Thursday, July 29, 2010

Law, A Change is a Comin'

Just back in from a little camping trip to the Warren Dunes in Michigan. It's only about an hour and fifteen minutes from here, and it's fabulous. If you ever get a chance, you should go. Thanks Shannan for Guest Posting! I had hoped to have a blog post up before I left, but I did some serious crashing and burning after the Garden Walk. I didn't realize I was so tired.

This was a solo flying Squirrel mission, as Glenco stayed home to work and tend the feathered things. I took Aaron and one of his friends.

I've never pulled the camper myself before, and law, I was a bit nervous. I think there are still hand prints in the steering wheel. Let me correct that, I've pulled it before, but never set it up, and hooked it back up and drove it home alone before. My sitting here typing the tale tells you that I did make it-without any incident. The camper wasn't all that level - which made sleeping a little interesting - but all in all - success. You do realize what this means now? I'm a free bird baby - and I'll be coming to your neck o' the woods soon! The 2011 Coop Keeper Tour is in progress. At least I wish it were - how fun could that be?

Did I take ONE SINGLE solitary photo of this trip? Nope. In fact, the last pictures on the camera are the ones that I took of the hitch ball - what it's supposed to look like when properly hitched. All the photos you see here are from the Michigan Tourist Website.

I'm not sure that I'll ever camp again in July. It. Was. Hot. Thankfully, we had Lake Michigan to cool off in. I have a confession - I can't keep this charade up any longer.

I don't like camping.

Law, the truth has set me free!

I like it in the fall - but there are still things that bother me about it. I shall list them, you shall shake your head, and then you will probably pray for me - cause that's about all that can cure this kind of crazy that afflicted me.

It's messy.
I'm not talking about my campsite - and yes, that gets messy too and it makes me insane.
I mean other people's campsites.
As I drive around I think - really - can't you just turn that tent a little and neaten things up? Do you really need all that stuff sitting out on your picnic table? Why are your towels hung on the line in such a haphazard fashion? Why is there so much dirt? Can't you line those bikes up in order? Why is it so hot? Who's idea was this anyway?

These are the things I think as I drive to the bathroom at 1 am. Oh, it doesn't matter the time - I don't sleep when I camp. In fact, it's been three days since I've slept for more than 15 minutes at a time. Nor do I have a bowel movement. It just plum seals up on me whenever I leave the county. Been like that for years. I get mighty bloated. When I came home Glenco told me I looked like the end of the world.

Every morning the kids would tell me how I hovered over their beds checking on them over and over, and touching their faces and murmering 'ok'. How scary is that? I must have been doing that in the 15 minute sleep intervals cause I just vaguely remember doing it. And then there's the whole serial killer fear that is buried deep in my brain when I camp. I lie awake at night planning my escape from the 6' x 8' camper. It's not pretty. No one makes it out alive. I fear turning over and seeing a face at the window. "Was that a car door? Is someone stealing the Jeep? Did I leave the keys in it?" I'm really tormented. I bet you are laughing now, aren't you? Shame - shame on you.

The first full day that we were there was wonderful. It wasn't too terribly hot and we spent the majority of the day on the beach. The kids played in the water alllll the ding dong day, and I sat under a big tree on my lounge chair and devoured 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett. Read the whole thing in one day. Close to 500 pages. It's a wonderful book! (and it's also the reason I really wish I could cook like Southern black woman, and talk like one - I'm sorry - I know it's wrong - but I sure do wish it awful hard.) I'm just now delving into the world of fiction - I usually never read anything unless it told me how to build it, fix it, grow it, cook it, decorate it, clean it, or hatch it - so this is new to me. Reading for pure pleasure, reading for an escape - I'm loving it. As I lie in my vintage webbed lounge chair, I felt like the happiest gal in the world. "I oughta do this more often. Why don't I do this more often? I should make some noodle salad and sandwiches and go the beach every week. Yep, that's what I'm gonna do." Even my sweat seems to be filled with hope and joy.

The second day - with my book all read up, I didn't quite know what to do with myself. This is not a good situation. I don't do well in these situations. My hands - my brain - they need something. We are back on the beach now - this time - it's just plum hot. I'm under my tree again - but this time I've nothing to do. I remember that I brought my knitting, and thought I'd slap out a few more dishcloths. Just holding the yarn was horribly uncomfortable. I didn't see anyone else knitting on the beach. I'm starting to think it's not a good idea. But get this - I got my needles out and my yarn, and I couldn't remember how to do it. I sat there, like I'd never held knitting needles in my hand before. I felt scared. I fiddled. Nope, I can't remember how to cast on. I put it away. I have dementia. I'm sure of it. That's why I tell Aaron the same story over and over, and that's why I keep forgetting things. Oh Lord. I tell Aaron that I'm afraid I won't remember him in 20 years, and if I don't, I'm sorry. I pick up the needles again. Nothing. More worry. I need to start taking Omega 3's. I should start playing Sudoku. My brain is dying. I have cancer. Alzheimer's. I let another hour go - I pick up the needles again. Things fell into place, and I remembered. I got 35 stitches cast on and I put it all away, it's too hot to knit on the beach.

So for the rest of the camping trip, I'm left with my own compulsive, dark, crazy thoughts. "I should talk to people about cleaning up their campsites. Maybe instead of goats, I should get sheep. I think I will be cremated. I should start an heirloom tomato business. I should quit blogging. I should start a new blog. I want to go to Oregon. Why don't I ever go anywhere fun?I'm missing out on so much of life. I need to remember to dig up the dahlias this year. Why in the world is my hair so blonde and short? My house windows are filthy. I can't believe I'm missing MadMen."

My friends - I'm home now. And there is a change comin'. I can feel it in me bones. A good change - a big change. I'm just not happy unless I've got some shenanigans up my sleeve. I need a good caper to keep me going. I've rested up from the Garden Walk. In fact, I've barely lifted my finger in the garden for three weeks. I've slept in, read four novels, drank wine, spent time with friends, and now - it's time. It's time for something else to put me up against the wall - to stretch me - to change me.

Wanna know what it is?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Side of the Story - A Guest Post

Jeezo Pete, would it ever be fun to pretend that I'm Jaymsy...

Alas - it's just little ol' me.

Mere hours before jaunting off to get her Squirrel on, she made a real boneheaded decision and handed me the keys to this here coop.

So what did I do?

I trashed the place.

I had no choice, really. I went with toilet paper and that squirty foam stuff. I thought about eggs, but I didn't think she'd get it. She'd assume the girls had a kegger and they'd all be grounded and they'd lose their cellphone privileges and she would make them spend the day inside, being schooled alongside Aaron. I couldn't do that to them. Or to Aaron.

But hey, while I've got you by the ear, let me tell you a story.

You may not have heard, but I got to spend the afternoon with The Lady Herself just a couple short weeks ago, along with my Mama and two of my Littles, Calvin and Ruby.

Everything she's ever told you about her homestead? She's downplaying it, ya'lls. She's got a case of the humbles. It blew me away. She blew me away.

Her gardens were breathtaking and I know she very nearly weeded herself into an early grave getting ready for that Garden show, but what I saw was beauty that appeared to be effortless. Nothing hoity-toity about it. For me, it was just what I would have pictured if I closed my eyes and dreamed up a country garden. It was perfection.

(Oh man, I can feel her blushing all the way from here! She's gonna be spitting mad that I spent my airtime bragging her up...but I haven't even gotten started.)

Her family?
Well, they were full of goodness and fun. (It's true - Glenco is real!)

Her feathered friends?
They were so pretty as to look like little chicken and duck statues.

Along with a tour of the grounds, we also toured the castle. It was swoonerific. I wanted to hop up on that bed of hers and sleep a spell. Here's something you might not know about me -one of the highest compliments I can give someone regarding their home is the truthful tidbit that it inspires me to sleep. So cozy. So very, very cozy.

It's true that I made her cross her heart and stick a needle in her eye that she wouldn't make us lunch. It pained her, I could tell. And let's be honest, she baked fresh loaves of oatmeal honey bread for my mom and I, fixed us up some sun-tea and baked us a Saturday Farmgirl cake for dessert. Around here, that's called that passive aggressive defiance. She outta be spanked.

Where was I?

Oh yes, we went down the road to Tastee Top for lunch.

There's something potentially unnerving about meeting a blog friend for the first time. It made my pits clammy and my mouth dry, during the days leading up to the Big Event. Just the thought of it all would drive me into the kitchen for a bowl of anxiety-quelling Honeycomb. But the moment we pulled in and she very nearly yanked me out through the window of my car, I knew - it was all good.

We never lacked for conversation. Case in point? After our cheeseburger 'n fries out on the picnic table, headed back to the cars, Calvin said, "Um...I think someone left their vehicle on."

I froze. She froze. Oh lawd, let it not have been me!

Whew. It was her. That is correct, she hopped out of her wheels so lightening fast at the Tastee Top that she forgot to turn off the ignition. Homegirl left her car running for the entire hour or so that we lunched. That's one for the record books, folks. It's one I will never let her forget.

For those of you who have made it to the end of this diatribe, I'll tell you what you already know. Jayme is a treasure. She is a gift. She is as genuine as the day is long. As sweet as the topping on the cake. She will have you up in stitches and you'll not be loosed until she sees fit, which may be a while.

Oh, and she'll probably make you throw some gang signs. It's ok if you don't know any - she tutors for free.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When Two Blogs Collide

The One and Only - Shannan - AKA Flower Patch Farmgirl
July 2010

I'm running exactly a week behind in blogging.
This gal was here a week ago today.
It's flown by.
You do not want to know how behind I am in emails.

Saturday and Sunday was the 'Walk'
She was coming Tuesday, which meant, I needed to clean all day Monday - since I'd not been following my schedule and it looked like an episode of "Hoarders - Buried Alive" around here up in the house. I thought for a milli-second to say 'no, let's plan another day', and then I thought 'heck with it, let's do it'. I'm SO glad I did.

Oddly enough - I think I was still doped up on adrenaline Monday morning.
I felt an incredible peace as I hung out laundry, while Sarah Brightman played in the background. I love cleaning house. I love restoring order, so I suppose I was in my glory.
I actually had this thought 'What if I died in my sleep last night, and this is heaven?" That's how much peace, joy, and darn right happiness I felt that day.

Now here it is Tuesday morning, and she's on her way. I did feel a little nervous here and there, but mainly just excitement.

I may have or may have not run out of the house when the car pulled in the driveway.
I may or may have not frightened her, her mother and her children.
I tried so hard to restrain myself.
After reading each other's blogs for over a year, and emailing - I was danged ready to meet this girl smile to smile.

It was a bit surreal to see her in 'real life' and to see Calvin and Ruby - the blog stars hop out of her Explorer. Then, here comes Nancy from Ohio (how I know her, from comments) Shannan's momma.

I'm not sure what her take is going to be on the day, but I can say that it was just like seeing old friends or family. Instant love. Instant kinship. Hugs, smiles, laughs.

Let me just tell you, that Ruby - oh my heavens, that Ruby just stole my heart.
Calvin just cracks me up from here to Sunday, and Nancy - sweet Nancy - she's still in the basement.

Before I type any further, I have to ask - this green shirt I'm wearing - are the girls supposed to be UP above that seam? If that's the case, then this shirt is like six sizes too small. Hey, if you've got it - flaunt it, baby.

After chatting a bit - we bloggers started walking and talking and clicking.
I just can't wait to see Shanny Bo's photos.

I kept giggling to myself and thinking 'Flowerpatchfarmgirlsupinmyhouse - oma ga'

Aaron looks indifferent here, but I think his brain may have just exploded when he saw Shannan's camera. It's all I've heard since - Shannan's camera this, Shannan's camera that.
Why, when I was your age, I had a 110 Instamatic, and it had disposable light bulbs that blinded everyone - and you had to take your pictures to be developed and wait a week - and we liked it - and we didn't know better. Kids these days.

Shanny spots The Squirrel.

There's a nut in The Squirrel.

Shanny spies the chickens.

Nancy was the sweetest thing ever. She's a nurse. Oh what a demeanor of care and love she has about her. Makes me want to go to the hospital. Anyone who has her as a nurse is blessed indeed.

Shanny tries telepathically telling Calvin to smile.

Then she tries to lead by example.

My sweet hen Sissy.

Calvin whispers to Ruby, "I'm gonna create a distraction, and then we can make a run for it. This lady's nuts".

Calvin tries a little harder to mask his enthusiasm.
He's plotting an escape plan.

Here, Ruby scolds Calvin for wanting to run off.
"She's not crazy, she's eccentric. Besides, did you see the cake she has for us? I'm stayin'".

Upon Shannan's insistence that I not bother making lunch, we took off for the Tastee Top in Cedar Lake (also known as Cedartucky), Indiana.

To say Shannan's little ones were well behaved is an understatement.
They were angels.

We sat out at the picnic tables, the weather was fantastic, the company even better.
No awkward silences here.

Came back to mi casa, and had Raspberry Farmgirl cake.
I did see Calvin smile - but it was so elusive, there was no photographing it.
The dumplings took a dip in the Blue Lagoon.

Shannan is such a rock star.
In every way.

The afternoon went by so quickly.
They were gone before they got here it seems.

Here's our Chicken Chillin' pose - I have no idea what sign we are flashing.
I'm in fear of a drive by shooting.
In fact, I think tight lime green shirts are some Cedartucky gang symbol.

I think the next two pictures encapsulate the afternoon.
Leaves hiding my unequal tooth to gum ratio.

I'm a happier person knowing Shannan and her family.
Thank you Blogger.
Thank you Shanny.
Thank you God.

Until there are no more cupcakes on earth, until Indiana stops growing corn, until chickens stop laying eggs - I will be your farmgirl friend.