Just another Friday night in my (red)neck of the woods

Time:  Early Friday evening

Scene:  Matt walks in the house while I’m walking on the treadmill, says “Hi”.  I get through walking about 10 minutes later and can’t find Matt anywhere in the house.

Txt to Matt:

Matt walks back in, rattles around in the kitchen, and starts toward the door again.  In his hands, he carries one (1) quart of moonshine, one (1) fifth of Crown Royal and some Solo cups.

Matt:  I’ll try not to burn anything down.

me:  Are you burning trash or dead limbs in the back yard tonight?

Matt:  No, I’m heading over to J.R.’s [our nephew who lives in the woods behind us] for a little while.

me:  Are you coming back [eyeing the alcohol]?

Matt:  Yes, later tonight.

Fifteen minutes later:  BOOM!  It was the sound of the “homemade” golf ball cannon being fired from J.R.’s house.

I turned up the volume of Prison Wives on TV.

Easing our way into the weekend, one redneck activity at a time.

Hell Yeah!

Source:  http://forums.jackcolton.com/showthread.php?1690-Favorite-quot-Motivational-Posters-quot/page3

It is Halloween time, so here is a list of scary things

I climbed on the elevator at work today and a maintenance man followed on behind me.  As the elevator moved up the floors, it made some weird noises and shimmied and shook.  The maintenance man looked at me and said, “We’ve been having problems with a couple of elevators in the building.  Four people have already been stuck in one over on the other side of the building this morning.”

My stomach twisted.  On my list of fears, getting stuck in the elevator is right up there.

I would be on the floor of this elevator, crying like a baby

source:  http://www.aqq.to/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/panoramic_elevators2.jpg

So, naturally, I started to think about my list of fears.  In no particular order, they are:

  1. Getting stuck in an elevator
  2. Plummeting to my death in an elevator
  3. Spider crawling across my face
  4. Eating raw chicken
  5. Being mistaken for Roseanne Barr
  6. That I won’t be able to retire (due to lack of $)
  7. Sitting next to someone with bad BO on a long plane flight and it making me nauseated and then throwing up in mouth
  8. Anything to do with heights
  9. Realizing that the “Rhythm Is Going to Get Me” if I don’t run faster
  10. Bears, anywhere, anytime

That is one thing that I like about growing older.  And about taking antidepressants.  I have a lot fewer fears than I had when I was younger.

The Indigo Girls have a song called “Kid Fears” where they ask in the chorus “What would you give for your kid fears?”  I have always assumed that they mean by that question that the fears of a child are much less serious than the fears of an adult.  I have actually found the reverse to be true.  I grew up in the 80s, during the middle of the Cold War, the Iran hostage crisis, the Reagan administrations, etc.  And I remember going to bed afraid that nuclear war would break out during the middle of the night.  Such heavy fears for a 10-year-old.

Our world isn’t any more stable, but now I realize that I have the capacity to deal with a lot of the things that life throws at me.  Except for plunging elevators.  That shit scares me.

Is it ok not to forgive?

Forgiveness is on my mind.  How long should someone have to pay for a transgression?  Are there some sins that are too dreadful to forgive?  Can people do terrible things but not be terrible people?

A couple of things have happened recently that have brought this to my mind.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I love to watch true crime TV and over the past week or so I’ve been watching a show called Prison Wives on Netflix.  Yes, yes, it’s eye candy reality TV (you can turn your nose up at my TV watching habits all you want), but it gives an interesting perspective on how the spouse and the family suffer when a member of the family is put into prison for life.


Source:  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/forgiveness.jpg

This is the extreme example of what has made me think about forgiveness.  Most of us don’t have to deal with the trauma of a family member in prison for life; what we do have to deal with is everyday, common interactions that leave us mad and upset and angry with others.  That is my second example.

I am really good at holding a grudge.  I always have been.  And a couple of days ago, I saw a comment by someone who I “de-friended” and blocked from Facebook on a mutual friend’s page.  It forced me to think about my grudge against this person.  And I didn’t like how I felt–I felt like a 13 or 14 year old, back when you declared to your best friend, “I’m not your best friend anymore!” on an every-other-day basis.  That is, it made me feel immature and childish.

My mama used to say that holding a grudge only hurt one person:  you.  Because you were expending the energy disliking that person, you were obsessing over the reasons to be mad, you were carrying around the burden of the feud.  She used to ask, “Do you think that they are spending any time worrying and fussing and obsessing about you?  No!”

So, now I’m left with the question of what to do.  Actually, I guess I know exactly what to do.  I should forgive this person for the hurt that they caused me.  The question is:  Do I want to let it go?  And, honestly, I don’t.  At this point, I don’t want to forgive.  I’m going to be ok with feeling immature on this one a little bit longer.

Let a little light shine on me

I have written in the past about having depression and this time of year is always hard for me.  This week my doctor told me to get a light box to help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Starting tomorrow, I must spend 30 minutes sitting, reading, getting ready for work, etc. in front of my light box, bathed in 10,000 lux of light (whatever the hell “lux” are).

I am hopeful that the normal winter blahs will not be as bad this year with the light box.  But as with most things like this, I always think about what they used to do “back in the day”.  You know, the day before there was a pill, a machine, an app, a super-dooper widget to help you with whatever the problem is.

I read somewhere once that if you could take a time machine back 200 or more years, one of the things that would be the most surprising and disorienting is just how dark the night is.  No light pollution–no street lights, no utility lights, car headlights, house lights, etc.  I have experienced a little of this when I have traveled out West, in some of the less populated areas.  Dark is dark.

What did people do when the sun went down and the nights lasted 12 hours or more?  Sleep from the exhaustion of the hard labor of the day?  Read by the dim light of the candle?  Pray for summer and longer days?

There are a lot of times that I wish that I had been born in a “less complicated time”, but then I really think about it and realize that God put me exactly in the time that I needed to be.


On another note, Matt took this picture of a sign in Ireland.  I think it is excellent advice at all times, on a farm or at work.

Always be on the lookout for the bull

We all need to count some sheep

Matt and I just returned from a vacation in Ireland.  It was wonderful!  Ireland is beautiful and the Irish are so friendly.  I left for the trip with preconceived ideas of green pastures, sheep, pubs, music, scenery–I got all this and more.  It was great.

Except that this trip convinced me that man (and woman) are not the superior creatures on Earth.  We are too pampered, too dependent on our creature comforts, too soft.

Ok, at least I am.

I am exhausted and I think Matt is, too.  We didn’t sleep well the entire time we were gone.  Either it was too hot, the bed was too hard, it was too quiet, the pillows were too flat….  The list went on and on.  We’ve been back home for a couple of nights now and I’m still trying to get my zzzz’s back in line.

Do you think this sheep

cares if he sleeps under any of these trees?

Do you think the sheep has a bad night if he can’t get next to “his” rock?  Does he have a hard time counting humans if the temperature varies by more than 5 degrees?

I doubt it, and as such, sheep (and cattle and horses and on and on) are better equipped than we are to deal with variations in their environment.  Ok, again, better than I am.  I love to see new things, visit new places, meet new people, but I NEED MY SPACE and my things around me to feel 100% myself.

Is that advanced?  It sounds a little restricted.  So, while I have always heard that sheep are too dumb to come in from the rain, right now, I’m too tired to open up my umbrella.  I’m not sure who’s winning (or losing).

Being here isn’t always fun, but it can be productive

I have been uncommonly involved in soul-sucking meetings over the past several weeks.  In fact, the part of my soul that cares about the fate of the rainforest is gone.  I got nothing in me for the rainforests.  If things don’t change soon, I’m not going to give a rip for the starving children in China.  This can’t go on.

I drew a new picture to express how I have felt in some recent meetings.

Are We Going to Talk About this Topic Again?

I feel like Alice in Wonderland some days, but Wonderland is filled with reports and white boards and lots of coffee.  And I think that I would feel somewhat better about these meetings if we were actually discussing world-changing topics, like the rainforest or starving children in China.  But we’re not.

It’s been one of those weeks where you ask yourself “What am I doing with my life?”  I mean, it’s not like I’m curing cancer.  (Short digression — why is “curing cancer” always used as the example for “doing something with my life”?  Do you think that’s what scares people the most?  That’s not my biggest fear.  Ok, back to program.)  I’m performing honest work, but how is it changing lives?

I went through a period of asking myself “what am I doing?”, “how do I matter?”, “what is my purpose?” during my mid-30s and I’ve watched many of my younger friends go through the same introspection at about the same age or a little later in their lives.  I guess the mid-life crisis cliché is a cliché for a reason.  I believe that most people need to feel like they matter, like they have done some good in the world, like they are doing more than just taking up space.

And with the exception of times like this past week, I have made peace with my purpose.  I am not going to cure cancer.  Or become the next Steve Jobs.  Or become a missionary to some isolated place in the South American jungle.  But I can impact my little, itty-bitty section of time and space by being kind, telling the truth, offering my help, giving a smile, laughing freely, thinking of others…..  I know that these small things, when offered to me, have often changed the course of my day, the outcome of the week, the tone of a relationship.  I can do these.

And attend meetings.

Cat vs dog

I posted this picture of my cat earlier this week, happy as can be relaxing in the garbage.

Thelma Lou in the Trash

Then I found this picture of a dog, happy in his relaxed position.

How Happy Am I?

Source:  http://www.aplacetolovedogs.com/2012/03/how-happy-am-i/1486629767/

 Cats are weird.  But they kill rodents, so I love them.  Dogs are awesome, so I love them.  I am a cat and a dog person.  Yay, me!

(How did this blog end up about me?  I may be a little self-centered.)

Does it stink around here, or is it just me?

We have a cat named Thelma Lou.  We got her and her sister at the same time.  In an homage to Andy Griffith, they were named after Barney Fife’s two girlfriends, Thelma Lou and Juanita.

A couple of years ago, while we were doing a lot of remodeling on our house, I came outside one morning and found Thelma Lou in the trash where all the construction workers left their daily garbage.

Having a hard time seeing her?  She is a wily thing–she hunts everything so camouflage is her middle name (after Lou).  See if this helps.

Thelma Lou Curled Up in the Trash

I thought of this picture today because I felt like Thelma Lou.  Because it felt like everyone was just dumping their garbage on me.  Here I am, minding my own business, when this bag of garbage came raining down.  Oops, here came a cup full of someone’s crap.  And, watch your head, here comes someone’s empty container of refuse.

“Hey, Jackasses!  Take care of your own trash!”


And then,in a moment of brutal honesty, I have to do a little self-evaluation…there is no cage on top of me, nothing to stop me from crawling out from these burdens.  Like Thelma Lou, who chose this spot, I let myself get buried with other people’s rubbish.  I, however, am not as comfortable curled up next to an empty McDonald’s bag.  I’m outta here; the cat can take care of herself.