Yes, I’m Calling About the Advertised Mongoose…

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Thank you, Ravic Doc Ringlaben, friend.  I appreciate you sounding the snake alarm/warning before posting on Facebook.  Your courteous announcement allowed me a quick escape and my morning did not get off to a snaky start as it so easily could’ve. . ‘Tis the season for folks all over the place to lose their minds long enough to take close photographs of and, God forbid, even pick up snakes of all shapes, sizes and abilities to inflict harm and fuel my nightmare at the same time. . So, I’ve drastically curtailed my social media browsing, I guess until the butt crack of winter or until people decide to stop the posting, whichever comes first. Decreasing time spent on social media is almost always a good thing and is for the best . I just wish it had come about some other way.

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Now, when I do break down and visit my newsfeed, I have a protocol, if you will, set up and in place. Don’t be impressed, really, because it’s not that good; it’s just a feeble attempt to avoid a visual encounter with the creature that I know is out there –I don’t know when it’ll get me and in the same way I don’t know which of my friends will be the ones to step clean out of their right minds to hang around the scene of a serpent to take a candid shot of the thing and then thrust it right up into my field of vision without a warning. My method is as follows:  I open the app and slowly, slowly creep and crawl down my newsfeed.  As I approach an item of “news,” I do two things. 1.  I start to consciously blur my vision as much as I can while still being potentially able to discern if a tidbit is safe to look at.  And 2.  as I’m doing that, I carefully reveal just a sliver at a time of the post.  Little by little, I let myself peek until I’m satisfied that it’s not offensive.  Definitely not accurate so it could still backfire on me.  Oh, it’s insanity but it’s my insanity to deal with and I’m doing the best I can.  You people are killing me.

nervous systemIt may not be rational but it’s my reality. I stepped on a big black snake a few weeks ago. I had ventured out to give my poultry friends some kitchen scraps and was almost skipping back across the small stretch of lawn with an empty bowl. I was about to go up three wooden deck steps and as I stepped down with my left flip-flopped foot, I felt the ground slide under it and I jumped off.  I don’t know how I got back up in that house–I mean, I’m assuming I used my legs and motor skills to accomplish the task but I might have flown or even just stepped out on the same limb Shirley MacLaine used a few years ago or just walked right through a solid wall like magic.  I only know that I was sore afraid and I had some serious fight or flight stuff going on in the most primitive part of my brain. I did make it back inside and promptly went and threw up.

Ur very prettyListen, I’m not a person saying I have a phobia of kittens or mosquitos or of rain.  It’s a snake, for crying out loud…I happen to believe that my deep fear of snakes is one part genetic predisposition and the other part environmental conditioning. After all, back in the day–I mean waaaay back in the day–that fear of snakes was a useful thing to possess on account of the fact that fear makes a homosapien run fast and you wanna be “totin’ the mail” when you make the unfortunate mistake of bothering the creature–you wanna be aerodynamic, people. The environmental conditioning I received came in the form of a pond in our backyard growing up.  Snakes were a part of existence. But one particular day truly made a lasting impression on my young gray matter.  For the longest time I thought it was a nightmare that I just couldn’t forget but a recent conversation with my snake-loving, serpent-handling brother confirmed that it was a true story from the annals of terror.  An unusually large water moccasin had been killed and was ceremoniously stretched out under the carport for our young eyes to behold.  My large eyes just couldn’t take it all in, especially when the female snake began to open and close its jaws despite being super-dead. And adding horror to an already bad deal for yours truly, I received the news that this thing was very much in the family way with babies. I never recovered. The human brain is a sophisticated thing, able to store away and hang on to specific fears from long times past. It’s amazing and it sucks at the same time.

nope nopeLots of studies are being done by the best and brightest scientific minds and something interesting to note is the idea that turmeric, the spice featured in most curry powders is actually capable of preventing new fear memories from being protected and stored deep in the recesses of our brains. But the truly beautiful claim being made about turmeric is that it can actually REMOVE preexisting fear memories! What??? Listen, I can make this beautiful orange spice a daily part of my life if this is true.  I will hurry and scurry to consume curry all day long if necessary! Science!

Lord please make them stop

let's notI'm sheddingi ain't scareif you could stop scaring me

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Grandma Pink

Touching, funny tribute to an original Grandmother by a fellow blogger. Makes me miss my sweet Granny…

Danielle Dayney

My grandmother was a firecracker until the day she died.Her nails were always painted fuschia, even in her seventies. And her skin, soft and thin between each wrinkle, smelled like baby lotion and Freedent Gum. She always had a wild cherry Luden’s tucked beneath a crumpled tissue in the pocket of her pastel pink sweater, which she would stuff in my hand and wink when my mom wasn’t looking. I thought I was getting a real treat.

During her last years at the upscale assisted living facility where my mom also worked, she got her kicks stealing Oreos off the dessert cart for my sister and me. She’d swipe clothes from the laundry room with names like Fanny Mae or Matilda Jean stitched into the collar for my mom. And she insisted we take at least one roll of single ply toilet paper from her shared bathroom every time…

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The Birthday Blog

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Ten Truths for My 43rd Birthday

1. Most of us are doing the best we can…Let’s face it–most of us aren’t playing with a full deck, anyway. Throw even a little bit of physical or emotional trauma into the mix of a life–especially the sort of trauma that manifests itself in shame and self-loathing and is stigmatized by polite society–and, well, it’s a tried and true recipe for disaster straight out of  that beloved old favorite cookbook, “Recipes for Disaster from the Junior League of Podunk, Mississippi. “  

It’s just a complete wonder to me that we’re not all stumbling around in shoes without laces, catotonically doing the Thorazine shuffle in true Girl, Interrupted or One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckoo’s-Nest-style. (And if we’re playing the Official Girl Interupted Board Game, then I call Angelina Jolie because everybody knows the bad guy–or gal–role is more interesting and just plain funner to play. Think  J.R. Ewing and Southfork if you’re vintage enough to remember when Larry Hagman was the man we loved to hate.) 

By the time an individual reaches the three-quarters mark–less commonly referred to as Mile Marker .75–she’s hopefully developed a little common sense, which is not common, despite the misleading nature of its name. I’ll be the first to admit that this sensibility has been slow coming to me, but I like to think that after being burned by the same hot stove too many times to recount, I’m finally sick of it. No, really–my hands and arms are literally covered with burn marks from the oven. I already was not blessed with lovely hands and now it looks as if I’ve spent my entire adult life up to my armpits in scorching health department-hot dishwater, scouring away all the baked-on, caked-on gunk from the neverending stack of dishes in the greasiest all-nite joint you’ve ever seen. It’s a running joke between me and my kids and also a literal, living example of how not to do it, if you will. I do not want to be a Darwin Award recipient, of that I’m sure.

2. The areas that were so black and white to me in my younger years grow ever more gray with each passing year. And you know, I’m really happy about it because it’s not easy living life as a rigid person. Everything is not an absolute. It’s a relief and the lifting of a heavy burden to be able finally to acknowledge all the gray areas. And it’s not the worst thing in the world, either. Life is messy and it doesn’t all fit into neat little black and white gift boxes from White House Black Market. I can testify to this because I’ve been dealt some very untidy, messy stuff in the past year–which leads to #3.

3. I do not have it figured out yet and if it ever sounds like I do, don’t believe it….Oh, I though I was so smart for so long until I saw how stupid I was. Thinking I had all the answers led me to have crazy high expectations from life in general. It’s so laughable now that I thought I was owed something. As if my conception–and later–as day follows night–my birth–were just a little less important than the big conception over in Bethlehem–you know–the immaculate one. As if my very existence guaranteed a smooth turbulence-free ride. Well, brothers and sisters, when the proverbial excrement hit that great ceiling fan that this menopausal woman always has running at warp speed over her life, well, let’s just say that I was ill-equipped to handle it. My world caved in because I thought I knew everything but didn’t know how to accept the unexpected or roll with any kind of punches. Life had shaken me up and gotten my attention and the only absolute left in my thinking was that I knew that I knew absolutely nothing at all. 

4. Suffering is no respecter of persons…I’ve seen some hurting people this year and I’ve walked through some stuff with others, just as others have walked with me through my own pain. And I can tell you that I now know that suffering, trouble and toil come to us all, rich and poor alike. I don’t think it’s a fatalistic view–but it is realistic. Now, by no means do I have one foot in the grave and I still buy green bananas, reasonably confident that, God-willing and the creek down the road don’t do no rising overnight, I’ll still be walking this earth come daybreak. Since I’ll probably have to show up for life tomorrow and make an attempt at being some kind of successful and content, I don’t have the luxury of living on a pink fluffy cloud. At this juncture in my life it’s important for me to just be real with myself and see things as they are–not how I wish they were. 

5. Pain is the greatest motivator for change. For me it is, anyway. Because I’m stubborn and strong-willed. I can take a whole lot of pain–too much–before I surrender.

6. People can change if t want to…it’s rare but it happens.

7. I am rich no matter what’s in my billfold…eternally wealthy.

8. My children are my best friends…Four exquisite gifts from the Giver of All Good Gifts. Every year a new layer of our relationship unfolds and they rise up and call me blessed.

9. My brain still works! Considering the abuse it’s suffered this is excellent news. Yes, I still have my mojo.

10. Don’t count anybody out because God specializes in the impossible and the world loves an underdog. Root for that underdog.

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Handling Snakes

 

 

It happened again. I was sipping on my morning coffee while leisurely perusing my newsfeed on Facebook. My newsfeed is good—I mean really good. I’ve spent years selecting all the eclectic morsels that magically appear every day for my scrolling enjoyment. I try to keep the content fresh and relevant with a good balance of legitimate news and fluff. You can understand why I’m so proud. But I digress.

I was just trucking right along, doing my thing, minding my own when I stumbled on a huge, black snake—yes! I know, I know–it’s outrageous, but the truth. Friends, Facebook posts featuring traumatizing photos of serpents are a very real and ever-growing problem for me and possibly trillions of extra-sensitive, special people. I’ve taken the liberty of putting a name to this scourge—I call it Facebook Snake Abuse. And, indeed, it is abuse and I’m just one victim of many. I will be referring to the issue as FSA in this article because I don’t even like to type the S-word.

If I were Miss America, FSA would be my platform. I just want to be a voice for change, really. Let’s take a closer look at the problem, shall we? Every single morning quadrillions of unsuspecting Facebook users wake up, stretch, and pour their Folgers. They think they’re about to experience the best part of waking up and the poor souls are full of hope for the new day. “It’s gonna be a fabulous day,” they think to themselves. Or perhaps they repeat the timeless mantra of so many who are trying to convince themselves that they aren’t total failures and that their best days aren’t behind them: “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Or maybe they just go full Tony the Tiger as they start the new day: “Today’s gonna be GRRRRRRREAT!!” Sadly, they couldn’t be more wrong. Their day—and their sense of social media newsfeed safety and security– is about to go the way of the one-piece bathing suit on the Miss America broadcast. Right down the toilet. Shudder.

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We stand against FSA!!

The inner well-being of many, many, many, many people are affected by this scourge. (Statistics are difficult to find. If the job didn’t involve talking about and writing about and looking at snakes then I would take on the job myself). It’s snakes, people! Big and little snakes, good ones (yeah, right) and bad ones are showing up where the good Lord never intended them to be! As if we didn’t have enough of a snake problem in this country, foreign snakes from other lands are finding their way over here. They sneak in and take over our waterways as well as our newsfeeds. Why, just the other day I read about the Burmese python appearing in ever-increasing numbers in south Florida. From Burma. As in the southeast Asian country of Myanmar. And earlier this year I was the unsuspecting victim of a freaking anaconda in the Everglades. No, I wasn’t in the Everglades—that monster was on MY newsfeed!!

What’s being done about FSA? Nothing!!! And that brings me to the recent fateful morning I began this story with. After my eyes were accosted in such a brutal manner I decided to do the right thing. For myself and for the good of all humanity. The offending post was made by a backyard poultry website I follow and really enjoy. Who can say what causes a normal person to post a photo of a huge black snake coiled up in a nesting box filled with eggs? The chicken lady who makes the posts seemed so friendly—a hippie who looked as if she loved all mankind and would do anything to make world peace a reality. “Me and this tree-hugging, granola-loving, incense-burning, braless holdover from the 60s are about to usher in a whole new, peaceful day,” I thought to myself. I could hear us making a speech together, possibly holding a rally or lobbying congress for change. “All we are saying is give peace a chance, people!”40be0dbcb592e436b5289de404166e00

Knowing full well that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, I prepared to contact Ms. Crimson Rainbow or Cosmic River or Dakota Rain. I knew she would want to take care of my—and the world’s—problem immediately. Of course she wouldn’t mind changing the content of her daily posts for me (remember that world peace begins with one individual and that individual is me!)
In fact, she’s waiting for my feedback so she can make her page—and more importantly, my newsfeed—soooo much better. Exciting!!

I attempted to post the offensive picture in my message to her but I had to throw the phone down, run away, and come back when all the willies and the heebeegeebees had subsided–that’s a true story. Here’s the conversation:

Very Important Person (me): I am really upset about scrolling down my newsfeed and having to see that snake. A lot of people are truly terrified of snakes. Maybe one day they’ll come up with snake-blocking technology on FB.

I pressed send and waited for the moment of justice, validation, and gratitude, I hoped. (Thank God that smart woman from Mississippi let us know what we were doing and gave us the chance to apologize for the trauma we’ve caused her.) Now, this is a big moment because I know she ought to be able to take a quick glance at my profile page and quickly see that I myself am kind of a big deal—like Ron Burgundy but minus the leather-bound books and rich mahogany scent. As we look at her response please take notice of the genuine shock and horror she exhibits…

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HUMBLE SERVANT (hippie chicken lady): Oh, no! Well sadly they’re a fact of life and he is a good guy.

Wait a minute…she just said he was a good guy?!? She’s a snake person!! Oh, no! And she didn’t even mention my brilliant invention idea. I had been sure she’d call up Mark Zuckerberg and straighten everything out. He can have that snake filter app thingy installed on my device by the end of the day. He can install the rest of the free world’s tomorrow, I reasoned.

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Well, snakes may be a fact of YOUR life, sister, but not mine! I know I’m different and unique because if I had gone to gather eggs and seen what I saw in that photo I would’ve RUN and when I say “run” I mean run like FloJo, Jackie Joyner Kersee, and Hussein Bolt inhabiting the same person—a person not unlike a person like me (don’t correct my spelling of his first name. I did the best I could and Hussein didn’t pop up in the autocorrect bar because it’s a middle Eastern name and also I just don’t care if it’s misspelled).

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Yes, indeed, I would fly on up out of there, I’d be totin’ the mail and cuttin’ a trail and probably not stop until I reached the continental divide or the equator. I can’t say for certain which way I’d run a blue streak; that’s just something you don’t know until you’re faced with choosing south for the equator and New Orleans or north to Meridian and then west to Jackson and then on to Vicksburg then whichever way the GPS tells me to run to reach wherever the continental divide is. I just know that I’ll be on the move and will just have to find another flock of chickens if I’m ever able to step into a coop again, that is, after I’m diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and get out of the mental ward and stop weaving baskets.

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I’ll tell what I would NOT hang around to do—take a picture to post on Facebook or anywhere.

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I’d like to say I got over myself then but it was a difficult day. Sometimes, and by “sometimes “ I mean basically all the time (if you happen to be me) you want everybody to just do right and by “do right” I mean that I just want every man, woman, child, animal, corporation, publication, and inanimate object to do what I want. Is that such a tall order? By he end of this day my ego and serenity lay in a sad, entitled pile on the floor. I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself then got up and restarted my day at 5:00 pm. Then I sat down in the kitchen and ate my fried crow and my nasty-tasting humble pie with a lattice crusted top. The pie crust was homemade, though, tender and flaky.

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