Archive for the ‘Lisa’ Category

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

It was the summer of 1998. I can still remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was pre-Todd, pre-Rollie and Tiller, Pre-Quint and Simon, and Scully. Hard to imagine that now.

My sister was my best friend. No one else even came close, except maybe that boy. We were parting ways. He was off to Phoenix. It was an amicable parting, but i think I knew it was over forever. I’m not sure he knew yet. I was headed back to Atlanta, back to the South, back Home. The open road was like the first sheet in a blank book just waiting to be written.

I had me a Ryder truck, and a sister who agreed to follow me, driving my car back. It was the same car that I had in Atlanta the day I crapped in my pants on the connector, caught in the worst traffic jam ever, and just having left Three Dollar Cafe. It wasn’t pretty.

But that is a story for another day.

We left Denver on a sunny, hot, dry day. It was July 31st. We broke down later that day in Victoria, Kansas. You are probably thinking, “they didn’t get very far” and if you are thinking that, then you have never driven across Kansas, because Kansas is a never ending Son of a bitch.

Lisa flagged me down, driving the Acura, and waving frantically. This was in the olden days, when people didn’t have cel phones, unless they were selling drugs, and I didn’t even know what I was missing. I know that is hard to imagine, what with me having my iPhone surgically attached to my hand and all. If I were to do that drive today, without my phone, it would feel just like walking across Kansas naked.

I pulled over at the next stop. Which looked just like the last stop and every other one in Kansas, too. I pulled up next to Lisa and probably said something along the lines of “What the fuck?”

And she probably said something along the lines of, “There are fucking flames coming out from under your truck!”

Okay, they were just sparks. We had a muffler. It wouldn’t stay attached to the fucking truck. I didn’t know it was the muffler until we got down on our stomachs at a truck stop in Kansas and looked under and saw this round tubular thing hanging down.

So, we found the number for Ryder, and we found the payphone, the one around the corner, against the cinder block building wall, in the baking heat. We were on hold forfuckingever.

Lisa on Hold with Ryder.

Lisa on Hold with Ryder.

This is what she looked like when I first handed off the phone after I had been on hold so long that my ear had fallen asleep. I went and got the camera out of boredom. And this is what she looked like another thirty minutes later:
And yes, yes she is wearing overalls. I'm getting to that.

And yes, yes she is wearing overalls. I'm getting to that.

So, when we finally got a hold of Ryder on the FUCKING PAYPHONE, we told them we had a problem with our sparky tubular metal thing under the truck. And they said, “ma’am, you got yourself a muffler problem,” and we said, “Right, the muffler. Isn’t that what I just said? Great, how soon can you be here to fix it?” And he said, “Where are you?” and we said, “Kansas.”


“Uh, where in Kansas?”

Lisa runs in the gas station to figure out where the fuck in Kansas we are.

“We’re in Victoria, Kansas.”

Silence. Then, “Well, we can get someone out to Victoria tomorrow.”

I look around me in dismay, because this is what it looks like where we are.

View from Gas Station, Victoria, KS. July 31st, 1998

View from Gas Station, Victoria, KS. July 31st, 1998

“Um, okay,” i say, “so, what would you do if you had a muffler problem like this and y’all couldn’t get here til tomorrow?”
“Well, Ma’am, I’d find some baling wire and tie it back up.”
And that’s what we did.
Muffler with Baling Wire, Victoria, KS
We walked around a gas station in Victoria, KS, begging a piece of bailing wire from men in trucks. Turns out it’s not that hard to find baling wire in Kansas. And then I got my ass down on the hot pavement, and climbed under that truck, just like the T-Birds in Grease, and I used that wire and I tied that muffler to the truck so tight it was never gonna come off!

At least, not until East St. Louis.

To be continued, in A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II.

The Gulf

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I watched my children play in the sand while a storm came in, never quite reached us, but left us a rainbow that spanned the trees and the beach and gulf, all the way to the horizon.

I listened as my children discussed whether the pot of gold was in the forest or in the deep blue sea, and where did the leprechaun live?

I walked the beach at sunset and found the largest shell i have ever found in my whole life.

I sat in my beach chair, and thought about how many times I had sat on the Gulf in my life and thought about how small it made me feel.

I petted my dog’s velvet ears on the screened porch while having drinks with my husband and listening to music.

I had coffee with my sister while our kids played trains and chatted happily with each other.

I poured tequila at nine a.m.

I watched as the kids ignored the big ocean for the small tide pools and then rolled around in the mud. I didn’t worry a bit about the sand and the dirt.

I chased my nephew on the sand, and I clutched my hat to my head as the wind tried to take it from me.

I held hands with my little girl and walked on the docks. We dangled our feet over the edge, watching as sailboats came in, and we waved at the people and the dogs on board. We saw a crab on a pylon and we laughed at him.

I waited for hurricane waves to carry me in, and I scraped my knees on a thousand shells, and the ocean turned me upside down like I was in a washing machine. And I liked it and I laughed a true laugh and my raw, bruised knees felt good. It still feels good. I hope it doesn’t go away.

I stepped barefoot up a hundred iron spiral steps. I heard them clang and I heard the wind whistle through them. I got my bearings. I yearned to climb even farther and see how it all works. I saw beauty in the way things used to be made, and I saw that they could last.

I promised myself that I would try to convince Todd to let me paint the porch ceiling blue.

I wondered what it would be like to live 250 yards from the sea, in a time with no electricity, no gas, no artificial light, no corner grocery. I wondered what it would be like to live there and batten down the hatches. I wished I could have seen it then.

I gazed on an American flag flapping sharply in the wind, and I thought how very lucky I am.

I watched my husband stand alone in the ocean, staring out to sea. I thought to myself that he is the most wonderful person I have ever met, and that is the way it should be.

I pointed out pelicans flying in a perfect vee to my nephew and he pointed to them, too, and then looked at me to make sure I saw.

I saw my children and their cousin laugh and splash in the ocean, and I saw them put an arm around him when a big wave came, and I knew for a moment that I was doing something right.

I sat and waited until the last moment for the storm, a great wall of dark gray, to come ashore, and I got soaked, and I didn’t care. I danced under the awning with my husband and my children while it rained. And then we went right back out for more.

I sat on the beach with only my husband and we talked and laughed and listened to music in the sun.

I napped in the afternoon and woke to the voices of my family.

I felt sunbrushed and ate too much pizza.

I sat steps from the bay, and I watched her people gather, and I listened to their sweet southern voices. I sat next to my son and waited for the sun to set over the water. I listened to the pop of roman candles from the beach behind me, and I watched red and white fireworks pop up in the distance over the cape. I waved my flag and I watched a parade of lighted ships. I wondered what it would be like next year.

I heard the gasps of children and the sighs of grandmothers. I thought of the night many years ago now that I sat with my grandma, Alzheimer’s really starting to get her, and we watched fireworks, and a tear rolled down her cheek, and she whispered, “They’re beautiful,” and “I’ve never seen fireworks before.” And I knew she had seen them before, and that she just couldn’t remember it, but I was happy that she was experiencing them like a child for the first time, and I was happy to be holding her hand.

I thought, too, of sitting with friends and my children in a field in Chamblee last year, and knowing my Grandfather was not long for the world, and being overwhelmed at the sight of the fleeting bursts in the sky, and being moved to tears.

I listened to my children describe the sight and tears brimmed at the edges of my eyes.

“That one’s like a flower blossoming,” and “That one’s like Saturn,” he said, and “they perfectly lightly up the sky!” she exclaimed.

I held my son’s body on my chest, and rested my cheek next to his, and put my arms around him over his chest, and smiled when he reached up to clasp my arms with his hands. I felt him there past the brink of child and onto boyhood. I felt his weight get heavier and more substantial in the way that children do when they are bone-tired from good play and sun. I watched as he fell asleep and began to snore in the car on the way home, fireworks still lighting the sky over the bay.

I saw my sister relaxed and happy waiting for us, and it made my heart happy. I walked with my husband down the boardwalk. I stood, skirt snapping around my legs, and watched more fireworks, up and down the beach, and heard the raucous shouts of those shooting them off carried over to us across the sand. I laid down on the wind worn wood and we looked up at a million stars, and we watched a satellite traverse the sky above us.

I pondered the wonders man had made, and too, the horrors he had wrought.

I thought of the sadness and fear and anger I sensed from the people who make this place their home. And I cursed those who threatened them, and I cursed us all for the way we live. I lamented the fact that we have taken it all for granted until it might be too late.

I thought of a lifetime’s memories there – fishing and nets and swimming and sandcastles. The exhilaration of being away from my parents for the first time. Falling in love. Running on the beach. Watching the sunrise with my future husband, and bonfires and sweat lodges and drunken wrestling with friends. My sweet puppy, now an old dog, romping in the sand. I thought of the first time I ever saw my children play in the surf together.

I left it there yesterday, still pristine, still untouched, and I questioned if I would ever see it this way again in my lifetime, this place that captured my heart and soul.

I wondered if my children would remember it at all.

Nephew Love

Monday, June 28th, 2010

My in-laws are comin’! Running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but needed to post a little something this morning about my favorite nephew. He turned two and we attended his birthday party on Saturday.

Little Birdman is Two!

Little Birdman is Two!

How can he be two? Seems like just yesterday I held him for the first time. I can’t believe that I love something so much, almost as much as my own two kiddos. But I look at him and I see my baby sister, and it is one of the sweetest feelings I have ever had.

Icing on the Thomas the Tank Engine cake? I got to sit in a chair with this little guy sleeping on my chest.

Icing on the Thomas the Tank Engine cake? I got to sit in a chair with this little guy sleeping on my chest.

Afterwards, watched USA in the World Cup (sad game) with friends and no chilluns (always fun). I ran into a friend from high school. I went swimming in my clothes. I drank Red Bull and Vodka (a decidedly for-the-childless concoction). Best Husband ever (and I am not kidding here – how, again, did I find one that can put up with me and my shenanigans?) picked me up and took me home at the perfect time. Spent Sunday with him and the family at the pool – the perfect balm for my slightly aching head.

In-laws come in today to bring me my new (used) freezer (frozen veggies!), and then we go to the beach on Friday. Feels like a great week. Hope everyone else’s is the same.

For Lisa, on Easter

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Because I still miss finding our baskets together.


Life Gets in the Way, But Let Me Fast Forward It For You

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

This has been my worst month of posting in years. Life has really gotten in the way. Many reasons come into play. Me training for another triathlon. Work. Lots of company, like Todd’s cousin Jenn, and my friend Honey and her family, and my mom is having surgery on her foot, and mom and dad having moved, a neighbor and i started a community website, Dekalb county board of education sucks, and I have to sometimes cook and do laundry and make beds, or at least enough so that todd won’t divorce me.

A recap in pictures (just hold your mouse over each one for the witty caption):
We had a cookout. With Ned and Nessie.
And Ned and Leelee
Lyle, Cooke, and Rollie
Rolls, Scar, and Tills
and Cooke, Rolls, Scar, and Tills
Then there was the day that Tills cut her own bangs.
I ran a daycare for like 50 kids a few days.
I took the kids and T. to see Donnie's Girlfriend's gallery opening. We did not get drunk which was disappointing.
We went to Roswell for Ev's baby shower.
Lisa Drove. I drank. And tried on wigs with jason.
They're having a baby. Better them than me!
Oh, and J. had an orgasm in Ev's parents' massage chair. (Didn't we all.)
We took the kids to see They Might Be Giants.
And then afterwards, they decided to hang out in L5P and look cool.
We all got goofy at Morelli's.
And Tiller.
Okay, Todd is just too cool in his shades to act goofy. FYI: He found'em on the escalator at the airport and pocketed them. Poser.
Then Honey came to visit and Dash made me jealous.
And we all went to the St. Patty's Day Parade and froze our asses off.
I still don't know what Storm Troopers have to do with St. Patty's, but I'm on board.
We all rode Marta and managed to get home without losing any kids, or Slade, who is part Leprechaun.
I fell in love with this little guy. Had forgotten awesomeness of baby sleeping soundly on couch while I got quietly smashed on wine.
And this one, Honey's mini-me.
And we were just as worn out as they were. . .

I guess that kind of sums it up.

Yeah, Dogwood is back. She’s back!

Honey and the Busy Bee

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

IMG_0004My excitement holds no bounds today. My friend Honey, my college roommate, is coming in town and staying with me for four days. FOUR DAYS. Sure, there will be kids and husbands and dogs underfoot, but I am so excited to spend some quality time with one of my dearest friends. Ever have a person that you know, deep down, realizes that you are not perfect and loves you anyway? A person that you know has your back? A person that isn’t scared to tell you what they really think? She is that person for me. (Well, leelee falls into that category, too, but this post isn’t about Leelee.)

Just wish this dang weather would clear up.

That picture up top? that’s me and Honey, sitting in front of my little dollhouse off of Milledge Avenue in Athens. It was the last place I lived in Athens, and this picture was taken the day after I graduated. I am pretty sure we felt really good that day.

And yes, you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. We’ve had houseguests (Todd’s cousin, Jenn, and her friend Brittany) in town. Jenn and Brittany are thinking about moving to Atlanta, so they came down to look around and get a feel for the city. (Nice weather for them, huh?) I’ve been doing a lot of stuff following the Dekalb County budget issues. Following local politics is damn time-consuming. And then there’s the kids. . . turns out they need to be fed and bathed and picked up and dropped off and you have to make sure that they don’t watch too much tv. I have been bad about that, and I am hereby vowing to be better. So, Dogwood Girl takes a backseat for a while. I have missed it, though. It keeps me sane.

Sometimes I Miss The Baby Days

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

No, I didn’t take this. It was probably my mom or dad. And no, it’s not me. It’s my sister, Lisa. Really reminds me a lot of my nephew Dash, though, so thought i would post it for her.

Also, see that jacket? I am such a packrat that I kept it and Rollie and Tiller wore it, too. You could get tetanus from that metal zipper, but my Mom and I like to live parenthood on the edge. See how she gave Lisa that sucker and made her climb the chair with it in her mouth? I have always wanted to daredevil parent just like her.


I miss those days when the Tills was little and I had a patio out the screen door of my kitchen. Her hair looks better these days, though.

Yes, this post makes no sense at all. None. This is what happens when I start looking at baby pictures. My brain gets scrambled by the cuteness and the nostalgia.

My Favorite Girls

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

My daughter and my sister. Happened to snap shots of both of them recently that I really liked. Normally, i would include my Mom in this, but the only good photo I have taken of her lately had me, with all 40 of my chins, wrapped all around her.

Tiller never smiles for the camera and is always goofy, so I was happy to get this calm shot today.

And my sister, in our hotel room in Knoxville last weekend.


More of my recent photos for the terminally bored can be found here.

Restaurant Suggestions

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

So, Todd wants to take me out for my birthday dinner. Suggestions? What are your favorite restaurants?

Yeah, i don’t get out much, i guess. Help a loser out.


Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Because I was picking cotton today, I was reminded that my sister and I have our own language. As our friend Harris famously once said, “You guys are freakishly close.”

How well do you know me and Leelee? Do you know the meaning of these words and phrases?

Waggy Butt
strap on the feedbag
We should bitch more
him’s bad

Lisa, what would you add to this list? I know there are more. This was off the top of my head when I was picking cotton this morning.

(Um, yeah, this is just a post for fun while i finish up a longer one I am working on.)