Going west

I love this nail polish, Orly, Alabaster Verve, which says absolutely nothing.  I would name it Raspberry Sherbert, kind of frosty but more shimmery.

Tell me you care.

My daughter brought me some polish by butter of London, a more natural solution in the world of nail art.  I love it.  Foundation plus color plus protective clear coat and voila, nails grow long enough to make them worth coloring.

Do you care yet?

When you’re my age, trim means a lot more than it used to before the chin line got wavy and the waistline wandered.

Other than nails, the important stuff, I have to fix my cell phone.  (Nails to cell phones? Slow day)  For the longest time, I’ve been accusing callers of breaking up and having a poor signal and you sound like you’re in a well or a fish tank, you’re cutting out, you’re gargling.  It finally dawned on me that not all of them could have poor signals, but my phone could be receiving badly.

I was told by the guys at the Radio Shack next door to my company where I signed up for my Sprint phone a year ago that the only place to repair it under my repair contract is about 25 miles west.  “But I got it here.” (we’re sorry) “Did you buy the Radio Shack repair contract?” No. “Well, then….”(we’re sorry)….

New management.  I don’t like them.

Yesterday I yahooed Sprint stores.  Wow, there’s a Sprint store at the mall by me off 640.  I called the number, they had the ear piece for my phone, all I had to do was walk in and they could get the job done in 90 min.  So off to Knoxville Center.  “Honey, can you meet me at the mall? I can drop my phone off, we can eat Chinese food at the food court while they repair it.”

It’s a kiosk.  (we’re sorry) The store closed in January.  The only Sprint repair is at the one out near West Town mall, now 30 miles the other way. “I swear I talked to a human this morning at a phone number assigned to this location and he said….!”

I’ll take the chicken and the noodles.  Iced tea, un-sweet.” To those north of the Mason/Dixon line, you have to specify un-sweet or you get two minute type 2 diabetes.

I really love this nail color.

Montezuma has nothing on Chinese Revenge.  I suspect the leftover gunpowder not used in the fireworks from 14 road side tents made its way into the alleged chicken/dog/cat at the food court in East Knoxville.  Just call me Shots.  After the “dust” settled, I called Nancy.

“Just wanted to confirm you guys are coming over Saturday.”


“And I have to run an errand…”


“And I want to see if that pendant is still at the….”

“And I need to go to the party store for some wedding shower stuff.”

She’s a hard sell.

“I’ll pick you up Saturday morning sometime after 10. Or so.”  That means I have to tidy up before Saturday. Cleaning off the dining room table is the pits.  I suppose I could do the one armed sweep if I can find a box the right size.

Tomorrow is Thursday, my late day.  We’ve been reduced to 39 hours when there’s not extra work that warrants OT.  It’s early in the month and the work load is light.  I get to sleep in an extra hour this week although I may make the best of the extra time and see what I can find for my daughter-in-law’s birthday Friday!! She won’t get it on time again this year but isn’t it best when your birthday is stretched out? (no)

In other words, I have a June/July birthday block.  I was always caught short on my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law — do I see an in-law pattern here? Once you identify a pattern, you can break it, right?  I promise I’ll be more efficient next year.

Saturday I will go west to fix my phone, check out a necklace pendant I mentioned for a birthday present, pick up party stuff and — oh, lunch! We have to do lunch!  And…oh! yarn!  And rhinestones at JoAnn Fabrics … !

Y’know, sometimes I shouldn’t be let out of the house.


bags and rabbit trails

We’ve transitioned from warm spring into mild summer, highs in the low 80’s.  A fan creates a tolerable comfort level and nobody is quite melting yet.  I went to the mall today on a bag trip.  I have a bag deficiency.  I admit it.  The conclusion is that there is no such thing as a perfect bag or perfect bag system.  The objective is a system to get me out to Seattle and back through the airport without checking a bag.  I found a leather, deep cut bag with an adjustable shoulder strap.  It was the sale tag that first caught my eye,  secondly the soft leather and it was the strap that closed the sale.

For some reason I still think it has to be an Ambulance Bag.  Paper cut?  I have the Neosporin and bandaid.  Shiny nose? Here’s the Mineral Veil and brush. Hangnail? Clippers.  Tic-tacs, hand lotion, hair spray, lipstick, gum, kleenex, blue tooth, tooth brush, flare gun — on and on.  I am ill.  I am deranged.  As I was making this list Honey was lying on the deck with the binoculars looking at the sky divers.  I think he was having more fun. Damn the male system of one wallet, one pocket.  They need something and expect the woman to have it at her fingertips in a bag dragging her shoulder lower than the other just for his needs.  Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.  That’s what my sister said about Mom when she was having her mini strokes and she finally sat down and didn’t get up much after that.  Rabbit trail.  Where was I?

So I started packing the new bag. It’s been years since I’ve just dumped stuff in.  Instead I’ve been using those clear zipper pouches loaded by category — hair, skin, face, nails, first aid, pharmacy, etc.  Now I have a big fat bag that weighs 7 pounds.  Back to the drawing board.  Maybe fewer bagettes in the bag.  Or maybe I can take out the umbrella that came with it.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Phone, phone, where’s the phone?  Then I thought how much fun it would be to have Daughter show me how her I-phone works even though I have another year on my Sprint contract.  Technology.  My parents’ lives spanned the horse and buggy to putting a man on the moon to a man in the highest office in the land getting some under the desk and being admired for lying about it–not possible in their world, which has nothing to do with technology.  Rabbit trail.

I remember when our telephone had no dial and was on a party line.  Twenty years later I had two children in school and we were still tethered to the wall.  Our town’s equipment wasn’t up to date to offer as much as call waiting.  Cordless was an upgrade when I was hitting 40.  Man, we were hip.  BTW, “hip” is a derivative of the 40’s word “hep” as in “hep cat.”  Sorry. Another trail within a trail. Suffice to say the telecommunications we were stuck with then was a far cry from what we carry in our pockets now.  And bags.

Back to the bag.  The best system is to have everything I think I might possibly need in a car bag and a desk bag, duplicate contents.  The carry around one can be a Mood Bag, whatever strikes my fancy, with only those things I know I use throughout the day and away from either car or desk.  I’ll be dragging out the previous master bag tomorrow morning and reload the duplicate tomorrow night.

There could be worse afflictions than being a hopeless bag lady.

That went fast

Thursday morning the men went out of town to a trade show.  The wimmin were on their own.


Donna:  How are you feeling? Are you okay alone? Do you want me to come down the mountain?

Me:  I figure I’ll have enough time to call 911 if I think I need to but you’re welcome.

Donna:  Why don’t we plan on something anyway.

Me:  You want to sleep over?

Donna:  Let me think about it.

Thursday I called back to set up something.  We decided we didn’t need to bother with an overnight but dinner on Saturday sounded like a plan.

Saturday morning….

Donna:  Are you okay?

Me:  Playing on the computer.  All is well.  If I can gin up the ambition, I’m going to Lowe’s for some garden stuff.  Buying dirt is always high on my list.  Back in Illinois, dirt is black and tillable with a hand plow, not orange concrete like it is here, tillable only with a jack hammer..

Donna:  What time do you want me there?

Me:  Might as well come with me as a landscape adviser.

Donna:  I’ll be there within the hour.

Donna and I have yakked and yukked it up for about 9 years now and still don’t run out of stories.  She’s 20 years my senior, retired from nursing and earned a Phd in something, I forget — I’ll have to ask her next time.  I never fail to learn something from her.  This time she brought a book to help me deck garden.  It looks thick.  I’ll have to think about it.

We pilgrimiged to Lowe’s for, you guessed it, dirt, but special dirt in a bag that said Miracle Gro on it, three bags, count them — three — it looks like dirt. Next, I’ll buy water at several dollars a gallon.  Anyway, I found two cherry tomato plants for hanging upside down (yes, I’m going to try that again), two sweet peppers plants, a packet of leaf lettuce seeds, a bundle of onion bulbs for which I may need (to buy) more dirt and one or two more containers, and a 32 gallon plastic trash barrel for rainwater which was filled to overflowing overnight.  Have we had enough rain yet?  According to Donna, no.  The water table is low enough to create sink holes here and there and not high enough to get her enough pressure on her mountain to do more than one load of laundry at a time.

So I’ll get another rain barrel and two extensions to the eave gutter.  That ought to ensure the rain stops for months.

While we were headed to Puleo’s Grill toward Knoxville, I was telling her about the new New Orleans restaurant behind the old Lee Greenwood Theater on the bluff overlooking the river.  “So, why don’t we go there?  Are we going the wrong direction?”  Not if I turn left right up here.

She had the Shrimp Creole and I had the Chicken Pontchartrain.  We both enjoyed the view, more chit chat, and headed back to the ranch for the movie d’jour, Donna’s choice.  She chose Wit, starring Emma Thompson.  “I haven’t seen Emma Thompson in anything bad and this director is great with comedy.”

Emma played a college professor of 17th century poetry who is diagnosed with 4th stage ovarian cancer.  As she said, there is no 5th stage.  Not your standard party entertainment, but I am glad we watched it.  Very moving, very thought provoking, an effective conversation starter for a retired nurse and my incurable curiosity.

She went home to the dog, Bruce.  I decided at the last minute to not sleep in on Sunday, stopped at (the) Food City on the way home, watched Elizabeth with Cate Blanchet, napped, watched the real Ocean’s 11 (the one with the rat pack made in 1960), hung the second tomato plant and planted the lettuce seeds, roasted a chicken and voila, the men are back in town to make the wimmin happy again.

My man is crashed in bed after a long working weekend.  Poor baby, he’s exhausted.

Talk to y’all later.  Have a pleasant Monday, Tuesday, etc.

Would you like a jar of Tennessee Hot?

The air is now about the thickness required to dish it up with a spatula.  Just send me shipping and handling and I’ll send you a Quart of Southern Summer that you can save for a cold night in January.

These are the dog days of summer.  Symptoms include:

  • Leaving the car windows down, unconcerned over theft.  The horn buttons are gone, the fabric by the back window is torn, there’s an empty cheetos bag on the floor and crumpled kleenexes with lipstick prints in the center caddy.  Go ahead, make my day.
  • Bare legs.  Mine redefine white woman.
  • Non-stop fans with the AC.  The ceiling fan blades are dizzily spinning as fast as they can.  Pray we don’t find them stuck in the walls in the middle of the night.
  • Starting the car wearing gloves and going back in the house — the mirror image of warming the car in January.
  • Cold food, no appetite, where’s the ice?
  • Clicking on the weather section of every internet news site every ten minutes just in case the weather actually is changing because I don’t like it.
  • Thumbing through fall clothes catalogs, again, just in case this ends during my lifetime.

I’m told it will cool down to the low 90’s — maybe — by Saturday or Sunday.  I’m waiting.  Like, man, where am I going? Maybe I’ll just fly to oh, say, Seattle.

So, just as my pity party is gaining strength, I am reminded that in Fallujah, Iraq, it’s 121, not many trees, and the people who are risking their lives covering our backs are wearing helmets and flack jackets and carrying sun-warmed hardware.  I appreciate and respect you guys. Thanks.

The heat wave just got a little more bearable.


It was not as I planned.

The church van pulled into the driveway and eleven women spilled out with bundles, bags, pillows, sleeping bags and various forms of food, most of which included chocolate.  As they filed into the house I was embarrassed to realize that I couldn’t pin names to familiar faces which is the downside of a growing church with two services.  Add to that the fact that I’m part of the praise team for the second service and sometimes in skits for both, so they see me on the platform and I can’t always catch up with them after service.  I felt better when it became apparent that many of them didn’t know each other.

It didn’t take long to break the ice and load the plates.  We had brownies, hot fudge and ice cream, turtle cream cheese cake, carmel corn, cookies, butterfinger cake, and more.  Let us not forget the litres of coke.

I’d planned for a high energy night.  The games were stacked, the carefully selected movies filled two shelves, plenty to choose from.  I had cleaned the porch, the refrigerator, the sheets, the extra makeup brushes, and made sure I had a fresh bottle of polish remover and plenty of cotton balls.  But the evening did not go as planned.

We played Balderdash, then we started talking.  Midnight came, two had to leave early, the rest of us continued getting to know each other, share kid stories, jokes, and girltalk.  Once in a while someone would suggest a movie or another game but oddly, it was never seconded.  We talked.

….until 4 am.

Leigh slid slowly down the side of the sofa and gently tipped over.  BTW, did you girls know that’s a reclining sofa?

Next, Nancy shuffled into the room with the air mattress.  Hey, Nanc, there are 3 beds you’re ignoring .. too late.  She was down and not getting up.  Michelle rolled out her sleeping bag on a bed.  Steph parked the coffee table in the kitchen and herself in her sleeping bag where she stood.  Dot, our only senior whose joints work better than a gymnast’s, curled up behind the dining room table next to the wall.  She wisely decided that the table would protect her from being tripped on by anyone on the way to the bathroom.  Beth laid back where she’d been sitting in front of the TV.  I saw the empty queen bed, announced to the immovables that there were two soft bed spaces available.  They were down, and I needed a crane to change that.

As I was turning out my light, I heard Jackie say as she tapped her toothbrush, “I think I got my second wind!” We drifted off to the tune of giggles and whispers.

Approximately 9:00, eleven rumpled, blurry lookin’ women loaded up half empty dishes, bunched their blankets and pillows, thanked me for a wonderful time and sort of fell into the van.

Sunday morning, people asked me how the party went.  I had planned a report of fixing hair and nails, laughing over games, sitting on the deck and upsetting the neighbors, and telling scary and/or gross stories  — you know, a slumber party.  Instead, we bunched in the same room, afraid we’d miss something someone said if we broke away.

We talked.  We shared.  All night.  And it was right.

Two days out

This is Wednesday morning and the list grows instead of bearing check marks and cross offs.  I would rather make one trip to the store, one swoop with the vacuum, one room re-arrangement.  I have Friday off but I need to make a dent or two before then.  It’s not like I’m staging the house for sale, I’m trying to clear floor space.

Friday, 7:30pm, I will receive an unknown number of women into my home for a sleepover, an overnight, what I used to call a slumber party.  Byo blanket, pillow, food, beverage, and accessories such as favorite movie, games, makeup, curlers, nail polish, etc.  The goal is to stay up as long as possible and act silly. 

We have the talent and technology.

This time I have the decks and the screen porch.  We could also have policemen.  I hope we have enough food.  Better get some doughnuts.  Is that really true?  I mean the doughnut thing with policemen?  Would that constitute bribery or not?


Let’t talk about best friends again.

Christy 1957This was taken at my house, my 7th birthday.  (I just know that wallpaper will come back in style again.)  Gifts were seldom plural but we looked forward to the event with excitement.

The menu was a command performance–whatever we wanted, balanced or not.  Having a friend overnight was a law.  I don’t know who the balloons came from but I was obviously happy with them.   That’s Christy Thompson with me, my first best friend from school.  I think she looks like Loretta Young, don’t you?  So pretty.  So very, very pretty.  Whatever is that on her head?

Her mom let her wear lipstick in second grade.  Not every day.  This was a special occasion, the Christmas program but I was so!!!jealous.  My mom thought it was scandalous to wear lipstick so young and RED too!  I didn’t get to wear nylons until 7th grade.  Not fair!  Christy’s mom would have let her wear nylons much sooner than all the way into 7th grade!

I already told you in my posting titled Mama’s Baby that the day I walked into the first grade classroom, I sent Mom home in no uncertain terms.  I was in school now and well, I was in school now.  Christy and I were best friends right away.

It wasn’t too far into the first semester when Christy invited me over to her house for an overnight.  Wow!  My mom didn’t think I was ready for that after being a mama’s baby so recently, so she sent my sister, Margaret, a 4th grader and therefore qualified to go with me, in case I got homesick.  She lived at least 8 miles away and we didn’t have a telephone in the house.  Therefore,  it was better to send a sister along than to risk having to send someone from the switchboard in the middle of the night to our house to tell Mom to come and get me.  So Margaret was assigned the Baby Sister duty.

Christy lived on a big farm with horses, even!  Her house was the traditional two story plus attic and had a big old furnace in a scary basement.  So, while Christy and I were running around the house, dropping pencils into the furnace grates, doing whatever else little first graders do, my big sister was sitting in a rocking chair, sniffing and weeping and clutching her doll, homesick.  Oh, well.  Christy and I were raising Cain and having fun.

We were best friends all the way through 5th grade.  We both liked one little boy and vied for his attention.  But I knew, because he told me, that he liked me best, so all was ok.  Christy and I stayed friends.  I would stay at her house and she would stay at mine several times.

Then, when 6th grade came along, the school district was restructured and she was suddenly in a different district.  We didn’t lose track of each other.  She attended the Coldbrook Christan Church and I attended the Cameron Christian Church.  Many shared youth events brought us together again.

I remember one slumber party at her house when someone’s underwear was found in the freezer the next morning.  I remember her showing me how to tear open the winter corn and warm my hands.  I also remember flying backward and having my knees almost ripped off by walking behind one of the horses and being kicked.  That hurt.  I remember playing badminton on her lawn late at night.  I remember standing on our heads in her upstairs bedroom and hearing her mom yelling at us to get to bed because 6 am came early.  And it did.

Christy had recurring tumors in her sinus area.  Each time one was removed, it all seemed ok.  But it wasn’t.  It was cancer.  No one really informed me of the details.  It kept coming back.

She showed up at one of the Youth Fellowship functions in our junior or senior year.  She looked the same–beautiful.  Sick.  And beautiful.

Christy closeup
This is a closeup crop from the picture above.  She didn’t change much for ten years.

Someone said Christy knew scripture “left and right, forward and backward”, that she loved Jesus.  I visited her at her house one time after a surgery and all I remember is how peaceful and settled she looked.  She comforted me.

Shortly after that visit, she died.  I don’t think she saw her 20th birthday.  I didn’t attend the funeral because I had just recently moved to Minneapolis and couldn’t make it back home.

Christy, you couldn’t be wife, mother, or grandmother.  But you were my first best friend.  I think of you often and I look forward to seeing you again.

Say hi to my mom and my dad.  Say hi to that little boy’s mom.  And dad.  Stand at the gate for me.  I want to hug you first after Jesus.