Friday, May 30, 2003

In Dallas. Mother passed away yesterday afternoon. Will be back in touch next week.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Let's see, we have Lucy's tree and her travel cage, three kinds of food, a first-aid kit, cups for the tree, her personal fan heater for drying after baths, her special buddy toy she sleeps beside at night, a couple of toys for the tree, newspapers, a skewer for fresh foods -- looks like Lucy is ready. I'm still packed from Dallas. Lyman will add a few things and we're out of here. Plus we had the radials rotated and balanced before the trip to Dallas. Y'all have a fine holiday.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Some kind soul with more recent experience in punctuating with quotation and half-quotation marks will leave me an easy-to-follow guide at my e-mail address while I'm gone. A lot went under the bridge between 1988 and 2003.

Here's an interesting side note to my trip to Dallas. We rented a car so Lyman would have wheels in Vidalia. Rental cost: $366. Miles driven: 53. Cost per mile: $6.90.

One night Lyman called and told me to bring the red Tahoe home. He had been to Wal-mart that evening and lost the rental car in the parking lot. "Do you have any idea of how many little silver cars there are in this area?," he asked.

Another busy day today, cleaning and packing for a trip to the Redneck Riviera. We were not careful in planning this trip, and will find ourselves among Memorial Day crowds. Drat! Who decided to schedule the holiday for May 26?

The project at hand is to find a king-sized bedspread suitable for the condo. Do you know how hard it is to find a proper bedspread as opposed to a comforter set? Nigh unto impossible these days, unless we choose a chenille, which is an option. Experienced advisors tell us that it is far better to use a print fabric, to conceal such stains and spots as can be expected when children are running around slathered with sunscreen and tanning lotions and carrying colored drinks. A bedspread, I'm told, is the better choice because it is easier and tidier for guests to put right.

We will also inventory the kitchen and replace any items that have been broken, lost or snitched. People do take the funniest things: steak knives are always missing, plastic containers of all kinds go missing, can openers, knife sharpeners, bedside clocks all go missing. Maybe we should buy some cheap novelty ashtrays so people can take a souvenir from the beach without inconveniencing the guests that follow. Sorry to say, some people just don't get this sharing thing.

In Dallas, I stumbled across a display of battery-operated clocks on sale ($2.78 apiece, with batteries!) and bought half a dozen. Maybe I should have bought more. "Stay at our condo. Get a free clock!"

I'm really too tired for this trip right now, but given the situation in Dallas it's best we go and get it over with as soon as possible. Not a very beachy attitude is it? Maybe it will improve when we arrive.

I don't plan on being near a computer during our stay, so this might be the last post until sometime next week. Y'all have a safe and happy Memorial Day. (And I am taking suggestions for bedspread shopping anywhere from Mobile to Pensacola. And I know about the outlet mall.)

LATER: Steam irons go missing. Who in hell wants an iron?

Thursday, May 22, 2003

We will not be publishing the name of the rehabilitation center. My sister was reacting without getting her facts first. The doctor in attendance says Mother did not have pneumonia when she left the center. The attending doctor at the hospital she was transferred to says she did not have pneumonia. That does not excuse the rehabilitation center for not calling Patricia when things didn't happen as planned.

Mother is now a patient at a nursing home about four minutes from Patricia's home, and maybe eight minutes from her work, as opposed to Mother's house 25 miles across town. A 50-mile round-trip across Dallas is not the optimal way to end a working woman's day. The home is clean and friendly, with many kind and cheerful people to look after everyone.

Patricia decided, and I concur, to bring a hospice facility into Mother's case. The hospice nurse who first looked over her chart explained to us that at this stage of Mother's disease, pneumonia and other pulmonary illnesses cannot be eradicated. Her lungs are warm, dark and filled with fluid, and there are no drugs strong enough to rid her of illnesses.

Mother will eventually drown in her own lung fluids. The treatment now is to give her morphine derivatives and other anti-anxiety drugs to quell panic. She compared Mother's experience to being dropped into the deep end of a swimming pool and not being able to reach the surface.

When I left yesterday, Mother was quiet and lucid. It has been a roller coaster ride as they've tried to find the proper dosage of drugs. Medicine is still a hit or miss thing in her case. They're not helped by the fact that Mother has never been drunk more than once or twice (when I was a little girl she had some champagne with the neighbor next door and set the kitchen trash on fire when she cooked dinner that night) and never took so much as a tranquilizer to affect her mind. Mother has always dreaded being "drugged-up" and left in a nursing home to die.

So that's where Mother is.

I'll write more about Dallas later. I found that I've become quite the country mouse.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I'm home. Thanks for your prayers and good thoughts for my family. Whenever I come off 635 in Dallas alive, I'm sure God is watching over me.

Mother is stable, but not happy in her new environs. Patricia, my sister, is considerably calmer.

There is a lot to report from the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but it can wait until tomorrow. Y'all have a good night.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Coming soon to a theater near you is the name of the "rehabilitation center" that sent my mother off yesterday without doctoring her pneumonia. My sister called me yesterday afternoon in tears and anger.

This so-called rehab center released my mother to a nursing home yesterday. The drivers had to stop the conveyance twice because she couldn't breathe. The nursing home refused to accept her because her oxygen count was too low. She was taken to a local emergency room. The rehab center didn't bother to call Patricia at work. She didn't know what had happened until she called the nursing home to see if Mother was settled in. Apparently, they were intent on scaring Mother to death.

All is pending. Patricia is going to need some relief in a day or two.

I await her word.

Yes, I know, I'm spluttering. Better that than the language I want to use.

LATER: Mother has asked for me. I leave tomorrow. I HATE this drive.

Two pissed-off Davenport girls. Somebody is going to think, "This sucks".

She's pretty, and I'm smart and we can take 'em all.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Aha! We have activation in MS Reader! We have Mr. Simon's books! We have a stove that needs a good scrub, too. Dammit all.

So I was thinking about trolling the comments over at Nate McCord's site, when I ran across this story from the Drudge Report about a restaurant in China using underwear as dish cloths.

Eeeeks!! you say.

I have a dirty secret. Because Lyman's undies and t-shirts are white cotton, they go into the laundry with dish cloths and dish towels which are also white cotton. The whole load is soaked for hours in hot water, detergent and a more than healthy dose of bleach. The load comes from the dryer white and sanitary. I'm confident that no cross-contamination is occurring. (Gads, you should see some of the dish towels that come out of this kitchen.) I see no need to freak until they determine what laundry procedures the restaurant follows.

And, well, the Chinese and laundry ...

This post at Ken Layne's enticed me to buy Roger L. Simon's out-of-print books on the Internet.

The site where you buy offers several formats. I e-mailed Mr. Simon, who graciously responded quickly, about which would be the best format to choose. He replied that any would probably work, but the easiest might be Adobe Acrobat. We googled a bit about other formats, and finally decided on MS Reader.

We downloaded the program as per instructions. We have hit a snag. Before making a purchase the user must "activate" the program. Well and good. The instructions are simple and they flow right up to the point where activation should take place. The Microsoft activation server is down. It has been down since this time yesterday afternoon.

So who handles the server?

And where are my Roger L. Simon books?

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Here's an interesting discovery: 179 front pages of newspapers from around the world. When you click on a front page, you can go to the website, if there is one available.

I called my mother at the rehabilitation center. Tomorrow she will be transferred to a nursing home for a little while. When she leaves there, she will return to her house, and then I will go to Dallas. She has COPD and is approaching the end stage.

She is 84, and has been lonely for my father for 14 years. Today she could barely breathe well enough to keep up a phone conversation.

We expect to be orphans by the end of this year. Maybe that's why I've been lightly depressed this year.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Long-time, powerful Louisiana Senator Russell B. Long has died at 84.

I shouldn't chide anyone for grammar, but there is an almost universal error on the Internet (not just the Blogosphere), and coming soon to a book near you, that is driving me starkers. That is the misspelling of the past tense of 'lead'. The proper spelling is 'led'.

"Currently, I lead a quiet life. When I was younger, I led a raucous one."

I don't think I have read one source in the past year or so that has spelled this word correctly.

Mechanical spell-checkers, I guess.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Everybody, head over to Fritz Schrank's for this post. And click on the picture.

I don't have much to add to the trailer discussion as I have never lived in one. Lyman did during law school. I have observed, however, that the double-wide would be a real convenience when splitting up community property during a divorce.

"How would you think about 300,000 fetish pictures?"

I don't rightly know, hon.


No, I didn't do the fried pies yesterday. I like to cook and I am good at it, but I have my limits. Monday night Lyman and I cooked Shrimp Creole from Rima and Richard Collins' The New Orleans Cookbook. It's as good a recipe as we have in the house, and if you are willing to sell your favorite child or grandchild into slavery, you, too, can try it.

Here's the list of ingredients (no amounts -- too taxing): oil, flour, scallions, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, parsley, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chives, red wine, bay leaves, whole allspice, cloves, salt, black pepper, cayenne, chili powder, mace, basil, thyme, lemon juice and water. And 2 pounds of peeled shrimp.

We used home canned tomatoes rather than tomatoes and tomato sauce, and Lyman made a stock from shrimp shells to use in place of water. This recipe calls for 1 & 3/4 cups of thinly sliced scallions, and let me tell you, my personal Hell is standing at the sink cleaning green onions thinner than my little finger. And it was delicious.

But last night? Hamburgers were too much trouble.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Billy Joe Bob, many thanks for that pretty red soil, but I really wish y'all would keep that and send some of the rain that's been falling. Our local farmers are beginning to worry.

By the way, I have assembled apricots, shortening, flour and a little advice from Miss B. Today just might be the day to try those fried pies.

I've added Michael Totten to the blogroll because he brings a different perspective to many issues, linking to unusual stories and references. He also has the cutest red-haired wife (but you can't see the photo because none of his archived photos are showing up).

Monday, May 05, 2003

All this talk of Bill Bennett is going to force me to set up a bourre game. The day we married, Lyman and I joined a group of friends for an evening of cards. I won $42 that day, though I don't think any person in the group lost more than $10.

I might even have to ask Miss Alec from across the street. She is 79, and doesn't get around so well anymore, but she has a reputation as a wicked card player.

Inconvenient call of nature

Because his bathroom was in flames, Theisen ducked behind a large oak tree in his back yard to relieve himself. Before he could finish, though, one of the police officers at the scene declared he was under arrest for lewd conduct.

"I tried to tell him, 'Sir, my bathroom is burning. It's on fire.' But he didn't seem to care. As soon as I zipped up, he put handcuffs on me," Theisen said.

(Link via Obscure Store)

Tim Blair dishes up some vitriol from readers of the Sydney Morning Herald. Here's a small sample:

"Bush is currently the greatest treat to world peace, he is a second IDI Amin, he over estimates his own self worth, I put him up with all the othe dictators of the world. The IQ of America can move from 1 to 2 if he is put in exile. I continue to deplore anything American, as they are one of the most backward countries in the world."

I think my feelings are hurt.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

We heard the wailing of a bunch of sirens earlier this afternoon. "No," I thought. "Not another of those accidents down the levee road." The levee road is a snaky thing and drivers are apt to cut corners. In February, two 17-year-old girls driving north were killed when they had a collision with a pick-up driving south. The cars hit each other head-on in the middle of the two-lane road.

The sirens came closer and I thought, "No, please, not a fire."

None of that at all. The Vidalia High School Lady Vikings softball team was returning to town after winning its first ever state championship. The team bus was met at the edge of town by a full police escort (I mean every police and sheriff's car in town -- all seven or eight of 'em), and paraded throughout the neighborhoods, sirens blaring and horns blasting. You go, girls.

The boys are in the playoffs, too. I wonder if they can keep up?

Saturday, May 03, 2003

I woke this morning to two Post-It tags on my monitor. One says that Cossie called and asked if I would like to do lunch with her today. Another says "MONEY FOR LUNCH" with an arrow pointing to a stack of twenties on the counter. $140. Maybe we should do lunch in New Orleans?

LATER: That was a temptation until I remembered that sugarmama was off to the New Orleans Jazzfest this weekend. Nix.

So we wound up at the bar of the new Comfort Suites hotel down by the riverside. We sat near windows where we could watch the barge traffic going up and down the Mississippi. At 85 degrees, it was too warm to sit on the patio outside, even closer to the riverbank. Excellent Bloody Mary, too. Not too alcoholic with plenty of spice.

Lunch for one = $12 for a drink and a turkey club, including tip.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Hey, if Possum is Larry Anderson's blogdaddy, and Possum is my blogdaddy, then we're blog siblings! I knew I liked that guy. Of course, being a sibling doesn't necessarily mean liking. But that's a long post I'll keep to myself.

By the way, I think I've finally figured out how Daddy comes out so wonderfully off-the-wall. Two words: sleep deprivation.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Billy Joe Bob of Compleat Redneck and I have had an e-mail correspondence going on for some time about fried pies. He says he remembers his grandmother drying fruit on feed sack bedsheets. I have no such memory. He wonders if he is dating himself by bringing it up. I suspect it's regional. My grands canned. I don't know that he has ever said where his grands came from, but mine lived most of their lives about 60 miles north of Dallas, TX, up around Gunter, Sherman and Van Alstyne.

I know that my mother's mother was born in 1900. That's a date that sticks with you. My daddy's mother died at 86 when I was in New York, which would be 1979-1983. I couldn't afford to go home for the funeral, and my parents couldn't afford to fly me. Miss Ida Gibson, her name was. Well, at the time of her death, her name was Mrs. Lee R. Davenport.

So, unless I am totally wrong about Billy Joe Bob, he's not entirely out of my generation -- though we could be at the long ends of one. My big brother is about 64. "Talking about my generation ..."

Chastised? Chastised? Oh, Dr. Taylor, you don't know chastised until I catch you setting your sweating tea glass on my antique desk. That was the quietest little nudge.

Go over to James Joyner's distinguished site and find the movies made in your birth year. For me, we have "Hud", "Peyton Place", and "The Three Faces of Eve". The influences ...

May 1? How did it come to be May 1? Last time I looked up, it was March 27. Gads, I'd better check my bills.