Friday, July 16, 2010

The Meanest Nun in the World

The meanest nun in the world stood less than 5 feet tall. She wore a terrible gray wig that sometimes had the tag sticking out at the back (we loved those days). Although she was an older nun in the 1970's, she had adopted the modern dress that almost all the nuns who taught at my grammar school wore. They must have been specially made for them because they were the most god-awful polyster crap you've ever seen. Those poor women. As if it wasn't bad enough that they had to be married to Christ, they also had to wear brown and blue feed sacks made of non-breathable material in the Deep South.

Her name was Sister CC* and she slapped me across the face one day in the 4th grade because I looked at her "the wrong way." Now, when you're a midget with a bad wig and you teach 9 year olds every day, you must expect that you're going to get some odd looks now and again from those brats. Especially smartass white girls who have active imaginations and a face that gives everything away.

Didn't matter that I loved her english class and our writing project - "Tales of the 4th Grade - Everything!" (a rip-off of the Judy Blume book, very progressive in those days) - I must have seen her wig tag or started thinking about everyone in the room being bigger than she was (except for a black boy who I think really was a midget) and given her a vacant look. That's all I can think of, any way. But after that slap, it was open warfare as far as I was concerned.

I was on constant wig surveillance - if it was askew, if she used a pencil to scratch underneath it, if the tag was sticking out, I alerted the troops. God, but I was a horrid child.

She threw chalk at kids, hit them with rulers on the hands (like it was 1937, not 1977) and generally behaved like a little dictator. I guess she had the female form of a Napoleon Complex.

I have no idea what happened to her - she probably ended up at the Sisters of Notre Dame home somewhere in Maryland. Hell, she might even be alive still. If I was nicer, I might even look for her and send her a new wig.

I really thought she was the meanest nun in the world until the day that Sister Regina walked into the joint. Now that bitch? She was seriously disturbed and hated children. Again, it could have been the heavy polyster giving her chub rub, but I think she was just plain mean.

And don't get me wrong, I had some great nun teachers, too. Sister Rose Lally, Sister Margaret Thomasine and Sister Marcella (a hippie who later left the order, so rumor had it) were all awesome teachers. But CC and Regina - MEAN!

*Just her initials - my old classmates will know who she was. Of course, I actually ended up liking her. I mean, if I had to teach 4th graders every day, I would be a raging alcoholic instead of just a mild wino, so kudos to her.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What A Week!

I vowed last week that I would start each day at The Swamp House w/ a cleansing smoothie and would try to eat healthy for the whole week.

Well . . . I did well the first day. I had the smoothie for breakfast (I have pictures!), a fat free latte and a tomato sandwich on double-fiber wheat bread. And then, and then, 2 vodka tonics, 3 glasses of wine, bacon on my salad, a Thai noodle dish and a dram of Baileys when I got home. Really bad.

But that was nothing compared to what happened the next day.

July 4th dawned bright and blistering hot on the Georgia coast. I had planned to cook a few Southern classics to celebrate the holiday: okra and tomato macque choux, blueberry pie and fried chicken. I made the first two and they looked great. Now, this would only be like the second time I tried to make fried chicken, so I was worried about the chicken cooking all the way through from the outset.

I didn't do such a good job w/ the chicken. Let's skip the boring details and suffice to say that by 7PM, I drank an entire bottle of Perrier because I didn't feel very well and then, well, I basically puked my guts up for the next 5 hours. Seriously, I was so sick that at one point I considered calling 911. I thought I was choking on my own vomit, a la Mama Cass.

The dogs were horrified. So was I. I went through 3 nightgowns before I finally pulled myself into the shower and cleaned up. I couldn't lay down for fear that something would come burbling back up, so I sat up on the couch and stayed awake all night. I couldn't even keep down the two saltine crackers I nibbled on. Life was not good.

I stayed in the fetal position for most of July 5th. My ribs felt like I'd been kicked by a donkey. I couldn't laugh or cough for the next two days without feeling extreme pain.

On Wednesday night, my chest started itching and I thought I'd been bitten by a spider. But no, I developed a terrible case of poison ivy all over my stomach and chest. I used calamine and tried not to itch, but by Saturday morning, I couldn't even wear a bra. I was headed home and figured that my Technu would do the job, but ended up at an emergency clinic on Sunday for a shot of cortisone after my 3rd sleepless night of itchy hell.

Thought my week of bad luck was over until Monday afternoon when my boy dog, Murphy, got into a yellow jacket's nest and, when I tried to get them off of him they swarmed onto me, causing me to shriek and jump into my friend's pool where I drowned the little bastards. But not before two had stung me, one right in the lower buttocks.

I've come to the conclusion that either the necklace I bought at the estate sale on Saturday is cursed or that all of the above is my subconscious effort to avoid dieting. I did lose 5 lbs last week, but it sure was the hard way.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Echoes of the Past

Sounds like a heavy subject, doesn't it? But it's not my past that seems heavy today. No, it's the past of the dead woman whose home I went to at eight o'clock this morning for a sale of her life's possessions.

God, it was depressing as hell. She had a few nice pieces of furniture (I loved an enamel topped kitchen table, but resisted), many kitchen things, several sets of china and a lifetime collection of strange odds and ends that included the most disturbing clown painting I've ever seen in my life. And that's saying something because I HATE CLOWNS.

I ended up buying a wicker rocking chair that will live on my parents' front porch, a Mexican silver necklace (she traveled!) and a $3 bunch of aluminum kitchen tools that includes a butter pat cutter, the coolest thing I've seen in a long time, probably from the 1940's or 1950's when butter wasn't a National Villain (it still isn't in my house).

But as I was walking through her rooms that had plywood on the floors and a distinct air of despair, I grew sadder and sadder. Clearly, this was a woman who loved to entertain because she had three sets of china, a large number of serving pieces and pots and pans and lots of other hostess-y things. And this was just what the family left to sell - the good stuff had already been picked over and allotted to members of the family.

I'm starting to be reminded lately that life has an end date. I've lost my grandparents and assorted friends, but I think I viewed life with a very cavalier point of view through my 30's. Now that I'm about to turn 42 (in 10 days!!), I find myself reflecting more and more on how we live our lives, the things we find important, the things we collect and how we leave this life. I spent a weekend not long ago worrying about dying alone, being alone, dying a Spinster with no one to witness my demise except my beloved pets.

I imagine my nephews, all grown up, sorting through my folk art collection, deciding who will take the painting of the purple and green cat, who will take the signed Jazz Fest poster from 1995 that's already worth $1,000, and what will become of all the other bright and cheerful works of art that I've collected over the last twenty years.

Frankly, it depresses the shit out of me.

But I don't often allow myself to wallow in such self-pity. I have a full life with family that I adore and friends who I would literally bleed for. In my 42nd year, I've finally had an epiphany about what I want to do with this life. What I want my "legacy" to be (which sounds so pompous it makes me want to throw up in my mouth (LB!)).

Henceforth (what a word!), I want to spend as much time as possible with my parents and my brother and his family. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to travel to the ends of the earth, experiencing new cultures and people. I want to eat great food, real food, not processed weird food. I want to write. I want people to read what I write. I want to make them laugh.

I don't want to be in the box (see previous post - Long Time. No Blog.).

And I really hope to divest myself of most of my crap before I die. I hate to think about people digging through my collection of junk, feeling sad or saying awful things about them. Maybe they'll like my cobalt glasses, the tea cups that Sylvia gave me (our neighbor when I was a little girl), the Eiffel Tower collection that has grown from statues to lamp shades to paintings. Guess it's time I stopped that collection.

Any way, not to be too morbid, but today made me sad. I'll get happy again, but it made me pause and think about life. It's funny when that happens.

But enough about all that crap. I'm off to the fireworks on the riverfront in Darien, Georgia w/ my friend Billy.

Happy 4th, Everyone!!

Beans, Beans, Good For My Heart?

I have a serious problem. For the past week, I've had the worst gas in recent memory. It's as if my body is trying to expel something dark and disturbing and the only way out is, well, you know.

I live w/ animals, not humans, so I have to deal with bodily issues on a daily basis. If it's not someone peeing inside, it's poop or vomit, but it's every single day and I keep my rubber gloves and cleaning supplies on the ready. But my gaseous state has been so bad that even my dogs are disturbed when a particularly loud one erupts (I just woke Murphy up, for example).

But seriously? This is just awful. I can't imagine if I actually did live with another human being, much less have a man in my life. He'd surely run for cover if he heard the staccato noises coming out of this body.

So, what to do? I've long toyed with doing a "cleanse" but have never really settled on a plan to follow (no surprise there). I find myself on the coast of Georgia for a week, all alone at The Swamp House. Perfect time to try to rid myself of what's ailing me.

Tomorrow morning (I mean, this morning) will begin my 7-day cleanse diet. Mostly raw, I think, beginning each day w/ a healthy drink/smoothie made of herbs, ginger and fruit. I've found two recipes, one that has parsley and the other cilantro as the main ingredients.

Cilantro is supposed to draw metals out of the body, heal the cracks in my heel and give my liver the healthy glow it had before I went to college in Kentucky. Kentucky, the birthplace of Bourbon. Enough said.

I'll let you know how it's going in a couple of days. I might be back on Miller Lite and pork ribs by then. Wish me luck!