Saturday, August 26, 2017

The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming!

Our wonderful friends from across the pond came to visit us Clampetts in Orlando this weekend.

I don't think I've ever made such good, fast friends as the time I was very first introduced to them last summer. When you immediately want to tightly hug someone you have never met and that feeling is sincerely returned, you know you've just made wonderful new friends. They surprised Massey last year by showing up at her birthday party at my sister's house and fit right in with us Bumpkins. We were all excited when they decided to spend part of their 'holiday' this year in Orlando and accepted our offer of dinner at my brother's house. Massey said John wanted an authentic southern meal...which happens to be about my only forte'.

 They seemed rivoted by every thing I was preparing and quickly learned that buttermilk is pretty important to us southern cooks...that, and oodles of butter and salt.

I made deviled eggs first so we could snack on them while I cooked the rest of the meal and kinda chuckled when Penny said deviled eggs were kind of like a 'seventies' type dish to most Brits. I told her that's because most everything I cook is from the seventies, when my momma died and began my cooking career using her cook book, from the early fifties.

It's one of my most prized possesions, and wish my own was in this good of shape.

Here's mine:

Works all the same though! It's the most detailed cookbook I've seen or been lucky enough to own. If a recipe requires mayonaise, it directs you to the page for making mayonaise.

Shut The Front Door.

I rarely measure anything but instead tend to dump in ingredients with a heavy hand, always adding a pinch of sugar. (huge southern rule of cooking)

Over almost forty years of trying and always asking questions of chefs I've worked for through the years, will say with (almost) conviction that I'm a pretty okay cook...but hands down the Creamed Potatoes Queen.

We had a great time. The girls kicked in and helped with the chicken frying while I fried the okra and baked the cornbread. There's nothing I love more than company while I cook, and I had plenty of fabulous company.

It is a wonderful feeling to be happy again...and I finally am. It was a rough start beginning again in an unknown place and suddenly unenemployed but once again realized after several kicks in the butt that no one ever said life would be easy, because it isn't...but is so totally worth it.

My brother and sister have helped me time and time (and time) again.

I've helped my own kids time and time again and will continue to do so. It's what you do when you love someone. You love them, and in return they love you back.

True fact.

Face the facts, I'm way over halfway done with my life but am gonna knock these last years out of the park...and make every one count, to the max and then some.

Lately I've gotton ole Jed (Tim) to come up with a music video to tie my blog all together and he's been pretty spot on.

Til next time...Cotton

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Living On Borrowed Time

Ham, our boxer turned thirteen this June. Charlie, our bulldog turned twelve this past winter. That's really old , especially for these particular breeds.

Basically both are living on borrowed time. We all know it, and all dreading the inevitable.

Ziggy, is our youngster at not quite yet six.

 We're hoping he makes it to the same ripe old age as the other two.

I was really surprised Ham and Charlie even survived the move to Orlando. Ham rode shotgun with me. Totally blind, he was a nervous wreck the entire seven hour drive. He wouldn't even sit down the first four hours of the trip, just panted relentlessly. Charlie rode shotgun with my son, Zachary... in his truck with no A/C. Bulldogs don't do hot well. Ziggy rode shotgun with Tim in the moving van and was asleep by the time Tim pulled onto the interstate.

Realistically, Charlie, Ham or both could go any day now. I'm not sure how well any of us will handle that, and certainly don't look forward to it. Charlie seems to be first in line, bless his heart. He seems okay most of the time but can tell he has some aches and pain. Nothing too bad, I wouldn't put him through that. When our old boxer Rosie got too bad, I had her (gently) put down. I found someone from the Humane Society to come to our house and let Rosie go in her own surroundings. Ham still seems strong as a tank, albeit totally blind. It took him less than twenty four hours to know every step and turn of the way in his new surroundings here in Orlando, inside of the house and outside in the backyard as well. He rarely ever bumps into anything, unless we leave a chair out or move something.

Hands downs, he is the most handsome dog I've ever seen. This pic was taken while he could still see. He used to hate it if anyone even laid a hand on me. He'd go nuts when Tim would rub my back or even touch my shoulder.

And the boy's legs were like springs. He could jump well over six feet in the air...and often did. Actually, ole Charlie was pretty spry back then as well. Rosie was just starting to get old and chose to be a spectator instead.

Dang I love my pups...we all do. We're also realists and know the one bad thing about owning them.

They never live long enough.

At least when they do go, we'll know we gave them the best possible life ever, and they gave us the same in return. Our dogs make us happy every single second of every single day...and then some. I know it's coming and preparing myself but will still be sadder than sad.

They never mind me keeping them up late and they never mind Tim waking them up early.

As long as they have fresh water and food, are happy as clams.

I'm not exactly sure where that saying came from and never considered clams to be particularly happy, but have also never seen a living clam, so who am I to judge?

Moving on to more positive things...

Our friends from across the pond are back (US) stateside for 'holiday'...I love the way Brits consider it 'holiday' as opposed to our term 'vacation'. I've learned a lot of terminology from meeting them.


"Cheers" means any number of things, not just "drink up".

It means hello, thank you, that's great, it's good, that was a nice thing to do, you're right, I agree, exactly, or even I love you.

It seems to me, to be a fantastic term of endearment, which our entire world needs to embrace.

That, along with "Love is all you need."

Massey also has two other friends visiting who are brave enough to stay with us Clampetts.

The temp crib is full, and couldn't be happier about it.

Kristen came with her sister and both of them are staying in our spare bedroom, which is the size of a jail cell meant for one. At least it's clean and has a window to jump out of if they need to.

I hope they don't, but at least it's there if they need it.

I moved to Orlando with anticipation and more than a few doubts. It's turned out to be the greatest decision I've ever made.

We're less than six months away from moving into our forever home with room for everyone and then some, complete with a pool and plenty of yard for the pups.

I came, I struggled but I conquered.

It's a tiny house...for now, but my oasis of a back porch makes it all okay.

It's been my place. My little haven. The place where I seeked words of wisdom. It was a hard ten year road but we survived. We (Tim and me) never quit...although we probably both thought about it, but never did.

We're both beautiful losers.

Life is an instant...this exact very instant. Make the best of your instant. When given another day above day above the roses, you have opportunity to bloom.


Til next  time...COTTON

Sunday, August 13, 2017


I'm fifty seven, that's old to me. At least my body doesn't look like a busted can of biscuits and consider myself in fairly good shape. It's mainly because I've had such a physically demanding job for almost forty years. I never sit down while at work unless it's to pee, and that takes about fifteen seconds. Carrying heavy plates on the same arm five days a week for decades tends to get your alignment out of whack.

My back started going out about once every year or so around the time I hit my late forties. It lasts about a week and is not fun. Tim has told me for (literally) years that I need to stretch...every day. I know he's right, I just never think about it if my back doesn't hurt. I go into a shift feeling pretty frisky but lately as a shift wears on, my lower back begins to feel as if I'm 'all stove up'  (southern speak) and is painful when I have to lean over to pick something up, especially if it's on the floor.

When it first started hurting, Tim would have me lay on my back on the floor and lead me through various stretches he did while playing soccer and football as a teenager, which helped tremendously.

Once my shoulder began killing me too, I knew I had to do something. I was at work about a week ago and mentioned to another server that my back was killing me and my husband always says I need to do more stretching exercises. She asked if I wanted to do Yoga classes?

You know me... I said "will I have to pay for it?"

She said not if I took classes from her, she'd taught for years before her daughter (now four) was born.


It took us about another week to finally arrange a free day off  together and decided to meet up at my brother's house while he was at work. It was halfway between where she and I live, much bigger than our sardine can rental and totally empty while my brother was working. He told me it was fine by him so we met up there just the other day.

It was immediately obvious she had done it for many years. I'm a 100 pound mighty mite, she's toting some extra pounds around but totally more limber than I have been in over thirty years. Heck, I had to struggle to get one foot on top of the other when she told me to sit 'indian style'. I'm so bony my ankles hurt when on top of each other, especially on the tile flooring.

Number one: I need a Yoga mat.

Number two: Don't do Yoga with a couple of hundred pound Dobermans wandering around the room.

At least my brother's two are well behaved and obey commands. All you had to say when they got right in your face while in a contorted Yoga position was "No" and they would walk away.

It started out easy enough. I liked the initial stretching but couldn't for the life of me get that one leg tucked on top of the other. She did it like it was nothing.

I'm talking about this one.

I finally gave up and just got as close as I could. Of course she started me with beginning moves and most of, I could do.

When she first suggested at work for me to try Yoga for stretching, funny me replied "I'm downward facing dog with that!"

When she instructed me the other day to go into a leaning forward position with my hands stretched out in front of me on the floor said "There's your downward facing dog."

It was a pretty amazing session. In one position I felt my sinuses draining and both ears popped and cleared.

In another position we held, I could feel the bones popping up and down my spine.

Towards the end of the session she instructed me into another position and after holding it for about ten seconds, collapsed on to the floor, telling her it was killing me. She laughed and said "I just thought I'd see if you could do that one."

That ended our initial session. I stayed on my back on the floor for a good five minutes...breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth...per her previous instructions.

It was the most intense, invigorating but relaxing experience I've ever had. It was like having a sexual climax ...only my husband wasn't there.

I kid you not.

She told me I would feel better the rest of the day, and did.

The next morning I woke up, still felt good but was sore. I knew then, this is exactly what I have been needing.

I don't want to join a gym or class I have to pay for, but if I am lucky enough to have a good friend who is willing to lead and teach me for free, count me in!

I was sore for three days but am now ready to go at it again. I can't even imagine how awesome it will be when we do Yoga with soft music playing, no dogs or kids around and can get into that whole Zen thing as well. My mental well being needs some fixin' too.

It was a pretty amazing experience and although am easily impressed, think I may have hit the proverbial nail on the head for most of my ailments.

Till next time...COTTON

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Silent Spat

I very rarely ever have differences of opinion with either of my two siblings, we're a tightly knit three.

 Always have been.

My sister and I both know better than to get in an argument with our brother; he's way too much like our Diddy.  Diddy got mad when major league baseball players (underpaid to play a game for a living?) went on strike in 1994 and vowed to never watch another game.

He didn't... for literally years.

My brother is the nicest person in the world, unless you make him we don't. Of course we all three fell from the same tree so pretty much are all stubborn.

One of the hardest things about moving out of state was leaving my sister behind. For the first time in well over half a century, we wouldn't be less than an hour away from each other. Granted I'd live near my brother again and was a saving grace but not having my sister near was like leaving half myself behind.

It has proved to be a hard transition to become accustomed to.

She got upset with me one time when I visited Georgia for a couple of days and stayed at our old house in Newnan (I went back to clean out the house and garage) instead of staying with her. It took us four weeks to get past it.

We finally agreed to disagree about my decision and let it go... and did.

I know I sound like a brat, but my feelings have been hurt that she hasn't come to visit me here more often. She came once, at Christmas but we had Christmas at my brother's house this past year.

I want her to come see me.

I want her to want to come see me.

I want her (retired airline employee) to get on a plane and come down to spend just six hours with me one day.

Any day.

Any time.

Her pick.

Massey and I would pick her up at the airport, we'd drive to Cocoa Beach and be there in thirty minutes. We could sit in the sand, look at God's water bowl and laugh together for three hours. Then we could grab a bite to eat together and head back to Orlando towards the airport(near my house) stopping by our tiny rental first so she could see the pups and change clothes.

BOOM...back home in six hours, maybe seven.

I need an updated picture of Massey, her and me by the beach.

I know my sister has a lot going on. I know she does a lot more than I do and am proud of her relentless service for others.

Call me "Jealous you're such a good person but lonely in Orlando".

Call me selfish.

I've invited her her down several times for a get together at our brother's lake house but something always comes up.

She accepted my latest offer but had to decline the next day after looking at her schedule again.

I guess I need to realize the world doesn't revolve around me.

My bad.

Thanks to modern technology our latest spat has been via text. It got ugly, by sister standards. I got my feelings hurt, she tried to explain but all I read (and felt) was rejection.

She (called) back when I was at work, it was busy so just texted back "At work". She texted back for me to call her when I got off.

I didn't.

I didn't want to.

My feelings were hurt, probably not even valid feelings but my feelings at the time.

She called again this morning, didn't answer because I'm still pouting.

We'll get past this, at least I hope we will.

I feel like she thinks she has to take three or four days off to come visit me in Orlando.

I don't want that.

I just want her to take six or seven hours off, on any given day at any given point in time,check the flights and jump on a plane to spend four of those hours with me.

Webster's defines 'Squabble' as  "To engage in a disagreeable argument, usually over a trivial matter".

These past few days of being on the 'Outs' with my sister have been on my mind twenty four seven.

If our brother is mad at me, I'm scared. If my sister is mad at me, I'm broken.

I'm the nut in our family. I've always known it and they have too. I'm almost proud of it. It's my greatest accomplishment as their sibling. I'm the tie dyed black sheep of the family.

That doesn't necessarily make me the weakest link (of course I am) but totally makes me the hardest link to love, and appreciate the fact my siblings still do love me.

So me and my sister had a text spat.

Every thing's still going to be (hopefully) okay.

North Korea hasn't attacked...yet.

We are both worried and concerned about the same things. It's what makes us one. I just want us to be one again.

Webster's definition of spat is "to engage in a brief quarrel' and hopefully ours will be exactly that.

I love my sister and know she loves me.

"This too shall pass."

Yes I was a baby and exaggerated my disappointment by not replying to her text. Yes I had my feelings hurt.

How do do you heal that relationship?

With a silly love song?

What's wrong with that?

I can live (maybe) without technology, but I can't live without my sister.

Till next time...COTTON