Monday, September 1, 2014

tink


We rescued Tinkerbell from the animal shelter a little over nine years ago. We were amazed that no one had come in to claim her. Then we were home with her and found that she would steal food from our plates, right out from under our noses if we weren't paying attention. Her mask was darker then, and that mask, along with her thieving, earned her our nickname for her, our little pirate dog. She also likes to be curled up under the covers with us. She gives the sweetest teeny little kisses. She looks at us with those eyes that are soulful and so full of love. She gleefully prances when we come home. And those ears. C'mon. We didn't know then how fitting "our little pirate dog" would be now, but at around 10 or 11 years old, with the breath of a dead fish, when she yawns she could sink a ship. 

-Angie

too much truth?

Just as stars slip into a night sky, shine bright while in sight, and then disappear as light breaks the horizon, is exactly how I left the party.  I listened to stories and belted out with laughs for a few hours more than I thought I would, and then I slipped quietly, unnoticed out the door. 

And then I heard the next morning that people did notice. There were the comments - "She just left? She didn't even say 'Goodbye'?" I think people couldn't understand it; didn't know what to make of it. But...

Goodbyes in a social setting make me extremely nervous. You know how it is, you say you're leaving, you say goodbye, and then you've got a room full of people looking at you to say goodbye back, and you instantly feel dizzy, because your heart must be racing, but you can't even feel it, because you're slowly going numb, and you know you'll start to stutter and stammer and ramble on with words that you never even thought about saying, but the words just start to hopscotch and skip and fire from your brain straight out of your mouth really fast and you just want to hide and your eyes dart from one person to the next like a trapped animal and then you're certain that your face is going to twitch into a melted goo and... sigh. And just the hello's are bad enough that you feel the need to state how you're feeling a little bit uncomfortable for being in even a small crowd, and you state it because you feel like people are looking at you like they are already checking on you, and maybe a little concerned for you, because you feel so out of your skin that it MUST BE noticeable to everyone, but really it's probably not, but you don't know that because you're freaking the fuck out in your own head.

No? Oh, you don't know? Does everyone not do that? Great. Juuust great. Yeah, I know, or I think I know, that most people maybe don't feel like that, but I do. 

Twice earlier, I'd mentioned that I thought it was time for me to go home, a hint at a "see you guys next time", but that didn't fly. So I stayed longer, and I'm glad that I did, but at the time that I did leave, I just slipped out, and I'm glad that I did. Otherwise, Crazy was coming to town. 

Sitting there at my 25th high school reunion turned out to be fine, great, even. Sitting with people, some of which I hadn't seen since we were kids, but now adults, let me wonder why some of us weren't friends in school. I really liked them while sitting there. A table full of mostly us girls, and they are funny as fuck. Really funny and really smart. I'm counting them as friends now, even if I don't see them for another block of years.

*****

"If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die." - Mik Everett

I'm not saying I'm in love by any means, but I'm saying the thought of loving somebody, somebody I may not even know yet, is there. It's there a little bit. 

Mars and Saturn are lined up with a new moon between them. Subtle clusters of sparks being drawn, one towards the other, literally lining up in the universe. But with too much of some kind of off energy between them, it's too new.  

I'm the off energy. I'm too new in this new thought and too old in the ways of being shut down emotionally. I'm Saturn with the wall built around me in the form of rings. I'm a repelling force. After being this way for so long, I don't really know of another way to be. 

OK, so total coincidence, at the same time I'm getting all basket-case about a class reunion, this guy comes into town. Comes to my house. Universal line up, right? I don't know. I don't know, because I don't know if there was no attraction there, because I've built such a wall (and I mean, we are talking the Hoover Fucking Dam, people) that I absolutely wouldn't allow it, or if there was really none in person. 

This is how bad it is. And these are like no big deal things at all, but - I handed him a glass so he could get his ice for a drink, (and this is so embarrassing) and I noticed the feeling I got when our hands touched. I immediately backed away, both literally and figuratively. At one point, he sort of laid across the bed/couch (because I don't have a real bedroom yet) where I was sitting, so that he could get the wifi code off of the wifi box, and I can't even remember now, but I think I may have gotten up. Just GOT UP. ?? Or maybe I didn't. Can't remember. 

The conversation was good. It was easy, but it wasn't. And it wasn't strained, but it was. But it was good. We talked until the stars came out, and the bats flew overhead, and the owls cackled and screeched like the free wild animals they are. And meanwhile, I'm a little uneasy and some kind of weird proper or something.

But here's the thing... now that I'm safely in my own space, in my own head, and yes I know that "safely in my own head" is totally a questionable thing, an oxymoron even, my head space is starting to have its own conversation with the other spaces. 
I think there are three. The head. The heart. The vagina. 

The head is all rationalizing and analyzing things away. Making sense of everything and just keeping it real. And there are real, legit reasons it does this. It strong holds everything in its comfortable place. 

The heart is starting to soften and trying to feel things that it's not used to feeling and it starts to crowd the head space with the, But what if's and But maybe we could's, and the head is back to being all, Snap out of it! Are you trying to hurt yourself?! 

Then there's the vagina. And the vagina just wants to bitch slap the head and heart both. The vagina is all, What about me, yo? I didn't need any input from the either of you. We could have maybe had fantastical, earth shattering, magical, like... fucking-on-a-unicorn time! The vagina doesn't step up and say much very often, because of... I don't know... whatever reason, but it knows when maybe it missed its chance. And now? It's kind of pissed about it. 

The head is still saying... No. The heart is still saying... But maybe. And the vagina is just like... Man, fuck both of y'all. 

So to sum things up, I'm exhausted from the weekend. I really enjoyed the reunion, but I'm glad it's done. The Universe continues to line things out for me. And finally, and best of all, I believe I've got a life long friend in this guy. He reads what I write and is obviously aware of the fact that I could be a little nuts and he still came by to say hello. And goodbye. 

-Angie


a gift of sorts

The tall, chain link fence that was put in place around the garden to keep the deer out was gone, along with countless tulip bulbs that were planted around the outside of the garden. A lot of things around here were dug up. The ground and mounds that once provided a seasons bounty was completely buried in wild grass. 


The fence posts still stand and mark the ground for a new barrier between the food and whatever wildness comes out of the woods for a bite. At the base of the posts I found green, leafy, grape vines running through grass. They were small and green and fresh. 


Days later the vines slithered further. The balls of fruit changing in color and growing more plump. Still bitter. 


Then all at once swollen, purple grapes rolled out amongst the green. Sweet. Juicy. I plucked them from the vine, washed them, and then took them to the master of gardening and canning, my Gammy. 


A day or two later I was at her house just in time to hear the tops of jars popping as they sealed in the most gorgeous color and the best grape jelly taste ever. I was surprised at how many jars those grapes filled. 


Our first summer at the house, and there was no time for gardening at all, but there were the leftovers from something started before, a gift of sorts from Grandaddy. A jar of grape jelly for my mom, my aunt, my uncles, my gammy, and myself. 


It is the sweetest, cleanest, tastiest jelly I've ever had. Tyler says he just want to eat it with a spoon and a glass of milk. And, I'm kind of with him on that. 






RC Evans. My Grandaddy watering his garden one last time. Thank you, Grandaddy, for so many things. 

-Angie

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

just around the corner

I walked around the place looking and feeling and smelling everything. The way the grass felt underfoot. The width of the sky overhead. The wind sweeping through the trees. Every blossom, every bee, every bird. From the teeniest of hummers to the largest of hawks that demand respect with just a tilt of the head. They all cry out in one way or another. And it is with them that I cry, too. Not often. But in that wide open space, it's safe. It's my escape. It's the same with this writing space. 

The days where I really feel crazy, like, I think I've gone mad, and if I'm not there yet then I'm surely well on my way, I wonder if crazy people even have the thought of wondering if they're crazy, or do they think they are completely sane?

I told a friend of mine, "We're already crazy. You can't just go through this shit, and not go crazy. And so you have to laugh at the craziness, or fall off into it for real." 

Am I teetering? Maybe. Am I happy? I always thought so. I always said so. I still think so.

A part of NPR, National Public Radio, came out to my house to interview me for a documentary on the working poor. Now I can't even remember much of what I said. I'm more nervous of what I will sound like when it airs than what I may have said. I wonder if I'll sound competent.

I had to draw a line on the chart of the years of my life to show times of happiness or sadness. Easy, I said. I've always been happy. I'm sad sometimes, but I always bounce back to happiness with a subtle quickness. How can someone always be happy, I asked my mom. What must they have thought when I charted that line right out without much thought? My mom jokingly made the sign for coo-coo with a circling finger around the right side of her brain. Stop it! So I AM nuts! I laughed. I laughed at the fear that has solidly been welling up for a while now. I laugh in the face of fear! 

I'll tell ya something a little crazy... My Grandaddy built ham radios, he built his own towers from the ground up to 80 feet in the air, and he could talk to other radio enthusiasts globally from what he built from "doo-dads and thing-a-ma-jigs". And within two months of me being here, a national radio broadcast will be hitting the wires from this very spot where he could build the finest. 

There are big things going on in the universe and it's got me holding my breath. Off balance and nervous. I can't help but feel like something magnificent is waiting just around the corner, but it's all been a twisted maze to get to this corner and I'm stuck. 

I've always looked at the things that make me happy, and they are basic, and they are cherished. My family. My health. Their health. A home, and now it's a real home. Before I got the key in my hand to this home, my only other option was to go back to the housing projects. For me personally, I would rather live in a tent. I can't breathe in those four walls. And now I hold my breath in hopes that we will always be here. I cherish the roof. The ability to walk down aisle after aisle of food and choose freely what I want to eat. The ability to grow food. The ability of all of my senses. Love and real happiness. They are basic and they are the greatest of anything in this world. 

Then there are things that are needed or just fun, but mostly never afforded. Still basic. Cable vision. Knowing there is food, from the aisles, in my cabinets to eat. Going out to eat. New shoes. New underwear. A new bra. A haircut. School supplies. Fees for this or that. A movie. God forbid a trip. A vacation. Enough gas in the truck to make it another day to work, or to drop off or pick up kids from school. A bank account that, for fucking once, for one fucking time, would not be in the negative red. Enough cleaning supplies to make it to one of the very few jobs that is still there. New mascara instead of the dried up one that has to be applied over and over until it's clumped and I look haggard. Soap and shampoo without adding water to squeeze one more use out of it before it's gone. Basically anything extra is a no. Even the basics.

Tired of borrowing money. Tired of relying on family support for the basics, and I'm quite sure they are getting tired, too. Tired of not working enough. People die, people move, people get divorced, people lose their own jobs, and then I, the cleaning lady, am the first thing to go. Cards spread out here and there with a phone number for work are apparently not working, because I'm not. 

As good as the basic living is, and it really is, the shit of being poor, and I mean way beyond poverty, takes a toll on even the happiest of people. Me. It can be difficult to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. It can be difficult to only focus on positive things when there are so many negatives stacking double time against you, threatening to take away this or that every single day. Every day I don't know. I've juggled and spread so thin that I just don't know. Every day it gets heavier to deal with. I'm tired. 

I was on the phone with a friend of mine and she was whining, yes she was, she was whining and she would admit it, that she didn't have the time to wait for the car wash guy to wash her car before she had to be to work. To which I told her, she was having rich, white lady problems right there. And we laughed. But my laughter is being forced lately. My laughter is being suffocated. 

Could'a. Would'a. Should'a. Right? Wrong. I didn't ask the credit companies to throw another person's, another Angie Smith's, horrendous credit report in alongside of mine and clusterfuck my good credit years ago. Did you know that it takes years to clean that mess up? Did you know that you're on your own when it happens? Unless, of course, you had money stashed and maybe you could pay someone to handle it for you. Did you know that while you're trying to clean the numbers back up and clear the way to your own good credit that the banks would have then changed the way they do business and you would forever pay 7 times the interest to what everyone else pays? And so you climb and climb and climb and climb to find the way out.

I know everyone likes it when I'm all laughs and all inspiring and easy. I know this, because people tend to shy away from serious Ang, like, what the fuck is going on here? I'm human. Sometimes I bend and hopefully won't break. There's a lot of us like that. There's a lot of us with nearly the exact same story as mine here. Walking around, still hopeful and still looking to seek out the positives in spite of being in the midst of whatever form of chaos. Cut them some slack. Hopefully we'll all snap back.

I'm dealing with the way my daily reality is right now, and something's gotta give or change completely. Change has always scared the hell outta me. So, right now I'm writing about it, because apparently, I'm kind of good at that, but that doesn't pay any bills, except for the one on my sanity. And right now and for days now, I'm so fucking tired. I need for this maze to open up and show me a way around the corner.

"What do you think you are for Christsakes? Crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it." 
-One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

-Angie

Monday, August 18, 2014

perspective

A couple or so weeks ago I had visitors come to my house to interview me about being poor. 

Today I had a visitor and we talked about nothing. We just sorta watched each other. I was able to sit on my back patio and adore this beautiful creature. 
I feel I am very rich.




-Angie

   


which box has the snakes? is that not a normal question?

Right after the ordeal with the ticks I started making room in my garage to store my brother's things. I moved the rest of my unpacked boxes into the back porch. I was moving fast. Grab a box, stack it, grab another, stack it. Occasionally seeing a harmless spider and steady moving fast. Then I picked up a really heavy pot of some sort. It's really heavy and after I picked it up and heaved it onto a nearby trunk, I noticed a baby snake, not much longer than my finger, lying there on the cool garage concrete floor. He didn't move, and was a little rigid from where he had laid under that pot. Damn it. I thought I'd smashed him.



I roused him a bit, and he responded. I took him outside to the sunshine on a warm rock near the grass and slowly he smoothed out and finally took off. It made me happy. 



Now... which of those boxes that I grabbed and stacked is holding his brothers and sisters? 

PS - After the ticks and the snake, I stood outside and watched a couple of bats doing their own insect control. They start their night flight just before it gets dark. They flitter and flutter around and instantly dive down to swallow up a meal. They're really cool to watch and have around.  

PPS The next morning there was a downpour of rain, after it had stopped I heard what sounded like a running stream, and knowing that there's not a stream that close that I would hear it, I headed closer to the woods where it sounded loudest. The running stream came from the rain dripping from all of those trees. It. Was. The. Coolest. Sound. And there are gullies in there so maybe the water from the rain was rushing through those as well. Each little raindrop joined together to boldly sing the greatest chorus ever. 

-Angie

Sunday, August 17, 2014

not weird at all


If I happen to be driving at night, and someone happens to have their window open where I can see into their lighted space - I like that. Not in a weird way, but just in a ... peeking-into-someone-else's-space way. Are they eating dinner? Do they have lots of lamps? Photo's on the walls? Stuff like that. Brief peeks. Not weird. 

As soon I have lamps plugged in and photo's on the wall and serving some beautiful food up, I'm going to give you guys a peek into my new shack. But for now we're going for a hike. 

The back yard has a pretty good stretch of some grassy hills and then it goes into the woods. There's a curly path, cleared by Grandaddy, that circles around the trees. The day before I got the key in my hand to this home, Jolie and I happily walked the path. We were about half way when a million, no, a trillion ticks were climbing our legs. OK, maybe 30. Jolie screamed and ran while I quickly finished the trail. We haven't gone back in there. Until yesterday. I went into the woods with my dog, Middy. Jolie had said no way. 
And when I say woods, I mean a gorgeous patch of woods to get lost in. Woods.




The path is kind-of hidden at the beginning, but then it's open and clearly marked. Middy and I were on and off of that path for maybe an hour or so. The air was humid and the smell of earth and moss and warm bark hung and lingered low. 




Every once in a while I would look down at my legs to search for any blood-suckers. I saw none. I quit looking. 

The woods are green and lush, and I heard a deer blowing or calling or chanting - Ain't no party like a hidden woods party cuz a hidden woods party don't stop! ??

Here's a tiny clip of what I heard. It only happens a couple of times at the beginning, but still, can you say love? PS - I've never uploaded a video from my own stuff so I hope it works.

video





Back in the day, I think a lot of people probably had their own dump on their own property. This was the case here. The first time I saw it I thought, "Ah, shit. That's gotta go." And I saw it as shit. And it does still have to go. Gradually I will bring load after load of it out of the woods. It 'bout killed my environmental, tree hugging ways. 



Glass. Leaves. Plastic. Bark. Metal. Grass. Aluminum. Moss. Wires. Vines.


Most of the things from this place were stripped away. Stolen. Of all those things, the one thing that I wonder about where it is, or what went of it, is Grandaddy's hat. A straw hat that had absolutely no value other than it was his. 


I got deeper into the woods thinking I'm in absolute heaven, and this time when I come up on the dump site, I start to look closer. I found a kind-of peace there. A bit of melancholy there. Beauty there. A fondness. It was good for the bitter-sweetness running through my heart. I saw treasures from who knows when. And I knew they were mostly treasures to R.C. Evans at one point in time. 











Middy and I kept walking, smelling, and looking. Then Middy was panting a different pant, her face a little stressed. It was very humid with rain coming. "Come on, Middy-Girl, let's head back", I said, and we made our way back to the house. 



I noticed Middy licking her paws, and I did a quick check to make sure she hadn't cut one or had anything stuck in one. I saw nothing. I started to pull my socks off to take a shower, and I saw a few ticks on my socks. 

Before we went into the woods I had bug-sprayed my bare legs, my socks, my shoes, and the tops of my jeans. Middy has an excellent necklace/tick collar. There is very rarely a time we see ticks from being in the yard. But those woods, man...

I was a little afraid to take my socks off and see what in the hell would lie beneath. And there they were. Those teeny ticks. Demons. These ticks are very tiny, and while there are several different kinds of ticks, they are all ticks to me. So... whatever. Some of them are so small, though, that you really can just barely see them. Only when they start to move are you sure it's a tick, and they were all around my ankles and feet. 

Clothes go straight into the wash, and I into the shower. After I scrubbed my skin off to my bones I felt safe. Then Jolie called me into the living room where she was with Middy. 

Tick apocalypse. 

Middy's fur appeared to be moving. There's no way to guess how many were on her paws. It was awful. And poor Middy knew it was awful when we were standing in the woods. It was too much, too many, too fast for her collar. 

"Outside!!", I yelled. "Time for a definite bath! Poor Middy-Girl. It's OK." 
"I told you you shouldn't have gone in there!!", Jolie yelled. x3

We scrubbed and scrubbed Middy. Middy shook and shook water everywhere.
And then I immediately showered again.



From the time we came out of the woods to the time we finished cleaning up, it took about an hour and a half. For two showers and one bath, for blankets that had any contact with Middy to be washed, and floors swept and swept. All because I wanted to get away from the bullshit nightmare in the world outside of mine. Turns out, I had my own bullshit nightmare waiting for me. Maybe an inferno would have been nice.

The part before the panting and the ticks, though? It was a beautiful peek into someone else's stuff. Not weird at all. 


-Angie

Friday, August 8, 2014

positive vibes

flowers

Things are good. Like, the crust on fried chicken good. I wish everyone could taste this kind of good. I almost feel a little guilty for having it this good. I hold my breath and hope it will last forever. Financially, things couldn't be much worse. In the ways of living, though, it couldn't be much better. 
The financial is a drag, and so I won't write about it here, not right now anyway. But something very interesting did happen because of the financial drag, and soon I will write about that.

I caught some news today and clicked on some links and saw what everyone else is seeing for the first time in over a month. It put me in an instant funk. I'm sad for this world. I don't have any of the answers, and besides the very obvious of the nightmares that are going on, that's where the funk lies, I guess. Helplessness.

Not totally helpless, though. I'll do what I do and be how I am, and I'll spread my positive vibes, to whoever may catch them, from my shack to yours. It's simple and complex, but mostly simple. 

So here are some photos of where I hung out for a bit the other day and what I saw. 

Hope you all have a hopeful, peaceful, happy, playful weekend. 
And if you can, turn off the news. 


clothesline

clothes pins

wild flowers














super moon
We're all on this one, beautiful, planet earth. We all look to the same moon in our night skies. I can't help but be cliche as fuck, but I really, really do hope for world peace. 

-Angie
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