Thursday, July 31, 2008

A chicken is my co-pilot

Okay, the trip to Michigan is on. My neighbor-cousins will not be going. So I will get to do all the driving myself. After looking at the map, it should be about 30 hours roundtrip. I leave in the morning and should be back in time to watch my soap opera on Monday afternoon.

I may be doing all the driving, but I will not be traveling alone. My chicken, Lemon, will be riding shotgun.

You read that right. I am doing a 1700-mile roadtrip with a chicken. I don't have time to explain right now. I have some packing to do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A funeral

The elderly shut-in I cared for died Sunday morning. Her funeral was today. Donned a black dress, hose and heels for the occasion. It's the first time in over a year that I've even worn jewelry or make up.

Was trying to remember the last time I'd been to a funeral. I think it was when Floyd died. Those of you in Alaska may remember Floyd. He was the mentally-challenged Native guy that used to smile and wave at passing traffic.

When I used to work graveyard at the porno store in Spenard, Floyd would show up in the early morning near the end of my shift. He wasn't a customer of the porno store, never bought anything or even looked at the merchandise. He just knew I worked alone and couldn't leave the store so he'd come in and ask if he could get me coffee from the McDonalds across the street.

I never knew Floyd very well. He was just that happy guy waving at traffic, making people smile. When I read about his death in the paper, I called my friend Sarah and we went to his funeral.

I think there are few things in this world as beautiful as a good funeral. Floyd's was a good funeral. One of the most memorable I've ever been to. It was standing room only. Pretty impressive for a panhandler from some small, far flung Alaskan village.

Anyway, I thought of Floyd this afternoon while I was at the old lady's funeral. She had a nice turnout. She left behind a passel of children, step-children, grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Her mother was there too - the 90-year-old woman I've mentioned previously in this blog. I hadn't seen her in a while so it was nice to catch up with her. Going to see her next week.

I knew quite a few people there - lots of mutual relatives. Those I didn't know were already aware of me. Apparently, the old lady had often spoken well and often of me to her friends and family. It was genuinely touching to hear the nice things she'd said about me. It's weird that these people had known her for decades yet I was the one she'd spent her last day with.

First time in a long time I'd actually watched the body be lowered in the ground. But it's the first time in a while that I've attended a funeral in a church located right next to the cemetery.

She looked really nice - all decked out in her Sunday best. As she'd been just short of bedridden, I'd never seen her in anything other than pajamas. It's a shame that it took her dying to get the two of us into dresses.

Still don't know if I'm going to Michigan this weekend or not. I talked to her son about it - the neighbor-cousin who I'm supposed to ride with along with his wife.

Should be more concerned about what's going on this weekend but - que sera sera. Rather than worry, I'm drinking homemade apple wine and writing this update. Also getting ready for my upcoming yard sale. Gotta raise some cash now that I'm no longer taking care of the old lady. Can't pay my electric bill with eggs and watermelons.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Well, this sucks.

The elderly shut-in that I've been helping to care for took a turn for the worse today. She was fine when I left today at 1pm. By 3pm, she had trouble breathing and called her nurse on the phone. By 6pm, she was completely unresponsive. She's not expected to make it through the night.

Nobody's sure what happened. Perhaps a blood clot. Perhaps her one good lung collapsed. Can't even really call it a "good" lung since that's the one with cancer.

Not to sound like a callous asshole, but this throws my finances into the toilet. This job provided more than half of my income. Even with this job I was living well below the poverty line, but I was starting to get a grip on my finances. Not only were my bills all current for the first time in a while, I had just picked up another house cleaning gig that throws me an additional $40 every three weeks.

Another monkey wrench in the works is the fact that the old woman's son and his wife are the neighbor-cousins I'm supposed to be riding with to Michigan this coming weekend to attend my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. So now that whole trip is up in the air at the moment.

If the neighbor-cousins can't go, my parents would surely offer to pay for the gas for me to drive myself. Can't say I'd look forward to a 36-hour round-trip solo drive in a truck with shitty brakes. But it's not like I can miss this family occasion.

Sigh...there's a white-tailed deer in my front yard right now, raiding my garden. I've been seeing quite a few deer lately. This is the third one I've seen in the last 24 hours. Could be the same deer for all I know.

There's only a few wild citizens of Spenardo del Sur that I can recognize on sight. There's one turkey vulture with a distinctive mark on its wing. Of the dozens of vultures that circle above, that's the only one I can pick out of the crowd.

There's also a family of crows that live in my woods. Last year, I would see two crows wandering around my yard almost every morning. Eventually, I realized it was the same two crows. This spring, they had three babies. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see them on a family outing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Visitors & Newborns

Last weekend I had a visit from Leigh - an old friend from Alaska who's been living in Atlanta for almost ten years now. Oh my lord, is Leigh pregnant! Very pregnant! Ready to drop any moment. In fact, she even had a contraction while she was here. She woke up Sunday morning and realized that if she didn't come visit me that day, it would be months before another visit was possible.

So she loaded her little girl, a couple calzones and her giant pregnant belly in the car and drove out to Spenardo del Sur to spend an afternoon with me and the critters. Nothing makes me so acutely aware of how limited my current social circle is like spending time with a "real" person.

One of the cats, Moonpie, had kittens earlier this week. I need more cats like a need a fucking hole in the head. I have far too many cats for an almost 40-year-old never-married woman living alone in a trailer in rural Alabama.

To complicate matters, Moonpie decided to have her kittens in the chicken coop. Found her one morning while collecting eggs. She was nursing her newborns in a corner nest formerly reserved for egg laying.

Moonpie loves the chicken coop. She's often followed me in there, usually following me out when I leave. Once, I unknowingly locked her in there. I returned a few hours later to find her sitting on the roost with a few of the chickens.

I'll have to move her out of there soon. I'm going to Michigan for a few days and the chicken coop will be locked the entire time. There'll be no free-ranging for the birds until I get back - easier for the person who'll be tending the birds while I'm away. Besides, my alpha-male rooster, Gimpy, is starting to get annoyed with having a cat in his kingdom.

Me and a couple neighbor-cousins are driving to Michigan for the first weekend of August to attend my parents' 50th anniversary party. Should be back in time to celebrate my 40th birthday. Most likely, I will spend the momentous occasion drinking cheap beer, sitting under the stars, tending a bonfire, accompanied by far too many cats.

Still no sign of baby goats. They should be born very soon. Hopefully it doesn't happen while I'm out of town. I also hope to get one or two more batches of baby chicks before summer's over.

Sorry for the lack of photos in these last few posts. I'm still stuck using this turn-of-the-century computer and I have yet to even see if it's compatible with my camera. I'll get around to figuring it out soon.

For those interested, my website archives are still available over at I may soon have that domain name point over to this new blog. I'm still hoping to find a computer made in this century that will allow me to go back to posting at the original site. I have so much going on right now that I really don't even want to deal with any of this computer shit. Ugh.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ick - a tick!

Just took off my boots and found a tick had hitched a ride on my leg at some point today. I don't understand how these little arachnids can burrow their head beneath your skin and you just don't feel a damned thing. Not sure how long it had been there - less than eight hours for sure.

At least this one had the decency to attach itself somewhere I could easily reach. The last tick I got managed to attach itself to the center of my back - directly beneath my bra clasp.

You can't just brush a tick off. You need to pull the fucker out with tweezers. This is impossible to do when it's in the dead center of your back. I drove down the hill to a neighbor-cousin's house and had him remove it for me. It's a little embarrassing to show up unannounced at someone's house and ask them to get pull a bug out of your skin. But I've known this neighbor-cousin since we were little kids and he has far more embarrassing tales he could tell about me.

The other extra-creepy thing about ticks is that they are extremely hard to kill. Can't just squeeze 'em. My method of choice is to drop them in a shot glass full of rubbing alcohol. Even then, it still takes about ten minutes for them to die.

Another neighbor-cousin, Bocephus Boomhauer (my second cousin once removed that I met last fall after his release from prison), killed another rattlesnake on his property this morning. I was driving to one of my odd jobs when he flagged me down to show me the dead snake - all four feet of it, stretched out on the tailgate of his pickup.

He's always warning me about rattlers. I'm pretty sure half of our conversations have been about rattlers. I know they're around and I'm always cautious of that, but the only two I've ever seen were both dead - killed by Bocephus. Today, he also warned me again about a large rattlesnake that's been seen crossing between his brother's property and the back edge of my woods. "Big around as my leg!" he tells me. "Big around as a stovepipe!"

Friday, July 18, 2008


I knew it would happen someday. I just didn't know that someday was going to arrive last week. My laptop went into a coma.

Fortunately, I had another computer in storage. Unfortunately, it is a hamster-wheel-powered machine that runs Windows 98. I got it through barter last year just in case anything ever happened to the laptop.

This computer is too old to work with the software I'd been using for my website (as well as most of my other ancillary devices) so I've switched to Blogspot for now.

Stay tuned...