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Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Mile a Minute

I have been so busy this week, I have met myself coming and going.

It has gotten warmed up here to the 50's, but all that's going to shit tonight when it drops and we get more snow.  Fun times.

I have been studying for a final, so that's where I have been.  Got to finish this degree so I never have to take another college class again.  It's hard for me to make my stepkid study when I am hunched over a laptop, chain smoking and bitching about how stupid it is I have to relearn all this, and that I will never use it.  I am a great role model for teenagers, let me tell you.

My husband has been working some jobs out of town, and today I got up, worked out (and now I feel like I am 80 because I musta pulled something in my side, picked the house up, and headed into work for a few hours in an attempt to combat the mountain of work.

Then I went to Walmart, because it's the only place between here and work, to get vodka.  What a mistake.  Jesus, if I ever get the itch to procreate, I will just go to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon.  My ovaries literally jumped out of my body and ran off a cliff.

Anyways, if you don't see me much, it's because I'm learning how to be a nurse.  I've only been one for like 10 years, but I have to have more letters behind my name to continue doing what I have been doing the last 6.  I blame O'bama.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Best Wife Ever

It's a secret, but as an anniversary present I just got my babe tickets to the Motley Crue concert in July.  Even if it cost the same price as a small country, hopefully it will be worth it.  He does for everyone but himself all the time.  And, come on, it's fricking Motley Crue.  Best. Wife. Ever.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why A Bunch of Broads Shouldn't Work Together (Alternate Title: Why I Am So Pissed Off)

I have been in health care since I was 15, was a pharmacy tech for 4 years, and have been a nurse since I was 20.  That's almost a decade and a half of wonder why in the name of all that's holy would I choose this?  Don't get me wrong, I love my job.  I really, really do. And I kick ass at it.  But I am telling you what all this experience has taught me:  Women can't work together, and therefore, can't run shit.

Please don't start with feminist tirades, because frankly, they fall short.  I think we should be able to vote and own property and all that jazz, but let me tell you, anyone barking for a female president is an idiot.

Let me offer some evidence.

Anyone who has any experience in health care, let along the dreaded long-term care, is a freaking liar if they don't tell you it's a damn snake pit.  The worst work environment I have ever been witnessed to, was an estrogen-driven cluster fuck they called administration.  Everybody ragged on everybody, and everyone ragged at the same time.  I seen more employees cry at my short stint in that hell hole then I saw when I did end of life care.

Why?  Because women are the most self-conscious people in the world.  They don't like it if you offer constructive criticism, because they think you are criticizing them.  You ask them to help with something, you are nagging. You don't blow sunshine up their asses, you aren't being supportive. They tear each other up.  Wild animals have not inflicted the kind of shit on their young in the history of the world, that woman do to each other in the workplace.  And last, but not least, they spend too much time picking everything everyone says apart, and whispering about it behind closed doors.

Have I been guilty of this in the past?  Yes, I was once an insecure 15-year-old.  But I am a grown woman now.  I could care less what anyone else looks like, because I am married, am a good husband ain't going no where.  I've never been a person who needs to feel like the prettiest, but I can tell you I have been the one with the most commonsense more often than not.  I learned at my first job as a nurse, no good comes from befriending the natives of the nursing home.  Keep your head down, for God's sake don't offer any constructive criticism (you are only going to be targeted or make more work for yourself), and don't talk to anyone unless it directly relates to the job you have to do.

My favorite expression, and the one that I inevitably repeat to my employees at least once a week is this: Stay in your lane! HONK! HONK!  That means, if you are worried about what you are doing, then you don't have time to worry what everyone else is not doing.

Most recently, having a lot of experience, I offered some suggestions.  You know what it got me? A pain in the ass.

Someone should've shouted at me:


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spring is Coming!

The forecast after Friday: Increasing temps!  50 degree weather all next week.  Folks, I hope this isn't the usual Indiana trick.  You know, it warms up mid-February, then 2 weeks later we have 2 inches of ice?

Lord don't let it be that.
Wood has all kinds of deadly peppers started in this kitchen.  I say deadly because you can't even buy pepper plants around here this hot.  He makes all kinds of good stuff: his own aged hot sauce, more salsa than you can even fathom, bloody Mary mix, hot pepper seasoning, and habanero relish.  I think he may can more than I do.

I will probably prune the apple trees this weekend before it warms up, and maybe go ahead and get some deer repellent around them and the peach and persimmon trees.

I can't wait until summer!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Don't Want to, But I sure as Hell Can't Keep This Up

I had big plans for this little stay-cay, and now I am thisclose to going crazy.  I haven't accomplished anything, I have watched all the backlogged episodes of anything worth watching on my DVR, and there is NOTHING on TV.  It's nasty out, and although I am seriously dreading the chaos that will be work this week after my little vacation,  I can't stay home any longer.

I'm losing my freaking mind, here.

I watched 4 weeks worth of Downton Abbey episodes today.  Do you know what that does to a person?  I think I have a bit of a British accent now.

I have scavenged Amazon and can't find anything I want to read that I haven't already read.

I refuse to clean any more of this house.

It's too cold to work outside.

I'm not bored enough to cross-stitch.

I've already got all my outfits ready for the entire work week.  

This is the time of year where I start to lose my ever-lovin mind.  It's sunny, but subzero.  I can't start any plants, too far out.  My mind can't stay focused for anything that requires an attention span longer than about 30 seconds, so that takes all kinds of things off my to-do list.

So, my friends, I leave you with this little nugget.  :)  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Farmer's: TWD Style

Whatever I am eating looks DELICIOUS!!

Petey, my furbaby, makes a pensive-looking lil Zombie

I am actually frightened at how scary he looks...hence, the collar

Mamaw Drops Emotional Grenades, Then Goes To Bob Evans

This is the phone conversation I had with my favorite person this morning, MEMAW:

(phone rings while I am in bathroom)


(Loving husband proceeds to shove ringing iPhone under bathroom door)

ME:  Hello?

Memaw:  Well, hello!  Happy Birthday, Amanda! (No one calls me Amanda in my family, but everyone else calls me Mandy.  My niece calls me Aunt Manna. That's right, pouring from the Heavens and offering sustenance.  You are welcome, Rural Indiana.)

ME:  Thanks Memaw. Whatcha up to today?

Memaw: Hating winter, gosh it'll just never end.  Yesterday was your uncle's birthday!  And next month is mine and your aunt's!

ME: I didn't know his birthday was yesterday...hmmm..

Memaw: Yep, and me and your Papaw brought you and your mother home from the hospital because your father (read: sperm donor) wasn't around that week!  Well your uncle is taking me to Bob Evans, have a good birthday!


(Calls mom)

ME: Hey, um, Memaw just called me and quickly told me the sperm donor wasn't around the week of my birth...

Momma:  Jesus, yes he was, he had to WORK.  He was there, but he had to WORK that day.

ME: Vodka ain't free.

Momma proceeds to sing a half-hearted rendition of happy birthday to me.

Momma: Aren't you excited to be 90 and be able to say whatever, then cut the hell out and go eat at Bob Evans?

ME:  I am excited to be 29 and say whatever I want, then cut the hell out and drink bourbon.

Momma: Ah, kid.  See you at noon.

I FREAKING love my family.  

My new tattoo I got for my birthday

P.S- I swear that's a joke.  I have never lived in a trailer, nor do I think people who live in trailers should be ashamed.  I once lived in a house that, when my mom was getting ready to go to a funeral in high heels, them SOB spikes went through the floor.
P.S.S- I have one tattoo.
P.S.S.S- I did get it when I was 15.  SO I have some street cred.  Too bad my dad's a tattoo artist and did it.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

A List, Because I'm Very Bored and My Husband is Right, But Don't Tell That To Him

1.  For years I have been hounding Wood to let me quit my job and stay the hell home.
What the HELL was I thinking.  I always say, "Well if I didn't have to work, shit would get done around here!"  Ha! Very funny, Mandy.  Been off two days and what have you done?
-3 loads of laundry
-swept the floors (need swept again)
-loaded the furnace like 6 times (6 times in like 8 years?  Can't even count that.)
-smoked 2 packs of Marlboros
-started one slightly slutty paranormal book that keeps me yelling at the Kindle, "Shoot that MF'er!  He's a DEMON, you whore!", at which point my husband knocks on the bathroom door and asks me if I might require a spoon. (Apparently any sounds of distress provoke Wood into trying to help the poor constipated bastard in the john, i.e., a spoon.)
-ate an entire family size bag of Chex Mix
-made a peanut butter pie and some dog treats
-wasted like, I don't know, 8 hours on Blogger laughing out loud in an empty house like a crazy person
-made calls to the NCAAP and the Rev. Al Sharpton after I was a victim of racism, and it really hurt my chicken-shit feelings.
-texted Wood and told him to pick up whipping cream and milk due to aforementioned clusterf&$^
-I cut off my hair
-successfully drank enough Tom Collins while watching Sister Wives that I'm pretty sure Christine hates me now, but that broad hates herself.
-cuddled with my furbaby Petey and told him that he didn't need to worry, Mommy would protect him and direct the zombies to her stepchildren first.

2.  Tomorrow I turn 29.  Jesus, does everyone feel this way.  I woke up and have freaking "fine lines and wrinkles", I found not one, but TWO damn gray hairs yesterday.  And my knee feels arthritic.  If this is 29, I'm punching 30 right in the kisser.

3.  Don't you hate it when you are home, and your husband is at work and you start feeling all domestic?  I should have thought this little vay-cay out.  He's at work, I'm at home= I have to cook dinner.  This morning before my coffee high wore off I promised him fried chicken, homemade biscuits, gravy and greens.  Now its almost 4 o'clock and he'll be home in like thirty minutes, and the only thing I have going for me is a good hair day.  I don't want to fry no chicken!  That was another woman who said that...

an energetic 28-year-old.

Maybe it's not too late to convince him to pick up some Gin and some tenderloins from the pub?

I Was the Victim of Racism Today

I had to go to the grocery this morning in -11 below weather after taking my stepson to school.  -11 is painful.  Having to go check the furnace and make sure the son of a bitch is still going so we don't freeze...painful.  

I was already in a foul mood due to the miserableness of the cold when I slid to the grocery store.  I had forgotten my list in the rush to corral a 17-year-old out the door so he wouldn't be late.  I have to have a list.  It's too far to come back if I forget something.

So, at 9 am I am wandering through the store, which was pretty empty surprisingly.  My mood started to improve, after all, nothing gets me as excited as an empty grocery store these days.  People are rude, they just stand in the middle of the aisles, it's awful.  I'm sure that's what Hell will be like for me.  People who are in my way, with no sense of purpose.

Halfway through the store, I was patting myself on the back for remembering everything on my list, when it all goes to shit.

Five freakin' kids, with NO coats, mittens, hats OR manners, pillaging the store.  I tried to avoid them, I really did.  I have no filter sometimes, and it's a good thing my husband or dad is almost always around, because sometimes this mouth writes checks it's ass can't cash.

All I wanted was some heavy whipping cream, but these kids were running circles around the cart and whoopin' and hollerin' and I was just like, "Dear God, get me out of here and home before I snatch one of these kids up and lock them in the cooler."

So I stood there patiently, waiting for the woman on her cell phone with 5 terrible miniature people to get the hell out finish perusing and move her lard ass cart so I could buy her damn groceries and mine get some milk. 

I waited...

I waited...

At some point I must have huffed.

This woman takes her bedazzled (with a pot leaf, I might add) phone away from her ear, looks me dead in the eyes...

"What the $@^ you lookin' at whitey!"

Then this lovely woman proceeds to tell whoever is on the other end of her free phone, 

"This cracker-ass mother%&#*& standin' her behind me like I ain't gotta right to look at my choices."

Now, I have not been racist in my life.  My best friend is married to a very nice man, and they have two beautiful children, but so help me God.

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, and prayed to God this woman wasn't packing any kind of weapon...

"Well, this cracker-ass mother%$&#* works every day so you can get your little blue card and pay for your choices!"

She didn't have a damn thing to say, because it is my damn money going to that little blue card so she can by Totino's pizza and Mt. Dew for her five kids.

I wish to God they would load them damn cards up with a tubal ligation at the first of every month.

Blogger Sucks!

Log in today, and all the blogs I follow are gone!  I follow like 30 blogs!  I swear, Google+ has been the ruin of Blogger.  Hopefully, this gets sorted out rather quickly, but I was wanting to know if anyone else has had this problem?

Anywho, got a lot to do today, and will post later.

It's colder than hell here in Indiana.  Don't throw your Bibles at me, I know what the Good Book says, but I'm fairly certain I'm more scared of the cold than the heat.  


I only partially gave my husband a heart attack yesterday after chopping off my hair.  But let me tell ya, it's so nice not being bogged down by two tons of hair.  So nice!  And I got to catch up with my best friend of almost 25 years AND run into Walmart to get Vodka.  We are classy broads.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

This Morning

I am sitting at my table, enjoying my view of God's County, which is currently a frozen tundra.  But I can handle it today, because I don't have to leave my house for the next five days.  That makes me unspeakably happy. We had a "winter storm" and Woody had to take and pick me up from work, so he spent no less that about five hours chauffeuring me around.

My View.  Pretty until you drive 54 miles to work and it -1245 degrees out.

It's been a long two weeks at work, and I'm glad I had put in for some time off because I have been running on steam for the last week.  And since my birthday and The Walking Dead come back all in the same weekend, seemed like a good idea.

The only for sure plans I have are to maybe brave going to get fabric to finish Sugarbean's (my niece) quilt.  I have been putting it off now long enough.  It keeps me up at night.  I am terrified of trying to quilt that behemoth on the sewing machine, because I have never done it.  And when I say terrified, I mean not able to sleep over it and having various stomach complaints.  But finish it I must.  I may need a drink for this.

I have pretty much been bombarding Sugarbean with Aunt Mandy's homemade stuff.  I got a new sewing machine for Christmas, and frankly, the fact it does everything scares me at times.  I figure before I know it, she won't want to wear the pretties Aunt Mandy makes her, so I better enjoy it while I can.  She's the only little baby I have to spoil, and kids grow up so fast.  At 13 now they are like 21.  I told my mom we should just homeschool her or maybe put her in a bubble, but I don't think I'm making a compelling argument at this point.  If it ever isn't winter again, I also need to finish the play house project I started for her.  I bought a hideous Little Tykes plastic Victorian playhouse that I am redoing (read: spray painting the shit out of)  I got near the end and was about to prime the sucker when winter hit at the beginning of October, so none of the paint got sealed, and now has to be redone.  So that gets to be redone the first sign of spring.  I will say this, we drove an hour to get the sucker and Wood wasn't listening to me thought it was heavy enough to not fly out of the bed of the truck.  Five minutes later, the thing flew out of the bed of the truck and smashed on the highway.  Darn playhouse was still intact with only a few minor scuffs.

Wood modeling the !&$% hat my dad wanted.

I also finished the Hat of Doom my dad wanted.  I can crochet and all, but this darn hat pattern was cursed.  It's a whole lot of counting that effing don't have the patience for took forever, and I tore the whole think out to the starting chain at least 5 times.  It didn't help matters that my dad wanted a camo hat, so we had to look around Hobby Lobby for an hour to find something suitable.  All we found close was yarn made from bamboo that is a bitch environmentally sustainable and made me want to punch Al Gore and Obama in the throat.

Me and Sugarbean a few months ago.  Hair is much longer and much more unruly.

I also am cutting my hair (that is now to my butt) because Wood complains about water and shower length.  Which is fine, it takes forever to wash a foot and a half of hair.  He likes long hair, I grew long hair.  He likes shorter showers, this hair likes being shorter.  I haven't actually come right out and told him I'm lopping it off, but I'm sure he'll notice.

I got some laundry, some housecleaning, and some dog biscuits to make.  But right now, I really don't want to do any of it.  I'd like to pretend that I have nothing to do and curl up on the couch with my little beeby love.  He gets me.

We are also trying not to use anymore natural gas or propane than we have to because there is a "shortage".  Funny how there is also a shortage on salt, so they aren't even treating I70 or I65 or any other godforsaken interstate.  (We live like 30 minutes from the nearest interstate, but both me and mom require the interstate to get to work).  Just ridiculous.  We are burning through wood faster than the National Deficit is increasing.

What does Wood say about this?  "It's all damn Obama's fault."

3 More Days, LottaJoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Backwoods Referendum

Oh, the Hoosier state.  How you baffle me by showing you are what the rest of the country thinks you are, and Exhibit A is HJR-3.  For those of you who don't know, the fine politicians of my state have decided that when I vote next November, I will have to decide how I feel about HJR-3, because they have used their brilliant minds to decide that this little gem should have it's place in our state constitution.

HJR-3 is a proposed ban on gay marriage in God's Country, otherwise known as Indiana.  I call this referendum, the Backwoods Referendum or the Bigot Law.

Maybe this hits me closer to home than most, as I have spent my entire life around homosexuals.  My first grade brontosaurus costume for my elementary school play was fashioned by a drag queen, that to this day, when I put on a bathing suit, I curse that sorry son of a bitch for making a better woman than I do.

My niece.  A product of engineered fertility and a true gift of God.  I shudder to think of her growing up here, a place where we have decided to not allow her mom the same rights as everyone else,  ratifying ignorance into our constitution.

I'm not saying this from a religious point of view, I could care less.  Let people marry who they want to marry!  We let the President have near unlimited power and bug an entire country, so in the big scheme of things, I fail to see how this is what we worry about and pay politicians to argue.  Why don't they spend that time on a balanced budget?

While pondering the proposed Bigot Law, I recalled a time two years ago, when we had finally convinced Mamaw and Papaw to leave their beloved farm, and move into the brick ranch house of Mamaw's dreams.  The time had come where the house was too much, and the closer they were to us, the more support we could provide to Mamaw and to my Papaw whose progressive dementia and cardiac issues were just progressing much too fast.

On a scorching July morning, when the humidity was already at that Indiana point that three seconds outside leaves you soaking with sweat and gasping for air, we encountered a conundrum.

Months of preparation had went into this move, and now, here we are, semi in the lane (Indiana word for drive-way), and an 800-pound safe my grandparents were damned and determined to take with them.

Keep in mind, my mom is the youngest of five children at 54 years old, her three brothers, as you can imagine, aren't the spitting image of male strength at any rate.  My husband was also there helping out, as was my sister and her partner Christy.

At one point, someone said that the damn thing was too heavy, and they were just going to have to leave the safe for the estate sale.  Now, my papaw had busted his ass to pay for the farm, provide for everyone, and now he was leaving the home he swore he'd live in til the day he died, and you are going to tell him he can't have the damn safe?  My husband looked at me and knew the proverbial feces was about to hit the oscillating wings.

After watching these men struggle for about twenty minutes, complaining about future hernia repairs that would be needed, I had had enough.

"All of you, get out of my damn way!"

They continued pondering how best to move the safe from it's now precarious position on the ramp to the back of the semi, because women, especially one of twenty-something intelligence, should know their place and be ignored.

"Hey, I said MOVE!"

They all look at me, aghast at my unchristian outburst.

"Christy," I said, "Go get me that orange horse blanket out of the shed."

At this point, my uncle who is a preacher, decided that since my husband was going to just stand beside my Papaw's wheelchair with an amused look on his face, he should step in.

"Now, Amanda, if us men can't move it, then you aren't gonna be strong en-"

"Seriously? SERIOUSLY!  Unlike you dumbasses, I went to college and have an above-average understanding of the laws of physics, so back the hell up!"

At this point, Christy just hands me the blanket and a look that tells me we are all in. Meaning that if I don't magically get this 800-pound safe moved using just my 140 pounds and her 150 pounds, I will get my bad-ass card revoked, especially when the both of us know that these folks pray for my soul, because of my affection for beer and four-letter words, and for Christy and my sister, because they are gay.  And admit it, we all know that people choose to be gay, the same way we choose our eye color at birth. Cough, cough.

I can't afford to have my bad-ass card revoked, and I like proving points to ignorant fucks.  (See? Four-letter words are going to cast me into the Fires of Hell.)

So Christy and I proceed to put the blanket behind the safe, roll the safe back onto it's side and onto the horse blanket, and create a sled that enables me to pull and her to push, bringing the safe into the trailer.

I turn around, sweaty, in need of a beer, and see no less than seven sets of eyes on me, no one saying a damn word.

My mom is looking at me like I just won a Nobel Prize.

All three uncles are looking at me in a state of shock with a hint of disgust.

Christy is looking at me like she's going to gold plate my bad ass card.

The last set of eyes I see are my husband and Papaw.  Papaw is sitting in his wheelchair, looking at me with tears unshed and and a shit-eating grin.  Wood looks down at him, hand on his shoulder, and says, "Don't ya hate it that she's so damn smart?" and chuckles.  Papaw just keeps looking at me for a second, looks down at his lap, face-splitting grin apparent, and says, "No. but I can name a few men that do!" and pats my husband's hand on his shoulder.

I high-five Christy and say, "Not bad for a dyke and weak woman, huh?"

My bad ass card went solid platinum.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I started reading Treadwell by Dana Joy Wyzard at 6:30 last night, and finished at 11:30 because I couldn't put the damn book down.  The Bourne Identity was on for the first time in my life, and I didn't even watch it.

As a Hoosier, I have a tender spot in my heart for this god-forsaken state that has schizophrenic weather.  When I can read about it through someone else's eyes, I can never resist seeing it through a different perspective, a different set of circumstances.

I have 78 pages of books on my Kindle account, and have read them all.  I have read all the greats, I have read Slaughter House 5, and I have read Twilight.  I will read anything that gets me interested in the characters, or that makes me feel like I know them, can relate to them.

This is one of those books.

I am not a book critic, I usually just annoy people until I convince them just to read whatever I am telling them, saying, "You HAVE to read this!"

This is one of those books.

The book takes place in a small town in Southern Indiana, setting the stage for Nelda.  I immediately was attached to Nelda, because Nelda is my future.  Independent, stubborn, fiercely loyal, and looks older than what she is.  I love it when the heroine of the story is described as a real person.  Too often, authors write of women saying something to the effect of main character doesn't realize she's beautiful in nontraditional way, blah blah blah.  Here in the real world (Indiana) women age, damn it.  I like that Nelda was a sixty-something woman who didn't give a shit if she looked a day over seventy.  These are the kinda women we should want our daughters to read about, women that embrace their age as experience, who can take care of themselves, and for the love of God, know how to load a shotgun.  Wosie, Nelda's best friend, a spit-fire who takes care of her business, as well as making a stand for social justice of minorities.  One of my favorite parts of the book is the introduction of Wosie, an entrepreneur of a small town bait-n-tackle/grocery/hair salon, and her firm stance in taking on two African American men in an all-white town.

As Wyzard opens the book, I swear I could see exactly what she was describing, from Gladys' home to Nelda's sparkling clean house.  When Nelda breaks the window to her friends house, I swear I hear the window break.  Even as the character focus shifts, I never felt whiplash, and most importantly, I have a tendency to skip certain character's points of view in a story, feeling like some are boring or not as well written.  I never skipped a page.

The book opens up with the death of Nelda's friend, in the hills of Southern Indiana.  Meanwhile, south of the River, (for ya'll not familiar with geographical terms such as 'south of the river', that would be the Ohio River, south of which lies Kentucky) a storm is a brewin.  We meet young Laura, who has just graduated from high school, whose mother marries a douchebag (sorry, it's true) with a son of his own.  Not only are these men both abusive type-A assholes, they are also involved in the complicated drug cartel and web of meth labs that has become my dear state, and those of my southern neighbors.  After killing Laura's mother, spinning the story, then heading North, they stop at the small town of Treadwell, where their cousin is a cop.  Meanwhile, Laura is on her own, not knowing where she is going to go, or what to do, as her mother is now murdered, and due to the expansive network of drugs and deceit, is a smart enough girl to know that her life is in jeopardy, does the only thing she can think to do: keep running.  Nelda, takes in Laura, learns of what the girl was running from, and provides sanctuary for her, all the while trying to hide her identity.  The town's holy-roller minister, however, throws a kink in Nelda's plans to shelter Laura, when he stops their vehicle by standing in the road, preaching fire and damnation, catching the ire of Maylene, who fancies herself to be the preacher's wife one day.

I can't continue to give you a play-by-play of this story, because I could sit here all day and talk about this book.  What I want you to do is go read the book.  I'd never steer you wrong when it comes to books.

This book is in my top 10 now.  It will be a book that I revisit often, because I feel like Nelda and Wosie and Haverly and Laura are my kin, and because the book has a lot of humor.  The characters are people you can relate to, and I think Wyzard set the scene so if you aren't from Indiana, you'll see that we take up for each other,  that the hills and hollers that gently roll are full of folks that may not talk like you do, but would have your back if you got in a pickle.

Thanks for writing this book, Dana.  I really can't say enough about it, and I hope that it isn't the last novel of yours I'll get to read.  I wrote, and rewrote this post, wanting to do this book justice, but in the end, I had to just stop. This is a book something blogpost could never do justice, or maybe I'm incapable of recommending books beyond just telling folks to trust me, and for that, I apologize.

You can purchase the book at Amazon, and you can visit Dana's blog here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My First Love

...Not that kinda first love...that bastard isn't worth the electricity to run my laptop for the amount of time it would take to write ya'll a short novella about that train wreck.

Folks, my first love...was is reading.

I was taught to read around three and a half, by an overzealous mother already forging the path to not "end up like her."  (By the way, although the circuitous route through which she became the person she is today sucked, like, majorly, she is one of the most bad-ass people I know.)  I was blessed as a child, not only to have a mother who insisted I read and would stop chores to watch The Reading Rainbow with me on PBS, but to also have two sets of grandparents that were in love with the written word.  One set owned not only an entire five sets of encyclopedias, but these books (for the life of me, CAN NOT remember what they were) that were full of interesting places and animals all over the world, and entire bedroom full of half-price romance novels (complete with half-naked men and women in Gone with the Wind fashion) with an occasional Clive Cussler novel thrown in the mix.  My other set had literally every single National Geographic since 1945, and a gigantic collection of Reader's Digest and various religious books.  I read all of these (with the exception of the smut in the aforementioned bedroom, but don't worry, I gave in to that sin years later.) at least twice.

My sperm donor, who thought I was a fat ass that was too lazy and obviously too damn stupid to actually be sitting on our Goodwill loveseat reading, once grabbed a book from me, and threw it across the living room.  Even at six years old, I had the makings of a grand champion smart ass, because I quoted to him from Education of a Wandering Man, "A book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think."  Baffled, he stalked out of the house, and later had to be retrieved from a local bar.  (Side note: That damn Louis L'amour got me sent to the Principal's office in first grade.  We had "quiet reading time", and I broke out The Walking Drum that I had pilfered from the sperm donors' collection stacked by his recliner the night before.  The old bag snatched it up, and proceeded to drag (not a joke) me to the Principal's office.  I remember sitting there thinking what in God's good green earth is going on?  Then my mom came through the door, face as purple as a beet, and told me to follow her, where she proceeded to march right in the Principal's office, grab him by the tie and pull him across the desk, and shout (I'm not joking), "What in the HELL is the meaning of this!"  When he recovered himself, he explained that I was found to "make-up" books I had read, and that it was impossible that I could have any comprehension of what I was reading at such a tender age, and that the subject matter was inappropriate for a first-grader.  Two weeks later, after going to a psychiatrist who my mom could not afford along with the results of a college-level reading comprehension test & two I.Q. tests, I was out of the old bag's class and into a new one.)

Later in life, around age 10, I began to dread summer.  No way to use the school library, my mom worked too late to take me to the regular library, so I did a sweep of the house for reading material.  Lo and behold, in cardboard storage boxes tucked under my mom's bed, was book after book of V.C. Andrews.  Flowers in the Attic...need I say more?  Eventually, I got busted reading them, argued my case, and it was decided I could read the books, but I had to discuss the whole entire book with my mom before moving forward.

Shortly after my summer of V.C. Andrew's incest and smut, we moved to town and the first thing I did was get a library card.  Growing up, on more than seven occasions, I either was "grounded" or "sick" at times, just to finish a book that had gotten too good to waste hours doing anything but finishing it.  I have also been known to call in sick and work on paint-by-numbers, but that's another ramble for another day.

So, that being said, I have read some excellent books so far this year.  Be forewarned, I'm not an elitist reader.  I will read dang near anything that moves me.

First book:  Salvage Man by Kurt Meyer. (Also has an awesome blog, The Hoosier Contrarian.)  I bought this book at 10 am on a Sunday, and was crying on my couch, Kindle in hand, by 5 pm.  Mr. Meyer was my high school newspaper teacher, and I'll admit, I bought it because I felt obligated to. (His first novel, Stardust, is easily in my top 10.)  First mistake.  I'm nervous to tell you what I feel this book is about, because I want you to read it that bad.  I've already made four people read it, and no one has had a dry eye or anything but love for this book.  It's about a man who isn't at the top of his game, trying to survive in a changing world, with changing family dynamics, in a changing community.  It has a wild twist in it, that, if written by anyone else, would have cheapened the novel, but Mr. Meyer pulls it off brillantly.  At the end, I literally could not help but feel a sense of loss and at the same time, a sense of hope for the Salvage Man's future.  A must read in 2014.

Second up, The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene.  Another glorious book.  I stayed up late in the night because I couldn't sleep not knowing how this one would end.  Hazel Grace is a sixteen year old suffering from cancer, who meets Augustus Waters in a support group in the Literal Heart of Jesus.  What follows is a love story, but we aren't talking a Nicholas Sparks love story, we are talking about the kind of story where you sit the book down and feel like you knew the characters, that a little piece of you will always wonder, what if?

The next book I haven't read, but intend on remedying that this evening over a couple beers.  Treadwell is a book by Joy over at The Witless Relocation Program.  I was glued to my laptop a solid four hours last Sunday reading through years of posts on her blog, when I stumbled across this gem she has written.  Once I finish it (tonight) I'll update you (tomorrow.)

I want to thank everyone who stops by my little corner of the interweb, and those who comment.  Even though most of this drivel is a therapeutic release for me, it makes the world seem like a better place when people read what you write and are compelled to comment.