photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The World May Be Flat, But My Breasts Are Spectacular

I thought to myself "I really need to do some back to back posting to get even close to the 3 times a week average I want to have here, but what the heck do I write about?"

Out of the blue, a Gift from the Universe- something Alec and I watched together, pausing it every few minutes to laugh, cry, pound our heads on the wall or just utter some cuss words in exasperation.

It's pretty long (15 minutes) but if you can stomach the first 5 of them, you've pretty much seen the whole show...sadly. The "spoof" afterwards is worth it, for several reasons, one being that they have ONE woman who says something that's even remotely sensible.

(Waiting for everyone's ears to stop bleeding...)

I think it's safe to say I'm fixin' to ruffle a few feathers in the next few paragraphs...

I went to school- public school- between the years of 1965 and 1977- not the computer age but not exactly the stone age either. We learned reading, writing, rithmatic, history and science. We learned to read and write English, do basic math, learn American and world history and how the world works- including how the world and all its inhabitants got here.

We learned evolution.

Most of us went to church too- all sorts of churches- and we all learned faith based creation stories (along with stories about global floods and giant man-eating fishes). We were never, ever, ever told in church that evolution was false.


I also remember when the Miss America pageant made an attempt at "proving" it wasn't just Princess Dress Up for fluffy-headed morons and they stressed the academic achievements of the contestants- who were expected to have critical thinking skills, a mastery and ease of speaking in public and...spines.

The contestants gave interviews where they shared which college they'd been accepted to, what they were going to major in, and that pageants were a tool for them- the opportunity to do community service and the scholarship money were the real appeal for them. It all sounded like the girly counterpart to the boys joining the military for 4 years to attend college on the GI Bill- a means to an end they otherwise couldn't afford.

What the hell happened?

Most of the time we were watching all 50 of the contestants Alec was turning it off and backing it up because his mother was screaming at the monitor "YES. THE ANSWER IS YES. BECAUSE IT'S SCIENCE AND IT'S FACT AND IT'S TRUE. IT'S NOT A THEORY, IT'S NOT CULTURAL, IT'S NOT 'ONE OPTION', IT'S HOW THE WORLD HAPPENED YOU STUPID COW" and he was missing the actual answers.

The "spoof" video was an excellent analogy.

(Sarcastic mother pretending to be a beauty contestant)-

"Well, children really need to be told about math, but since math is only theory they need to be able to decide for themselves if it's real or not. I mean (holding up 2 fingers on one hand and 2 fingers on the other hand for visual effect) this COULD mean 2 + 2 = 4, BUT"

(Alec interjects)-

"It could ALSO mean 2 two's, which is 22".

(back to mom)-

"OR (moving the hands together) lookie here- it's a DOUBLE U! See- three whole different theories, one that isn't even a number!"

I know. I get it. The bible as believed by devout fundamental Christians is the Word of God and I can respect that IF there are no picksies/choosies.

That's what I hear from my Christian friends "You just can't pick out the parts you want to believe, you know- the whole thing is the Word of God and must be the letter".


Guess ya'll better step away from those pork ribs and fried shrimp.

The quick answer is always "Well, those food laws were written before modern sanitary procedures, so they don't count- that's historical law- gimme my plate back, Missy- before I stab you with my spork".

Another is

"If it's not in the Good Book, I don't believe it or need it in my life".

May I have your computer, then? Alec dropped his and it's all squidgy. Guess you'll also be turning in your cell phone, eyeglasses, SUV and central air conditioning unit.

Chuckle and patient explanation as to a tiny child-"Those things hadn't been invented yet, so of COURSE they're not in the bible. The people who wrote the bible all those years ago had no idea of the strides we'd make in science and technology."

(Pause for effect)

Here's what I think. I think Genesis was written many years ago by men who knew they needed to start at The Beginning but who (because they were ancient people living in primitive times) had no freaking idea how it all came to be. They cobbled together what made sense to them at the time and called it History.

They weren't trying to pull wool over anyone's eyes (yep- shepherd pun, sue me), they weren't evil men. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had. The entire, repeat ENTIRE Old Testament is book after book of a buncha scholarly dudes trying to make sense out of the world as they saw it, trying to mark down a timeline that would give their people dignity and a solid faith, page after page of "begats" and a fistful of rules so the people wouldn't die of infected penises and salmonella induced dysentery.

Why is it so easy for people to justify setting aside dietary requirements so they can eat those tasty shellfish and cloven hooved critters since SCIENCE has proven that if properly cooked they won't in fact, kill us but so difficult to set aside the Creation story for what it is now that SCIENCE has shown us how it really happened- as much of a fable as Atlas holding the world on his shoulders or the giant turtle balancing our blue and green planet on her shell- our ancestors doing their level and sincere best to explain the unexplainable.

But we know better now.

And it scares the living hell out of me that we're being pulled so far and so quickly backwards- from our politicians to our school boards to our religious "leaders"- out of those 50 young women who were asked "Do you think evolution should be taught in school?" several I guarantee are gay, ALL will need reproductive services they may not be able to afford, none- not a one of them will be paid equally for equal work compared to men in their field.

Every one of them knows all the above, or would if they pulled their heads out of the cloud of hair spray and looked around at their schools, their towns, their mothers.

And yet not a one of them had the balls to look directly at the interviewer and say "I find that question offensive- of course evolution should be taught in school- it's hard science and it's the truth. To do anything else is a dis-service to our children and our country".

THAT would've been an answer worthy of the obligatory "flash the teeth, sparkle the eyes, smile to show you've answered sincerely".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's My Wifely Duty to WHAT?

I'm not a mean person. I try very hard to not gossip, to not lie, to not cause mental or physical pain and to think before speaking and acting about the ramifications of my words and actions on those around me.

I love my family fiercely.

I take my employment seriously.

I believe in the idea that is America.

Other than the occasional speeding ticket, I can't think of a single law I've ever broken.

On the other hand, I am not, do not aspire to, and will never require of anyone around me to possess the personality trait of submissiveness.

Back about a hundred years ago I was a fresh-faced 19 year old engaged to be married to a parentally approved 27 year old man. I'd been sort of a wild teen and I'm sure they were just thrilled/relieved that I'd made it that far without jail time or pregnancy or both and were happy to "hand me over" to...a husband.



So we went to the obligatory "pre-marital counseling" at the Lutheran church I grew up in, part of which was going over the vows to be sure we understood what we were signing up for.

All was well until we got to "I promise to "Obey".

Wait. What? What do you mean "Obey"? And more importantly, why is the "Obey" word only in MY vows and not Bill's?

The pastor chuckled and explained patiently. See MY vows said "Obey" and his vows said "Cherish". And he smiled like that took care of that.

But of course it didn't, because this is ME we're talking about.

The THEORY and in a Perfect World, is that if a husband Cherishes his wife he respects her opinions and feelers. Therefore everything he does and decides (?!) for the family will be done and decided with everyones' good and happiness at the forefront so...obeying him wouldn't be an issue.

I continued to look at him like he'd sprouted another 2 heads, neither one human.

And I refused. Patently and outright refused to say the word "obey" in the marriage service. In the end, it was changed so both of us said "cherish".

So as a wife I Cherish my husband, I Honor my husband, I Respect my husband and I Love my husband. I'm not very good at "obeying" and for damn sure I stink at being "submissive".

And although vigorously "boo'ed" at the last debate of the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, the question posed to Michele Bachmann about how her religious belief to "be submissive unto her husband" would translate and meld into her being, yanno, the leader of the Free World, it's an important thing we need to know.

Well, she hemmed and hawed and brought up those 23 foster kids (most of whom were in her care less than a week) and tried to give us her interpretation of the word "submissive". She said it was more about respect, and love, and something else that I didn't hear because I was throwing up a little in my mouth.

But wait.

Michele is a Literal Fundamental Christian. A person who believes with all her heart that the bible in its entirety is The Word of God at face value and NOT OPEN TO INTERPRETATION.

The bible says the earth is only several thousand years old? True.

The bible says homosexuality is a burnin' in hell sin? True.

The bible says "Wives- be submissive unto your husbands"? True.

If it's in the bible- it's true and not questionable or debatable.

So lets look up "submit" ("submissive was defined as "to submit")-

www.Miriam-Webster online-

intransitive verb
a : to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : surrender

b : to permit oneself to be subjected to something
: to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another

Pretty clear-cut. Not "to respect another's opinion" or "to give serious consideration to advice before dropping a bomb on a foreign country"- the words "respect" and "love" aren't there.

Yanno why? Because being submissive has nothing to do with respect or love and everything to do with power and strength.

People said that it was an unfair question because spouses will always talk to each other about important things, which is true and as it should be. The subtle and important difference here is if there is disagreement, Michele is duty bound to SUBMIT to her husband's opinion, advice and direction.

How a party who has serious candidates proudly announcing "If I'm elected I'll demand a loyalty oath from anyone not...white or Christian" and defend that as upholding the Constitution can seriously consider electing someone who will listen to her husband first BEFORE the law or Constitution makes no damn sense at all to me.

See? After all these years I'm still the same hell-raisin' dis-obedient troublemaker...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm a Simple Gal, In Many Ways

We used to camp.

We used to camp right here, on the very spot this house is built, back when we first bought the land and before we started going to MD Anderson.

It was easy camping, really, since it's only 3 miles from the old house if something was forgotten we could just run home to get it.

I remember the first campfires here, the first coffee on the camp stove, lying awake listening to the boys breathing next to me in our little tent, stars and moonlight, mists and mornings, the sun crowning over Meadow Hill.

Tent camping, to us, is still preferable to camper camping- closer to outside because camping INside isn't camping, it's just being INside...somewhere other than a house- but our aging bones don't like sleeping on the ground, so our overnights morphed from sleeping on the ground, to sleeping on foam mattresses, to sleeping on camping cots, to saying "Yanno, we may be too damn old for this".

When we built the house the intent was (and still is) to screen in one of the big sides of the wrap-around porch for an old fashioned "sleeping porch" and spare bedroom. There's room enough for my great- grandmother's 4 poster bed, a bedside table, a few chairs, a reading lamp. To that end this porch section has its own door into the house proper for privacy and easy access to the kitchen and bathroom without traipsing through Ward's library and our bedroom. We ran out of building money before building projects and that hasn't been done yet.

I've been ill, actually pretty dang ill with a fever-inducing tummy bug and then worsening of other issues culminating in clutching my chest like Redd Foxx, looking upwards and calling "I'm coming, Elizabeth" (dating myself much?). The 2am reality was not quite as humorous as that, as both Ward and I will attest to but the end result was going to the doctor for a check up and finding out that the twice/thrice daily dosing of ibuprofen for my headaches and bad ankle are starting to eat a hole in my stomach. But I digress.

During the initial phases of my illness, I commandeered Joe's cabin, which has both a/c (since I was running fever and losing fluids that was a concern in our continuing daily 105+ heat) and a bathroom literally 3 steps from the bed. For 2 days the a/c blew past me and the fan blew on me and I slept/was sick/dizzy/pretty much left the world as I know it. During that time Ward, Alec and Joe all tended me, babied me, spoiled me. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday like that.

I got up Thursday morning with most of my initial symptoms abated and able to walk more than 5 steps without the world tipping annoyingly sideways. I went home. Then to work. Stop. I get it. Moving on.

Thursday night I had the alarmingly cardiac-ish symptoms and went to the doctor Friday. Thursday night was spent at home, which has actually been very comfortable once the sun drops below the tree-line on the west side of the house and with box fans pulling in the cooler air.

But it's still cooler outside.

I'd been fretting our lack of screened porchedness- generally and actually even during our May cookout the skeeters flat eat you up out here with the 2 creeks, neighbors' ponds, springs and whatnot but then it hit me-

I haven't had a single skeeter so much as buzz my head all summer long.

Our ecosystem has been so fried by the heat (day 73 as of this writing above 100 degrees since June 1st) and the drought (down several FEET from where we should be by now) that there are no mosquitoes.

Very very bad for crops, livestock, trees, surface water, barn swallows and bats who depend on endless supplies of blood-sucking bugs for sustenance.

But most excellent if you have an unscreened-as-yet sleeping porch.

Last night I camped.

I borrowed Joe's hunting cot. The boys declined to join me even though I reminded them and tempted them with the happy fact that we have other cots every bit as uncomfortable in the barn from our family camping days.

I padded the cot with a big quilt and brought out a light sheet in case I got cold. (Stop snickering- when it's 105+ day after day after day, when the temperature drops below 80- *a 25 degree difference* it's chilly). I brought out my 2 favorite pillows and my current reading book- the porch light is not too bright, not too dim.

And I fell asleep on the cool porch listening to the quiet drone of the boys' tv's, the soft hum of the window fans, the crickets' gentle serenade a welcome change from the high-velocity extreme-voltage cicadas of daylight.

'Round about 2am I felt I was being watched. I could feel breathing in my ear. I opened my eyes and there was a beagle sleeping on my pillow. Wendy stayed right there about half an hour till her own children realized she was gone and we both heard them calling her from under Joe's cabin. Giving me a sad long gaze, she heaved a heavy sigh went back to them.

'Round about 3am a lone owl added his bass to the cricket orchestra.

Off and on I heard Sugarbearmarshmallowdog on patrol up and down the creek, up and down the hill.

At 4am the banty rooster announced morning, quickly followed and over-ridden by the senior roo, the library door opened and Ward came outside. I assured him there was plenty of room on the cot for both of us and he humored me, because he loves me and that's what he does. We snuggled there on the hard cot out on the porch till we both got cold (shup- it was down to the high 70's by then) and we went into the house and our bed where Fizzgig and Smidgeon gave me complete hell for abandoning them all night and also gave me the Stinkeye because my pillow smelled of ANOTHER DOG.

I'm really not all that stiff from the cot, and I slept well in between interruptions- all good interruptions, all things that helped clear my head and lungs of the 2 days in artificial climate conditions. All things that brought back memories of our first nights here, our short but intense history here, our roots already deep here.

I'm more energized than ever to get the porch screened, get the bed up for us and the hammock up for The Boy.

And I'm looking forward to tonight. Maybe I'm not too damn old for this after all...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't Forget Your Milk Money

Today, bright and early, a whole lotta kids were poked and prodded out of bed, force fed cheerios or poptarts, swaddled in new and uncomfortable clothing and summarily delivered into the maws of the educational system.

We saw it coming from the frenzy at Walmart and Office Depot for pencils and paper and the right kinds of binders to Academy where pint sized quarterbacks (quarter-pints?) stood solidly and proudly while being fitted for all that plastic armor football players need to wear to keep from killing each other in the name of sportsmanship.

All this stuff costs a lot of money. Anyone with kids knows starting about July, the places that sell school supplies all have kiosks of lists- list after list of what parents need to buy to prepare their children for the school year.

So this morning I had another one of my (increasingly and disturbingly frequent) conversations with Ward that starts out "Remember when we were kids?"

"Remember when we were kids and there was the School Store? You lined up on the first day of school with the rest of the class and stood in line. The old lady (who was probably 30) served you from behind the dutch door. All your school supplies- pencils, erasers, crayons, ruler, notebooks- could be had for like $5.00 and we all got the same thing."

Once we got old enough for "gym suits" the gym teacher ordered them and they cost like $20.

None of this school supplies costing several hundred dollars crap.

Ya, I know that was a million years ago and considering the cost of living and all, that $25 my parents spent on school supplies...STILL doesn't = several hundred dollars so shut the hell up.

How hard is it for families to cough up that kind of money, especially in this economy?

This hard- the same day Ricky and his minions (about 30,000 of them) were having their big ol' hootinanny for god inside the air-conditioned Astrodome, the convention center about 10 minutes away was overrun by more than 100,000 people standing in line outside in the heat school supplies, and they had to turn quite a few over that 100,000 mark away. By 10am.

Luckily, we don't have to worry about that. We home school.

Our son was still abed this morning when the school bus rumbled across the wooden bridges at the road. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's never even SEEN the school bus rumble across the wooden bridges at the road.

Sure we have to buy his curriculum and go on field trips and get him involved in sports and stuff, but we work our own hours, are free to vacation when we wish, and don't have to buy any school-appropriate clothing. We feel fortunate to get any clothing at all on the Feral Boy of Dedmon's Branch.

We also pay school taxes.


Back when I was young (this won't be so bad- I promise) I'd hear my grandmother complain that they still had to pay school taxes even though there were no kids at home anymore. She said it wasn't fair to them and grandpa quietly but firmly interjected (the one and only time he ever did) that they had US- between my mom and my aunt there were 5 grandchildren. They were paying taxes for OUR schools. And she'd quit bitching about it. Till next time.

We don't have grandkids and all our nieces and nephews are out of the public school system, but we still pay our school tax. We have friends who say "You don't use the school system, doesn't it make you angry to pay the taxes for it?"

No. No it doesn't.

Because it matters. It matters that children whose parents can't (or don't want to) home school them have a safe place to be during the day. It matters that the schools are staffed with caring competent teachers who have enough supplies to do their jobs.

It matters very much that Rick Perry says there should be no such thing as public schools regulated nationally. That he's cut billions of dollars for schools and teachers in an apparent attempt to wrest the Trophy of Absolute Ignorance from Mississippi once and for all and proudly display it in his cabinet right next to the ones for "Most Teen Pregnancies" and "Highest number of minimum wage jobs" and right under the spotlight glowing on "Largest percentage of citizens without health insurance".

See, just like a health care tax would supply free care to everyone in the country via Universal Single Payer coverage- there would be no need for individual insurance with its accompanying premiums, but you could certainly buy it if you wanted to (like in Canada).

Paying school tax so all children can go to school is the right thing to do. Making truly good health care available FREE to citizens is the right thing to do.

At least I think so. Guess I'm just a terrible American.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Think If I Want To

I admit it. I'm one of those ridiculous people who LOVE birthdays.

I know, I know- when you grow up you're supposed to either not make a big deal out of them, or actively deny their existence, but I've never been able to do that.

It's not even the Birthday Pageantry- the cake and cards and whatnot that cause me to hover with happiness just above the ground all day.

To me it's a yearly day of reckoning, sort of like other people see New Year's Day- what did I accomplish/survive and how close am I to where I thought I wanted to be by this stage of my life and yes, maybe just a little about what flavor the cake will be...

So I revisited my birthday post from last year and WOW have things changed in a year-

-we're in our home that was only a barely-forming mirage-like reality last August, it's here and now instead of just out of reach, and every day I still can't believe it.

-Ward is great and getting better than great every day- every night I go to sleep next to him and every morning I wake up next to him and every second is a gift and a treasure.

Today was gloriously normal. Got up, did chores, cleaned the guinea pig house, took showers, got into the car...and it was dead.

Joe came over and jumped the battery off of his truck and we went directly to Walmart because they told me over the phone "If you can get it here we can put a battery in it for you". We made it to Walmart (at 2:30) and left it in line at the auto center.

And waited. (3:30)

And waited. (4:30)

Finally they looked at it and...they didn't have the right battery. (5:15)

So we gingerly and fingers-crossedly drove it to AutoZone where they installed the correct battery promptly and for free and we got to dinner at 6:30 instead of 6- actually pretty good.

Actually pretty normal...for us.

Good food- Pho Vietnamese restaurant- tiny family owned, delicious. Spring rolls and sweet roasted pork over vermicelli with a big glass of iced jasmine tea.

Better company- "adopted sons" Jason and Ben, excellent dinner companions and the closest to siblings that Alec has with Dave in Wisconsin, Erika in Virginia and Jordan?

We very much missed son Jordan, who's still in Dubai (some kids'll do anything to get out of a family dinner).

Alec rode with Jason and Ben leaving us old folks to drive ourselves to dessert- Marble Slab Creamery...cinnamon ice cream milk shake, mmmm....

Joe fed the critters so we didn't have to hurry home or face feeding by flashlight.

I am 52 years old today. I have the home I've been dreaming of since I was five, a family who loves me unwaveringly in spite of myself, employers who appreciate and respect me, and friends literally all over the world.

Today was filled with the things and the people of my life- mostly not grand, or fancy or even stuff anyone would willingly want to have and do in their own lives (4 wheelbarrows of guinea pig poo while the thermometer read 105 as one example) but this life is mine, and today was one of a blessedly long string of days where nothing alarming or outstanding or life-changing happened.


Routine, calm, ordinary, small yet surmountable annoyances...normal.

Something I'm still not used to, but I'm trying really really hard.

Every day I endeavor to embrace Utterly Normal and someday I hope to be able to do it without feeling completely Skeptically Awkward about it.

Think I can do it?

Me neither.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

These Thoughts Do Not = A Penny

So, I've been staring at this blank screen for days now.

My fingers tappity tap lightly on the keys, revved up to transfer the words as they form in my head.

f d s a rolls my left hand.

j k l ; barely perceptively echoes my right.

It's not that I can't think of anything to say or have an opinion about- lack of opinion has never been an issue for me as anyone who knows me will assure you.

The problem is that my thoughts are not linear at this particular moment, not orderly, not cooperating, not lining up by importance or significance or urgency, the way they generally do- my head has many pigeonholes and compartments all stuffed full of the sticky-notes of my life.

It's the niggling, you know.

That tickling, twitching, shadowy, shimmery uneasiness that somewhere, sometime soon, something is fixin' to happen.

And of course "something" happens every day. For good or bad, something happens. Every day.

But this is different.

It feels big, like political big or natural weather event big.

It feels oppressive, the echo of an exhalation while the breath is being held.

It feels like while we're focused intently on something of great and true importance with all our forward vision, just off to either side other equally important things are being peripherally held up and erased, disappeared, silently crushed into dust- these things, these rights, these freedoms.

And by the time we notice they're gone it's too late.

The things of our lives that define who we are, what we do and how we live are being blown away like so many dandelion puffs through the blades of a lawnmower, the smallest and oldest and weakest among us are set adrift, and the punch line is, of course, that includes each and every one of us.

Almost without exception everyone I know and love is facing the loss of a home, of a job, of family, of the illusion of financial security- the very fabric of my local society mirrors the unrest and uncertainty of our cumulative immediate future.

On the one hand I'm compelled to stock up, prepare, get ready for...what?

The other hand tells me that no matter what I do or how much I do it won't be enough for...what?

Both hands are convinced that what we're facing will not be the End, but merely a phase, some growing, some adjusting, some re-thinking will need done, but being totally and as long as this body breathes a human, I believe with all the energy in my soul that once we're through it we'll be better for it.

The old "It's going to get worse before it gets better" and "May you live in interesting times" drivel.

And that propels me through every day, past the fog in my head and the tangled heap of stockpiled wrecks of trains of thought and out into the world- my very tiny reachable touchable world. To listen, and care and help where I can.

To try to sound an alarm, no matter how tiny and annoying, to nudge everyone I know to look AND see, to hear AND listen, to think AND feel, to reject soundly and without regret or backward glance any ideology that unites by division and focuses on distraction and talks love while walking hatred.

To be Fully Human- accepting others for who and what they are without judgment, to care for each other without strings or provisions, to follow simply and without question the one phrase that is uttered in every single set of beliefs worldwide and down through the ages-

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".

My friend George likes the saying "Today is a gift- that's why it's called the Present".

And it is.

It's Hope wrapped in Foreboding tied up with Resignation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

"And they lived happily ever after".

Even a five year old knows that's not really the end of the story- it's just the end of the part they're going to hear because it's bedtime.

It's the end of the part you're going to read in a book because the author is "written out" and things have pretty well come together at that spot.

In any life, in any family history in the making, Happily Ever After is actually just the end of a phase and the pause before another.

And so it is with us, as with everyone.

Our last decade or so was filled with things fabulously wonderful and hideously awful, but I marked the end of an era for us when we built and moved into this house that's been so elusive for so many years, got yet another "all clear" for Ward's scans, and came home to a house still standing- I'd pushed so hard to get it built and get us moved, then worried about the scans with an "other shoe" paranoia.

We came home, entered our new house and I clung to my cancer-free husband and melted into an armload of tears.

"And they lived happily ever after".

Of course we did.

It's still life, and there are still daily frustrations and money constraints- I don't know if we'd know what to do if we ever had money at the end of the month instead of miles of month without money. Things that were supposed to work out easier after this move haven't, but that's life. It's the way things go. Everyone's life is that way.

That's why it's so important to have that moment (or moments) of validation each day- to keep from despair, to recharge the batteries, to stare full in the face of what's really important because a lot of the time that's the quiet un-assuming stuff and we're surrounded always by a constant bombardment of superfluous bullshit.

Some people pray.

Some people meditate.

Some people count to 10. Or a million.

I have a bridge.

The bridge crosses the creek and connects the house part of the land to the barn part of the land. It's the first thing that was officially built here when we started this life-altering project.

The bridge, to me- is magical.

Any bridge really is, if you think about it- a structure without feet, suspended in the air between two solids. Water below, air around and above.

Twice a day we feed the animals. Twice a day Ward and I cross the bridge and twice a day we cross back.

And that's when I have my "moment".

I stop mid-bridge and turn to Ward. Give him a quick 3 kisses and while hugging him ask "Hey, Gomez- guess what?" Obediently he asks in reply "What?"

I smile and say "We live here now".

Right there, right then, standing in mid-air with my Knight in Shining Armor is my affirmation- all the other stuff, the daily head-bangers and hair-pullers? Piffle.

We live here now. With each other.

Happily Ever After.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why Texas Is Burning Up

Fine. I admit it. It's too damn hot.

Me- who loves the heat, who lives for summer with its sweltering steaming blazing sun melting the very atmosphere into rippling waves that shimmer just above the surface of the molten earth.

The aroma of pine sap liquid inside the trees invigorates me.

Cicadas orchestrate my anthem.

One of many reasons I'm forever in love with East-Texas-as-mother-earth-made-it (which is completely different from Texas-as-politicians-make-it) is because of the long languorous summers bracketed by almost-as-long rainbow-leaved falls and riotous wildflower springs with just a smattering of "Yuk. Chilly." during the time when most of the rest of the country is in a frozen never-ending coma for months at a time.

But this... marks our 41st consecutive day over 100 degrees, many of them over 105. We've been MOSTLY over 100 degrees since June 3rd.

Which would be bad enough, except we're also neck deep in the worst drought many can remember.

Global warming? Possibly.

I have, however, a much more plausible theory.

We had an unnaturally cold and wet winter. Other than the unnatural cold, it was fabulous. We came into spring ahead of the game in rain fall for the year.

Life was good.

Then there was a little shindig in Nacogdoches, back in the woods. Not unlike many backwoods shindigs except this one was attended by people like Rick Perry, Louie Gohmert, Leo Bermann, and David Barton- who all ate bbq, locked arms in the moonlight around a big ol' campfire and chanted


...and the rains stopped falling.

Now, in a novel this is where you slap your forehead and think "THINK, Ricky- Cause and Effect- something you've done has displeased the Universe" and you close the book in frustration because the character is so freakin' oblivious to the obvious.

Not to say that Ricky didn't notice the lack of rain. He just mis-read what he needed to do to make it start again.

So he called for all of Texas to hold metaphorical hands and pray. For rain. On accounta there wasn't any. Seriously, ya'll. I swear I am not shitting you. Look-


And did it rain? Not only no, but hell no.


But of course he doesn't and you change the channel to Rachel Maddow before your eyeballs bleed.

Because once again, our characters, vociferously proclaimed Men of God all, have tragically mis-read the intent of the Heavens so no. It did not rain.

What it did do is get hot. Drought + Heat = Death.

Death to crops, to livestock to wildlife- mammoth century old trees are wilting and dying, creek beds filled with dust, birds are silent and even the bugs are still during most of the day and only the hummingbirds are active, zooming at top speed to the feeder in machine gun repetition, the heat accelerating their already crazy fast metabolism.

And Rick Perry, Man of God with the boots named Justice and Liberty, decided The Lord needed a REAL hootinanny- because the backwoods shindig and the legal proclamation hadn't been...virtuous enough. So Rick came up with something so big, so righteous, so damn TEXAN he knew even God couldn't help but be tickled pink with it.

It was this-

From the git go, there were skeptics. Because the "all-inclusive worship service" really wasn't. Unless you were Christian. And some of the sponsors were considered hate groups by anyone who cares at all about the rights of OTHER Americans like Jews, and Muslims, and Atheists and Gay people and anyone who's ever used any type of birth control. And people told Rick "Maybe this isn't such a good idea".

Rick invited all the other governors to come to his party, but 47 of the 49 thought "Maybe this isn't such a good idea", while saying "Golly I'd love to, Ricky but I'm really busy that day".

And Rick's political advisors said "Yanno, Rick- you're eyeballing the presidency and there are alot of people thinking this shebang at the stadium may be a little over the top and just might exclude and turn off a great number of Americans. Voting Americans".

So Rick backed off a bit- hemmed a bit and hawed a bit and made ambiguous statements that could mean he wasn't completely in bed with the hate group sponsors...unless you wanted him to be. (flash of white teeth, eye sparkle wink).

The forecast looked promising for the first time in over a month- where before it had said the 6 day forecast would be 107/109/108/107/108/108 it now said


Going down. As of Saturday morning it was edging down bit by bit Glory Hallelujah Praise...

Wait. What?

Oh, crap. So much for "all-inclusive". Well, maybe that's the worst of it...

Yanno when you're sitting through a horror film and the main character just won't do the sensible thing which is (depending on the movie)





Really? Dunkirk? Prayer saved the British soldiers at Dunkirk? According to an article at PoliticusUSA, this is what the history books say-

"James and Shirley Dobson portrayed America as the British army at Dunkrik in 1940, surrounded by the Nazis and needing a miracle.

Their claim is that the British army was saved by prayer. But what saved the British army was Adolf Hitler, who let the British army escape.

Actually, what the British were surrounded by was LOTS of German soldiers and tanks and planes. Immorality wasn’t a big concern for any involved. More to the point, godliness and godlessness had nothing to do with their predicament. Poor generalship and inferior equipment did."

Here's the entire article, with video-

By Saturday night, our 6 day forecast was back to


I blame Rick Perry.

I hear Old Testament God loves a good sacrifice...