Sunday, June 29, 2008

All moved!

Whew! It took a bit of doing, but I am finally "all moved in" to this blogspot!

In case you were wondering why all these "old" posts popped up here above the new ones, I have decided to delete the "It's Good to Be Queen" blog. I had created it before finding out that the fabulous Darlene Deeben, Mrs Galaxy 2007, had a website by almost the very same name.

I will use this blogspot for my rantings and personal observations and tidbits of family life.

My pageant appearances will be reported on my new blog Just Joy: Royal Appearances.

Thanks for reading


Have You Forgotten?

(Repost: Originally posted September 11, 2007)

It's September 11th. Patriot Day.

I'm wearing my yellow ribbon and my American Flag pin. I haven't really seen anyone else commemorating the day.

I wonder if everyone's else has forgotten.

I know I won't. Every year the emotion is nearly as fresh and raw as it was watching the non-stop news footage.

And every year, I think of 5 cases of coffee.

I cry when I tell it because the emotions bubble back up, so you are at an advantage reading it, though I am about to cry just typing it.

Krispy Kreme was once a customer of my company and every now and again the buyer would request a few cases of coffee be sent directly to a store.

On September 10, 2001 they requested that I send five cases of coffee to the Krispy Kreme store on the basement level of WTC. I am told this is where the food court was. They had requested Next Day Air, Early A.M. delivery, which is to be delivered by 8:00 a.m.

It stood out to me because the address was simply :
Krispy Kreme
WTC, NY and the zip code.
I thought "Well how cool is that?"

The next morning, as news began to spread of the attack, I immediately thought of those five boxes of coffee and the unsuspecting UPS driver I'd sent to his death.

I prayed for a lot of people that day, but I prayed especially for him.

Over the next several days, I began to think about him quite a bit. Was he married, did he have children, what kind of person would he have been....? Because I would never really know his fate, it started to be too much for me. Every time I saw footage of the dust & debris, I imagined a UPS truck buried beneath it. Though it may sound strange, I felt really guilty, like somehow I was responsible. I cried uncontrollably, nearly daily, over this person I'd never met.

Two weeks went by. My best friend told me that I was going to give it to God and let it go. So I finally prayed that God would give me some peace over it and release me from this guilt I was feeling. I prayed once more for him and his family and "laid it down."

The very next day, our local UPS driver returned the five boxes of Krispy Kreme coffee stamped "UNDELIVERABLE." They looked as good as the day I sent them out and I took their pristine condition as my sign from God that the driver I prayed so diligently over, was okay too.

I know, when I tell this story to my grandchildren some day, I will fight back a tear even then.

I know that, as a nation, to some extent, we should "move on." But I was raised that the first part of getting where you are going, is knowing where you've been.

Never Forget

(dedicated to those who unsuspectingly gave their lives Sept 11, 2001, the people who knew & loved them, and all our military hereos keeping us safe ever since.)

Christmas Light Intervention

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Christmas Light Intervention

Today is Thursday, January 11th. Let me make myself very clear on that....TODAY is Thursday JANUARY 11TH. It is January 11th and my best friend's neighbors still have their Christmas lights on. Nearly three full weeks since Christmas and they still have their Christmas lights on. Not just up, mind you, but ON.

Every Tuesday is "Chick-Flick" night with my girls, Cyndi & Brandy. We meet at Cyndi's ( because she has the most kids and it's just easier for her than loading up all the kids and the baby toys and what have you) drink coffee (or have the occasional glass of wine or two) and watch a chick-flick. We put the older children in charge of the younger ones and (attempt to) enjoy a relaxing evening and just decompress. We share our troubles and a pot of coffee or two, planning each others lives, all the while some sappy-sweet romantic comedy provides background noise. I look forward to Tuesdays all week long.

I was in particularly good mood this past Tuesday, because the evening was to be the beginning to a much needed vacation. I sang along with the radio as I made my way to Cyndi's, but as I approached her neighborhood, something caught my eye. It was bright and colorful. The closer I got, the more of it there seemed to be. I could not believe my eyes....Christmas Lights! Blazing into the night sky, two full weeks AFTER Christmas! I mean I understand not finding the time yet to take them down, but having them ON is another story entirely.

What kind of people are still BURNING their Christmas lights this long after Christmas? Do they know we are nearly two weeks into January?!

Do they want to be the source of conversation around the neighborhood? "Well you know those Joneses, still burning their Christmas lights..."Yes, I know there's that whole St. Lucia and Twelveth Night celebrations, but this is Alabama...Buckle of the Bible Belt, Protestant capital of the South.

Some of you may think, "Okay, so what's the big deal?" As a Christian, I understand the concept of holding Christmas in my heart all year long, but I don't have to wrap it in multi-colored twinkle lights! The big deal is, this is not the neighborhood Mexican restaurant, which I believe, is the only place it's legal to display & operate Christmas lights outside the month of December. Come on people, rural Alabama has enough stereotypical crap to overcome, let's not perpetuate it!

When Alabama is depicted in a film or t.v. show, you never see the tony areas like Mountain Brook or Vestavia or Hoover. Oh, MTV did come film the Hoover Bucs for the wildly popular "Two A Days" but did they ever once go to the Galleria or the Summit? I think they showed WalMart once and they guys going fishing, but never showed the multimillion dollar shopping complex just up the road from the school. You always see some ramshackle house with a malfunctioning major appliance on the porch and Christmas lights strung all about.

It's bad enough we are currently having to live down the "Bama Kissing Bandit," a one Collette Connell, who loudly praised Jesus for Alabama's new coach, Nick Saban, and then reached out and planted a big wet one on him, in plain view of all national sports media. The photo made the front page of sports sections across the nation, accompanied by her mugshot from the subsequent DUI arrest soon after.

I call it the classic "trailer park tradgedy" media spin. A tornado wipes out hundreds of homes, who does the media seek out? The most articulate or the most dentally-challenged? The person who lost at $300,000 home or the person who lost a $3,000 single wide? This is the person CNN chooses to represent us to the rest of the nation. Everytime.

At this time, let me take a moment to restate for the record, I am an Auburn fan. And now I'm even more glad that I am. But I digress.

Where was I??

Oh, yeah, Christmas lights...

The neighborhood Cyndi lives in has several champion light displays. The two most impressive are the house in the woods and Mr & Mrs Notary Public.

The house in the woods is just that...a house far enough off the road, enveloped in a pine thicket , that it is completely invisible. Invisible that is, until the weekend after Thanksgiving and the entire month of December. During this time, it looks like an extension of the Birmingham International Airport. This home owner pulls out all the stops, covering every inch of the house, windows,eaves, and all, completely outlining the house in lights. The lights spill over into every adjacent bush and tree for a 50 foot radius. I will never forget that first Christmas that we went to Cyndi's new house and my daughter said, "I've lived in this town my whole life and I never knew there was a house back there!"

Mr & Mrs Notary Public (so named for the large "Notary Public" sign hanging above their mailbox) have the most impressive collection of lawn ornamentation year round. I am quite sure they own one of every type of concrete staturary possible. Then, at Christmas time, they throw lights all over them. You can see the house from space. I'm not sure it's possible, but each year it seems they add more and more lights!

But I will give both of these families credit: they know when it's time to take the lights down.

I was raised believing that it was bad luck to have Christmas decorations up on New Year's Day. I think that perhaps that was really my mother's way of making us help her take them down the weekend before we went back to school. But because I've heard this all my life, I've never questioned or disputed it. I am also a little afraid to tempt fate and leave my Christmas decorations up, just like I am afraid not to eat the traditional blackeyed peas and turnip greens with ham.

I was also taught it is bad luck to do laundry on New Year's Day, but that one seems perfectly logical, so I will not debate it. I've never been told what may actually happen, but it must be truly awful for my mother to remind me of it every year. I have caught myself, on more than one New Year's Eve, franically washing clothes prior to leaving for some event, for fear I would either be naked or face some horrid fate for washing clothes on New Year's Day. Were my brother and I the only people on the planet to be taught this lore? Apparenlty so, if there are people who are still displaying their Christmas lights three weeks after Christmas.

I told Cyndi and Brandy that there needed to be a Christmas light intervention.We should knock on the door, present this individual with a current calendar, pointing out that Christmas has past some time ago and offer to help take the lights down.

"Well you go right to it Sunshine," Cyndi chirped "but watch out for the couch and the washing machine on the porch. And if you hear banjo"

Driver's Ed Should Be Required!

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Driver's Ed should be required!
Current mood: annoyed

Two people have died on the interstate this week. I heard about them on the news. There was a time, when you could look up at the Vulcan statue, standing guard over Birmingham (while simultaneously mooning Homewood) atop Red Mountain, and know someone had lost their life. ( ) . If someone had died in a traffic accident, Vulcan's light was red, and green when all was clear. I remember looking for that all my life and feeling sad when the light was red. When they restored Vulcan in 1999, they replaced the torch with a spear, which I'm told is what he was originally intended to hold. Now you have to read about traffic fatalities in the news again.

But Vulcan history is not my intended topic. People who make stupid driving mistakes is.

Those of you who know me, know what a careful driver I am. You also know that stupid drivers are in my top ten, biggest, all time pet peeves. It's pretty high on the list, like number 2 or 3. It runs a pretty close race with my number 1, people who don't wash their hands in the bathroom. The thought that there are people out there that think that's okay nearly gives me hives, but that is a story for another day.

Even in my wild teenage years, safe driving was paramount. Over the years I have seen friends and family needlessly injured and even lost a few, some very dear to me, to the perils of motor vehicle operations. In every situation, regardless of who was at fault, it all boils down to someone being stupid & careless.

I now drive, twice a day, along a stretch of Interstate 20, known here in Alabama as "Death Valley." Those unfamiliar with I-20, it runs west to east across Alabama from Mississippi to Georgia. "Death Valley" starts at Leeds exit 144 and runs to somewhere around the Talledega Motor Speedway exit at Lincoln. It is called this because, reportedly, there have been more fatalities here than any other area of interstate in the state, including I-65 that runs from Tennessee all the way to the Gulf Coast. It is also here that I encounter the majority of the state's stupid drivers. I often wonder if I was one of the only people to actually take Driver's Education, (as mandated by my parents and their insurance company) because most of the stupidity I see was covered in the very first week!

When I was a Sophomore at dear old LHS, I was given the "option" to take driver's ed. My parents were insistent, as neither of them had quite the patience to let me get above 10 miles an hour or out of our neighborhood. Although I had inherited my grandmother's 1972 school-bus-yellow Vega at 12, and sat longingly behind the wheel for close to three years, I had little actual driving experience. There were the occasional attempts by my high-school boyfriend to teach me to drive his car, but despite his patient nature, I made him nervous as well. So my driving instruction was left to the expert educators, one of which was my next door neighbor, our football coach Coach Joe Campbell (Lord, rest his soul).

It was pretty much a "pass or fail" course and pretty much everyone who attended passed. I only knew of one person who actually failed, but that is what wrecking the driver's ed car will do for you.

I remember very little about the actual class, other than the car had a brake on the passenger side (Cool! would like that now sometimes when I have to ride with Heath or Julia!) and we watched the mandatory scratchy, reel-to-reel version of "Blood on the Highway", circa 1960-something.

When it came to the actual driving, we were split into groups of four that would take turns driving around Leeds. My group included my friends Eve and Melissa and a young lady whose name escapes me. I do remember that she had very long hair, wore dresses all the time and was very quiet. I also remember that she was a Senior and was in our class, two years after it was first offered to her as an elective, because she had finally, successfully convinced her parents that she needed to know how to drive.

Melissa and Eve were experienced drivers, turning 16 in the middle of that school year. They, like me, were in the class because of the insurance discount and it gave them something to do for an hour out of the school day. I felt pretty safe riding along when they drove. Our Senior, however, was quite a different story. Because of her parents reluctance to allow her to drive, she had even less outside driving training than I did and often would wear on Coach's patience. I remember once, narrowly missing another car, she threw her hands over her face, leaving Coach to grab the wheel and stand on the passenger brake. I don't know what happened to her after she graduated, but I will say, I hope she is not driving!

Some stupid mistakes that really get on my nerves are:

Not using turn all....ever. A driver about to execute any type of turn or lane change is to indicate it by engaging their turn signal. For those of you offenders, that is the little lever sticking out of the side of the steering wheel. It is not for hanging up your sunglasses.

Not checking the "blind spot." This is the area on the sides of your vehicle NOT VISIBLE IN YOUR MIRRORS. I am constantly amazed at the people who, not only do not indicate that they are changing lanes, but also do not bother to see if anyone is already driving in that lane! These are the people who nearly sideswipe you, then have the audacity to cuss at you and flip you the finger for their stupidity. How dare you already be driving in that lane!

Related: Not turning around to back up. You know, throw your arm over the seat and turn around. First rule of driving, look in the direction you are going. Most of the time I am a pedestrian when I run into these yahoos. However, every now and again, when I am trying to back out at the Walmart, I see them coming. Usually because I am watching them start toward me as I am backing out. You have to honk at these people or they plow right into you. The trucks at my company have those beeping back-up signals.

I wish all cars had them. Maybe then some of these people would turn around and look.

Failing to properly yeild to the right of way. If you are currently driving in a lane, be it on a city street or the interstate, it is "your" lane. Anyone wishing to merge into that lane must yeild to YOUR right of way. They are to signal their intent (the aforementioned lever on the steering column), then wait for YOUR response. You may choose to let them in front of you or you may not. It is up to YOU. You can be nice and pull over or slow down to let them into your lane, but you don't have to.

You are in "possesion" of that lane.

This includes traffic merging onto the interstate. Just because their turn indicator is engaged does not give them the right of way either. Merging drivers need your permission or wait for another opening.

Notable exception: Pedestrians and all emergency vehicles have the right of way. Emergency vehicles take precident and are to be granted right of way as soon as safely possible.

People who do not grant emergency vehicles right of way. Have you ever been the victim of an emergency situation, waiting for the blasted ambulance or fire truck to come and it feels like forever for it to get there? That is because there are selfish, stupid, dense, uneducated people in their way. My brother drove an ambulance before he became a police officer. My best friend was an EMT and volunteer fire fighter. Both have related horror stories of people who refused to let them pass, or equally as bad, did not know what to do and stop dead in the middle of the road. The preferred method, if they are behind you is to pull to the right and let them pass on your left. If they are approaching you, also pull to the right. This makes an opening that the vehicle can safely pass between the opposing lanes of traffic.

Lights and sirens mean someone's life is in danger. Move as quickly as safely possible. Remember this one thought: One day, it could be you or a loved one waiting for that vehicle.

Not driving the posted speed limit. If you need to get there faster, leave earlier. People who speed make me mad, people who drive too slow make me mad. People who speed up and slow down so you can't pass them make me furious. I stopped carrying my gun in the car for this very reason.

Passing in the marked "no passing" zone. These people not only endanger themselves, their stupidity endagers others as well. These zones are marked this way for very good reasons, whether you see their value or not. I'm sorry that I am driving the posted speed limit and you think you need to get around me. You should have left earlier.

Failing to obey traffic signs and signals. These are not there for decoration. They are for information. If you are unfamiliar with the meanings of different traffic signs and signals, how the hell did you pass your driver's test?! This reminds me of the very elderly lady, who nearly ran me down in the Walmart parking lot last September as I crossed in the very wide, very obvious pedestrian crosswalk.(Remember aforementioned Pedestrian Right of Way exception) This old bag then had the audacity to cuss at me and call me stupid. I was really missing that gun about then, but I politely aquainted her with the pedestrian crosswalk sign that was apparently invented long after she first obtained her driver's license 100 years ago.

I could go on and on, but I don't think dear old Tom intended for me to use all of Myspace-dom to vent on every stupid driver I've ever encountered in the 23 years I've been driving.

I will say this. I wish the powers-that-be would recognize the importance of driver's ed for all licensed drivers. It should be required, in some form, prior to being able to obtain a driver's license. I insisted that Julia take it when it was offered as an elective and in two years, Tyler will be taking it and Kaitlyn the year after that or they can forget me taking them for that license!

If Vulcan still had his torch, he'd be telling you right now.."Keep it green"

You Always Hurt the One You Love

(Repost...orginally written & posted on Myspace on or about January 5, 2007)

You always hurt the one you love...
Current mood: confused

My husband, is NOT a morning person. I learned this pretty early on in our marriage. However, he was not always the person I find myself waking up with lately. During the time that we were dating, I will say, he had me fooled.He would call me each morning, bright and early, to make sure I was up, getting ready for work, tell me good morning and that he loved me. His voice was sweet and tender and he always knew just what to say. Usually his was the first voice I heard in the morning, even before my own. Being a single mom at the time, sometimes Julz would beat him to it, but not often. This practice started pretty early on in our relationship, stemming from our late night talks and early work shifts. I soon began to do in kind and at times we would race each other to see who could be the first to make the call. Sometimes one would pick up the phone to dial, only to find the other had called and the phone hadn't even had time to ring. We'd laugh and then neither would want to be the first to hang up. The romance of it all was enough to put my diabetes into high gear.

Well, as you would expect, once the shine had worn off our wedding rings, we went back to being normal, sane, selfish, grouchy morning people.

A typical work-day morning at our house, now starts with everyone hitting "snooze" and trying to catch those few last precious Z's before being forced to head out to work or school. The annoying buzzing all over the house begins about 5:40a.m. That gives each snoozer about two more "snoozes." However, if we are not on our feet at 6:00 a.m. sharp, we are officially LATE.

I don't know how it started, but somehow, everyone's inability to rise in a timely manner has come to be my personal responsibility. (Keep in mind, I am dealing with a grown adult male, an 18 year old with her own job, a 13 year old son and an 11 year old who wants to be 18.) Each time someone in our household is late, it is deemed my fault, regardless of the actual circumstances.

Case in point, not long ago, I was home on a much deserved vacation day, only to be blamed for everyone else oversleeping. Because I did not have to go to work, I did not feel the need to get up at 5:45a.m. that particular morning. Everyone knew that I was off prior to going to bed, but still expected me to bang on their door and make sure they were up and moving. Imagine that.

This being said, I have made it my personal mission to ensure that if anyone is going to be late or otherwise inconvenienced in any way in the morning, it will be me. Hey, what can I say, every other mom in America is doing the same thing. What we do for love.

While Tigger and Kit-Kat can shower the night before and rise fresh each morning, Darling Hubby, Julz, and I must have that morning shower to help us wake up, before we have access to caffeine. Trying to get three adults showered in the space of an hour is quite a challenge. Since he has to be at work at 7:00am, D/H, of course, gets to go first. His typical shower lasts about 25 minutes, of which the first 15 minutes are just standing, and a fart or two.

I usually use this time to make sure the kids are moving then I lay back down and try to catch a few Z's of my own. I then have to wait at least 10 minutes for the hot water to build back up, with Julia hot on my heels soon after. From time to time, I actually get up with the alarm clock and get to enjoy a hot, leisurely shower prior to 5:30, but somehow, that always seem to inconvenience the others, so it is rare that I try it.

There are no precedents in my house either. One morning D/H may be up and in the bathroom by 5:45, sometimes at 5:59, but he is ALWAYS in the shower at 6:00 or he is LATE. As was the case just yesterday, but a nasty traffic snarl on I-20 helped with his excuse. The kids are still out on holiday break, so not having them underfoot has helped as well.

So on this morning, when my husband, whom I love, was still snoozing a few minutes after 6:00, needless to say, it sent a panic through me. I jumped up and asked "Are you going to work today?" This was met with the usual, grunt I have come to know as his morning voice, and he started moving toward the bathroom.

This Christmas, at a family gift-swap, we recieved an I-Sing shower radio with digital clock. D/H put it in our shower sometime last week. If anyone else has one of these, I hope yours is better than ours, as the sound quality in our four-by-four fiberglass shower stall leaves much to be desired. From the bedroom it sounds as if someone is bathing one of the cats.

I have endured this noise during my snooze time for the past week and this morning, when the door opened prior to the mirror-wiping and hair-drying, I chose to address it. Big Mistake. My darling husband promptly slammed the door and finished his morning grooming ritual in the sauna-like environment he'd just created.

When he emerged a short time later, and headed for the kitchen, I followed him."What is the matter?" I asked,. "Why do you always start in the morning?" he shot back, "you're always criticizing!" "What did I do?!" I asked again, somewhat befuddled. "You're pissing me off, that's what," throwing up his hands, " and if you keep on, it's going to wake the kids."When I pressed for more details of my heinous actions, he cut me off mid-sentence. Knowing the limit before the "yell-o-meter" goes off, I retreated to the bedroom, on the verge of tears. He was gone before I got out of the shower.

I've mulled it over all day. Like the little things that we do for each other that we take for granted. For example: he always makes sure my cell phone is charged; I buy him Dt. Mountain Dews and stash them so the kids don't find them. I am really thankful for those little things, but I don't think I've told him lately. I don't think he realized that I wasn't trying to be difficult this morning. I was just trying to take care of him, and make some conversation.

Whoever said "you always hurt the ones you love" was right.

Maybe tomorrow I will wake him with "I love you" like the old days instead..

I am okay, but the SNAKE was not as lucky

(Repost...originally written & posted to Myspace on date listed below)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I am okay, but the SNAKE was not as lucky

Okay, I promised that when the swelling in my hand went down, I would tell everyone what happened. It has taken nearly a week for the swelling in my left ring finger to go down enough to stand to type more than a few sentences at a time. Before anyone gets all upset and worried, no, I did not suffer a snake bite, but I was injured nonetheless.

Tuesdays, as you know, are Chick-Flick nights at Cyndi's. Last Tuesday, was a particularly warm, sunny day and when I arrived, Cyndi was seated in the "green room", a section of her front porch enclosed in lattice, that is soon to be a screen porch. It contains a white wicker set with green cushions and green indoor/outdoor carpeting. I took my place on the wicker love seat and we chatted about how nice it was outside and various things that had gone on during the day. She had cut back some of the shrubs, so we had a better view of the neighborhood.

About fifteen minutes into my visit, Maddie, the 6 year old, came out , wearing just a t-shirt and her panties, to ask her mother some innocuous question. I commented on her choice of attire and how young ladies should think about such things before traipsing out onto the porch in full view of the neighborhood. She just stood there, starring out into space. I thought she was ignoring me, like sometimes she likes to do and Cyndi said "Did you hear what we are saying?" Her gaze was fixed on the wall between Cyndi and me. "Yeah, but…" her little voice trailed off. Cyndi and I followed her gaze and much to our surprise, hanging from the brick wall, was a large, brown and yellow snake!

His head had been less than a foot from my own, his body following the mortar line along the wall and up the corner. He was muddy brown with alternating yellow stripes. The middle of his body was perched atop a group of bamboo tiki torches leaned against the wall and his tail seemed melt into the corner just a few inches from the eave. He was about four feet long , about as thick as a silver dollar, with the exception of the section atop the tiki torches, a lump the size of a fist, evidence of his last meal. He did not blend into the red and black brick at all, so I do not see how we missed him!

Contrary to my own belief, I did not have a heart attack on the spot, but it's a thousand wonders we did not kill each other trying to escape the green room. We stood in the alcove by the front door, with our hands over our hearts and tried to collect ourselves. Maddie summoned the other children, who had to come see the yet-to-be-identified snake. Mac, the oldest child and resident animal enthusiast, excitedly took pictures of our unwelcome visitor with Meryn peering from behind her, squealing. Matt-Matt, the baby, was all underfoot, unsure as to what exactly was happening, but happy to be in the fray.

It was soon established that Cyndi owned no gardening tools. We discussed several, less than savory methods of dispatching the reptile and the consequences and clean up methods of each. We decided to summon Russell, the neighbor, not because he was male, but because he was surely better equipped (and most certainly owned a weapon of some description) to handle the situation.

I was left to "watch the snake," who seemed somewhat oblivious to the pandemonium raging just a few feet from him, while Cyndi walked across to Russell's. As she walked across his yard, it dawned on me that perhaps the neighbor boy up the street who cuts the grass may have some sort of garden implements we could use when it happened. Never taking my eye off the snake, I stepped to my left to lean out of the alcove and share my epiphany. I lost my footing and fell off the porch onto the scalloped concrete edging that separated the flower bed from the walkway. My full weight came down on my left hand, gripping my cell phone like a vice and my left elbow and hip came down on the edger like a sack of potatoes. But I never dropped my cell nor did I take my eyes off the snake.

Throbbing and bleeding, I scrambled to my feet. I hurt everywhere at once and jumping up too quickly made me feel faint. I couldn't gather enough breath to yell at Cyndi, who was returning, alone, from Russell's. All I could do was repeat " I fell, I fell," over and over. While she called her boyfriend (who was out on a call and no where near close enough to rescue us), I went in to wash my hands and survey the damage. The heel of my left hand was scrapped and bloody, as was my left wrist down to my elbow and two fingers. The nail of my left ring finger was so scratched up, all the nail polish was gone. This finger was also rapidly swelling and turning a lovely eggplant color. The whole left leg of my pants was muddy, but thankfully, and surprisingly not torn, despite the fact the skin underneath was cut up and bleeding from my hip to my knee. I changed into a pair of Cyndi's lounging pants and went back onto the porch.

David had suggested we call the city, to see what type of animal control they may have. The dispatcher promised that someone would be out right away and soon we were joined by two of Moody's finest boys in blue. Apparently the fire department felt the police were better equipped to handle this, given they had guns.

The banter between us and the nervous officers would fill this blog alone, so I will just paraphrase for the sake of time and space. The first officer informed us he would be unable to shoot the snake because of its position on the brick wall (Well Duh!) . He attempted to pick the snake up with his extendable baton, something the snake wanted no part of. The second officer, who kept reminding us that he was not sure his salary covered this type of public service, used the tiki torch and together they attempted to move the increasingly agitated snake.

Mr NoShoulders let go of his hold on the wall and dropped to the floor between the love seat and the chair, attempting to hide under the table in between. The first officer tried to loop the snake around the baton, while the second held the cup-end of the tiki torch down over its head, all the while leaning over an assortment of furniture in the corner of the green room. "Oh if I only had a machete' this would be over real quick" the first officer lamented. Cyndi & I exchanged our "Oh, I could have had a V8" look and she excused herself to go back in the house.

I know that I have mentioned before that my best friend is a black belt. At this time, may I add, she is well versed in several types of martial arts weaponry and actually owns those in which she is proficient.

She returned a few moments later. "Will this do?" she asked grinning, stealthily unsheathing her 36 inch Samurai sword from its scabbard. The officers looked at her, then at each other and agreed in unison that the sword would more than do the trick.

Officer One made quick work of the snake and soon removed its writhing, headless body from the green room. Officer Two was enthralled, asking Cyndi about the disciplines she'd studied and the other types of weaponry she could use. She was showing him a short sword kata when the third police car pulled up.

"Oh great, " I said to Cyndi, "What on earth are your neighbors gonna think? You're in the front yard with a Samurai sword, I'm bleeding all over the place and there are three police cars in your drive way.

"Oh well, they already think we're a "special couple" anyway.

Jesus Died for Everyone, Even The Jerk in the Jetta

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Friday, April 06, 2007
Jesus Died For Everyone, Even the Jerk in the Jetta
Current mood: irate

It is Good Friday, the beginning of the most holy time in the Christian calendar, and I am already started out on the wrong foot. So I thought I'd share it with you, so that you can be just as ill and befuddled as I am now.

On my way home from the office, I decided to stop at Chili's and pick up an order of their chips and salsa. If you haven't had them, I highly recommend them! The salsa has just the right kick and the chips are thin and crispy with just the right amount of salt. When I decide I want them, my "taster is set," as my daddy would say, and nothing else will do. I order them so often, that Chili's number is saved in my phone. I call in my order when I reach Edward's Lake Road, so by the time I pull up in the To Go lane, they are standing there with the bag. I am sure this is why they ask, not only my name, but also what kind of car I am driving.

Today was no different, except that I took a little detour by TJ Maxx that is right behind Chili's, so I was a little later than usual getting into line. No problem, it's just chips & salsa. It's not like I've got a rack of baby-backs cooling off and potentially breeding some mysterious and deadly pork-borne food poision.

When I reach Chili's, they are as packed as any other on a Friday night. I am third in the to-go line, behind a silver Jetta.Now anyone who has ever had to go thru a drive thru has, from time to time, been asked to "pull up" to wait until their food is ready. This usually happens to Cyndi and me because we are usually trying to feed an army of hungry chilldren and we have placed an astronomical order. Usually, someone, or several someones, with smaller orders get their food before us. It happens. I understand the concept of moving people thru the line as quickly as possible and meeting the orders that can be met. I've worked in Customer Service long enough to realize that you do what you can do and that's all you can do. Clear the line. Don't have a problem with it and I don't mind waiting.

Usually, my little chips & salsa order is considered a small order, and often, knowing I am the silver Saturn, when they see me waiting, they bring my small order while others are still waiting for their food.

I sat patiently as the young man handling the to-go orders went back and forth handling the customer in the first car. He was apparently manning the to-go line by himself, because he never looked back down the line at the other cars waiting. After about 10 minutes, the first car got their food and moved out of the line. The silver Jetta in front of me inched forward and I followed close behind. To-Go Man bebopped up to the Jetta with a ticket in hand, and soon disappered back in the glass door. He made this trip several more times in the space of about 10 more minutes, still not acknowledging anyone else in the line.After a few more minutes, I decided to just see if my little order was ready and I would be one less person waiting. Obviously, Mr Jetta had a sizeable order that was being cooked while he waited. So I hopped out of my car and went in the to-go door. As I had suspected, my order was sitting on the counter.

The manager, a very short, dark-haired man named Joe, met me in the alcove and asked if he could help me. I told him that I had ordered chips and salsa close to 45 minutes ago and thought I would see if I could go ahead and get them. He checked the bag on the counter, verified it was my order, and handed the ticket to To-Go Man and handed me the bag. Little Joe also gave me a little magnet with the Chili's To-Go logo and phone number on it in appreciation of my patience.

Just as I thanked Little Joe for the magnet and assured him it would be put to good use, Mr Jetta, whom I will from here further refer to as The Jerk in the Jetta (or JJ for short) snatched open the to-go door."Are you waiting on her or are you waiting on me!" he yelled, startling everyone standing in the alcove. "There is a line you know!" Joe responded that they were preparing his order, and with that JJ closed the door. He began pacing like a caged tiger under the canopy between the door and his car. He looked to be one of those uptight, Junior executive types, who had just spent his only off day in three months lugging the CEO's clubs around the country club. He was dressed in khaki's, an all-weather pull over with a logo I couldn't make out, a matching visor and a Bluetooth blinked like a strobe on the side of his head.

To-Go Man swipped my card and hastily handed me the slip to sign as he went about printing JJ's ticket. I laid my signed ticket on the counter and as I turned to leave, JJ again snatched open the door.

"I'm sorry," I said smiling, "I only had chips and salsa." I unlocked my car with the remote and started to get in.

"Oh and that makes your order more important than mine?!" He yelled. "Excuse me?!" I responded, shocked . "That was very rude, there was a line!" JJ retorted. To-Go Man was standing next to him, trying valiantly to hand him the ticket to sign. "There's such a thing as manners you know." I couldn't believe this was happening. "It was just chips and salsa" I repeated. "And that is SOOO important" he repeated."No, it's not more important, but I didn't see the point in waiting 45 minutes for chips and salsa that was already ready" I was starting to get a little hot. I was an hour past taking my second blood-pressure pill of the day, and I could feel my heart starting to rev up. I couldn't believe this jerk was getting so torqued. "I was first, there was a line, but if your time is SOOO much more important.." JJ yelled at me again.

I knew I'd better get in my car and get out before I clocked JJ with my precious chips and salsa that I had waited an hour to get and wound up having to call someone to get me out of jail for assault with a deadly condiment. "Some people have no manners" he yelled again, signing the ticket with a flourish.

What the hell did this have to do with manners? Obviously JJ had never had to pull up and wait for his food, while smaller orders were handled around him. Maybe that strobing Bluetooth was causing a mini-seizure that triggered some long dormant case of Tourettes.

I was beginning to see my pulse in my eyeballs, and in one last ditch effort to get the last word, I leaned out my half open door, car running and yelled "JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A PENIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU MORE IMPORTANT THAT EVERYBODY!" With that I slammed my door and drove off. As I turned left onto Highway 11 and passed back in front of Chili's I saw JJ jesturing wildly at To-Go Man and Little Joe.

You know how after you have a confrontation you can think of a thousand great things to say? Well on the drive from Trussville to Moody, my brain was working overtime. I felt bad for To-Go Man, who I was sure was now in trouble for my inpertenance. I decided to call back and make sure he was not reprimanded for what happened.

Little Joe answered my call. I told him who I was and that I wanted to call and apologize for what had happened and make sure that To-Go Man did not get into trouble. I explained that I ordered chips and salsa often and was often helped out of turn, while other customers ahead of me waited for their larger orders. He told me that To-Go Man was a rookie, and he would revisit the procedure and assured me that he was in no trouble. I even apologized for arrogant JJ, who should have apologized for himself . Little Joe thanked me for my call and my willingness to apologize. He said that I was the type of customer that Chili's wanted and thanked me for being a loyal customer and that he looked forward to the opportunity to serve me again.

Some what vindicated, I drove on to Cyndi's where I was to watch her children while she went out on a much deserved dinner alone with her honey. I recounted my story, my blood still at near boiling. She was impressed with the cleverness of my final retort. (Of course she would be, it sounded more like something she would have said herself than something I'd have come up with on my own,) I began to rattle off the things I should have said that I'd thought of on the drive home."I wish I'd had the presence of mind to say 'Happy Easter to you too' instead." I said remorsefully, "You know, made him feel bad for being such a jerk." Then Cyndi, my ever-clever bossom buddy responded, "No, what you should have said was 'And to think, it never ceases to amaze me, that Jesus died for you too."

And so He did.

And we will be celebrating His triumph over death and the grave in two days time.I'll be the one down front, on the altar, begging forgiveness for wanting chips and salsa.

Patriotism & Thankfulness

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Friday, January 12, 2007

Patriotism & Thankfulness

In my previous blogs I've tried to be somewhat comical, but today I'm going to be serious.Given Pres.Bush's recent decision to send more troops to the Middle East, and the apparent terror attack on the US Embassy in Greece, I thought you might need to see another side of me.
My patriotism.

I was born and raised in tiny Leeds, Alabama, a city east of Birmingham just off I-20. Yes, that is also the home of basketball legend, Charles Barkley, ( a really nice guy once you get to know him, as most of us from Leeds do. He truly lives up to his quote "It's not what you have, it's what you give back.") but that is a story for another day.Leeds has been recognized as a City of Valor, having more decorated war veterans than any other city of it's size, in the country. (

This distinction includes three Medal of Honor reciepients; Henry "Red" Erwin, Alford Mclaughlin, & William R. Lawley.

Bill Lawley was my grandfather's cousin and a boyhood companion.Read more about him here ( )

One of my favorite stories of their friendship, was when he accidently shot my grandfather in the leg, while chasing a wounded rabbit. My grandfather carried that bullet the rest of his life. He'd tell the story, then rub our fingers along the side of the bullet, lodged just to the inside of his shin, above his ankle. I always thought it was a funny little story.

I do not recall ever seeing Alford McLaughlin, outside of pictures, but I remember vividly the first time I ever met Red Erwin. Severely burned from a phosphorous bomb, he barely resembled anything human. His face was disfigured, he was missing his nose and an ear and only had two fingers on one hand. When I was small, I was terrified of him. He personified what the boogeyman might actually look like. It was not until I was older, when I learned how he was injured, that I understood and appreciated his sacrifice. When he would come into the store I worked at in high school, I remember he was quiet and kind, and had very nice blue eyes.

In November of 1999, Alabama legislature named Highway 119 "Medal of Honor Highway" and dedicated it to these heroes.( )

Everytime I hear the National Anthem played, I cry a little. Always have. Have you ever noticed that it was written during and about the heat of battle? I am reminded, each time, of Americans that have fought for this country and my freedom.Military families currently top my prayer list.They are what is keeping our military going. So many parents, both mothers and fathers, are currently serving our country. Families having to get by, day to day, with their loved one so far away.

I wonder if they are hurt by some of the things they see other American's saying about the war. The crass, insensitive comment made by John Kerry springs to mind. I know I'm ashamed to admit people like him are Americans too. I wonder if he thinks about that when he hears the National Anthem.

If freedom was something that everyone had to work for, like a salary, do you think that we'd appreciate it a little more?

The Lawley family boasts a long line of military service: not only my grandfather, but all his brothers, my father, and brother as well. My husband's family has a rich military history also.My husband, his father, an uncle and both grandfather's also served our country. I am certain they followed the example of generations before them, who felt it was not only a duty, but an honor.This dedication to service is also found in the families of my friends. My best friend's father lost his leg in Vietnam, before she was born. Even though I see him often, I can't begin to imagine what that was like.Cyndi has never known him any other way.

Cyn, Darling Hubby, Me...we all learned early on, what is probably the most valuable lesson any American could learn: our freedom isn't free.I take a lot of things for granted in my life, but that fact is not one of them. I wonder if the war protesters realize that they have the right to assemble freely and protest, because someone died for it? Or may die for it tomorrow.

I have friends in all branches of service, all across the globe. Some are in harms way as you read this. Some are unpacking from their assignments, some are packing for deployment.Cyndi's little brother Sean will soon be deployed to his second tour of duty in the Middle East. Here at home are his wife and three small boys, ages 6,4 and the youngest nearly 2.Over Christmas, we talked about his first tour. He told me about not being able to shower for nearly two months; having to burn their clothes because of a possible bio-threat; sand in everything; the unimaginable heat and the surprising cold; going for weeks with no mail, then getting a month's worth all at once. He was different from the person I used to know. Harder somehow. As he spoke, it was all I could do not to cry and grab him and hug him and tell him thank you, over and over again.

I know that there are people right now, boarding buses somewhere with their little signs, to go and demonstrate about Pres. Bush's latest decision. And that is all well and good for them.But I challenge them to use just a portion of that energy to say "thank you" to someone preserving that freedom of speech.

As for my family from Moody,AL, we would like to say THANK YOU to our military personnel. We are praying for you as you serve.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

She's 41 and her daddy still calls her baby.... I am 41.

I'll be celebrating this evening with my best girlfriend, Cyndi (who's birthday was Tuesday),and her sister-in-law, MaryJo (who's birthday was Sunday), at the local Mexican restaurant.

Then the hubby and our kiddos have a little ice cream and cake action for me this weekend.

So my birthday plans are kinda wild compared to some years and kinda tame compared to others.

Here I am at the start of it all...40 years ago.

I think I'll be taking a nap after this year's party too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh no...I've been "Tagged"

Thanks to my friend, Ang, I have been "tagged."

Before you run out to be innoculated to remain in my pressence,
I have been "tagged" to play a game of "blog tag"

The Rules:
1)Link the person(s) who tagged you
2)Mention the rules on your blog
3)Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4)Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them
5)Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Now, I am all game for tag, and items 1 thru 3 aren't an issue, but unfortunately I don't know 6 other bloggers, much less, 6 that will play along.

So, I will go thru with items 1-3.

1) Link the person who tagged you...okay...done.

2) Mention the rules on your blog
....see above...

3) Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks about yourself

a) I, too, am proficient in picking up items with my toes.
b) I have OCD...and not in a good way
c) I brush my teeth with hot water ( my husband thinks that's a quirk)
d) I like salsa on my scrambled eggs
e) I am the family trivia queen, and am highly sought after for games such as Trivial Pursuit,
Pictionary and Cranium.
f) I cry, or at the very least tear up, when ever I hear the National Anthem.

Now if I could have a little help with the other bloggers, then I could continue the game.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


So much craziness in my life right now...

Gas Prices are Crazy. Bills are Crazy. Work is Crazy. Friends are Crazy, Family is Crazy.

It's enough to make you want to kill someone!!

These things, however, are already dead :
Dead car battery
Dead husband's car

I did have one bright spot...I bought a pageant dress from a drag queen. Oh, sorry, That's Female Impersonator. And I'm really looking forward to getting it.

Crazy, right?
See what I mean...