Author: benedictgirl

Hominy, Hominy, Hominy…

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My life is like a can of hominy. Have you ever tasted hominy? It’s possibly the blandest edible (technically a grain) vegetable that humans are permitted to ingest. 

There, my friend, is a picture of my life… FREAKIN’ hominy. 

AND for the sake of creativity… And because nothing short of holidays can bring me to the level of irritation I’m feeling, AND who can’t relate with a holiday dish made by their mother ( a dying breed of conventionalists with at least two eras worth of family recipes with which to celebrate holidays)… And I might add, a requirement burdening all carbon-based females and the thorn in my rib since young adulthood, I will create a metaphor of my life for you using one of my mother’s “holiday” recipes:  Hominy Casserole. Or as I like to call it, Hominy Freakin’ Casserole… 

Translation: My FREAKIN’ Life. 

My life is like a can of bland hominy.  And since we’re using food metaphorically, my physical health is much like that of the half-a-cup of cheese used to make a can of hominy into the delicious holiday side dish. (Surely, you can picture how bad it is that cheese in a holiday dish makes for an actual valid physical, bodily metaphor for me?).

Anyway, I digress from the cheese-body part of the recipe… 

But, in addition, Hominy Casserole calls for jalapeños as well! What tha’ frick?  I’m using the desperately hot peppers in my mother’s hominy casserole as a metaphor representing all the horribly unpleasant, insane happenstances mixed into my life (aka a can of hominy. aka eventually a hominy casserole). 

I mean, is it totally necessary to cut the tastelessness of hominy by using hot jalapeño peppers? I mean, just because it’s bland around here, must we add flaming, unbearable torture to the mix just to shake things up a bit? I don’t understand. What’s wrong with just being cheesy and bland? Couldn’t we just add some garlic? 

I hate cheesy and bland… I really do. And I like peppers when they’re friendly and fun-loving! Peppers are just so unpredictable, though. I mean… when one pepper seems to be just a little “spicy” and fun and totally fits in… another one pops up outta’ nowhere acting all violent and “cut-a-bitch”… and ruins everything …. you just can’t ever tell? 

I mean really, the unpredictability is making me nuts… I can’t tell? Should I eat the freakin’ casserole or not? I just never know if the peppers will bring a much-needed “twang” to the monotony or a rush-dance to the icebox for a cold refreshing reminder that nothing is what it seems. 

I Shouldn’t Be Alive… My Body has Lost its Mind!

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My body has lost its mind. So I guess I shouldn’t be alive. But I am… I’m alive and well and drinking coffee twice a week at my friendly neighborhood Village Inn Restauraunt while working remotely because my body’s lungs have decided they’re allergic to my house following a remodel.  I’ve been on a waiting list to see an allergist for approximately a month to see about treatment. Until then, I’m a nomad.

So, some thing I’ve been around my whole life (dust) has suddenly, at the age of 41, truly become life- threatening to me. Immediately following any encounter with dust of any type, the skin on my face crawls as if swarmed by 1 million tiny, tiny bugs; my nose begins to burn, my skin itches and then my lungs burn while they basically shut down and I begin to wheeze and gasp for air.

So while I’m sure I’m not dying, it certainly feels like it whenever I breathe in DUST. It’s heinous.

Village Inn has been a pretty decent alternative to my office. I roll up in the morning and request an electric table (one w/ electrical outlets) and nice servers bring me my very own pot of coffee, a plate of hash browns, happy, upbeat music plays in the background at a tolerable volume while type and click away on projects and answer emails. It’s not a bad gig.

I think the servers are used to crackhead-sorts? So they’re super cool with me. And they are certainly used to serving sicklies (as the restaurant is located directly across the street from a hospital) and they help keep a close eye on Monster (my baby Mustang 5.0) sitting all alone in public parking undeservedly for hours in the hot sun of a strange parking lot subject to strangers, kids and birds and other car doors. Dear Lord, I’m Sorry, Monster… But the Village Inn staff knows how protective I am of Monster and are pretty adamant about keeping me level… So it’s all good.

Anyway, to homies at Village Inn, you guys are my family now… You’re my peeps… I almost dread getting well and never seeing you. Thank you for listening to my dust-allergy TMI stories. Thank you for treating me like I’m the sickliest person in the history of time. Thank you for bringing me hot coffee. Thank you for loving my Mustang. Thank you for being a league of extraordinary people. And thank you for re-assuring me each time you see me that I am, in fact, likely NOT dying; my body is not losing its mind; other people have suffered allergies and lived on to experience happy lives. And, definitely, thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to eat greasy hash browns with Louisiana Hot Sauce and order diet Coke AND coffee AND water all at the same time… since I’m so pitifully sick and displaced.

Fun with Chickens

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I don’t know if you do this, but I assign chicken themes or titles, if you will, to days of the week (or sometimes even certain weeks of the month). For example, when I tell you “Today was a chicken-truck day,” that means I thought about running out in front of a chicken truck at least once today.

If I tell you, “Today was a chicken-peck day,” that means I’ve reached my threshold of human interactions today and liken the experience to being pecked to death by a bunch of chickens.

“Chicken-shit day” – I put up with an unreasonable amount of shit today.

“Chicken-coop day” – I need to get out of the house. I’m feeling “cooped” up.

“Chicken-pox day” – I’m sick.

You get the point…

I’m not weird, I just think the word “chicken” is funny and can sometimes be used as a buffer of sorts when truthfully communicating negative experiences… kind of a modified behavior modification tool. (But please don’t blame chickens. In general, chickens are actually pretty decent people.) I just thought if we’re going to be friends, and you’re going to read my posts, you might enjoy learning some chicken references.

In fact, here are a few to get you started:

Chicken-feed (groceries) – “Hey, kids, we’re out of chicken-feed, I’m headed to the supermarket.”

Chicken-skin (goosebumps) – “Dang, baby, I got chicken-skin! Can we please adjust the thermostat?”

Chicken-beak (mouth) – “Oh, please, just shut your chicken-beak.”

Chicken-wing (insignificant) – “Girl, that ain’t no thing butta’ chicken-wing.”

Chicks (kids) – “I have to pick up my chicks at the gym after basketball practice.”

Chicken-egg (egg) – “I’ll have a chicken-egg over-easy with my bacon, please.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Guitar?

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So, my Dad died.

On New Year’s Day 2016…

Less than two hours after midnight. And I watched him die.

In one word… DEVASTATION.

If I may, metaphorically,  losing my Dad is a DEVASTATION bowl of ice-cream topped with bitter loneliness, anger, dead spiders, tar, fear, mud, needles, shards of glass, vomit and void.

I’m a musician and my father my musical root. He taught me how to play guitar. He accompanied me the first time I sang to an audience. My father’s love of music was passed down to me completely and his death seemed to rob it completely from me… I haven’t sang a note in two years. I haven’t touched a guitar. I haven’t even been able to be in the same room as music. When music is a big part of your heart and now your heart is broken, music hurts… a lot.

Something finally snapped me back this week… Snatched me from the quicksand that is grief. I could actually feel and smell spring on the way today. For the first time in  two years, I want to make music. Tonight I have hope. I’m finally brave enough to play music. I want to live out the melody in my head and make beautiful guitar chords so I get out my dad’s favorite guitar, Jack Special (Jack).

A little history on Jack (named after a dear friend who is no longer with us): It was the first guitar I purchased in my early 20s. That guitar was in my hand through every song I ever wrote; every song I ever recorded; every time I played a gig; every band practice; every time I had a broken heart; every bad day; every good day; every bored day; and every other kind of day. Jack Special is a great guitar. The first time I let my dad play it, he fell in love with the action and said it had the most beautiful, full sound.

Years later, following college graduation, I moved to a larger city in hopes of a better income and a brighter future for me and my son (Brody). So there I was, a single mom earning an entry-level salary with sizable expenses and I was a long way from home. I was devastatingly broke and even more homesick… I remember living on $20 a week after rent and bills. I could rarely fill my gas tank. One winter, I couldn’t afford to buy Christmas gifts for my parents and Christmas is a big deal to my family. I was broken-hearted at the prospect of showing up for Christmas empty-handed because my parents were so special to me.  So I gave them my only two possessions of any value: a diamond ring that my mother had always admired and Jack Special for my dad. It just made sense to me. He loved to play guitar more than any person I’ve ever known and he appreciated my guitar as much as I did so I tied a gift tag to its case and singed it “To: Papa, From: Brody & Summer.”

I basically had to fight with my dad before he would accept my gift. He just couldn’t stand to take anything from his children. That’s just the kind of father he was. He finally relented, but he tried to give it back every single time I saw him thereafter. But he truly loved that guitar. He played it constantly.

It was always within his reach. Parked in a guitar stand near his recliner, it was there for him whenever he was sad; whenever he was happy; whenever he was bored; and just whenever. After he retired, he had more time to enjoy music. I have so many precious memories of him leading worship bands in churches or sitting in his living room singing and holding Jack Special. It was the guitar in his hands the night he played music with friends at church on New Year’s Eve then later dropped to the floor when a a brain aneurysm stole his life.

Jack Special was more than my creative muse and more than my father’s favorite possession: It was the instrument God used to create a stronger bond between me and my father and the instrument God used to teach me an important lesson in giving all those Christmases ago.

Tonight, I got it out of the case intending to play music for the first time since he died. As I stopped it up into my arms, I felt something rustling inside. It was the same feeling as a trapped guitar pick bouncing off the walls of the guitar’s interior, only lighter than a pick. Without a doubt, something was in there. Fluttering about…

Jack Special

I turned the body over, held it above my head and shook it from side to side until a little paper forget-me-not fell out onto my lap. It read, “To: Papa From: Brody & Summer”

 

I love you, Dad…

 

 

 

 

You Can Quote Me On This…

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So, every now and then, when I think I’ve said something profound, I save it to notes in my phone. These little rubies were unearthed (along with several grocery lists & passwords) during a long-awaited iPhone cleanse.

Pillows are like people – some are just sorrier than others

BBQ Pringles with vodka-cranberry cocktails tastes like vomit from the flu virus

So, what’s with men and BBQ?

God doesn’t punish – We punish ourselves. He’s pretty chill

Never sit in the victim chair no matter how tired your legs get

A tooth ache can only be compared to an ice pick to the middle ear, I would imagine

At the end of the day, true love can definitely be measured by small, round potatoes in the crock pot

It’s true! Google & YouTube are Mom & Dad to a lot of people

Take it from me, a lisp, pigeon toes and scoliosis can be self-corrected. Right? (Standing up in mirror to check).

Ah, girly, cover up your body and let your inner beauty try to escape

 

Eat McDonald’s Sometimes – But Now While You’re Driving & Texting

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I hope this blog helps to cure my chronic pessimism. I also hope this blog helps to clear out some of the noise in my brain. Think of this blog as my self-imposed behavior modification tool.

I’m in pursuit of optimism.

Okay, it’s like cleaning out a closet:  I will go through and pull out the wools, 90s era  cat-lady-looking sweaters (Curt Cobain, how I miss you) jeans I paid $100 for at the Buckle when I was 27 (that will NEVER fit me again) or any article of clothing/shoe/handbag that brings me a sad memory, then I will shove those into a black garbage bag and asked Hubbs to drop it off at Good Will or a dumpster or, “I don’t know what to do with it, just get rid of it.”

Then I will stare into my near-empty closet, feel a shopping trip coming on then frolic to the mall and max out my Belk card 🙂

I have been a “half-empty” type my whole life. So blogging my cynical, critical view of the world without “shredding” others or humanity as a whole will be a baby step. I will try very hard not to dismember the world and shove torsos, heads, legs & forearms into black garbage bags and drop them off random places.

In other words, I’ll be on my best behavior. I’ll be sensitive about things. I’ll be empathetic (somewhat). Here goes…

What a crap is going on with McDonalds? Where are they at 2 a.m. anymore? America is dying. The repeated negative PR assaults on McDonalds is proof people suck, man. I know it’s fast food. I know it’s greasy. I know it’s bad for your body to eat too much of it, but seriously, if you will eat a hotdog at the ballpark or from the supermarket and will not eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets, you’re just a hypocrite. For craps sake they offer freakin’ apple wedges now with Happy Meals! What more do you want from these guys? I love McDonalds and you should too.

And why does everyone eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time every day? It’s just creepy. Why does everyone do everything at exactly the same time?

Why do people plan beach vacations during the hottest freakin’ times of the year? Wouldn’t it make more sense to travel to sunny, hot places during the cold winter months? If children miss 4 or 5 days of school in the fall they will not fail at life because of it.

And have you noticed how scary drivers are these days? It’s getting worse and worse every year. I swear it is. Not only are people crazy anyway from work stress, they’re cracked out on coffee or 5-hour-energy drinks, scurrying at lunch hour like starving rats at a theme-park, cramming the drive-through (of every freakin’ fast-food restaurant EXCEPT McDonalds). Speeding, texting, eating and pumping cortisol.

Okay, so here’s my positive spin….

Whatever, man, it’s not my problem. I feel better now.