Friday, October 7, 2016


Days are filled with puppy love and work and family. Could there be anything more? Maybe more time for friends or vacation, or quiet walks, but mostly life is good and I am blessed. I have very little time for my blog anymore and not much new to say anyway, just puppy puppy.... work is still hard, rewarding but challenging. Gerry is chasing storms, riots....  Wesley is writing and has had a nice gig here with the Center for Documentary Studies, a good distraction and great contacts for the future. She seems happy, healthier than I have seen her in at least three years. Gerry and I love having her and puppy here and dread the day they move on to new adventures.  I cut short my remodels in South Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew and the evacuation panic, got out of there before traffic got crazy. I was heading home and Gerry was heading into the storm. Such is our life.

I lost my entire blog roll, just clicked here one day and poof it was gone. No idea why. I have no time nor the inclination to try and build it back, no idea how to get it back, so I fear I have lost touch with all the wonderful blogs I like reading. Maybe one cold snowy day, I can sit and build a new one..... but there is way more to deal with than a blog right now. One day..... Meanwhile, I'll visit those I can on instagram and email. No cable, no blog, no Facebook, no twitter, living in the dark ages! and yet, somehow I manage to survive and have intelligent thoughts from time to time!

If you know an easy way for me to get my blog roll back, I would love to hear it. I found a few somewhere in my settings, but nowhere near the list I had, bleh.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Puppy love and trying to work

We are in love with Shasta, all of us. How could you not be?! She has learned to sit, lay down, she stays for a minute, still working on that one, she sometimes stops when you say "NO" as she darts off for the chickens and chases them into the woods. She and the cat are learning mutual respect. She is mostly house broken, she lets us know at midnight, 3am and 6am that she wants to go pee.  She is the smartest dog I have ever had live with me. Wesley is doing a great job training her.

Mornings this week have found me leaving at 6am to drive to stores for resets. I have been getting home at night around 8pm.  It is so fun to walk into a house where a puppy comes running to greet you with her little tail wagging.

Shasta is an absolute distraction, none of us can get anything done for playing with this puppy. Wesley is trying to write a screenplay and is finding out what being a working mom is like. Not an easy job!

 I am a session leader at our company Vendor Show next week and I have to give a one hour presentation on merchandising. I suck at this sort of thing, I will be gagging the morning I have to show up! I get so nervous. But I am trying to put together a presentation that will not make me feel that way. I am going to do a slide show and have asked some of the managers to speak about their experiences having me in the stores. Here is  the coolest gadget I have bought in a while. It is a digital projector and a speaker. I remember the old carousel slide projectors and this is such a far cry from that. But how cool is this?! I'll just make a slideshow on my Mac, hook up the little black projector to my computer and voila. Technology is amazing....

Work continues to challenge me every day. This past week I had to do a remodel at a store where I had a very bad experience my first week. The guy on the right runs a three million dollar store, he is smart, he can be an asshole and he was one to me. In hindsight I probably deserved it, I can be an asshole too and we just got off to a bad start. He yelled at me that day and told me I was like talking to a wall. My mom often says the same thing, so maybe he was right. Anyway, I put on my adult hat and sat down for a talk with him, got the air cleared and found out he really isn't that bad. We all just need to take a minute and see the other person's point of view from time to time. He invited me and some of the other folks at the store out to lunch and it turned out to be a great remodel week. It feel so much better to have a peaceful relationship with this store rather than dreading it every time I have to go there. Being grown up has its rewards!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hello Shasta

Wesley got her puppy today. This little girl has stolen all of our hearts. Meet Shasta....
bi color Australian Shepherd. Smartest puppy I have ever seen. We are all in puppy love

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hellos and Goodbyes

Wesley is home from California to stay with us awhile. Yes I am elated to have her here. The Universe works in mysterious ways. She was planning on coming home a week later than she actually did, circumstances changed, and
fortunately her change of plan gave her time to say goodbye to her grandmother. Gerry's mom took an unexpected turn in a very short time and we all said goodbye to her on September 5. It has been a sad and very long week.

As with most funerals, we saw family and friends we seldom see. Why are we like that, we only see our loved ones at weddings and funerals.... this is Mrs. MaryNeil Hill. You will not find a finer example of southern grace anywhere, I dare you to try! I have not seen her in twenty years and this is exactly what she looked like the last time I saw her. She is the mother of Gerry's best childhood friend. She is 90! Still driving, still active and so charming.  I sat in the swing and talked with her for a very long time on the eve of Joyce's funeral. This is what I want to be like when/if I reach 90!!

Gerry's uncle Randy is the epitome of a good old southern boy. He talked about the rebel flag, the curses of Obama being president, what a good man Donald Trump is.... sigh.....  he is a great guy, but he does not hold back on his politics and his language and we all just bite our tongue and silently agree to disagree. He would do anything in the world for you. Ahhhh family....
We spent time with brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews. It was a wonderful and fitting tribute for a woman we all loved more than anything.

Speaking of family, we will be adding a new member to our house on Sunday. Wesley has been wanting a puppy for a very long time, and somehow the time seems right now. We found this adorable Australian Shepherd puppy and she will be ready to leave her mommy this coming Sunday. Can't wait to bring her home!

Gerry's dad, a Southern Baptist minister preached the funeral service. He showed us all what strength is. It was a beautiful service, he told funny stories, he talked of touching moments in their 68 years together. He was a pro. How he was able to get through the service, I will never know. But it was amazing to be there and hear him speak. It was a celebration of a life lived with joy and laughter and love.

And so we all start our lives from this point forward without Joyce Broome there to lend an ear, offer a kind word, bring laughter to our lives. I have written many times about her over the years. She was one of my dearest friends. I have not cried for her yet. Maybe I won't. I fear if I do, the tears will never stop. She leaves a very empty place inside all of us. She was super human in every way. Each grandchild believed they were her favorite. She remembered every birthday, every anniversary, every favorite toy, TV show, book, song, food. She sent care packages, she shopped for gifts for each of us all year long. She cooked fabulous meals. She mended broken hearts. She offered good advise, but only when asked. Never expressed her opinion unless asked, I never heard a negative word come out of her mouth. Even as she grew more fragile and her pain grew worse, she smiled, she lit up the world with her smile. Her grace and kindness are untouchable and even though I would give anything to be like her, it is an impossible goal. Each day, I remind myself to at least try and be more like her. I am a better person because she was in my life. I will miss her dearly, as all of us who knew her will.

I am sad for Gerry who no longer has a mother to turn to, sad for Wesley who has lost her grandmother, sad for all of us. But I am glad she no longer suffers. She had a strong belief in God, believed she would be in heaven one day. The wife of a minister, her faith gave her strength to bear any burden. The loss of a child, the life of a preacher's wife, raising four children in her early twenties. And then chronic pain that brought on the pharmaceutical hell she lived in. I am at least glad that is over for her.
Goodbye, Joyce. You leave a void that will never be filled. I miss you so much.....

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!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Home, at last

 We are slowly settling in to our new house. This past six months have been something of a blur for me. This was a hard won house, but worth every sleepless night, every tear, every angry outburst. Its our home. This is the first house I have lived in that has felt like me. Other houses we have lived in have been nice enough, but they never fit me. This one fits like an old pair of favorite jeans. Gerry and I have been a united force, battling everything that got thrown at us, and basically just holding each other up through it all. Amazingly, we never had one argument. We just fought the good fight for what we wanted.

This is my view as I pull out of the driveway. Our neighbor across the street, with their geese and their horses and a beautiful little pond.

 I found this Roy Rogers print in an antique store the other day. He was my hero growing up. I got up every Saturday morning and rode my broomstick horse into the den to watch his show, while my mom slept and my dad was who know where....  I didn't realize how connected I felt to western things until I started to unpack all my books. So many books about the west, Native Americans, ghost towns, decorating books by Mary Emmerling. I love the west, the way it used to be in the old spaghetti westerns.

 Gerry found this old wash stand in the woods, the previous owner left all this tack hanging in the barn.  I love finding treasure!

This is my new friend, my neighbor.  I can't remember her name, but she greets me every evening when I walk down the drive to get the mail.

I brought out some old friends. My barns are fitting in nicely here.

The other day, after a long day of unpacking and moving things around, I sat down in this chair in this beautiful sunlight and actually read a chapter in a book. When was the last time I did something so restful? It felt amazing, just sitting there and reading. This is the house we will retire in. One day, my days will be filled with sitting and reading. What a day that will be!

Gerry's drums have been packed away for years. We made a music room out of one of the upstairs bedrooms. Wesley's keyboard, guitars, amps, and many drums. Finally room for all of our toys!

I have my loom set up, slowly hauling crates and crates of books upstairs. Yesterday I worked on unpacking art supplies. More old friends....

The kitchen is an absolute joy to cook in. The gas stove cooks better than any I have ever had, the space is small but efficient, and I love cooking in it. We are working in the yard and house every hour that we have beyond our other work, and we stop around 8pm to grab a quick dinner, watch a little Netflix and then collapse in bed. A good kind of tired, finally.

Yesterday I washed all of our sheets and hung them on the line to dry. Is there anything better than crawling into bed at night with the smell of line dried sheets? I looked out from the back porch at the scene. Sheets blowing gently with the breeze, Gerry planting sweet peppers and blueberry bushes that I got him for Father's Day, the chickens following our new rooster around, the cat lounging on the steps, the faint sound of a horse whinny in the distance, and all was right with my world. At last.

We have a start on a garden. Gerry has worked to do some repairs on the raised beds. We got some tomato and pepper starts in the ground and planted some basil and some flowers. Nothing too ambitious, it is mid June, after all. Wait.... where did summer go so fast!?

The chickens love their new coop, perks of working for a company that sell buildings. I got a sweet deal on this one.

I need some rockers for the front porch, for days when there are no more boxes to unpack.
I realized last night as I sat out in the yard, that I am happy. I haven't been happy in a very long time. The sadness of Wesley's move to California, the stress of selling our house, trying to buy three other houses that we lost, finally finding this house, then almost losing it. Having a new, very difficult job. Its taken its toll. I suffered health problems from it all and I'm sure there was some depression there. But there was no time to wallow in it, just get up, and soldier on. This was the reward for all of it. The bright light at the end of the dark tunnel I wandered in for almost a year. This is a new beginning. This is good