every time I don’t, I almost do

I secretly love when gas station bathrooms have grandma curtains

the shop smells a little less commercial, more residential

mothballs and hand cream

18 wheelers parked out back on the gravel, men sleeping in the lot

you have to figure out how to work the pump

once, it took me and two of my younger cousins to figure out how to make it work–how many rednecks does it take to pump gas, was the joke

but there’s something really soothing about passing by all the porch lamp, wood pile, see the TV through the front windows, barbecue grill smoking, kids throwing a ball around, grass needs cutting kind of moving pictures

I get attached to churches and cemeteries and hand painted signs

scrap art in the field, cartoon characters made out of old vehicle parts and some kind of silo roof thing

windmills

one Christmas, I drove two hours to go to Fred’s just like the one down the highway from my house…

one roll of wrapping paper and used the bathroom

giant bottle of dollar store water in the next town

economy bag of generic popped corn in the next

factory smoke high and tall over the hills

brush burning

singing with the radio

talking to Jesus

making up stories

I know all of the places for water and restrooms

I know all of the funny town names

river bridges

Little white house with the broken fence next to the farm supply is Ronnie Milsap

prison on the hill was Johnny Cash and I laughed because, well, it was funny

buy two save a half dollar Dr. Pepper with the mural on the brick wall outside

big, tall cowboy got out of the itty bitty sunshine yellow Beetle and I laughed because, well, it was funny

he held the door for me because…that’s what people do

I got into the car smiling

“Hey, how are you?”

I never know what to say

“Great, thanks. How are you?”

They look a little confused if you wait for the answer

“I don’t eat gas station oysters anymore”, I once heard my brother say

my jaw hit the linoleum

jaw and jowls confuse me

maybe it’s an accent thing

WHO EATS OYSTERS FROM A GAS STATION?

I never thought to eat food from a gas station, for whatever reason…

and then one day we were in Linden and I was sitting in the backseat reading my newspaper and here comes my husband back to the car from inside with a huge piece of pizza and some kinda donut-shaped pie thing, hugest grin ever on his face, ear to ear

If I ate one bite of either of those things, I would instantly toss my cookies

my aunt once told me, her teacher once told her, “Don’t ever eat in the car, while driving.” I think she found it unladylike

the things we remember

and the things we don’t wanna forget

 

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snapshot from Sunday

10 years of my life. Attempt. Attempt. Attempt. Attempt. This is a recording. 😉

Had to move this mountain to clean the floor in the spare bedroom. These are each unique proof copies of books from long, long ago, I never did anything with. And I thought it was all of them, but it’s not.

“And you say you never do anything,” my husband said.

I guess it feels like, when they’re all sitting on the floor in a spare room, all that time and energy is pretty much nothing. I keep telling myself one day I’ll have grandchildren who will find them in a box long after I’m gone and be like, “Cool, Grandma was crazy!” hahahaha The promise of the prospect makes it all worth it. 😉

Still no poem and it’s the end of the weekend. Maybe next week. 😉

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the bleeding

there’s a distant sorta ‘I’m still sleepy even though I been up for 6 hours’ kinda look on the faces of four or five generations in photos

I’m here but just barely

eyes sort of lazy, floating around

hair a mess

few pounds too many

I’m getting by

getting by

and I ache because I know I’m just as guilty as the first one

zoning out, just existing

getting by

we’re not supposed to just get by

but we’re grateful to do so

done with one and on to the next

 

they start with the booze at about 12

it’s funny

and it’s for now

until it’s routine

and it’s a vehicle

and it’s a one-car crash into a brick wall

the bricks are made from crushed and condensed too-late-Saturday-night and income tax times and ‘if I can just make it to pay day’

the dentist

and groceries

and how overdue can the car be before they actually pick it up and take it away?

how many times do we have to have this conversation over the course of 20 years before someone finally calls a spade a spade?

resistance is rueful

 

I can’t look at old pictures

I see the girl in baggy clothes

bad dye job

acne

overweight

sitting in a crowded room, smiling, laughing, joking

miserable

sad

in so much pain

suffering

help!

help me!

please.

knows how to please everyone except herself

she won at life and she’s still losing because yesterday’s unwanted visitors keep hanging around the house, even when its empty and there’s nothing to do but pace or sit on the spare bedroom floor until that becomes boring so she gets up and moves to the other bedroom floor, shuts the door, home alone, knees tucked up, just staring

half the time she’s still waiting for the monster to plow through the door and start wailing on her

she sobbed the first time someone called her a ‘bitch’, completely and totally heartbroken

 

help me help you so we can both stop drowning

I can’t help you because I’m the drowning anchor

cliche

drowning trying to save you

I cannot save myself

 

every time I see a pretty smile plastered over the mouth of a sad-eyed person,

I start spitting out cheesy knock-knock jokes and antidotes

relentlessly

begging

another cliche

the cute clown

court jester

I promise to say the right thing if you promise to say anything

please don’t be sad

at least not in quiet

be sad out loud

I promise I won’t ask you to not to

I’ll be sad with you if I have to

just don’t do it in quiet

 

you can not make me stop knowing what I know

 

5 in the morning and the roof still needs fixing

I hate the water stains

and the buckets and pots

and reminder that there’s something else in line to be done

nagging

at least a dozen times in two years I’ve sat in a chair in the dark, listening to the drip hit the bucket, thinking, the first time it rains after we finally get that thing fixed, I’ll break down and sob

 

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Back to Z

And since this feels like a  4-post day…

I’ve finished my season of “Z…the beginning of everything” <<—-lowercase because lowercase feels appropriate. First off, I would like to say, over the course of several episodes, Mrs. Fitzgerald grew on me. Not in a fungus, mold, mildew sort of way. I feel like I get her, is what I mean. Her husband, though, not so much–is it just me or was he a real delicate sort of control freaky manchild? (Sorry, not my best material. I’m sleepy. ) Point is, I like her. I knew I would if I just tried a bit harder. I knew it.

My internet research tells me Zelda died in a fire at a mental hospital where she was receiving electroshock therapy. What a tragic and curious way to go. I added ‘curious’ there because I really wanted to feel like the way she died was more than just sad and ‘curious’ kind of did the trick for me, in the moment.  I probably should have made that a parenthetical expression. <—-that too.

I’m sorry, I’m lazy…and as I mentioned before, tired too.

Promised my friend Russel I would try to write a poem soon, so if I do, I’ll post that here this weekend. Actually, I promised my friend Russel I would do this months ago and I just keep putting him off because I don’t feel very whimsical and fancy. Russel, if you’re reading this, can we pretend this never happened? 🙂

Til Next Time 🙂

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NoChips Earns her Name

Ever open a bag of chips and look in and there’s exactly two whole chips and one broken one and the rest of the bag is empty, and you can’t even be mad because it’s just so ridiculously funny, so you double of laughing like a mad woman, in traffic, brakes squealing, exhaust swirling, speakers booming, peopling gawking until they double-check their door locks and go back to staring straight ahead, stiff posture, eyes wide?

Me either.

Just asking.

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Our Sum Total is Greater Than Our Parts

I’ve been studying up on Zelda Fitzgerald for about a week now. I’m watching “Z, the Beginning of Everything” on Amazon. Yesterday, I started listening to Zelda’s book Save me the Waltz, too.

What a mess her relationship with her husband was. They were both writers, but he was supposed to be the ‘real’ one. She was the flake of a failure in Scott’s own words, ‘third-rate ballet dancer, third-rate writer’. And BTW, ouch, if that’s how your number one fan in life describes you, who needs enemies?!

Did she plagiarize his idea of plagiarizing her life? He USED HER JOURNAL for Pete’s sake! And after all those years of being his muse, she got her own book published and he couldn’t even be happy for her? Why couldn’t he just let her have her book? Warts and all, at least it was a success in her own right. The reviews from the critics were harsh, but something tells me if just her own husband would have been happy for her…

Index card notes, so far? She spent too much money. They were both vain and messy. Partied to the point of destruction. Caused mayhem everyplace they went. Had affairs and then possibly made up affairs for conflict and drama. Oh, and Zelda hated Hemingway because she was dead-set he was homosexual and having a secret affair with her husband. :O

I’m 6 episodes in with the TV series. One entire paperback. Half of an audiobook. And through with the planning of a visit to the museum in Montgomery…and I still can’t decide if these ridiculous people are worthy of my attention or not. What a mess. 🙂

 

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for air

Suffice to say, I’m all-too-pleased to share that this week, after the longest, dullest period of suffering from TMRS (too much reality syndrome), I’ve finally found my way back to fairyland. Writing new stuff for the first time in ages and I’m doing so in a way that I haven’t been able to in years. Excited. So please forgive the fade in to mostly radio silence for a bit. I’ll be back up for air soon.

Hugs, High-Fives, and Cookies. 😉

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fixer

I fought with a screw for ten minutes before I realized the drill wasn’t in reverse.Not the first time. Won’t be the last. 😉

My pawpaw used to let me help him take old junk apart for scrap. One afternoon, in particular, I remember like a picture-perfect postcard.

I squinted down with wobbly noodle arms, parked the bit just about in place and squeezed the trigger for dear life. He had the mild heartburn expression thing going on.  “Don’t strip the–” Too late.

Hey, in my defense, if you know I can’t handle and harness all the power of the power tool, why pass it to me in the first place? Huh? 😉

Sidebar, if you’ve never been a homeowner and you’re thinking about making your first home out of a foreclosure that’s been sitting empty for quite a few years and ‘oh how fun, we’ll make it pretty’, just settle in for a rest-of-your-life kinda project. It ain’t pretty and it keeps you busy…and sometimes it seems like there’s never any real progress. But back to the ‘it keeps you busy’ part.

I was working on my painting this afternoon, thinking about just how much I hate painting walls and just how much of my adult life I’ve spent doing just that sort of thing. I like doing around the house things, really. Cleaning. Patching up. I even got my own little tool bag so I don’t have to use my husband’s.

As corny as it sounds, for all of the complaining I’ve done over the years, about this dumpy place and trashy neighborhood, I’m grateful to my core for it. Besides all that roof over my head, keeps me warm, a place of my own stuff, taking care of this place has kept me busy and focused when otherwise, I might have had enough free time to become bored. I am of the understanding that bored people sometimes do destructive things. Who am I kidding? Bored people exasperate me–but that’s a whole other post.

My point? I don’t have one.

For the record, though, I would like to say (I have found)  sometimes the best medicine for what ails (depending of course on the affliction)  a person is to just find something helpful and useful to do and simply do it, as best you can. Work your way out of a funk. Work your way out of your head. Work your way out of your own way. Work your way out of the past and into the future. Just work…toward something better and nicer and…something.

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the blade

painting my living room at 3 in the morning

perhaps the cold medicine worked too well

Bree was my favorite Desperate Housewife

she was prim and proper and so completely composed that even when she lost her mind she did so with a certain sort of poise and grace, calmly coming undone, politely telling someone to go fly a kite, ranting and raving about what an ungrateful brat Freud must have been toward his own mother, while she sewed her marriage counselor’s button back on his jacket–when she was done, the therapist looked a bit uneasy and mentioned that some of Freud’s findings had been proven somewhat faulty

 it’s hard not to love someone when her biggest flaw is that she cares and loves, sometimes, a bit too much

sad that when we’re children there’s no such thing as too nice to each other, but as adults, the second we’re overly warm or friendly, no matter if for the purest of all reasons, other people scramble to make something twisted, ugly, or perverted out of it

no matter

I do it anyway

I won’t live a life plagued by ulterior motives and paranoia

a few months back, I was on the phone with my younger cousin

20ish now

she was always full of giggles and big ideas

when she was a toddler, she couldn’t say my name and somehow Nicole became N.E. Code.

It was precious

she is grown up and we are not as close anymore

we were texting

I’m sad for no reason, she said

it has been my experience that there’s always a reason whether you know what it is or not…sometimes we decide it is ‘no reason’ when really, we know the reason but we also know that the reason isn’t reason enough for other people to accept it

I’m not Dr. Phil

I just think, to kill the time

I love you, she said

I think about this conversation now and then

about when she was too little to pronounce my name

about one time when she was 10 and she thought I was mad at her and she actually cried because of it and then I cried because I felt like I had broken her little heart, even on accident

girls are kind of silly in the way that we care too much sometimes, I think, but I would rather care too much than too little, I have decided

I was painting the living room earlier and I thought about her and our text conversation

it was good enough because it ended on an ‘I love you’

and I sometimes think about one day when she gets the call or text or reads the newspaper obit. that says that I’m gone, when she scales back through her memories of me and of our conversations, will she remember that one especially, the one which ended in ‘I love you’

I hope so

I hope she remembers I love her and that she mentioned she was in some sort of pain and that I told her to call or message me anytime if she wanted to talk and that I did not make light of or question whether or not her pain was legit–I say this because I hope she surrounds herself with people who say things like ‘i love you’ and ‘i care that you’re sad’ and that they mean it

she deserves that

I’m sad to say it feels odd to say, but I want to say that all people deserve that

 I guess it’s weird to just love people by default

but it feels so much easier than the alternative

and when did it become so okay to flip someone the preverbal bird and laugh at their struggle, suck it up, grow up, blah blah blah and pass the clicker?!

when I worked at Sonic, back when they played old school music, there was this song, Peter & Gordon, my friend Nicki, a college student and go-go dancer would walk around blissfully singing…

I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without love

so random but so entertaining

and to this day, that’s the only line (of the song) I even know

here endeth the sermon, for now

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don’t happen twice

I sat on the floor of my little box of a childhood bedroom writing stories and listening to the same Kenny Chesney album on repeat for a month of July Sundays. Sticky-hot. Noise outside. Slamming doors. Ink-peppered fingers.

I knew every word to every single song. Each one told its own story. They played out in my head while I made up my tales.

A couple of years later, I got to go to the concert. Big deal? HUGE deal.

Speakers the size of buildings thumping. Giant air-filled balls bouncing in the air, off fingertips and heads. Flashing lights. Thousands of people, swaying, screaming, singing every word.

My ears were ringing the next day. I felt the speaker vibrations in my toes and fingers. Cigarette smoke. Parking lot bootleg souvenir T-shirt. Too overwhelmingly life-altering to describe.

I hate concerts. Too many people in too-close proximity. A headache. Too expensive. Parking lot traffic jam. Drunk people. Next day hoarse voice. You have to drive way too far to get to the venue…

But the memory, what it was like, going from sitting in my little bedroom all alone with that CD to being at the amphitheater packed full with blissfully excited, alike-in-at-least-one-way people. Hearing all my favorite songs, live and in-person. Every single lyric amplified. Was awesome. Is forever.

#kennychesney #donthappentwice #nowplaying

#kennychesney #thatswhyimhere #nowplaying

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