A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'm no real financial advisor. Sure, I can help you figure out what kind of account is best for you. We can look at CDs versus High Yield Money Markets, and I can analyze your needs and tell you how you'll make the most money off the money you already own. I can calculate your interest over time so you'll know what your $30,000 today will be in five years. I can help you understand the rules so you can keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible without it being unnecessarily taxed to death.

But I'm no guru. I can't comfortably sit down and talk shop with the Investments boys yet. It would be unethical and illegal for me to advise you on stocks. It's fair to say I know a little more about the financial world than many of my peers. Just a little, though. And having intimate knowledge of HYMMs is a damn far shout from being able to weigh in on the current debt ceiling crisis with any kind of of authority.

But I can say that the suggestions in this article are pretty insulting, and I can say that it's a pretty shitty situation when SSI-dependent 80 year olds are being asked to cut off their phone service and shower less frequently because our fine leaders (most of whom are in the top tax brackets) apparently can't be expected to stick to a budget themselves.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Engineers really do have all the good ideas.

Each Labor Day, the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunter's Association hosts a celebration at the cemetery to remember faithful coon dogs, and to enjoy buck dancing, a liar's contest, music and barbecue. More than 200 graves are freshly decorated for the event.

Yup. I've been invited down to the Coon Dog Cemetary this Labor Day. Somehow, I've never been.

But it's on this year. Brett has big ideas of winning the "liar's contest", and I have big ideas of watching my Yankee-raised friend spin yarns for Alabaman old timers. There will either be uproarious applause, or crickets (maybe a wailing baby). Either way, it's gonna be a lot of fun for me. Who knows? Maybe I'll buck dance. I will definitely eat barbecue, and pay my respects to all the the departed Reds and Spots and Jakes whose bravery and loyalty made this event possible.

Sometimes, I love the South so much, I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else. Events like this, The Slugburger Festival, anniversary weekend at Shiloh, the 4th of July at McFarland Park or Point Mallard...all these opportunities to see unbridled Southern insanity in a good way. Everyone's in a good mood, the old folks are acting silly, and there's usually a talented banjo player nearby. It's so charming and sweet and magical. If we were like that all the time, everyone would like us. Unfortunately, all that gets shot the second you walk into the Savannah Wal-Mart and all the South's ugliness is on display: the poverty, the ignorance, the racism, and, worst of all: the apathy toward all of the above. For every sweet granny playing a dulcimer and singing lilting bluegrass lullabies, there are five homophobic 'necks revving their trucks in grocery store parking lots to prove their masculinity. It's disappointing and disheartening.

But at least we've got the Coon Dog Cemetary.

I will never stop snickering.

There's something about this that feels so wrong. But that doesn't stop me from laughing at Kitler.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye, horses.

Last night, after a particularly stressful weekend, I had a series of dreams that left me baffled. They weren't all bad dreams, in fact, only the first was unpleasant. Just very different from any I've had before. Unfamiliar symbols, unfamiliar feelings, etc. I've always dreamed vividly, and my dreams have always had more than a touch of prophetic value, which I've successfully tuned out over the last couple years as my faith has taken blow after blow. I don't know if anyone receives signs in dreams from an outside force anymore. Usually I think what we consider prophecy is no more than tapping into areas not frequented by your waking mind. The brain sorts out information at night, kinda cleans house. Maybe the revelations we find in dreams are just...the little janitor in there is sweeping into darker corners and pushing forgotten stuff out into the light.

Or maybe sometimes the Universe throws us a bone when we need it.

Now, I had a pleasant evening last night after dinner. I went to Brett's and we watched an absolutely ridiculous movie, and talked into the wee hours. I went home feeling much better than I had when I arrived. I walked into my room, changed into my pj's, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and crawled into bed, mentally and physically exhausted. I had been lying there for a few minutes when I was suddenly accosted by the Hag. I haven't seen her in some time, but I knew what was going on, so I didn't get scared. I just focused on flexing my fingers and toes until I found I could move my legs and sit up. I laid back down, and it happened again. Three times, she showed up, the last time so violently that I thought I felt the bed move and thought Clarice had jumped up and maybe slid back off. Anyway, that was it as far as the Hag last night, and I mercifully fell into real sleep, where I saw this:

Yeah. My brain has been astral projecting and hanging out with Lisa Franks.

I dreamed that I was trying to shoe this horse, in the middle of a terrible night-time storm. There was no rain, but there was constant lightning, lighting up the sky in brilliant blues and purples. The horse was bucking and trying to break free. I don't think he was so much pissed at me as he was scared of the lightning. It was a brown horse. I finally got him shod and led him inside the barn. Then the storm was over and I was in a restaurant with friends I've never met in real life, except one. The only person I recognized was the last person I saw before I went home. Maybe they were his friends. I ordered calamari. The rest of the dream...and hang on, because this is about to get all Raising Arizona...was a mishmash of happy montage and home video, like I was old and watching taped segments of a life that hasn't been lived yet. I'm not going to go into detail about what I saw (just believe that the detail was incredible), but everything about it felt real and warm, and I couldn't wait to be the old lady looking back over all the happy memories. I saw myself in my 30's holding the babies I haven't had yet, I saw the husband I haven't married yet, I saw my own parents, increasingly older and older but still healthy. I've gotta say, it's the only dream I've ever had where I wanted it all to come true.
Some googling has provided me with this:

To see a horse in your dream, symbolizes strength, power, endurance, virility and sexual prowess. It also represents a strong, physical energy. You need to tame the wild forces within.

If you dream that you are horse shoeing, your success is assured. For a woman, this dream means a good and faithful husband.

I'm not sure how those conclusions are arrived at, but I'll allow them.

Some huge changes have occurred/are occurring in my life recently. New people are coming in and people I've known a long time are being asked to leave. Although there are some changes that are utterly breaking my heart, I'm accepting them and even welcoming them as being in my best interest. Loving someone doesn't make them good for you. Habits and people that have hurt me for years are being kicked out and I'm scared to death of what my life looks like without them, but I know that whatever comes, it's got to be better than it's been. I've been examining my faith more closely than I have in a really, really long time and I'm finding that it's still there. It's about believing in what you haven't seen yet, and trusting it. These changes have been coming for months...years, in some cases.

I'm not angry with anyone. I'm forgiving. But I'm not forgetting, because I can't. That doesn't mean I'm holding a grudge. It just means that some people won't have access to me or my life anymore, and that's all there is to it. Maybe all there was to last night's dreams was hoping to see my future like that. Maybe I was actually allowed a sneak preview so I know I've got good stuff coming as long as I trust the decisions I'm making and stay the course.

I don't know. Maybe it was Utah.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shameless kin promotion.

Cousin Eric's awesome and artsy wife made this poster for Hopscotch Music Festival. If you've got a second, do me a solid and vote for her.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple as this, I'm in love with the risk, I know what I've done, but tell me what did I miss?

This week has brought a few big changes, all good but one. The good first:

I've committed to a school for the next year. It seems smartest to finish up at Northeast. It's close, it's cheap, and it's only a year.

I've enrolled and am officially a student again!!! Yaaaaay! Classes start in about three weeks. I'm so excited, I can't sit still.

The not-so-great: I also decided that moving north is not in my best interest at this time. And really, in all likelihood, I'll be transferring to U of Memphis once I'm through at Northeast. I know Memphis, I love Memphis, I have friends in Memphis, and my family will still be close enough for regular visits. Now, it's entirely possible that I may change my mind about Memphis over the next year...but I kind of doubt it, and it's not fair for anyone to put anything on hold while I work toward the point where I need to decide anything. In light of that decision and all the common sense I'm actually capable of tapping into, the manfriend and I have agreed that it's best to not continue a relationship. That sucks. It's been a very successful relationship. But this had to be done. Having him in my life has changed my life for the better, and I'm so thankful for the great time we had. We have no intention of halting communication, and I look forward to being even closer friends.

So there's that. In other news, I'm legitimately tan for the first time in years, things are finally smoothing over with BC, and I've recently acquired a new Scrabble buddy: a local engineer with the best vocabulary I've encountered in this town.

Megan and Brandon are super excited about my going back to school, and I think there will be karaoke in Memphis this weekend to celebrate.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh, yeah? Well, I'm starting a petition to make Jennifer Nettles illegal. Federally.

Every inbox I regularly check (ok, both inboxes I regularly check: hotmail and FB) are flooded with forwards asking me to tack my name onto an embarrassing, misspelled, inflammatory "petition". The goal? To make felonious the failure to report a child missing, in a timely manner.

Yeah, I choked on my coffee, too. This lump of well-meaning but completely tretarded hogwash is snowballing and now hurtling across the interwebs at an alarming pace, getting folks all excited and rowdy. More importantly, I'm getting alerts on my phone every time someone emails or messages me this drivel, or every time I'm "invited" to "Help Us Make Caylee's Law Real!"

I'm no more pleased about the Anthony trial than most people. IMHO, the prosecution eschewed a solid, winnable manslaughter or negligent homicide charge and went instead for whole-hog: capital murder. A fine media circus, but then there's that much more pressure on a juror to make damn sure there's enough evidence to back up that charge before sending a woman to Death Row. The jurors did their jobs. The prosecution gambled on all or nothing. They got the latter.

And joining the throng of people who are failing to see that and choosing to talk smack about the jurors, are the people who are forwarding this annoying pseudo grass-roots plea for new legislation, without considering how incredibly specific said legislation would have to be, what a pain in the lawmaking ass it would be to make it happen, and the myriad ways such a law could be twisted and abused.

I don't expect too much to come from this. But I don't want the aggravation in my inbox. And I'm not leaving my porch light on, either, unless someone explains to me how it will change anything other than my utilities bill.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

I'm moving to Colorado, where I can be skinny.

According to this article, Mississippi is, again, the fattest state in the nation.

I'm going to have a lot to say about this as soon as I get back from the Slugburger Festival.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Lady Justice is sitting on the steps, smoking a cigarette and staring into space.

When my cousin Megan was pregnant with her son, she had a terrible nightmare. She only had it once, but its memory still bothers her. In it, her child had already been born, but had somehow gotten lost or stolen. She went completely insane and ran outside looking for him; under shrubs, inside vehicles, clawing at loose dirt. She couldn't find him and she knew it had driven her completely mad, and she couldn't stop looking. It's the worst dream she's ever had. She says now that that's pretty much how it would go down if something happened to him today.

This afternoon, Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her two year old daughter. I'm not going to linger on this, as the people who have been interested are already aware and the ones who were not interested in the case aren't interested in its outcome, either. When the verdict was reached and announced, Megan sent me this text:

What about the decomposing tissue in the trunk? What about all the partying while her child was missing? I wouldn't be able to shower, or eat, or sleep. I'd literally walk off and search until I was dead.

That seems to be the general consensus.

I mentioned it to a friend earlier and was surprised to find that he had no opinion, and virtually no knowledge of the trial. We all have different interests, I suppose.

This morning in Silver City, MS, 60 year old Mary Grandberry was sentenced to 10 years in prison and $3,000 in fines after being convicted of sexual battery. See, she was arrested in 2004 and charged with murder. She molested her 4 month old granddaughter so brutally that the infant died of internal hemorrhaging. After seven years of the state-funded Capital Defense Group throwing up motion after motion and successfully bogging down the process, the prosecution finally allowed charge bargaining "to get it over with". So instead of Grandberry facing punishment as a monster who raped an infant to death, she gets 10 years on an assault charge.

I genuinely wish I could check out into a book sometimes and just decide to not care about the things that are actually occurring around me in the world I presently live in. But I can't.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

I'm thisclose to being able to triumphantly blare the theme from Flashdance in my car.

Take your passion, and make it happen. -Irene Cara*

Me: Well, what was your drive? Was it your job? Were you passionate about it?
Grandma Charlie: Sarah, I was an accountant.
-Conversation, circa 2009

Yesterday, my body officially declared rebellion on this new schedule and tossed a stomach bug at me, which I caught before I knew what was happening. I had been at work at the Mango a little over an hour when -BAM!- I was channeling Regan MacNeil. So I went home, chugged some Pepto, and spent the day and evening reading, watching shows about ghosts, painting my nails and toenails, trying out new hairdos, and talking on the phone with the boyfriend.(All of that is true. And no, I have not regressed back to 16. Sometimes you just need to not be, you know, on it.)

My body's just going to have to suck it up and adapt, because my schedule isn't likely to get any less busy over the coming months. I took this second job to pad my accounts and get a little closer to school, but a plan quickly formed and I've been volunteering for every available extra shift, hostessing and bartending into the night. It's paid off pretty quickly, and it looks like I'm going to be parking my rapidly shrinking self in a classroom this August rather than having to wait until January. I should know for sure next week.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I want this bad. Now that I'm no longer even slightly entertaining the notion of going back to school to be an accountant, it's suddenly a lot more exciting and desirable. I'm a very stubborn person, and I have to figure things out for myself. You can't tell me. It won't work. I didn't feel a huge yearning to go back to school for a long time, simply because I knew I would be going back to accounting. That's just not something I could get excited about. It doesn't matter if I'm good at it; I don't like it. I'm never going to jump out of bed with a grin, anticipating the columns of numbers waiting for me at my beige office. So eff it. I have two passions that I always come back to: writing and food. Ya'll know about passion, right? It's a wonderful thing. Its absence is keenly felt, if not immediately identifiable.

Those close to me know I went through a terrible sickness last year. It was a sort of cancer of the spirit. Getting over it required finding my passions again, and not just clinging to them as ideas, but actively pursuing them and making them part of every day. I've been doing that, and then it just clicked that that's what I should do for reals. And that's what I'm going back to school for. Journalism and Nutrition. And now that I know what I want to do, I don't want to waste any more time getting there to do it.

So I'm busting my ass. I'm tired, overscheduled, and I rely too heavily on my day planner. But there's this little fire keeping me going. I wake up excited, and I'm genuinely happy.

Getting well was just the beginning. I'd forgotten I could glow like this.

*Hehehehehehehehehe, etc.