Line Jumpers

molly the mule

Today I was bamboozled by a little old lady. Life in the retail trenches, after Christmas, is all about returns, returns, returns and charm bracelets. So, like many stores, we use the 'pull a number' system to better help our customers. (Truthfully it is because Americans do not understand the concept of 'queuing'.) As a 'seasoned' customer service gal, I'm pretty adept at keeping potential line jumpers at bay. Until the sweet little old lady says to me, "I just have one question..." I KNOW better than to listen. This will not go well for me. So I start with my 'you must wait until your number is called' litany and she brilliantly heads me off at the pass, by saying, "Yes, yes of course. But I just have this one little question ...." Thirty minutes and paperwork later, I'm patting her hand as she apologizes, AGAIN, for jumping the line but so appreciates my help. Wellll .... how can I resist sweet little old ladies ??? Helping them makes for good Karma!!

Happy New Year to all.


I'm poor! I'm poor! yooray, I'm poor!

That'sssss right! I've been officially cleared for patient assistance by a major drug company. That means I's be gettin' my drugs for FREE! I'm ridiculously pleased. Truthfully I hate this particular med and its side effects (unruly weight gain, diabetes risk, high cholesterol etc.) But it has made the difference between a dark, dangerous depression and the oh, all right, I can get out of bed depression. Considering I'm one of the multi who have no health insurance, in a country that has no health care plan, I have to say Thank You to the drug company.

Now, why do I feel like I've just welcomed the Fox into the hen house ?



Really ?

blogging is dead

I'm all set for a good rant about Facebook and the evils of social networking (can anyone say "Farmville" ??) but who am I kidding? I'm a poster child for social awkwardness; can barely keep my blog going; have only a handful of faithful readers; and tend to be rather apathetic. I was on Facebook long ago (2006 i think) before it mushroomed (poison imagery deliberate) and again in 2008. Both runs were short-lived. I couldn't keep up with the constant 'chatter' demand of posting on walls and trying to build up my network. I'm also the gal who has had 9 or 10, now defunct, blogs. Right. Internet ADD. I admit I like the veil of anonymity that blogging allows. I can pontificate without explaining it to my boss tomorrow morning. And yes, I suppose Blogger owns my blog posts, but I can control how much personal information I wish to divulge. Speaking of personal information, here goes: I am fully aware that I am falling far behind the leading edge of cultural technology by not participating in a social network. So be it.
I'm a mule, after all.



holiday greetings from rdg

Happy holidays to my red dirt squadron! I'm busy dishing out happy holiday service to all my customers. So far, i've only had one grouchy grinch: a ten year old little girl !! A special shout out to goatman and dave who mows grass: sending you holiday hugs.
XXX to All !!!


on the holiday list ....



belated happy birthday wishes to Soubriquet !!

(on the holiday wish list)

Land’s End

by Weldon Kees

A day all blue and white, and we
Came out of woods to sand
And snow-capped waves. The sea
Rose with us as we walked, the land
Built dunes, a lighthouse, and a sky of gulls.

Here where I built my life ten years ago,
The day breaks gray and cold;
And brown surf, muddying the shore,
Deposits fish-heads, sewage, rusted tin.
Children and men break bottles on the stones.
Beyond the lighthouse, black against the sky,
Two gulls are circling where the woods begin.

XXXX! Happy Birthday, Soubry


baby it's cold outside

from my favorite holiday movie, Elf
with my favorite comedic actor, Will Ferrel

to listen to Zooey Deschanel sing "Baby It's Cold Outside"



Happy Turkey Day

Latest news from my home town ...

those turkeys really love their hats!


an rdg poem

for goatman


how an antiseptic coat
and a white slip of paper
can easily knock us
off perches
we cling to

We free fall
Our mighty oaks
beating us

whipping leaves,
snapping branches,
gouging flesh and
bruising bone.

Does any one ever notice
the dull, vibrating thud
of Man's face
slamming into earth?

We lie dazed.

Molded in packed earth,
we hear
the deep thrum
of earth blood,
its answering echo
pulsing through our veins.

Something primal
up and out.

We begin:

To eat earth
claw clay
dig dirt
burrow our way
towards root.

To feed.




I'd give you the bike off my back if I could;
Lighten your load, I would.
Sending 21 big mule hugs and a courageous smile.



my christmas wish list

no, not the tree, silly !

feeling philanthropic ??
i probably qualify as a tax shelter ...


New YouTube sensation: Keehan Cahill

Check out his lip sync to Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream' !



oh, great pails of FIRE!!



He's 18 !!!

there he is in the running pack !!

Yep. My oldest 'baby' turned 18! Let me brag just a bit: He's an overachiever. In the top 10 runners on his HS cross country team (he's on this month's cover of Running Times). Scored a perfect score on his math SAT. Has never brought home less than an 'A' on his report cards. Is dry-humored, polite, well-mannered and good company. He calls himself 'the voice of reason.' And I'm a lucky, proud mama-mule !! Hear, Hear to good kids !!



chasing Charlie

My Appalachian roots are deep in the wilds of southern West Virginia/northwestern Virginia. I spent every summer of my childhood / teen years with my grandparents in WVa. I recall fondly many activities including berry picking and making jam, wildflower picking and visiting relatives. A more vivid memory is that of visiting my grandfather's aunt Sally. Sally lived just over the mountain in Tazwell County, Va., in the old family farmhouse. It was a rambling wreck of a home, added onto as fortunes waxed; fallen into disrepair as fortunes waned. I usually did not enjoy the 'visiting relatives' part of my summers. I wanted to be outside roaming the mountains, playing with the dogs. Not cooped up inside with 'old folks.'

Typically, we'd all be greeted with noisy kisses and big hugs, pinching of youthful cheeks; then offered a 'soda' - 7-up or RC cola in a glass bottle. To the 'parlor' we'd go and sit while family gossip ensued. I especially liked Aunt Sally's house because it had so many rooms and lots of dusty out of the way poking-into places. But I was forced to sit with the adults. On one such visit, I remember staring out the window at a patch of mountain sunshine and all of a sudden a grizzly, bearded old man popped up in the window and stared right back at me! I squealed. The adults in the room pretended nothing had happened and kept talking right over me. I squirmed. I looked again. Gone. Did I see right ??? A few more sips of my 7-up. Then JUMP! The MAN, again, peeking around the corner of the door into the parlor. I squealed, again! This time Aunt Sally laughed and told me, "That's your great-great uncle Charlie. He's shy." I got permission to go outside. I was going on a hunt. The Charlie-hunt. He'd hide around doors, peeking at me. I'd jump and say BOO! He ran. I followed. Much like chasing a feral cat, I chased Charlie: through the house, outside, around corners, in and out of barns - I almost caught him in the springhouse, once. I just wanted to SEE him. Ask him endless questions like 'Why is your beard so long and white?' Later that night my mom tried to explain Uncle Charlie's strange behavior to me. Apparently he was a war veteran (and figuring ages and such, I'm thinking he fought in WWI) and came home from the war 'that way.' Sally, his sister, never married. She cared for her brother Charlie and her aging mother until they both passed away.

Charlie never spoke. He came into the kitchen once when Sally called him and took a bottle of soda. But he skittered away quickly. I never hugged him or talked to him. But I like to think he enjoyed our games of 'hide & seek' after we both got over our initial 'fear' of one another. At least, I hope he did. Maybe my churlish self terrorized him!! EGADS!!!!



A big thank-you to my Black Sheep Squadron

Your much appreciated comments remind me that while I might be feeling lonely, I'm not alone. Here's my attempt to 'fit in' with the white (read 'right') sheep crowd...

Can a red dirt girl ever be too red ???
Thanks to Soubriquet for the pic. Hugs and xxx! all!!


feeling churlish ...

Yes, I'm feeling churlish these days. Herald the holiday season with customers who are quick to complain if they are not helped "IN THE ORDER THEY WERE WAITING". It's my job to explain that when I say, "Can I help the NEXT customer in line, they need to be ready to claim their spot. My favorite sales manager quit this past week and her leaving amidst tears and hugs made me feel bluer than blue. She was my 'Go To' girl whenever I had a question or problem. I knew I could trust her to be friendly and professional and helpful.

And the bipolar depression keeps me feeling like the proverbial black sheep in the bunch. I mean, who can I talk to about the despair of being the odd sheep out, not able to join in all the white sheep games and play. I read today that misery eventually passes and happiness comes to you. I'm worried now that I might miss the happiness boat. You see, when I try to perform normal weekly tasks like grocery shopping, dinner with acquaintances, eating out etc. etc. I have all this black sheep anxiety of feeling swallowed up by the white sheep crowds. Then I can't function. Anyone out there want to wear a black sheep suit to keep me company for a while? I'm feeling lonely.



wednesday's wheels

I always KNEW something was up with my bicycle. It never stays put where I park it ....


bedding down with the mule:

Rule #1:


Reason #179

Why I don't swim in the ocean !!


wild abandon ...

I love abandoned buildings. I grew up across the road from an abandoned farmhouse and barns. I'd regularly prowl through the buildings, looking for the odd old thing: keys, calendars, bits of crockery and such. A farm down the road from us had a lake with an abandoned rowboat. My girlfriend and I would row the boat out and sneak smokes (disgusting!) until the neighbor caught us and called our parents! I especially loved roaming through my grandmother's childhood home, deep in a holler in the west virginia mountains. One summer my mother, aunt and I hiked, literally, over the mountain and through the woods to granny's old house to look for treasures. My aunt had rescued a beautiful oak headboard and refinished it. Boy was I ever envious! I found a calendar on the wall, circa 1920's, and went to take it down from its nail. When I pressed the center, a small BAT fell down onto MY MULE HOOVE. I screamed. The mom screamed. The aunt screamed. You should have seen us all trying to squeeze down the stairs together. We fell laughing in a heap in the front garden. I think that calendar is still there!



love like this ...

painting by Paul Wright


No one answers, but I hear the TV’s drone.
I push open the door and there’s my old dad
hanging like an exhausted gymnast over the arm of the couch,
his fingers touching the floor, his pajamas on inside out.
How does he survive
the booze, the pills, the lack of food
and love? Who could love him? I love him,
but what is this? Again,
I have found him in time to take him to the hospital.
“I want to die,” he cries as I fold him into the car,
and it becomes his mantra while I drive
past the bowling alley, the gun shop.
Should I stop and buy a pistol?
“I have nothing to live for,” he says.
What can I say?
There is nothing to live for;
we make it up as we go along.
The earth didn’t have to exist,
but here it is, and here we are,
parked in the Emergency lot.
He stares fiercely out the windshield.
I touch his hand; it’s cold and scaly.
“There’s always bowling, I joke.
“I don’t bowl,” he says.
We smile at each other.
“There’s this,” I say to my father.

~by Susan Browne



confessions of a shop girl

1. I work for a shop that sells 'locally handcrafted artisan' jewelry. I have since learned that some of our vendors are Malaysian. So I guess that means we fudge on the 'locally' bit ...

2. I have a shop girl mantra I repeat each day I work: I like my job. I like my job. I like my job. I'm hoping the 'cognitive behavioral therapy' will start working soon ...

3. My co-workers and managers are also women, so we keep a bag of chocolate bars stashed in the break room refrigerator for 'that time of the month' ... which is pretty much ANY time of the month!

4. My beloved calls me cynical because I practice putting on my shop girl 'smile' and saying things like, "Oh that looks lovely on you;" "This is so dainty and sweet;" "I love your ........(note piece of jewelry customer is already wearing); "This (piece of jewelry I'm showing) is my favorite!" - It helps to be prepared, I say.

5. Other than pierced ears, we do not sell any hardware for your alternative piercings. And no, we'd rather not see them ...

6. And though we are not rocket scientists, we manage an arcane catalog system of over 1000 pieces of jewelry, work 7+ hours at a stretch on our feet, are permanent part-timers with no company benefits, and endeavor to fulfill the maxim 'The Customer is Always Right" no matter how rude and obnoxious said customer is - with smiles on our faces!

7. And yes, we DO talk about you after you've left the store .... !



don't dress for the job you have ...

dress for the job you want !


and men think we're "complicated"



this one's for the SISTERHOOD...

Sister's got BLING!


duct tape #153:

I'm not advocating duct tape abuse, but my little sister was VERY annoying ...!


the age of extinction ...



just because i like it

i was asked to blog something new, today... does this mean i'm becoming (gasp!) blog redundant ? spiritless ? lackluster ? (horrors!) vapid ? and may I ask, "Whose blog is it, anyway ?"


apparently i missed the memo ...



the price for leaving Kansas ....

i'm such a GIRRRL !


Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore ...


your move:

caution: I cheat ;) !!!


Returning to the Land of 1,000 Dances

It's brutal how I've missed your shout and twist,
your Sallies Mustang, Sallies tall and long.
Your Checker chubby, your Locomotion,
your Potato mashed and Pony broken.
Dear country, how I have longed to get down
and dirty. I'm no Fred, you're no Ginger.

Your boots weren't made for waltzing gingerly,
and we don't garnish rotgut with a twist.
How I've missed our country ways. Let's go down
to Harvey's Moon, where I've been gone so long
some jerk bumped my score from the now-broken
pinball game. I've always loved the motion

perpetual, the whiplash emotion
of finger on flipper, the fizz ginger
makes with gin, bottle spun till it's broken.
One kiss, my dear country, and please don't twist
away. Inside the bunker all along
it was you I dreamed of—hunkering down

as shit pooled at our feet, as shells rained down,
my trigger finger the only motion—
it was you. While the other grunts had long
debates over Mary Ann or Ginger
I reached for the dip of your back, the twist
of your hip, and a beat never broken.

Don't wait until hallowed ground needs breaking
to call me up. I've laid my shovel down
anyway, giving the dirt one last twist.
I came home for an earthier motion
and my dear, I don't mean farming ginger.
Every life is a thousand dances long

and the horizontal ones all belong
to you. Before the record sounds broken:
Move with me. A house of bread and ginger
awaits us but before we settle down,
before it's all going through the motions,
put on a skirt, put your hair in a twist,

wear a parachute. It's a long way down—
The Yo-Yo, broken. The Jerk in motion.
We Ginger and Chicken, we turn and twist.

~by Sandra Beasley



feeling squirrely, part 2

"Please Sir, may I have some more ?"


bottoms up!


erin belieu, poet

Cornfield by Maureen Warren


You're mad that I can't love the ocean,

but I've come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,

we're here aren't we? —
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels

impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I'm most comfortable in

a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.

And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,

there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,

I can hear what's coming between the stalks.

~by Erin Belieu

The following is excerpted from her interview at 'How a Poem Happens'

Do you believe in inspiration? How much of this poem was “received” and how much was the result of sweat and tears?

I do believe in inspiration, but really, inspiration and $1.50 is worth a cup of coffee. Everybody’s inspired, aren’t they? It’s getting it on the page where the ditch digging begins. So I carried around this idea about how I wanted to write a poem about how much I mistrust the ocean and how uncomfortable I feel when I go to the beach—any redheaded freckled people who might be reading this know what I’m talking about—and it took some years before the notion gelled with a scene and point-of-view and argument. That vague idea needed an occasion and a stance. So ideas are like asses: everybody has one. I guess I think all the various elements have to gather together and you almost always have to sweat for those. Sometimes you win the poem lottery, but for me the muse doesn’t hand out the free samples very often.



i'm easily amazed ...

now where's that pot of gold ????!


a poetic scarecrow ...

More of That Mitchell and Webb Look. I just love these guys!!


thanatopsis, an excerpt

Turner 'Slave Ship'

All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.

~William Cullen Bryant

there is an evening coming in

There is an evening coming in
Across the fields, one never seen before,
That lights no lamps.

Silken it seems at a distance, yet
When it is drawn up over the knees and breast
It brings no comfort.

Where has the tree gone, that locked
Earth to the sky? What is under my hands,
That I cannot feel?

What loads my hands down?

~philip larkin



mitchell and webb

My thanks to Soubriquet for sharing more video therapy with me. Check out That Mitchell and Webb Look on YouTube. Yes. I'm advocating YouTube. Arrrrrrghhhhhhh !


get poppy! be happy!

I love this movie. It's quirky and full of happy in your face no matter how dour or sour a face I pull. Poppy is irrepressible, annoyingly positive and just plain funny. I've been struggling with a year's worth of severe bipolar depression. My doctor is at his wits end. I've had it with psychopharmacology. Maybe movie therapy is the way to go... So come on! Let's get happy go lucky !!


artist, Joseph Lorusso

Evening Begins

In a Poet's Dream


crass ...

A man, enjoying a glass of wine with his girlfriend, thinks to himself: Ahhh - this is GOOD! I'll take a bottle home and share it with my wife...... ?!



trowel x2

after Allen Ginsberg

I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by DIY.

~by Tony Curtis
from Answering Back edited by Carol Ann Duffy

In my mulish opinion:
I have seen better minds destroyed by IKEA and the allen wrench!