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Civil War Blog

For the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, UNC is doing a blog post every day.

"The concept of Civil War Day by Day is a simple one: every day for the next four years, we will present a document that is 150 years old to the day."

You can link to it on the left under my blog list or here:

While you're reading it, listen to this song Arrowhead, by Richard Shindell

I double dog dare you not to cry. 

Bye Bye Birdie

This is the view out my office window. 
There's lots of bird action out there: doves, cardinals, common grackles (with their creepy eyes), Carolina wrens, Carolina chickadees, mockingbirds, and even blue jays.
(Here's a great birding site

My parents were big bird watchers. There they'd sit on the screened in porch, smoking and waiting for the male painted bunting, an elusive and painfully shy creature, to show his lovely painted self, consulting the bird books in the meantime. 
My father, a naturalist in a former life, always got a big kick out of the mostly grown young cardinals peeping and fluffing their feathers trying to get their parents to feed them. 

They also watched the Weather Channel constantly. "Don't know why, they never go anywhere", my brother once drolly observed.
Perhaps because of the WC, they both were [overly?] concerned with rainfall and would check the rain gauge everyday. Okay, so what...right? 
Well, they went one (or five) step further and wrote down the amount on a special calendar (smaller than a regular calendar so it fit inside the cabinet door. Keep it secret! Keep it safe!), and tallied up the monthly and yearly rainfall. 
Need to know how much rainfall north Florida had in 1995? Compared with 1994? Why yes, we have those calendars with the totals! If they had known about spreadsheets, they would have had one - with charts. 

My parents were weird and you know it. 


I Got You...

Hung out with Mom after work this afternoon.
Took her the birthday card from Aunt Trish that I kept forgetting to give her, and after several discussions about just whose birthday it was for she said, "Well, I have it now and you too Mommy."

We sat outside in a courtyard for a few minutes, enjoying the sun (keeping in mind the skin cancer) and these giant purple flowers I think were some sort of clematis.
They looked similar to this:

There were four other people enjoying the weather with us.
To our left were two woman I thought might have been sisters, but turns out they were mother and daughter. As the daughter explained how she got to be the child, ("You and Daddy married..."), the mother seemed taken aback by the whole sordid affair. "I don't think that's right, I'm your daughter!"

Mom started to pick at a piece of skin on her hand. I patted her hand to stop the picking.
Nice kitty. (Just to be silly)
"You made me a kitty?"
"Oh wow. That's a lot of harridan."
Sure is.

We strolled and sat, strolled and sat until it was time for her supper and I came home to feed those bratty harridans.


Farm Tour

This afternoon, CP, the mascots and I went on the Piedmont Farm Tour. It was a beautiful day, sky all scrubbed clean from the terrible killer weather system that rolled through yesterday (most of the people who died from that system were in NC. The Gov declared a state of emergency.).

We went to Celebrity Goat Farm, where we partook of some deviled eggs and other delights, and I bought some banana butter (like apple butter, know). I'm not a fan of goat cheese unless it's really mild, so I passed.
Then we went to some other place that was so unappealing that I've already forgotten its name, then on to Spence's farm where the mascots showed us their familiarity with a banty rooster named Henry and all the horses, having done some after school time there. Ending up at Maple View and ice cream - just like last year.

Did I take pictures of animals? No.
(Although the little donkey at Maple View was adorable)

I Love YouTube

I have discovered YouTube.
That's right.
About 5 years after the rest of the world.

Obviously, I am not a first adapter or whatever those people are called who stand in line at the Apple store for days so they can get the brand new i-whojamacallit. I still listen to music on CD's for Pete's sake.

Yesterday I saw Paris at night, listened to Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, John Fahey, watched an episode of The Borgias, as well as Carol Burnett bloopers (prepare to laugh until you cry with those.). There's the Japanese cat Maru or I can get my dog fix. Speaking of fixes, I can get one for my favorite Bollywood actor, Saif Ali Khan too.

So there you have it.
How I love thee.


Beautiful Song

(Rodrigo Leao Carpe Diem)
I've played this about sixteen times (and downloaded it) since finding it last night while I waited for a foot cramp to abate. The images are wonderful too.

I love the way Portuguese sounds - like Spanish and French had a baby.



So this new job, the one where I field calls from people suffering (along with other boring paperworky type stuff) what? Okay? Good enough?

I really, really like the people I work with. They are committed to helping others and take this charge seriously. I like that. I also like feeling that I'm contributing to "the good".

But you know what? All that stuff I said about it being more worthwhile to help people than it is to make money is kinda BS. I feel like I've fallen from grace, that I'm being punished. Why should I (or anyone) in the social services have to settle for less?

Our whole system of what is a "worthwhile" profession and what isn't is skewed. Seriously skewed.
When the person who fixes your computer makes more per hour than the person who takes care of your drug addicted child or your aging parent - something is wrong.

Part of it is the recession (that's over, according to some) and the other bigger part is - helping people is not as valued as, say, developing software.

For fun, let's look at the average salaries of:
Teachers - $40,000
Social workers - $38,000
Policemen - $50,000
Firefighters - $42,500
And now:
Mechanical engineer - $64,500
Software architect - $109,5000
CEO - $232,000

What happened there?
Why do we value things over people?

Broad Street Flower Pot

Spotted last night as I walked to the Craven Allen Gallery. 

Cats Like Clean Sheets

It's Pajama Day

Not to be confused with The Pajama Game - my least favorite Doris Day movie. (My favorite, Pillow Talk.)

Pajama day is just what it sounds like - stay in my pj's all day, glasses (not contacts), no make-up, drink too much coffee, radio on 88.1, cinnamon rolls (Pillsbury). It's drab and gray outside, which is perfect for PJD. I'm looking forward to organizing some drawers later, (I know! the weird things some people get pleasure from); one load of laundry done, another to go. (Lillie - shut up! - you cannot have my chair!)

Friday night some of us met at Foster's Market for Sara Foster's latest book signing - conveniently right next door at Flyleaf Books. Small plates and drinks (wine, beer, Salty Dogs) were to be had. Goat cheese canapés with pepper jelly, hushpuppies with jalapeño mayo, catfish, grits and tomatoes (how my mom made them!), shortbread cookies. It was a pretty good FREE spread. :)

Yesterday afternoon a friend and I went to Craven Allen Gallery for the opening reception for Beverly McIver; nice work. Her sister, Renee, the subject of many of her paintings, was there, selling potholders and showing people the pictures that were of her. Beverly also has a documentary about her and Renee's life coming up at the Full Frame Film Festival.
Then we went down a few doors to Watts Grocery for a little nosh. The strawberry rhubarb tart was worth every penny of the $8. The crust was perfect.

I drove home in a downpour, flinching every time a pink exclamation point of lightning punctuated the grey wet. I hate lightning. In Florida, I once sat in my truck for 45 minutes waiting for a storm cell to pass, too frightened to make the dash up the stairs to my apartment.

On an entirely different note: if you ever come upon a funeral procession down here in Dixie - pull over! Even if you're on the opposite side of the street.
Yesterday on my way to the walk at Bolin Creek, I was behind such a procession for most of the way and was appalled (okay - judgmental. Whatever.) at how many people didn't do that. WHAT?! Some [completely rude] jerks even had the nerve to take advantage of the people that did pull over and pass them. Wow. The police car in front should have alerted even the most oblivious driver that something was up.
Now you can't say you didn't know.

This video is Breathe Owl Breathe - Dog Walkers of the New Age. I heard it on the way home last week and loved it.
I'm off to organize - appropriately enough -  my pajama drawer.

While we're on the food topic: after our Saturday walk we replace all (and then some) of the calories we might have walked off by having breakfast/lunch at Foster's or Weaver Street Market, depending on where we perambulate.
So yesterday - Foster's had mac & cheese + pepperoni.
Shut. Your. Piehole.
That was not my selection, (bacon, spinach and avocado sandwich on sunflower bread), but I did get a bite. Man, was it good!


A Bad Day To Be An Empath

Usually I just turn my curmudgeon up and drown it out, but this morning I was unable to do that.

I work for a substance abuse recovery program for teenage males. Being the gatekeeper and first responder to the pain and frustration of wits-ended parents is bad enough. (I remember those days well.) 
But sometimes, like this morning, adults with substance abuse problems call and they are truly desperate. (The teenagers are having a GREAT time, they really don't get that there's a problem.)

When people actually get a person, they launch into their story (don't you? when you finally get that real person at the bank?). 
They tell you me everything; all of the ugly sad stuff just tumbles out. Pain seeps through the telephone wires.

All I can do is give them some phone numbers. 
Then cry in the bathroom.


Mom's record seems to have developed a skip. She says "iggy" [icky?] about every other sentence now. Sometimes several times in a row, "Iggy, iggy, iggy" and sometimes it's a question, "Iggy?".
Versatile word iggy, yes?

Today her lazy selfish daughter did what she should have done MONTHS ago and took her to get her nails done. To drive the guilty point home they said, "She have all new ones now - no fill in. Too old."
Just cut to the chase next time and tell me I'm a loser straight up.


I'm too sad and tired to write any funny stuff, there was some. Not as much because most everything is iggy now. That's not funny anymore.
We ate next door to Mimi's at Dickie's. Crappy BBQ and lots of it.
It was over $21 for two items and two drinks. Ridiculous.

Ummmm, free ice cream!


Oh The Horror!

So last night I was looking forward to watching the last disc of Weeds season 6 and the DVD tray wouldn't open! Worked just fine Friday night. You can imagine my dismay. And the many minutes of pressing buttons that ensued.

No cable and now no DVD? Downright un-American. What's an addict to do?!
I decided to go all Scarlett O'Hara on the situation and played the Nintendo DS until I got sleepy.

This morning I went through my instruction manuals which are saved with receipts in a binder. Laugh all you want, but when I forget how to program my thermostat or want to know when I bought my low flow toilet - I know where to go.

There under "troubleshooting" was my problem: Tray lock mode enable. (exactly how it's worded)
And the answer is: Disable tray lock mode. Great! Yay! EXCEPT THEY DON"T TELL YOU HOW TO DO THAT!!!!
Or how I might have "enable" tray lock mode in the first place. W. T. F.

I went online. The answer: unplug the device for 2-3 minutes. Basically reboot.
I did.
Tray still doesn't open. Thanks for nothing Toshiba.

The DVD player is only 4 years old, that seems too soon for it to be on the fritz. But they are so cheap now that it would be uneconomical to take it somewhere for repair.