Archive for May, 2009


May 28, 2009

I thank you God for most this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue true dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. 

~~e. e. cummings

Just a few of the things right outside my door that I thank God for:

chipper sings blog

The way the chipping sparrow throws its head back when it sings,

swallowtail amongst the lilacs blog

The swallowtail alight on the lilacs,

pussywillows blog


exuberant mockingbird blog

The exuberance of the mockingbird who sings in the dead of night,

great crested flycatcher blog

The Great Crested Flycatcher who’s nested again in our ramshackle birdhouse,wildflower meadow blog

Our neighbor’s wildflower meadow,

Mister Toad blog

Mr. Toad blog

And toads.   I especially thank you, God, for toads.

(A belated Happy Birthday to my beloved son Benjamin, whom I also especially thank God for.  He’s not a teenager any more!)


Just In Case You Still Remember My Last Post…

May 26, 2009

Since it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post, you’ve probably all pretty much forgotten what the post was about.  But just in case you do remember and just in case you’re curious about whether or not my shameless exploitation of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man’s hurt toe actually got me into Blog Log…why, I’m happy to report that…yes…yes, it did.

But the thing is, Brian was a little late with Blog Log this week (apparently he was moving last week), so until today, I thought I had embarrassed myself  for nothing.  In fact, I was just about to publish a post bemoaning my previous post and exposing the egg on my face.  It was going to be titled something like The Folly of Following Fickle and Fleeting Fame.  (You know how I love alliteration) 🙂 Here’s an excerpt from my unpublished post: 

Yes, it’s true—it seems I humiliated myself and exploited my beloved husband’s injury for naught. It would appear, in fact, since it has been two weeks since the last Blog Log was published, that the Mountain Xpress has decided to discontinue the column. And they apparently made this decision just as I published my post where I all but begged to be in Blog Log again.  So it seems, as usual, that my timing is thoroughly and painfully off.  Which, of course, is nothing new.  I’m always the one who remembers the punchline of a joke long after everyone has walked away; who arrives at the party after all the food is eaten, half the crowd is gone, and the balloons are starting to deflate; and who sends a cheery “Get Well Soon!” card only to find out that the person I sent it to has just passed away.

My, that certainly was a light-hearted little piece, wasn’t it? 🙂  However,  I then went on to say:

But, on the bright side, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is still employed!  And his completely blackened toe did not wither and fall off!  In fact, it no longer looks gangrenous so I can now see it without flinching. 

Yep, it’s a good day alright when your toe doesn’t fall off!  I mean, I really hate it when that happens.  Bummer.   Yeah, nothing ruins a good day like losing a digit.

Seriously, we are truly grateful that Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man still has a job.  And that his toe didn’t drop off. 🙂  He even scored some free vegetable plants for our garden last week when there was a closeout at one of the places he does maintenance, along with some herbs that we can’t identify (but they sure smell good).   And I found the butterfly bushes I’d been wanting at a price I could afford.  Plus,  all the perennials I planted last year have come back this spring, except for the purple verbena.   All that…and I got on Blog Log, too!  Almost too much excitement for one week!  Things are definitely looking up.

So thanks, Brian.  I hope your move went well.  And I sure am glad the Xpress isn’t dropping Blog Log.  I enjoy it, even when I’m not on it.  But I sure do like it when I am. Makes me ridiculously happy.   Quite a thrill to see Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl in print, even if that isn’t really my name.  That would be “Beth.”  With a “B.”  As in beaming.  As in buoyant.  As in bountifully blessed.

Whereas I Shamelessly Exploit My Husband’s Injury To Achieve Only Modest Fame

May 13, 2009

blog - tom's foot

Tom’s foot with one sad toe (by Benjamin)

Our local alternative weekly newspaper, the  Mountain Xpress, has a feature called Blog Log, where reporter Brian Postelle chooses certain local blogs and a particular post on those blogs to highlight for the week.  My blog’s been chosen several times, and I’ve got to tell you—it makes me inordinately happy.  Perhaps I’m a little silly, but it’s really nice to be recognized, however modest the fame may be.  It is particularly gratifying because, although we have a very active blogging community in the area, I don’t really fit with the general blogging crowd here.  I’m sure they’re all very nice, but they are a hip, savvy, and trendy crowd.  And I…well…I am not.  So I don’t fit in.

Anyway, it’s been a while since Brian mentioned Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl on Blog Log, and it’s got me a little down in the dumps.  The truth is, the only posts of mine he seems to like are the funny posts.  And, well, these days I’m feeling about as funny as fire ants at a picnic.  As funny as a big zit on prom night.  As funny as screen doors on a submarine.  You get the idea. 

Because Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I have been a little anxious lately.  Big cuts are being made where he works, and he is still classified as a “temporary” worker.  He is also the most recently hired.  So we’re feeling a mite vulnerable.  Plus, they’ve cut his $12/hour pay and gone way up on our insurance, while our benefits have been sharply reduced.   So we got the poor-boy-beans-for-supper-again blues, and I just don’t feel like being funny.

So here’s where you will see me shamelessly exploit Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man just so I can maybe be in Blog Log again.  You see, Brian Postelle also has a fascination for blogger injury stories.  He said so himself here. And I offer as proof the fact that he featured my post about the time Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man stopped bleeding with a condiment, not one, but two times on Blog Log.   So here I present the sad, sad story of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and his tragic toe injury:

Since Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man works as a maintenance man, I worry a right good bit about his safety.  He has a lot of roof leak experience, so he’s the man they turn to when there’s a persistent leak.  So he spends a lot of time on ladders and roofs (I always want to say “rooves.”)   He likes it up there, but it makes me nervous, especially considering our luck for the past twenty years. 

So it finally happened—he got hurt about a month ago.  But it wasn’t falling off a roof.  Nope, so often it’s the little things that trip you up—in this case, an extension cord that he tripped over.  He then, in regaining his balance, managed to somehow come down hard on his toe and sprained it badly.  He came home limping like Grandpappy Amos on The Real McCoys.  (Does anybody else remember that show?)   When he showed me his toe, I got that weird chest-tightening I only get when someone I love hurts themselves.  It was one ugly digit, let me tell you.   Completely black—almost gangrenous looking—like his toe was going to wither and fall off in a matter of days. 

And, unfortunately, he is afraid to take time off from work (See Paragraph 3 above).  So he’s been gimping about for a while now, and while he’s some better (and his toe is unwithered and firmly attached), it still hurts quite a lot.  So, really, I’m not just posting this to get on Blog Log.  Certainly not.  I’d truly be grateful if anybody has some ideas to help a seriously-sprained toe.

But…there is no escaping the fact that I’m shamelessly exploiting my husband’s injury and milking it for all it’s worth just to see my name in print.  I’m kind of like that kid in grade school who was always raising their hand and waving it frantically to be recognized. Desperate, I tell you.  Heck, I’d even resort to excessive flattery to see my name in print. And it’s not even my real name.  That’s the saddest thing. I mean, my name isn’t really Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl, of course.  It’s Beth, with a “B”.  Like Brian, with a “B”.  As in, Brian Postelle, the very fine reporter and creator of the entertaining and delightful Blog Log in that most outstanding and venerable newspaper, the  Mountain Xpress

That’s Beth.  With a “B”.  As in blog.  As in bold and brazen. As in Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl. 


A Simple Woman

May 9, 2009

time to eat blog

(Bluebird cuisine)

A friend of mine once called me “a simple person.”  Now, at first I took slight umbrage at that remark.  I’m a little sensitive about the fact that I didn’t go to college and that I lack the sophistication of some of my more worldly friends. But after I thought about it, I realized that he intended it as a compliment.  What he meant was that I’m easily pleased and find a child-like delight in simple and seemingly ordinary things. 

My Mama was like that.  I’ve watched the bluebirds for several weeks now as they nested in the house that Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man built.  And I watched as they cared for those perfect blue eggs and the perfect speckled chicks that hatched from them. I watched as Mama and Papa Bluebird  made endless trips back and forth to feed those hungry babies, their beaks full of fat caterpillars and grubs.  I even got to see two of the chicks when they fledged.  The whole time, I was thinking, Mama would have loved this.

Time for lunch blog

Mama used to spend hours watching the bluebirds from her wheelchair at the window.  She would clap her hands with glee as she watched the bluebird babies and their antics and laugh at the way the fat babies puffed out their chests to look bigger.  By that time, her speech was slurred from the effects of ALS, but I could still understand her as she talked to the baby bluebirds:  Look at you, Mr. Big Stuff.  Yeah, you puff those feathers out! Look at you fly!  Go, baby, go!

Yes, Mama was a simple woman.  And I feel so very blessed that she passed that infinite capacity for joy on to me.  It’s a precious gift indeed she gave me, in this world where so little is simple anymore.  I think about her a lot this time of year and feel anew the ache of loss and regret and sorrow that she never got to know my children and they never knew her.  Mama would be so pleased to see the bluebird pop-ups that Ariel made for me or to hear Benjamin play the music he composed based on the song of the wood thrush.  I like to think that I’ve passed on the gift of being simple to them.   They, too, have that infinite capacity to be awed, that endless capacity for joy.


(Ariel’s bluebird pop-up)

I still miss Mama.  I guess I’ll never stop missing her until the day we are reunited in the better and sweeter life hereafter.  So, if you are celebrating this Mother’s Day with your mom by your side, give her an extra hug for those of us who can’t hug our mamas, whatever the reason.   Take pleasure in her warm touch and the feel of her arms around you, in the crinkles in the corner of her eyes as she smiles at you, and in the way she still reaches up to straighten your collar or smooth your hair.  Because it’s those simple things you’ll remember, those small gestures of affection, those funny little idiosyncrasies that maybe embarrassed you as a teenager.  That’s what you’ll remember.

So…Happy Mother’s Day.  May you know love and happiness.  And may we all know the pleasure of small joys and the contentment and delight of being simple. 

just fledged blog

(Baby bluebird, newly fledged)

The Previously Unrecognized Mating Dance of the Eastern Bluebird

May 5, 2009

Ornithologists worldwide were alerted this week to a previously unobserved and most curious mating dance performed by a male Eastern Bluebird at a bluebird house at the Blue Ridge home of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.   Reportedly, the female bluebird was not impressed by the male’s lively performance, though she did eye with interest the juicy caterpillar in his mouth.






(Note to Tom: Happy 22nd Anniversary to my Anam Cara.)