I guess it's the size of this place that makes it so hard to find my friends. I'm not even sure who's here with me - I've really seen very few people so far...not even Reverend Harold Camping, who I kinda thought would be leading the parade.
Of course, I've only been here a little over twenty four hours, and I don't really know my way around yet. It took a good hour for St. Peter to find my name in THE BOOK. I mean, seriously, wouldn't you think they'd have developed some sort of index file by now? The little angel who lead me to my cloud whispered that St. Peter has been lobbying for a computerized system for years, but rumor has it that the Council of Angels won't appropriate funds for the front gate until Pete stops letting in reprobates like me.
That certainly put me in my place.
I was chastised right away for bringing my own laptop. I don't know why it was such a big deal - there was this older couple ahead of me in line with two trunks, five rolling suitcases, and an overnighter, like Mr. and Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island. St. Peter just rang for a bellhop angel and let them pass.
Then there was the woman behind me who was so worried about her little poodle. She entrusted his care to a man who was a self-proclaimed atheist and therefore knew he would not be taking the highway to Heaven on May 21. This guy charged her over $100 to care for her little darling forever, but now she's worried he'll back out of the deal. "I didn't want to trust an atheist, but what other choice did I have?" she worried.
Ah well, I'm settled in now on Cloud # 6009956200CM. I have no idea what that all means, but that's my new address. It's nice - sparsely furnished, but soft and clean, and with a fantastic view. Last night my sector went to a harp concert, and tomorrow there's supposed to be a choir. I've been invited to tryouts.
The internet service up here SUCKS. Dial up. Can you imagine?
I must go now. My little angel dropped by to say I have a fitting for my first wings in 20 minutes, and I have no idea where the tailor shop is located. If I see Reverend Camping, I'll let y'all know he's safe and sound.
And hey, if any of y'all are up here, too, email me your new cloud address and we'll do lunch!
TaTa for now!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Seriously, y'all, this is a story of experimentation best left to the imagination for any male readers out there. Sorry, guys, but y'all just don't have the stomach for this subject.
What am I talking about? Feminine products, that's what.
Are all the boys gone now? Good, we can get on with our story.
Y'all might remember that from roughly mid December till February I was sick off and on with severe kidney infections, flu, and bronchitis. And flu and bronchitis always leave that annoying deep hacking cough which just lingers on and on and on... Add kidney infections to that, factor in age 50+, and you've just concocted yourself a recipe for the dreaded...urinary incontinence.
I'm not talking about a little leak here and there; I'm talking about some major gushing. No puny little panty liner was gonna handle this, and I absolutely refused to buy a box of extra large Depends.
So I went with the obvious solution: maxi pads.
Now, y'all, I went through an early menopause, but I was sure I still had some of those pads...somewhere. Digging far back into the recesses of every bathroom cabinet and drawer, I found Tums, expiration date March 2003; a half-filled bottle of DayQuil, expiration date January 2008; a bag of cotton balls that exploded when I tugged at it; a McBride and the Ride bandana; a yellow Hot Wheels car, what I think was part of a Transformer, and a green roof slat from a set of Lincoln Logs; enough black and white buttons to make a good-sized mosaic cow; three unopened packs of Bic shavers and two of Q-Tips; my missing Carpenters' Christmas cassette tape; one Charlie Brown Christmas toe sock; dozens of Disney shampoos and hotel-sized soaps; and the instruction manual for a VCR that had died a slow, painful death about five years ago.
But no maxi pads. So off to Dollar General Store I went in my coat thrown over my pajamas.
I have no shame.
It seems things have changed a bit in the feminine products section since I last made a purchase. Of course, everything is a lot more expensive, but I was totally unprepared for the wide variety of feminine products available. Did y'all know they make a pad for thongs now?
It staggers the imagination.
Knowing I needed something industrial strength, I chose Always Extra Heavy Overnight with Flex Wings. I had no idea what Flex Wings were, and truthfully, still don't, but let me tell y'all: these things work.
In spite of the width and unbelievable 15 inch length of these things, they don't have that pillow-between-your-legs feeling like the old maxi pads. Those Flex Wings are wide and stay securely in place. I can testify that they're super-absorbent, because I coughed myself silly through many nights and never once had a leak. They shoulda used these things to soak up that Gulf Oil Spill. And the adhesive backing?
I was in the bathroom, having already peeled the plastic backing off one of these super-sized things, when I decided to go ahead and get my bath. Since I had just reused the new wrapper, I had nowhere to restick the new pad while I bathed. NOWHERE. What to do?
I stuck it to the wall.
Honestly, I intended to leave it there only as long as it would take me to get ready for the tub, but since it was still firmly affixed to the wall at that point, I thought, dang, that's some good adhesive, and just left it there. A long, relaxing, bubbly jacuzzi bath was just what the doctor had ordered for my various maladies, and when I emerged and had dried off, that thing was still stuck up there on the wall.
I mean, that's some really good adhesive.
Purely out of curiosity, I assure you, I resolved to test the adhesion of this thing by leaving it on the wall until it chose to fall off on its own.
I actually forgot all about it, but was reminded several hours later when Fred arrived home from work. He removed his coat, set down his lunchbox in the kitchen, and disappeared into the bathroom. Approximately 30 seconds later, I heard him call.
"What?" I called wearily, having just lain down on the couch.
"Come 'ere!" he hollered.
Remote in hand and three dogs already settled into place atop me, I had no intention of just hopping up and doing Fred's bidding. "Whadayou want?" I hollered back.
"Come HERE!" he insisted.
I reluctantly heaved myself off the couch, displacing three dogs who were none too happy about having been deposed so quickly, and shuffled in my fuzzy houseshoes to the bathroom door.
He was seated on the throne, carefully averting his eyes from my new work of art. "What is THAT?" he asked.
Suppressing a smile at his discomfiture, I said innocently, "What?"
"THAT," he said, pointing, but still avoiding direct eye contact.
"It's an Always Extra Heavy Overnight Maxi Pad with Flex Wings."
"I KNOW what it is, what's it doing there?"
"It's an experiment..." But he cut me off.
"Get it down."
"But I haven't finished the experiment..."
"Get it down."
"But it's just an innocent little..."
"Get it down."
I guess I couldn't blame him. After all, he's just a man.
But the Always Extra Heavy Overnight Maxi Pad with Flex Wings experiment goes on: I took another pad a few weeks later and stuck it to the back side of the closet door, away from Fred's line of sight.
It's been there nine days.
Dang, that's some really good adhesive.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Good morning! My name is Alexander Hawthorn Nathaniel Beeker XVI. Just call me Alex.
I am here today to tell a love story - the story of Molly and Ben.
That's Ben over there. And that's his house. It was everything a bird could want...yet Ben was unhappy. He was alone.
He was also camera shy.
One snowy day he caught the eye of the lovely Molly, and he instantly fell in love.
Ben asked her to move into his house, but Molly was a lady of fine breeding, and told him that she would never consider living with him without the benefit of marriage.
"M...m...m...marriage!?" he faltered. "But...but, I'm not ready for that kind of commitment! Look, I'll refurnish the house just for you!"
But still she refused. "I'd rather freeze out here in the snow!" she sniffed, and she turned her back on him.
"I have berries..." he enticed her. "Chocolate covered berries..."
Ben mistook the fire in her eyes as passion for him, and proposed on the spot.
He swelled with pride at his prowess. "Who's the man? Who's the man?" he shouted into the darkening skies.
They were married immediately and Molly moved into the big house. They were very happy.
One day, with Ben out shopping for groceries and Molly visiting her mother, a cute little chick named Bonnie spied the big house and came calling. After knocking several times and finding no occupants, she laid claim to the house and moved in.
When Ben returned and dropped the groceries inside, he found Bonnie sprawled across his nest.
"Who are you?" he demanded, rather hysterically. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm Bonnie, and I'm just tweeting a few friends, inviting them over for a housewarming party," she said innocently.
I would have asked where she'd gotten the iPhone.
"Get out! Get out before my wife comes back!" Ben told her in panic.
"Get out?" Bonnie said. "But it's snowing again! And who made you ruler of the roost, anyway, huh? We women have rights now, you know!" And with that, she budged him aside and settled herself once again atop the soft nest inside. Try as he might, Ben could not convince Bonnie to leave.
When Molly returned and saw Ben in a house full of partying ladies, she flew into a jealous rage.
"I'll have the divorce papers drawn up tomorrow," she screeched, "and don't EVEN think you're getting this house!"
Despondent, Ben flew to his old nest in a cold crabapple tree.
But Molly was heartbroken and found that she couldn't sleep in an empty nest. Distraught, she donned her winter coat and slept outside on the snowy ledge.
Enter the villain, Snape.
(His parents named him before they'd finished reading the last Harry Potter book. They didn't know old Snape was decent in the end.)
This is my imitation of him. Pretty cool, huh?
Snape had been watching our little Molly during the night and had concocted a plan to take advantage of her newly broken heart and make her his own.
Oh, the angst! I simply could not stand by and allow this rogue to take Ben's grieving wife! But what could I do?
Quickly, I devised a plan to entrap Snape. As I lacked the necessary...attributes...to entice him, I enlisted the aid of a comely young lass named Sophia. "Can we talk?" I asked of her, and I outlined my scheme.
"I don't know," she fretted. "It sounds kind of...devious."
"I'll have to think it over..."
"Ummmm...what's in it for me?"
"I'M IN!" she said, eyes wide and beak gaping.
That was easy.
With Sophia on board, we laid our trap and waited for Snape to make his move.
"Good...good," I whispered silently from the sidelines. "Now! Give him that 'come hither' look!"
"Closer...closer..." I found myself whispering.
"Work it...work it..."
I waited until just the right moment, then gave the word: "Fly! Fly under the table now!
"Oh, I feel so cheap," Sophia rued.
(She got over it when Big Red swept her off her feet.)
But Snape took the bait! His beak was caught, and...well, Snape was...out of the picture, so to say.
And what happened then? Well, the rest, as they say, is history.
Bonnie took a shine to a tall, handsome stranger...
...and flew the coop to be with him.
Molly moved back into their home, and Ben came begging forgiveness. She tearfully relented....
...and they lived happily ever after.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tennessee is widely known for many factors. We're the Home of Country Music and the Great Smoky Mountains; the Tennessee Titans and Elvis Presley's Graceland. Three US presidents have called Tennessee home, along with notables Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, Casey Jones and Alex Haley, and the great Cherokee Sequoyah. We have the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon on Earth as well as the world's largest artificial skiing area. Our Reelfoot Lake was created by the largest earthquake in American history, and within the walls of the State Capital Building in Nashville lies the body of its architect, William Strickland.
Really. I wouldn't make up something like that.
Yes, we're a famous state. So many celebrities, past and present have been born here: Aretha Franklin, Betty Page, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Dixie Carter, Dinah Shore, Greg Allman, Tina Turner, Kathy Bates, Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, George Hamilton...the list goes on and on.
We're also the third highest state in obesity rank, but we're not gonna go there.
One thing we're NOT known for, though, is snow. And yet, for two consecutive winters, we have been inundated with the white stuff.
Hazardous? Yes. Inconvenient? Check. Beautiful? You betcha.
Illness kept me indoors during most of the snows: flu, bronchitis, and severe kidney infections. During those days of confinement we had deep snows and bright sunny days. I stepped out the back door and got this shot...
...and the front door to get this one...
But the days I actually felt like getting out and about were dark and dismal.
Still, though, there's something enchanting about some of the photos. Maybe it's the near black and white aspect, some with just a hint of color. Or maybe it's just the subject matter - how can you go wrong when your world is wrapped in a fluffy blanket of snow?
I drove through the countryside, sometimes getting shots directly through my filthy car windows, as I did in this one. I had no idea where the road would take me, but I was mesmerized by the tangled white tunnel overhead and followed it deeper...
...past old barns...
...and modest farmhouses, optimistic with wicker chairs on the porch.
I passed ramshackle old sheds...
...and new barns on prosperous ranches.
These ducks were hilarious. Every time the gray duck took a step forward, the duck on the ramp would stick her neck out and squawk. I think she didn't want wet webbed footprints on her freshly waxed floor.
Mother and child were in no mood for company, so I moved on.
I drove slowly, savoring each frosted tree, every frozen vine.
Old barns fascinate me, and I loved the interplay of solid roof and open beams on this one.
Ah, the simple life.
These horses dined outdoors in the cold...
...while this one enjoyed the finest accommodations of the day.
The road looked promising, but a bit too treacherous for me, so I reluctantly headed home.
Yes, it was beautiful, but like this little bluebird, I'm just waiting for the last bit to melt.
Winter be gone, I will have no more of thee!