Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Lick it Up" or "Why I Will Never Be Asked to Join the Junior League"

This Blog Post could also be titled "The Best/Worst Weekend of my Forties - to Date."

So, the Columbus Unified High School Class of 1987 recently got together to celebrate our 25th year of being out of high school. My actual plans were to not even attend the actual festivities, which in hindsight might have been a better idea for me and all involved, but I digress.  My decision not to go was mostly because of color.  Green that is and the fact that my bank account, due to a series of unfortunate events, has recently been void of the color.  Be that as it may, several former classmates "talked me into" coming by renting a car and covering the cost of my gas to get there (I will add this was a temporary loan and that $$ is either going back to contributors or else I'm donating to the local Al-Anon groups or special olympics).

My friend Kim wired a "Money Gram" to Wal-Mart (didn't know that existed, did ya?) and all I had to do was pick up, go to Enterprise and I was on my way. Easy, peasy right? I refer you, dear readers (all two of you) to the name of this blog and remind thee that nothing comes easy to a Burch without a short trip through hell, without passing GO!

The first snag was picking up the Money Gram itself.  Since the rental car required a money order, I requested cash back in that form so that I wouldn't have to make any other trips. The cashier then informed me that I would need $.60 to purchase the money order.

Damn. When I said earlier that my bank account was void of green, that also applied to my wallet - change not-withstanding; however, in digging through the nickels and pennies of my wallet - I came up short. I had only $.59; a fact that made the Wal-Mart Queen behind me, with her pedicured toes poking out of her house slippers, quite unhappy.



Luckily, HubbyD was with me and he ran out to the car to dig a sticky penny out of the console. Whew - crisis averted! Puhleeze people - Burch Luck....

The next day, before I left town for Kansas, I had to fill in for one of our professors and "teach" a class, so no casual Friday for me. I had on dress clothes, so I was already uncomfortable when I picked up the rental car at noon. I realized when I looked at it and thought my husbands beater car was in better shape that I might be in trouble, but I just shrugged and went on my way. "What could go wrong?" I probably sniped in my head.

Well, I'll tell you what went wrong. Dallas Rush Hour Traffic! It was gas:brake, gas:brake, gas:brake....sit...sit....sit, gas:brake....I was getting cut off, honked at, flipped off, and sure, I joined in a little because I was going nuts and I was having hot flashes. Traffic was literally at a stand still most of the time and the A/C was petering out, little by little.



And a vehicle with sucky air conditioning and no cruise control in 105 degree temperatures - it's not fun.  Things came to a head when I told my daughter that I thought I smelled burning radiator fluid. If you have ever driven a P.O.S. - you probably know this smell quite well; if you haven't, well then:



"Some poor ass-hole's car is overheating." I said to my daughter, all the while reaching into the back seat to get a MUCH NEEDED Xanax out of my purse.



Of course, that is when the rental car's temperature gauge topped out almost immediately. I looked at my daughter and said "Oh no...I'm the poor asshole" and of course, my oh so helpful teenager quips "Oh Em Gee!" rolled her eyes and immediately started Tweeting on her iPhone. I had no choice but to get off the interstate, and amazingly enough, when you have steam coming out from under your hood people actually let you cut in front of them, so I exited quite quickly (not typical Burch Luck) and pulled into a Whataburger and called the Triple A.  The nice lady from somewhere in Illinois (I know, right?) contacted a tow-truck and the nearest Enterprise, which happened to only be three blocks away. Unfortunately, they were minutes away from closing. Actually, if you look at it in "glass-half-full" terms, it was rather fortunate for us.

Enterprise sent to our rescue one over-worked, under-paid former Geological Engineer to pick us up. I know this fact, because he told me his life story in three, very agonizing minutes. I can even tell you that his son's computer screen saver is a picture of him, with his arm shoulder deep into the third stomach of a fistulated cow.  Three blocks people; I learned this in just three blocks!

He was 'really thrilled' to be going beyond his job duties at 5:50 p.m. on a Friday night.



He rushed us out of there and took us back to Enterprise. Okay, so a cool thing is, they gave us a rental with a 3/4 tank of gas (the overheated P.O.S. was almost on E).  The crappy thing is, he gave us the same kind of car we were already driving. It is very telling to me that Chevy no longer makes this model of vehicle.

Doh! Whatever. The color was prettier (race car red) and we were on our way without having to fill out any extra paperwork and it gave us just enough time to wait out the Dallas traffic. We drove all the way to Muskogee, Oklahoma before needing to stop and get gas.

I pulled up to the gas pumps at your friendly neighborhood "Git N Split" (which is not unlike the term I once gave to a college boyfriend, but I digress), I realized that my typically empty wallet was no longer on my person. Apparently, when someone in complete "road rage" mode reaches into the back seat to get a much needed Xanax and a wallet the same color as the interior of the vehicle falls out onto the floor and you are then "rushed" from one vehicle to another, things get left behind.



Yeah. I was not 'feeling' the wonderful weekend I was supposed to be on my way to enjoy at this point, and I called my hubby in a panic because I thought maybe I could have left my wallet in Bryan (nope) and of course, Enterprise was already closed at this point (likely snapped the lock as we walked out the door).

My wonderful daughter dug to the bottom of her purse and found seven one dollar bills and four dollars worth of loose change to add to my 'nothing'.  She made sure to reluctantly give it over in a huff and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I WOULD BE PAYING HER BACK. Well yes, princess, that's the only thing I can think of right now - a 17 year old's happiness.

Keep in mind, I'm still wearing my fancy work clothes (whatever - it was Yoga pants, but I had on heels and nobody could even tell) so I looked just great pre-paying for gas with what looked like stripper tips and pocket change while wearing my "Friday Texas A&M School logo" Polo.  As I'm pumping the $11.00 worth of gas, my daughter rolls down her window, with a brief comment about how she had to manually do so, and said "Daddy wants you to call him right now!"

Yeah, well my Xanax had worn off and as I had just barely finished panicking I brushed her off coolly and said "I'll call him when I'm through."  Be that as it may, it doesn't take all that long to pump $11.00 worth of gas, so I jumped in the car and dialed Alan on the phone before I pulled back out onto the highway.
Instead of simply saying "hello" he went right into this spiel

"Make sure you keep some money back for the Will Rogers Turnpike toll road!"



Day late, and a dollar short.  Okay, $3.75 short, though they do give you a refund in Miami, OK, so it's really only $1.25 short.  That said, my tactic here was simple and quite easy. I just pulled up to the tolling booth, told them the whole story from beginning to end and they wrote me a note that said "You must pay this $1.25 BEFORE you can EVER drive on this Tollway AGAIN!" I have no idea what would have happened had I not paid the toll before my return trip home...but I assure you that I paid that $1.25 on the way back through!



Several people texted and called me when they found out I left my wallet in Dallas. I have no doubts that I would have been rescued no matter what had happened. I have great friends and family in my corner, of this I am certain. This is likely why, in spite of leaving my wallet in a broken down rental car, I had one of the best weekends I have had in a long, long time.

You know the old saying "You can't go home again.'' I have never believed it because it would have taken an army to keep me from ever visiting my family or friends in my home town.  I mean, even a lost wallet and broken down rental vehicle couldn't hold me back!

However, after my the reunion this past weekend, I think it's safe to say that this old saying might finally ring true for me. At least, that's how I felt when I woke up the morning after.

"I CAN NEVER COME HOME AGAIN!"

Truly, it wasn't that bad in the embarrassment factor, at least not for me. I could pretend that I do things like this all the time and I wouldn't be far off. I do enjoy bringing laughter to a room and I have been known to go to great lengths to make others laugh and be sure that everyone has a good time.  I just don't think I should be allowed to sing karaoke again. Ever. That, or the Kiss song "Lick it Up" should be deleted from all Karaoke inventories, even if there is not a chance I will ever be there to perform. 


For the purposes of this blog, I looked up the lyrics. What the heck? It felt like the song went on and on and on (most especially for those who had to endure the performance) while I was singing, which is probably why I was able to stop during the musical interludes to demonstrate the proper way to suck a jello shot out of the cup. You lick it up.  And when some gets on the microphone, you lick it up.  The song has it's own meaning for me now. My pride? Licked it up.



Actually, I think karaoke should be a part of everyone's reunion/party. It's a good way to get people to come out of their shell and after 25 years, there were some people who needed to be dragged, kicking and screaming out of their shell.  My shell, however, crumbled to pieces years ago and was not a problem.

Laughter at this age is good medicine. It's also good for wetting your pants and asthma attacks.


I showed my hubby this picture, and he said "Nice deer!"


Typical man to notice the deer heads and not the hip displaysia causing moment that happened to my friend Jill after several "Super Star" demonstrations throughout the night.

All I know is, Lick it Up was my defining moment from the reunion. Everyone else who attended had their own, so LICK IT UP YA'LL!


Mmmmm - red jello shots leave their mark, don't they Bitch #3?

No words necessary:






Never mind that I had a lot to drink....I was in good company!


Who says you have to be mature 25 years after graduating high school?


This is now our classic "hiding the double chins" pose:


I think it goes without saying that a "Good time was had by all" - there were many, many more photos taken and they are on our class' personal Facebook site and not for public viewing, unless you know me and you ask me nicely.

All I know is this: I will never be asked to join our local Junior League. But that's okay by me. Nobody with whom I graduated will be joining any time soon either. And we're okay with that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

There is Nothing Wrong with a Two-Year Degree


It is not in the cards for me to get a bachelor's degree. It never is and likely never will be. Easier to say than to believe but it's the truth and for once I'm inclined to accept this as such.

Money, the driving element of all things is what is holding me back. It’s always about money. Always has been and likely always will be. I can’t even be approved for a student loan without a co-signor and really, why do I want to take on more debt for the promise of “maybe” a $2,000 a year raise? It’s not worth it and to deny that is fruitless in this economy.

For fuck’s sake, I have to think about how to send BOTH of my kids to college because, damn it, I didn’t think about it when they were younger and therefore, have set no money aside for their schooling or even for emergencies.

Emergencies, like a beloved family pet with heart worm. That’s the most recent event that lead to the most recent dropping of classes. I dropped a class in the Spring of this year because we had to get another working vehicle; three drivers + one vehicle does not a pleasant equation make.  I worked two jobs and we were pleasantly happy and able to meet all expenses, including paying the rent and car note for Alex, the car note for Austyn and the tuition and expenses for Alex to take a summer class.  That, of course, lead to me dropping the two summer courses that I had planned to take, but I do really consider it an honor to send my son to A&M, so I was not hesitant to drop the classes at all.

So, last Friday, I decided to register for two of the final six courses I need from Blinn before I can transfer to A&M myself.  I figured, Burch Luck being what it is, that something would come up soon to necessitate, yet another ‘de-registration from school discussion’ but I rather thought it would be a while. 

Instead, fate reared its ugly head yesterday when Allie (our 85 lb Great Pyrenees) started showing signs of disorientation and lethargy. I mean, she literally only wanted to sleep but she couldn’t decide where to nap so she basically was turning in circles and whimpering.  She acted drunk and it was such an acute onset of symptoms, we were Googling every possibility, even snake bite.  We sat down and combed out all her mattes, even resorted to the electric clippers to see if we could get through all that fur and find a bite. We finally gave up, realizing that if we had 3 bags of fur that we had dug through, how would a snake ever sink into her.  We kept a vigil all night with her by our bed, but by 6:00 a.m. she was her old self again.

Taking Burch Luck into account, we dragged our reluctant mutt to the vet and they did a quick test that confirmed heart worm.  I want to say that we are among the 55% of dog owners who regularly give their pets the preventative for things like this, but I would be lying. We are not regular with our 1-800-Pet-Meds at all, so essentially this is our own fault.  Given that we truly love our Allie like family, we will certainly be paying the $600 or more for treatment, as we will also have our other dog tested. 

Though my classes would only cost $785 for fall, it is extremely selfish of me to expect us to take on more debt, again for only the “possibility” of a minimal pay increase. It is so much more important for me to be able to send my kids to college than it is for me to “earn a $3,000 gold ring” that I think it’s high time I accept the facts.  A four-year degree is not going to happen for me and I’m okay with that.  There’s nothing wrong with an Associate’s Degree.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Writing


I attempted to think of a catchier title for this particular blog post, but as I am sitting here listening to 80's music on Spotify, I fear I'm losing all sensibility and creativity to Air Supply, Journey and Flock of Seagulls. 

What is this madness, and is it only temporary?

The internet is a hindrance to the subsets of my mind because every time I try to look something up or research a topic, Google makes me 'run a rabbit' with my thoughts and I somehow, ALWAYS end up just Googling images or articles about Scott Caan.



For an under-tall actor, the man has a body that won’t quit, a face that melts my soul and the best part about him; he’s a writer! A damn good one at that!

[His latest play, No Way Around But Through, is currently running at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, CA http://www.falcontheatre.com/ through July 8; and no – I’m not getting paid to print this]

Enough about Mr. Caan, because this post was not originally intended to be about him – that’s just the way he pops in and out of my head most days.

I just worry sometimes that my brain doesn’t have the ability to run through the colorful plethora of thoughts and emotions that pop up when I’m writing (and oh Lord, Beastie Boys just came on my play list; I’ll never get through this Blog post…)

What I mean by that (the statement not pertaining to the Boys) is that I don’t always type as fast as the thoughts swirl around in my brain and by the time I finish one thought, another has started and before I can even rationalize that thought, three more are bull dozing it out of the way, flailing about and screaming “PICK ME! PICK ME!”

Is it like this for every writer? Do I have to find a way to separate these thoughts, divide them into subcategories and file them away for later use? Or should I just keep doing what I usually do and muddle through?

Corey Hart? Really? I had this cassette my junior year of high school…’You can never SURRENDERRR’

Okay, perhaps I should write without the music turned up…in case you haven’t guessed it by now, this is called muddling through.  Not just my thoughts but the visual and audio stimulants that surround me on a daily basis that my brain is not able to tune out, yet no doctor seems to think I have attention deficit disorder.

SQUIRREL!

But I digress, because that’s a good segue to my final thought which is this: my ability to deviate from a topic but jump right back to it after I express a more current thought is decidedly tainted.

I really was just going to blog about Scott Caan.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some of My Best Friends, I've Never Met

With technology dramatically changing the interface and interactions of friendship, the internet has become a realm of possibilities. I'm not writing here about the perverts, possible kidnappers, or other facets of the DARK side of the Internet. I'm talking about REAL friends. Real people, that while you may never have met them in person, still have made such an impact on your life that you consider them a friend.


I first met many of of my "Internet Friends" on a discussion group for Days of Our Lives (yes, the Soap Opera). We started out talking about the soap, but we quickly progressed to learning more about each other, so much so that the creator of the discussion group created a "Personal Topics" (http://mediadomain.com/cgi-bin/netforum/dool_fan/a.cgi/1)  page so that the people who were really getting miffed at things other than soap talk would stop having nuclear melt downs on the site.  As such, the DOOLies were born.


So, about 1/3 of the original DOOLies remain at Media Domain (I find that I don't even visit that much anymore), while many of us have progressed to the age of Facebook and have become online friends in this capacity.


What always struck me as odd was how easily we transferred online acquaintances into actual 3-D friendships. Many of us have met each other in person, share commonalities such as same aged kids, divorce, re-marriage, and a lot of the difficulties of every day life.  These we have been able to share, whether pseudo-anonymously or in person. 


My husband still finds it odd that I could be "friends" with somebody I've never met, but with my fellow DOOLies, I don't even give it a second thought.  It's like we always 'were.'


In actuality, I started this particular blog in July of 2010. In that time, we have lost some DOOLies to the Angels, and while that makes me very sad, it's a comfort to know that we have always been there for each other and likely always will be.


I can't discount the number of arguments and board fights we have witnessed and taken part of over the years (I'm thinking it's been since 1996 - but I can't remember exact dates). We were either in the thick of it, or we had our lawn chairs and margarita machines out and we lurked on the sidelines.


Through it all, I think some of these DOOL friends, though I have never met them in person, are some of the best friends I have ever had.


Now, I'm off to lurk over at 'the board.'  Maybe I'll see you there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Muse Schmuse

The internet is the root of all things evil.  At least to this writer. Yet here I am, drawn to it like a dogs nose to a crotch.  I can't seem to stay away.

Therein lies my problem.  I can't stop reading other blogs, fan fiction, Facebook, Huffington Post and Twitter (just to name a few).  The things I have been able to write seem to be filled with cliches and mundane fuselage from my weary brain.

Then came Shades of Grey, and while I did fall in love with the character's in this story, it really isn't that well written and it's far from my favorite genre to read and not even in the same realm as that in which I write.  Yet I read all three books in the series FIVE times...in only THREE weeks. The author 'was' just someone who liked to read (can't be a good cook if you don't also like to eat) and started the Shades story as Twilight Fan Fiction. I won't even get into how abhorring that is to the writer in me. The movies ruined that series, which is a shame because Stephanie Meyer can write.  Shades of Grey film rights sold for over $5 million. Not sure the exact amount but it had to be over that because that's what Sony offered for the rights but they were unsuccessful.  To put this in perspective - Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" sold for around $3 million (according to Huffington Post).

Hell, I haven't even bothered to post to this blog since I was "supposed" to be participating in NaNoWriMo in November! I have three stories in my head right now but I can't put them into writing. I will say this though; the scenarios and dialogue that I have drummed up in my brain are absolutely RIVETING! I'm thinking at least a $4 million movie contract.

Now that I've decided to finish my degree in English, I'm sure the muse will hit because, alas, I will not have time to scratch my ass, let alone put words together on paper. Unless it's for a grade, in which case I'm sure I'll be blessed with both Burch Luck and Writer's Block.

In any case, here's to all the bumbling author's out there who ARE getting published. I know a few and I'm happy for them. 

That's all for now. I'm off to catch up on Twitter and the latest on Huffington Post.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo Words for day 2

Just going to start posting chapters for the novel I've been working on for sometime. Keep in mind, I write Young Adult and/or children's books, so I try to keep it at that level. I either write too high for that age group or too low - so this is all just practice. So, here is a chapter from "Liberty":

PowerPoint Presentation

James River Tobacco Plantation, 1838

The sharp cry of a newborn followed by hushed whispers and scurrying feet was all that Thomas James could remember of the exact moment that his daughter Sarah was born. He had been holding back tears when Imari placed the tiny infant in his arms, the baby seemed so fragile and so much smaller than any of her brothers. She was merely whimpering now but he focused on looking into her beautiful face, so much like her mothers, that he tuned out the sharp voices coming from just the other side of the bedroom door.

It wasn’t until he felt the slaves hand on his arm, then the look on Imari’s face that he realized that something was terribly wrong. Clara had not yet called for him like she usually did after each baby, both to chastise him for his role in putting her through the childbirth, and to coo over the babies. The slave’s eyes told him everything, her voice barely audible.

“It was complications. She just lost too much blood. We tried Mastuh.” Imari had said. To Thomas, it was the end of life as he knew it. Clara had been his voice of reason, his friend, his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart. His confidant. He couldn’t imagine life without her. He numbly placed the child into Imari’s arms and left the house to get away from the noise. He calmly began to smoke his pipe and shed the tears that now flowed freely down his face.

He didn’t know how he was going to make it without her; and yet, he had to go on. He had seven children now and a plantation to run and business to see to. His sons needed their education and discipline, as well as training with the horses and livestock, and he would soon have to teach Thomas William, his oldest son and namesake, all the business of running the plantation. Thomas was only twelve, but it was never too early to learn how to run the business.

Luckily, Imari had seen to the needs of the baby without him having to worry, having recently given birth to her own daughter, so he immediately buried himself with these worries and pushed his pain aside.

That was a month ago. The funeral was short; it was so cold and the ground was too hard to even dig the grave. Clara had been placed just off of the wood shed in a coffin of wet pine, covered in the snow until the ground thawed enough for digging a proper burial plot in the spring. It pained Thomas to think about it; so he didn’t. He immersed himself back into the business of running the plantation and seeing to the needs and castigations of his slaves, as well as the upbringing of his sons.

He barely noticed his new daughter at all at first. Until one day, Imari interrupted his daily Bible reading to his sons and placed Sarah in his arms.

“Mastah, I’m sorruh, but your daughter, she be needin her pa right now.” and she had walked away, leaving the bright eyed Sarah to look curiously into her papa’s eyes. That was all it took; the eyes, so much like her mothers, forming the connection he needed to drag him from his stupor. Sarah became his whole world after that moment.

When she wasn’t with Imari and Liberty, she was in a basket at her father’s feet, or playing with bobbles and toys under his desk. She was immediately wrapped around her father’s finger, as well as her brothers, and stationed in their hearts. There was almost nothing she could do that would upset anyone, particularly her father. Almost.

Sarah was only four years old the first time her father had to discipline her. She had been playing with Liberty on the floor of the busy kitchen and the two were playing a game of catch with a ball of rags.

The throws were becoming increasingly sporadic and out of control and the girls giggles, while entertaining, were irritating the kitchen slaves.

Caroline, a big robust slave with no patience for children, was just pulling a hot bread pudding from the oven when a missed toss sent the ball sailing across the kitchen, into the pudding, splattering the big round woman with burning liquid and startling her so that the pudding was then dropped, splashing the poor slave, the walls, the floors and sizzling into the belly of the oven.

When Sarah's father learned of the ruined pudding, his favorite, he had to forbid her from being in the kitchen, as well as discipline her for her defiance. Because he could not bear to spank his own daughter, she had been sent to bed without any supper; a punishment that turned out all the better for her as each of her brothers, feeling sorry for her, had each snuck food into the bedrooms that night. She was full of cold ham, biscuits with honey, a handful of fried potatoes, and molasses cookies by the time her father came to her that evening with a glass of warm milk and a piece of bread. He finished explaining to her the necessities of rules and why she was being punished when he offered her the food as a token of his pleasure at her obedience when she proclaimed

"Oh but papa, I can’t eat that!" He beamed briefly at her presumed adherence to her punishment, but quickly frowned as she went on

"I'm so full already with what Will and Libby and the boys brought me from their suppers. You go 'head an eat that papa; yous be needin sumpin for yoself’."

Though he knew he could not keep her from the clutches of Imari, her only known mother, whom she adored and had taken all of his children under her careful watch and he certainly could not part her from the company of Liberty, with whom she would have shared a bed if he had allowed. No, he couldn’t help their current circumstances, but the law being the law and slaves being slaves, he would have to do something about his daughters unlikely ‘kinship’ with his slaves and the mannerisms that she was picking up on.

His first thought was boarding school, but the thought of sending Sarah away nearly broke his heart and he just couldn’t dream of it. But it was in that moment that Thomas decided what his daughter needed was a proper tutor and "white" teacher and the sooner the better. If he couldn’t send her to boarding school, he would bring one to her. (end chapter)

Okay, so that is the introduction. Hopefully it gives enough background without having to back too far, and just so much that you know the setting and hopefully some of the characters. The rest of the story will be about Sarah adjusting to her 'prim and proper' tutor, her friendship with Libby and some of the trouble that that cause, her relationship with her father. At some point, Sarah will realize what slavery actually means and that she does not adhere to that way of life. Her quest at that point will be to help Libby seek freedom via the underground railroad (after her mother, Imari's untimely and suspicious death) and together the two young girls (probably at around the age 13 mark) run away to go North, to Canada. While traveling the U G railroad with the help of abolitionists and allies I was thinking that it would be neat for them to meet the actual Harriet Tubman and other real people who are often associated with the "Freedom Train." May even change the name of the novel to Freedom Train, though the rough title is Liberty.

You can let me know what you think if you want. Good and bad, all feedback is welcome.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's In a Name?

I'm not just made up of the Burch family genes. I have Beattie in me too. I think the luck on that side is not as bad, or maybe just not talked about. Either way, our family has some good memories of Beattie Christmases, family reunions and get togethers.

Nothing, however, is as successful at bringing a family together quite like a funeral. It's sad to think that this is sometimes what it takes, but at the same time, celebrating the life of a loved one with other loved ones is time well spent.

My Uncle Speed would have loved his own funeral. So much laughter, all the cousins together for the first time in thirty + years. Cards were played, stories were told, tears were shed, and hugs were shared all around.

The world lost a great man when Speedy left this earth. He was a great artist, a practical jokester, an architectural engineer, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend.

At his funeral, the pastor of the church asked those who wanted to, to come forward and share a story about Speed. A memory or two. I was taken off guard to say the least. First of all, I didn't have anything prepared and as I am NOT a public speaker, this was a detriment to anything I would or could have shared anyway. Secondly, there are so many Speed stories that I can think of, that I froze. I needed to hear what others were sharing, but at the same time, I was picking through my brain for Speed memories I could possibly share with others without breaking up in front of people.

I could have talked about me spending the first few months of my life with Uncle Speed and Aunt Jo because my mom got sick with Hepatitis and couldn't care for me. How Uncle Speed wouldn't let me go to the baby sitter if Jo couldn't watch me, so he would stay home from work to be with me. But I don't really remember that, as I was only a baby.

Maybe the first time I ever caught a fish. It was in his pond, at the foot of the "mountain" that was left over after he dug it. Or, one of the many summers I spent at his farm, getting up with the roosters, gathering eggs because he told me I couldn't eat breakfast or lunch until I did "my chores."

The ole "mongoose" trap he had rigged. Feeding his pet squirrels with a baby bottle. I finally thought of one that would have fit, so I decided I would just blog it instead (what since the funeral is already over and all).

At one time, Uncle Speed raised Lhasa Opsa's. His main breeder pup was named, Angie. I remember the first time I saw her, I fell in love. She was so pretty. White, long hair. We had gone to Oolagah to spend the weekend at Speed's and the minute I walked in the door I was all over that fluffy dog. And then Speed said something like "This is Angie, and since we named her after you, you will have to pick up her dog poop if she poops in the house, so keep an eye on her."

Never have I watched a dog so closely in my life! When she did happen to poo, I must have had my back turned or left the room. Uncle Speed called me into the living room, handed me the tissue and said "Clean it up!"

I had tears in my eyes as I bent down and picked up that darn pooh and so did Speed. His, though, were from holding back his laughter and he kindly opened the lid of the trash can for me to toss Angie's pooh. He didn't make me clean it up again though. I think, in spite of the ornery side in him, he did have enough compassion that he wasn't going to put a 9 yr old through that again. To this day, I still have a problem picking up dog poop during a dogs training stages. I typically would put a napkin over it and wait for Alan to get home.

But - I will never forget my first time picking up the pooh. Thank goodness they didn't name any other dogs after me.

I'll miss you Uncle Speed. And I'll never forget you.