Cobwebs, the Way I Talk, and Shallow Rabbit Holes

So, yeah… it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and just in case I decide one of my resolutions is to resume blogging, I thought I should see if everything is still working. It is.

WordPress is updated and it took most of the afternoon to rid the place of spam comments. I’m not sure I got them all. I also updated the spam blocker.

To get things started, here’s something that has caught my interest this week: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Big picture last q roundabout

Oddly enough, I did not answer “y’all” to the first question. It’s still “you guys” most of the time even though I’ve lived in the South for over 40 years after growing up in SW Colorado. So, the general geographic area is OK, but the shading is all wrong. I have never lived more than 10 miles east of the Texas border. I have never been to Columbus  GA, I drove through Mobile AL once about 20 years ago, and visited Montgomery AL for the first time this past September.

I was so surprised by the results that I’ve taken the test several times. My very first results were Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile. When I answered “y’all”, I got Jackson, Birmingham, Columbus. The results can’t be compared exactly, because the questions vary a bit each time.

So many things to question about this test. First, the ultimate map puts me so firmly in the South when more than half my answers to questions were accompanied by small maps that either orange or light blue all over. Two other questions yielded maps that were decidedly blue in the area the test decides I’m from, my choice of “you guys” being the prime example.

Several cousins took the test and we compared the results on Facebook to further reduce the scientific validity of this whole thing. It was fun. Some of the results were exactly where the person lives now and has for his/her whole life, along with their parents. Where the results got interesting were among those of us who were born well away from where we now live. Even though we don’t perceive our speech changing all that much, the fact that there chinks the test noted but classified in ways that stuck us as odd is interesting. Interesting without much depth, but I am noting the results in the genealogy file just for kicks.

Admitting My Weaknesses

Let’s do this one at a time… and slowly. Next weakness to be admitted between 5/4/2032 and 5/4/3032.

Today I admit that I’m no good at driving a vehicle towing another vehicle… ever. At any time. Or place. I can do it if you make me and if there’s no one else available. But I won’t ever do it to anyone’s satisfaction.

It would be durn handy to blame this lack of ability on me being female, but I’ve witnessed males that aren’t any better at it than I am. I really feel sorry for those guys because they can’t get out of doing this as easily as I can.

Oh yeah, I do NOT mind playing the “but I’m a girl” card when it’s to my advantage. In exchange, I don’t mind guys playing the “but I’m a guy” card occasionally. (Occasionally… because I’m a girl and can also play the feminist card. See how this works? Yes… I knew you would :-)

Backstory: Our yard isn’t that big, but it has this ditch near the street. It was always a problem to mow, but since the city “cleaned” the ditch it’s much worse. It’s never been doable on a riding lawn mower. It’s been a few years since either my husband or myself have been able to mow the ditch with a push mower and now the city has made even that impossible no matter how young and strong the wielder of the mower might be.

To readers that know my husband, it’s no surprise that he tried to mow this small area with a riding lawn mower anyway.

Several times. Since the last time he tried it resulted in neighbors pulling the overturned lawnmower off him, he really has been more careful. Really. This time, he just got the lawnmower stuck and wanted me to pull it out with the pickup while he guided it around the tree guarding the ditch.

And I DID IT!!! Yay me! But before I got into the truck (after carefully surveying the situation) I extracted several promises from him. One is that he will never ever try to mow that part of the ditch. The second was that he will either get one of the (at least two, maybe more) weed-eaters that we own fixed and use them instead.

He’s off right now seeing about getting a weed-eater in operating order.

The third promise I asked for… well, he didn’t promise, so I won’t elaborate.

But I Want It All

All the favorites. All the traditions.

It’s hard when my immediate family is now so far apart. When we get together, we tend to try to do too much to make sure we at least touch on everyone’s favorite thing.

And try as we might, we can’t all seem to get together in one place ever anymore. Someone always can’t make it. A few are gone from us in all but spirit. In one sad way, they’ll be making more family get-togethers than before.

This Easter weekend, my daughters, one son-in-law, my sister, and of course my incredibly sweet, beautiful, handsome grandchildren are spending approximately 30 hours together at my father’s house.

My step-mom is not in the best of health right now, so us young ‘uns are doing the work: planning, shopping, cooking, etc.

Planning! How can we fit 50 years of holiday traditions into 30 hours? And that’s just the menu…

So far, we’ve eliminated fried shrimp, hash browns, and homemade bread… but  added mushrooms, steak, bearnaise sauce, and Lucky Charms. (I’m in charge of the Lucky Charms. I even volunteered for the job.)

Godsmack, Staind, Halestorm

My few readers will know that these groups are not my first choices in music, but y’all also know that my older daughter doesn’t necessarily share my taste.

However, I do think she’s done a fine job creating tour posters for these bands.

You can vote for them here and here.

Go ahead… click. You know you want to see them and vote for them! (I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to post the images that are also links to the voting page.)

Such A Thoughtful Gift

For years my daughters have given me truly fantastic gifts, especially for Mother’s Day and my birthdays. These have included trips to Scotland, wonderful dinners, cards, photos, surprise visits… the list is long. *

What makes each gift special is that so much thought and planning (conspiracy!) goes into each one. Though an overseas trip is always a good gift, the one to Scotland was awesome because it was a trip to see my sister. Plus, they checked with my boss first to make sure I could get the time off AND announced the trip with a surprise party at my workplace on my birthday.

After the Scotland trip, I was informed that was “it” and that they would be starting over the next year with handprints on paper plates. I must confess I’m a tad bit disappointed that they didn’t actually do that.  

Yesterday, I got an out-of-the-blue gift from one of them. We’d discussed our tastes in music earlier this year when we drove to S Carolina together. (Not an entirely uneventful trip.) Our tastes overlap somewhat, but we both love types of music that the other just doesn’t quite “get”.

She had already sent me the cable I needed to hook my new smart phone to my car’s audio system merely because I mentioned I’d like to have it.

But… back to yesterday’s gift. Two music CDs. One of them is filled with songs we both like; music I’m quite sure she already had on her hard drive. It’s the other that is special because, with the possible exception of one song, I’m pretty sure she had to search, buy, and download them.

She made me my dream “Music To Drive By” CD.

Now while I’d like to believe she reads my blog daily and remembers posts from over a year ago, even my daughters aren’t THAT good. I’d sent her a link to that post this past August prior to traveling to S Carolina together to… shall we say… emphasize our differing tastes in music.

Thank you, my dear daughter, for paying attention.

I’m sure that I will never be writing a post like this one, though I submit that buying a gift for an old woman is easier than buying one for an old man every day of the week. Oh, it wouldn’t hurt to remember I like scotch (and wine, of course) as much as that old fart does but I’m not quite as particular about the age. 

*Disclaimer: I did nothing as a parent to deserve this kind of treatment. I’m just very, very fortunate.

Just One More

I’m really good at breaking promises to myself. One of them was that I wasn’t going to post more photos of my grandchildren. Oh, don’t think I worried about boring the internet… I worried about overwhelming it with cuteness.

But then I got this photo in an email today. I bought the doll she’s chewing on for her before she was born, hoping… no, intending, that it would become her “lovey”. I accidentally stumbled upon the doll that serves as her older sister’s “lovey” and it has meant a lot to me that she loves that doll so much.

“Lovey” status isn’t quite there yet, but I’d say maybe it’s well on the way!

It’s Just A Small Town Race For Mayor

NOTE: The following is me thinking out loud, organizing my thoughts, and a journal of sorts. This disclaimer is meant to serve as notice that none of the following thoughts are set in concrete. It’s all a learning experience.

My father is running for mayor of his small town for the 2nd time. I wasn’t involved much the first time other than getting a kick out of snagging a hat and a pen with his name on them.

This time my father asked me to help him. And while he truly has nothing but the well-being and survival of the little town he lives in at heart, he was also at a bit of a loss when I asked him just exactly what it was he wanted to accomplish.

I sat across from him in his living room and said “Why do you want to be mayor? Convince me to vote for you.” I made notes of what he said then and asked lots and lots of questions. 

The first time he ran he was facing an incumbent who got enough votes to avoid a run-off. People adjust and anyone proposing to change the status quo faces an uphill battle. Thus, incumbents have an advantage.

This time, there is no incumbent running and there were four people asking the voters to give them the job. Oh wait… because I am totally biased let me rephrase that – there were three people asking for the POSITION and one asking for the job.

To be completely honest, one of those three who asked for the position is thoroughly naive, well-meaning, and would probably have performed decently, if with less competence than needed. I told my Dad several times that if he didn’t win, I hoped this man did.   

Out of the four, my Dad got the most votes – around 38% – but not enough to avoid a run-off with the guy who got around 22% of the vote.

Thus, 40% of the original vote is theoretically up for grabs.  

Let’s backtrack to my question to my Dad: why do you want to be mayor? His first answers were truly political. “I can do a better job.” “I’m more qualified than the other candidates.” “I have experience.”

But… after some not completely pleasant conversations it boiled down to “I want to, and know how to, fix the water, drainage, and street problems.”

AHA! I can work with that. Everybody in town wants those problems solved, so all the candidate has to do is convince the voters that he knows how to and can fix them. Now that we’ve identified the problem to be solved, all I’ve got to do is convince the voters that all those “political” answers are true. This candidate is more qualified, experienced, and can do a better job than the others.

Those issues are also indisputably something local government should be concerned with. 

One of the candidates that did not make the run-off presented himself as a union-affiliated progressive with some (rather unrelated) experience. The other presented himself as more or less a blank slate with limited, but possibly more leadership-related experience. The two in the run-off are more equally matched — neither are progressives or blank slates. They both have experience, though one of them (not my father) also has an easily identifiable financial interest in one aspect of city services.

The two candidates that most prominently campaigned on the city acting to change something are my father and the progressive. Obviously, the greater number of voters think basic infrastructure is the area where action is needed vs. the other’s idea of getting federal grants for beautification. (Of course, I’m not biased… what makes you think that?)

The progressive didn’t make the run-off. My father’s competition in the run-off does have some experience but is unfocused.

As one of the unofficial campaign managers for my father, I’m rather flummoxed on how to appeal to those who voted for the two candidates that didn’t make the run-off.  At the same time, I am thinking that if those who voted for my father show up again, that will be enough.

So… the run-off campaign is more complicated. How do I motivate those who originally voted for my father to turn out again? How do I motivate those who voted for the candidates who didn’t make the run-off to vote for my father instead of his opponent?

The other unofficial campaign manager got unilaterally vetoed on the issue of ever mentioning an opponent in the general election. All the campaign materials focused on the issues of water/drainage/streets and the knowledge/experience to fix those problems.

My gut instinct is to continue that focus. The other unofficial campaign manager is suggesting “politeness” in asking specifically the voters who voted for the two losing candidates for their votes, while thanking those who voted for my father and suggesting that those who voted for his run-off opponent vote “as they wish”.

Can we say “wimpy”? Of course we can. But is that right? Maybe it is gracious instead.

I should also say that I think my father’s success was mostly due to his and his supporters going door to door asking for votes. That tactic really has little to do with issues. Neither of us unofficial campaign managers had anything at all to do with that. (We’re both recluses.) Our focus was on newspaper ads and printed campaign material. AND on getting the candidate to present a coherent and easily repeated message. Oh wait… that was just me.

Bottom line for my father is that my method wins because I’m the only one of his unofficial campaign managers that will provide him with ad copy and campaign materials that he can actually use.

But… I worry that I’m wrong in my methods and way of political thinking. Perhaps my opposing (though less mechanically capable) unofficial campaign manager is right. Are appearances… politeness (in politics???) and personalities more important than issues?

The one thing both unofficial campaign managers agree on is that our candidate would serve the interests of this small town best. He has nothing to personally gain by winning. His status is secure. So is that of his family. And, since it’s a small town, it should be noted that family status is secure regardless which of the two run-off candidates win. It’s not that they are related, but it’s not that they are not unrelated either. If you don’t understand that, you are  not from a small town!

To me, that’s simply one more reason not to mention the other candidate in any campaign materials.

On a purely personal level, I wish my father had never entered this race. I figure he’s got another 10-13 years to live and I selfishly want him spending that time leisurely with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

On the other hand, he wants to do this. He asked for my help. I’ve got to give him my best… and hope that what I think is best (if he agrees) will win. Because he wants to win, I do to.

My First Daughter-in-Law

It was a lovely wedding — the bride beautiful, the groom handsome, and the location magnificent.

Someone said they’d been told you never really feel like a mother-in-law until you have a son-in-law because having a daughter-in-law was just like having another daughter. 

Since I’ve known for several years now that having a son-in-law is like having a son, I’m thrilled to know that it works the same way with a daughter-in-law!

Welcome to the family!

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

My 3 year old granddaughter visited a fire station today. This is an account of the conversation with her Mom on the way home:

I asked her what she should do if her clothes are on fire, and she said “put on different clothes and put the other ones in the hamper!” When I asked her if she’d like to be a firefighter one day, she said “no thank you, I’m going to be Sleeping Beauty because I already have that dress.”

Now, you must admit there’s a certain practicality in her thinking.

Campaigning Is Hard

It is for me anyway — it requires thinking!

I cannot quite imagine the work that goes into a large campaign because the one I’ve been working on is for mayor of a very small town. There are no large events to plan, not much travel (gotta get to the county seat occasionally), and only one reporter to deal with. He’s a nice guy who asks questions by mail, and so far the same ones of each candidate.

It’s all very low key although my father is one of four candidates. Yet even in a small town that one thinks they know a bit about, there’s still research and planning to be done. One of the main questions I needed answered was “Why do you want to be mayor?” After that got distilled down to one or two sentences, it was a little easier to put together some campaign rhetoric.

For a small, low-budget campaign, I don’t think we’ve done too badly. There are signs up, there are campaign cards being distributed, newspaper ads are in the works, and we’re trying this social media thing out. The campaign has a Facebook page and email! It will be very interesting to see what kind of response that gets.

Roland Bush for Mayor

Promote Your Page Too

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Awesomes

apache longbow pilotFirst is a self-portrait of an Apache Longbow pilot taken somewhere over Iraq circa 2003. Handsome, isn’t he?

Second is the eyepiece under the fancy shades. Just thinking about trying to use that is giving me a headache right now.

I got to see an Apache Longbow up close once. On the ground of course. Even though it’s a two-seater, no civilian passengers allowed. (IIRC, no military ones either unless they are also Apache pilots or training to be one.)

During Operation Desert Storm, I also got to take a tour of (parts of) a B-52. And because I live near an AF base, I get to see A10 Warthogs flying above my house occasionally. Years ago, it was common to see KC-10s regularly. Rarely do the B-52s fly near my house, but I do remember feeling and hearing them when they got home from Desert Storm as they took a celebratory tour of the area.

But I’m fascinated by helicopters because… well, because to me they still look like they shouldn’t be able to fly!

apache longbow eyepiece

Third are some Apache helicopters in action, set to the theme from Airwolf.

I admit it, I liked that show.

Dust And Cobwebs

I’ve let this place go, haven’t I?

Usually when I do this it’s because I’m vacationing in the comments on other blogs, but that’s not the case this time. I’ve actually been away from home for 10 of the 20 days since my last post. It’s not that I’ve lacked a connection to the internet, but that I really really am not flexible when it comes to using laptops or other people’s computer setups.

Oh yes, I am spoiled by my messy, but convenient for me, little office space.

I’ve also read four novels recently. Don’t worry; nothing particularly uplifting or literary. It’s just that for the last 10 years or so, I’ve read mostly non-fiction and a lot of that could be considered educational. That was a major change from my previous habit of consuming 3 or 4 novels a week.

I spent the Labor Day weekend with two of my grandchildren. It’s so very, very nice to have them only a 3 hour drive away instead of 20 hours. The 5 month old is just the sweetest baby. She’s fun and easy to care for. When she’s awake, she’s constantly cooing, laughing, or enjoying her new found manual dexterity.

The 3 year is not so easy, but she’s definitely fun. The theme of the visit was words beginning with P. She put together a 24 piece puzzle by herself. Her parents didn’t believe that I didn’t help her beyond verbal suggestions, but they should have. Did they really think *I* was going to actually get down on the floor with her? HAHA!

The other words were Papa, pizza, and piano. She has a little notebook that she wrote all those words in. There’s still a little work to be done in always pointing the z in the proper direction. I like the notebook because I found out that chalk dust really does a number on my nose and throat. She tends to erase her work with enthusiasm.

I was home for a few days and got word that my father was in the ICU with pneumonia. He’s 87 and a two-year lung cancer survivor, so that was scary news. I thought my step-mother would need help caring for him when he got home because he seemed really weak in the hospital.

Well, she didn’t because by the 2nd day he was home he had pretty much resumed his normal activities. Though the bug he got knocked him down quickly, modern antibiotics knocked it out almost as fast.

One of his current normal activities is running for mayor of his small town. I stayed another two days caught up in those discussions and helping a little with the campaign.   

That reminded me that my husband and I have to get absentee ballots this year because we’ve got a wedding in S Carolina to attend the weekend before the election.

Big Sister, Little Sister

One of the best parts of my trip was seeing my 3-year-old granddaughter’s reactions to her new baby sister. I wondered if she’d be jealous, would she want to be treated “like a baby” or would she imitate her mother’s behavior with her dolls?

Issie is, I think, the ideal Big Sister. Here she is holding Little Sister:

Awe is the best word to describe most of her reaction. Her first words upon seeing Penny were “She’s so cute!” These were followed soon by “Can I hold her?”

The first time Penny was laid on the playmat on the floor, Issie immediately got a book (about princesses, of course) and read it to her.

Issie also tries to comfort Penny when she’s fussy. This is so sweet to watch… but Big Sister doesn’t go overboard. When her efforts failed one day, she said “Bye bye” and walked away. I guess you would have to have been there to get how funny that was.

Overall, Issie has been much more interested in imitating her mother’s behavior than in wanting to be treated as a baby. She’s shown no signs of feeling that she needs to be a baby to get attention. And… while her imitations of her mother are hilarious, they just won’t get any play on the internet from me! Let’s just say boobs are involved and leave it at that, OK?

It was difficult for me to leave both these babies after having spent over a month with them. There’s nothing so sweet as holding a newborn or having a 3-year-old whisper a secret in your ear.

I am bothered that I have 3 other grandchildren that I’ve not been able to spend as much time with. This will have to change!

I’m Back!

And I’ve got stories to tell. Too many for one post, so I’ll just put up a photo of the reason for the trip to Arizona:

My youngest grandchild, Penelope, was born on April 6 and I think she’s beautiful! That’s a completely unbiased assessment.

Along with more photos of the baby and her big sister, I’ve got stories about my Amazon account being hacked, my car breaking down, a stinky motel room, a horrible hospital stay, rigid unreasonable health insurance rules, my husband’s 27 hour Greyhound bus trip. Let’s just say it was all interesting.