Friday, August 31, 2007

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play...

Thanks to John Fogerty for the lyric.

Saturday is my husband's 36th birthday. To celebrate, and because I'm feeling lazy, I had him write this week's Friday Five. My husband is the world's biggest baseball nerd, and that's okay. I'd much rather have him out at the ball park chasing pop flies than down at the bar chasing tail. He has an incredible head for baseball stats and facts. So I thought, why not give him a forum? For those of you who hate baseball, well, that's just tough. This one is for my husband. I've added Wiki links, just in case you need to check something.

Five Random and Somewhat Obscure Baseball Facts

1. The first baseball player to hit more than 20 home runs in a season. Babe Ruth? Nope. Ned Williamson. Yes, THE Ned Williamson. Who?

Ned Williamson, Chicago White Stockings, 1884, hit 27 home runs, which is a ton for the dead-ball era (when baseballs weren't wound as tightly as they were starting in 1920, and when one baseball was generally used for an entire game). So why so many homers? Perhaps because the Stockings played in a virtual Little League park...the distance to the fences were between 185 and 190 feet to the foul lines and 300 feet to center field. The MINIMUM allowable distance down the foul lines these days is roughly 315 feet.

Also, a teeny little rules change helped Ned. Prior to 1884, any ball hit over the fence was counted as a double. The rule was changed to make it a home run because 1884 was also the year that pitchers were allowed to throw overhand for the first time.

2. The oldest player in Major League Baseball history....Satchell Paige, pitcher, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His best years were spent in the Negro Leagues, when black players were banned from Major League Baseball. He made his Major League debut in 1948 at the age of 41....maybe. You see, Satchell doesn't actually know when he was born, and there is good evidence he was 46 or 47 in 1948. So while he was officially 58 when he made his final big league start in 1965, he may very well have been in his early 60's.

Even more amazing, in that last game, Paige pitched three scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics against the Boston Red Sox. The last player ever to get a hit off Satchell was another Hall-of-Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, who four years earlier made his Major League debut....against the Kansas City Athletics.

3. Only one player played for my team, the Braves, in all three cities in which they have been located; Boston (1876-1952), Milwaukee (1953-1965), and Atlanta (1966-present). That player was Hall-of-Fame third baseman Eddie Mathews (yes, only one 't'). Best known as Hank Aaron's teammate now, but was probably a better hitter than Hank in the 1950's, and he played a tougher defensive position (third base vs. left field for The Hammer). Unlike Hank, Eddie only had a couple decent seasons after he turned 30 years old, whereas Hank was either great, or at least very good, until he turned 40.

(yes, I know this is too dang long, sorry... not a blog pro like the Mrs.)

4. The first player since 1900 to lead each league in home runs, as in he led the American League one season then led the National League later in his career. Not even the biggest baseball fan usually gets this one.....nope, not McGwire (AKA Muscles Marinara)...

Fred McGriff, who led the American League with 36 homers while playing for Jen's Toronto Blue Jays in 1989, then led the National League in 1992, hitting 35 homers for the San Diego Padres. Muscles first led the AL in his rookie year of 1987 with Oakland, then after discovering chemistry, led the NL with his then-record 70 dingers in 1998 with the Cardinals.

5. The last legal spitball thrown in Major League Baseball was sometime in September of 1934. The spitter and other doctored pitches were banned in 1920, but baseball allowed 17 pitchers to continue using it via a grandfather clause. MLB allowed teams to designate pitchers who threw mostly spitters and, theoretically, who would have been useless had they not been allowed to throw spitters. The last legal spitball was thrown by Burleigh Grimes, a Hall-of-Famer who (I think) really shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame...he was good, not great. Not sure of the exact date of his last game, but Grimes' last win came as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sept. 10, 1934, against the New York Giants.

Okay, y'all. That's the Friday Five. It's not particularly user friendly, but feel free to share equally random facts about your favourite sport in the comment section. Don't have a favourite sport? Use your favourite hobby. No hobbies? Get a life.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia...

The movie they made based on that song was actually partly shot in my husband's home town. His grandparents were extras in the courtroom. Only hit song Vicki Lawrence ever had.

A couple of days ago, Rotten Correspondent wrote this great post about how her California husband got to meet her Alabama family (go read it now, I'll wait!). It brought back a lot of memories for me because RC's family there actually don't live too far from my in-laws up in northwest Georgia. It reminded me a lot of the first time I got to meet my future in-laws on their home turf.

I met my husband at work, in Birmingham, Alabama. He was ending a marriage, I was ending a relationship, and we ended up spending a lot of time together, even before his divorce was final. I would like to state for the record I had nothing to do with the demise of his marriage, I just happened to be there when it fell apart.

We'd been going out a few months, and I'd met his parents over lunch just once. He asked me if I wanted to go up to his home town of Trenton, Georgia to visit his family. I was terrified. Firstly, they were having a lot of fun at my expense. The bru-ha-ha that erupted when my father-in-law announced that I wasn't an American is legendary. The fact that he initially left out that I'm Canadian probably contributed to that. For a while, everyone thought I was Japanese, which didn't set well with my husband's step-grandfather. He spent a few minutes telling everyone how the Japanese tried to kill him during WWII, and that the Japanese weren't welcome in his home. Eventually it got around the family that I was Canadian and not Asian, but some hackles were still raised.

My husband comes from the county seat of Dade County, Georgia. It's located in a valley, just the other side of Lookout Mountain from Chattanooga, Tennessee, up in the very northwest corner of the state. The country is beautiful, filled with vistas of the foothills of the Smokies. It's beautiful, but very rural.

There aren't many restaurants in Trenton. The height of fine dining is a buffet place where everyone goes on Friday nights and after church. A local preacher who had a show on the only station in town used to do ads for them. His catch phrase was "All you can eat for one money!" I refer to it as Deep Fried Bits o'Somethin', because that's primarily what they serve, although they had just added a salad bar on my first visit. And that first visit was my introduction to the town of Trenton.

Did I mention I was terrified?

It seemed like half the town was there, maybe more than half, and every single one of them had a reason to come by our table to say "hi". Ray's Little League coaches, teachers, old classmates, people he hadn't seen since before his wedding two years previous. Thankfully, his first wife wasn't from this town. But Ray is sometimes known as the small-town boy who made good. So, the fact that he was newly divorced and bringing the scarlet woman with him was kind of big news. It sort of felt like the whole place was staring at me, watching what I was eating, waiting for me to break out into some strange language. They all knew I was a "foreigner", and that I wasn't from the South.

To add to this, the main entree on the menu that day was fried whole catfish. Now, I can barely choke down catfish on a good day. It's not my favourite, but I avoid whole fish for one reason: I don't like my food to make eye contact with me. It was bad enough my only vegetable choices at the time were okra, cold greasy greens, or macaroni and cheese. But the breaded whole catfish made me nervous. Especially since my father-in-law was downing them with gusto and he was seated directly across the table from me.

You ever see a cat in a cartoon eat a fish? How the only thing left is a head with x's for eyes, a ribcage and a tail? Somehow, that's how he was eating these fish, and the breading was flaking off their flat little heads. Their carcasses were glaring at me in an accusatory fashion from his plate. In a move guaranteed to make me a pariah, I finally covered their corpses with my napkin (a sheet of paper towel actually) just so I wouldn't have to see those dead eyes.

He stared at me for a moment, and I thought that it was going to be the end of my relationship with Ray. He asked me what I was doing, and when I told him, he was silent for minute.

Then he threw his head back and laughed.

"I like you, gal! You're a little silly, but I like you!"

And suddenly it didn't seem so bad that I wasn't drinking sweet tea, and that I mostly ate wilted lettuce from the salad bar. I made him laugh, and it was okay, and it made everyone else okay with me, too.

Later on that night, Ray's grandmother took me aside and told me that they never liked his ex-wife all that much. Said she never had much of a sense of humour.

At least I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spin the Wheel...

Lyric courtesy of Mad Caddies and their song Game Show.

As promised, another award show! Gotta keep 'em movin'!

A little while ago, Rotten Correspondent gave me this:

Isn't it cool? I can be awesome even though I'm not a dude. Someone else who is awesome, and also not a dude is:

Bellevelma at Running with Books.

I've made no secret of the fact that she makes me laugh until I cry, but sometimes, she also just makes me cry with how much she loves her son. Which is awesome, even if it means I'm running through Kleenex at a rate that would make a pine forest shudder. So, Bellevelma you are an:

The lovely Jo, over at Jo Beaufoix, gave me this:

I don't know if she had dengue fever or what, but I appreciate it nonetheless. It's always nice when someone else thinks you're nice. And I can't think of anyone nicer than:

He's gotten an award from me before, but he really is just so gosh darn nice that he really deserves this. Even if it's not in manly-man colours. jrh has never been shy about talking about his faith, but he's also cool enough not to jump on anyone who might disagree. He's always struck me as someone who would have made a great teacher. And he's definitely nice, in a good guy kind of way.

So, to one of the nicest guys I know in blogdom, I bequeath this:

Okay, that's it. Short post (although I made it longer by doubling up the pics. Nice, eh?) . It's my day off and I need to mow the lawn before it rains again. See y'all back here tomorrow with a nice story about me meeting my in-laws for the first time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WKRP in Cincinnati...

Poetess complimented me on my choice of Paul Anka in my last post...and I have to confess, I'm not a Paul Anka fan. The reason I thought of the song in the first place was because of the pilot episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

I've always loved this show. It's the only one of two TV shows I've ever seen that got the atmosphere at a radio station right. The other show was Newsradio.

So, I found the clip where Johnny plays the "Hallelujah Tabernacle Choir's" rendition of "You're Having my Baby". It's about two minutes into the clip. The rest of it's not bad either....

And thanks again for all your good wishes, y'all.

What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me...

With thanks to Paul Anka.

So, I've been feeling rather under the weather for the past two weeks. Nauseous, exhausted, a little achy. Now I know why.

It seems we are pregnant.

Yes, Auntie Barbie was more prescient than she knew with her smart ass comment last week.

After two weeks of snacking on dry saltines and downing copious amounts of flat ginger ale, I got the brilliant idea to buy one of those early pregnancy tests. It took less than thirty seconds for that little pink second line to show up. It was faint, but it was there.

Ray walked in the door, and I pounced.

"I have something I need to show you."

His response?

"Aw, crap. Did the cat poop on the carpet again?"


"Cool! You mean she pooped in the box?!"

"That's not what I'm going to show you. Can we stop talking about cat poop for a minute?"

I led him back to the bathroom, and he squinted at the stick uncertainly.

"It's awfully faint, isn't it?"

"Would you like me to test again in a couple of days?"

The we stared at each other for a few minutes as the situation sunk in. This happened embarrassingly quick. We went from talking about it, to being pregnant in a matter of, well, weeks. Almost like taking a Polaroid picture, but without the shaking, thankfully. I tested again over the weekend, and we got a bright pink line in less than ten seconds. We are definitely pregnant, and with very little effort. To add to the fun, there's a woman I regularly fill-in for at work, who will be going on maternity leave in March. I guess I won't be filling in for her while she's gone, as I'll likely be having a baby sometime around the end of April, beginning of May.

So, I get to have an ultrasound for my birthday next month. We're already trying to figure out how to rearrange the furniture in the spare bedroom, and where to put the audio recording equipment. I swear, my garage is never going to be used to ever hold a car at the rate we're going.

We're still trying to figure out how to explain this to TFYO. We may wait for an in-depth discussion until I have pictures from the ultrasound. That will either make it easier or more confusing for her. Or for me. One of those.

I may start a second blog, so that this doesn't become bogged down with details of my pregnancy. I mean, how many of you really want to hear how I deal with morning sickness the second time around?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

**WARNING** This post contains irreverent humour. If you're sensitive about your faith, stop reading now.

Living in south Georgia, you can't really get away from religion. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty pluralistic down here, generally. Savannah is even home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the South ( I think we're just behind Charleston, SC). I am, however, firmly agnostic. I don't bear any grudge to anyone who is religious. I believe in something higher than me, I'm just not sure what it is. I have great admiration for people who do, no matter what faith they practice.

But living here means that everywhere you go, there seems to be a church. Not just a couple, but dozens. Take Guyton, Georgia, for example. The town, itself, is tiny. Maybe a few hundred people live in the "city" limits. But there are five churches. And if you drive a little ways out of town on either Hwy. 17 or Hwy 119, you'll find about a dozen more before you come to a town. It's the same regardless of where you are in the South.

And almost every single one has a lighted message board, with a clever church related phrase. I think this is a relatively new phenomenon. I don't remember this growing up in Canada, and I also don't really remember it when I was living in Michigan, but they are all over the place down here.

It's been ridiculously hot down here the past few weeks, and here is a sampling of some of the messages we've seen this week:

From a Baptist Church: "If you think it's hot here...."

From a Church of Christ: "Can't stand the heat? Better get Jesus in your life!"

From another Baptist church: "If you think it's hot here, you better think about where you could be going."

From a Church of God: "Let the heat now remind you of what's to come if you don't live right."

From a United Methodist Church: "This Sunday how to cope with resentment."

From the only Catholic Church in town "Gossip hurts everyone."

My favorite by far, though, is from another Baptist church that I drive by frequently on my way to work.

"SS Picnic this Saturday"

Now before y'all freak out and think we have Nazis in Georgia (I hate Georgia Nazis), I'm pretty sure they meant "Sunday School Picnic". I'm hoping that they just didn't have enough letters to complete the sign. Of course, this is the same church that had a sign a few weeks ago that said "Ice Cream Social and Gospel Sing, next Thursday". Which prompted my husband to say to me "Do you like your religion with nuts, or without?"

So I got to thinking, that maybe there's a book of phrases that churches use to come up with something for their message boards each week.

I couldn't find any legitimate ones online, but I did find this:

Church Sign Generator

And I made this:

It's irreverent, I know.

Oh, and a quick note, we've been having modem issues. It keeps disconnecting itself. So, I may not be posting every morning, it may be later in the afternoon. Sorry about that.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Do It Again....

I am not generally considered by those who know me to be a nice person. I tend to be a little sarcastic, I don't fight fair (just ask my husband!), and a I can be a wretched bitch to people who are mean, egotistical or are just plain arseholes (I think RC is right, British slang is catching).

Granted, I will do almost anything for people in trouble, for friends who need me, children (even rotten ones), or for an animal that's looking pitifully at me from the side of the road

So, I was very pleasantly surprised that anyone would give me an award for being nice. And it comes from a person who is extraordinarily nice herself.

Jo Beaufoix is actually one of the nicest people I know, either in blogdom, or...what do we call this, realdom? Oh well, away from the blogs, too. She's thoughtful, always responds to comments, and did I mention she's pretty, too? Well, the bit I saw in that rather cropped picture, anyway. So, she's got a lovely smile, gorgeous eyes, and a cute nose. And I'm amazed that I could meet someone so like me as a mom, who lives on the other side of the Atlantic.

Funny thing is, I can't quite remember how we met.

Now, please don't hate me, Jo. I just can't remember if I saw you over at The Rotten Correspondent, or if you came over here with her! And besides, since you're a nice person, you forgive my little lapse in memory, right? Right?

This is the award:

She got it from Wit's End...who sounds like someone I'd like to get to know.

And it shall go with the one given to me by Rotten Correspondent.

I promise to hold an awards show next week, on Wednesday. Why yes, I do plan that far ahead. Truth is, if you guys keep giving me awards, I won't have to think up topics to write about anymore, all I'll have to do is keep writing about the awards I've got, and pass them on to other people.

I wonder if this is like money laundering. Blog award laundering?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Five

My husband told me about TFYO's day at school yesterday. Apparently when he got there to pick her up, she was sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by her classmates, and she was reading them a book. So, today's Friday Five is dedicated to my child's love of reading to anyone who will listen to her. I think The Rotten Correspondent may have already done this for a Thursday Three, but I'm doing it anyway.

Five Favourite Childhood Books

1. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch and Michael Martenko

I was in Grade two, and this was my favourite book that year. It's about a Princess named Elizabeth who lives in a marvelous castle and has a handsome boyfriend, until a dragon comes along and burns up her stuff and steals the boyfriend, Ronald. She dons the only thing left unburnt, which is a paper bag and goes to get Ronald back. She learns a lesson about pretty boys, and self-reliance. Looking back, I wish these lessons had stuck with me a little better when I was in my twenties. It's now one of TFYO's favourite night-time reads.

2. Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel

I was an early reader, and this was one I had from kindergarten on. It's a grouping of sweet stories about Frog and Toad, and the nice things they do for each other because they are friends. It doesn't matter if it's looking for a lost button, or Frog writing Toad a letter because Toad is bemoaning the fact that he never gets any mail, they always look out for each other.I always had trouble making friends, and so these stories always gave me hope, even as a little kid.

3. The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I loved all of the Little House books. Sure, she glossed over some of the more serious matters, but Wilder also gave me a little insight into what it was like to live between 1870 and 1890. I had the whole series, but this one was my favourite, even though it is the bleakest. The family is trapped in town, cut off from the outside world by a series of blizzards. I can still remember reading this book, snuggled down in my bed, with snacks around me, listening to the winter howling outside my own window. I think it was my Grandma and Grampa who bought me the box set of the books when I was about nine years old or so. I can't wait to buy the series for TFYO.

4. Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss

One of the very first books I can remember having read to me, and reading myself. Its silly and short rhymes make for easy reading by even the youngest kids, and I used to crack myself up reading some of the pages. "No, Pat, NO! Don't sit on THAT!" This is also dear to me, because I remember whispering to my little brother when we were small "Hop on Pop" early in the morning, and we'd go jump on our Dad. He wasn't really amused. But I was. This one has been in TFYO's library so long the pages are now dog-eared. She's way beyond reading at this level now, but she still likes to pull it out, and laugh along with the poems every now and again.

5. A tie:

Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

I first read this in sixth grade. I had gone through puberty waaaay before my peers, but I understood Margaret's anxiety. I moved around a lot as a kid, so Margaret trying to fit in at a new school resonated with me. And it was considered slightly naughty by some of the more matronly mothers I knew, which made it that much more attractive. I liked reading about Margaret finding her self-confidence. It helped me fake some of my own, even when I felt like I didn't have any.

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, by Paula Danziger

This booked tied here, because it's a lot like "Are You There God,", in that it deals with a young woman feeling uncertain. I was never skinny, and like Marcy, I always felt big, ungainly and kind of stupid, even though looking back, I know I wasn't. I also appreciate the relationship she has with her English teacher in this book, because it reminds me of countless teachers who encouraged me, and let me know it was okay to be smart, even if other people didn't like me for it.

TFYO isn't ready for these books, yet, but I'm going to be so happy to share them with her when she is.

So, that's my Friday Five, let's hear what books shaped your minds as kids. Which one of you will be the first to admit to Mad Magazine?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brown sugar....

Thanks to the Rolling Stones for the lyric. I've always had a soft spot for that song, having lived in Memphis.

Sorry for not being here yesterday, y'all, I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days, and decided to use my day off to crash. Much to my husband's chagrin, I didn't even take care of loading the dishwasher. I just took TFYO to school, and crashed out on the bed surrounded by cats. I feel better this morning, but I'm going got the doctor next week, just in case. You all are so sweet, worrying about me! It's funny how we all get used to seeing each other every day. I did pop in to read a couple of your blogs and comments very quickly yesterday. Maybe I have food poisoning, too, Jo!

Speaking of food, on to the post.

There is simply nothing so Southern as "sweet tea". For those of you not in the know, "sweet tea" is really iced tea,'s also not.

The first time I had sweet tea was when I moved to Alabama from Michigan. I had ordered an iced tea to go with my lunch, and the waitress dutifully brought me a glass filled to the brim with a lovely dark liquid. It looked good and strong, which is how I like it. I took a sip. Then I gagged.

It tasted like it had been sweetened with corn syrup, and then I realized it probably had.

I grew up drinking hot tea, made in a pot, either loose or in bags, served with sugar and milk. Canadians are moving more towards coffee now (can anyone say Tim Horton's?), but the older generation loves its tea. My great-grandmother made me sit down for tea at ten a.m. and four p.m. every day I spent with her as a child. And it was glorious. Little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and marvelous pastries she'd made herself. Yum.

When I moved to the states, we drank iced tea, and it was okay. Usually it was pre-made Nestea, which is really just brown lemonade.

And then came the South, with it's wonderful and weird ways.

I love grits. And I adore greens with ham hock. I even have started to like banana pudding (nanner puddin' for those of you speaking southern today), if it's not too sweet. But I can't drink sweet tea.

And it's made me somewhat of an outcast.

I love going out to eat with my in-laws because the drink order always goes like this:

"Sweet tea." "I'll have a sweet tea." "Sweet tea, please." "One for me, too." "I'll have unsweet tea, please."

And that point, it gets deathly quiet, inevitably someone drops a piece of flatware, and the waiter or waitress stares at me, with pencil poised above pad as if I'd just asked for a slice of boiled puppy.

Then my father-in-law will rescue me with a quick "Oh, she's from up north." And then a sly grin crosses his face, "She's a foreigner."

The the waitress will usually bring me little packets of artificial sweetener, and look horrified when I tell her I don't need them. I drink my tea straight, just a slice of lemon. I know it sounds odd, but ever since that first taste of sweet tea eleven years ago, my taste buds shudder at the thought of putting sweetener in my tea. I find it more refreshing without it. And Luzianne tea really seems to be the official tea of the south. It does make very good iced tea, very clear, very strong. I just don't like sugar in it.

My aversion to sweet tea is really the only thing that marks me out down here now. More often than not, my speech is coloured by a soft southern accent, and I can cook with the best of them. I even have a recipe for sweet tea that I make when the in-laws come to visit. But when they're not here, by husband just has to deal with the pitcher of unsweet tea glaring at him from the fridge. I offer to make a sugar syrup to sweeten it for him, but he just sighs, and drinks it straight likes his foreigner wife. Her and her strange northern ways.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I remember when rock was young.

Okay, that song lyric references crocodiles, not alligators, but you get the idea. On to the post in a minute....

I forgot to do something yesterday, and I am ashamed. In my strange, semi-freaked out state, I forgot to thank Rotten Correspondent for this:

I had just given out awards here, and now I have another one! If I get any more of these I may truly feel as awesome as some of you seem to think I am.

She said nice things, too (which RC is good at, I might add):

I'm giving this one to...

Jen at A Snowball's Chance In... because, well, she's awesome. And funny. And looks at things in the slightly warped way I crave. And because we've been through the blog trenches with pesky viruses and comment codes written in Vulcan code. Did I mention that she's awesome?

Rotten Correspondent is one of my very best blog buddies. She is funny, warm, and has a great touch with a story. We found each other through someone else who is no longer blogging, at least, not to my knowledge. Interesting how these things work out, eh?

So, THANK YOU, RC, and now I shall have to find another to pass this along to.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.

It seems we have a new plague to add to those of Guyton.

We have Muscovy ducks living in our twin ponds at the front of the subdivision. No, the ducks aren't a plague, but they have been known to hassle residents for bread. They hang out on doorsteps and wait for you to come home, and then follow you until you feed them. Buncha loafers if you ask me.

We started with five ducks. The first male got hit by a car, and eaten by buzzards. The we lost another male. Somehow we added a male mallard (he likes things different, I guess). He went missing. All told, we were down to just one duck as of last Monday, and she's now gone, too.

And I now know why.

Driving TFYO to school, I had to negotiate around a large truck parked at the front of the development. The sign on the side said "GA Alligator Trappers and Exterminators, Inc."

I almost drove off the damn road, and into the pond.

Early in the morning, and late in the evening, we'd been hearing a slightly odd squeaking sound coming from the direction of the pond. I have now been told that this is the sound of an alligator looking for a mate.


The good news is that it's eaten all the ducks that were hassling people. The bad news, of course, is that now it's going to start looking for other things to eat, like pets.

I vividly remember the first time I saw a wild alligator up close.

Ray and I were at Middleton Plantation just outside Charleston, SC. We were looking for a place to hold our wedding, and we were walking down one of the nature trails that runs along the Ashley River. And that's when I saw it. It was half on the bank, keeping an eye on a duck. And then it saw us. And moved up on the bank a little more. We wisely stopped. The idiot tourists behind us did not. They decided to make a lot of noise and take pictures. Which kind of upset the alligator. He moved up until he was completely on the bank and then made a weird growling noise. At that point Ray told our comrades in scales they might wanna pipe down, as the alligator might get mad if we scare away his duck dinner. Ray and I walked backwards up the rest of the path, and so did the tourists.

So now we have an alligator. Or hopefully we don't, if the exterminator has done his job. We recently had a flock of Canadian geese move in. If they start disappearing, we'll know.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hang the blessed DJ

With thanks to the Smiths for the lyric (see video below).

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself today. I don't have to go to work.

That's right, I'm not on the schedule today to fill-in for anyone, and it's the first time in eleven days. But it's also the first time in I don't know when that on a day off work, I didn't have to take care of TFYO. She won't be here. She'll be at school.


This brings home the realization that I've lost my chief excuse for working out now. I always used to say I was too busy taking care of my child to get up and go for a run, or go to the gym. Damn it. Now I'll have to lose weight.

I suppose I'll mow and edge the lawn this morning before it gets too hot. Then trim the hedges. Maybe head to the great and powerful Walmart for some groceries.


Oh, don't mind that. That's my little inner Type A voice panicking. It's just that I've always been TFYO's caregiver, along with Ray. When I wasn't at work, I was with our child. The few moments that I actually spent alone in the house were when Ray would take her to the store or the mall for an hour.


It's okay. I'm going to be okay really. This should have hit me last week, but I was so busy being a part-timer working full time hours that this little crisis is just hitting me now. I'll just have a cup of tea, or maybe two. Maybe three. It's a bit too early for wine. I don't think we have any anyway.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

A spoonful of sugar...

TFYO started her very first week of school this past Monday, and by Wednesday she had brought home her very first school cold. Those of you with kids understand this. When kids all get together, inevitably there is one with a runny nose and a hacking cough whose mother decides to send him to school anyway. And then that kid infects the entire class. So, instead of just one whiny, snotty four-year-old, there are now sixteen of them. It's sort of the same principle that lies behind zombies and vampires. Once you're bitten, you're one of them.

Well, Wednesday night, TFYO had a sore throat and a slight fever and she couldn't sleep. She was up every couple of hours wailing for water. I asked her, begged her, pleaded with her to take a Children's Tylenol to help calm down her throat pain so she (and I!) could sleep. No dice.

This requires a little background information.

TFYO hates medicine, and has since she was a teeny tiny thing. When she was about two years old, she came down with a virus. Our pediatrician at the time said to give her some children's Tylenol to ease her symptoms, and everything would run it's course, no problem. Well, we tried giving her the drops, but truth be told, they tasted awful. She'd run around the house yelling "No med-cine! No med-cine!"

We'd be following behind with the bottle, saying "It's just Tylenol, it's okay!"

So, our pediatrician suggested we hide it in something. I had the brilliant idea to mix it with the milk in her sippy cup.

As an indication of her intelligence, she already seemed to know something was up. I handed her the cup. She sniffed it. She looked at me suspiciously with those big blue eyes. She took a sip.

And then all hell broke loose.

She glared at me. She slammed the cup down on the table. She only said one word, and she said it with vehemence.


She then sat on the floor with her back turned to me and began to sob.

I felt like the worst mother in the world. I'd broken her trust, and we both sat on the floor and sobbed until Ray came home. Eventually, she crawled into my lap, and I told Ray the story. He laughed, which just made TFYO more upset. Even so, Ray is smarter than I am. He mixed the medicine with vanilla ice cream, and it was downed very quickly.

So, now, trying to get her to take anything, no matter how good it tastes is a struggle. It's a little like giving medicine to a cat. That, and for months afterward she would pick apart any food I gave her and sniff it to make sure I hadn't hidden anything in there.

All day Thursday we went back and forth, "Please take a melt-away, they taste like a cherry candy." Which they really do, by the way. They actually taste really good.

"No," she'd say "It's Tylenol, and I don't like Tylenol."

She finally collapsed from exhaustion Thursday evening about 5:30 p.m. She slept through the night and woke up Friday seemingly better.

"Hi, Mommy, I'm not sick anymore!"

"Oh, you're not, are you?"

"Nope! And I didn't have to go to the doctor, and I didn't have to take any Tylenol! Ha! I'm all better without it! HA! HA!" (That last bit should sound like evil laughter)

TFYO is now invincible. She is immune to all of my mommy powers. Except, perhaps, for vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lad, I don't know where you've been, but I see you've won first prize...

Okay, time to clean up nice and line up on the red carpet...although mine is sort of that icky builder's beige colour.

Bellevelma over at Running With Books was nice enough to bestow a couple of awards on me. And etiquette says I need to pass them on. And I like you guys, so there's that, too.

So, my first award goes to Dumdad over at The Other Side of Paris. He receives a :

He gets this because he always has the coolest cartoons, which he draws himself. And I suppose I should really encourage him to share this award with his son Brainbox, without whom Dumdad wouldn't have some of the fancy videos on his site, either. Check out The Match of the Century if you don't believe me. And they say journalists aren't creative....

The other award goes to Mike at The Grand View. He gets a:

Mike has been dropping in here a bit, and he always has something nice to say. He also takes the time to respond to comments on his own blog. If he hadn't taken the time to comment here, I never would've gotten to see his page, which has a great selection of lists, I might add. His Friday lists are much bigger and more ambitious than mine, and he calls them 5 x 5's. He also has a wee obsession with golf, but I like him, anyway.

For more info on what these awards mean, you can go here to find out about their origins. These awards were created by Christy at Writer's Review. All you guys need to do is right click and save your awards. I went ahead and posted the white background awards, since you both have light backgrounds on your blogs, it'll save you a step!

Okay, that's the award show, and you didn't even have to sit through David Letterman, or any fancy song and dance numbers. If you were expecting song and dance numbers, I'm truly sorry. This is the best I can do:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Five, Back on the Chain Gang

Last week, I was all positive and happy, a regular Mary Poppins, about work. This week, we will take a look at the darker side. I'd like to add that most of these jobs were held in my teens and early twenties when I was just looking to make some cash, so if it seems like I've held a lot of jobs, keep that in mind....

Five Worst Jobs I've Ever Held

1. Car Wash Attendant

I was fifteen and this was my first job. My boyfriend at the time got me in here. My job was to towel off cars as they came out of the "touchless" car wash. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, this was in Michigan. In the middle of winter. I convinced the owner it would be a good idea to wear gloves, but he still wouldn't let us wear winter coats. We had these flimsy windbreakers with the car wash logo on the front. I used to wear every sweatshirt I had under that thing. My gloves would often freeze to the towels I was using. I would get ice crystals in my hair from the mist as is it froze coming out of the car wash. I quit.

2. Shirt Laundry, Body Presser

I started this job in the summer. It was incredibly hot. My job as body presser was to operate a machine that pressed shirts. It had two mannequin forms that would slide in and out of a giant steam press. While one was being pressed, I had to take a shirt off the form that was out, hang it up, put another shirt on, button two buttons, and hit the clamp all before the shirt being pressed was done and came out. The forms all had metal tops where the shirt collars would sit, and those little buggers got incredibly hot. I still have burn scars on my wrists from brushing that scorching metal. I actually got pretty good, and fast. But the building had no heat, and as winter came, moving from the moist heat of the press to the back of the store where there was no heat set me up for some sinus infections. I'd call in sick, then come back, and get sick again. I finally got pneumonia, and was fired.

3. Recycling plant, "Bottle Sorter"

I got this job from a temp agency, not the same one that assigned me to K-Mart. K-Mart came after this. I was told the job would be "sorting clean bottles for recycling". I was lied to. When I got there, I was handed a shovel, ear plugs, a hard hat, goggle and work gloves. I got to shovel up labels that fell out of the machine that pulled the labels off of the bottles. Now, in my mind, it would make more sense to come up with a more efficient machine that didn't rain labels and water on all those working below. But I suppose it was cheaper to hire someone at eight dollars and hour to slog through two-inch deep water while filling a wheelbarrow every half hour. I did eventually get a turn sorting bottles, which were NOT clean. The things people will put in glass and plastic bottles is beyond me. The hours were also crappy, we worked a twelve hour shift for three days, then were were off for two days. I made it through one three day cycle, and at the end of day three I turned in my gear and quit. I was told it would be considered job abandonment and that I wouldn't get paid, I told them to take it up with the EEOC.

4. Victoria's Secret, sales clerk

Last week I told you I worked for Frederick's of Hollywood, this job is why. I was sixteen, and it seemed kind of cool to work at the mall. But I was appalled at the training. We were told to only actively help women who looked like they had money, and who were obviously the same size as our products. We were actually trained to look for high-end handbags and shoes. Now, perhaps this is not a company-wide policy, but it certainly was of my manager. I got rapped several times for helping women, who in my manager's words, looked like "trailer-trash". Never mind the fact that I got them to buy something, I was "wasting my good time" on people who wouldn't become regular customers. It violated my sense of justice to have to make bigger women feel less pretty because we wouldn't carry something in their size. I quit after just two weeks.

5. Administrative assistant, for a Christian Clothing Company

I won't reveal the name of this company, but they were located in Tuscaloosa, AL. They are now out of business. I got hired on as a customer service representative. I was looking for steady work after being dumped in Alabama by my then boyfriend, and this looked promising. It was close to where I lived, and the people seemed nice. They were, by all accounts, evangelicals. The company made t-shirts to be used as witnessing tools. Some were even kind of clever. I was eventually promoted to be the assistant of one of the VP's. It was a small company, and my boss seemed really nice at first. I was still getting religious tracts telling me I was going to hell because I was attending an Episcopal church, but I just put it down to job risk, and I was also making more money. Eventually, though, I realized my boss who espoused "Christian virtues" was apparently carrying on with the company president. And she was very unstable. She'd frequently sit in her office closet and cry. She once threw a vase at me. And then had me do her son's homework for him. And then couldn't understand why I was part of a mass exodus from the company.

Okay, those are my five. I'll be giving out awards tomorrow! Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another one bites the dust...

My God, I love Savannah.

I was driving home from work this afternoon, when I got tailgated by a hearse. It was a lovely one, with swanky red brocade curtains. Older model (probably 1980's), but it obviously was still in use. It had a bumper sticker for the funeral home on it.

He rode my bumper (even though I was already going over the speed limit in the right hand lane), zoomed around me, and then the driver flipped me off. He must have been dong at least 90 miles an hour.

It made me think of this commercial from Aiwa Sound

I wonder if he was afraid his passenger might suddenly wake up?

Morning has broken, like the first morning....

With much thanks to Cat Stevens (and the hymnal from which he lifted it) for the lyric, from the song of the same name.

Most people I know are not morning people. They're grumpy when they get up, they'd rather not watch the sun rise, and when the alarm goes off, the snooze button is probably the first thing they hit.

It's been years since I worked a morning drive radio show. It's tough. You get up incredibly early, and are a quarter through your working day by the time most people are getting in the shower. Ray gets up at three a.m., and I used to just roll over and go back to sleep. But the last few days, I've realized how much I miss being out and about early in the morning.

And I've also discovered there's nothing so pretty as a south Georgia morning. I've been trying to take pictures to capture it for you all, but none of the pictures seem to do it justice.

It takes about fifteen minutes to navigate our back roads to get TFYO to school, and another forty-five minutes after that to get from her school to where I work, so I've had plenty of time and miles of countryside to look around me the last few days.

The sky yesterday was a pinky-golden haze, the sun filtered through the morning mist that comes with living in a humid climate. Dew hung on every leaf, every roof, every rural mailbox we drove past on the way to school. The corn is pretty high here, about ready for harvest, or in some cases already taken, with just the stalks left behind. The mist was hanging low in the fields, and gave everything an absolute magical quality. I was amazed at how water droplets reflecting light could make even our old tin-roofed shacks look majestic as I drove past.

It was almost like looking through a pair of rose-tinted glasses wrought by Mother Nature.

I'll see if I can capture some of this on the digital camera for you, but so much of the picture is dependent on the shadows, I'm not sure it's going to work. I suppose you'll all just have to use your imaginations until I can get it right.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Don't play tag with a parrot and a cat

Thanks to Ralph Covert for the title, from the song "The Mighty Worm".

Here's some list-y goodness for you.

What I've learned this week so far:

  • I'm surprisingly resilient.

  • I have a thicker skin than I thought.

  • When left to my own devices, I am capable of doing good things.

  • That just when I think one thing is going to happen, something else usually does, and it's better.

  • And gosh darn it, people like me.

Oh, and I have the smartest kid in the class. No, really, her teacher told us that yesterday. We were told it was imperative that she be placed in a gifted class as soon as she reaches kindergarten.

Short post, because I worked late last night. I may be resilient, but I'm tired, too.

Blog awards will be distributed Saturday morning, and that's morning Eastern Daylight Time for you international folks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I've got Cash and Prizes...

Well, not cash. Thanks to Del Amitri (you know, the guys who did Roll to Me) for the lyric.

I am awash in awards again. I'm not really sure how or why this keeps happening.

But apparently, Bellevelma over at Running with Books seems to think I'm worthy of a few more.

I have received, again, a:

and a

Thank you, Belle!

Most of you who read here are probably familiar with Bellevelma, as she comments here a bit. If you haven't taken the time to go see her, do it now. Only, bring some pain killers with you, because they are necessary to take the edge off the laugh cramp you get while reading. Shots of alcohol or a nice bottle of Shiraz also do the trick.

I would like to note that this is the third Thoughtful Blogger Award and the second Creative Blogger Award I've received in recent weeks.

If this continues, I will have to take Belle's advice, and resort to a system of hash marks in the side bar. I'll have to cut and past these together, somehow.

I'll redistribute these in a couple of days, once my brain has settled a bit. Things will be a bit hectic the next few days, but I have reason to believe my weekend hours may be cut back a bit soon. Not that I want that, but we've hired another part-timer, and hours were scarce to begin with.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What you gonna do in those shoes?

My little girl is off to school today. And I am off to my first full day as production assistant at the cluster of stations where the husband and I work. Yes, they've added to my duties.

TFYO is going to be learning some social skills, I'm sure, like how to sit in a circle without immediately jumping into a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose", and how to share. Being an only child right now, sharing is something that she's still having trouble with.

I'm also going to be learning some social skills. For example, how not to kill a salesperson who insists that I can squeeze sixty seconds of copy into a thirty second spot. Or how to be gracious when someone puts a production order on my desk five minutes before I'm supposed to leave, and then insists it has to air by 10 a.m. the next morning.

TFYO has new clothes, a brand new backpack for her school things, and a fabulous outlook on what her new school life will be.

I bought a new pair of red tennis shoes, and received a whole barrel of anxiety to tote along with me to work this morning. You see, the production director is out of town through Wednesday this week. That means, I'm in charge. I've spent less than three days with this new order processing software. And now I'm responsible for it. The commercial production I can do in my sleep. I just didn't realize I'd have to schedule the orders, too.

And of course, I've got the "weepy mom" business of sending my only child off to "big kid" school for the very first time. I worry that she won't make friends (that was something I was never good at), I worry that she'll be bored by sitting in a circle reciting the days of the week (which she already knows) and I worry I'm going to be getting a phone call round about noon-ish informing me my child refuses to eat, but is taking great delight in draping banana peels on her classmates heads.

I think there's only one cure for this. More red shoes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Hear You Knockin'...

Great song, written by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King back in the 1950's, most famously covered by Dave Edmunds.

TFYO has a new obsession, to go with all of her other obsessions.

Knock-Knock jokes.

I'm not sure where she heard her first one, but I have a suspicion it was my husband, as he is sometimes just a big kid himself. Truth be told, he has been TFYO's playmate since she was a baby. Not that I don't play with her, he just throws himself into it with gusto. He's taught her to throw a ball (we're still working on catching), he's taught her all about pratfalls (which she does on a regular basis and finds hilarious), and he's now apparently taught her knock-knock jokes. She knows only three.

Who's There?
Why are you crying? It's just a joke!

Who's there?
Yaw who?
It's just a joke, why are you getting so excited?

And the perennial favourite:

Who's there?
Banana who?
Who's there?
Banana who?
Who's there?
(me): URGH! Banana WHO?
Who. Is. There.
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

So, I am now on a quest to find more knock-knock jokes to teach TFYO. I think it's great she's learning jokes, but if I wanted to hear the same jokes over and over again, I'd watch Leno. So, if any of you have any CLEAN (I'm looking at you Willow Tree!) knock-knock jokes, leave 'em in the comments. It may be the only way I ride out the knock-knock joke phase with any sanity left!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Five

Okay, there's been some shenanigans around here. Dear Willow Tree informed me of a little buggy making it's way around blogs which originated in Myspace. If your blog has been hanging up, (or mine for that matter!) that seems to be the issue. You'll find the malignant code in your template and it refers to d5d1 . com Notice I made sure that didn't come out as a link. You can get it by commenting on infected blogs, or, if someone who is infected comments on your blog. You can apparently find the script if you click Edit HTML under your Template settings. If you then hit Ctrl-F, you can find the script by typing in d5d1. You can find some info about it here, in the Google forums. My template appears to be clean now, and I'm not having anymore issues. But it appeared widespread yesterday.

Okay, on to the list:

My Five Favorite Jobs (in no particular order)

1. Tutor

I worked briefly as a tutor during high school, helping elementary school kids to read. Sometimes I became a glorified baby sitter, and sometimes I had kids who just refused to do anything. And there were a couple of parents who blamed me for tat. I did have one little girl who went from not being able to read at all, to being at the top of her reading group in the second grade. I loved that kid.

2. Frederick's of Hollywood clerk/asst. mgr.

I've never been a girly girl, but I really liked this job. It was the best retail job I've ever had, and it got better when we added the plus size collection. It was so wonderful to help women who felt unsexy realize that they were beautiful, and help their husbands see them that way, too. And it wasn't about "dressing up sexy". The lingerie was just a tool to get people to see themselves a little differently. We had one girl who was so happy that we outfitted her wedding trousseau (and that we carried pretty things in her size), she brought us cookies for a month. And all it took was being helpful, and caring about making people happy.

3. Linco, processor/gluer

One summer while in college I worked for a small local company in Michigan that made cardboard products: boxes, tubing, that kind of thing. I used to cut raw cardboard to make boxes in the morning, and then I'd glue up the sides in the afternoon. It doesn't sound nice, but the people I worked for were great and the job required very little thinking. The best part: they fed us lunch every Friday, usually Chinese. I also learned a lot about people who do "blue collar" work. Ken and Linda, who owned Linco, cared a lot about the people who worked for them. In their eyes, we weren't grunts. We were intelligent human beings who deserved to be treated well. Ken always made me listen to Rush Limbaugh with him while we worked, but he also loved Garrison Keilor. When my summer was up, they tried to convince me to stay, but gave me a big party and a huge cake when I chose to go back to school, anyway.

4. Capital Broadcasting, Raleigh, NC Part-time air talent

This was the best company I've ever worked for, hands down. As a part-timer, I still accrued vacation and sick time (paid!!!), and they were always throwing parties for the employees and their kids. The Easter Party was wonderful, and TFYO got to go twice. All paid for out of owner Jim Goodman's pockets. Capital is privately owned, which is a rarity in the media business today, and it allows the company to be actively involved in employees lives on an unheard of scale. I also worked with some fabulous people there, including my APD Jim, who taught me more about programming in three months than I learned in seven years of radio. I can honestly say I truly liked everyone I worked with. It was the toughest job I ever left.

5. K-mart, receiving dock grunt

I did a lot of temporary light industrial work early in my college career, mostly because it paid better overall than working as a file clerk. I also don't like wearing dressy clothes. I wasn't supposed to be assigned to the receiving dock, I was supposed to be sent with the other women to "repack" where boxes were unpacked and goods repacked for shipment to stores. There was me and one other girl who accidentally got sent down to the docks to unload import trucks. We did it by hand with the help of a mobile conveyor belt called "The Goose". Hence, we were called "The Goose Crew". The first couple of weeks, we had a lot of traffic down our end of the warehouse, as every guy seemingly had a reason to come talk to me and Amber. I even had a company VP ask me what the hell I was doing there and if I wanted to transfer up to the office. I told him no. Even though the floor foreman hated me (and tried to give me some of the dirtiest jobs), I loved the guys I worked with. I loved the fact that they never cut me slack because I was a girl. I lost twenty pounds on that job, and I also learned to drive a forklift. If I'd stayed and become union, I would have been making $50,000 a year driving that lift, but I went back to school.

Okay, there are my five, have a great weekend!

PS I've been thinking about a new template fo rmy blog, but I'm rubbish at HTML. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to help me attempt to write a new template, I'd be most grateful.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Seven angels seven plagues...

That lyric from Joydrop's Strawberry Marigold, which coincidentally seems to be the only song I could find with a "seven plagues" reference in it.

Several folks around the blogosphere have been very "list-y" lately. They've all been making lists for camping, visits from the Mother-in-Law, getting ready for back-to-school, etc. Now I always do a list on Fridays, but after almost stepping on a tree frog last night, I have a new list to share.

The Seven Plagues of Guyton, GA

(kinda catchy, eh?)

1. Sand Gnats

The little buggers are everywhere down here. They even named the local baseball team after these tiny, winged biters. This was the first pest we encountered when we bought our lovely, new rural home. They swarmed the window screens and doors first thing in the morning. They got so bad that I was literally sweeping piles of them out the front door. Eventually, they died out, only to be replaced with....

2. Spiders

We started off with your garden variety brown web-spinners, but recently moved on to Black Widows. Yes, those creepy big black spiders with the red hourglass. We killed four in the garage. Let me amend that, my husband killed four in the garage, and one almost landed on his head in the kitchen. We sprayed and stomped them out of our house, and they moved on to our next door neighbour's place. He did the same, and the neighbor on the other side of him started complaining about them. I don't know where they are now, but they aren't here. (If you'd like to read more about my run-ins with spiders check this entry) They spiders were replaced by...

3. Ants

Yes, I know. If we hadn't killed off all of the spiders, we wouldn't have ants. That's not true. Generally, the spiders around here don't get to eat ants, because the ants aren't dumb enough to walk into a web meant for a flying insect. They are, however, dumb enough to eat ant bait, stagger away, and kill off all of their brethren. Kind of like "The Manchurian Candidate" for ants.

4. Buzzards

I encountered these guys fairly early, and they really didn't bother me all that much, except for that first week when they kept landing in my yard. I think they were looking for the neighbour's chihuahua, who spends a lot of time in my yard relieving herself. No, they weren't a problem, until I almost ran one of them over on my way to work as it was picking clean what was left of an armadillo. (You can see my early ode to Armadillos here.) Most people hate buzzards. I think they serve a necessary function, one that the county appears loathe to deal with, anyway. They get rid of road kill, and they do look pretty in flight. On the ground, not so much.

5. Frogs

Every time it rains, we hear the lovely sound of tree frogs. And I do love it. I just don't love it underneath my bedroom window when I'm trying to sleep. Or stuck to my front door, where the cat is just itching to eat one. After a hard rain, I go out, and they are covering my house, sometimes one frog per two or three square feet of siding. We've also found them hiding in the grill. Oftentimes, they end up dead because we haven't checked the grill closely enough before finding them.

6. Flies

Especially around the trash cans. I think flies just come with rural living, but it still grosses me out to see something trying to crawl out of the trash can. I make Ray bleach the thing. I wish our neighbours would bleach their cans, too. At least so they're flies would stay out of my house. I've thought about trying the plastic bag of water trick. It's really prevalent in the deep south, where you hang a big plastic bag of water from the ceiling. It's supposed to get rid of flies. Or drown them. Or something. I have no idea if it works. I'm afraid to try it, because I'm pretty sure said bag would fall on my head during dinner preparation. Just a guess.

7. Dump trucks

The scourge of our quaint country lanes. I can't go to work, can't go to the grocery store, can't frantically drive all over the county looking for quality pre-k, without getting stuck behind one of these monstrosities. I shouldn't complain. One helped build my house, but they're also at dozens of construction sites all over the county. They just seem to be waiting outside my subdivision anytime I want to go somewhere. I haven't met a soul in this county yet who doesn't have a ding in their windshield (windscreen, you UK types) from a pebble launched from a dump truck.

So that's it, the Seven Plagues of Guyton, GA. Not as interesting as some other plagues, perhaps, but we all have our own peculiar regional problems to deal with, I suppose.

Oh, and for those who missed my note yesterday, there is an audio clip up in my profile now, for those who were interested in what my "radio voice" sounds like. It's the demo I threw together in an effort to get work *grin*

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

They got a name for the winners in the world

I was going through my blogroll, and realized there was someone on the list who doesn't have an award, so I decided to pass along my award from yesterday on to:

Flutterbot (although the actual title is Flutterbots and Roboflies, either way, very cool)

So Flutterbot, here ya go...

She has one of the coolest profile pics I've ever seen, and she's a very talented graphic artist. I know y'all have seen her over her a few times, and she never hesitates to leave a nice comment. She was also one of the first blogs I discovered when I signed on here. Go on over and see her!

I've got more to write, but it will be later. Stay tuned for "The Seven Plagues of Guyton, GA".

Quick update: For all y'all asking for audio clips to hear my voice, you can now go to my profile and hear my voice. A couple of people have had to download the clip to hear it, but at least you've got access to it. It's my generic demo that I've been using to try to get commercial work, so it's a mishmash of promos and commercials I've done. And yes, I've done all the editing on these myself.

....and I bring you...FIRE!

With thanks to the Crazy World of Arthur Brown for the lyric. Go find this song and listen to it. My Dad used to scare the hell out of me with that 45.

I'll get to my main post in a minute...

But I've been given another blog award! I'll have to redesign the sidebar to make all this stuff fit. This one comes from Poetess with Humour:

I am now a Thoughtful Blogger Times Two. I'm still not sure where I'm going to put it, or who I would pass it to, as I think just about everyone on my blog roll has this award from someone. Either way, thank you Poetess! If you haven't checked out her blog, head over there. She writes some amazing poetry, and has a gift for putting almost anything into rhyme.

A little while back, Rotten Correspondent had asked for some radio stories, and I've been wracking my brain trying to think of one that might be even remotely interesting to someone not in radio. So, gather 'round, my children and I shall tell you the tale of ....

The Great Wake Up Crew Fire of 2004

A few years back, we were living in Memphis. I was sort of the all-around part-timer. I did production (commercials to the layman), I did traffic reports, sometimes a newscasts here and there, and I filled in for vacationing and sick air talent.

One of my gigs was to fill in for the female voice on our classic rock station's morning show, "The Wake Up Crew". It was fun. The guys were obnoxious, but in a sweet DJ kind of way. There were lots of boob jokes, jokes about sex, and jokes about the mayor of Memphis who was affectionately referred to as King Willie. I liked doing mornings with these guys, although I was acutely aware of my "role". My role was to read a sixty second news cast at the top of each hour for three hours, and to aurally nod and laugh at whatever anyone else said. There was no star billing here, and I was cool with that.

Our group of stations had recently moved into a new building outside of downtown. We were up on the top floor, the fourth one. One of the elevators kept getting stuck, and they'd been testing the fire alarms all that week. It was really annoying, especially because they'd beep for a second and then stop. I had just finished doing my 8 a.m. news when the damn things went off again. Now, in a studio, we don't hear the screaming of the alarm (makes for bad radio, y'know), but we do have an annoying strobe light that flashes fast enough to send any epileptic into a seizure. So it flashed. And flashed. And flashed. And it wouldn't stop.

I started to get nervous, throwing Tim these "Shouldn't we be doing something about this?" looks, checking over my shoulder. During a commercial break, I poked my head out into the hall, and the sound was deafening. No one knew what was going on, so we started talking about it on the air. "Bad Dog" (second guy on the show), took his cell phone and volunteered to find out what all the hubbub was. "Bad Dog" called back in a just a few seconds from the bottom of the stair well.

Turns out, the elevator was on fire. The elevator that kept getting stuck. The elevator I had ridden up to the fourth floor at five o'clock that morning.

"Dog" had already taken the advice of management and evacuated the building, leaving me and Tim, and Brian our producer/phone screener upstairs, on the air, with the fire alarm blaring in the background. Once it had been established that there was in fact a fire, I yanked my headphones off, told all our listeners to have a nice day, and got the hell out of there. I think I had made it to the bottom stair before Tim had managed to put on Peter Frampton "Do You Feel Like I Do?" and the station into automation.

We were eventually given the all clear, and made it back up in time before Frampton was over. I then got to be heckled by Tim and Dog for being so scared (fire and elevators are two of my biggest phobias), but I was not the object of derision for long. It turns out, one of our Traffic and Continuity people, Judy, was stuck in the elevator where the fire had happened. The fire was actually in the elevator shaft, just below where she was. It was a minor fire, just some scorched insulation and wiring, but the elevator was stuck just shy of the fourth floor. So what does Dog do? He walks down there and calls her cell phone. She wisely refused to go on the air with us. Judy wasn't a small woman, but they managed to get her up through the hatch in the roof of the elevator.

I took the stairs for the next six months.

If you want audio of this, I have it saved somewhere, and I'll be happy to e-mail it to you, since I still haven't found a reliable audio host yet. If y'all find one, let me know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Get on Back to School

Lyric courtesy of Jimmy Buffet and Dan Fogelberg from Domino College

There are some things I love about living in a place like Effingham County. I love the small-town atmosphere. I love how my hair dresser knows a really good local place to get a sandwich, and how they know a really good local place to get mulch for my garden. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone looks out for everyone, in a very down home, "Hey, I brought y'all some fresh biscuits" manner.

There are also some things I don't like. The schools here are fabulous, which means everyone is moving to this area to take advantage of the cheap land and good schools (we're part of that group), but the schools aren't ready for it. Not by a long shot. So much so, that my daughter was on a waiting list three months ago for a slot in the state funded free public pre-kindergarten program, and was still number eleven on the list yesterday as school started.

To say I was in a panic would be putting it mildly.

Ray and I spent most of yesterday calling every state funded program we could find in the county, and everyone had waiting lists a mile long. I looked at churches, but most of the ones in the area that we could afford to pay for were way too conservative for us. But finally, some of those phone calls paid off.

Ray called a bunch of places listed in the local phone book. Most of the day-cares and private pre-kindergartens had been put out of work by the elementary schools getting into the pre-k business. One phone number led to a woman who used to work at a pre-school in Springfield, up the highway about ten miles or so from where we live. She just happened to have the number of a woman whose daughter was opening a brand new state funded pre-school in Old Guyton, not far from where we are. So we called the woman, who gave us her daughter's cell number, which went to voice mail, but had the number of her new pre-school listed. And we hit the jackpot. They had three slots left open.

The building isn't much to look at. It's an old county building across the street from the Guyton Volunteer Fire Department, and half a block up from the county sheriff's building in town. But the folks were nice, and the Four Year Old loved the classroom, even if they hadn't finished putting everything up yet.

And so now she has a place to belong. She's one of only six girls in two pre-kindergarten classes. Truthfully, she's probably not going to learn anything academic from her new school. She can already read, she can print simple sentences, she knows some addition and subtraction, and her multiplication tables. But she's going to learn about dealing with other kids, which makes me happy.

And all because a woman knew a woman who had a daughter with a business. I love Effingham County.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mixed Drinks and Mixed Emotions

Thanks Dave Wakeling for the lyrics.

Sitting in our living room yesterday the following conversation ensues:

Me: Honey, I know money is tight. But I think I want to have another baby.

Him: Well, okay. How do we go about doing that?

Me: (30 seconds of hysterical laughter)

Me: (through tears of laughter) Well, dear, first a daddy loves a mommy very much...

This is actually something we've been talking about a bit in the last few months. There's still a lot that needs to be done around the house, but The Four Year Old will soon be the The Five Year Old, and if I'm going to have another baby I should probably do it sooner rather than later.

It also seems like everyone around me is pregnant. My husband's cousin is expecting another baby (and, boy, didn't we hear about that!), a coworker of ours recently told me she's pregnant, a friend of mine told me his soon-to-be wife is "in the family way", and everywhere I look it's like there are bulging tummies surrounding me on all sides.

TFYO was not planned. She was a honeymoon baby, and I found out I was pregnant in the middle of a lot of turmoil at work, and things were rough after she was born. But I can't help but think that if I keep "planning" for the next one, the next one might not happen.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Five

After yesterday's wild and raving rant, I promised a suitably silly Friday Five. Now, some might say this is a little macabre, but I ran it by my husband and he felt the possibilities with this topic were endless. And he was right, it was hard to narrow it down to just five. No pictures today, I'm feeling lazy. Sorry.


Five Dead People I Like

1. Julia Child (8/15/1912-8/13/2004)

Fun, warm, witty, and hell bent on teaching America that food was more than melted Velveeta. Very close to the end of her life, she did a guest shot on Emeril Live. Emeril had just destroyed something he took out of the oven, and Julia said "Don't worry over it. We're just going to get the pre-made pretty one out of the back anyway." Which at that time sort of broke the "taboo" on Emeril's set that he supposedly cooked "live". It was awesome, and felled everyone with laughter. She also worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII, because the Navy said she was too tall.

2. Richard Harris (10/1/1930-10/25/2002)

Marvelous actor and hell-raiser extraordinaire. How Peter O'Toole outlived him, I'll never know, and he probably doesn't know either. Check out the movie The Molly McGuires from 1970. And of course, he originated the role of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. He played it exactly as I imagined Dumbledore to be, which is pretty amazing. Harris lived life by his own rules with his friends Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, and Albert Finney. He had fun right up until the end.

3. Fred Rogers (3/20/1928-2/27/2003)

Mr. Rogers was awesome. While there has been some contention lately that he caused a generation of kids to grow up with feelings of entitlement, I think it's a bunch of hogwash. I was enthralled by this man when I was a kid, and whenever I was going through a period where other kids were picking on me, Mr. Rogers made me feel better. And, no, I don't have a sense of entitlement. I don't think anyone owes me anything, whether I'm special or not.

4. My Great-grandmother Dorothy Scott

She was fun, and she made the best Yorkshire pudding ever. As she got older, she would laugh so hard, she couldn't get up, and woe betide anyone she fell over on. She put up with a lot through her life. She lost a sister to disease, I think it was diphtheria. She had three daughters of her own, and helped raise my mother when my gran become a single mom. The best story about "Nanny" comes from my second cousin, Scott, who gave the eulogy at Nanny's funeral. Scott sometimes took Nan to her doctor's appointments, and she hated the waiting room. She always said they shouldn't bother showing up on time, since they never saw her until twenty minutes after her appointment should have been over. One day, she brought a cap gun, and fired it off after repeated attempts to get a nurses attention. She got in for all her appointments very quickly after that.

5. Albert Einstein (3/14/1879-4/18/1955)

Patent clerk, physicist and pacifist. Brilliant and tempermental. Not a perfect human being, but a an almost perfect mind. He wasn't always good to his wife, but he did love his children, and in the space of a very short time helped revolutionize the way we looked at the world and the universe. It just took a while for some of his ideas to catch on.

Honourable mentions: Ben Franklin (who is definitely dead) and Abe Vigoda who everyone seems to think is dead, but isn't.

Those are my me yours! And have a good weekend, y'all, I'm working through mine.