Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When horror takes control...

Yesterday was filled with stress and horror.  I was going to say that another sick individual had taken hold of the news, refusing to release us from the hold of his grotesque grip until someone forcefully removed him.  Yet even then we were not released.  And I have come to the conclusion that these people are not sick at all, they are simply mean in every definition of the word.  Mean hearted and mean spirited.  I think we let them off easy when we put labels like "psychotic" and "mentally unbalanced".  No, they are simply mean and because they can not stand to see anyone happy they go out in the world to spread their darkness of spirit.  Unfortunately for the world, sometimes this darkness spreads to other like minded individuals who decide to try to go someone one better.  The world holds its' collective breath waiting in anticipation for the other shoe to drop.

I tried to change the channel. go outside to work in the yard, walk the dogs...anything to break the hold of the horror that this person had on my mind and heart.  I always came back in and turned the channel back to Fox to get the latest update, to find out if it was over.  And then it was.  You would think that it would be anticlimactic but no.  There was even more news about the shootings.... now we needed to know everything about this man (whose name I refuse to utter here after he held me hostage to a news channel all day yesterday September 16th 2013.  Why give him even that little bit of honor?)  We needed to know where he was born, what he did for a living who his parents were.  Now the FBI wants anyone who knew him to contact them.  Yeah, right...if I had known him I would not claim such.  To have anyone such as he in our lives is not something to be proud of.

So last night as we watched yet more news about this person, the phone rang.  When I answered I heard the sweetest voice saying "hi Grandma, what are you doing?"  Suddenly the abysmal cloud of distress that had overpowered me for most of the day lifted and like magic was gone.  Sometimes it takes the pure love of a child to make you see the world for what it is...a shifting shadow always fluid never stopping to consider your wants and wishes...all in all there is nothing to be gained by wailing that you have no control over your world.  All of us need to take a deep breath and be thankful for what control we have over our own lives and let the devil take the hindmost...the hindmost being the mean and heartless among us.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tobacco Stick Cowgirls

I heard on the news the other day that there is a new Rehab program for those out there who are addicted to the Internet. Really? It makes me long for the good old days when our parents made us play outside till dark and the last game was Ain't No Mad Dogs Out Tonight. Of course there were only three channels on the tv, and like now, you couldn't always find something of interest to watch so we went out happily. Now 500 channels and nothings on, so the kids (and adults) spend too much time in front of the computer. I have noticed over the past few years that there are a lot of remakes of movies, quite a few tv shows are "borrowing" plot lines from shows in the 60's and 70's and it raises the question of "has everyone lost their imagination?" I worry that our kids are spending so much time in front of a computer screen that they may be losing the ability to think for themselves and make up games to play, complete with storylines.

I long for the days of road building for the toy trucks which my grandfather, Dwight Douglas gave us as children. He wanted grandsons so badly but settled for his tomboy grand daughters. We learned to build roads, make dams,and build little villages out of sticks and stones as we played happily in the long dirt drive in front of his house. At the end of tobacco season there were glorious games of cowboys and indians...I guess in these days of political correctness, those games are relegated to the distant past. My grandmother would go into the rag bag and get out some of Daddy Dwights threadbare socks, give us buttons and other scraps and we would lovingly create our horses heads. We would stuff them with cotton batting and tie them onto tobacco sticks that had been deemed to used for tobacco hanging anymore. This was long before Build a Bear you understand. We would sew matching (sometimes) button eyes and two little (again sometimes) buttons for snorting nostrils, a few buttons for a mouth (sometimes smiling, sometimes snearing) and if we were lucky add a bit of fringe for his mane. They had names like Sassafrass, Buddy or even Silver if you were lucky enough to be The Lone Ranger (of course we said The Long Ranger, even then we didn't listen well). We whipped around that old farm house with the smoke house as our Saloon, the woods as our hideout and the dirt road up to the barns as our raceway from the bank holdup. Listen, I told you we were tomboys...Becky, Kay, Patsy and Cathy, Teressa and Crystal. Toni and me (sorry Alice you were to little to enjoy our games) we were the Wild Bunch. Yes. those were the days, the wonderous days before Internet Rehab and Legal Marijuana....the great brain drain. In my heart we will always be the Tobacco Stick Cowgirls...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy 21st Birthday Alex Bush...

This is a rerun in honor of my nephew...something happened when we were not looking...he grew up.  He turned 21 today and I have vivid memories of this wonderful young man, though this post indicates otherwise...So, here we have Trouble in Paradise, Redux

It has been a long time I have cohabited with an 8 year old boy. Even when I did my boys did not talk to me all that much. Figuring that this was why they had friends, there was only parental communication between us. You know the drill, I gave orders they patently ignored. I would find myself giving the same order over a short period of time until it was ultimately obeyed. It was a war of wills between us, a war I usually won.

My sister Toni and brother in law Tim had a business meeting to attend in Boone. NC this particular weekend (or at least that was what I was told) and they figured my father would benefit from the company of his grandson for several days. He arrived on Saturday. It is now Monday and he is not with his grandfather, he is with us. My father, who likes the pleasant buzz of familial activity, likes it from behind his closed bedroom door. He was worried that Alex would fall in the pool and drown, that one of the dogs would bite him in his over exuberance or that he could not escape the endless chatter of said child. It turns out he didn't need to be the one worrying about any of those things. He simply took to his bed and called for back up.

So here I am with a very precocious 8 year old boy whose favorite activity is talking. He talks very well. If I could find one thing in common with a small boy this would be an outstanding situation. I like to talk, too. But as I have mentioned, my boys did not do much talking to me. I had no interest in Batman then and I find I have even less interest in him now. I am perfectly content on my day off to play in my garden until it gets to hot and then move my playtime to the computer. I have enough competition for computer time with Mac, and now I find this little person staying with us also likes the computer.

I also learned this little person is a picky eater. He doesn't much like vegetables of any color. He explained to me that his parental units were teaching him to eat vegetables, a lesson he should have learned in infancy, but he is a slow starter in that area. (I have to remember to tell the parental units they may have procrastinated to long on this one.) I found that the one vegetable he will eat is corn and then only on the cob or creamed. He likes chicken. I of course fixed Roast beef. He likes yellow rice, not white. Two guesses what color the rice was and the first one doesn't count. He will eat tomatoes if they're in spaghetti.

I had them sliced. Raw. When he saw the okra he very politely turned up his nose. This was after he had very cleverly asked what that green slimy stuff I was slicing was and if it was a vegetable. I should have told him it was a fruit and maybe he would have at least tried it.

Supper being a dismal failure, he continued his pursuit of the cat children. They, being of sound mind and good sense, hid from him. Duffy had long since pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment and was sentenced to the back yard.

The phone rang while I was cooking. Joyce wanted to know if I wanted to come in and work third shift for an officer who had called in sick. The answer was a resounding yes...I did want to but I simply could not. Mac, who had had even less experience with 8 year old boys than I have, would never have understood. I feared he would run off to Daddy's and lock himself in with him.

Toni called a little bit ago. She asked how it was going. I lied. I told her all was going well...great in fact. I told her if I was a bit sharp it was because I was in pain. My shoulder and neck had been been giving me a fit for about three days. I told her it wasn't that I didn't want to talk to Alex, I didn't want to talk to Mac either. In fact I wished that everyone would leave me to my own devices and let me suffer in peace. Alex came to speak with his mother and wanted to know when they were coming to pick him up. He said he thought he was making Aunt Sandi nervous. I suspect Toni now knows all is not well in paradise.

And  now our Alex has reached his majority...he is now 21...a college student with a bright future in Communications in front of him because he loves to talk... now I wonder which side of the family he gets that from...Happy Birthday darling boy...we love you...
Aunt Sandi and Uncle Mac

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Smoking...I almost left the quitting to late...

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Sandi and I am a reformed smoker. (Hello Sandi). When I say I'm a reformed smoker you can take that to the bank. I do not sneak around in the bathroom or on the porch or in the yard hiding to feed my nicotine habit. Oh, I used to smoke all right. Like a chimney. I would put out one cigarette while reaching for another. I would stop on my way home from work and buy a pack of cigarettes even if I had a half pack in my coat pocket. Yes, that's right, coat pocket. No time to be fumbling around in the suitcase I call a purse looking for that life giving nicotine. I had to be able to put my fingers on one at a second's notice. I had to have a lighter that would not fail to flame at the first turn of the wheel. I had stock in the Marlboro Company and single handedly supported entire families of workers for the Zippo Lighter Company. My fingers and teeth were yellow, my white walls at home were yellow. Not a pretty daffodil yellow, an ugly nicotine yellow. Oh yes, I was a smoker. I tried every thing known to man to put down the filthy habit, I used a patch (sometimes two) I chewed the gum, I tried cold turkey. I would announce to the world "This is my last cigarette" as I balled up the half empty pack and tossed it carelessly into the nearest trash container. I always had good intentions. But like the road to hell, my good intentions had filters on each and every turn. If I was lucky enough to have made the now infamous "I have quit smoking" speech at home, I could crawl out of the bed (hoping not to awaken Mac) and into the kitchen and root around in the trash like the crazed addict I had become until I found a piece of broken cigarette large enough to smoke. I wouldn't even make it out of the kitchen, just sitting propped up against the wall, a lighter in one hand and a badly damaged cigarette in the other. Now, Mac had quit smoking in 1999. He made no announcements, called no press conferences, he simply put the last one out and it was over. It is the closest I have ever come to hating him. I remember the day I quit smoking like it was yesterday. It was several days before Christmas, 2002. The week before I had been taken to the hospital with a breathing condition. The condition was, I couldn't. Breathe that is. They gave me breathing treatments, kept me overnight (after announcing that a surgeon would be in to draw fluid from around my lungs...luckily he was a no show) then sent me home. Yep, they sent me home and I was breathing just fine and woohoo, I needed me a cigarette like no body has ever needed a cigarette in their life. Two days later I awakened in a panic, I could not breathe in such a way that I thought perhaps this time I had finally been successful in killing myself. I had hoped that after I retired the stresses I had felt at work would mean that I wouldn't want to smoke quite so much. Luck would be a fine thing. I was on the phone to my cousin (also in Law Enforcement, also a smoker, and on breathing treatments at home!) I begged her to bring her nebulizer kit over ,that I thought I might die. I knew then and there that one way or another I was never going to light a cigarette again as long as I lived. Even the breathing treatment didn't work for long, as at 7 am I awakened Mac and told him I might need to go to the hospital. He took one look at me and bundled me into the car and off we headed to Carolina Pines. They gave me a successful breathing treatment but wouldn't let me go home. I had test after test. The Doctors kept asking if anyone had ever told me that I had had a heart attack. No, no one. They scheduled a stress test an Echo and an EKG. They kept asking that question. Finally, I just told them I suspected I must have because that same question kept coming up. Yes, they said, we believe you have had two events. Uh huh. Two of them. Well, I had the third event while I was on a treadmill the next morning taking a stress test. I remember them helping me onto a gurney, I remember them giving me something to help me relax (can I get a sixpack of that to go?) I remember they were ordering a helicopter to fly me to Providence Hospital in Columbia. I don't remember much after that. When I came too there was a Nurse leaning over me telling me I couldn't move my leg for the next four hours and here's something to help you relax (ok, maybe not a sixpack of this one, but hows about one for the road?) Turns out the weather had been to bad to fly, so the siren I kept hearing in my narcotic haze was the ambulance. I learned that women's symptoms of a heart attack are pretty dissimilar to a man's. I learned that I really should have quit smoking the first time I had made the announcement fifteen years earlier. I learned that the only thing worse than a reformed whore is a reformed smoker. I don't smoke, I don't allow anyone to smoke in my home. I nag every smoker I come across, even though I know in my heart that all the time I'm preaching they want to shoot, stab and disembowel me while they're lighting up that smoke for a nice long drag. But people, I tell you this. The inability to draw breath, then find yourself with your chest cracked open while they cut a vein out of your leg to attach to your heart is a mighty strong incentive to stop smoking. Do I want a drag? No. I don't even want to be in the vicinity of a puff. I wish all of you smokers out there the guts to put them down before they put you under.
In the words to an old song:
smoke smoke SMOKE that cigarette
smoke smoke smoke until you smoke yourself to death
tell Saint Peter at the Golden Gate that you hate to make him wait
but you just gotta have another cigarette!