Friday, April 29, 2005

Eat Yer Heart Out, Architectural Digest!

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Annie asked about the coffin in my living room. The picture is not that great, but you get the idea. I bought this at a garage sale last year. An elderly couple was getting rid of years of accumulated stuff and decided this had to go. Their son built it and left it in their garage, where it sat for several years. They couldn't really remember why he built it.

The wife was overjoyed to sell it. Especially since her husband had told her no one in their right mind would want to buy a coffin at a garage sale. She grinned when she said that. She realized he might still be right.

Jackson and I loaded it up and took it home. I laid it down and used it as a plant stand in my living room jungle. But I tended to bang my shin into it, so I stood it up in the corner, more out of the way.

You can't tell it in this photo, but it blends pretty well with the bookcase next to it. In fact, most people who just drop by for a few minutes don't even notice it. Or if they do, they are afraid to say anything. This past Christmas I swore there had to be a better way to store the tree than what I was using - an old bicycle box in the closet. I tried the coffin, and sure enough, the it worked great.

Sometimes, you just have to think outside the box. (Saw that coming, didn't you?)

Friday, April 22, 2005

How did they know?

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Divine Hand Grenade of Mild Debate. What's yours?

100 Things, IV

76. My garden is made up of all the ingredients for good salsa, plus black-eyed peas.
77. My favorite sandwich is left over roast, mashed potatoes and blackeyed peas smushed in between two slices of bread with lots of Miracle Whip.
78. My husband and I have birthdays that are only 2 days apart. One year he told me he had a surprise planned. Even though I was deathly ill - coughing, hacking, barely able to stand - he drug me off to the 'rasslin' matches. I was the only one in the arena sitting down. The poor kid next to me kept trying to get away as I was obviously spewing typhoid. You still owe me for not divorcing you for that, Jackson!
79. I like to fish.
80. I never catch anything. Ever. In fact, this weekend I am going fishing and not even taking a pole. This will no doubt lessen the probability that I will catch fish. But not a lot.
81. I enjoy home tours. Especially if we can leave little glow-in-the-dark Madonnas behind at each stop.
82. I love people-watching.
83. I really like going to Jr. High and High School student art shows.
84. I am a Baptist who prefers Catholic services. Jackson is a Catholic who prefers Baptist services.
85. I may live in Texas, but I despise most country music. Especially anything recorded more recently than the 1980s. Willie Nelson doesn't count. He can do no wrong. Which reminds me, if you don't own
this album, buy it NOW!
86. I am a preacher's kid, but I've never been arrested. Or drunk.
87. I don't understand the connection between Chuck Mangione and King of the Hill.
88. I am a Chicken Fried Steak connoisseur.
89. My back, hair and hat appear briefly in the movie
Leap of Faith.
90. Cemeteries are funny places.
91. I watch a lot of cooking shows, even though I never cook. Emeril is a doofus.
92. I used to be a rule-follower. The older I get, the more I demand explanation and proof from authority figures.
93. I love thrift stores.

94. I was once investigated by the Texas Rangers. (Nothing too exciting. One of my sex offenders got ticked off at me and complained that I had violated his civil rights. He went to prison. The sex offender, not the Ranger.)
95. I still subscribe to Wonder Woman comic books. I have them sent to my office. They come in the proverbial plain brown wrapper and we used to have a secretary who really wondered what I was up to. I never told her.
96. Crunchy peanut butter ONLY.
97. Once, while at the sea wall in Galveston with friends, one of them shouted "Oh My God, y'all! Come look at these rats." And I went.
98. I have a coffin in my living room. I store the Christmas tree in it.
99. My earliest childhood memory is being afraid to climb back down off of the roof. This was right after my father freaked out. He was roofing. I tapped him on the shoulder and said "Whatcha doin' daddy?"
100. I don't believe in a Rapture. If there is one, I ain't goin'.

Monday, April 18, 2005

100 Things, III

51. I prefer to drive a stick shift.
52. I have never had a traffic ticket. (Knock on wood!) This is due in large part to the fact that my truck has a lawnmower engine and just won't go that fast.
53. I love the sound of baby coyotes howling in the fields beside my house.
54. I wish I had stuck with piano lessons. Who doesn't?
55. I used to take Karate lessons. One day the instructor said, "Gasp! Wheeze! You kick like a man!"
56. I have all but two of the 88 original Perry Mason mysteries. I have two of the pastiche Perry Mason books done by another author. Those two basically suck.
57. I think panty-hose are a harbinger of the apocalypse.
58. I think most of us pasty white women don't look good in a dress without panty-hose.
59. I wear a lot of pants.
60. I love pasties. Not that kind!
This kind.
61. I almost never read articles in magazines. I flip through and look at the pictures. Dunno why.
62. I have a compost heap. I found an almost white frog in it last night. I guess he had lived inside the heap his whole life and never been exposed to the sun.
63. I love small town festivals.
64. I have an open marriage. Jackson and I have agreed that he can leave me at anytime for Sandra Bullock. I can leave him for Johnny Depp. No hard feelings, either way. (He wants to add Racheal Ray to the list. I just don't think that is fair unless I can include Alan Rickman.)
65. I love old-time radio programs. Especially
The Shadow. Thanks to the internet I have hundreds of them to lull me to sleep at night. I never know whodunit because I always fall asleep.
66. I try to spend some time drawing in my sketch book every day at lunch.
The Avengers is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.
68. My
Dashboard Jesus has developed a squeak. Now when I idle at the stoplight, I feel like Flipper is trying to tell me the third secret of Fatima.
Nudge, nudge.
70. Sorry 'bout Number Sixty-Nine. Running low on ideas!
71. I hate eggs unless they have picante sauce on them. Ketchup will do in a pinch.
72. I learned to like Brussels Sprouts when I realized they were just little Darth Vader heads. Death to the Empire! Munch, munch, munch!
73. Calla lilies are my favorite flower. They are very Art Deco, and
74. I love Art Deco.

75. Finally, number 75! Only 25 more to go!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Cora's Big Adventure

This vacant wooded lot in Athens, Texas reeks of adventure. It is dark and mysterious - surrounded by a low rock wall. I don't know much about it, except that it was once owned by the minister of the First Baptist Church.

The trees are beautiful. Especially the dogwoods. The blossoms seem to float in the air.

The only structure in these acres is this enclosure. it sits in the middle of the woods and marks the gravesite of the minister and his wife. It was erected in 1934.

This is the Reverend and his Lovely Bride. She died 10 years before he did. He was a wealthy man, according to local lore, and was no doubt courted by many blue-haired ladies with casseroles.

The Reverend Fuller. He fought the good fight, etc. etc. He died in 1944 and was 25 years the pastor of First Baptist Church.

This is Mrs. Fuller. She was the long time (long suffering) organist for the church. Her epitath is "She hath done what she could." Geeze!! How horrible is that?

This bench is constructed from the same stone as the enclosure and the wall. It sits a few feet from the graves. You can sit here and wonder at the greatness of God. Or Reverend Fuller. Whichever.

As I walked past the bench, I saw these keys on the ground. They had obviously been left there only days or hours before.

A little further down the path we saw this blanket in a tree. Hmmm....

We went back to the bench and began to scrounge around. Found a comb...

And her lipstick. By this time I was laughing too hard to properly focus the camera.

The piece de resistance: A yellow silk and lace thong. It too was lying in the immediate vicinity of the bench.

I couldn't resist. I left Cora's keys on the bench, with a note...

Dearest Cora,
Mine eyes hath seen they glory. Thy sins will find thee out. I pray thou change thine wayward ways.
- Reverend Fuller
Posted by Hello

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Annie Oddflower for showing me how to do this!

Friday, April 15, 2005

100 Things, II

26. I love and adore all things Edward Gorey.
27. I would really like to be goth, but I am too old and not nearly skinny enough. Plus, most of the music really grates on my nerves. But other than that, I am there!
28. Jackson and I love to go browse through
Hot Topic. The sales staff always seems to think we are narcs.
29. I am voting for
Kinky Friedman for governor next year. Of course I am. (No big surprise there. Even the Republicans are willing to vote for a yellow dog over Governor Good Hair.)
30. I wanna be
Molly Ivins when I grow up.
31. As responsible parents, Jackson and I provided Katie's first drug experience. We bought a mexican blanket at a garage sale. The seller was one of my probationers. When we got in the truck with the blanket, the stench of marijuana permeated the vehicle. Three blocks later, Katie - who had just wolfed an enormous pancake breakfast - said "I'm sooooo hungry! When are we gonna eat?"
32. The thumbnail on my right hand is split vertically down the middle. Half of it is regular nail and half is papery-thin and downright unreliable. This is because my brother chopped that nail off with the post-hole diggers when I was in the seventh grade. It never grew back right. We were digging a fox hole in the back yard. He with the diggers and I with a railroad spike.
33. My parents never griped at us for the plethora of five foot deep holes that we dug around the yard. For years.
34. I really liked the movie "
Holes." I bet the book is even better!
35. I collect movie soundtracks. Two of my favorites are The Commitments and Last of the Mohicans.
36. I have a really big nose. Yet I can't sing even remotely like Barbra Streisand. What a rip off!

37. I have prehensile toes.
38. I blame all of the world's problems on dispensational premillennialists. I am not above scapegoating.
39. Dispensational premillennialist has a nice rythm to it. Its fun to say.
40. I hate the words tarpaulin and dollop. Make my skin crawl. Don't say them to me.
41. I really want a tatoo. I know what I want and where I want it. It wouldn't even bother me to have it when I get to the rest home. However, I can't stand to leave my furniture in the same spot for more than a month, so how can I live with a tatoo in the same spot for the rest of my life?
42. One of my granparents friends always calls me "Red" because of my hair. I call him "Grey".
43. Another of their friends calls me "Blondie". I call him "Baldy". My hair is somewhat schitzophrenic.
44. I hate most oil paintings. Seldom look twice at watercolor works. But I drool over paintings done with acrylics. I think this is because I always wanted to be a comic book artist.
45. I collect crappy madonnas. The virgin, not the singer. My favorite is actually a very pretty handcarved and handpainted one from Italy. Someone put a cigarette out in her eye and gave her a black eye. I call her the "Crisis Center Madonna".
46. I also collect gargoyles.
47. I am allergic to the color pink.
48. We started down a slippery slope to moral degredation and wanton violence when we quit letting kids play dodgeball in school. Every Friday kids used to beat the crap out of each other with stinging rubber balls in P.E. Some kids got hurt. Lots of kids got mad. But we all got the chance to take out our frustrations on each other. No school shootings when we played dodgeball. Nosirreebob.
49. I love to have honeybuns and Tab for breakfast.
50. Googling honeybuns is not necessarily a good idea.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

100 Things

An exercise in narcissism:

1. I ride an elevator that provides a daily opportunity to renew my faith in life after death.
2. I have a hard time drawing things in correct proportion to one another.
3. I love and adore British comedy.
4. I was the year book editor in high school. Of course I was.
5. I got married on Halloween, six years ago.
6. I hate praise choruses. They never seem to finish a thought - just keep going in circles. My philosophy is that a praise chorus is to a hymn as a greeting card is to a sonnet.
7. When I come home from work my husband has dinner ready for me. Then he does the dishes. It has given me a skewed appreciation for the 1950's lifestyle. I will sooo miss this when he goes back to work.
8. I wore a tuxedo to the high school prom.
9. I wore a tuxedo and trench coat to get my driver's license renewed once. That was a great driver's license photo!
10. I graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA.
11. I still can't do fractions.
12. I also have trouble completing my time sheet at work in any sort of an accurate fashion.
13. My toenails are purple. So is my bathroom. Not lavender, not plum, not violet. By-God-Purple.
14. I still get stage-fright and carry a pen in my hand whenever I testify in court. I found that if I wind the pen through my fingers when I raise my hand to swear to tell the truth and don't make stuff up, then my hand doesn't shake. So far no one has asked why the hell I can't leave my pen on the table - you don't need it on the witness stand.
15. I am addicted to playing The Sims. Currently playing the Sims2. I am generally a benevolent Sims god, although I sometimes enjoy going Old Testament on their soddenly little lives. Bwaaahaaahaha!
16. I flunked out of dog obedience school once. The instructor said the dog was doing fine, that it was all my fault.
17. I had the same alarm clock from junior high until just a couple of months ago. Now I have discovered the joys of clock radio. Wow! Who knew?! Waking up to NPR is so much less stressful than BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP. Generally. This morning the alarm came on just as Toccata and Fugue in D minor started. They played pretty much the whole thing. (This is one of my favorites, being SpookyRach and all.) I didn't hear any of the report that went with this and it was somewhat disconcerting at 5:40 a.m.
18. I got my hair cut. It is shorter than I intended and somewhat reminiscent of the Nancy Drew do from the 1950's. I like it.
19. I love potatoes. In any form.
20. I can sympathize with Dan Quayle. I would have so screwed up that spelling thing the same way.
21. I really, really miss Murphy Brown.
22. I was always a dog person. 'Till I married Jackson. He likes cats. I have learned that cats are zero-maintenance pets compared to dogs. I will probably always have cats. And besides, none of my Dobermans ever slept on my toes. Although I did have one that would try to sleep on my chest. I get short of breath just remembering that.
23. I love, love, love camping.
24. My friends have started a camping club. Its called the Justice Squirrels. It is way hokey, and if my parents had tried making me do something like this I would have thought they were insanely uncool. Katie the Fabulous Stepkid is either not quite old enough to catch on to how nerdy this is or is either collecting material for future therapy and screenplays.
25. I am basically a slacker at heart.

I am 1/4 of the way done. As soon as I do the other 1/2, I'll post it!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

One man's trash...

There has been much unwarrented speculation among my friends and family as to the origin of Carmelita.Posted by Hello

Carmelita came to live with me some time in the early 1990's. She has graced my walls for nearly ten years thanks to a bet, of sorts, with a friend.

Janet and I debated amongst ourselves about who knew the ugliest cemetery. My contender was the cemetery in O'Donnell, Texas. When I was a kid and family members were being planted there right and left, I remember it as a sandy, weedy, wind-swept place. It was hot. And very, very dry.

One Saturday we packed lunch (and Gerald) and set off for O'Donnell. I have to admit I was disappointed.

Somewhere through the years the home town of Hoss Cartwright had developed enough civic pride to start a cemetery association. The graveyard was clean and apparently had been watered on a fairly regular basis. There was actual green grass.

We explored a bit and found the trash pile in a back corner. I saw something sitting atop a mound of rotting flowers. It was half of a large wooden cross. It was missing its right arm, which I found further down in the pile. The cross was obviously handmade and the inscription consisted of a single word - Carmelita. The bottom of the cross was caked with oily mud from where it had been ripped from the ground and tossed away.

Janet helped me load Carmelita into the car and we brought her home. She has presided over my house ever since. I've never know her to cause any mischief, but I think that's because she likes me. And she knows if the house ever catches fire, she will be the first thing I save on my way out the door.

One of these days I am going back to the O'Donnell Cemetery. Partly to pay respects to three generations of my family buried there and partly to look for Carmelita's grave. Hopefully hers is not one of the 74 un-marked graves.

Jackson's Apple Tree

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We returned from wildflower infested East Texas to find this. Evidenly, Jackson's spindly little apple tree has decided against sterility. It didn't do a lot to help us feel better about living in a barren wasteland, but it helped some.