Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Never Know Who You Might Run Into at The Pig


I think a lot of people who blog are "watchers" by nature. We notice things - big, little, funny, odd, tragic and like to share them. Personally, I like to go for long walks and just look. People, buildings, scenery, machinery - you get the drift. And while I'm no pro photographer, I do okay with my little point and shoot.

So, while this post isn't going to change your life, it will give you something to look at and have a tiny distraction. Here is what I did yesterday:


And there was also this:



Where does one park 16,000 pounds of horse? Wherever one wants, including the fire lane at The Pig.


And lastly, this. Where I get photo-bombed by a Clydesdale.




It was fun. You should go too, if you ever get the chance. :-)


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Iron Will. And Cecilia too.

You know how every hero has a fatal flaw? Well, here on this blog, I'm the hero and I have come to the conclusion that my fatal flaw is trying to understand and make sense of human behavior. I really should know better, because I think people sometimes just do stuff with no intent or purpose whatsoever, so trying to make sense of it really is just impossible. My quest for understanding really, really carries over to the things my kids do, because some of that crap just plain defies reason. My first born turned eleven about a month ago, which means that I have over a decade of parenting experience. This by no means makes me an expert, but I do believe I have at least a little of this gig figured out. There are, however, things about parenting that I am convinced will remain forever mysterious.

Things like...replacing the bath tissue when you use the last of it. My son just confessed to that particular domestic violation in the powder room. His reasoning for not replacing it? There wasn't any more under the counter. I pointed out that the backup of the backup lives in the laundry room, which is about six feet from the powder room. He just shrugged.

Here's another head-scratcher. What, exactly is the cause of sibling cooperative play, full of laughter and joy? Magical alignment of stars? Threats of being grounded until they are thirty? Bribes? I have tried an infinite number of arrangements to try and facilitate this magical, wonderful wrinkle in time all to no avail. It happens quite on it's own, and I cannot for the life of me put my finger on the correct ingredients. Any suggestions you may have on  this one would be much appreciated because yours truly has totally struck out.

This next one will be my Waterloo. The upstairs of our house, is only for the children. Two bedrooms and a bathroom - that's it. So when I put things that belong to them on the stairs, why do they not realize that it's for them to take up? In all seriousness, this particular issue is going to break me I think. I have gone so far as to arrange their belongings in a wall across the stairs and they still managed to get past without either picking anything up or knocking anything over. Impressive strategy, I grudgingly admitted to myself. However, if someone rode my butt about the same thing, every single solitary day of my life, I may actually break down and do it. Not my children - they remain unfazed. I see a future in the CIA for them both as they apparently have wills of iron.


Lastly, I would like to know what goes through a child's mind when they pick up a full glass of something, set it on the edge of a table, and then do all kinds of intricate maneuvers nearby and around said glass. Why don't they just move the glass, rather than run the risk of knocking it off onto the floor? Mine do this all the time and then get upset when they've poured milk everywhere. Again, I've said a zillion times to just move it, but it's like they are trying to tempt fate or prove that they can do it. I don't even trust myself enough to try this but the little people in my house must be taking it as some kind of dare, I suppose.

So, tell me. Are there things your kids do that just make no sense? Tell me, please, that I'm not alone!


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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The UnThankful Thanksgiving Post

So because I'm kind of well, contrary, I have a real problem with emoting on command. Which means that this whole state what you are thankful for every day thing really just brings out the worst in me. I AM grateful for many things, but I just can't help it that there are things that no matter how you spin it, I am just not thankful for. I guess I have oppositional defiance or something because feeling like I should feel a certain way only makes me want to rebel. Sigh. Oh well, let's just add it to my list of disorders and move on.

I've decided to create a list of things I am not thankful for in order to try and get it out of my system before tomorrow.

Stretch marks. There is just no way I will ever be thankful for those. I know they are a product of bringing my beautiful, brilliant and amazing children into this world but still. Do not like.

Psoriasis. Yes, I have the heartbreak of it. And let me tell you, it is amazing! Not.

"What's for dinner?" Every. Single. Night. of my life. Why do they always need to keep eating?!

Body hair. While I AM thankful that I'm no Sasquatch, seriously, after twenty five years of shaving my legs, I'm over it.

Justice. That store the devil's handiwork and I am positive that the people who work there will turn up with some sort of cancer from all those plastics and dyes and chemicals etc. And of course, my daughter cannot get enough of it.

"Moooooom! Sibling X did Y to meeeee!" If I NEVER hear this again, it will be too soon. Not thankful for that.

"Where is the ...?" Why am I supposed to be the location knower of all things? I can barely keep up with myself!

PMS. This really needs no explanation. It truly is just not a good scene for anyone.

Fennel. I just don't like it. I've tried and tried, but it's just, ew.

Black Friday. You will not change my mind on this, so don't even try.


Come on, play! What are you NOT thankful for? Tell me in the comments!

PS. It's official. I am turning into Maxine.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Southern Sentimentalities

I was born in Augusta, GA and I have lived in South Carolina my entire life (see North Augusta/Savannah river). My family hails from Tennessee and Georgia since pretty much the dawn of time. To say that my roots are entirely Southern would be an understatement. There are, of course, things about the South that are less than perfect, but by in large, I am pretty happy about being Southern, and don't even get me started on Charleston.

There are so many things about the South that are well known - the food, the football, the accent etc., but to be honest, my favorite Southern-isms are the intangible ones. The ones that let you know where you are even if you don't know really know where you are. For example:

I love that Southern people give directions using "where such and such used to be" as landmarks.

I love that no matter what town or city you are in, there will be a group of retired men sitting at Hardees early on a Saturday morning.

I love the half hand wave without letting go of the steering wheel thing people do while driving down a country road.

I love the sayings, the colloquialisms, and the totally nonsensical words and phrases used by Southern people, and the fact that the people they are speaking with understand them completely.

I love the small town festivals, many of which originated from all kinds of bizarro beginnings.

I love listening to a good story teller.

I love that it is considered perfectly reasonable to own at least five or six casserole dishes, if not more.

I love the names that Southerners give their children, and that it is no big deal to have multiple people in the one family share the same name.

I love the subtleties and complexities of Southern conversation and how it remains mysterious to many people not from the region.

There are many other things I could name, but I'm curious. What do you love about the South? Or if you aren't "from here", what do you love about your region of the country?



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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Political Coming Out

Friends, readers, family members...I am coming out of the political closet. Now that the election is over, I feel the need to reveal myself as who I truly am politically, because I'm sure you were all dying to know. (eye roll) Typically I'm quite vague as political fights are not something I'm interested in having with anyone, so I usually just don't say much at all. So, here is the big reveal: I am an elephonktarian. Yes, you got it - basically I have the political version of multiple personality disorder. Loosely translated, I am an open-minded, engaged and educated Independent.

I don't really think I am alone in this. Lots of people I talk to seem to feel the same way. Our political perspectives are complex and intricate things, and this is why I think the current two party system does none of us any favors. Voting is a precious liberty that people around the world have died for, and yet, how many times have you heard someone say, "My vote doesn't matter because nothing will ever change."? I've heard that way more than I'd like.

To me, this bespeaks something much larger than the individual running for office, or even the different parties. How many candidates are going to "change Washington!" only to find that Washington changes them? How many candidates are shocked to realize that no matter how hard they work, who they collaborate with or where they sleep, they run into the same roadblocks over and over? And to be clear, I am including all people elected from all sides of the aisle.

People in this country are furious, for all kinds of different reasons. The left is leftier and the right is rightier and those of us who truly want to find common ground feel left behind and we are all unhappy. Personally, I despise feeling forced to chose between two things when I agree with neither. But again, I think that it is an indicator of the system at large more than the people involved. It's like some kind of runaway cruise boat that doesn't stop no matter who is at the helm or dragging on the anchor. The situation at hand is, plain and simple, MADDENING.

I'm not saying I know what to do or how to do it or where to even begin, but I do know one simple and irrefutable fact: repeating an action and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Things will never be any different if they are never any different. See where I'm going with this?

Recently, I told my husband that I thought that maybe there should be two Presidents. I thought he was going to faint. But here is where I was coming from: when the Constitution was framed, the world was such a smaller place. I don't think the Founding Fathers could have possibly imagined the world we live in today. The rise of the Internet, a global economy, nuclear weapons, etc. wasn't even on the horizon so my thought was that maybe one person could be in charge of domestic and one in charge of foreign policy because I think the job itself has gotten too large for one person to genuinely excel at it.

(dear NSA - if you are reading this, and I'm quite sure some computer somewhere is, please know that I am not an anarchist or any other such thing. I would like to be consider a kind of armchair political philosopher and do not want to disappear. Kthanksbye).

Anyway, I know this is, and other ideas like it are kinda off the wall, but I truly believe that it will only be some kind of enormous change in the system itself that will help right the ship. Until then, I will chose my candidates individually, will vote my conscience even when it seems hopeless, and will believe that this country is truly greater than the sum of it's parts.

PS. I'll leave you with this gem: "If you get into a fight with someone on the Internet, you have already lost." Repeat it to yourself. I promise you that I'm right on this one!


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Monday, November 5, 2012

Coping With Pet Loss

I did a lot of reading this weekend. Since some of my more recent books were fairly "heavy" reads, I decided to take it light and read another book by the author of Dewey the Library Cat. No, not kid's lit but a heartwarming memoir about a cat that a struggling Iowa town all fell in love with. I know, my pathetic description sounds, well, pathetic, but it really is a good read, especially if you are an animal lover. Anyway, I digress.



I lost my much loved Siamese a little over a year ago, and have finally gotten to a place where I can talk about him without crying...much. But the stories I read in this book have stirred me to tell my own. I posted here about his diagnosis with kidney failure when I found out in August of last year, and I only updated the post to reveal that he had passed away.
We tried to help Tai towards the end of his illness by giving him fluids and Pepcid, knowing that these were palliative measures, not cures. This went on for about four weeks and it became apparent that these interventions were not working to keep him comfortable. On a Monday afternoon, I had a long and tear-filled conversation with our vet about his final plans. She had been there with us through the whole ordeal, and I wanted it to be her who helped him on his journey. She was off the next day, so we planned to take him in on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning, he was responsive but hardly moving from his spot under the end table in the living room. I picked him up, and brought him into our bathroom where I had been keeping him during the day while I was at work. We have another cat and a dog, and I didn't want him bothered. For whatever reason, it occurred to me to bring him a heating pad and so that's where I left him, cuddled up in a blanket in the corner, with the heating pad underneath. I kissed his nose, told him I loved him and left for work.

That afternoon, we arrived home, and as usual, my first thing upon walking in the door was to go check on Tai. This afternoon, though, I really did not have a good feeling. I can't explain it, but I swear I knew at some point in the day that he would be dead when I got home. And, true to my premonition, he was. Given the state of his body, I'm pretty sure he passed away moments after we left the house. I was crushed by this, as I had always said that I would never, ever, leave him when the time came. The fact that he died alone on a bathroom floor absolutely cut me to the quick - he was supposed to die in my arms, surrounded with love.

But that is what cats want when their time is up - to die in peace, alone and un-bothered. So while the selfish part of me mourned what didn't happen, the part of me that loved him was happy that he got what he wanted. The really ridiculous and sentimental part of me told myself (and I still believe it) that he loved me enough to have spared me the agony of the trip to the vet, the needle and the decision to end a life. My sweet husband wrapped him in a blanket and we took his body to the vet for cremation.

The Saturday after Tai died, I was heading to my mother's house because being at home without Tai was painful. On the way over, I heard a radio spot about a free adoption weekend at the Charleston Animal Society and the thought of getting a new cat occurred to me. Pushing it out of my mind immediately, I kept driving. Not five minutes later, I found myself stuck in traffic, not far from the shelter. Sitting at a complete stop, I heard the spot again. This time my thought was, "I can just go look. I'd rather do that than sit in traffic anyway." Famous last words.

I never meant to get another cat so quickly. If you had asked before this happened if I would have been one to do that, I would have replied to the negative. I do not have a problem with this because we all handle grief and loss differently, but I just didn't think it was something I would do. But I believe in the connection between certain people and certain animals and as I strolled through the shelter, looking a snotty hot mess, only one cat even looked at me. I placed one fingertip on the glass and he stood on his hind legs, reaching one paw up to the spot where my finger was. Sold.

Tai had chosen me in that exact way thirteen years earlier, you see. He came from a breeder, not a shelter, but it was he who came to me while I was standing there looking. It was the exact same gesture too - I had my fingertip on the cage where he was rolling around being ridiculous and he stood on hind legs and reached for that same finger. I was sold instantly then too. Now, I know this particular gesture is not exactly rare or uncommon but it spoke to me, so I went with it. I called my husband, who at this point would have agreed to have a mountain lion if it meant the crying stopped, and so "Brownie"as he was known as the shelter, was coming home with me.

It's been different, having a shelter cat - he's still a little spooky and does his absolute best to convince you that he is absolutely starving to death even though he's lugging around some extra poundage. He doesn't have that affable dog-like personality that Tai did but he's super sweet and affectionate, with plenty of cute quirks to laugh at, almost daily. One animal doesn't replace another obviously, but I believe that there is a place in our hearts that is only for our special animals, no matter their species or breed. Pets are the only personal relationship we enter into with the full knowledge that we will likely outlive them and yet we do it anyway, putting them into that tender space inside, knowing it will probably get hurt. But it's worth it. It's just so worth it.





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