Thursday, March 29, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

My muse had her tonsils removed a couple of weeks ago. She's milking it for all she's worth and refuses to come back to work yet. Oh well, her sick leave will run out soon.

Until then...

Monday, March 26, 2007

You wanna know what I love?

I love and adore the Geico commercial with the caveman in the airport. You know the one - he's on the moving sidewalk, listening to the muzak and he sees the billboard out of the corner of his eye.

I love that commercial so much, it's embarrassing.

And my favorite part? That damn tennis racket.

Cracks. me. up.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I don't even like Steven Seagal.

Last night I wandered into the living room. Jackson was watching TV.

"Whatcha watchin'?"
"Rent and the Weather Channel."
"At the same time?! I'd really like to see Rent, but preferably in its entirity."
"Ok." He switched the channel to CSI-New York. "Let's watch this and you can live vicariously through them and pretend you're an FBI agent."
"Why the heck would I wanna do that?"
"Ok, fine. You can live vicariously through Steven Seagal, then."
"Steven Seagal?? What the hell!?"
"Well," he said, then switched into his best Hannibal Lector impersonation. "How about Clarisssse?"

At that point, I got up and left. He went back to watching whatever he wanted.

Which was probably exactly what he had in mind.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday

...and I've nothing, really, to say.

But honestly, when has that ever stopped me?

I took some time off last week and recharged my batteries a bit. That was good. Once again I've been struck by the baseball bat of epiphany and remembered that my attitude is what shapes my reality. Therefore I went back at work with a bit of renewed attitude today.

They hired a new secretary last week while I was away. She hasn't started yet, but I'm excited about it. We never have any 'new blood' here. No one ever leaves. Occasionally they die, or retire or even get arrested, but no one never just quits to take another job elsewhere. Our rookie officer has been here for five years. This is really good, because it means we generally all get along. It can also be really stifling because we all know every tiny little detail of our co-workers lives and we act like a big disfunctional family at times. There is a lot of the 'boarding house reach' here and occasionally someone takes an elbow to the nose. So, it will be nice to have a new face and a new perspective.

Someday I'll tell you about who died and who got arrested. Those are good stories.

Jackson is convinced I have some form of raging tuberculosis. He's already planning how to spend the life insurance money. I am clinging to life just to spite him. And the cough is getting better.

Rose returned a couple of books today that I loaned her months ago. I had totally completely forgotten about them. Which is way weird, because I am a complete nazi about loaning books. Surely I'm not getting all mellow about this. Strange...

Its beginning to feel like spring here. The trees are budding. My damn daffodils have managed to survive long enough to have some decent blooms. (I really hate those flowers.) And the tulips have grown enough that they aren't of interest to the rabbits. I need to get out the seed catalogue tonight and place my order. Gonna try to grow some peanuts this year. Just for laughs.

That's what I know. What do you know?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Harley Davidson meets Rolls Royce*

This is my all-time favorite cemetery angel, so far. My friend C.Wright found this in Palestine. Palestine, Texas. When I made a pilgrimage to her place last month, this was one of the cemeteries on my list that I was dying to visit.
I don't know who the sculptor is. His/her signature is engraved on the teal-colored base of the statue. I couldn't read it and wasn't able to get a good photo of it in the fading light. The statue doesn't mark any single grave and there is no plaque giving credit for its placement to the Order of the Eastern Star or The Ali-Babba Temple of the Shrine. It's just there.

At the edge of the cemetery, at the end of a star shaped sidewalk (don't ask - its hard to explain and even harder to photograph) which leads to the statue, there is this stone:

Art for art's sake. We could use more of that.

Thanks to Miss Kitty for the title this week. She captured the exact feel of this rusting chrome angel.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Grandmother's Send Off

We had my grandmother's funeral today. She was a cool grandmother who'd lived a long life. A couple of weeks ago she decided she was tired of being here.

So she died.

And that's ok.

My mother and uncle chose to have a graveside service. Early in the morning we gathered around the open grave, huddled together in the rain and mist, singing Amazing Grace a capella.

That's my idea of a good funeral. It was a scene to make Edward Gorey proud.

I learned a couple of things from this particular funeral experience. The first thing I've come to accept is that I have become a social hugger. I'm not proud of that fact, but that makes it no less true.

I am not a touchy-feely person. Its just not my thing.

But this is the the south, and I'm a woman and certain things are just expected. Over the years I've given up on trying to avoid the contact while avoiding hurting someone's feelings. Now I tend to initiate it to try and get it over with. Especially at funerals.

Sunday afternoon we had a big ol' hug-fest at the funeral home, while the family received visitors. I thought I was prepared. I had my fake huggy-smile all cued up and ready to go. While this was certainly a somber occasion, it was not unexpected and not at all angst-filled or wretched. Unfortunately, the first person to see me when I came in the door was Aunt Louise.

Now, y'all all have an Aunt Louise. I know you do. Aunt Louise has a penchant for TV preachers and Eva Gabor wigs. She's as tall as I am and pretty thin and spry. And she is a hugger deee-lux.

I saw her coming and was ready to go with a quick, mid-stride side hug. Its a good opening gambit and a way to breeze through the feely formalities while not lingering with someone who tends to count the hooks in your bra.

I seriously underestimated Aunt Louise. She was in full tragedy mode.

She snuck in under my outstretched arm and grabbed me by the armpits, throwing me into her chest. I had to break stride to keep from falling on top of her. She bear hugged me so hard I gasped out loud and the reflexive inhale caused me to choke on my cough drop. She interpreted my subdued gagging as proof of my emotional upheaval and she hung on for dear life.

I managed to catch my breath and gave her a friendly end-of-hug pat on the back. Then I stepped back.

She stepped with me as if we'd been doing the tango together for years. She was saying something about how tragic all of this was and how she knew I'd miss my grandmother and whatever would we do without her beatific presence in our sordid lives.

I knew it wasn't worth it to explain that although I will certainly miss the person my grandmother was, she was ready to go and the greater tragedy by far would have been for her to have been confined to a bed in a nursing home for any length of time. I just smiled and nodded.

Of course she couldn't see me smile because her chin was still digging into my shoulder and her wig was getting in my teeth.

She finally released the bear hug, but clung to my arm and directed me around the room to the rest of the mourners. Thankfully, most of them were satisfied with a handshake.

I may have to rethink my social hugger strategy. Maybe it would be easier if I contracted leprosy.

Now, that is not really the story I intended to tell you.

I really wanted to tell you about English Pea Salad.

My family and I have always been connoisseurs of funeral food. In small towns out here, the preacher is always expected to eat with the family when there is a funeral meal. And there is always a funeral meal. In the small towns I grew up in, the population was aging rapidly and it was not at all uncommon for us to have two and three funerals a week. The only way my brother and I got lunch was by partaking with the mourners, too.

There are some certainties to southern funeral food. There are only three dignified meat choices: Fried Chicken, Ham and Roast. BBQ is fine for a wedding or a revival meeting or at a booster club fundraiser before the football game, but its generally considered bad form at a funeral meal. All funerals have at least two of those meat choices and any really good send-off will have all three.

There is always one lady in the church who is unofficially designated to bring deviled eggs. She is generally the one who received one of those deviled egg platters as a wedding gift back in '52.

There will be a prodigious amount of mashed potatoes, yet this will always be the first dish to run out.

Hot rolls reign supreme. Some of the more hoity-toity churches have women who will make them from scratch. The down-home congregations use brown-n-serve.

Then there are the side dishes. There are two side dishes that are present at each and every memorial meal. English Pea Salad and Carrot and Raisin Salad. Evidently, no one but a godless communist would consent to be buried without their family partaking of these death salads. They are an ever-present harbinger of loss, feeder of grief, and satiate to those who remain.

I've been espousing the merits and short-comings of funeral food for years. My friends have smiling put up with my exhaustive diatribes on the subject. I even like to go through the line at Furr's cafeteria and tell the server I want some 'funeral salad' to see which one they pick.

At Grandmother's funeral, I was reminded that I have some really good friends. C. Wright lives way out on the other side of the state. When she heard that my grandmother died, she immediately contacted DW, another good friend who put up with me as her office jester for the four years while I was in college.

I didn't see DW until we were about to eat. She snuck up beside me with a big grin on her face.

"C.Wright told me your grandmother died. We got together and made sure you had enough salads."

Sure enough, when it was my turn to wind my way down the pot-luck table, I saw their two dishes sitting side by side - Carrot and Raisin Salad and English Pea Salad.

We got our burying done right.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Ok, so its only Thursday. But I couldn't wait.

Be sure to turn the music on when the titles start.