Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Dog's Unending Loyalty

My cousin sent me a link to this video ... a must see if you love dogs! I could write a thought provoking post about it, but I think it stands on it's own merit without any embellishment by me.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Surprise ... And A Birthday

My cloudy, rainy day was brightened by the arrival of this awesome handmade card from Dana at Life Is Good! She had said she might send it because of a comment I left on one of her posts, as she does for many of her visitors, but I didn't think it would get here so soon. Thanks, Dana! If you haven't visited her, please do so ... you might become a lucky recipient of one of her cards someday, plus you'll just enjoy her!

Conner turned four years old this week, and he received enough combined money to go to Toys R Us to get a scooter. Of his own. That Garrett, the older brother, can't take away from him. (I know I'm prejudiced, but, uh...is this not the cutest birthday boy ever? I mean, really. Even if you took away the vest.)

They plan it this way. Put the coveted item at the back of the store. So that you have to stop at every aisle. And look at every toy. And you can't drag or yell at them because it's their birthday. And they have their own money to spend as they want. Within reason.

Finally! Mommy checks out the dozens of options and themes (Hot Wheels, Diego, Cars, Harley Davidson). Conner gets distracted. Mommy picks two and tries to get him to focus.

And the winner is ... HOT WHEELS! He actually wanted one exactly like Garrett's, but Melody talked him into a different color. He already had a helmet and pads, so with a little extra money he bought a Buzz Lightyear remote controlled car(spaceship), which I don't have a photo of. Oliver, my chihuahua, loves it (the unphotographed car/spaceship).

The piece de resistance, riding the hot dog bus! (Really. Enlarge this photo to get the full effect of the sheer joy.) It just doesn't get any better than an afternoon at Toys R Us!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside: flooding

You may have heard that we had a little bit of rain here in Georgia this week - to the tune of about 12" in our area between Saturday night and Monday morning! It wasn't as bad here as in Atlanta, but Chickamauga Creek went about 10' over flood crest, and all of the many trickles of creeks turned into raging creeks. Here are just a few random photos of our immediate area: (don't forget that you can enlarge to get more detail)

No, that's not snow, but rain drops on my lens. That water in the background is the green area behind our house that I wrote about once before, where the creek is normally invisible unless you know where it is. We're in a hundred year flood area, but aren't really worried as we're on enough of an incline to not be in danger.

During a brief lull in the rain, these hummingbirds took to the top of the cherry tree right off the deck.

This is actually a horse pasture with probably a foot of water that was gone by evening.

I had to drive to town, and the steam was coming off the ground between the tree lines, plus the clouds were really low.
I almost had to pull over during this downpour, but it didn't stop me from taking a photo!

This is the ridge a couple of blocks to the east of us, again with the steam and/or clouds.

This is the little park we go to in Ringgold, with about a half a foot of water.

And this is standing in the same spot as above, but looking toward the street just a few feet away from the park, several feet under water because of a very deep, fast moving creek.

I just thought this looked cool with the reflection of the trees in the water, and the vines on that one tree. (really, enlarge this one so you can see what I saw)

Oops! They must have thought this was only a puddle. The rule when you come onto standing water like this is "turn around, don't drown". Apparently they forgot.

And at the end of a rainy day, one of our beautiful sunsets.

This is my daughter's back yard in a low spot. School was cancelled again Tuesday, and I was babysitting so she could run the errands she had planned to do while they were in school.

I thought I was being such a cool grandmother to let the boys play in the water, lecturing them, of course, on the dangers of doing this under other circumstances and to never never do this unless with an adult. But boy, did I get in trouble! They forgot to tell me that mom had already told them not to do this, especially in this spot, because it's where the dogs poop! So I had to shower and scrub them afterwards.

And this is Garrett and Conner seeing who can hang the longest. Garrett's biggest regret of the day was that the swing wasn't closer to the water so they could swing over and into it.
Well, that's it for our little neck of the woods for this week. Ya'll come back!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Musical Monday: Kevin Skinner

(Yes, I know it's not Monday, but I have this ready now and want to send it on it's way! After all, it's only two days away, so that mean's I'm two days ahead of myself!)

Anyone who watched America's Got Talent will know what I'm talking about when I say...Kevin Skinner? Huh? Seriously? What the ...? A million dollars and a show in Las Vegas? The critics will eat him alive, chew him up and spit him out. No way can this unemployed chicken catcher handle or carry a Vegas show! He was sometimes off key, his voice was weak and wobbly, he wasn't that great a guitar player, he was unpolished, he was shy and socially ackward ...

...and apparently that's exactly why he was voted most talented. A diamond in the rough. A rags to riches story (who wouldn't want to see an unemployed chicken catcher hit paydirt?). A hometown boy makes good.

And you know what? America may have been right in their vote (oh yes, Christina, I actually said that!). I went to YouTube and listened to him again because I was so puzzled. First off, I was shocked that there were so many videos of him! I found these two that made me re-think my original assessment of him, one a hometown interview, and the other a song he wrote after his grandmother died. Give a listen, it won't take long.

Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vreGYTG2iKA

Performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6lDj2PiaKQ

I haven't really changed my original opinion of the 'quality' of his talent (and I still think there were far better talents all across the board), but I have changed my opinion of his potential. He definitely has the heart and the hunger for this path, and with training and practice he might just become someone we see around for a little while, if not as a singer than maybe as a songwriter.
(And I also see a country star of the calibre of Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Reba, taking him under their wing and giving him some guidance.)

There is a lot of hidden talent in this world, the Susan Boyles and Kevin Skinners. Most are like you and I (though I have no talents), ordinary people who have a talent - and, perhaps most importantly, a passion to go with that talent - that makes them dream of making it big ... if only given half a chance, such as a spot on something like America's Got Talent or So You Think You Can Dance.

Most, whether singers, dancers, magicians, drummers, football/baseball/basketball players, writers or whatever, won't. They'll work their butts off to get where they think they want to go, but most will be known on a smaller scale, karaoke, community talent shows, church, entertaining family and friends, maybe even having an act in a small venue or become part of a dance troupe or chorus, or being on a highschool/college sports team, or getting something in a magazine as opposed to having a Pulitzer Prize winning book. But making it big will always be just beyond their reach.

For the Kevin Skinners of this world: Don't give up on your dream, just know that the path toward it can itself be the reward. (I don't know this first hand, mind you. But in theory that sounds like something profound to say.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blogging vs Message Boards

I've been doing a lot of blog reading lately, and continue to be in awe of what's out there. I'm also amazed that I can read for an hour here, but fall asleep five minutes into reading a book!

Several weeks ago I found one that I keep going back to, and have gone back to the beginning to read forward to the present. If you get a chance, visit Ron at Destination: Where the F is Ron, who has traveled the world taking photos of the wonders and worst of the world we live in, and is recording his thoughts and experiences with the posting of some of his work. Here's an example of the beautiful journaling:

"I've been photographing the world for almost ten years now, and have covered some of the worst situations on earth: Cambodia, Afghanistan, Laos, Kenya, and lately, Ghana. I've seen more suffering than I can count, more horror and hatred than I can remember, yet I'm still surprised by what I discover in the far reaches of our planet. In the midst of abject poverty and despair, war and suffering, moments that define the power of the human spirit ultimately prevails--snapshots of hope, humanity, and the sheer will to survive encapsulate my lens. I've come to see how these moments enrich my life, past and present, personal and professional. It's all inter-connected. Life isn't all about successes and failure, triumph and tragedy, there's more to it than that. It's about finding your place, acceptance for who you are, and believing in a better tomorrow."

If that touches you, then you will definitely want to drop by his place to read more. I was particularly touched by 'A Balancing Act' of 11/24/08, and 'Language of Light 'of 12/15/08.

Also in regard to blogging, I've been fascinated with the comments. It's very time consuming, but sometimes the comments are as good as the post. I'm never sure what kind of comment to leave myself, and have noticed that I have a tendency to go overboard, to 'analyze' what was posted and give a 'waxing poetic' reply. I don't think I like that, even if it is my natural way of talking even when I'm just having a conversation with my daughter!

I'm sure everyone has heard about Kanye West's obnoxious interruption of Taylor Swift receiving a Best Female Video award. Just for the hell of it, I went on the message board of one of the online news articles, and once again I was blown away by the vitriol, absurdity, and lack of civility that society can display on these boards. Whether they're just being 'silly' or trying to impress, bored and wasting time, or whether they are truly hateful people, you can never tell. I rarely read these, but guess I do sometimes to be 'entertained' by the comments, which is how they keep these things going. I'm feeding the monster (though I never leave a comment)!

Many said that Kanye is a racist, dissing a little white girl in favor of a black artist. Someone said that if this had been a white guy interrupting a black artist, Al Sharpton would already be on the scene. One said that he deserves to be sent to visit his mother (who is dead), while a few others said flatout that he deserves to die. Another said that you'd never find a Mexican doing something like this, and then someone dissed the Mexicans with some stereotypical comments.

Well, you know how they go...in a blink of an eye, everyone is trying to out-do someone else's negative and outrageous comment, and it doesn't take long before race, politics, or sex come into it. I just think it's sad, and wonder what an alien from outerspace would think of this stuff if they found it in a time capsule. I think it displays the dregs of our society, not a normal sharing of views. (Well, I guess I should amend that to say that there are probably some perfectly nice people who are acting in a less than intelligent fashion.) And I think Kanye West, no matter what you think of his talent, is just a narcissistic obnoxious pig who was seen chugging alcohol throughout the evening and made an ass out of himself. Not as a black or a white, not as a Democrat or Republican, or as an entertainer who thinks he has entitlement, but as a drunken ass. An ass is an ass is an ass, and by any other name is still an ass.

You all know that I've only been blogging for seven months, whereas some of you have been at it for several years. I didn't even know what blogs and message boards were until this year! So all this is still a period of learning and discovery. And I have to say that the comments I see on the blogs I've found have never been anything but kind. That's something for the blogging world to be proud of. I guess the old adage 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' applies in most places.

And let me also say that, despite following everyone's directions to a tee, I still cannot get the link to do what it's supposed to do, even though I did manage to do it somewhere else. No matter how many times I try, it goes to one of those 'server can't be found' things, and did you mean bla bla bla. If you click on the bla bla bla, it actually will go to the link. Could it be something with blogger and not me? Like I said, I did it once before and it worked, and I'm following directions exactly. Hmmm. Like I said, still learning ... POST SCRIPT: I FIGURED IT OUT!!! I WAS DOING IT RIGHT ALL ALONG, BUT I HAD A POP-UP WINDOW THAT WAS BLOCKING THE LINK!!!

As a side note, let me mention that the two hour season premier of 'House' is next Monday!!!!!! Woohoo! Note to my daughter: I WILL NOT BE BABYSITTING ON MONDAY, SEPT. 21. (Well, I actually will since that's Conner's night to spend the night, but I reserve the right to drug him!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I'm honored to have received an award called the Honest Scrap Award. It's for "those bloggers who write from the heart", and I received it from Missy at Missy's Book Nook. Thank you so much Missy! I had seen this on someone else's blog and wondered where you had to go to get one, not realizing that it was an award! The rules are to pass it along to seven bloggers who write from the heart, and then to list 10 honest things about yourself.

I'm passing this award on to seven bloggers who I feel truly write from the heart: Lila at Being Lila, Bernie at Old?Who Me?, Lakeviewer at SixtyFive, Now What?, Ron at Destination: Where the F Is Ron?, Glenn Differences With the Same Likenesses, Michele Renee at Must Be A Full Moon, and Lorna at Bathtime Blogger. If you're one of those bloggers who doesn't like to display their awards for whatever reason, that's fine, but I want you to know that I chose you and visit you because I admire the honesty and heart you display in your blog. If you've never visited them, please do so. (You'll have to get to them from my blog list, because they're not going thru here. Sorry.)

Here are seven honest things about me that I stole from my FB notes:
1) I'm a magazine-aholic. I buy them, read the first few articles that grab my attention, then put it aside to read later... which never comes, because I've brought home another one or two. Stacks and more stacks, all around the house. Always looking for that one article that will have the solution to making my home, my marriage, my cooking, my life, better.

2) I'm obsessed with helping my neighbors take care of their pets, because they obviously can't or won't! It drives me to tears and rages. It's not uncommon for me to bring the neglect to their attention, nicely of course, and offering to help keep their pets watered and warm/cool. It's such a simple thing - if you have a pet that is penned or chained up in the yard, YOU MUST SUPPLY THEM WITH WATER AND THE CREATURE COMFORTS (a warm bed in winter and shade in summer). How obvious can that be? How difficult can that be? It takes maybe five minutes a day. Give me a break!

3) I'm a television addict. I could watch all day, which I don't, but I just always have it on.

4) I wear dentures, and my daughter is under strict instructions to super glue them in if I'm ever incapacitated.

5) I have two half sisters and three half brothers (all maternal), who I didn't find until I was 30, and have only seen them a handful of times in 30 years. I don't know if I have any siblings by my biological father, who I haven't found.

6) I have something called "seizure disorder without convulsions". Certain lights and patterns set it off - the floor jumps up, I get big, vision is hyper and distorted, I get sick at my stomach, and I get random electrical shocks throughout my body. I've been on medication for about ten years and it's helped 90%, but there are still those moments when something sets it off, like the kids turning the lights or a flashlight on and off. I also have to have balanced lights in a room, and the blinds turned a certain direction.

7) I wear my socks inside out. It's called something like tactile hypersensitivity. Seriously. It's been studied and documented. For example, I can't stand the loops and seams inside socks, or the socks slipping around, to the point of being near tears and ripping them off. Just imagine thousands of ants inside your socks.

8) My daughter and I have instances of E.S.P. or psychic connection all the time, and have had for years. Like I can be at my house thinking how good ice cream sounds, and the phone will ring and it'll be her asking if I want to go get ice cream! Another example, one day I was thinking that pizza sounded good and I'd like to get some for dinner the next night. Then Melody called within minutes of the thought and asked if I would go with her and the boys to Chuckee Cheese for pizza for lunch the next day!
9) I'm the world's worst procrastinator. And I mean that seriously. Like procrastinating for months or years, not days or weeks. Why do today what can wait til next year? I have emails in my in box that I replied "get back to you soon...", and they're almost a year old.

10) I love family photos. I have something like fifteen big albums, all in chronological order, one of my youth, one of my first marriage, and the rest beginning in 1973. Several times a year I sit down and pull them all out, then laugh and cry my way through from beginnning to end. How in the world can a person keep their memories alive without photos?
That's it for today. If you're unable to retrieve the award from my blog (I'm still unsure about all that stuff), let me know and I'll email it to you. And, again, thanks Missy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside: Football

This last Saturday was my six year old grandson Garrett's first ever football game, and the first time I had seen him suited up. I don't 'do' sports, but I promised him that I would go to his games and cheer him on... as long as I didn't have to understand what's going on. He's fine with that.

To see them lined up on the bench, wondering, I'm sure, when they'd get to play and how they would do, made me think of my first dance recital in grade school. Sweaty palms, dry throat, heart pounding, wondering if I would be a star or make a fool of myself.

I have no idea what was going on, but the bottom line is that Garrett's team lost.

These are the cheerleaders - they were just too cute!

This is Garrett after the game, glad it's over and proudly displaying his sweaty head, though not as proud as he was when displaying a big bruise on his arm after he took his shirt off.

Conner, who was not impresssed that his older brother was having his first football game, spent his time making new 'best friends' at the top of the bleachers...

...and this is what Conner was doing during most of the game. Soon to turn four years old, he has decided that he wants one of these for his birthday - in addition to the Handy Manny Workshop, not instead of.
I spotted this house across the street from the school. I love stone walls and foundations, so risked getting lost in an area I'm unfamiliar with to check it out. You see these a lot in our neck of the woods, and this one in particular looks like it's very old (the fence and foundation, I mean).
I ducked into the alley behind the house to go around the block, and this is what I found ...

I'm thinking that when I have more time and there isn't so much football traffic, I will go back to this area (Chickamauga, Ga.) to see more old houses, gardens and walls. No telling what I'll find! It's also a big Civil War area, so I'd also be able to report to you about that. Until then ...

Monday, September 7, 2009


Is anyone besides me watching Hoarders on the A&E channel?

I'm at turns fascinated, appalled, sickened, and saddened. I've even at times found myself close to tears. It's painful to watch their struggles as they attempt to clear the clutter with the help of a therapist/organizer, and equally painful watching the frustration, helplessness, anger, and pain of family members and friends who are trying to help. The filth ... oh my gosh, you can almost smell it through the screen.

Tonight's show featured an elderly couple who, in addition to piles of clutter, were hoarding cats, and their house was unbelieveably filthy. She thought they had something like 20 cats ... the final count was 76, half of which had to be euthenized. As animal control cleared and cleaned the house, they found the remains of over 40 dead cats and kittens, some decades old, hidden in and under clutter.. Can you even begin to imagine that?

I don't think the fascination with this is the same as craning your neck to see a car wreck or watching Jerry Springer. It's more like ... well, I don't know why or how it's different, but it is. Though I guess it does have a there but for the grace of God aspect.

I've known people with serious clutter issues, but nothing like hoarding. And a lot of us have too much "stuff", but I think it becomes hoarding when it interferes with safe and healthy living? When it becomes more of an obsessive/compulsive disorder, a mental disorder? Definitely when it becomes a serious quality of life issue.

Have any of you experienced hoarding with a family member or acquaintance?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday's Favorites: Funny Post Find and Politics

I'm convinced that if I hadn't given myself a theme for three days of the week, I would never get anything posted. My mind is a total blank.

Today's Friday Favorite is a Funny Post Find: Wendy at On The Front Porch had me laughing so hard with her chicken story that I almost peed my pants (and if you know me at all, you know that I'm not kidding). And the comments were equally as funny. So do yourself a favor and go read her - and the comments - and you'll end your Friday on a high note (as if it's being Friday weren't enough)and an out loud guffaw!

Speaking of themes, I think I'm going to begin a new one for Wednesday, maybe alternate it with Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside. I'll call it "Wednesday's What the Fuck?" You know, like this week's "Wednesday's WTF?" would be about people keeping their children out of school next Tuesday so they don't have to listen to President Obama talk to students. Because, you know, he might enlist them in something akin to Hitler and the Youth Movement, might enlist them in his cause and try to sway them (these non-voters)to his political agenda, might start a conversation about health care or the economy, and they'd go home and try to indoctrinate their parents and possibly turn them in if they don't come around.

I'm just saying, and it's only my opinion, that no matter what your politics or political affiliations, IS THIS NOT JUST NUTS? (And, again, if you know me at all, you know I don't do politics or religion, but this has just irritated, frustrated and puzzled me all day.)

I apologize if this has offended anyone, but I've spent the whole day saying 'what the ...?". So, I really needed that laugh that Wendy gave me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday's Wanderings:Colbert Hollow

I've taken you on the road to the Walmart in Lafayette before (a lovely fifteen minute drive), but today I took a few of the side roads off of that road and saw some wonderful new things.

It was a gorgeous Fall type day in Georgia, and I seriously got a little bit lost both in my wandering and in my thoughts. We've lived here since December 2005, and I still never cease to wonder at how beautiful this rural area is, even though bigger city type things are only fifteen or thirty minutes away. I love the trees, the 'oldness' as shown in the barns and houses that they never seem to tear down, the 'feel' of the whole package.

I know I always do too many photos in my posts, but I can never seem to narrow them down! I did, however, remember to upload them in medium this time so they wouldn't take up so much room, and now I'm sorry I did because it loses all the detail, which means that you really do need to click to enlarge so that you can see what I took the picture of - and that's a pain in the butt and time consuming. Sorry! I know I could put them on a slideshow, but since I only have two columns I don't know where I would put it. Oh, on the 12th photo with a white spot in the field - that's an abandoned white bus!

(P.S. I just remembered you can change the size right there on your computer ... not text size under 'view', but down at the bottom right (on my computer). It says 100% with a little magnifying glass, and if you click it it says 'change zoom level'. See if you have it - it helps a lot!)

I hope you enjoyed the drive, and that you'll come again for another visit.