Archive for July, 2007

While Ronnie and John took off for their day of fun (Ron calls it ‘research’), where was I? At work. Not flying down I-59 to look in at Treitler’s (and I would’ve stopped at Paul’s Pastry Shop right next door!), not eating at LeBlanc’s (I eat the red beans, too), and not looking at birds! Instead, I was holding up my end of the “bargain” by diligently being at work to support this new lifestyle of ours, not that my working is new! I’ve been working since I was 14 and there’s no end in sight — just like most of the rest of the world!

But, oh, today is Friday, I don’t have class this weekend, and I’m planning to alternately grade papers and sleep all weekend to the sounds of gentle rain . . . have a great one, everyone!


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So, here I am, going about my business late last week, doing my job, etc. I come home for lunch, enter the study and Ron turns around and says, “I have a job. Better, I have a job for YOU!” And, he’s so happy with himself! Why? What am I supposed to say to that? How do I respond without squelching his obvious self-satisfaction?

“Ok, what is it?” trying to sound pleased and excited.

“Gavin wants us to do a WINGS trip with him!”

“Uh-huh. More information, please. When? Where?”

“April. South Texas! Isn’t that great?!” almost more self-satisfaction than I can tolerate.

“Uh-huh. Tell me more.” My panic is rising.

So I get the “rest of the story” in pieces throughout lunchtime. Gavin wants Ron to cook (and Ron volunteered me to housekeep) for his Texas trips (2) next spring — with pay. The great thing is that we can be in South Texas near High Island (the second-best spring migration stop — Dauphin Island is the best — in north America) for two weeks during peak spring migration time.

What’s the down side, you might ask? Well, there really isn’t a down side, is there? I get to travel, to be with Ronnie, to see Gavin (our friend), to look at beautiful birds, and get paid, both by my real job and by this job. It’s a great way to meet people and get them exposed to Ronnie and his work. And, of course, there’s the house-keeping and cooking and shopping and bed-making and laundry, all of which I love to do (yeah, right!)! Such a sacrifice!  Well, I guess the real sacrifice is that we will miss our spring birding trip with the Pine Woods Audubon group to Dauphin Island.

So, stay tuned to the WINGS website and to our sites to see what the plans are, what the itenerary is, and what the fun looks like. You, too, could get sucked right into this trip and have some great fun, great food, and great entertainment — listening to Ronnie’s stories every night when it’s too dark to bird!

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Because of the column he wrote for the Hattiesburg American on our bird Qito, Ron was asked by the American Birding Association to write an article for their newsletter Winging It on the same topic. Neat! No money but it’s a great honor for a birder to be published there, and he is very excited! Me, too!

Then we learned yesterday that Serve It Cold was reviewed on the New Orleans blogsite “Blogging New Orleans.” It’s a great review and a good blogsite. Please take a minute to go out and read Mike’s comments on the book. And, if you haven’t already, go out to Lulu and purchase your own copy to read, or go to Podiobooks and download the audio version free of charge. Please, please consider leaving feedback if you’re already listening…the feedback helps other browsers decide whether to invest their time and it’s really valuable.

So now he has an article in to the HA on “New Media” that we think will be in the Sunday edition, he’s got a great article in the can for the next birding column, and he’s working steadily through his to-d0 list like a man on fire!

It’s great to watch, even after all these years.

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Well, clearly this week, the issues of loss and the people and things I’m missing is still lingering. I just read a great article in the NY Times online edition called Remembered Spaces and was thinking about how we laughingly talk about the “southern way” of directing people somewhere by the use of landmarks no longer there. Apparently, it is not so “southern” a thing as we’ve thought!

For example, I wonder what it is that makes me persistently cling to the memory of the old grocery that used to stand catty-cornered to my house when the current building, a short squat brick thing, has been there for 25+ years. And, even if I refer to it, I call it by what it originally was (Fed Ex building), not what it is now (of course, I’m not really sure what it is now!).

But, why? The Fed Ex building wasn’t important to me. Although I did shop at the old grocery…and I do mean OLD — there are pictures of people with ox and wagons tied up at that store in the city archives! — what is it about that that makes it so important to me to hang on to?

Do you do that? Is it something about resisting change? Is it something about clinging to our past that makes us feel we can control the aging process? Control change? Or is it just a need to remember…to say what came before, a retelling, recounting history, such as we used to do orally around campfires? Is my telling you about the store just a way to assert that it was here once…and so was I? And, by telling you about it, it (and I) will not be forgotten . . .

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Bottle Trees

I ordered my bottle trees today — one for Ruth for Christmas and one for our back yard. Now, with only 10 blue bottles in hand, I have to start drinking more.

What?! You don’t know what a bottle tree is?! How can that be?

Try some of these links for info and pictures. Once I get mine, I’ll get a picture posted. My friend Beth has a wonderful bottle tree in her back yard. I’ll get a picture soon.

Felder’s Yard
Bottle Tree Man
Holly Hill Daylillies

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So, two weeks into being self-employed and Ronnie has hit the “I’m not getting anything done” phase. I knew this was coming.

I tried to head it off by cajoling him into creating a project list. I’ve reviewed the list with him several times to indicate that he IS getting stuff done. I think he lost the list…but I “found” it on my desk, hovering dangerously near my recycling box. I scratched through the things he has accomplished and carefully placed it back on his desk. And, voila! Today he is lamenting that he can’t get anything done.

But. He did download some new applet that lets him launch applications, go back and forth in his iTunes, and do tons of other cool stuff (“you’d love this if you tried it!”). He did roast coffee and mow the back yard, even though I told him I’d take care of the yard. And, he’s spent a week trying to re-make one of his newspaper columns into a requested article, rather than just starting over and rewriting to suit.

Motivation is a tricky thing. But he has accomplished a lot . . .

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I took a day off work Friday and we drove to Philadelphia, MS, to visit our California-based relatives who were down for a week at the “cabin” and to be the instrument of returning our mom home to Oak Grove. It was a lovely weekend, full of family that we don’t often get to be with for long stretches, good food, and just enough togetherness to make it nice to leave on Sunday for the peacefulness of my own home, bed, and dogs. It was a “soft” weekend, weather-wise, full of summer rain that lasted for hours at a time, mingling clouds with sunshine as gentle breezes drifted the rain across the body of the pond below the deck. It was great porch-rocking, wine-sipping, chatting-in-small-groups, telling-lies weather.

Now, no work got done, so in that sense it was recorded in a “lost” column for me. I didn’t grade, didn’t correspond with my students, didn’t do any writing of my own, and barely got any reading done. And, Ronnie certainly didn’t! So exactly what did I do with my time?

Found things. Found out things about our niece who is heading away to college in the fall. Found things about our nephew/godson who will be finishing college next spring. Found out things about Ronnie’s brother, sister-in-law, and mother. Found family. Maybe found a little of ourselves.

The last time we were together was for Prentiss’ (my father-in-law) funeral in early May. We were sad, confused, exhausted, grief-stricken, and overwhelmed with the details of that situation. Our focus then was on Faye, the boys, each other, and, to a lesser extent, extended family and friends. We needed a time to reconnect over fun, in a different environment and in a relaxed mode. We needed time to reflect, to remember, to celebrate him again, and to mourn him in a less frenzied way.

Sharon (married to Ronnie’s next-oldest brother) is our organizer, our next in line gatherer-in for the family. She got us up to Philadelphia for the weekend. Her next family project is Christmas and she’s busily planning something for everyone who wants to to participate in it — Hawaii, California, who knows?! It will be our first Christmas without Prentiss, and we need to do “something different” — not to forget him but to ease our loss and move us back into our lives, new without him.

The first Christmas after my dad died, neither my mom nor I had the heart to put up decorations, string lights. We settled for tying red bows to a small scheffalera that someone had given us for my dad’s wake. And that was just fine for us. By the second year after, we had our tree back, our family home, and Christmas returned. We’ll have to see with this loss, just what it will take for us to be able to move on so that we can come full circle to celebrate again…the same but different. Without Prentiss.

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