Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We Built It

This may very well be one of the most controversial things you'll ever see posted here...
but some things need to be said.

And David Walker, Jr., a partner in the law firm at which I am employed, said it very well in an office-wide email this morning:

"You may have noticed the banner hanging on our facade this morning, which states:  “WE BUILT IT”.  You may have seen it in other businesses as well.

By way of explanation, the message is our rejection of the President’s allegations that somehow Government is responsible for individual effort and success or failure.  In particular, these are his remarks from a speech in Roanoke, Virginia:
'Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. 
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  
We reject Mr. Obama’s accusations.  We do not believe anybody other than the people who invest in this firm, work for this firm, and make the daily decisions that guide this firm are the people who built this firm.  We do not owe our success or failure to any Administration – it rests solely upon the effort, intellect, and ingenuity of the people who own and work for this business.  And we believe that is the case for almost any small business, including many small business owners who are our clients

Furthermore, the notion that government or some other state-owned entity built roads, schools, bridges, and other infrastructure on its own is in and of itself ludicrous.  Roads, schools, bridges and post offices – while in existence before our firm – were nonetheless ALSO built by other businesses and people who paid taxes.  Roads and bridges don’t just appear out of nowhere as a result of the largesse of government.  Roads and bridges are themselves constructed by businesses and taxpayers and paid for by other businesses/taxpayers who preceded us.

It is for these reasons that we reject Mr. Obama’s premise and assert that We Built This business."

Insert applause...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's Play Catch Up, Shall We?

First of all, I'm sorry. I hate it when my favorite bloggers don't blog, and, not that I'm anyone's favorite blogger, I really should do better. Of course, I'm not going to make any promises either...sorry (again...I just need to shut up already...)

First of all, there's a new gnome in town. His name is Sean. Sean has a distinctive way of speaking...all his s's come out as sh's. (If you're wondering if I've completely lost my mind, you need to refer back to the Changes in Latitudes post.) Sean came to us all the way from Colorado (thank you to those responsible). He's probably glad he got the hell out of town.You will also note that Sean is not in the tree. We figured he'd live longer if he didn't have far to fall (or be pushed).

If you look closely you'll be able to discern that there is in fact a logo on Sean's pointy little hat, and he is holding a football.This should give you some idea where our NFL loyalties lie. Although, in this part of the world there aren't very many opportunities to watch these games in high-def (stinkin' Falcons!)...but there is the internet!

We also have another new resident in the forest.

This is Eddie. At the time this was taken, Eddie was not much bigger than the cat. While his mom (we shall call her Felicia) foraged in the field by our yard, Eddie came to relax right by the fence. I managed to get within a few feet of him. Since this picture was taken, Eddie has broadened his horizons by venturing across the road, getting himself stuck in the kudzu and having to be rescued by Felicia. Never a dull moment at The Hermitage!

Progress has been made on the pond...

Ignore that blurry part at the top...my hair was, as usual, out of control. This is the upper pond. The seating area still needs to be finished....also, right behind the chairs is a rock garden planted with sedum, ice plants, columbine, a few daisy-like plants and some other creeping thing of which I do not know the name.

Stream looking down from the upper pond. You can see the lower pond at the top of the photo.

Lower pond. Note Sean's more secure position. The bug will probably be relocated. All those plants between the rocks are intentional. They have little tiny purple flowers that look like forget-me-nots...just much, much smaller. Don't ask me what they are...I have no memory for such things.

Right after downloading these pictures I stood up and saw a cardinal splashing around in the stream. Of course, when I opened the door he flew off. The birds love the stream, and we were entertained one evening watching a young Titmouse try to figure out exactly how he should go about it getting his feet wet. I now have a new mission...to catch the birds on video.

Tomorrow I will be jetting off to a far away, and much cooler (both literally and figuratively) land, to spend a few days with the other love of my life. Right now I'm all fidgety and butterfly-y...I get this way before a big trip...little known fact about me...I hate flying, not because I'm scared, but because I hate the whole process...the rules, the attitude, the being crammed into a 2 x 2 box for 5 1/2 hours. Don't get me wrong...I can't wait for the destination...it makes the journey so worthwhile. I'm sure I'll have many adventures to report...and I will.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trouble Afoot...

So, we have this tree. The gnarly old Bradford pear which I have previously referred to as the "giving tree", because of the multiple bird feeders festooning its branches.The "giving tree" split in half one fateful day, leaving a nice little ledge in which to place things...

like garden gnomes.

More specifically, Henry and Helga. A chubby little gnome couple, blissfully in love. A lovely golden, heart-shaped locket dangling from Henry's hand. I'd show you pictures, but I can't.

Now because this tree is festooned with bird feeders, it also attracts attracts squirrels.
Squirrels make my husband crazy...
Think groundhogs in Caddyshack.

There have been a lot of attacks on squirrels lately.
Attacks, which may have resulted in squirrels temporarily becoming dog toys.
Just saying...

Anyway, so I come home from work today.
Feed the dog, pick up the mail, check out the pond...
and I notice that something is awry.

Upon closer investigation I find this...

and this...

Gnome body parts strewn across the stream...some unaccounted for...Henry has a gaping hole in his abdomen and Helga's throat is MIA, along with her spleen...(if garden gnomes had such things.)

So I ask you...
is this just the result of hijinks among the wild things of the Appalachian foothills, or
is there something more sinister at work here...

like revenge?

Funny Squirrels - Funny Squirrel Picture 85 (FunnyPica.com)

Mr. B better watch his back...

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Decade...

Twenty years ago a tiny little girl decided that she was sick and tired of kickin' back in the womb, and
made her world debut three weeks ahead of schedule.

She's been setting her own timeline ever since...

Happy birthday, sweet child...

your time has only just begun...
savor the journey.

Love you the most,

Mom and Dad

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Toadpole Relocation of 2012

It would appear that the resident toads of Bruce's Hermitage were very prolific this spring; finding the calm waters of  Lower Hermitage Pond an ideal nursery for their burgeoning brood. The pond was literally teeming with tiny toadpoles...thousands, actually.

Meanwhile, as Mother Nature provided us (or rather Mr. B) with lots of prime, pond building weather, the inevitable was bound to happen. That is, someday, in the very near future, the pump in Lower Hermitage Pond would have to be turned on, which in turn would flood Upper Hermitage Pond, thereby causing Hermitage Mountain Stream to flow between the two. It is a carefully orchestrated engineering feat, which must happen at just the right time in the pond-building process to ensure the success of entire endeavor.

Two weeks ago Mr. B had a little chat with the toadpoles of Lower Hermitage pond, informing them that they had one week in which to lose their tails, grow their legs, and be on their merry way. He explained that the Pump of Death, designed to move 6,000 gallons of water per minute, essentially mulched anything and everything that got sucked into it. They were unfazed.

Meanwhile, we received several inches of rain one afternoon, and there was a great flood. Many toadpoles were washed to their deaths in the mud flats. And I'm pretty sure that my husband gave the toadpoles another week's reprieve, because he caught me rescuing those that were fortunate enough to have been washed into small pools formed by the flood.

Last weekend was a perfect weekend...sunny, 70's, light breeze. Patience had reached an end, and there was no indication that those little devils were going anywhere anytime soon. So, Mr. Mush came up with a plan that would make everyone happy.

He set up a nursery pond outside of Lower Hermitage pond, we would transfer as many of the little guys as we could catch to their very own private pond , and the pump would get turned on. Everyone wins.

 (All those little black spots are toadpoles)

So Sunday morning, armed with the pond skimming net, I embarked on Operation Toadpole Relocation. Now, you can talk yourself silly trying to 'splain to these rascals that they were going to a much happier place, a place devoid of sucking, mulching pumps, with plenty of moss to eat, plants and rocks to hide amongst, and their very own bridge to freedom once they finally decide to grow those little toady legs. But they saw it more as an impromptu game of hide and seek. Fortunately, there really weren't that many places they could hide.

Finally, the scooping was done, the pump was turned on and we held our breaths as we witnessed the magic. As the water came rushing down the stream, I looked up the hill and got the TD sign from Mr. B. Success!

Interestingly, while watching the water flow into the upper pond, we were awestruck to see several toadpoles had survived the Pump of Death. Then, equally dismayed to watch as they were swept downstream on a rocky bumpy ride back from whence they came. It would also appear that two fish survived the falls. The rest of the toadpoles that didn't get relocated or sucked to their deaths? They are happily feasting on the shallow edge of Lower Hermitage Pond.

Now comes the fun part...putting on the finishing touches!
This could take awhile.

So, I ask you...
how much do you love a man who cares enough about a bunch of baby toads to provide them with their own nursery?
I know how much I do...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"What do you wanna do?"....

"I dunno...what do you wanna do?"
 (Hint: these are vultures)

So, can you name that movie?
I'm betting on only a couple of you...
but I'd love to be proven wrong.
(It's one of my all time favorites.)

As a side note: there were about 30 of these guys perched in this and the adjacent trees...
a face only a mother could love, but still cool to see perching in groups like this.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Okay, so spring arrived here in the South about a month ago...seriously! We are in full bloom, and I drive past the following scenes twice a day, every day. Today, I decided I really needed to stop and take a picture or two before it was too late.

This is the realm of the land baron...our measly 2 acres is nothin' down here, and that is just one of the many things I love about living in this area. Seems that the attitude is "go big or go home". We don't just plant one Bradford Pear...

no, no, no...

we line both sides of our driveways with Bradford Pears, and we fill our yards with magnolias and forsythia and daffodils and azaleas and crepe myrtle and God knows what else...

but damn! It is truly a lovely way to live!

These are two different driveways, by the way...two of many just like it...

Obviously, the trees in the bottom picture are just about ready to go green.

I'm keeping my eye on one particular yard that is absolutely filled with bulbs...I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Tunes

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love music. I love music that makes you want to sing and dance and smile. Loud and proud, baby! 

I’m a classic rock girl, but I also love those old, really obscure pop hits from the 60’s, 70’s and maybe the 80’s that you would NEVER hear if you just tuned into the classic rock radio station. And, if you know me well, you know I’m something of a savant when it comes to this subject.

I come by it honestly. I grew up on the Kingston Trio, Ray Stevens, Johnnie Horton, and all the old show tunes. I think we wore out the soundtrack from The Sound of Music. The four of us and the three neighbor kids, when left to our devices while our parents went out to dinner, came up with a rather entertaining mini opera based on Snoopy and the Red Baron. And let us not forget Mitch Miller. Car rides with our parents were virtual sing-a-longs to such greats as Anne Murray, The Carpenters, and Vickie Carr. I was in high school before I learned that “Light My Fire” did not originate with Perry Como, or some such other crooner...call me embarrassed! (I missed that particular Ed Sullivan show.)

My sisters and I used to sing anything we could come up with while we were doing dishes…harmonizing in a cappella. One of our better performances was the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and, during the holidays, Adeste Fideles. When I say “better”, I don’t mean good.

As we got older my older brother contributed with the great rock bands of the 70’s…The Guess Who, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival…I could go on forever here. Then of course, there was the American Top 40, which we would tune into, sitting right next to the speaker with the microphone of our tape recorder strategically placed, pirating our own tapes.  The problem with this technology was there had to be absolute silence in the room. I was particularly miffed at my older sister when she let out several whoops and hollers while jamming to Rockin’ Robin (a la a very young Michael Jackson).

As teenagers, when the kids would all ride together, our road trips to the Lake of the Ozarks were jammin’ with the Eagles, Head East, Boston, Gary Wright.

As adults, my older sister introduced me to the “be the first to name that tune and artist” game while we were on a road trip. She did this with absolutely no introduction…just blurted out the song and artist, and informed me she had 10 points on me. Game on. She picked the wrong girl…I can kick her butt on that one without even trying. My younger sister, who spends a lot of time in her car listening to Sirius radio by virtue of the fact that she lives in a big city, calls me randomly with the phone to her car speaker when something truly “out-of-the-blue” comes on.  

My own road trip CD line up starts with Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits (first) album, which appropriately begins with “Roll Me Away” (BTW, if you don’t love Seger, you’re dead to me). Later in the lineup comes Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album just in time to beat the road wearies. All sing-out-loud songs. You get the point.

I married someone with a similar background, with the exception that he really does have some singing talent. So, when I told him that I wanted to fill my i-Pod with those really great, really obscure songs, he became an enabler. We actually stayed up until 2 am one Saturday morning, playing around on i-Tunes and making a list…a very long list. The great thing is he has 11 years on me, so he came up with a lot of things I had forgotten about. i-Tunes enables you, too, because they make suggestions based on your searches. 

Sooo, I was thrilled when he presented me with a generous i-Tunes gift card last week. I burned through that puppy in less than an hour. And now, I have the greatest playlist ever!

The problem is the list is still fairly long and I have no idea how many songs my i-Pod will hold. Right now I’m close to 350 songs (no, I have not spent this much on i-Tunes…most of my CD collection is on there, too), and it will be a very sad day indeed if I’m ever forced to delete songs to make room for more. It will be like trying to choose between your children.

On that note (pun intended), feel free to post your own suggestions…

ETA: I should, in all fairness, let you know that a good part of my really fabulous playlist includes songs from our daughter...she comes by it honestly...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For Chris...

Yesterday morning I woke up to a beautiful spring day. The birds were singing, and the sun was shining, and the daffodils were blooming, and all was right with the world. That is, all was right with my world.

Until I turned on my phone … and it immediately beeped with a devastating message from my sister letting me know that someone very dear to us lost her battle with cancer very early Saturday morning.

And then the sun seemed too bright, the birds seemed too loud, the world was too happy and full of itself. How can this be when this lovely woman, who guided so many young lives, who was such a delight to be around, is suddenly gone? How can this be when two happy, beautiful young women have lost their mother, a husband his sweetheart, a brother his only sibling, a father his only daughter?

My heart breaks for this family. I can’t bear to imagine their sadness and grief, the loss of all their tomorrows with her…of all the promises of joys to be shared. 
No, all is not right with their world, and I pray that, someday, it will be right again.

What comes rushing at me now, is the reminder that life is short and fleeting. 
That in the blink of an eye there are no more tomorrows to make things right, to do things differently.

Let us be gentle to the people we love.
Let us be forgiving of the people we love.
Let us reach out to the people we love, instead of waiting for them to reach out to us…
Because, that “someday” may never come.
As my baby sister so eloquently told me, “Our real epitaph isn't words carved on a stone, it's memories carved on the hearts of the ones we love.”   

Chris, you will live on in the hearts of the many lives you touched.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming for you.

Rest in peace…
Rest in peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Damn You, Angry Birds!

Last July, I finally decided to step into the right decade and upgrade my cell phone. This was precipitated only because I had to change cell providers, and this was because my cell provider didn’t extend to the wilds of northwest Georgia. I actually had not intended to get an iPhone, because, I surely didn’t need all that nonsense on my phone, BUT AT&T gave me a rockin’ deal on one, and after looking at it and determining how totally cool it really was, I caved.

Soooo, around Christmas I decided that it may be time to actually set the phone up to do what it was intended to do. That is, play music and games, right? Oh, and all those really cool apps, too. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have done it even then if I hadn’t received an iTunes gift card for Christmas.

First I checked out the free games and downloaded Jetpack, which is really kind of fun in a crash and burn sort of way. One really needs to be feeling energetic in order to play this, though. The other free one was a modernized version of Atari’s Pong, which is also fun if you’re looking for something less strategic.

Then, on a whim, I decided to burn 99 cents of my gift card on Angry Birds. Hello! There is something quite charming about those little birds, each with their own special powers, jumping and doing backflips, as they wait their turn to catapult to their deaths in order to save their eggs from the evil green pigs. I hate to admit this, but it took me a long time to figure out that those creatures were actually pigs. (Hanging head in shame.)

Well, it didn’t take long to fall under the Angry Birds spell. And, like an addict, I used every free moment to satisfy my AB craving. The only thing that kept me in check was that the game blazes through battery life. I also started noticing that my neck and shoulders were starting to hurt. Seriously, I was only using my fingers, so what gives here? Then I realized that every time I sling-shotted one of those birds I would tense up until the moment of impact in anticipation of death and destruction.

Then, after repeated attempts, successfully destroying pigs through what seems to be a gazillion levels, AB added insult to injury, taunting me with the ol’, “Congratulations, you made it, but you’re just not good enough, because you didn’t get the coveted three stars on every level. Go back and try again, you big loser!” Grrr. But, being defiant and strong-willed I said, “To hell with you, I don’t need a stinkin’ three stars to make me feel superior about laying waste to a bunch of smirking green pigs and sacrificing a bunch of innocents birds in the process.”

So, I carried on and finally made it through every level of every section. Done, finished…I can get on with my life, right? But that taunt was rattling around in my subconscious…I succumbed. Again, hanging my head in shame, but I now have the coveted three stars in every level of Poached Eggs. One down, six more to go. I need a break!

Damn you Angry Birds and your vile three star Kool-Aid!

(Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that I now have 269 songs on my iPhone's iPod and one book on my iPhone's iBook app…just call me i-Girl!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Apparently, I Married the Virus Fairy….

Okay, okay, okay….I know it’s been awhile; and I’ve been told by more than one person (my husband included) that it was time for another post. In my defense all I can say is that it is extremely hard to be creative with a head full of snot. Sorry to be so graphic, but SERIOUSLY….

And, yes, it really has been a virtual viral smorgasbord around here since that last post when I was feeling so strong and healthy. And it’s all Mr. B’s fault.

One day after arriving back home (Thanksgiving weekend) after very brave road trip across the country with two teenagers and a not small dog, he started sniffing, and snorting, and hacking. I was all over it with Air Born, high doses of vitamins, and pseudoephedrine…which is my personal viral-busting elixir. But, oh no, not this time…2 days later I sound like a drag queen and my head is swimming in a green fog …which is absolutely perfect, because…I was two days into a NEW JOB.  A chapped nose, glassy eyes and phlegmy cough does not make a great impression…people tend to avoid you.

Oh, and speaking of making an impression…3 days into the new job, I displayed my grace and agility by rolling my ankle as I hit the last stair, landing on my butt with my feet in the air in front of an audience of co-workers. As they stood staring down at me, I was sending up the prayerful litany, “please, Dear God, please don’t let it be broken”. It wasn’t, but it’s still tender, and all the twisting, turning, and rolling also tweaked the ball of my foot, AND I managed to pull the muscle in my right thigh.

And, did I mention my workspace is located on the third floor of a very old bank building that has no elevator? Yeah, I spent a lot of time bracing myself against the wall as I made my way up and down the stairs. Cute.

So about a dozen boxes of tissues, a warehouse of cold medicine and Clorox wipes later, we finally begin to feel somewhat human again, and it’s the week before Christmas.

AND, two days after arriving back home from a quick Christmas weekend trip to Missouri, guess who starts sniffing and snorting and hacking again? I was in the kitchen when I heard him, and I almost lobbed a box of Kleenex at his head. And two days later? Yeah…then I yelled at him and went to bed.

We’re starting to feel somewhat better again, but guess who leaves on a business trip tomorrow, and guess who spent a ridiculous amount of money on immunity-boosting, high-powered his and her supplements today?  And guess who will be taking HIS high-powered, immunity-boosting supplements with him on this business trip, along w/ strict instructions to take them faithfully twice a day or the Kleenex-box-to-the-head threat will become a reality?

We will survive…
Or die trying.