Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

(30) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: You

July 31, 2012

These springtime bluets seemed to be growing right out of the rock. They look delicate, but they are tough little buggers.

If you click on my “About” link, you’ll see where I mention that I started my blog in 2007, in part, as an attempt to re-awaken my muse.  Going through repeated hardships can sure suck the juice out of you, and that’s pretty much what happened to me—my well of inspiration went bone dry.  The last straw was when my abusive ex-husband’s third wife contacted me out of the blue in late 2006 and asked if I’d help her.  I must admit—I didn’t want to do it, but I did because they had a six-year-old son together, and he was the one who was suffering most.

Helping her (and she was a lovely person) was even more intense and difficult than I thought it would be.  I relived not only my own abuse, but I heard of the egregious lies he had told about me.  I don’t know why the outrageousness of his lies surprised me—I certainly knew he was capable of it—but it did.  It seems I am constantly blindsided by the depth of meanness that people are capable of.  I never seem to learn.

Anyway, I’m not sorry I did what I did because she finally found the courage to leave him, and she and her son are doing very, very well now.   But going through that, on top of everything else, somehow killed the spark in me.   My creative spirit was a dried husk of a thing.  So I decided to start a blog, hoping that being forced to write often might squeeze out whatever juice was left.

And it did.  I learned that I could write, that my muse was only sleeping, not dead, and that there were people who actually wanted to read what I wrote.  Imagine that!   But even better, I’ve made connections through my blogging that have helped to sustain me—in so many ways.  Your kind words not only have given me more confidence in my writing, they have restored some of my faith in the goodness of people.  And, oh! how I needed that.

So…thanks, y’all.  Thanks especially to those who have stuck by me as my family has gone through yet more hardships—your kind comments have meant a great deal.   And I’m thankful, too, to those who read before, even if they no longer do. It’s always difficult to know why folks stop reading your blog, but I’ll have to say that I’ve grieved every reader I have lost, because I do think of y’all as friends.  But no hard feelings—I know they had their reasons and I respect that.

But my heartfelt thanks to you, dear friends, who continue to read my rambling, raving, and ranting writing.   And who put up with silly puns and possibly excessive alliteration. 🙂 To y’all—who continue to help me believe both in myself and in the kindness of people.  I am deeply grateful for you.


The Many Versions of Truth

December 6, 2010


So…I know that it’s a little late to post autumn leaf pictures (it’s snowing here, for crying out loud!), but that’s me—a day late and a dollar short. But better late than never, right?

Lately, I’ve been trying to get serious about my writing (the two blatant clichés in the previous paragraph notwithstanding). As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have any actual formal education in writing, but I do read. A lot. Which, for me, has probably been the single most helpful thing in learning to write. And, lately, I’ve been branching out a bit by reading stuff that I might not ordinarily read. Writing doesn’t have to be literary to be good. Sometimes, I think it’s enough just to tell a good story. And, sometimes, lots of ostentatious literary allusions and fancy metaphors get in the way of a good story. Sometimes, they just seem like showing off. Like, Hey! Look at me! Look how smart I am!  But, who knows?  Maybe I’m just not smart enough to appreciate them. (Possibly indicated by the fact that I originally typed “literary illusions” in the previous sentence. Haha. Maybe that’s what I have—literary illusions).

Anyway, I was thinking, as I looked through my photos, about how they are sort of like the stuff I’ve been reading. Some straightforward, some symbolic, some poetic, some metaphorical. Just different ways of presenting truth. Though some would say, I suppose, that that means there is no truth—only your perception of it.

I’ll leave that to the philosophers. Meanwhile, here are my many versions of the truth.

(And, by the way, don’t forget that you can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

(I love these water constellations.  They remind me of the Bruce Cockburn song with the line “All the diamonds in the world/That mean anything to me/Are conjured up by wind and sun/Lie sparkling on the sea.”   I LOVE that line. Of course, this isn’t the sea.  It’s Lake Junaluska.)

(After the storm—that lovely, golden, late-day slant of light)

My Alter Ego and Me

November 17, 2010

(Junaluska reflections)

I have a confession.  I’ve had another blog.  Since June.  Not that it’s been completely hidden—it’s been in my Bloglist (Mr. Schwump Has His Say), but it’d be easy to pass over.  Just like Mr. Schwump himself. 

Not that I’ve posted on it much—only two posts since Benjamin broke his back—but I guess I just lost my spark for a while.   I’m still looking for that spark, but I’m happy to at least see the occasional small flicker. 

(The good news is that, thanks be to God, Benjamin is feeling better.  Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers.)

Perhaps you’re asking, “Who’s this ‘Mr. Schwump’??” Well, I explain that in my first post on the other blog, if you’re curious. (If you’re a big fan like I am of The Andy Griffith Show, you might remember the humble Mr. Schwump.)   It’s worth clicking through, though, just to see the really cute possum we caught!  And the surly groundhog!  Not to mention the snakes…umm…entwined.

Maybe you’re wondering, too, “Why another blog?”  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I explain that, too, in the first post on Mister Schwump, but to make a long story short, here goes:

I can be awfully neurotic at times, especially when it comes to writing.  It got so that on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl, I’d write a post, only to go into a sort of crazed obsessive/compulsive edit mode.  I couldn’t stop finding fault with what I’d written. But despite the fact I’d edit ’til the cows came home, I’d still not feel satisfied with what I’d written and would suffer terrible anxiety every time I published a post.  Stomach-churning, heart-pounding, hands-atremble anxiety. That’s not the reason I quit the blog, but it was a factor. 

But I found I missed writing.  So I started another blog.  I’m sorry not to have mentioned it.  I wanted to tell you—it felt strange not to—but I was afraid you’d naturally compare it to this one and find it lacking.  My alter ego Mr. Schwump doesn’t worry so much about “perfect” writing…and he doesn’t ramble on and on like I do. 🙂  He trusts that his story deserves to be told, whether anyone out there cares to read it or not.  Even if the writing is only average.  As it turned out, my most faithful readers were my sweet children, who know and love Mr. Schwump (or, at least, the Mr. Schwump in me).  And they were my only commenters (under…ahem…assumed names. Apparently, they have alter egos, too–ha,ha).

I did say “long story, short” so I guess I’d better get to the point:  I want to feel, like Mr. Schwump, that my story deserves to be told.  And I want to be able to write without that Nasty Critic in my head telling me that it has to be perfect to be worthwhile.  (Not to say that my posts were ever perfect—far from it—but I always felt like I had to try to make them so.)  So as of today, my alter ego, Mr. Schwump, will be ending his blog and will begin to write on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.  He’s going to teach me how to write freely and with joy again.  How to write without giving the Nasty Critic so much credence.  And in the spirit of writing freely, I’ll be writing even more honest and true than I have in the past.  Words flowing straight from my mind and heart to my key-tapping fingers.  No, the posts might not be as polished as my old ones (again, NOT saying that my posts were all that polished, but that I couldn’t stop trying to polish them).  You may even choose not to read them, though they will be shorter (I’m trying to learn to be more succinct, too) than my previous posts so will require less of a time commitment.

I’m hopeful that somehow in the process, I can come to believe, like Mr. Schwump, that my story is worth telling.  And that my life, however dull or ordinary it might be, is worthwhile.  My messy, imperfect, often boring life.  So what I’m saying here is that I’m sort of, more or less, reviving Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.

Besides, y’all never took me seriously anyway when I said I was quitting, did you? 🙂

But my greatest hope, as always, is that even my most ordinary writing about my most ordinary life will resonate with someone. Or give them pleasure.  Or make them laugh. And that somehow, somewhere, someone will find truth in it. 

Because in the end, I reckon that’s about all that matters. 

(Autumn rainbow at my house)

Summer at the Doublewide Ranch: An Update

September 29, 2010

(Why, yes…that IS a pink flamingo in the background!)

I’m finding it hard to write these days.  Even emails…and the comments I leave on your blogs.  You’d be surprised how long it takes for me to write those comments, as ordinary and dull as they sometimes are.   I’m not sure why I’m struggling so, but whatever the reason, I did want to give you a small glimpse of our lives this summer here at the Doublewide Ranch–in pictures.  If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then here are 10,478 of them. 🙂

(Notice there are TWO monarchs here.  Monarchs in love?)

(I love that morning glories will claim anything they can reach.)

(Cosmos and the cosmos)

I also thought some of you might want to know how Ariel and Benjamin are doing.  Ariel is feeling much better, though she does feel quite tired in the evenings.  But who wouldn’t with full-time school, part-time work, and lots of trips back and forth from Chapel Hill to Raleigh where her fiance works and lives? Benjamin’s broken back seems to be healing well, especially considering he walks miles a day all over campus, lugging books and laptops and such.   Thank God the young are fast healers.   Physically, at least.

But the heart’s a little trickier.  If only a broken heart were as simple as a broken back and you could rest in the assurance that that broken heart will knit itself back together in a few months time, with a little extra care.  But, of course, nothing’s simple when it comes to the spirit.

Benjamin is feeling sad.  I wasn’t going to mention this, but it occurred to me that not mentioning it implies that I think there’s shame in being depressed.  But there’s not.  And I don’t.  It’s been a tough year for my boy, and…well…life has never been easy for him.  Sometimes, the world is not kind to those who are different.  Really, it’s hard for any of us to be completely “ourselves”  because we are so often burdened by other’s expectations of us. But it’s especially hard when you’re autistic, as Benjamin is,  and you’re constantly expected to adapt yourself to a world you don’t completely understand. 

Benjamin is the bravest and strongest person I know, but he’s struggling these days.  And there’s no shame in that.  And there’s no shame in my being honest, either, even if reading this makes some uncomfortable.  I simply cannot manage a pretense of happiness right now.  

So I’m asking for your very special prayers for a very special child of God–my beloved son, Benjamin.   May he know how much he is loved–by his family, by his many friends, by my readers who have come to know him through my posts.  But even more, may he know how much he is loved by his Creator, his Heavenly Father, who sent him to us so that he might shine his unique and lovely light in our lives and in this world. 

And Benjamin’s light  is a beautiful, blessed, and holy light indeed.  May he always see and know that, too.

A Barely Discernible Ripple

May 5, 2010

(Morning light through morning glory leaf—on my porch)

Well, it’s just 10:46AM, and I see on the WordPress site that WordPress bloggers have already written 69,148,215 words today. That’s a lot of words. And here I am about to add my 700 or so.

It’s humbling to realize that my little blog makes barely a ripple in that vast ocean of words, those overwhelming waves of words that wash over us daily. But it’s gratifying, too, to think that sometimes, somehow, my almost indiscernible ripple just might make a discernible difference in someone’s life.

It still amazes me, after over two and half years of posting on this blog, that people come back time after time to read my thoughts. And sometimes it scares me, too, because I’ve so often clicked “Publish” filled with fear and doubt that my words would measure up to your expectations. And, very likely, sometimes they haven’t. But one thing I know for sure is that my words have been honest. And true to who I am (for better or for worse). That was important to me.

I never found my niche in the blogging world, never found a place in the blogosphere where I fit in. No surprise, really. I’ve never found my niche in the “real” world either—even after 52 years. And maybe I never will, but I’m so grateful when I do find kindred spirits amongst my fellow pilgrims. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it seems miraculous.

You can probably guess what this is leading up to. Initially, I’d planned to end it cleanly—by deleting my entire blog. You’ve seen those blogs that people just abandon, floating out there in cyberspace. Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man says that they are like ghost ships— those abandoned vessels found adrift in the sea with no one aboard. So I thought the least I could do was to give this vessel of my life a decent burial.

But now that the time is here, I can’t do it. Delete my blog, that is. It would be almost like I’d killed a part of me. And even a part of you, my valued readers, since you have blessed me with so many beautiful, insightful, and moving comments over the years. And so, I’ll leave Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl up for now, in case I decide to return someday. Because I’ve really come to love the connections I make through my blog, and I know I’ll miss them. Amazing what happens when you extend a virtual hand out into cyberspace—sometimes hands reach back and gently grasp yours.

By most standards, my blog wouldn’t be called a success. It never brought me fame or fortune. Some people make money advertising on their blogs; others find paid work (in writing) through their blogs. That never happened with me, though I have found rewards of a different kind. And that’s why I’m quitting, at least for now. I need to put all my energies into finding the kind of work that pays the bills. Sure, it would be great if that work involved writing, but, realistically, it’s far more likely to involve a broom and toilet brush than a word processor.

But enough about me. I want to talk about y’all. Because y’all are amazing. You probably have no idea how much your comments and the love, compassion, kindness, wisdom, and humor in them has meant to me. Occasionally, in difficult times, I’ve gone back and read them and been buoyed by your benevolence. And your kind words about my writing have kept me writing and even believing that someday I might be published in a bigger (and more profitable) venue.

So thank you. I won’t say goodbye because I’ll still be hanging around in cyberspace, visiting your blogs to see what you’re up to. Not as often as I do now, but often enough to make sure you’re behaving yourselves and staying out of trouble. Or not. 🙂

So. No final goodbyes. Just…so long for now from the Doublewide Ranch. Thanks for stopping by and sitting a while on my front porch. I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit. You’ve been the best of company, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Snow Angels

January 12, 2010

I used to write poems. In fact, it was a poem I wrote in second grade that gave rise to the very first words of encouragement I ever received for my writing. My teacher, the wonderful Mrs. Wagonner, praised me to the point of embarrassment and had me write my poem on a posterboard, which she put up on the wall where all the class could see it. To a kid as hungry for recognition as I was, this was all the incentive I needed to keep writing.

Back then I thought that poems should rhyme, and I’d spend hours trying to fit a rhyming word into a poem, like a puzzle piece that you keep turning around and around to see if it fits. It was years before I realized that the point of a poem is not necessarily the rhyme. But even then, I’d usually find a way to sneak that rhyme in there somewhere.

But it’s been a while since I wrote a poem. I’ve come to realize that perhaps I’m destined to be a writer of prose, not poetry. I don’t even understand most of the poems I see published these days, so I figure the fact that my poems are easily accessible is probably one of many strikes against me.

But I thought I’d put one of my earlier efforts up just to show that once upon a time I loved snow. I welcomed snow. I found it to be magical and wondrous. Partly because in the Raleigh area (where we used to live), it was so rare. But also because, back then, I saw it through the eyes of my young children.

This poem was written the way it happened on that snowy morning except for the fact that I really didn’t run outside in my nightgown in the snow. (What, do you think I’m crazy???) 🙂 But I did sort of run outside in my heart, and I did feel joy and I did feel grateful for the sweet pleasure of watching my children in the snow.

So, along with a few more photos I took of our recent snow event (as the weather people like to call it), here’s my Paean to Snow and Innocence and Wonder:

Snow Angels

Their high voices woke her
Like the chatter of baby birds.
“Mommy, it snowed, it snowed!”
And their excitement stirred
Faint memories of a time
When miracles occurred
On a daily basis.

A flurry and blur of coats and caps
Before they tumble like kittens
Into the freshly-fallen snow
From pockets fall forgotten mittens
To lie like crocuses against the white.
Small footprints mark snow like a letter written
Of thanksgiving and praise to God.

Snowflakes sparkle like glitter
In the bright slant of first light,
Transforming the world with soft crystals.
In the cold warm voices call to invite
Her, still nightgowned, into the silver morning.
She laughs as she runs—a snow angel in flight–
Cleansed and purified by ice.  

278 Inadequate Words and 11 Sort-of-Adequate Photographs

December 2, 2009

I cringe when I think of all the times on this blog that I’ve said something about words being inadequate to express the inexpressible, but I then proceed to ramble on anyway with about two or three hundred more inadequate words.

We might not always have the words to express the holy or the transcendent or the profound, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. I find it poignant, really, that we have such an urgency, like eager children, to share with others the things that move us, in hopes that they too can know at least a small measure of the awe and wonder we felt. There is a beauty in that, even when the words are not especially articulate.

That’s why I love music so. For me, it can express the inexpressible like nothing else. It can articulate my deepest sorrow, my greatest joy. It is my prayer when I cannot pray with words. As Heinrich Heine said, “When words leave off, music begins.”

I love, too, that I can take pictures with my point-and-shoot and (thanks to the wonders of the digital age) show you within minutes the wondrous sight that I have just beheld without having to come up with words that seldom come close to doing it justice.

So, having said all that, here are some pictures I took around the Doublewide Ranch—all of them in just the past week or so. Yes, it’s true—here it is December in the Appalachians, and we have roses budding and bees buzzing and daisies reaching for the sky. But, of course, you can see that yourself from the pictures, so why am I still blathering on? 🙂

Embracing My Inner Curmudgeon (and Some Well-Deserved Applause)

October 19, 2009


(I apologize that I could not find the proper attribution for this great drawing, but am amazed at the striking resemblance to this writer.  Uncanny, really.)

One of the things that I looked forward to most about getting old was that it would at last be acceptable to give my inner curmudgeon free reign. Yep, I thought maybe I could give real credence to the stereotype of the grumpy old lady.

Well, the truth is, while I might have an inner curmudgeon, I’m actually pretty even-tempered, so I’m not yet shaking my bony fist at cocky young whippersnappers on a regular basis. But I will say that the past few weeks have sorely tested the limits of my patience and brought out my inner grouch.

First of all, our television went out, and it took the built-in VCR with it. Sure, it was 12 years old and maybe 12 years is all you can expect for electronic lifetimes these days, but it really hurt to lose our VCR, too. Then, the next day, the blade flew off our riding mower and took two fan belts with it. We have a big, big yard, so we really need that riding mower.

But it wasn’t just that. It was the little things, too, one darn thing after another—from problems with an item we just paid good money for to groceries scanning higher than the listed price to newly purchased carrots being slimy. I hate it when my carrots are slimy.

No need to rehash all our troubles, but allow me to indulge my inner curmudgeon long enough to say this:  The Eyeglasses industry, on the whole, is an out and out rip-off. A greed fest. A shameless screw-job. I have no idea what the mark-up by optical companies is on eyeglasses, but I know it is huge beyond all justification. And I’d like to say to the optometrist that I recently had the displeasure of seeing: You should be ashamed—charging those exorbitant prices, knowing full well that many of the people that come to you (including me) can ill afford to buy even the cheapest frames you provide. And, boyhowdy, that sure is one slick operation you’ve got there—the way you funneled me right out from my exam into your eyeglasses “showroom.” And what a friendly salesman you have in there! Or at least he was until I expressed my utter incredulity at the prices and I was ushered out quicker than you can say “flimflam man.” Of course, what I really wanted to do was to tell him just exactly where he could shove all those hip, trendy pieces of plastic “designer” junk.

Oh. Sorry. I lost it for a minute there. I told you I had an inner curmudgeon.

Anyway. What I really wanted to do here is to recognize my one interaction with a commercial interest in the past few weeks that was positive beyond all expectation. Where I was treated with respect and consideration. Where the response to my concern was cheerful and prompt. Who was this rarity, this paragon, this fine model of good customer service? Why, I’m glad you asked.

It was Oxford American, my favorite magazine ever. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, but if you’d like to read the finest in writing from the South (not to mention their annual music issue that includes a really swell CD), you should definitely check them out. In fact, one of my dreams as an aspiring writer is to be published someday in Oxford American.

I recently decided to treat myself to a subscription and was mighty excited about the thought of finding it in my mailbox again, but experienced some difficulty in receiving a particular issue. It was their Southern Literature Issue with lots of writing about writing, so I wanted it real bad. But when I filled out their Customer Service form, I’ll have to admit that I expected just the typical form email back. You know, the generic, non-personal kind that leave you feeling angrier than ever?

So imagine my surprise when I was personally emailed back within an hour by Tammy Gillis, their office manager, who told me she was immediately forwarding my email to Matt Baker, Associate Publisher. Within a very short time, I received a very nice email from Matt Baker expressing his sincerest apologies and indicating that he had personally mailed me out a copy that very day!

Okay, here’s where I’ll confess that, at the time, I thought, “Right. Sure you did. I’ll believe that when I see it.” Sorry to say, but some of my recent misadventures in customer service have made me just a mite cynical.

So imagine my surprise (and delight) when I found Issue #66, the Southern Literature issue of the Oxford American in my mailbox within a week, mailed personally by their Associate Publisher. I was thrilled.

So, thanks, Oxford American and Tammy Gillis and Matt Baker. I know you’ll probably never read this, but I wanted to say it anyway. I wanted to sing the praises of a company that is motivated by something besides greed, not to mention the fact that they put out a very fine product that even folks like me can afford. You’ve made me a happy woman and a slightly less cynical one.

It sure is nice to have something good to read. Maybe it will help to take my mind off the smirk on smug Mr. Eyewear Consultant’s face when he told me, “You really should try something stylish and fashionable for a change—it would make you look so much…younger.”

Why, it’s enough to make me shake my bony fist just thinking about it. *Shakes bony fist and mutters*   That impudent young upstart. Cheeky, brazen whippersnapper.

Psalm Upon Hearing the First Lawnmower of the Season

June 1, 2009

Our bedroom window blog

(Our open bedroom window this morning)

After we mowed on Saturday, for some reason, the sweet fragrance of the cut grass was particularly intense, so that smelling the combined essence of freshly-cut grass and honeysuckle blossoms coming through the bedroom window was very nearly a spiritual experience.

I’ve always loved the smell of new-cut grass.  In fact, when I was nineteen or twenty (the age of my children now), I wrote a poem about it:  Psalm Upon Hearing the First Lawnmower of the Season.  It actually got published in a literary magazine, and the editors were kind enough to write a little note to me. I can’t remember all the words of their note exactly, but I do recall the last line : 

“Wonderful descriptive images with lively metaphors…but the pun was intrusive.”

Hee, hee…that makes me laugh every time I remember it because it wasn’t the first (or the last) time I heard that criticism.  And of course they were probably right.  I’m pretty sure that none of the poets we now consider great included “intrusive” puns in their poems. But I find it so very difficult to resist wanton wordplay.  After all, for me, writing poetry is about the sheer delight of playing with language, and there’s nothing I find more amusing than a good (or bad) pun.  

So, even though we’re a bit past the first lawn mowing of the season, I thought I’d share the poem I wrote about it over thirty years ago, complete with flagrant pun.  Can you find it?  Maybe those editors didn’t appreciate my wordplay, but I hope that you do.  And, of course, I hope you like my poem, too.  🙂

Psalm Upon Hearing the First Lawnmower of the Season

Winter-sealed windows muffle morning
And the sunshine serenade
Of silver blades on green.
Lone droning melody—long over dew.

Rasping open, the window inhales, gasping
As life and light rush through.
Draperies flutter like pale cobwebs
Swept aside in spring cleaning.
Green air filters through the screen
Almost strained of winter’s ghosts.

Air greening! Bare greening!
Sun and rain in warm light showers
Combine—a pure and golden wine.
Pale embryos too long confined
Beneath the earth begin to stir. 

Something in me moves
Forgotten seeds
Planted in heart grooves
In springs before cold dormant seasons.
They stir once more and feed
On pulsing blood.
New rivers running in a flood
Through a singing heart.

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.