am working on is malfunctioning. It has been for awhile except it is with the on/off button. It no longer charges the battery and the connection shuts down quickly.

My mother is doing well. I got a flea on me today. It has been a terrible year for fleas. I have treated all my dogs repeatedly. I plan to give the chi chis a trifexis tomorrow morning. Hopefully, we can get a break soon. My mothers two little babies stay with her as soon as they get back in the house. I would like to ban them from her room for awhile. Instead, I am washing a quilt cover for a chair tonight and plan to rewash everything in the morning for her.

One thing fun is a mother redbird has built a nest in the althea I planted near the kitchen window. Hopefully, we will have a large family soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Poodle Grooming Club

You can tell what kind of dog someone has by his or her fast food choices. Little woofs love their chicken nuggets. Wendy's had 5 nuggets for a dollar. They dropped them from their menu. They were back two months later. All the folks with little woofs no longer had a hankering as much for Wendy's when woof didn't get their nuggets anymore. 

My second serious job, which means they took out money for FICA and taxes was at Tastee Freeze. The motto was "We aim to pleez at Tastee Freez".  The mostly teen aged staff gave the motto as much respect as a phrase like that possesses. 

We had a double decker burger with special sauce, lettuce, pickle, which was remarkably similar to a more publicized burger of that description, called the Big Tee.

My favorite order from customers was for the Big Tree burger, fried tators and a large "urnge". I will say people are more sophisticated with fast food today than the early seventies. I was careful not to mimic customers in front of my dad. 

I was inducted into the Poodle Grooming Club in 1997. The invitation was innocent enough. The teenagers hanging from the take-out window at Wendy's wanted to give me two nuggets for my dogs. 

Dogs were immediately addicted.

Who knew chicken nuggets were better than McDonalds. I taught school. On field trips, the students wanted to eat at McDonalds. On a trip to Germany, you guessed right. The students wanted McDonalds.

I even knew teachers who loved McDonalds. Having spent several summers eating all the free Big Tree Burgers I could stand, the allure of fast food burgers fails me.

One of the benefits of this club, you do not have to stay on any one topic any longer than you feel. You can bounce between topics at will. Stay tuned. I got a lot about my long-standing member ship in the Poodle Grooming Club and its ramifications.

Later, my dog has a burger headache.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Once again, we are waiting on the air conditioning man. Hopefully a third visit will get the source of summer comfort going. My mother is home today which is great. She is much better.

I've got to do a better job with a hook on my blogs. When I write this everyday stuff, I don't have many readers. Honestly, I don't blame them. I am inundated with what I want to read.  I've become addicted to the facebook feed. It's a regular potpourri of thoughts. Very little I need to be spending time looking at. But I hit links right and left.

I read NPR's article about the AMA recommendation that obesity be considered a disease. Most of the comments are they are a bunch of fat, lazy, stupid lot who have caused their own problem.

Being overweight, I have left about ten, "You ignorant ass" comments.  Be overweight and you recognize that obesity is more than eating too much and exercise. I have always worked, exercised and felt extreme guilt eating the wrong stuff.

Honestly, the average person lived to be about 62 in the 1930s. People did not always have food accessible so a spartan diet was a fact not a choice. Alzheimers is a bigger problem today because many of us will live long enough to face the problem or better yet our families will face the problem.

What would I tell any young adult with a significant weight problem. Go to a bariatric doctor. Get the lapband if they recommend it. It's not a character fault. Deal with the problem. Obesity has such a stigma; it will affect your employability, matebility and so many aspects of your life.

I had a friend who was gorgeous and her husband was equally good looking. I remember he made the comment to me that unattractive people were nicer. I told him, I don't know. We are a product of so many things. I have been blessed with wonderful people in my life. He is one of them. In short, my other piece of advice would be to live the best life you can and don't worry about what you cannot control.

Tomorrow's topic: My dogs and McDonalds. If all goes well it will be funny.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keeping on Keeping on

Oh Tootie Fruits, I signed up for the blogathon and I find myself having to write something to post everyday. Normally, I write a great deal. I am actually avoiding housework. I don't mind housework. I'm just disorganized and its the organization or actually it is the packrat in me that is a problem.

I've filled a bag with perfectly good clothes, I will dump at the Happy Hour Service Center tomorrow. My things have taken a life of their own and I got a problem. My problem with clothes is I love them. I wear the same old thing over and over even though I have many other clothes I am?saving?. The rags are as hard to part with as the treasures.

My mom will get out of the hospital tomorrow. The combination of diabetes and a tick bite has led to an infection in her leg which has been a mess. I pull ticks off all the time. I hated when she got the bite. I really did not feel that concerned. My mom's skin has gotten so frail, she has numerous bruises and scratches.

Old age is not for the faint of heart. I have a 16 year old poodle who is blind, deaf, senile. He enjoys his food and loves me. I see him waiting in the hallway waiting for me to come home. He went on the dog walk this morning which I don't normally let him do. Well, when we are coming back he turns and goes the other way.

The young dogs run to fetch him. He stops but still heads the wrong way. I get the young dogs back in the house and then drive in the car to get him. I get out to get him. He is now running. Thankfully, being a senior citizen, I can outrun him, barely. Some people think folks who become senile don't feel the pains of arthritis etc. I think they do. They just can't process the problem.

Frank was stunned when I picked him up. Where did you come from was probably his thought. He loved the car ride. He has been a car riding dog most of his life.

Anyway, today has been a drag. Sat in the hospital, came home for the air condition repairman who did not charge me, got a little clutter busted. My mom definitely comes home tomorrow and we have a home health care nurse to boot. I welcome any support system.

The only thing bad about the home healthcare nurse is my mother has to give up driving. She is truly a good driver.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Life's goalposts.

Below is the link for Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalpost of Life by Bobby Bare

Country music is well known for lyrics that can be funny in the combination of everyday life and the theme of the song. I had a boss who would quote this when things were going poorly for him. I always think of it when things are difficult.

My mom's white blood cell count is up which is not good. The air conditioner is broken, The check engine light is on the car. The doctor makes the rounds between 6 am and 9 am or at lunchtime. My brother and sister are handicapped and they can't be left with no air conditioning. I have a difficult neighbor. They want me to get rid of my dogs. They bark at the horses which is stressful to the horses. He is going to shoot them. I have been keeping the crew in the house until I get everything situated.

Exactly, that will be me howling at the moon tonight. I plan to go to the hospital at 6 am. Talk to the air condition repair person at 8am when they open. With my luck, the doctor will walk in just as they answer after having me on hold.

I guess that will be me howling tomorrow night too. I have faith that Jesus will drop kick me through the goalpost of life tomorrow and the next. My prayer tonight, my mother gets better.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

There is never enough time and the corn is green.

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. I remember two elderly women talking about their parent's passing when I was young. There comment stayed with me. You never have a friend like your parents. I know this is not true for everyone but I wish it was. I had wonderful parents, not perfect but wonderful all the same.

There is never enough time. I feel lucky this weekend; we got a little more time with my mother. She had developed an infection in one of her legs. We thought we were doing a good job controlling her diabetes. She often complained about her blood sugar dropping low.

I am diabetic too. I monitor my sugar haphazardly. I am bad to eat bananas or too much watermelon and then go push the lawnmower. My mother’s arthritis prevents her from strenuous activity.  Unfortunately, my mom’s diabetes has gotten worse and she will probably be using insulin.

She had gotten a tick bite. Then, a flea had gotten on her leg and bounced about. What started as a stomach virus escalated into an infection in her right leg.  Fortunately, antibiotics will clear the problem.

 Frankly, I thought I was going to lose my mother Friday. She was declining rapidly. I was going to massage her leg that morning and she had a knot that looked like a swollen insect bite. It had turned angry and red by the time we got to the doctor.

Before leaving the house, she asked me if we could just wait until Monday.   If we had waited, she would have been in the ER the next day and at the least have lost a leg. My youngest sister took over for me Friday night. I woke all night. My mother’s appetite and color was better before I left the hospital. It was that nagging worry if this was the end.

We have dogs, which we intend to keep. I just have to get more vigilant in flea and tick preventatives on them. When her two seven pound wonders come in, they do a racy sashay down the hallway to my mother’s bedroom.  I’ll start closing her door and pick them up for a quick wash. Her little dog Daisy lets me know, I am the help.  Oh dear, I can see her going for sympathy after her bath. The Chihuahua in her can really tremble.

My mom has three comfortable chairs in her bedroom. Each dog has laid claim to one. If you sit in Daisy’s, she will stretch her legs to push you. Yoda will snuggle up. Both girls have been sleeping in their chairs. My sister tucks them in. Life is good. Their owner will be home in about four days.

This is sorghum

Friday, June 14, 2013

Brand new blue corvette

Taking my mom to the doctor today, it is day 5 with her illness, I follow a bright blue, new corvette. It is a hot and sassy car. Part of the fun for me is seeing who is driving the car. And as usual, it is an old man.

Once you have the money to buy such, you're no longer young. I've known a couple to purchase a Porsche. They were in their thirties. I was maybe 27 and had never known anyone who owned an expensive car. I had seen them. I had talked about them. I actually thought I was going to be able to buy one when I started teaching. Anyway, life happens and quickly I might add.

There is a piece of me that wants to sneer at the old goat in a young man's car. There is a larger part of me that says go for it. You got a few good years left and if that is what makes you happy, go for it.

For me, what I would waste money on would be a vacation around the world on cruise ships. Stopping to travel to exotic countries and getting back on the boat. I've heard cruise ships offer the same amenities as assisted living.

But back to reality, mom is in the hospital. She started perking and eating much better as soon as she got settled. I'll be up at 5 am to get back to see about her. My heart has been breaking all week. I love my mother.

The check engine light lit up in the Ford Taurus. I can drive the Toyota but it is so low, I think she would have trouble getting in or out. I'll have to take the pick-up. At least I have more than one car. Even the blue corvette would not be much help. I doubt I could get in and out that easily. lol

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rambling on a tight schedule

I'm retired, it time to relax, vacation, dabble in hobbies. Luckily, I have family to care for. I say luckily in that I have always needed structure. I taught summer school faithfully. I would squander an entire summer and find myself doing what I meant to do in the summer after school in September.

One summer, I pictured myself painting my house. That fall. I propped the ladder against the house and painted a section each day. It is just that when I have plenty of time, I procrastinate. Getting out of the house in the morning, I am mopping, sweeping, picking up like crazy. Everyone is in the car waiting as I run out the door with a bag of garbage to take to the curb.

This has been a miserable week. My mom has been sick. She maintains she caught what her two little dogs had. Each had been throwing up. These are some well petted and cared for darlings. I took a bug off Daisy and she gets on my mother's lap and looks at me like I had done something terrible to her. Such a snooty little patootie, she sits in her own chair in my mother's room and stretches her little legs to push you off.  Each one is getting picky about the dog food each morning. My mother is making them a better offer.

Dinner tonight is hamburger patties with Vidalia onions, mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage and cornbread. My mother is fond of potatoes, cabbage and cornbread. I hope she feels better soon. I don't care how old you get, you feel like a child when you think about what life would be without your parent. 

I remember when my dad passed. My maternal grandmother passed four days later. I actually had two people to tell me, "Well they were old." In my numbness, I was still alert to think, "And that has anything to do with whether you will miss them." I did not use benevolence leave when they passed. 

I did not want to take a day off work for such a miserable reason. I always believed in feeling too good to go to work. Of course my dad passed on the last day of school before Christmas holidays which made that easier. Such sad thoughts I know.
Daisy and Yoda as babies.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five Amazing Facts about Deserts by Kathryn Lance

Five Amazing Facts about Deserts

By Kathryn Lance, writer, editor, and nature docent. Web site:; Nature blog: KL's Sonoran Nature Journal; Writing blog: KL's Writing Tips.

1.      Not all deserts are hot. Most people think of deserts as hot and dry, with sparse vegetation. But many deserts are actually cold (in the Antarctic, for example), and some deserts, such as the Sonoran desert, support a wide community of plants. The thing that all deserts have in common is dryness. Most deserts have annual rainfall from less than 10 inches per yearto none.

2.      There are four deserts in North America. These dry areas are the Great Basin, a cold desert found mostly in Northern AZ, NV, and UT; the Mojave Desert, in California and Arizona, which contains Death Valley, the lowest spot in the continental United States and often the hottest spot during the summer; the Chihuahuan desert, found mainly in Northeastern Mexico and Texas; and the Sonoran Desert, the lushest desert in North America, which is found primarily in Sonora, Mexico, and southern Arizona.

3.      The saguaro cactus is found only in Arizona. This emblematic cactus, with its tall central trunk and expressive arms, is often used in illustrations and films as an emblem of the desert. But this very special cactus is found only in the Sonoran desert. There are a lot of old movies that are supposedly set in California or Texas, or other western states, where cowboys shoot it out among the saguaros. When you see these movies now you will know they were really filmed in Arizona or northern Mexico.

4.      Part of Star Wars took place in Arizona.  Most people's idea of a desert involves barren sand dunes and palm trees. The Sonoran desert in Arizona has several areas of barren sand dunes that have been the setting for dozens of movies, from Beau Geste in 1966 to Star Wars in 1977 (Tatooine).

5.      The road to California used to be made out of wooden planks. The shifting sand dunes in western AZ and southeastern CA made road-building difficult in the early part of the last century. Eventually pieces of planking were attached to each other and laid on top of the dunes to support automobiles. My father used to tell me about traveling to California on the Old Board Road in a Model A Ford.

10 things I learned in Pottery Classes - Cindy Douglass

10 things I Learned in Pottery Classes
by Cindy Douglass of Stardust Pottery

I've taken pottery classes for about four years now. Although I now have a business selling pottery, I still enjoy taking classes for the social and learning aspects. These are some of the life lessons I've learned in pottery classes.

1. Creation is messy

This might not be obvious, but the act of creation is much like giving birth. It is a messy business! When I started taking pottery classes, I tried to stay neat and clean. The clay quickly let me know that it doesn’t work well that way. You have to use water to form the clay on the wheel. Water mixes with clay and then slings all over the place as the wheel spins. Glazes in five gallon buckets have to be mixed with a power drill and mixing tool. The glazes often get slung around, over the tops of the buckets.

In otherwords, you can't expect to keep everything exactly the same if you want something new and different. Stir things up and it gets messy. But the results, hopefully, will be worth the mess.

2. Learning new skills is awkward

I had an affinity to clay. I was sure everything about the clay would come easily to me. Boy! Was I wrong! Learning new skills in middle age is a little rough on the ego. Seeing the walls of the pots droop down time after time can be disheartening. Many times I walked out of that classroom in tears. But when the next class came around, I sat down to try again.

Building new skills takes patience with one's self. You can't base your self esteem on your failures. You have to base your self esteem on your successes, even if that success is merely showing back up to class.

3. It has to be fun

Learning to become a potter became such an overwhelming “must do” for me that I’d get more and more intense as I attempted to work the clay. On one particularly rough day where the clay screamed “NO!” at me, my instructor said to me, “Cindy, you don’t look like you are having fun. Aren’t you having fun?” At that moment I realized how tense I had gotten. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to excel. But what I really needed to do was to relax, enjoy the process and have a little fun with it!

Isn’t it odd that we have to have a little fun to succeed?

4. Slow down and focus

Another thing I learned working with clay is that there’s no forcing it to behave. Clay, like people, have to be coaxed into responding the way we’d like. As soon as the clay felt forced, it would drop like mud.  But by slowing down, giving the clay my full attention, and encouraging the clay made it stand up like excited body parts!

5. Encouragement is always appreciated

We all need encouragement to face and endure the down days in pottery class. It surprises me how few people encourage others until they’ve been encouraged themselves. So, to ensure that I got some encouragement when I needed it, I offered it to the other students. It trained me to start looking for the positive in other people’s work. And that really works to build synergy in a group setting.

6. There is so much more to learn

There are some things we learn that seem to be set in stone, but clay is not one of those things. There are hundreds of techniques and a thousand different ways to accomplish those techniques. There are as many ingredients to a glaze as there are types of soil, rock and minerals in the earth. There will always be something new to learn, but that makes the journey exciting for me.

7. Creating pottery requires lots of exercise

I’ve found that wedging clay requires a lot of strength. One pound of clay is not too bad, but when I try to wedge clay for the 10 lb pots, that requires a lot of repetitive motion. By the time I’ve wedged the clay for the day, I’ve spent at least an hour in exercise. And that’s not counting hauling around 50 lb boxes of clay and the 5 gallon buckets of water and glaze. So if you need strength training, but want something to show for the time exercising become a potter!

8. Don’t follow the leader.  Use your voice.

Every artist who agrees to demonstrate their skills knows that the students will want to practice the new techniques shown them. It is sad though, when a student attempts to copy the entire work of the artist. Don’t be a lemming. Find and use your own voice in your body of work. That’s what makes a true artist.

9. Pottery friends are some of the best

Building friendships on shared creative endeavors really brings out the best in people. My pottery friends come from all socioeconomic classes, but we have a shared passion: clay.  I am lucky in my pottery friends.

10. Only the Great Spirit is perfect

No matter how long I create in clay, it is not likely that my work will ever achieve perfection. It’s said that the Navaho Indians deliberately leave a small imperfection in their weavings because to create something perfect is hubris. Their reasoning is that only the Great Spirit is, and can be, perfect. It is a good reminder for those of us who work with our hands in clay. We naturally strive to attempt perfection every time we sit down to create. But the beauty actually lies in the imperfections our hands create. That’s the charm of handmade items.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Moonlight, Moonbright

“Mam, that yeller paint might be a bit bright.” 

Lillian Walt rises a few inches taller within her thin frame.” It will be fine.” She tells the painter before turning on her heels to meet the contractor in the new home.

“Would you and your husband like a light installed on the electric pole outside? They really don’t cost that much to power.”

“I would love one. Except. my husband wants it nice and dark  at night. He plans to sit on the porch and look at lightning bugs, study the stars.”

“I can see that.”

“Frankly, I can’t. Living in the city, you can see when you wake in the middle of the night.  I’m spooked about no light.”

“You’ll be enjoying your new home soon. Are you sure about that yellow paint?”

“I always have a yellow kitchen. . My kitchen is that same color at home. That’s my son driving in, don’t let me keep you.”

Weeks later, the movers pull out of the driveway. Lillian sits on the edge of a recliner.

“I need a shower, do you know which box has soap?”

Joe Walt shrugs. “That paint in the kitchen is bright.”

“I like it bright. If you remember correctly, that is the color of the kitchen at our house.”

“Well it is the color now.” Joe walks off smiling.

“Soap, I said soap. Where’s soap?”

“It’s getting dark outside, too late to run by a store. Let’s open boxes till we find some.”

“Viola, dishwashing liquid”

“That will do.”

After showering, Lillian made the bed and lay down. Pookie hops on the bed and does his little night night growl.

Joe is walking through the house turning off lights. It gets darker and darker. A bright glow comes through the bedroom window.

Somebody’s out there Joe.

Joe lies next to her. “Pookies not barking. Moon light is bright."

Monday, June 10, 2013

My mother is not feeling well

Mom will be 83 this year and does remarkably well. If people give her time, she is quite competent to tell you what you need to know. She's nauseated this morning and is delaying taking her medications.

I'm lucky in that I have had my mother much longer than most people and I hope to have her longer. It is disquieting when they tell you where important papers and items are in case they aren't around. For MOE, we don't keep large sums of money in the house. For one thing, we don't have large sums of money. We are folks that are going to have a "big ass" fight over the Corelle ware and who gets mom's stainless steel bread pan.

Her little dog Daisy is so in tune with my mom, she is acting sick. I don't think the seven pound chihuahua mix is. My mother does worry about her. I'm sure if we went to the vet they could find some specialty vitamin for the little love. I know some people think animals don't have souls. I think they do. Their feelings are so deep. Daisy would not eat when my mom was in the hospital.

Oh, I was not selected for TEDx. The young man wanted to keep my name and contact open for a future TEDx. Of course if some glitzier folks come along . . . Anyway, he gave me a contact with a storytelling group he thought I would be a fit for. This month's topic is "fast food restaurants". I'll try my ideas out on a later blog.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Holiday from political snark.

Well since it has been announced about the NSA monitoring of activity on the internet and cellphone. All those snarky political commentaries have disappeared from my Facebook feed.

You can think what you want politically. The manipulation of people with put downs concerns me. I read one several months ago that called the president a liar, communist and other things Americans do not like. Reading to the end, there were no examples. Just accusations without substance.

Now if someone wants to say healthcare reform costs too much and we are in danger of creating an entitlement mindset. Well, I can follow your logic.

Healthcare reform is too little too late. I know there are bums and parasites in this world. There are also people who need help and you shouldn't allow them to stop you from helping them. My sister has schizophrenia. The law and healthcare system treat these people poorly.

The real shame about mental illness is that if they applied all the fever they do in finding a cure for AIDS, cancer or heart disease, there is probably a diagnosis and cure for schizophrenia. It's just that these people don't have a voice. Plus, the disease is so devastating it can destroy a family.

My sister takes a much better medication today. The stigma and the early onset of her disease has been devastating for her to live a full life. I am tapping at a computer keyboard instead of standing in front of a classroom working because of her illness.

When you live with a disease like schizophrenia, you recognize it as a brain malfunction. I see dementia like characteristics in my sister. People with dementia get paranoid. A friend of mine said, "You get a lot of money from the government." I get $550 a month and best of all healthcare in the form of medicare for my sister. I give her $200 a month in spending money. I would easily pay someone $350 a month to provide my sister her own room, bathroom, social activities, food, vet bills for her dog.

I don't miss the negative arguments on Facebook. I scrolled by most. What bothered me was these were very nice people who posted them. One I know would give you the shirt off his back.

I don't judge people by their politics. None of us have a crystal ball telling us what the best course of action will be. I just pray for the president and people in congress. I recognize that they may make decisions that I don't understand that may be good for us all.

Its the twisting that concerns me. Saxby Chambliss made a mistake about rapes in the military. He should have said rape was wrong to clarify his position. But he did make a cogent point. You have young men between 18 and 25 making up the bulk of airmen. They have a strong sex drive and you combine that with the mobilization of troops, the boys all need a wife. It increases the possibility of a young males desires overruling his judgement with knowing whether a woman really means no.

And women have another problem. We need a cultural shift where a woman who has sex outside of marriage is not called a whore. Then no doesn't mean a maybe sometimes. A woman can go to combat but has to be coy about having sex.

The gist is that the problems in this world are complex with no easy answers. I worked for a principal one time who all the teacher's despised. What I learned from that was, people need to work together. He hated the teachers, they hated him. It was a piss poor situation.

I know those Facebook comments will return. I'm just going to savor the hiatus. Cheers.

Anyway, this page on facebook looks interesting.         Save the Hunt House - American History.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The TEDx tryout came and went. I almost did not go. That insecurity that my story would be insignificant and overdone loomed over me. 

I listened to the others. We all got soapboxes is all I got to say. My spiel could have been a wee more academic but the ham took over. Laughter is a terrible encouragement for me. What can I say? Feeling good is great.

The good looking, late twenties guy liked me. The woman didn’t. Was the problem me, the dearth of talent or did she take a dislike for me. I come from the great unwashed and it glitters at time. 

I would hazard how well the conference turns out affects how she perceives her career. I recognize a piece of myself when I was young.  Life is a series of events. Showing up is the big part.

The TEDx is scheduled for June 22nd. They said it was probably going to be rescheduled for July, which would be a great idea. They really need to advertise. I will go picked or not. I get so much writing material from speakers. They pique my curiosity and before I know it, a character is born.

I’ve got to get my jeans and long sleeve cotton top on. There is a row farm that lets you pick anything in a 5 gallon bucket for $10. One bucket will have purple hull peas. The next bucket will have Okra. The third bucket will be a mix of squash and whatever strikes my fancy. Lots of prepping, freezing and good eating going to happen this week. You know word grammar doesn’t jive with Southern speech.

Happy Saturday, it rained last night. The grass is high and the tomato plants even higher. We are blessed.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Alligator Hunt

Trifecta Writing Challenge - Create a story in three sentences.

I’m on an alligator hunt. Carefully stepping over logs and through the brush, a chipmunk scurries out of sight. I think I feel a bite.
Thumbnail for version as of 23:27, 19 February 2005Alligator. By James, scubadive67 on {{cc-by}}Source:


Today is the day to pitch a talk in Macon, GA. Most of the local talks last year were terrific. One guy did ramble. At a writer's conference, the ramblers were amazing. My favorite was the book agent who rambled and talked like little bells that went higher at the end of each sentence.

Which brings me back to Earth, what are they going to think of my five minutes of spiel. The official talk should only last 15 minutes. I would wind mine up at 11 minutes. Give folks a chance to run to the restroom, talk to their neighbor between talks. It's rare anyone complains about a talk being too short.

Why do I even want to do this? I want that confidence to speak in front of people.

Storytelling been discussed so many different ways. It's just that I have fixated on the power of stories in our lives and how they help us relate to the world. Life is difficult and stories help us navigate.

A newsfeed announced Beyonce was pregnant. I'm lucky to know who sings what on the radio.

How often have you heard the adage that assume makes an ass out of U and ME. I don't think it translates into another language.

The following story defines the problem of making an assumption.

A woman always cut the end of a ham off before she put it in the pot to cook. Her daughter asked why. 
She said, "I don't know, I'll call mom." 
"Mom, why do we cut the end off the ham?" 
"Ummm, mom always did. I know the end is always fine. We cook it in beans or greens every time. I'll ask your grandmother when she is finished napping." 
"Did you have a good nap mom?" 
"I remember when I could work all day. 
"Mom, I'm curious, why do we cut the end off the ham? 
"To get it in the pot."

What goes around, comes around.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jealousy is a painful thing.

The three most aggressive dog breeds are 1. dachshund, 2. chihuahua, 3. jack russell terrier. Having owned a lot of dogs I concur. I got bit on the boob by my chihuahua mix this morning.

A quick decisive bite at Muffin who was laying on my side as I laid on the sofa. Like all things done in haste, a mistake was made. For the record, he was spanked. The fact is, I don't know if it does any good. He has such a possessive bone. He barely accepts the fact that my 16 year old toy poodle is my official shadow and he is the new sidekick.

I own a pitbull. She is very meek. All the chihuahua mixes have bitten her and she did not bite back. Button seeks her out for a play session which I used to break up. Now, I break it up on occasion. All Buttons wants to do is play.

I don't believe in breeding pitbulls. She is hard like a man and so very strong. If she wanted to bite, it would be the end of something. Right now, I think this is true of chihuahuas.

I'm still working on a TEDx talk proposal. I'm losing my resolve. My spiel is about how the honest story can help you navigate life. Fiction is now full of fantasy, werewolves, vampires, etc. I've always been a big fantasy, science fiction fan but like all things, there can be too much. Dragon-Con in Atlanta and similar events have stoked the fire for these genres. There is so much fun and escapism. The stories are usually honorable unlike real life. Diogenes is still searching for an honest man.

Hazards of a teaching career.


Bubblegum, beside from blowing humongous bubbles and chewing the sweet flavor out of the gum as a child, I do not chew gum. Ironic, my mother chews gum.

The first year I taught school, students could not wear hats. The assistant principal walked in my second period classroom. Every male student had a hat on.

In time, I could feel a student taking too long in the restroom. My child monitoring system kicked in.

While moonlighting at Rich’s department store in the Greenbrier Mall, I stopped a child running on the escalator.  The security guard told me good job. My child monitoring system had become an involuntary response.

Moonlighting at Wachovia Bank as a corporate remittance specialist, we would receive a check mailed that day and have it processed before morning. While working, a woman chewing gum came to me with a question.  I tapped the trashcan and told her to spit her gum out, which she did. Embarrassed, I bought her a pack of gum out of the snack machine at break and told her to chew all she wanted.  My child monitoring system had gone out of control.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 5 of the Blogathon - Theme: Your Favorite App - yeah right.

Sort of like my favorite toilet seat or lawnmower. I use them but I don't think too much about them. They do save time with passwords and finding what you want on a website.

I had planned to retire and live my life without using a computer. I had sat through staff development in rooms of computers for students. They seemed nifty enough. But, we had an IBM selectric at the school I worked at and I thought Why?

In the summer of 1995 I was writing a review of the literature for a class I was taking. I was doing the project wrong in that I was trying to create flow. I bought my first Mac. Sort of like when I got my first cell phone in 2000. Once you get one, you wonder how you did it without them. They are so convenient.

I have a smartphone which I use on occasion. I'm still enamored with desktop computers. I am typing this on a laptop but it is too sensitive at times. Like the time I was snooping on my high school nemesis and accidentally hit the friend request button on Facebook. What a bummer. I undid the request but I got a nasty note from Facebook about someone had complained about my abuse of befriending people I did not know. I'll let you connect the dots. 

My fitness pal will soon be my new favorite app. I need to drop weight like yesterday. Writing down what you eat is important. It is easier than you think to forget about that baloney sandwich you snacked on.

But my rebellion against technology is not over. I may be computer literate. Yes I buy used computers because I like to play with them. But don't think I have any ambition to wax abundant enthusiasm over technology. It just helps me do what I want to do.

Now ask me about my dogs. They are cool.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Super Freak.

When I read the trifecta challenge, I thought of Rick James and the song "Super Freak". Below is a 1982 video of him and the song. A fun blast from the past. I updated the post and changed it from 495 words to 323 words.

Disco was over, no one did the hustle, Sara Bell wanted to go to bed and pull the covers over her head. That would mess her hair and ruin her make-up and Eric could still come.

Picking up the newspaper to read, that damn dog downstairs was yipping.  

Stomping to the refrigerator and back, Sara makes an angry burst of stomps.

Old lady Mauldlin hits the ceiling. Sara walks into the bathroom, turns on the shower and focuses the water so it will leak in Mrs. Mauldlin’s bathroom.

Taking a triumphant stomp, the floor collapses beneath her right foot. Steam envelops her. 

Kneeling in pain, willing herself not to cry, tears flow.  

She told Mrs. Mauldlin if she had a BB gun she would shoot her yapping dog this morning.

Mrs. Mauldling called her a “trumpet”. She told her mother later that afternoon.

“Sara, why would she call you a “strumpet”.

“I don’t know. She is a mean old bag.”

“Are you having multiple sex partners.”

“What? Why would you think that?”

“She’s not calling you a trumpet, she’s calling you a strumpet. She’s saying you’re promiscuous.”

“I’m not a freak.” Sara slammed the phone down.

Something sharp prevented her from pulling her leg from the floor. Mrs. Mauldlin and the building manager talk.

“There’s her foot. She’s not responding.”

Sara talks to them but they cannot hear.

Mrs. Mauldlin says call 911.

The building manager says, “We don’t need to do that.”

The door closes downstairs. Mrs. Mauldlin speaks to 911.

The floor isn’t sturdy under her left knee. Water was trickling down the wall to puddle on the linoleum under Sara.

The manager argued with the firefighters.

The firefighters removed a section of the floor. “We’re going to lift you on three.”

The bruises faded to green, her knee aches before it rains, the long angry scratch healed. Sara helped Mrs. Mauldlin move. Sara hung up on Eric when he called.

The well is out.

Last night, the well went out. The circuit breaker reset on the well; but, it tripped two more times yesterday and one time this morning. I'm waiting on the well repair man.

You can get philosophical, high brow and discuss art. If the water is not running, you can come down to Earth fairly quick.

I one of those people who questioned my life choices the past few years. I've got a lot of living to do. Being in my fifties, I recognize that life is finite and you certainly can't skip off and redo career choices. My big regret is not taking writing more seriously.

Lately, I find I made a good choice. I have friends in their fifties like me who cannot support themselves. With the economy and their age, they really are having a hard time. I've never known all these starving artists and it is not fun.

Not being able to help and/or not wanting to be taken advantage of is depressing. I have worked many less than dignified jobs to keep myself afloat. I expect others to do the same. The only problem is that even those jobs have to be appreciated. I am reluctant to suggest them because I know that the person may have been trying and could not get a job.

There is a balance. Juggling two jobs most of my life, living a little leaner and playing a little more would have been a better investments of my time. I was the beaver who worked and didn't play like the squirrel. Hindsight is definitely twenty twenty. You have the benefit of knowing the ups and downs of the economy.

Dolly Parton said she wouldn't give a million for the lessons learned from her poverty stricken childhood and would gladly not have to pay a million to relive it. Like Parton, there are lessons I learned that will help me write. I have no desire to stalk a sexy vampire. There is plenty of fodder here and now for me.

The well repair man has left. Lightning struck the control box. $213. Good thing I was a beaver.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two days into the blogathon, my senior office staff have gathered with the token cat. Each member of the staff settles into their beds, licks one paw and cleans around the pad. The old man of the crew does  plenty of gratuitous scratching. Sort of like post planning at the end of the school year. It's work as usual but so much easier without the junior staff. The junior staff are in the backyard digging holes.

I've decided to try a TedX talk. Petrified is how I feel. Why I would want to step out of my comfort zone baffles me. My topic will be "The Story in Us All". I began the spiel last night. Jotting down my thoughts. I will add to it until I can truly create a big funny monologue with a point.

I was a funny teacher. We all have our tactics. When things were bad as a child, my dad would inject humor. My dad used humor for its God given purpose which was pleasure. He also used it to defuse a situation.  I learned from him or it could be my Irish roots showing.

Students do not take autocratic control well. The only teachers I knew who were able to use it had a spouse on the school board or some other similar tactic. The rest of us had to project authority and respect. Having felt on the outside looking in most of my life, my tactic was humor.

By the end of my career, my favorite student was the male summer school student and some of the girls. They failed not from lack of ability. They failed because they did not turn in a critical report. It was not unusual for them to be smarter than average. They were born with a cynical gene.

I got along with the girls but since the guys liked me, the girls had to like me too.

Summer school lasted about six weeks. The worst class was like holding back the sea for about two weeks. It was miserable. Then it always happened. It was the easier class. The guys came in happy. Not too fond of the coursework but they did it without complaint. That's when the jokes began. I would have one of them prod me until the zinger came. Satisfied, they did their work.

Now, I am not a particularly chatty or lively person. That alterego just came out in the classroom. I've been trying to get her to show up in my writing. She is there. It is just slow. subtle, unbidden and cannot be forced. 

Hindsight is twenty twenty. I think my greatest power as a teacher was I cared for my students. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I never realized I had the power to return home. 

Maybe I'll get picked for the TedX. I can feel the punchlines coming.

Junior staff member taking a well deserved rest. The bed is so much more comfortable without that pesky stuffing.


 Zephyr is a soft, peaceful breeze. And I thought it had to be an imaginary animal. For many of you, we will not meet again until the next A...