Monday, February 9, 2015

3 Things to remember...

Greetings Kind Reader. So nice to have you stop by. And before I go any farther I want to say - from the bottom of my heart I'm sorry for having been away for a ... month. Geez, it sounds so bad when I see it in print like that. It sort of makes me feel like someone who dropped their kid off at boarding school and said, 'I'll call you as soon as I can' - only 'as soon as I can' never came because I let things get in the way. 

But then again - this is more proof as to why New Year's resolutions and I don't do too well. I go into the year with the very best of intentions and then, well, I do a little of this and a little of that until the thing I said I was going to do gets pushed so far out of the picture, I forget it was there. 

Although, I didn't actually forget about my favorite little blog site. No. Believe it or not, I think I've been sort of afraid to post here because I've been feeling a bit of self doubt in regards to my 'light, airy, step away from the harsh realities of life' posts. Posts which are exceedingly long winded but at their heart always have a message. I'll bet you didn't think there were messages in those little stories I've been telling over the past...gosh, close to 7 years. But there were. 

If you've followed along with me through my journey here at WASWR, you probably know that I've taken several of my favorite posts over those 7 years and have put them into books that are available (at the moment) for free. I hope to complete a full set of WASWR books (It'll wind up being a set of 7 books - but as of now, I've only actually 'published' 5 of them) 

Now as for those writings - my goofy little stories about people being people when they think no one is watching them and my sometimes silly, sometimes sentimental stories that come directly from things that have happened in my personal life. Occasionally, I have thrown in some serious pieces, too. Yes, I can be serious - very serious - when I feel the mood strike.

But to be honest, I've tried to stay clear of writing commentaries on issues that might be inflammatory because I don't want my readers to become incensed with me because I make a comment that stabs at something they believe strongly in. I suppose it all goes back to my Grandmother - I loved that woman. 

Aside from my father (who was my bestest best buddy), my grandmother was a hero of mine because she did some really cool things. She came from a rather 'hoity-toity' family with a great deal of money - How much? I don't really know. I just know my great grandfather owned a coal mine allong the Tennessee/Kentucky border. So I assume it was a good deal of moola. 

But if you met my grandmother she would have talked not about her childhood. But not because it wasn't good - it was rather nice, rather it was because she didn't 'do' things until after her childhood. Meaning - when my grandmother went to college the world opened up to her. She studied acting and even directing. I have one picture of her - I cannot put my fingers on it at this exact moment but when I find it, I'll make sure to post it - she's about 20 in the picture and she's walking tall (which is pretty impressive since she was my height 5'2"!)  with two of her closest friends through the city. 

The smile she's wearing says 'I can do whatever I set my mind to.' And she did. When she was married to her first husband and things went south - she divorced him.  And that was in the 1930's the South. That sort of thing was pretty much unheard of back then. But my grandmother was a maverick of a lady. 

Eventually she met and married the man who would become my grandfather. Now he had to be something like 6'4" and sort of a hulking man who moved to America from England when he was very young. Their marriage was not the greatest, I must be honest. They argued - loudly. They sometimes drank a bit too much and argued even louder. But in the end, they loved each other. 

One of the coolest things about my grandmother was the fact that she always loved the theatre. She'd been enamored with acting her whole life. And when I knew her she performed in plays and even did some TV commercials. (She was the 'Cate's Pickle Lady' for a few years - yeah that was pretty cool) 

She's part of the reason I love the arts. Grandmother took me to see some awesome exhibits in Charlotte. I remember going to the Mint Museum when I was about 10 and seeing the King Tut exhibit. And I didn't just see the 'standard' exhibit. Nope. My grandmother was active with the museum, so I got to go on a behind the scenes tour. How many people can say that? Not a lot, I'd imagine. 

I suppose my grandmother was as odd fish with the ladies at the Junior League and at the Country Club because whereas there were women who 'enjoyed the arts' my grandmother had actually lived the arts. Grandmother was also the president of the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution - so, yes, that makes little ol' me a DAR Dame, too. Oh, and I suppose I should also point out that she was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy - NOT because she wanted to be - it was sort of expected by people like my great grandmother and the rest of the family.

Even my totally cool grandmother knew there were some family lines that were best left 'uncrossed' because the turmoil it would have created would have done nothing but cause division and discord. 

That's why my grandmother told me there are three things you never, ever discuss in polite company. Likewise, there are some things that you must carefully weigh before you ever commit them to paper - will it be hurtful to others? - will it anger others? - what is your reason for putting pen to paper in the first place? 

Now what 3 things could cause that much friction in polite company (code for among friends and sometimes frienemies)?  Sex --- Politics --- Religion. To be honest, I sort of knew this before she told me - but hearing it from her really made it click in my head. Since the tender age of about 10, I've always been aware of those 3 'no, no' topics. 

So that's why I've tried very hard to avoid writing stories about sex (because what folks do in their bedrooms is not for me to judge). I also steer clear of anything political here at WASWR because your political views are your own. 

And the last thing I do NOT like to discuss here is Religion. Nope that  is not a train I want to ride! 

Geez, the hearts of the world are heavy enough without another voice to make them chuckle or down right giggle. I don't want to cause strife for anyone...    
Alright I've had my ramble and now I'm REALLY tired - my new medicine makes me very tired. Gosh I hope this wacky ramble made some sense to you all - because It makes PERFECT sense to me. 

Ok there you have it! I'm done. I did it. I got at least 1 post in for the month of February got too far into! I will try to do more. 

Now - I'm off to bed because the medicines I take for Fibromyalgia are pretty darn strong and my pillow is calling me. So if this is riddled with errors please know that I am sorry! Sleepy eyes are not good editing eyes. 

Night y'all!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Juniperus Asheii, O How I Loathe Thee

Greetings Kind Reader, 

**Warning this is long. And it's kind of a rant. So if you're in the mood to experience the ranting rambling of a southern woman ... this is the post for you!**

Hello. So nice to see you again. Yes, yes - I know I made a kind of, sort of pledge to post more frequently (with the hope being that I'd post every few days) BUT I also think I may have mentioned something about not etching that promise in stone or at least I said something like I'll try to post at least once a week. And yes, I realize my last post was appears to have been more than 1 week ago when, in truth, it's really only been 8 days which is a whole day closer to 7 days than 9 days, right?

Oooh, by the way – I’m trying out a new way to keep my rambling tangents in check…I’m using END NOTES! Yes! This way, if I start talking about one thing but find myself wandering down an unexpected rabbit hole, I can simply put in a little notation and you, Kind Reader, can opt to either keep reading straight through or you can jump to the end note (at the end of the post!) to see where my meandering thoughts led me. I think it’s genius, don’t you?  Wait – does this qualify as an end note? Should I have noted the explanation of the end notes?

No, that would be silly. After all, how would you know the reason behind my putting in end notes if I didn’t tell you to look for them in the first place? Okay – I will start using the end note method right after this…

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. I was going to explain my logic for turning 9 calendar days into 8 days. Please, walk with me as we make our way through my weird world of mathematics. Granted walking with me could prove difficult if you're not reading this post on a small, handheld device - which you really oughtn't do even if you have some sort of smart gadget – seriously. It can be quite dangerous![1]

My math is really quite simple, if you just think of it like this  -  January 1 to January 2 is 1 whole day, January 2 to January 3 is 1 whole day, and so on and so forth all the way up to January 7 to January 8 is 7 days. And since, according to the little clock on my laptop, I’m publishing this BEFORE the clock switches to January 9, it’s not actually been 8 whole days – rather it’s more like 7 ½  days which is even better than my original statement that only 8 days had passed.

See, isn’t math wonderful? 

Of course, I could be a little off in my numbers because I’ve been battling the scourge of Central Texas…my nemesis…C-E-D-A-R  F-E-V-E-R!  AAAAACK!

If you’re scratching your head wondering what in the world Cedar Fever is – be thankful. Because trust me, if you had it you would know it.

Each year around December when the temperatures plummet[2] causing the ‘mountain cedar’ trees – which aren’t even real cedar trees, they’re technically in the JUNIPER family which is often confused with the CEDAR family because they look similar. But I know the truth! The fakers, a.k.a. mountain cedar, are really Juniperus asheii and they live to spew forth their disgusting pollen at the height of winter.

Their pollination process usually starts in late November when the first freeze hits the area. Needless to say the earlier and deeper the freeze the more productive the damn ugly, ground water leaching evergreens are when the temperatures drop again and the winds from the north start a’blowin’.

Oh, Lord! There’s nothing worse than driving down the road and looking up on a hillside at what, to the unknowing eye, appears to be a multitude of dying cedar trees because they’re all brownish-red…the way a tree typically looks when it’s on death’s door.

But nay, nay! That red tinge is actually the pollen producing part of the male of the species – think of it like a thin rod-like pine cone only evil. As soon as the weather starts to get cold, the male trees go into overdrive just waiting for a big ol’ wind to come along and shake the hell out of them so they can cast their wretched spawn-powder far and wide in the hopes that some of it will land on the female trees just waiting to be coated in the ‘instant fertilizing’ powder.

Of course, there are miles and miles that damn microscopic baby-cedar-making-dust has to travel before it ever hits its target. And more often than not – it misses. So just where does all that crappy dust wind up when it doesn’t find its way to a Big Mama Cedar?

I’ll tell you where … every flipping where it should not be! Like in the eyes. Oh, good God Almighty – there is no worse allergy itch than a Mountain Cedar pollen eye itch – especially when it happens around the holidays. Trust me, the ‘red, itchy eyes’ caused by ragweed, it ain’t got poop on Mountain Cedar!

Oh, and the sneezing and the constant dripping nose which can either drip forward (meaning you have to either bury your face in a box of Kleenex or risk having snot drip out of your nose for everyone to see) or it can drip backwards causing post-nasal drip that, I swear is so thick it feels like someone poured syrup down your throat. And no matter how much you blow your nose – it’s always there, pouring down into your stomach.

So, you take decongestants which do dry your nose out – only your nose gets so dry it actually hurts to breathe which means essentially you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t (take a decongestant).  

Dear Lord – where does all that freaking liquid come from anyway?  I haven’t a clue. It’s like there’s a magic mucus valve in your sinuses that someone turned ‘lefty loosy’ and it got stuck that way. And that’s when the sinus headaches start.

OH MY GREAT DOO-GAH-MOO-GAH! The pain is unbearable. You’d think with all the stupid dripping your nose is doing – which, by this time, is most likely happening in both a forward and backwards manner – your sinuses wouldn’t hurt so much. But they do. And your whole face begins to pound from the inside out!

Then there’s the sneezing. Did I mention the sneezing already? No? Great – because this sort of sneezing isn’t that cutesy-wootsy ‘Spring hath arrived and the lovely flora are in bloom’ sort of sneezing. These are lumberjack sort of sneezes that come in rapid succession and in waves that are so powerful it makes you dizzy. I’ve actually had a sneezing attack before while driving my car and I had to pull into the emergency lane to let it pass because my eyes were closed more than they were opened!

Is that all? Surely there can't be more effects of this allergen, right? 

Seriously? Are you really wondering that? Come on now – you know there’s got to be more … after all, the season is referred to as ‘Cedar Fever Season’ – I haven’t said diddly about a fever…yet.

But now – I will. Remember all that post nasal drip I mentioned? And the sinus headaches? Try to imagine what is happening in your stomach when all that slimy mucus gunk makes its way down there.

Acid – that’s what’s happening. 

Why? Because your stomach is trying to break down all that crud. So it makes acid … lots and lots of acid. And after a couple of days, you get violently ill. I won’t go into detail but trust me – it is NOT a pretty sight.

You’re sick at your stomach, your eyes are swollen and red, and you’ve got massive allergic shiners that make you look like you went 10 rounds in the heavy weight bout of the decade. You sneeze like mad. Your face hurts, your ears start to hurt, your throat starts hurting from the coughing and sneezing. And then you get a sinus infection to boot!

But the weirdest thing – and I do mean the weirdest thing is you literally start running a low grade fever that makes you feel like a train hit you.

You go to the doctor hoping it’s the flu because it’ll be over in a few days but no. It’s not the flu. It’s CEDAR FEVER – and it can last through mid-February!

The first time I got Cedar Fever was the 2nd year we lived in Texas around 2001. I was so sick. I thought I was dying. My mother came to check on me and was so worried, she called an ambulance. I spent 2 days in the hospital because I was so dehydrated and felt so badly.

And now when the cold weather hits – I start taking the following: Zyrtec, Singulair, Astelin, Flonase, and Sudfed. And if it gets bad I take prednisone, too.

So – if you’re wondering where I’ve been the past 7 ½ days (because at my blogsite, we use my math) I’ve been MISERABLE!! Along with my husband and daughter.

You know, I actually feel pretty good right now. It’s either because I’m just glad to have ranted or it’s because the latest round of my allergy and sinus infection medications have kicked in. I’m going to go with the latter of the two!

All right now – I bid you all adieu. Until next time!

**Hey, how do you like the end notes? Should they stay or should I say nay, nay?**

[1] Did you know here was a study done in Japan where it was found that since 2005 there has been over a 50% increase in the number of pedestrian accidents in Tokyo alone?

These numbers do not include pedestrian vs. vehicle, rather it's accidents where people have done things like fallen down stairs, run into walls, tackled other pedestrians, and even taken out a few baby carriages - prams for my readers who live way east of the USA - oh, and each of these incidents wound up injuring either the person with the smart device, the person unfortunate to be in the path of the person with the smart device, or both ... the upshot of this is don't text/read while walking because that smart device has the ability to make geniuses look like morons! And it’s not just a phenomenon in Japan.

The problem is so prevalent that emergency rooms across the USA have noted a huge rise in ‘smart phone’ related injuries occurring to school aged children on playgrounds. And a group of application developers in Canada even developed an app called ‘CrashAlert’ that uses the camera inside a device to determine proximity to objects and provides an alert if a crash is eminent!

[2] Yes, just like temperatures soar into the 110°F, range in the summer, temperatures really DO plummet in Texas – and I’m not talking about that pseudo ‘oooh, it’s down to 50°F, I’m soooo cold’ sort of chilly you hear people in Florida or Southern California talk about. I mean highs in the low 30s – lows in the low 20s and a steady wind … because it is always freaking windy here… that puts the wind chill temperature down a good 5 to 8 degrees colder than what it says on a thermometer. And I do not care where you’re from if it feels like 18°F  when the wind whips across your face – no one gives a flying how-do-ya-do if the thermometer says it’s actually 25°F! Am I right or what?  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Round and Round the Post Goes

Greetings Kind Reader - so glad to see you here. 

If this is your first time stopping by When A Southern Woman Rambles... I hope it won't be your last. And if you're a returning reader ... THANKS! I know I was a little  - -  kind of  - - seriously lax in posting last year. I blamed it on all sorts of things but in truth it was all my fault. I'm sure I could have found a few minutes here and there to post something at least once a week. 

So, I suppose I'll  make a resolution for this year, 2015. Note: I'm not good with resolutions. I think they're sort of goofy because 9 times out of 10 people resolve to do things they'll never actually do. I guess it's because they think that there's something special about stating that they're going to do this or that on January 1st. But hey, whatever floats a person's boat is cool with me (unless it's illegal - and then I'd rather they kept their boat in dry dock) 

Here goes... 

I resolve that I will post something to WASWR daily  - -  every other day - - - at least once a week. (Hey, I know I'm going to have days where my blog will be the furthest thing on my mind which is why I'm going to pad my chances at actually adhering to this resolution.)

Whew. Gads, I'm already starting to freak out. No joke. My hands feel all hot and I'm starting to sweat and ... oh, wait, I've got my Sunbeam portable heater turned on and blowing towards my fish tank. Geez. The things I do for my Betta fish, Beauregard. It's kind of chilly in my little office which isn't actually an 'office' per se. Technically, it's a closet. 

Granted it's an extremely big closet and it's got a window but it's a closet nonetheless.

Ooooh, pardon me while I switch gears to mention the fact that I'm listening to Karen Carpenter singing Rainy Days and Mondays. Now that is music. Her voice gives me chills. It always sounds so smooth and effortless. In fact, I can remember when I was a little girl sitting in my bedroom listening to my one of my Carpenters albums on my sister's stereo/record player how badly I wanted to be able to sing just like Karen. So I sang. And sang and sang. 

I'm not ashamed to say I'm a pretty good singer. Not quite Karen Carpenter good, but I think I could hold my own if my life depended on it. I like to think that my daughter (who is so much of a singer/musician that she's in the process of preparing vocal and guitar auditions for college) got her love for music from me because I don't think there's been a single day in my entire life when I wasn't singing.

Her life goal is to be 'in the music industry'.  Notice I didn't say her ambition is to be 'as big as BeyoncĂ© or Britney' because neither she nor I consider them 'real singers'. GADS!  I expect to get a few angry comments about let me explain before folks start saying I’m evil for not recognizing the talents of the two aforementioned performers.

Let’s face it. We live in an Auto-tuned world. To be a recording artist today a person doesn’t really need to FIRST have a strong voice with great tone and timbre rather they must first have ‘a look that people will love’.  I suppose I could come up with a long list of artists from when I was a kid that would prove my point about how fame came first from the voice and definitely not the face (or the breasts, buttocks, ‘guns’, mugs, perfectly straight teeth, and chemically-sun-kissed skin all attached to a pencil thin body). Maybe it would be best to just say the following … there was no amount of a machine driven wind, back up dancers, or strobe lighting to make some of the singers from the 70s and early 80s look like they should be on the cover of Vogue Magazine.

Lord have mercy, could you imagine Robert Plant on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine? Geez, just typing that made me giggle. Just try to picture Karen Carpenter (whose voice I adore as stated earlier) on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swim Suit edition – it’s difficult because while she was cute and not 100% unattractive, she definitely didn’t have the physical accessories need to put her in one of those skimpy suits that aren’t actually ever used for swimming.

Interesting aside, my husband, God love him, says that whenever he hears Karen’s dulcet voice he gets hungry. And he’s not joking either. He actually has this strong urge to eat something. I asked him why and he said it was because whenever he saw her on TV singing as a kid she always looked so thin and her eyes were always so sunken in that it made him want to go eat something. Little did he know that she suffered from body dysmorphic disorder and had such a serious eating problem that it ravaged her body and eventually led to her untimely entirely too early death. Sad.

Weight is such a weighty issue. It’s one that everybody deals with no matter how famous they may or may not be. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that resolving to lose 5, 10, 20, 100 pounds is probably the #1 resolution made when January 1 comes ‘round each year.

Hehehe, I’ll be you were wondering how I’d steer myself back to the New Year and the resolutions that are made in the wake of fireworks and giant balls falling from the tops of sky scrapers – weren’t you? Oh, ye of little faith – that’s how a rambling woman rolls! I start one conversation – toss in a dash of something else to ponder – mix it all together and badda bing, badda boom – you, Kind Reader, are taken right back to where I went off on my tangent. What can I say? It’s a talent. 

My, my, my - now that this wandering ramble has come full circle I think it’s time for me to wrap this first post of 2015. I’m sure you’ve got something you need to be doing. Perhaps you’ve declared that you’re going to work out every day. Or maybe you told your loved ones that you’re going to stop smoking and that THIS IS THE YEAR IT WILL HAPPEN. Whatever your resolutions for 2015 may be, I wish you much luck.

And if you should happen to stumble – know that it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It just means you need to have a better reason to make a major change in your life than ‘a date on the calendar’. Make resolutions because YOU want to do it for YOU.

Alright – I’m done. It’s time for me to pull myself away from my blog. Time for me to stop rambling for at least 24 hours! Here’s looking at you, Kind Reader. Hope you’ll drop by again soon to check up on me.