Sunday, June 28, 2009

You KNOW Where That Is, Don't You?

Welcome To Hickville.

I come from a small area that many would consider a hick town - although McComb is quite large as towns in Mississippi go. And I guess it's no wonder that I settled in what could be called the most hick part of Los Angeles. I don't think anyone has ever taken a census on this but it wouldn't surprise me to learn we have more horses than people here.

And while this town wouldn't look like anything more than a grouping of nail salons and auto repair shops to someone passing through, this place suits me. I love that it's size is limited by three mountains and a freeway. And most of the people here work hard at their jobs, come home and work on their yard or some artistic pursuit, hit the hay at a decent hour and do it all again.

But if there is one thing that gets my dander up, regardless of how small and unsophisticated a town is, it is poor writing. Even when growing up in my Mississippi hick town, it was impressed upon me that we were expected to write well. Every poster on campus required the signature of three English teachers.

If only Sunland had such a rule. The subject of my ire is these posters appearing around town:

All good advertising is like a hard news story. You need the basics: Who, What, Where, When, Why and sometimes, How? And these posters seem to missing some of those details.

It reminds me of being on location in Argentina. It is customary, when a crew is on location and not filming at a studio, to include a map with the next day's call sheet. Whenever we phoned our location manager to inquire as to the whereabouts of tomorrow's map, the answer was always the same: "Everybody knows where that is!" And I would reply, "I don't."

I'm sure the group that is sponsoring the fireworks would say, "Oh, everyone knows." But what about newcomers? Or heaven forbid, give us locals a time to show up!

And really, if you're not going to give passersby all the details, wouldn't the advertising money that Bank of America and the myriad of other sponsors paid be better spent on - um... MORE fireworks?

See ya at the fireworks show... It's after the parade... You DO know about the parade, don't you?

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Don't Think My Prince Is Coming...

"Eh, tear 'er up and buy ya a new one."

These are the first words my father said to my mother, thus beginning their 18 year love affair. He was strolling through her breezeway on the way to her guest house where his construction foreman was renting.

She was bent over her lawnmower, sweating and cursing. The damn thing wouldn't start. Funny thing about my mother...she's never had a lawnmower that would start right.

Of all of my mother's journeys that I fear to tread, it is the cursing of lawn equipment that nears the top of the list.

I've been lucky of sorts. Shortly after moving here, my feet quit working about the time my godson decided to start. He was the almost perfect lawn boy. Sure, sometimes he would forget the shop yard or to weed whack the driveway, but it mostly got done. But now, said boy is way too busy.

And so yesterday, I cut my own grass for the first time since early 2003. All by myself. Since I stopped watering all but 1/2 of the back yard because of our water shortage and gouged water prices, it really was no big deal. The worst part was emptying the dried grass from when the boy's friends showed up to do my yard a few weeks ago. It took the two friends twice as long to do 1/2 the job my godson did. And they didn't even empty the grass bag. In no time, I was covered in dried grass and dirt and my sinus' are still paying the price. But the actual cutting was easy peasy.

And then it was time to weed whack. I pumped; I pulled; I yanked; I cursed; I grabbed my aching back and wiped the sweat from my brow; Repeat again and again. Out of breath and sweating, it occurred to me I bought this piece of crap (McCulloch MT300 Easy Start {yeah, right!} trimmer) and handed it over to the boy. I had never used it myself. I dug through my stack of manuals. The thing came with all kinds of parts info but no actual operating manual. Argh!

I phoned the boy. He walked me through it. I did as he instructed and it started! I got half the back yard whacked when it quit. Out of cord. I restrung and spent the next 45 minutes of daylight trying to crank my "Easy Start."

Tonight, I was out there again, cursing and screaming at the damn thing. In my anger, I threw the monster across the yard! And if you notice below, I broke it... at least now there is a reason it won't start!

When I find myself yelling at lawn equipment, I often stop and wonder what on earth made my mother so attractive to my father as he strolled across her lawn that day?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Score, Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago today, it was a bright and sunny, perfect California Sunday afternoon. All was right with the world. From where I sat on my sofa, I could hear families barbecuing, laughing and swimming. I could hear dogs barking. And each bark made me cry. I was so sad and so lonely; My Maggie May had died suddenly from cancer about six weeks earlier.

So, I decided I would drive down to the North Valley Animal Shelter, "just to look" I told myself. Yeah right!

As I walked through looking at all the dogs in need of a home, I knew I couldn't get an older dog again. My last two girls were not with me nearly long enough. My eyes settled on a four month old who had been returned to the shelter many times. Most who adopted her returned her the next day or two. I should've known better. This girl was cute and she knew it.

I had the shelter worker take her to the playground. All of that focused attention she had shown me when she was behind bars had vanished and was now solely pointed toward a tennis ball.
Trying hard to ignore my inner voice, my irrational brain took over, "Hey, she's on sale! Eight bucks! Micro chip and hysterectomy included!"

What is it they say? A man will spend twice as much for an item he wants. A woman will spend half as much to buy something she doesn't want because it is on sale...

But deep in my heart, I wanted a puppy. Even if her nickname was Hell-on-Paws!

It was a rough start. And now, like all of my girls before her, she has ensconced herself so deep in my heart that I know I will never be the same when it's time for us to part.

And right now, that same girl is spinning my desk chair around... Her way of saying I've been on the computer too long and surely, it's time for a hike at the creek!

The score, seven years ago: I gave a dog a home (and a bone) and she rescued me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Heart as Big as Texas

Alison is a fellow blogger I've come to admire. I love her spunk, wit, grace and charm. And I love her open and generous heart.

Her dear friend's brother-in-law passed away very suddenly from sarcoma, leaving behind two young girls and huge mountain of medical bills.

I know first-hand the damage that cancer and it's piles and piles of bills can do to a family. And I also know first-hand the aching grief and gaping heart-hole a father's death can lay on a young girl's shoulders. My big ol' heart hurts for this mother and her children.

And in true, let's-git-r-dun Alison style, she and her friends have organized a fundraiser and even launched a website! I know they will bring good things to this family.

While I'm unemployed, I can't donate money but I will be turning one of my big hollow focal beads into a pendant for the live auction they are hosting.

If you can help this family in any way, please consider it...just follow the links in this post.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Note to Newscasters

I've expressed my disdain for the twit (formerly!!) known as Miss California before. But setting that aside, I wish to speak to the newscasters and producers of news shows out there.

Elections in Iran = News
Economy = News
Swine Flu = News
The Racist Attack on the Holocaust Museum = NEWS
Carrie Prejean - NOT NEWS!!!!!

But if you HAVE to talk about her, and apparently you do, PLEASE LEARN TO SAY HER DAMN NAME!

Prejean - French. Pronounced "PRAY john."

If I hear "PRE jean" one more time, I gonna have hit somebody!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Something to Ponder

Since I'm STILL looking for a job (and have a decent lead for the first time in ages!) and working on my writing blog, I thought I would post something to ponder.

I've been obsessed with Surviving the World - a blog of sorts - probably because I feel like I'm barely surviving and need all the hints and tips and tricks I can get! But that link makes a point very close to my heart about picking and choosing what to believe in.

It's a funny little around, you might like it there. And don't forget to scroll down past the black board to the commentary on the lesson.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Comment on No Comment

I'm sort of amazed at the comments from my previous post. Thanks for letting me know.

I probably will be back but I need to get some other things going. In the meantime, my I suggest you check out my writing blog. Some of the things I'm putting up are really humorous. I'm posting old articles as I find them and by publication date.... So I'll try to put a header up with the new stuff.

Monday, June 01, 2009

No Comment

I feel like I need to take a break. I have too much on my plate and not enough hours in my day and this blog is becoming one more thing on my to do list. It's not that I don't enjoy's that I hate not getting comments. And the bloggers I started out reading barely post any more...or if they post, they no longer comment on my blog.

I wish that comments didn't matter... but they do. Otherwise, I feel like I'm just talking to myself and I do enough of that already.

And the fact of the matter is...I desperately need a job - well I have job. I need a way to make a living. And until I can find one, I feel I should concentrate on my business blogs. At least maybe they will help me sell something, either my jewelry or writing skills.

I don't know if I can keep my fingers "shut" for long...I've grown accustomed to this venue. But maybe I will channel that energy in returning to my writer's group. At least the feedback there is instant.

In the meantime, just know that the little creekhiker and I are on the trails...