Archive for the ‘Alabammy’ Category

Why I love fall

Damn if I don’t have a love/hate relationship with fall.  In the South, fall is a beautiful thing.   It sweeps in after the long, staggering summer with one chilly night and all of the sudden months of lovely, crisp air are laid out in front of you (well, except for the inexplicable heatwave that always comes through in October).  You finally get to wear your sweaters and your scarves, pumpkins start showing up in the grocery stores, and most importantly, football is back.  Where I’m from in Alabama, Fall lasts a long time.  Proper winter is brief, so you’ve got months and months of all that is perfect about this lovely season. 

It’s not quite like that up here.  Fall means one thing:  OH MY GOD WINTER IS ALMOST HERE. PLEASE EXCUSE ME WHILE I BURST INTO TEARS OVER HERE.

Ok, that’s a ridiculous exagerrations.  Fall also means:

1. Foliage- Listen, they aren’t messing around when they talk about the beauty of the Fall trees in New England.  That shit is magical.  The most impressive thing is how quickly it happens.  One day you drive by a perfectly serviceable green tree and the next day it is a riot of red and gold and orange bright enough to make you almost lose control of your car.  This place is beautiful right now.

2.  Candy Corn- My #1 all-time favorite candy.  This morning I walked into work and a co-worker of mine had a bowl on her desk.  I’m trying to figure out how to get her out of her office so I can dump it into my purse.   I want to find the person that invented it and kiss them on the mouth.  The quickest way to my heart is through candy corn.  (And don’t even think of bringing me those unholy pumpkins that masquerade around as a version of candy corn.  I am not fooled, and Jesus is watching you commit those sins, Brachs.)

3.  Winter clothing- Boots!  Scarves!  Hats!  I love winter clothing, and have managed to cultivate a pretty damn impressive collection of coats and jackets in my short tenure here* and I find it delightful to trot them out on occasion (and by “on occasion” I mean every day from now until May). 

4.  My birthday- It was last Saturday!  I turned 27 years old.  My September birthday is the reason that my middle name is Autumn.   

5.  And finally, but most importantly, football.  I love football. It is my favorite sport above all others.  It makes me so happy.    It especially makes me happy when my beloved team is doing extremely well.  Despite what those fucking polls say.  Ah well, what’s a good Auburn football season without getting screwed by the BCS standings and bitching about the AP Poll?  I have only this to say:  War Damn Eagle.   I’m also pleased that I have found friends up here who are excited to sit around all day on Sunday and watch football (of course, my preference would be to sit around all day on SATURDAY to watch football, but I’ll take what I can get).  They at least tolerate me talking about what happened to all the teams I love and loathe on the previous day,  so that’s good enough for me.

*If you’re keeping track, I also just passed my two-year anniversary of being in Massachusetts.   I do not know how I feel about that, so don’t even ask.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!  I especially want to thank my Daddy, who served as a Marine in Vietnam.

Daddy, thanks for protecting your loins and allowing me to embarrass you on the internet.

Love you!

Everything is better with goats!

Y’all!  I was totally in Alabama all last week and I didn’t even tell you.  I am the worst internet-girlfriend ever!

I was going to post when I got there on Saturday afternoon and make some snappy joke about being in Bama, but then my parent’s innernets were all plumb mucked up!  Though, truthfully, it’s a miracle they have internet anyway since they live in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  Maybe not a Cheeto-Jesus miracle, but a miracle none-the-less.  They had a guy scheduled to come fix it Thursday so I planned to do it then.

And then we went to the beach for four days AND I DIDN’T EVEN GET SUNBURNED and that is a miracle which makes Cheesus look like a third-rate Saint helping someone find their lost keys.

What can I say about the beach?  It was hotter than the deepest depths of hell.  It was so hot that one day we went to Ft. Morgan, a civil-war era fort, and we were able to wander around for maybe 20 minutes before our motor skills started to give out and I started speaking in tongues.  I am very much out of practice dealing with the kind of heat that makes roasted seagulls drop out of the sky.  Sadly, the gulf was infested with jellyfish so I wasn’t able to swim, but there was a very nice pool and a shady balcony that served as a nice place to spend a few days.  And I had forgotten how amazing gulf shrimp is.

We got home on Wednesday afternoon and immediately went to work picking lima beans, planting sweet potatoes, making fig preserves, and harvesting and shelling two bushels of peas.  I was betrayed by my father when he told me on Saturday that while we were there we could go pick up goats that he wanted to buy to clean out the brush from a very large new pasture that he just cleared AND THEN WE DIDN’T GET GOATS AFTER ALL.  And I wept and rended (?) (rent?) my garments and promised to bring down the heavens upon him but, alas, no one at the goat farm answered the phone.

How perfect would it have been to spend my vacation picking up goats?  There is literally nothing that could have happened that would have completed my vacation in quite that way.  Going to a restaurant that served sweet tea out of a garbage can?  Check. (Twice, in fact!)  Making garden-grown fried okra?  Check.  Almost singlehandedly eating a 12 pound watermelon?  You bet your ass check!  Going to a goat-farm and buying goats? No check!  Booooo!  I think you can understand why I wasn’t able to post on Thursday.  I was grieving.

Despite the goats, it was a delightful vacation and I’m terribly sorry that it is over.  A week went by much faster than it should have.

And today my father emailed me the pictures of the damn goats that he picked up.  CURSES!

For those of y’all who know me in real life…

I have a wonderful, happy, exciting announcement!  This really only applies to those of y’all who went to high school and/or college with me, so feel free to ignore otherwise.

Y’all know Leslie, right?  Leslie of the cute hair and the funny quotes and the so pretty she should be mean and vicious but is actually the nicest, kindest, most thoughtful charming person ever?  Well, Leslie is having a baby!  In December!  A boy!  Post your congrats to her here, if you’d like, and I’ll make sure she gets them.

Here’s hoping that kid doesn’t get her spectacular boobs!

In lieu of an actual mother’s day post

Since I spent yesterday slaving away in a field (no, really!) building fences and digging up Jerusalem Artichokes, I wasn’t able to do a Mother’s Day post.

In all the glory that is my mom, she must have sensed my lack of being able to post so she graciously surprised me by essentially writing a post for me.

So here’s one from my mom.  Thanks, mom.  I love you very much.

_______

Taylor, your description of “working in the yard” reminded me of your now (amongst family and friends) famous gardening story…since it is Mother’s Day, I feel I have the right to share it with your blog readers…

So…. Taylor (who was around 6 years old) and I were planting daffodils and other miscellaneous bulbs in a newly dug flower bed in front of the house her dad and I were buiding…Taylor stepped back and took a long slow look at the house, the garden, the beautiful woods and the flowers we had planted…

“You know, Mommy…someday this will all be mine, right?”

“Well Taylor…you never know…when your dad and I get old we might have to sell this place to have enough money to take care of ourselves in our old age.”

Taylor looked up to me with her big, beautiful blue eyes and said in her wonderful little Smurfette voice…”Mommy, you don’t have to worry about that. By the time you get old I will be a rich and famous scientist” (she had not discovered history yet).

(Ed.  And also, I hadn’t discovered science yet, which I failed miserably at.  Who knew that science wasn’t about training dolphins and blowing stuff up?  There was like…math and shit.  What the hell is up with that?)

My heart swelled with pride…what a precious, innocent, unselfish child…in my mind I finished Taylor’s sentence…”and I wil take care of you…”

And as I was gazing down on her with the adoring look that only a mother can give to her child she said:

…”And I will put you in the finest nursing home money can buy!”

Aaaaaand…moment over.  It’s a wonder she kept me around, right?  Doesn’t that make you want to run out and have kids, so that they will tell you they are going to throw you in a home when you get old?  What a little darling I must have been.

A gem from my mother

I had to drag this out of the comments, just to make sure you all got a chance to read it.

Here is my mother’s response to my recent dissatisfaction with the current state of the house (to give a bit of background, the house I grew up in was built entirely by my parents from the ground up.  It was a work in progress for the vast majority of my youth):

Taylor, I remember the first time my in-laws (your grandparents)came to visit us in our “new” home in Waverly, AL. The house was seriously under construction. Your grandparents had to sleep in the downstairs area on an old rusty double bed (probably with stains on the mattress from where Roscoe pushed the back door open and sneaked in on stormy nights where he gleefully snoozed until we discovered him and dragged his black ass outside–for those who don’t know, he was a black lab, y’all!). [Ed: This made me just almost wet my pants. I can just imagine y’all thinking that we kept an old black man in the back yard or something!]

If that doesn’t sound so bad you have to realize it was spring in Alabama; there had been a lot of rain and the house wasn’t exactly dried in. There were puddles about 1/2″ deep in the “guest bedroom”. In preparation of impending important visitors we had tried our best to sweep the water off of the unfinished concrete slab but the unevenness of the floor continued to allow the puddles to form and the unrelenting humidity prevented the evaporation of the water.
The positive side was that your grandparents could climb into the bed without getting their feet wet if they stayed on the high side of the floor.

Of course, the mosquitoes had already found the puddles and since there were no screens on the windows (wait…what windows?!) and no air-conditioning, the environment in which my in-laws (your grandparents) had to spend several nights began to take on an uncanny likeness to a steamy night in the Everglades. I think there were even tree frogs who had taken up residence in that bedroom…

Brilliant stuff, I tell you!

2 years ago

It seems so recent when I think about it. I had driven through the outermost bands of the storm on my way from Charleston to Alabama that afternoon, leaving earlier than usual trying to race the storm. It was an odd feeling to be driving towards a hurricane. My family and I were going to Tennessee that weekend to go to a horse show, and I didn’t want to miss it just because there was another hurricane (it had been a busy season, after all). I can’t remember giving more thought than usual to Katrina when she formed, mostly because she wasn’t projected to mess with us on the S.C. coast, and I must admit that I always wish them to hit “anywhere but here.” When she hit Florida it seemed minor, and then we all kept watching as she turned into this:

If that doesn’t make your throat close up, you’ve never been in a hurricane.

I can remember so clearly sitting in front of the TV that night as we realized how bad it was going to be, how much worse it was getting by the moment. New Orleans was a city that meant a lot to me. My parents took my there for my 10th birthday for the first time, and I had gone back many, many times since. My high-school sweetheart and the first boy I ever loved lived there. My old roommate’s parents. The entire family of a dear friend of mine. That was where I spent New Year’s Eve of 2002. I’ve been hungover at cafe Du Monde. The house my father lived in as a baby while my grandfather was in Graduate school at Tulane was right there in the French quarter. It was a city I knew and loved. It is a city I still mourn.

I went out that night with a bunch of my college friends. It was an odd thing to do, but I couldn’t watch CNN any more and see what was happening. I think we all wanted to forget it, and there was an air of forced elation, almost hysteria hanging over the entire evening. We had odd transplants. Two of a friend’s cousins were there with us, evacuees from New Orleans. Their father had stayed in the house when they left. They hadn’t been able to get in touch with him for hours. One of them kept bursting into tears. I finally breathed one sigh of relief when, miraculously, that same high school sweetheart walked into the bar with a group of friends from New Orleans. They all looked shocked and bewildered. Scared, actually. At least I knew they were safe.

And as the days passed, and the week went on, it just go so much worse. I don’t remember exactly when I heard the levees had failed and the city was flooding, but I remember that it made me cry. It was the first of many tears I shed that week, and it still happens occasionally.

Monday, I went to see a film called Hurricane on the Bayou with Leezle. It was excellent, beautiful, and engaging. It was also tragic and heartbreaking. They had a montage of “next morning” shots that made me cry all over again. For some reason, this was the image that really got to me:

Because there is no way to fight something with power like that.  Nothing that can be done.  And yet we continue to live in these places and our arrogance grows as we go years and years and years without major damage.  And when we get hit with one that is bad, but not catastrophic, we think that since we’ve continued living in these places and we’ve rebuilt our homes that we are somehow “beating” the weather.  We build our levees to contain the rivers and lakes.  We allow our wetlands to disappear.  We stop thinking that it could all be erased in a blink by a fluke of nature.

And then New Orleans is destroyed.  In a matter of hours.  And it’s horrifying.