Sunday, September 25, 2005

Poor Poodle

I got some bad news while we on the way to the pow wow. I won't get to see Poodle anymore.

"Poodle" was a cream colored cocker spaniel and he arrived on my grandmother's farm about six years ago. My dad said he saw Poodle near town as he drove through but didn't think anything about it. A little while after he got to the farm, Poodle came ambling up the driveway and decided to stay. The amazing thing is that my dad drove normal speed - about fifty or so - and the farm is about ten minutes out of town. There's no way Poodle could have kept up with him, yet there he was.

Poodle was his own dog. After my grandmother died almost two years ago, Poodle had full run of the farm - not that he didn't have it already. His fur, with that long, characteristic cocker fringe on his legs and belly, stayed in a permanent mat because he was always roaming the fields. More than once he "protected" the farm from the terrible turtle menace, grabbing up the unfortunate critters and tossing them into the air with an equally menacing growl - or as menacing as it could be with a mouthful of turtle.

He also had an attachment to the Ford tractor - he would sleep in the barn near it and several times wouldn't even let me get on the thing so I could help with the hay. Unfortunately, that attachment was evidently his downfall. My dad was cutting hay in one of the more remote fields and didn't see Poodle until it was too late. The mower caught poor Poodle on the right hind leg.

By the time my dad got him to the vet, he had lost a lot of blood. That and what was known about Poodle's age worked against him. Part of the leg would have had to be removed and the vet said he probably wouldn't even survive surgery. Poor Poodle had to be put down.

The farm won't seem the same without Poodle there. Whenever I was there, I would take a long walk over the property and he would always go along. Sometimes, if I dawdled too long at the pond, he would stop whatever it was he was doing to come running over to me. It was his way of saying, "Hey! What are you doing just standing there looking at all that boring water? We've got all this grass to run over and explore! There's turtles to toss!" Usually, he got his way and off we'd go again.

Oh, Poodle. You were a great dog and I miss you already. I know you though - you're already roaming new fields and protecting them from those horrible turtles.

Pow Wow Season

Oooh...I think I should have proof read that last entry a little more. I know I kin rite better'un that there hoo-ha.

Summer decided to hang around for another day or two. It was particularly hot at the pow wow in Mt. Juliet yesterday afternoon. My dad and I take in a few pow wows every year - sometimes in Portland, sometimes in Cookeville and usually always at the Four Corners marina in October.

We never dance. We just watch the contestants in all their regalia and tour all the little booths circling the dance arena. I always have to buy something - an ocarina, wonderful rainbow colored beads, stones, jewelry. One year I even bought a spirit journey horse, which traditionally represents a warrior's horse in the afterlife. The spirit horse would have been buried with its owner, so he would be able to ride forever.

Sometimes, though, when those big drums start, I do just want to throw down and dance. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, as steady as a heartbeat. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, my feet brushing through the grass - toe, heel. Toe, heel. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! My feather fan lifts to the sky to honor those who created us. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, my heart beats in cadence with the drums. Beats in cadence with the earth. Beats in cadence with the universe.


Friday, September 16, 2005


Sometimes I really hate what is happening to this area, especially around Gallatin. I took some time yesterday to go yardsaling with my mom and we ended up in this subdivision across from Vol State. (One way to get to it is to go up the street the Muffler Place is on and turn left near the end of the road.)

This subdivision, except for the fact that the houses are not in pastel colors, looks almost exactly like the one from Edward Scissorhands. There were maybe four or five houseplans used for hundreds of houses and yesterday, everyone had identical large green trashcans out on the curb. I swear, everytime I find myself in this place, I say the same thing: "I think I've seen this movie."

How can anyone stand to live like this? All the cookie-cutter houses are all scrunched up together and the only privacy you really have is in the house with all the curtains and blinds closed up tight.

What they did to Mrs. Wemyss' Fairvue is even worse. They took a property on the Register of Historic Landmarks and ruined it. People say, "Oh, but it's place on the register is safe. We are doing what we can to protect the house."

Newsflash, people: the house wasn't the reason the property was on the register. Yes, the house was built by Isaac Franklin but the reason Fairvue go put on the register is this: it was the last and most intact example of a working plantation left in the United States. I say it again: it wasn't just the house - it was the land left with the property and outlying buildings on it. This includes the two remaining slave quarters and overseer's house, mushroom house, tobacco base, everything. There were crops growing on the place until just a very few years ago.

The shells of some of the original buildings, including the main house, are still there. Now all that is there is ugly, crappy, utterly unnecessary multi-million dollars houses with that stupid golf course running throughout the whole damn property.

This area is losing ties to its history at a crazy rate. What are they going to do? Knock everything down and then put up a little historical marker saying, "Oh yeah - here's what used to stand on this spot before we put up the Walgreens..."

I am not opposed to progress. What I'm opposed to is the uncontrolled sprawl that swallows everything in its path. What I'm opposed to is unthinking greed that sees nothing but nasty subdivisions all over the earth.

Wake up people! Remember the past and save a little bit of it, so we can remember where we come from. After all, it was a very smart person that said, "Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I heard the owls tonight. I don't know exactly how long owls stay together or even how long they typically live but these two owls have been here for at least five years. I was beginning to worry tonight, when I heard the one with the deeper voice but no one answered. "He" was in the trees somewhere near the back of the property.

"Who cooks? Who cooks for you?"

Finally, the other owl answered - I could barely hear "her" at first. Slowly, her call got louder and louder until it sounded as if she was around the church, just down the road. I was hoping to get another glimpse of one of them - the last time was a cold, frosty night about four years ago when one of them silently flew right over my head. It wasn't to be though. He decided to fly to her. Still, I lingered a while, just listening to them call to each other as they hunted in the hollow behind the house.

"Who cooks? Who cooks for you?"

Owls have a strange mythology to them here. Some of the older people still fear them because the old folklore says that owls are messengers of death. My own grandmother told the tale about her brother who was awakened by the hooting of an owl the night before he died in a tractor accident. The story goes that it was in a tree outside his bedroom window and it was so loud that it woke him up. He tried to scare it off so he could go back to sleep but I don't remember if he succeeded. He died when I was in my early teens.

"Who cooks? Who cooks for you?"

Friday, September 09, 2005

Painting update...

Well, my adventures with oil paint are continuing. Here's the latest version of the June bug:

Yeah, I know - I chose a weird place to stop painting on the June bug's wing covers and it looks extremely strange with just the body and no legs or eyes. Truth is, it was four in the afternoon, I had worked on this puppy almost all day (I did take an hour to eat breakfast around 9:30 and another break from 11 - 1.) I forgot to eat anything else so I was hungry and tired. There was also good potential for general crankiness so when the green mixture ran out, I judged it to be a good time to quit.

I'm still not happy with the blue parts on the background. It has thrown me into several fits! I think this is the third incarnation that background has had today. My original idea was to have yellow on top with red on the bottom, so the red would vibrate off the green in the body. There were also lavendar and green underneath as complements. Well, it didn't work. It was just too plain and...icky. (How do you like that high falutin' Artist Talk? I went to college for that.)

When that didn't work, I decided to play. The yellow parts worked out rather well, although you can't really tell that from this photo. I double loaded the brush and I really like the undertones of blue, red, green and lavendar in there. I tried to stay with the idea of having red on the bottom but it kept coming out as pink - or worse, "mud." In the end, I kept a little bit of red down there but the blue worked much better, although I'm still not happy about that lower left hand corner. My brushstrokes kept changing on me because I had to bend down to get to that corner. They look huge to me, compared to the rest of the board. There's a few other problems here and there (like that big red spot just to the right of the June bug's wing) but it'll have to wait.

I'm beat. Oh yeah - I'm starving too.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Will I ever stop being surprised by people?

I’m trying not to add too much clutter on the ‘net about the hurricane, mainly because there isn’t much of value I can add.  This is one of the times I’m going to break my own rule.

This morning, Channel 4 news reported on a story out of Franklin TN.  It seems there are some folks who got word that an old factory near their homes is going to be converted into a shelter for evacuees of Katrina – only city officials weren’t ready for word to be out yet.

So what did these folks do? They wrote the Mayor about how they didn’t want this shelter in their neighborhood because they didn’t know what elements it may bring.

Can you believe this?  Here are people who don’t even have anywhere to call home anymore and these morons in Franklin are worried that they’re going to be robbed.  Heavens help them if their damn property values drop a nickel.

However, kudos go to mayor Miller, who said: “If you don't like what we're doing, if you don't like the fact that we're bringing people from the Gulf Coast here, you can move. These people are coming here. We're going to welcome them. We're going to support them. We're going to love them."

I guess it’s true what they say:  in events like the hurricane, people’s true characters come out for the world to see.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Help me see the world with Fey eyes

Help me see the world with Fey eyes
I want to see the world with eyes that
See the magic inherent in a budding flower,
A wandering caterpillar or a lightning struck tree.

I want to see the world with eyes that
See divinity in the grace of a sleeping cat,  
A shooting star or the moan of a treasured lover.

I want to see the world with eyes that
See the sacred wilderness in the middle of bustling shopping
Mall, the windowless office and the caverns of my own self.

Help me see the world with Fey eyes
I want to see.    

Saturday, September 03, 2005


HEADLINE: Sumner County Woman Found
BYLINE: Joannie Snigglebotham, contributing editor

A Sumner County Woman was found lying unconscious in her studio yesterday.  The woman, Azra, is resting tonight in a local hospital after police initially thought that she had been beaten and possibly robbed.  It soon became clear that she was apparently the victim of a self improvement scam.

After a quick search of the area, police found a BAMCO Attitude Adjustment System 3000TM.  It had apparently ricocheted into the weeds after it impacted Ms. Azra’s head.  According to Cora Reeve of the Better Business Bureau, Ms. Azra’s incident isn’t an uncommon one.  “Unfortunately, we’ve got an entire file drawer dedicated solely to the BAMCO company.  People see their infomercial on TV and think this product is the answer to all their problems.”

The infomercials, filmed and edited by GooseSpill Studios in Nashville, have been running mainly late nights on UHF stations such as the local UPN station.  "We thought they were part of a practical joke, something like what you'd see on that Ashton Kutcher show. We had no idea that this was supposed to be an actual product. Come on. You're kidding me, right? Where's Ashton? Come on out, Dude!" said Mac Gilicutty, owner of GooseSpill.

The commercials promise a better life, complete with more confidence, popularity, money and verve with the consistent use of their system.  What the commercials do not say is the system consists of a stick with a rubberized handle, which the user must apply to the side of the head in a somewhat forceful manner.  

When asked for comment in her hospital room, Ms. Azra replied, “All I wanted was that little kick, you know - that little extra boost to get me off my behind and motivate me to work toward reaching my dreams.  When the commercial said it could deliver The Cosmic Clue by Four for a better life, I believed it.  Looking back on it, it’s a little embarrassing, really.”