Wednesday, December 28, 2005

hey, y'all

Come look here ....  storm sadness on the sunnyside ...I finally got pictures added!


Invasion of the vampire teens

With the holidays , my home has once again become joyfully invaded by teenagers.

The pics are of Caitlin and my niece Holley, who spends all school vacations with us.

I love having a housefull of kids.

Absolutely ANYTHING can happen ...

because they have a friend

 who has a boyfriend

who has a car

 and it's Friday night!

what I can't figure out is how they can stay up all night

and sleep the sleep of the innocent,

 sprawled all over every couch and chair in the living room,

deaf to the sounds of every day life

and people stepping over them.

They never slept that good when they were babies!

I am a good cook...

I also can't figure why me calling them to eat a lovingly prepared meal doen't affect them,

but if I mention ordering pizza, they knock me down coming at a dead run!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Past

This is Emily.

Can you tell she is the Queen of our household?

Many of you should know her. She is always in my lap when I talk to you and quite a lot (but not all ) of the typos are her doing.

I remember that awful time when Caitlin was 2 and Mariah was 12.

If one of them wasn't pitching a fit , the other one was.

It was Christmas and I was trying to get through the lighting of the Advent wreath without Caitlin blowing out all of the candles and /or Mariah having a melt down over the phone ringing.

So, here I was smiling my best Christmas smile through clenched teeth, whe Emily comes rubbing up agianst the candles wanting to be petted.

Did you know a cat will burst into flames very quickly?

I tried to beat out the fire with the Advent book, which greatly alarmed the flaming feline.

She  leaped from the table and took off like a comet , with the family in "hot " pursuit.

Tom ended the conflagration by pulling gramma's ancestral afghan off a chair and putting her out.

Miraculously, her skin wasn't hurt, but she was just about naked and horribly embarrassed about the entire ordeal. She came out of it a great deal better than the afghan.

Add to my children's Christmas memories , the scent of "house cats roasting on a open fire."

Yes, that was a good one on the sunnyside.

Have a happy day and may all your pets be uncooked this season.


Sunday, December 18, 2005


my little girl

storm sadness on the sunnyside

Do you know that horrible feeling?

 When you have suffered a loss too terrible to discuss,

 so you go about your day,

 feeling as content as you can,

 but there is an ache

 like a tooth you can't help prodding with your toungue?

That's how we all feel down here after the storm.

We don't talk about it a whole lot.

Many euphenisms come up.

When someone says,"oh, yeah, remember BEFORE"...

we all look at the ground

 because the speakers eyes may be tearing up

 and you can't cry anymore.

It won't help.

 You just suck it up and go on.

Because that's all you can do.

 You have to live with the knowledge that you will never feel safe again.

You know that there is no great big 911 number you can call to make help come.



Friday, December 16, 2005

the 5er

     1.  Do you ever go to someone's journal and just think to yourself, "Oh they go again...get over it already!"  And do you think your answer is naughty or nice? 

No, I am really glad to hear things from other's lives

     2.  I kinda think naughty can be fun and nice can get boring. Tell us something you have done lately that was naughty.

I haven't been naughty enough lately. i fear I run the risk of being 'Miss Goody Two Shoes"

     3.  Have you ever used the "If you are naughty Santa won't bring you any presents" line on your kids?  And if they remained naughty did you ever withhold their presents?

I tried it with Mariah, but she said,"here's the phone! You just call him right now and tell him to keep his old presents! i 'm tired of being good!"

     4.  If you were at the work Christmas party and your "naughty" boss gave you a squeeze on your back side would you tell anyone?

depends on if the boss is hot....hmmm....maybe I could be a little naughty!

     5.  Tell us about an unexpected nice thing someone has done for you this December...or something nice you have done for something else that wasn't expecting it.

     People have been so sweet to me.Two women I hardly know have given me a good sum of money without any strings attached . I am shocked at the kindness of people. 


I got tagged by my dear friends Mal and Bonnie to write 10 things that make me happy.

What a glorious excuse to chronicle my joy!

In no particular order and on the spur of this moment....

1.Caitlin's excitement when she is all dressed up to go out.

2. My red coat that looks like the one I had as a llittle girl that Mariah bought for me...when I wear it I am wrapped up in her love...even though I embarrassed her by crying in the store when she bought if for me.

(I am so corny)

3.My ancient mean cat Emily teasing my hair into an unconquerable mess while I am asleep.

4.Just the sight of my Tom

5.Tom playing "Ripple" on the guitar, even when he forgets the words.

6.trying on pants that used to fit and are now too big

7.Smelling the salt air on the way to the beach

8.the kids in my class running to hug me in the morning

9.friends that are so at home at my house they come in without knocking

10.calling everyone I know to invite them to a party.



So, if you read this are tagged!


Monday, December 12, 2005


Tom's surgery went well, much better than we originally thought.

The way things stand now, the doc feels he has a 75% chance of getting 75% of the use of his arm. He will not be able to do the work he has done for the past 20 years, making doors and windows, but he will be able to play his guitar and get around okay.

The past weeks have been a a blur to me.

I can hardly even remember what has happened. I have been going to work at 7:30 until 3:00, going to tutor from 4 until 7 and baby sitting from 8 until 3:00. ( It'a not as bad as it sounds, Victoria goes to bed at 9 and I sleep on their couch)

It has bugged me that we didn't have our Christmas tree up yet.We usually have it up by the day after Thanksgiving, so it is practically nude by Christmas!

 I told my daughters I was putting it up yesterday,come hell or high water (which is not a good threat to make in this area of the country)

Caitln had spent the night with a friend and I called her to say I was coming to get her. She kinda hemmed and hawed a bit, less than enthusiastic about coming home. I was such a good mom, "Okay, you do what ever you want to , but I am putting up the tree. Just call your sister and let her know you wont' be here."

What I wanted to say was more along the lines of, "well, just forget about your poor mother who is working so hard to try to give you a Christmas...go ahead and break her heart"

Do I get extra points for restraint?

Well that took care of that.

20 minutes later, Mariah showed up with Caitlin in tow!

See, parents of teens, they do grow up and realize what matters!

 Mariah wouldn't miss trimming the tree with her daddy and I for the world.( apparantly wont' let her sister miss it either)

The second picture is of my house Sunday with the terrible teens. Since they were 5, their moms have all gotten together and made cookies at Christmas.They love this tradition and never want anything to change. Stephanie, the head baker mom in in the group has had a hard time with chronic fatigue lately. We are all worried about her. The kids were quite indignant about the Cookiefest not being held at her house.

Instead of carefully prepared cookies and homemade frosting, I threw some store-bought cookie dough sheets at them and told them to have at it! A few flour fights later, they had some cookies made and a lot of fun!

The other shot is a random one of them last summer that I just liked. They look like Laguana Beach.

Life is good here on the sunnyside.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

3The Mammogram

For years and years they told me

Be careful of your breasts

Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.


And give them monthly tests


So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.<

Guarded them very carefully,


And I always wore my bra.


After 30 years of astute care
My gyno, Dr Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram
"OK," I said, "let's do it
"Stand up here real close" she said


(She got my boob in line

"And tell me when it hurts," she said,


"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine

She stepped upon a pedal,

I could not believe my eyes!

A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooters in a vise

My skin was stretched and mangled

From underneath my chin.

My poor boob was being squashed

To Swedish Pancake thin


Excruciating pain I felt,

Within it's viselike grip

A prisoner in this vicious thing


My poor defenseless tit!


"Take a deep breath, she said to me


Who does she think she's kidding?!?

My chest is mashed in her machine

And woozy I am getting.

"There, that's good," I heard her say


(The room was slowly swaying


"Now, let's have a go at the other one."

Have mercy, I was praying


It squeezed me from both up and down,


It squeezed me from both sides


I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,

To HER tender little hide.

Next time that they make me do this


I will request a blindfold.

I have no wish to see again


My knockers getting steam rolled


If I had no problem when I came in,


I surely have one now


If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"

This machine was created by a man,

Of this, I have no doubt


I'd like to stick his balls in there,

And, see how THEY come out!

Friday, November 25, 2005


These are the things that have happened here on the sunnyside lately....

We went to the ortho dude to see about Tom's shoulder, traquilly anticipating  a brief recovery after a laproscopic procedure (mentally insert John Belushi here)BUT NOOOOO!

The doc calmly tells us he will have to admit him for 2 or 3 days, he will be disabled for 4-6 months and may never be able to go back to his old job!

We have decided to think it is a worse case scenario he is speaking of. This is the same guy who did the surgery on Caitlin's leg when she shattered it in gymnastics 2 years ago .He said she might have damaged the growth plate and would walk with a limp, but now she is running cross country. Tom is scheduled for surgery December 1. He is slightly comatose on pain pills until that time.He is courageous and patient in his quiet way. I know in my heart he will be fine. 

I went skipping out to get the mail and found two letters, one from the State Income Tax Department and one from Murphy High School. Always optimistic, I assume the former is to thank me for paying my taxes and the latter to tell me what a industrious student my lovely daughter is.

I was wrong on both counts.

One wants money (dont we all ) the other wants to inform me that Caitlin's enjoyment of school is interfering with her learning (and probably that of others as well)

LaFonda the Honda and I were tootling joyfully down the road when a pothole the size of Texas (caused by the water from the hurricane) opened up. We emerged from the underground chamber with a flat tire and a bent rim.We have one car and no money!

My mom keeps forgetting I am working 2 jobs and keeps calling wnating to know what I am doing roaming around after dark!


So, after this explanation, I present my Thanksgiving Poem...

Join in with me on the chorus...It is meant to be a loud moan...the more voices the better..... 

For too many cats and dogs with fleas

Good God we're thankful

and that the hurricane didn't get me

Good God , we're thankful

For Hershey's chocolate and Merlot wine

Good God , we're thankful

For our family that likes us most of the time

Good God , we're thankful

For the Lortabs that ease Tom's shoulder

Good God, we're thankful

For porch rockers and getting older

Good God, we're thankful

For getting the crossword puzzle right

Good God , we're thankful

For my mom who calls us every night

Good God we're thankful

For Caitlin's grades and the IRS,

Good God, we're thankful

For potholes that leave rims compressed,

Good God , we're thankful!

for narrow misses by falling trees

Good God, we're thankful

for our leaky roof and friends like these

Good God we're thankful!

And we really are....

The best parts about Thanksgiving this year were Victoria (the 7 year old I am babysitting while her mom is out of town on business) telling me about why we celebrate Thanksgiving, "the Pigrims had to come to America because the Pharoh wouldn't let them worship God",

Mariah and her boyfriend coming by after dinner with his parents , saying"it's nice to come here because we want to, not because we feel we have to.",

our sister in heart, Paula and her daughters coming from Atlanta.

No clouds here!





Wednesday, November 16, 2005

News from the sunnyside

Tom is having surgery tomorrow on his shoulder. Seems that wreck that destroyed our old car that was only valued for the Grateful Dead sticker on the back windshield did a number on my man.

 He has a few severed tendons to stitch up.

I am not nervous yet, we'll see if I can hold onto the family creedo of faith and denial in the morning when they wheel him down that long cold hall.

He is calm as ever, saying, "it was just a sign that I need to slow down and look around a bit."

I think, yeah , a sign from the gods is great, but it would've done just as well to let a bird crap on the windshield and be done with it.

I am used to worrying about Tom's health, since he follows that old Irish tradition of drinking like a camel and smoking like a barbecue pit.

He is a teller of tales and a singer of songs long into the night.

His chloesterol is lowere than mine and I exercise and am careful what I eat.He subsists on fast food and whiskey.

I think he may live forever because his arteries are never clogged with meanness or pettiness.

He was born with the kindness in his heart and joy in his eyes most of us spend our lives trying to catch a shadow of.

He is so aggravating!

Can you imagine trying to have a decent marital spat with Jesus?

I am starting a second job tutoring after school.

It will mean working 12 hour days, but my family has some substance problems.

We like to eat.

Having all the utilities on at once is an indulgence we would like to become accustomed to again , also.

It is fun. The kids are really motivated, largely because their parents have paid an exorbitant sum of money to send them there and sit out in the lobby glowering at them.

It also lets me out of the constant homework battles at the house.

They say you forget the pain of childbirth.

I didn't .

However, I did block out the pain of adolescence.

It is awful!

How did I go from being the cool mom to being the bane of Caitlin's existence?

I suppose because I irrationally want her to pass ninth grade!

Poor child, being the victim of such callousness!

Well, until the next adventure...

keep on the sunnyside,



Is it really that big a deal?

C'mon guys...I have the feeling we were having a great party and there was just one obnoxious drunk there and everyone got mad and went home.

Here  I am standing on the porch, "hey, don't go yet! I am still having fun!"

We all say how we are such good friends, how we will be there for each other...

All it took was a little ad banner for everyone to take their toys and go home?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

saturday 6

1. You are invited to spend a night, alone, in a large house that is believed to be haunted.  A close friend of yours whom you trust tells you of his or her own experience, and you have sufficient reason to believe that there may be a genuine haunting going on there.  Without promise of any kind of reward for staying the night, would you agree to do so?

     I am allergic to being alone.

The haunted part wouldn't bother me. I have always wanted to have a paranormal experience and never have. My oldest daughter swears I could read her mtnd, but it was just experience. Teenagers dont' really change!

     2. What do you most enjoy about your job?

  It is different every day.

I relate emotionally on a deep level with children . We are both just trying to get through the day with our dignity intact.    

 3. Who was the last person you had a conversation with?  What was the main topic of the conversation?

telling my Tom about my weekend in the woods.

     5. What was the last food that you totally ruined -- to the point that itwas inedible -- when trying to cook?

I make some kind of rice dish with bean sprouts once that make Mariah gag!

     6. STRANGELY-OBSCURE QUESTION #1:  If you had to do over again, would you change anything?

Maybe I would've stayed in Colorado. That would've changed a lot of things though. I wouldn't have the friends I have now, but I would have others..Hmm, tough question. I 'm glad I dont have to make that choice.

birthdays and Camporee

My baby is fifteen.

She dances so lightly across this earth she barely leaves a footprint.

She is fearless.

She looks life in the face and grins.

The colors are brighter when she enters the room.

We packed up all our stuff and headed to the woods for a Girl Scout Camporee.We wore party hats and sang at Scoutshire Woods.

Later, she will look much more sophistocated at a party with her new high school friends, but this weekend is for the ones she has played with since kindergarten

 and her mom. 

Sometimes I get too caught up in the daily-ness of life...


grocery lists

driving to pick everyone up

sometimes I need to remember why I do it all.

I need to go to the woods.

I need to watch girls shed thier new adult personas and play again games I taught them when they were small enough to hug me waist high.

I need to run all day with the little Brownies and stay up talking al night with the Cadettes.

I need to come back to myself.

The girls at our tenth year Camporee came back to themselves too.

They put on makeup before the council fire

but they laughed at the stories we tell about them when they were small

and sing the same songs.

They are still here together , after all this time.

They came and got my sleeping bag out of the leader's tent

 so I could watch the stars through the tent flap with them.

It's the highest honor I've  ever had.

We were in charge of games and I was kinda nervous since we are the original (and proud) slacker troop, but it went great!

Another year of campfires

smelly feet



can't wait to do it again!


Please check here soon for pictures.

Also, if you would like, check out my homecoming'05 entry. It has pics of Caitlin now.

Make new friends but keep the old , one is silver and the other gold...

(you Girl Scouts will understand)

Love, Marti


Monday, October 17, 2005

homecoming '05

My Caitlin is such an interesting child...
a fairy sprite,
a cloud...
when she was little she had an imaginary playmate named Ceily
that she couldn't get along with!
I would have to seperate them for arguing!
Why would you make up someone you didnt like?
When Ceily disappeared, as all imaginary playmates must, I asked Cailtin whatever happened to her.
"oh, she's in jail, "she replied airily.
I should've known!

She went to her first dance this weekend.
She had to have an emergency date.
Her first date couldn't go.
He got suspended from school for skipping.
When it was time to go, Stacey was going to take Ian and his date, I was going to drive Caitlin and hers, but the two girls insisted on riding together....
my weird child!
I guess the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Totaled cars and Total Joy

well, this is what I've been up to...
Tom totaled his car. He pulled out into the road and didn't see the girl coming because there was a pile of hurricane debris obscuring his vision.
Hmm....Do you think we can file a clain with FEMA?
It 's probably not worth the effort...the most valuable thing about that car is the Grateful Dead sticker on the back windshield.
He is having some problems with his shoulder, but in keeping with the family policy of faith,foolish optimism and denial, we are skipping right along.
My friend Paula came from Atlanta with her two dear blonde ditsy daughters. Kelsey , 17 and Leah, 13, who are a two person comedy team. We went to Bayfest, a local party that has stages set up downtown. We had so much fun! I laughed and danced and drank and hooted.We saw The Grass Roots, Grand funk, Loverboy, Dwight Yokam and Widespread Panic.
The Lagoonatics, a friendship born in a bar 22 years ago between Stacey, Stephanie, Dana, Paula and I,were together again. We live in 3 different states, so it is about 4 times a year we are all in the same place,but in our hearts we are always near. We have 8 kids, the Laggonies , the terrible teens I have mentioned often. They were sprawled over my living room all weekend, a tangle of arms and legs and hormones. They are still so sweet when they are sleeping!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mourning New Orleans

I miss New Orleans like a long ago lover.
The city throbbed with music. You could lay your hand on any building or piece of ironwork that adorned the porches of even modest homes and feel the music , like the purring of a cat. It was always the place to escape, the place to leave your every day self behind, to the point that my daughter and I , when faced with familial annoyances, have a saying, "let's run away to N"Awllins"
I fell in love with Tom one steamy New Orleans spring at the Jazz and Heritage Festival.It was early evening and time to exchange one party for another.A tired man was selling balloons to cranky children and Tom bought me every balloon he had. There is a certain power in walking the streets with 30 balloons.We tied them on balconies, gave them to kids, exchanged them for kisses from drag queens.A couple was sitting on their banquette with their children, "Hey, c'mon in!"they said and we ate dinner and spent an evening listening to Ray Charles records.
That kind of simple magic happened in New Orleans.
ONce , while I was sitting with friends on the levee watching the Mississippi River roll by, a blonde man playing a flute walked by and stooped to kiss me, "My dear"< he said, "you look like a rose in a trash barrell" He disappeared into the morning mist.
Yep, things like that.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

wreaking havoc at school

This is how my day went...
There is a man that is a special education aide at our school. I do not even know his name, but he is about my age, maybe a little older & has impeccable bearing and always wears his clothes with a knife edge crease, perhaps an old military guy. As I passed him in the hall the other day, I said, "I just want to tell you how nice you always look". The poor fellow blushed and responded as though I had said something not only indecent but unnatural.
Later on that day, one of my emotionally disturbed children ran away (not an unusual or in itself an alarming occurrance) so I went into the boy's bathroom to get him. Who should be there, but  Mr. Shy Man. I tried to make a joke of it, but he remained unamused.What the heck, we do have teacher's bathrooms, I never expected a grown up in there!
I had to leave early to take my mom to the doc, but was stymied from making a quick getawayby a car blocking me in. When I finally found the man who had barred my way, I was chatting with him when another teacher walked by and said, "Got another one , I see".
Yes, I am getting quite a rep in this school!
That loose special needs teacher!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

since the storm

Everyone begins sentences with that phrase here these days....
since the storm,this is what has been happening here....
My mom broke her arm falling over a pile of hurricane debris and has proceeded to break all of our spirits...she is a dear and we love her, but age and infirmity do not make her any less difficult to deal with.She has, how shall I put it? always had rather definite opinions and is truly generous with expressing them, often without waiting for us to ask.Mariah does well with her and has been helping out so much. I am truly leaning on my eldest a lot these days. It is amazing how life turns around.
Caitlin is on the Cross Country Track Team at Murphy. Only 3 freshman make it so it is truly a dig deal.On the morning of her first meet she was nervous. "What if I am last?"she said. I told her if she saw none behind her, just turn around and casually stroll through the woods as though she was not racing that day.It is hard to be inobtrusive arond my mom. As we looked toward the woods, more and more runners came out. My dear mother kept exclaiming LOUDLY, "well, where is that girl? Don't you think you ought to go get her? Did she sit down to rest somewhere?" She wan't last, but definitely in the lead of the back of the pack.She ran so hard, she threw up. A fellow freshman, obviously smitten, was heard to say to his firend,"she  is tough, she ran so hard she puked!" Way to get the guys , Caitlin!
My friends from Mississippi are here for a good while. They will be getting a FEMA trailer, one o f the first availiable since she is a teacher & they are opening school (also in trailers) by November 1st. I am shocked at that since there is not a building standing in her little town. People that live by the water know the chance they take & are philosophical about loss of property when loss of life is such a near thing.It is different here now. I live in a mid-size city that got a lot of damage but suffered no loss of life due to the storm. People are always pretty friendly & this town has not lost a small town feel, but "since the storm" everyone is gentler, more open.The horror stories on the news were real places, family faces. I wnt to the DMV to get my car tag (I only bought the car in April)and it was filled with people who officially don't exist ,having lost all ID.YOU would think it would be a grim place, as it generally is in the best of circumstances. oh, no, folks were laughing, tellling storm stories, joking, see long lines of people standing in the grocery stores to cash their Red Cross checks. It is like a party.
I hope the piles of dead trees are gone soon... I hope this gratitude stays in our hearts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

random thought

Never in my life have I even considered leaving for a hurricane,but I think I will now...
not because I am afraid of the weather but because I am afraid of my sad is that?

7 more things


Playing the guitar

long hair

a sense of humor

rough hands

likes kids

likes to play

and I really like it when his butt looks good in a denim jacket & a pair of Levis



7 things

well,this is fun! I got it from B4iateclover who says everyone had done it (but me) so, remedying that...

7 Things I Hope To Do Before I Die

Go to Ireland

Go to England

See my kids with interesting careers

See Joni Mitchell in concert

See Australia

Skate backwards

Get my computer to load pics to my journal again

Have  grandchildren

I must have a nice life, I had a hard time thinking of 7 things I wanted to do that I haven't!

7 Things I Can Do

Stay in a good mood

Enjoy myself where ever I am

Laugh at myself (and others)

Be patient with children

Build a fire

Cook a meal for 10 people with 5 dollars

Talk to teenagers

7 Things I Say Most Often

CaitlinCaitlin (this is not a typo,it is usually screamed as one word!)

Seemed like a good idea at the time

If you can't change the situation, change your attitude

Life's too short for that

You'll either get over it or die with it

It's summer, of course,it's hot

Is there any more wine?




Walking on Sunshine,


Wednesday, September 7, 2005

still alive on the gulf coast

Hi! I am at the libary on the computer,still no cable or phone, but we got power yesterday! I dont' have long ,there are other computer starved people in line,so I will just give you some random thoughts & unedited impressions of my life in the past week...

We are fine,no damage other than a yard full of limbs & loss of electrical juice...

I friend's 5 year old drawing a picture of "that big volcanoe that tore up all the trees..."

I remember...watching the squirrel-sized battery tv with my dear refugees where we had all gathered against the wind....we kept saying,"it's all gone?" as we saw the first footage of her Mississppi town where we have all celebrated every holiday together since the kids were we thought someone would tell us different...

I remember calling friends on borrowed cell phones loaned by straqngers...instead of saying hello when they pick up the phone it's,"I'm allright". Then , almost offhandedly they add, "but the house is gone"

I remember walking to the only convenience store open & hearing a man with an unmistakable Cajun accent & a Louisiana tag say "good morning" . When I asked "how are you", he started telling his storm story and pretty soon about 10 people had gathered to hug him, shake his hand, laugh & cry...

while waiting in the doctors office , a crowd ran to the tv ( which we hadnt seen in a week) when a woman said "look, the Cafe du Monde is still there" & strangers telling stories of how they used to sit with their boyfriends who became their husbands there, passing around tissues....

the strangest things make me cry these Caitlin, when I told her the beach is filled with debris,saying"where will we go on Saturday?"

Living on the edge has its price...and it's beauty.

I will write you all as soon as I can...





Friday, August 26, 2005


Here's the recipe: I got it from our Cynthia better know as sistercdr, who go it from auburndawn...

Line 1: Name
Line 2: Four adjectives describing you.
Line 3: Daughter/Son of (or) Sister/Brother of....
Line 4: Who is (three things)
Line 5:Lover of (three things)
Line 6: Who fears (three things)
Line 7: Who needs (three things)
Line 8: Who gives (three things)
Line 9: Who would some like (three things)
Line 10: Resident of...
Line 11: Name  


loyal, funny, carefree

daughter of the old ways & the greeter of the new days

who is happy,strong & always moving

lover of the ones who need it most & can find it least, lover of old dogs & young children, lover of the wind

who gives a hand, a heart, a howl at the moon

who needs only what she has, because it can be made enough,a sunny morning and a walk with a friend can help

who would like to travel & be safe at home,adventure & peace, to stay up late & get up early

resident of a south Alabama rain forest



ask me anything

The game:  ASK ME ANYTHING !!

Here's how we play:

- Ask me 3 questions. Any 3, no matter how personal, private or random.
- I have to answer them honestly. I have to answer them all.
- In turn, you post this message in your own blog or journal and you have to answer the questions that are asked of you.

i got this from my dear friend Kori at Single and Searching...Come play!

OK, here we go:
1. Why do you live in Alabama?
2. What's your favorite form of recreation?
3. Who has served as your greatest source of inspiration?

Phew. I managed to think of 3 questions.

Comment from b4i8clover - 8/26/05 1:02 PM

I live in Alabama because it's hard to leave. When you go anywhere else, if you relax just a little, you start rolling downhill & here is where you end up!I rolled back down here from Colorado, which I swore I would never do... I also swore I'd never get married, work in a fast food place, live in a trailer park, all of which I have done! I also love it here. It has got to be one of the most beautful places I've been.Undiscovered beaches with sand that looks like sugar, gentle ancient mountains, a mostly rural's home.

I love hiking, camping , going to the beach & visiting friends & family. Saturdays generally find me at the beach. Ahh, life is good....

My husband,who never thinks ill of anyone & has no concept of unkindness...he is my inspiration.

(and, to be honest,sometimes my irritation)

it's hard to live with someone that nice! 

Monday, August 22, 2005


It was a good weekend to end my first week back at school.

I went on a leader training weekend to Scoutshire  Woods,one of the dearest places to my heart in this world. I have been a Girl Scout leader for 10 years & it was the single best thing I have ever done for my daughter.We have shared stories & experiences in a way that would not have happened otherwise. I have a relationship with her friends that I treasure & it helps that I know who she runs with now that she is older. Not just KNOW, but I have slept in a tent with!

Anyway, all the leaders went off this weekend

I learned some amazing things! I can cook an omelett in a plastic bag, a cake in a cardboard box,  a muffin in an orange and a chicken with a bucket & a broom handle!!

chicken...rub your whole raw chicken with spices of your chosing.

 get a dowel and drive it into the ground with a mallet. it should be about a foot sticking up.

 put your chicken on the end of your dowel, put a bucket over the chicken, put charcoal on heavy duty foil on ground around dowel

 done in 45 minutes

tender,  smokey & good...also a whole lot of fun to see the chicken with its little legs sticking out!

orange muffins

clean out orange peel & eat orange

 mix muffin mix as package directs

 pour into orange

 put orange top on put on coals & cook until mix oozes from under orange top

 test with straw for doneness  


nothing to clean up! great for kids! they can each make their own! you put 2 eggs in a plastic FREEZER bag, add your cheese, butter, onions, peppers, whatever anyone wants to put in their omelett, then mash it to break the yolks, each person writes their  name on it, place it in a pot of boiling water, watch for desired degree of doneness...TAADAA! It even comes out looking a perfect omelett shape!

 Eating Oddly,


Tuesday, August 9, 2005

the power of a good story

My dad met my mom when they were 18 and 22. They dated until things were interrupted by WWII.

When he came home from the war, he stood on the porch & said,"I can't give you much. Everything I've got in the world is in that seabag, but if you will have me, I'll love you all my life long"

My mom told me that story all my childhood..

My children love to hear it.

Because my dad died long before they were born, to them ,he is a dashingly handsome young man...for eternity..he never got sick or frail to them...they think of him as he was in his prime.

Caitlin had an assignment to write a family story,so she wrote that one.

 Her teacher's son had a girlfriend who wanted to get married,but he felt bad because he didn't have a good job.

 He was afraid he had nothing to offer her.

 Caitlin's teacher mailed him her story.

 That night he called her to say they were eloping the next day.

A good story takes on a life of its own.

my first day of school

Okay, I have been depressed over my homebound state long enough. Last Thursday, I decided to embrace sloth-hood. I tok my pain pill, decided against showering that day & lay on the couch guilt-free, watching old ER re-runs.

The phone rings...

It is my NEW principal.
"Why arent' you here?"

"Because I'm here"

"you didn't get my letter?"

"What letter?"

"We are having a special education meeting,but I guess we can fill you in later"

"oh,no, give me 15 minutes & I will be there!"

So, with hair fluffed with instant spray & a long dress to hide my hairy legs,perfume to cover my unshowered funk & my brain slightly more fogged than usual, I stagger in 20 minutes late to make my first impression on the new staff.

my principal introduced me & said I was recovering from surgery.

I dont' know where she got that from. I had mentioned I was having back problems & I guess I looked rough enough she extrapolated from there.

I didn't disabuse anyone of that notion.

I even felt kinda post-op.

Everyone was nice.

Even with the inauspicious beginning,I think I'll like it there!

Hey,stuff does stress here!


sleeping sickness

These are weird things my husband has done in his sleep...

One night, before I went to bed, I tied up the garbage & placed it in front of the washer. "Now,Tom, " I said in my best wifely tone,"make sure you take that out before you go to bed."

The next morning,Mariah had an odd look on her face,"Mama",she said slowly"did you wash anything last night?"

Upon looking in the washer, I found the last night's trash. It had been washed.

Hey,dont' talk about my housekeeping, my garbage is cleaner than yours!

another time...

I came into the kitchen & Tom had opened 4 cans of bean dip & was applying them neatly & fastidiously to the counter.

so, I asked him what was he doing.

He replied, with eyes wide open, "Frosting a cake!"

Another time...

Mariah was little. we were watchng tv. Tom had been in bed for awhile.

He walked in,lifted up the couch cushion, peed all in it, carefully replaced it & went back to bed. 

our 102nd birthday party

we had our annual birthday party this weekend. Tom is 53 & I am 49,hence it is our 102nd.

I am so lucky to have the friends I cherish. I am in awe that people like Stacey will drive 2 hours to come to my party.

There are people I only see once a year,but they come like migrating birds, home to us for our birthday.

I held babies while their parents swapped stories of staying at my house when they were kids.

My great-nieces & nephews played ,making stories of their own to tell about Uncle Tom & Aunt Marti's house.

My grown nieces and nephews jokingly argued over who was my favorite...I tell all of them they are my favorite & caution them not to tell!

It was an evening full of love.

(still can't add pictures!)


Well, I registered my baby for high school.

While she was in orientation,I wandered the halls, thinking of how innocent I was when I enterd these halls & how wild I was by the time I left!

She will attend a high school that is so old,not only did I go there,her grandpa went there & he was 90.

our city is one who takes great pride in its antiquity.

Caitlin & I were laughing at all the speeches people were giving about how you will never forget that you were privileged enough to attend Murphy, how you will forever bleed blue & gold, how it is the best school in town.

Yeah, what hype, we said. 

 I took her T-shirt.

I still know the alma mater by heart.

I guess,once a Murphy Panther,always a Murphy Panther.

I am trying to add pictures of my sweet innocent child before she is corrupted by high school, but I keep getting a message that "we are sorry, we cannot upload your albums, please try again later." Anyone else having problems?

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

teenage girls

All of our girls are notorious for stealing each other's clothes.

This is not done with any malice or subterfuge.

They have been sharing everything since they were born.

We taught them that .

We're sorry!

Now I hear them tallking ..."where did you get that shirt?"

"Caitlin gave it to me."

"Does she know she gave it to you?"

This is the catch phrase for everything!

Gotta love'em!

They'll arrest you if you kill 'em!

I'm Back!

well, friends & neighbors,it has been a while!

I am recovering physically from my herniated vertebrae enough to sit at the computer to make an entry &recovered emotionally enough to admit I am not superwoman  & the earth did not stop while I wan't able to singlehandedly keep it spinning.

I also didn't want to write until l could process my experiences long enough to gain some positive insight.

while I recouped , good wishes form Madman ADHD ,Kori at ladyish28,dear Marie at galadriel9200 and Cyndygee from The world of Cyndygee kept me going.Cyndy was an inspiration as well as a giver of practical advice. Pennie at A Pennie's Worth is like a trip to church ought to beKaren at Karbare4x4 told me great stories tokeep me form getting bored.if I started to feel sorry for myself a visit to ckays1967 soon ended that and lurkynat's comments cheered me up. (If anyone wants to volunteer to teach me how to hyperlink,now is the time)

also, during this time , I learned that a tooth that has bothered me since April, that I had spent 500$ trying to save,had to be surgically removed afterall. well, my daughter Mariah ,who is just the sweetest blonde Southern belle you would ever want to meet until you mess with her Mama, called the poor endodontist who did the root canal daily until he sent me a check for the full amount of his services!

The Moral here is...Take care of your kids & one day they'll take care of you! All that getting up with them during the night & staying up waiting for them to come home at night does pay off!

The first picture is of the day I hurt my neck, also with a Moral....hmmm, Maybe "Pride comes before a fall?"...No,let's be honest here..."Don't let beer & enthusiasm make you think you're 15 & can play with the big kids!"

I am feeling really good these days.

I will be moving to my new school next week. (Tom & Caitlin will be the brawn , I will be supervising) and I am not nervous a bit. I've done this for 21 years,I can do it again! weird,since I always get a bit jittery the week before school starts. I guess after you learn to accept that when you drop something while  wearing a neck  brace, it is gone forever, then you can cope with things likemoving a classroom .

I have adjusted. My summer plans changed drastically from traveling & beaching to what's on tv & how long can I stay in my pajamas, but hey, I was blessed to have so long to recover & how many people of my age get to rest for 6 weeks? My family has been great! Mariah announced last night,"Hey I unloaded he dishwasher & no one even told me to!" When I ungraciously mumbled something about her wanting a medal, she brought me my pain meds & handed me a catalog.'Here,just circle something you want." Anytime I have a dire need for Avon, I mention housework to Mariah & here come the catalogs! Grumble enough & she drugs me. it's kinda like being in a mental institution!

It's a real experience to be injured & have Caitlin around to take care of you, which somehow inevitably involves doing cartwheels over my prone body! At least I'm not bored!

Poor Tom  is so appalled at my inability to frolic that he has spent the last 5 weeks asking hopefully at least every hour if I am "feeling better?"

It won't be long now...before I enter the real world again!

what might have been

Maybe if he'd kept the panties on his head, we would've won the election!

This is a life size cardboard cut out I "liberated" from the Democratic Party Headquarters after the (sigh )election.

John enjoyed the Mardi Gras festivities with us.

Monday, July 25, 2005

catching up, healing & what does it all mean?

So, it was an unguarded moment.

 I was really happy.

 I had one of those brief hallucinations that I was a teenager.

 It was a sparkling summer day at the beach & we were wrestling,Tom & all the teens, Mariah , Terry & I.

5 weeks & one trip to the ER , 4 journeys to the physical therapist, at least 200$ to the pharmacist, 4 doctor's visits to 2 different docs later, I am recovering from a herniated disk & a tremendous jolt to my self esteem!

There is a lesson here, besides the obvious one, that perhaps as you near 50, you should consider sunbathing a sport!

Anyway, that is the jewel of positive thinking i have been able to come up with. If anyone has any other pearls of wisdom, feel free.

I have neglected my computer because typing & driving are the two occupations which have hurt the most.something about having to extend the forearms in that position.

Like the guy in the Monty Python movie when they came along ringing the bells, crying "bring out your dead", I'm getting better.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

life in the gulf Coast

I got this as a forward, but it is really true!





We might as well laugh



You have FEMA's number on your speed dialer.

You have more than 300 C and D batteries in your kitchen drawer

Your pantry contains more than 20 cans of Spaghetti Os

You are thinking of repainting your house to match the plywood covering
your windows.

When describing your house to a prospective buyer, you say it has
three bedrooms, two baths and one safe hallway.

Your SSN isn't a secret, it's written in Sharpie on your arms.

You are on a first-name basis with the cashier at Home Depot

You are delighted to pay $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded

The road leading to your house has been declared a No-Wake Zone.

You decide that your patio furniture looks better on the bottom of the pool.

You own more than three large coolers>

You can wish that other people get hit by a hurricane and not feel the
least bit guilty about it.

You rationalize helping a friend board up by thinking "It'll only take a
gallon of gas to get there and back"

You have 2-liter coke bottles and milk jugs filled with water in your

Three months ago you couldn't hang a shower curtain; today you can <o:p></o:p>

assemble a portable generator by candlelight.

You catch a 13-pound redfish. In your driveway.

You can recite from memory whole portions of your homeowner's insurance

At cocktail parties, women are attracted to the guy with the biggest

You have had Vienna sausage more than 5 days in a row

There is a roll of tar paperin your garage.<o:p></o:p>

You can rattle off the names of three or more meteorologists who work at
the Weather Channel.

Someone comes to your door to tell you they found your roof.

Ice is a valid topic of conversation

Your "drive-thru" meal consists of MRE's and bottled water.

You spend more time on your roof then in your living room.

You've been laughed at over the phone by a roofer, fence builder or a tree

A battery powered TV is considered a home entertainment center.

You don't worry about relatives wanting to visit during the summer.

Your child's first words are, "hunker down

Having a tree in your living room doesnot necessarily mean it's Christmas.

Toilet Paper is elevated to coin of the realm at the shelters.

You know the difference between the "good side" of a storm and the "bad

Your kids start school in August and finish in July.

You go to work early and stay late just to enjoy the air conditioning


My dog Butterfly that we have had for ten years walked into the room goofily grinning, made a strage strangled sound & fell down dead.

i want to leave some memories of her here so later on , when I want to breathe in the warm doggy smell of her coat, i can read about her.

she was  abig black "Chowbrador".she got big real fast on all the Oreo cookies & peanut buter sandwiches a little girl didn't want to eat.

she lovead to go for walks with me so much taht if I was going somewhere with my tennis shoes on & didn't take her, I would have to sneak out the front door.

She ususally slept by the door, guarding us , but every once in a while she would decide to sleep in our bed & would stand over us with her teeth gleaming in the dark until we moved ver to give her room.

she wouldn't let any man near our yard, snarling in a way that make her sweet name ludicrous, but all the babies we know crawled all over her& got kissed by her big purple tounge.

when she got out of the front door, she wouldn't come back unless I used a deep loud growly voice to call her & then shelooked so embarrassed when she trotted up.

We are so sad. For the rest of my life I am going to have my hand cupped to feel a cold nose & part of me will be listening for the sound of her toenails on the kitchen floor. I will be so lonely whenever I put on my tennis shoes to go for a walk.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the story of the hurricane

To rephrase the story from bob dylan "Now here's the story of the hurricane"

the governor came on tv and said in solemn tones"this is a mandatory evacuation of Mobile County" Now if you read my entry from August 2004, "survivin Ivan",you will know these are nothing to play with ,even though,in true family fashion, we find a party where we can.

I was cooking everything in the freezer & inviting folks over to eat it so it wouldnt' rot & doing all the laundry before the power went out. Caitlin was on the floor crying, scared of the storm & I was racking my brains to think of ways to comfort her.She is usually so fearless & optimistic , I am at a loss.she is wailin,"Oh, we have to leave , but what about all of our cats? and the dogs? what if the roof falls in & we get stuck...oh, look, Mama, there is my green sock! I havent seen that in a long time! Remember when we got it to go to that party & I wore it with those yellow shorts & Johnny chased me all night? Wasn't that fun!" Strattera be damned, there are times when distractibilty is a blessing! ( I wrote this with Cailtin's permission, one of her finest qualities is the ability to laugh at herself)

so, relatives by blood & spirit came and ate themselves into a coma & told stories that get better by retelling. We talked of Papa, only recently left us, and Tom's sister BK, taken too soon & the talk wasnt sad but soft & gentle & grateful for what we had. Eileen, my sister in heart, as well as in law & her man Patrick, who is a big man with a heart and laugh to match, joined us, along with my gentle son-out-law Terry, whom I love as my own.Mariah lit up the room with her smile, Cailtin darted around like a dragon fly while Tom told us long stories of times gone by.

The weather outside got rough, but the glow of the faces inside was what we focussed on. We drank all the wine and make various pallets and propped up on pillows. When we stirred the next afternoon, there was a lot of wet ground & a few limbs lying about...we are all safe until the next time....the price you pay to live in Paradise!

I don't mean to be glib, in the pics you can see waterspouts forming....we are aware of the danger, we just incorporate it into our lives & find what joy we can!

Hang onto each other when the winds blow, nothing is as hard when you have someone to cling to.

Love to you all & special thanks to Karen (Karebear4x4)& Marie (Galadriel9200) for checking up on me!


Wednesday, July 6, 2005

random vacation pictures

Warning:incredibly boring to those of you who weren't there...dont' feel obligated to look!

(but if you insist...)

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

days at the beach

My daughter Mariah says I am like those baby sea turtles, turn me loose & I head blindly towards the water.

Here, the beach is where you grow up...all my "firsts"happened on the Island...the first time I swam out to the sandbar, the first time I went off for a weekend without my parents, first kiss, first time I got to drive a car alone, we all piled in & headed for the beach. My first date with my future husband was there.

My first concious memory is the sound of the tires going over the bridge, taking me to the Island.

I loved living in the desert & I thought I would never leave the mountains, but as Tom says, "when you relax a little , you start rolling back downhill" and we always ended up back here, where the salt water smell means good times ahead.

A lot of my friends won't ride with me to the beach, because I never go home until the stars come out (or the beer is gone)

The warm Gulf waters are like amniotic fluid, cradling me, rocking me, the waves whispering , "everything's gonna be alright"

When I'm at the beach , it always is. That's where I go to celebrate, to lick my wounds & regroup, to run into the wind. 


It's also where I get some of those wounds.

I was mentally 16 and forgot that I am physically 48.

I was wrestling with the teenagers in the surf, when I got a slipped disk in my neck.

It hurts!

What hurts worse is my doctor saying I have arthritis & degenerative disks. It sounds so (dare I say the word?) old. The doc told me to stay as active as I can, but after reviewing my chart (I went to him after I fell out of a tree last year) said , "maybe not that active."

Knowing I was all depressed, my dear Mariah, who knows me better than anyone else, woke me up the other day

"I took the  day off, "she daid ,presenting me with my neck brace, which she had decorated with sequins & bright red fabric paint flowers, "we are going to the beach!"

"but it's raining, "I protested feebly.

"when has that ever stopped us?" she demanded,ever her mother's daughter.

so, Katherine, who is staying with us until her mom recovers from the Lagoon, Caitlin , Mariah & I tootled off into the storm, singing & laughing. We huddled under a pier & had a great time!

It pays to raise 'em right!


Monday, June 27, 2005

where were you?

  1. Alan Shepard became the first American in space? I remember vaugely seeing the black & white tv pictures.I was little.
  2. John Kennedy was killed? I was in second grade. We had gone out for recess & the teacher called us in. We all sat in a circle on the floor around her & she said they werent going to tell the first graders because they might cry ,but we had to be brave.She told us the news & I was so upset , not because he was the President , but because someone had killed Caroline's daddy. She is the same age as me & I have always been interested in her life. Somehow I think as a little girl, I had the best take on it. I felt it on a personal level.He was a little girl's daddy.
  3. Robert Kennedy was killed? I was 14. my mom woke me up & said, "they've shot Bobby"
  4. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed? The "Special Report" sign came up on tv & I remember thinking, "who is dead now?"
  5. Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon? This was the night before my 13th birthday. We sat up all night watching it. Back then , tv usually went off at midnight so this was a big deal. I had a space ship on my cake that year.
  6. Ronald Reagan was shot? My neighbor ran over & said "come look" I was pregnant with Mariah at the time.
  7. John Lennon was killed? Oh, my god. My husband , my roommate & I all stayed home from work, we were so upset.It poured down rain & we lay on the floor & listened to his music all day. I flet like the sun would never shine again.
  8. The Berlin Wall came down? I was watchng it with a friend & we thought , "wow,the best party ever!"We were deep,right?
  9. The US invaded Iraq the first time? I was nursing Caitlin, she was 3 months old. REM came on the radio singing"It's the end of the World as We Know It" The next day we went to a protest & I held her in my arms & thought, "what kind of world have I brought this babe into?"
  10. The US was attacked on 9/11/01? Caitlin was home sick with Mariah. Mariah called me on my cell phone (a big no-no in my school) I was afraid Caitlin was worse & Mariah said we had been attacked by Paris. Apparantly she misheard the work terrorist. Later a teacher came by and said that terrorists were attacking cities all over the US. We didnt' see any news till the end of the work day & rumors were flying.That night we all sat on the couch & held each other & cried.

I got this from Olddog.Let's all play!

I want to add one...Where were you when the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan? I was 7 and in the bathtub. My mom ran in  with a robe & said , "Hurry, the Beatles are on tv!" I would carry around a transistor radio & pretend to faint when their songs came on. 

Sunday, June 26, 2005

conflict & conflagration

Due to some strange Irish combination of potatoes & alchohol, my dear husband managed to start a fire in the stove.

He burnt the hood up (stove, not neighbor)

We had to call the fire department!

They were handsome & heroic.

We took pictures.

He's asleep now so he doesn't even know I'm not speaking to him!


Friday, June 24, 2005

weekend assignment #65

Weekend Assignment #65 -- Summer Song Dedications

Weekend Assignment #65: Dedicate a "summer song" to someone in your life. Could be a happy song for someone you like, a "kiss-off" song for someone you don't, or a romantic song for someone you want to know better. Point is, it has to be summery, and you have to intend it for someone.


Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard

Dedicated to the Lagoonatics (the teens I went on vacation with)

Ian, 14, football player, kind, wants to be tough but has a mom who yells out, "hi sweetie" when he strolls out to the beach looking manly. His delimma is being surrounded by "hot-looking girls that are like my sisters"

Cas, also 14 (the one I caught "snuggling" in the bed) "they're not my sisters!" He is tall & lanky & a moody poetic skater-boy type (if I was 14, he'd be in trouble)

Katherine,15 who pretends to be a cynic but has a strong idea of how the world should be.

Erin,almost 16, a bundle of sheer sensation,running wide open to jump off the next cliff of experience.

Molly, 17, a shameless romantic with her heart on her sleeve

Caitlin, 14, who still clings to her childhood with both hands while peering into her future,pondering the next step

the song goes...

There's a place on Ocean Avenue

where I used to sit and talk to you

we were just 16 and it felt so right

Sleeping all day , staying up all night

If I could find you now j

It would get better

we could leave this town

and run forever

let your waves crash down

and take me away

Yeah, I try to talk about the value of experience and the joy of being settled...I am lying through my teeth! I want to be them for just one summer!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

one word wonder game

Please leave a one word comment that you think best describes me.

It can only be one word.  No more.

Then copy and paste this into your journal so that I may leave a word about you...

Stolen from Secret Garden.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I survived vacation (but just barely)

I am home!

I have this superstition...if I ever say I won't do something or mention that I never want an event to occur ,it will...but somehow I never learn.

Before we left to go on vacation, I spoke with an aquaintance who said,"I bet you wish you could leave all those teenagers at home. "

I smiled in a superior manner, Oh no", I replied, "The best part of the whole trip is being with our children. They are great kids, so sweet & we are all so close."

So,here we are: 4 adults & 6 children from the ages of 14-17 in a condo for a week.The kids have been raised as cousins & love each other. We are enjoying catching up on the news. All is peaches & cream or should I say beer & sunscreen.

Here is a list of what the kids did this week:

1.Stole liquor form the cabinet. a scary drunk man to buy them cigarettes

3.drove 2 hours to a club while they were supposed to be down the street.

4.climbed on the roof of a neighboring store.

5.started a fire

6.two of the girls were caught in bed with one of the guys at 5 am in the dark with the door locked

7.took signs off the stairwell

8. attended a beach party with strangers

9. broke a lamp, two glasses and a spice rack

All the moms spent the time drinking copiously & looking wistfully at pictures of them when they were little.

I am so glad to be home!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, June 12, 2005


It's vacation time!

Every year ,my four best friends and I go to the Lagoon for a week.

This will be the 10th year!

A decade of decadence,if you will!

Here are some pictures from years past...