Stand Still and They’ll Paint Ya

Day 336
Listening to: Give it Up (KC & the Sunshine Band)
Thought for the day: If you stand still, they’ll paint you.

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The guy on the mower is Tom. I’ve written about him several times. Let me refresh your memory. He is the neighbor who gave Pearl to me, calls his very humble house “The Kennel”, and brandishes the mantra, “If you stand still, they’ll paint you.” The first time I ever saw Tom he was on a riding mower moving at a top speed with a nuclear-sized dust plume following in his wake. He was 70-years-old at the time. My mom, who had come for a visit, saw it too and turned to me and said, “That one is a character.”

When Tom turned 75, he got rid of his riding mower. I asked him why. He said, “I’m too old to mow my yard.” I felt a little sad for him. Last November, Tom turned 83, started going to church and wanted to talk about death all of time. Gone was the salty lawn-mowing mad man I had once known. It’s as if he had decided to stand still and let life paint him. It depressed me.

Today, I looked out and there Tom was once again……………. on a riding mower. He was moving about 2 mph and had the visage of an antsy 2-year old. Every few seconds the mower would backfire in protest. I couldn’t leave it alone. I walked over to his house. He stopped the mower, it backfired, and we started laughing. I asked him what he was doing. Every other word out of his mouth was a curse word about how slow the mower was moving. He had paid $899 for it and was not satisfied with its #(*&%& snail’s pace. Too impatient to have a conversation with me, he started the mower up, it backfired again, I smiled big, and walked away. It’s good to see him deciding not to stand still once again.

Groundhog Day in Kroger

Day 335
Listening to: Shining Star
Thought for the day: “The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue” ~ Joseph Goldberg quotes

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I call this “Trapped in Kroger: The Story of Brian.” My first introduction to Brian was on Facebook (we have mutual friends). One day I ran into him in Kroger and we did the, “Hey, we’re friends on Facebook!” exchange. The funny thing about Brian is that with one exception, the only time I’ve ever seen Brian is at Kroger (and it’s fairly frequent). Guess who I saw at Kroger today? It’s like we’re trapped in a freaking movie. Today I went to Kroger specifically to buy…………….well…………. nothing. The photo shows what I was carrying when I saw Brian. You are looking at chocolate covered goji berries (I’m beyond addicted to these), bird seed (remember I’m the bat-shit crazy bird woman), flowers (they make me happy), and more chocolate in the form of brownies (this makes me even happier). The moment I saw Brian, blood flooded my face. I was embarrassed. Grocery shopping seems like such a personal thing. What someone has in their cart says a lot about who they are, and yeah, this stash says a lot about me. Despite it all, I laughed. He laughed. Then we had a nice visit. Next time Brian let’s meet in the chocolate aisle where I don’t have to think (we met today in the hair-care aisle where I have to think)!

Teensie’s New Home

Day 334
Listening to: I Know This Much is True
Thought for the day: Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

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If you’ve been following my posts, you know I’ve exerienced a week full of sadness. Today something happened that shot through my heart like a giant firecracker filled with sheer joy. A week or so ago, Charles, a good friend of mine, posted on Facebook that his mother was in the hospital and that her dog, Taz, had gone missing. When Taz was eventually found, it appeared a neighbor had intentionally killed him, put him in a box, and tossed him in the woods. It was heart wrenching. Immediately, one of my neighbors, Lynne Ezell-Beery, set out to find a new dog for Charles’s mother and did. Meet Teensie. She is a Yorkie whose owner had to give her up because he was being moved into assisted living. Several of us chipped in to help with the adoption fees and Lynne drove to Cookeville to pick up Teensie this morning. Today’s photo comes from Lynne as she shares Teensie’s introduction to Charles’s mother. Thank you to Lynne and everyone who helped make this happen!

Candlelight and Friends

Day 333
Listening to: nothing
Thought for the day: There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton

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I’ve run smack into another day that poured some sadness into my pitcher of life. I am lighting this candle in honor of Claire, a friend, the mother of one of my favorite people on this planet, an honorary member of the Wednesday Night Dinner Club, and an all-around beautiful woman. She passed away this morning.

As I lit the candle, after the week I’ve experienced, I started contemplating the similarities of a candle to that of life. Pretty much everyone I know serves as a light in the dark to someone. I’m blessed to have a lot of candles, bright candles, in my life. I don’t handle it well when one of those lights is extinguished. It’s no mistake we light candles in honor of others. What better way to say thank you to someone for being a light in your life.

I really need a hug.

An Airbrushed Throwback Thursday

Day 332
Listening to: Hungry Like the Wolf
Thought for the day: I am not fat, I am a Nutritional Overachiever.

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YO! It’s #ThrowbackThursday. Nothing says “throwback” like a photo of one’s self at 15-years of age sporting a good ole fashioned air-brushed t-shirt. I thought I was fat at this age. Then again, I’ve always thought I was fat. I bet when my mom gave birth to me instead of crying, I screamed, “I’m faaaaaat.” It makes sense though because my mom was prescribed diet pills when she was preggos with me (my older bro weighed 11 lbs…….whew). Always thinking I’m fat is probably what has kept me within 15 lbs one way or the other since I was 2-years old. What I find really strange is that I don’t judge other’s bodies based on my own self-perception. I guess that’s normal. I look forward to being 75, seeing photos of myself at 45, and thinking, “wow you really weren’t that fat.”

Nuclear Bombs and Mozzarella Cheese

Day 331
Listening to: Shower the People
Thought for the day: This is Lawrence. This is Lawrence, Kansas. Is there anybody there? Anybody at all? ~ The Day After

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The image in the movie takes us to Lawrence, Texas. It’s 1983. A nuclear attack has commenced and a mushroom cloud is slowing taking shape in the background. In the foreground, a woman stands frozen with pee trickling down her leg. Can you name the movie? It is The Day After. I saw it when I was 16. Like a blood-sucking vampire, it drained my sense of security completely out of me. I didn’t sleep for three days. My dad decided to intervene. He picked me up from school during my lunch period and took me to eat at the local mom and pop Italian restaurant (Nick’s if you know Costa Mesa, CA). I ordered fried mozzarella. We’re not talking cheese sticks. We’re talking a giant hunk ‘o fresh mozzarella……….deep fried. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten. While I was in a complete state of mozzarella euphoria, my dad tactically discussed the reality of nuclear war (he was heavily involved with the Department of Defense at the time so I trusted him). I’m not sure if the mozzarella was really THAT good or if having my Dad disarm my fears so effortlessly made it that good.

Anyway, since that moment so long ago, I’ve tried to find fried mozzarella that compares. The closest I have come is what is in today’s photo. This fried mozzarella comes from Gondola House . Yes these are cheese sticks and not a giant ball, but they are made out of fresh mozzarella and I, Princess Oreo Mozzarella, can tell! I had to miss my Wednesday Night Dinner Club outing, so I decided to go pick some of these babies up for dinner. They may not be as good as Nick’s fried mozzarella, but they’re good enough to help me relive a treasured moment.

Happy Spray

Day 330
Listening to: Faith
Thought for the day: “Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong.” ~Snoopy

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When your head is stuck in a sadosphere, ya just have to pull out the “happy spray” and get rid of that layer of atmosphere. I liken it to using Aqua Net in the 80s to achieve big hair. You know. The hair so big it’s a ceiling-fan hazard? Big hair equals happiness equals killing off half of the ozone with one can of hairspray. If you’re a big-haired child of the 80s, you’ll get the analogy. If you’re not, stick with me. The translated version is I’m still experiencing extreme bouts of sadness concerning my coworker (see yesterday). I knew when I got home today I had to do something that brings me joy. My choice of “happy spray?” I decided to take Pearl for a ride. She knows the word “ride” and when she hears it she goes bezerk. We first went to the vet to get her nails clipped and then to Sonic to share a plain cheeseburger. I cannot tell you how happy she was which in turn made me happy. Today’s photo is of us patiently waiting for our cheeseburger. Pearl’s manners were worthy of royalty………… well except for the drooling part.

Chalk Art = Spirit Tank Fuel

Day 330
Listening to: Hang On Help Is On the Way
Thought for the day: Love every day.

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Today has been tough. Over the weekend, the daughter of the coworker and friend whose office is next to mine was murdered by her husband (it’s all over the news). I never met the daughter, but my co-worker talked about her constantly and her smiling face peers out at me regularly from office-wall photos. I always thought the daughter had a perfect life…………beautiful, smart, talented, wonderful family, promising career, big house, etc, etc, etc………. I envied her. It’s such a harsh way to be reminded that things are not always what they seem. I’m struggling to get a grip on the thought of the utter devastation my friend is feeling over the loss of her daughter. It has drained my spirit tank.

Also over the weekend, my neighborhood had a “Chalk Walk” event where children and adults scribbled messages and drew art with chalk on the walking path in the nearby park (today’s photo). Most of the art consists of humorous drawings and positive messages. It seems such a trivial thing in comparison to what I just shared with you, but this afternoon when I walked Pearl and looked at all of the messages, it helped. It was a relief. I don’t think any of my neighbors can imagine how much their sidewalk art meant to me today. If you’re a neighbor, and you participated, thank you.

Where’s the Beer? I Want the Beer!

Day 329
Listening to: Whoop! There it is.
Thought for the day: Sometimes ya just need a good bear hug.

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Today I was reunited with my Make Kris a Sports Fan coaches, Sabrina and Jane. We attended a Nashville Sounds baseball game. Ozzie, the Sounds’ mascot, had invited a few other masked creatures to the game to help celebrate his 15th birthday. When Sabrina saw them, she was all…… “Oooh, we have to have our picture made with them all.” In my mind, I vomited a little. Masked creatures have always scared me a bit. Then, this little girl sat behind us and began chattering non-stop about the characters and how wonderful they were. She kept calling the bear, “the beer.” She’d say, “Where’s the beer. I want the beer.” Giggling, I thought to myself, “How could I be afraid of a beer!” So, when the bear came by our seats, we hugged (today’s photo) and my fear of masked characters eased a bit.

It was a beautiful day in Nashville today and I am grateful I got to spend it with good friends.

The Heart of a Dandy Lion

Day 328
Listening to: You Are the Sunshine of my Life
Thought for the day: Hold hands and don’t let go. That’s the secret ~Doctor Who

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I call this photo Heart of a Dandy Lion.

One of my favorite stories that my dad use to tell me about me as a little girl involved a father-daughter walk in the woods. I was young enough, maybe 2 or 3, that I don’t remember the incident. He says we walked into the woods and I got really excited when, despite the odds, we found one lone flower peeping up through the dark mossy floor of the forest. The story reminds me that I once possessed and totally owned the child-like ability to recognize that sometimes the impossible is possible. I had totally forgotten the story of the impossible forest flower story until this morning.

Around 5 am, while I was walking Pear in a total stupor, the sight of what is in this photo woke me up and reversed my age about 43 years. I got excited and bent down to ensure I was seeing what I was seeing. Like a Roman army hell-bent on victory, a smile overtook my face and hope filled my heart. It’s amazing how the small things sometimes make a difference. I love it when life serves me up a dose of simple love.