Monday, August 22, 2016

The South I live and work in....

I swaney
I swigger
I hope my never
I hope my die
Great day in the morning
Well, I swaney to my time
Awwww shawww
Well, he never
Dad blameit
And don't you know, Bless Pete she went and.....

Gerry and I were naming all the things we heard our parents and grandparents say as we were growing up. Added to Gerry's list was "GERALD ALAN", that meant he was in trouble.

My grandmother would say I swigger to keep from cursing. Later when she got dementia s.h.i.t. was her favorite word to say.  My mom will use all of these phrases in one sitting if you stay put long enough. She can't say "yes I saw the moon", if you mention the moon, she will tell you about Betty Earl, her neighbor in High Point, and how one night walking home from the baseball game they got in the car with these boys and the boys took them over to the Hot Shop for a milkshake and they saw Carlos, the boy from Mexico and he said there was a full moon.... there is a story to go with every single damn moment no matter how small. Sometimes I call and I can sit for 45 minutes and never say more than uh huh.....

I don't know where this is going except some mind vomit from too many days on the road and too many nights in a hotel room. I have worked two back to back 70 hour weeks. I reset a store in Virginia Beach last week, it was 100 degrees outside and 120 inside, the AC didn't work. The AC has been broken in the last four stores I have worked in. The store in Va Beach had a large foam board poster up along one wall. I took it down and discovered a wall rotten with mold and holes where the AC had leaked water down the wall, from as far back as the manager figured, 8 years..... sigh. Such a week.  I worked with one guy a couple of weeks ago that was a brilliant kid, dropped out of high school three days before he was to graduate, said it just felt like bullshit to him, so he works on trucks. He loves a truck. I worked with a guy that got out of jail and was given a chance at a job, he is walking a thin line where trouble, I know, calls him to come on over. He was the most interesting person I met all week, I really liked him. We are in the same tribe. Not that I ever did anything close to getting me put in jail, but I know that feeling of going one way when everyone else is heading the other.

These guys I am with every day are kindred spirits. I know these boys. Their kind work like my daddy worked. Dirty fingernails, sweat on their brow, clothes soaked with perspiration. These are working men. Blue Collar. Not well educated, many of them, but they have good down to earth common sense. They don't look at their iPhones all day, they don't stop for a mocha latte. They drink a Mountain Dew, eat a biscuit and get to work. At lunch they warm something up they brought from home, or they run down to the store and get a ham sandwich. They start at 7am and they go home at 7pm, 6 days a week. They get Sundays off.  They have my utmost respect.

This job is making me stronger, physically and mentally. My boss pushes in a gentle but firm way and I do things that I don't think I can do, I come out on the other side and I have done that thing. I didn't think I would get through last week. I knew the stores and I knew the work ahead of me. But it got done. I got an email from the district manager saying this was my best work yet and that I was amazing. Let the endorphin release begin, ya know?! This job is a drug. The adrenaline and the endorphin cocktail are addicting, and its what keeps me from passing out at the end of the day I guess.

I come home on Fridays to my beautiful new home and I sleep all day Saturday, some on the sofa, some out in the garden, some on the porch. I cook breakfast for us on Sunday and then I sleep some more. This is not sustainable and at some point, things will have to change. But for now, its fine, I am able to do it and I actually like it. Gerry is traveling much now too, so its fine for now. I look down the road and wonder where I will be a year from now. My life takes major turns in just a years time, it seems. Wesley will be moving home at the end of the month. Another turn. I am overjoyed. Her life has been much like mine this year. What a year of growing and learning about ourselves. What a journey.....

And to think,  I would have never eaten at The Purple Cow had I not taken this job. Definitely a highlight of August. AMAZING menu!

Monday, August 1, 2016

This day.... this week.... this month!

I was drinking my favorite beer this weekend when Gerry mentioned the name change. I had not even noticed it. He had told me this was coming, the AP did a story on it. But, seriously Budweiser, WTF? You have the most iconic beer around and you decide to call it America?!  You stupid

I am sitting in a hotel room having one from my cooler right now. Its 10:30 pm, I just got in from a store remodel and this is my supper. I had no lunch, supper is beer and crackers. This is not good.
The week/month ahead has me already tired and it has only just begun. Three store remodels in WesternVirginia and Tennessee this week. Three next week down in Charlotte, two the next week in Eastern Virginia, and five store visits the following week in South Carolina.
September.... more of the same. Not quite sure what I got myself into here with this job, but I have done 20 stores and have 30 more to go. I'm going to pretend I'm halfway there.

A mouse is living with us. He is storing food all over the place. I found cat food in my luggage, cherry pits behind our bread box, peanut shells in a box that holds my cutting boards, and today Gerry found some hidden coffee beans, best yet. A mouse on caffeine. Yikes! It built the sweetest little nest in a drawer of family video tapes from yarn I guess it found up with my loom. Hazel, I think this is the yarn you spun.

We put in a small garden just after we moved in to our new place, just because raised beds were there and the whole point of moving was to have a garden. It was late June, but we are harvesting beautiful cucumbers, tons of tomatoes are coming in, peppers and various herbs. We have some okra and potatoes, figs and scuppernongs are ripening.... its a small effort, but worthwhile.

We have rose bushes that I gave up to the Japanese beetles. I pick off what I can but its just scratching the surface, they are relentless and I hate them. At first I wore gloves and timidly dropped them in a bucket of soapy water. Now I call the chickens, I pluck them off with bare hands and drop them in the mouths of my hungry girls. My poor monk friends would shudder.

My truck is serving me well. It is packed with tools and banners and new slat wall hooks, shelves, signs and luggage, a cooler, computer, camera, what a caravan.

I actually got a day to go out with a friend and treated myself to a fun new cuff made of some sort of animal fur and a silver cross. It sort of represents everything this company I work for is not. Today the manger at one store asked who I was voting for. He squirmed when I said Hillary, I squirmed when he said Trump. He is a super nice guy, one of my favorites to work with..... but Trump?
Oh God, help us!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Did you throw up a little bit?

I adore Michele Obama. Did you see her carpool karaoke singing Single Ladies? Can she please be president?

Did you watch the convention speeches this week? Are you scared like me? Did you throw up a little bit? 

Does Ted Cruz remind you of the munckins in Wizard of Oz?

Can North Carolin please stop trying to win the award for most idiotic state? 

Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill Thursday that would prohibit sex offenders who have been identified as threats to minors from places like arcades, parks, libraries and the State Fairgrounds during the fair. It takes effect in September.

One million people visited the state fair in 2015. Can you tell me how they will keep out the sex offenders come September?

Can someone tell me when our country filled up with the dumbest fuckers on the planet?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Video release

The music video Wesley and Lazarus have been working on in California was released today. It has taken them months to get this shot, edited, produced and then finally getting the record company to release it. It was shot around Santa Rosa and San Francisco, really beautiful
I am proud.....

Here's a link

Friday, July 8, 2016

There's not always a worm in the corn....

I got my big bad company truck this week! It only took them four months to get it to me, but better late than never. Its really fun to drive, handles well and nobody rides up my ass anymore out on I-40. what a relief to be the ass rider for once!  I guess I might be a borderline redneck, but only in the good ways, I love driving this truck, I love Budweiser beer, I love country music and I can totally relate to these good old boys I'm working with.... maybe I'm just a chameleon haha! Craziest job I have ever had, that's for damn sure!

The weather is pretty crazy now too. I have been on the road all week and running from these evening storms. Sometimes I win, sometimes they win. The storm won last night. I was between Kinston and Goldsboro, crossing some farmland when a big bad storm came up out of nowhere. It was the first time I have ever seen 18 wheelers literally stop in the middle of the road. There was a brown dust cloud blowing off the farm across the road, mixed with hurricane force winds and rain and my heart was a thumping in my ears!

I thought it might be a tornado but it didn't have that sound a tornado has. Ive been in a tornado so I know what it sounds like, trust me.... it was a scary scary storm. I sat there with my seatbelt on wondering if my truck was going to flip over. At least its a big bad truck, so I felt pretty safe. Sat there and ate, checked emails, pondered the ending of my life..... this was the storm I ran from tonight, I won.

The banners I designed are in and I have spent the week sorting them and getting them distributed to stores. The stores I trust to put them up got theirs by truck, the stores I just like to go visit or don't trust to do it my picky way, got a personal install by me. By the end of July, I will have 20 stores complete with new resets. It has been a journey my friends......

Yesterday in New Bern, the gauge in my truck said 107 degrees when I got in it after working in the store all day.  I feel like my contacts are melting in my eyeballs when I walk outside and my hair and clothing is just in a constant state of damp. It's hot ya'll. The poor people that move here from up north to get away from those cold winters. I just have to laugh. They had no idea what summer in the south was gonna be like!

But this is what summer in the south is really like. Sweet summer corn. I stopped for lunch today and there was a farm stand in front of this corn field. A very old African American man was driving up to the stand on his tractor with a load of corn on the trailer he was pulling. I wish I had a photo, but I just stood there taking in the Dorthea Lange moment of it.  What a sight to behold. God I love the south! Got me some corn, he said to put the silk end in first so my bag wouldn't tear, smart....  then I got some cantaloupe that smelled like a perfume God might make, some tomatoes and drove happily home with the smell of summer in my 107 degree heated car.  Turned on the radio and got ready to race the storms. I got home early and the storm hit just after I had a tomato sandwich for supper.

So anyway, about that worm in the corn metaphor. As most of you are aware, I'm sure, NPR only talked about the events of this week, the shootings, the waste of life, the continuing decay of a society obsessed with violence and race..... I listened to as much as I could stand, and then turned it off.

And then...... this gentle black man brought corn up on his tractor....

and then.... I was in a store and overheard a conversation three young teen African American girls were having. It went something like this: "I think we all just ought to get along and care for each other, and stop all this shooting, the Bible says we should love each other and Jesus loved everyone".  and then they smiled at me and said hello.......

and then I went in a convenience store and the African American woman at the register smiled at me and asked me to "Have a blessed day"......

and then I saw a highway patrol officer on the side of the road in his ridiculous hot uniform, on his knees helping a guy change a flat on his boat trailer...... and then as I pumped gas another police officer pulled up at the tank beside me, got out and smiled and said hello.  (Of course, I'm a white girl, but still, he was nice.)

Every encounter I had with "people of color"  and police officers was a pleasant and kind moment today. We didn't want to kill each other, we didn't hate each other, we just recognized we were human and treated each other as we would like to be treated. It was a relief to have these moments when so many are in pain today and not feeling that kindly towards each other. I feel like I did have a blessed day and I thank that beautiful black woman that smiled and asked me to have one!  There's not always a worm in the corn
peace y'all

Monday, July 4, 2016


Losing freedom more and more each day......

Practicing touch and goes at Seymour Johnson Airforce base, pretty spectacular to sit and watch these guys. Happy Independence Day, lets hope it will mean something again one day.....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

.....and then she flew away

A couple of years ago for Mother's Day, Gerry surprised me with these crazy chickens. They have become our constant source of entertainment and they are fitting in nicely here at our new place. They have started following Gerry everywhere he goes, and if he calls them, "come on girls", they come running. Who would have ever thought chickens could be so great.

This year for Fathers Day, I got Gerry two blueberry bushes, and I flew Wesley home from California as a surprise! She could only stay the week but it was a great week. Much too short a visit, but we squeezed a lot in. We went to a local garden store and bought a bunch of flowers for planting, since she has this new love for plants. She went one day and helped me reset a store, since I still had to work some this week. We cooked great meals, watched TV at night, ate popcorn, talked, laughed, cried, she visited her mentor/teacher at her old high school. Her mind is full and many decisions will probably be made in the coming months. She left with promises to be back soon, and I believe she just might be.

We continue to unpack, repair, build shelves, plant, garden, explore, and discover here in our new home. We were so happy to share our new place with Wesley and she will always have a home here with us if she needs/wants it.

We took her out for breakfast this morning and then said goodbye at the airport. Always the hardest thing, but at least I have stopped crying every time she leaves! I don't have a lot of photos, I tried to refrain from pointing the camera at her constantly. Poor girl, thats how she grew up.

I am in awe of my child. She has fears and anxiety, she is seeking her path, but she moves on bravely and with strength in her heart. Some days her face is so full of her doubts, but it still shines so bright. I hope her journey though this life will be easier as she finds herself and finds the thing that will fit with her many talents.  My brave beautiful girl..... I do love that child!