Bone Thugs

Bone bone bone bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, tell me whatcha gonna do, when you need some new china, what’s the difference between bone and porcelain, who will judge you if you ain’t got either? Tell me… okay, it only works if you know the song “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony so if not please listen to that and then come back here so we can talk about how I need, nay want, some family heirloom china but didn’t come from a family that could afford family heirloom china so now I have to buy my own and I’ve been living deep down in a rabbit hole of the differences in china and did you know bone china is actually made of bone?

Are you back? Did you listen to Bone Thugs? Are we on the same page now?

Bone china is only legit if it is made from approximately 30% cow bone ash. So yeah. If you’re family has heirloom china and it’s bone china it’s straight up made from the dead bodies of cows. Also, aren’t you a vegetarian, that must be weird for you. Also, real bone china, like the real deal stuff, the old stuff, probably had a little human bone mixed in there. Man, could you be so lucky?

To be fair Josiah Spode the Second (yeah, that’s a person) developed the six parts bone ash, four parts china stone, three-and-a-half parts clay (or was it his dead Uncle Clay?) recipe back yonder in the 1800’s. And for some reason today, in 2020, I want, nay NEED, a set of it. Probably because pandemic.

Now I don’t want the kind of bone china I can get from a trip to the Macy’s at Lenox Square, both because I try to stay away from Buckhead and because I want vintage shit. So it’s a tad harder.

I’ve been perusing Craigslist and people want a lot of money for their family heirloom china. Like Jerimiah was all, “Both the car and truck are getting new tires,” and I threw one of my $16 Fiestaware salad plates against the wall and screamed, “That’s my bone china money, bitch!”

I might have a problem when it comes to dinnerware.

I emailed this woman on Craigslist about a Fiesta platter the other day. She had three for sale for $75 (steal of a deal!) but I already have one of the platters so I only needed two and she was all, “I’m only selling as a set.” So I online stalked her social media accounts to see how much of a bitch she really is, like is she a Trump supporter, and she isn’t so I didn’t make a separate Craigslist post titled “bitch woman who won’t piece out her Fiestaware platter collection.” Look, IDGAF. You don’t jack around with Fiestaware and it’s not even BONE.

Do you see where I am? Like, mentally and emotionally? Do you see it? Is it clear? Is it a little translucent? Does it have a 24-karat gold edge? Is it scalloped? That’s where I am.

Send help.

M.

I Miss Eating Out

We haven’t been to eat at a restaurant since March 11th. That’s seven months of cleaning up after we cook (or occasionally order delivery). Seven months. What I wouldn’t give to walk into a small road-side diner and nibble on some fries, the big, fat, greasy ones that only a roadside diner has. With the ketchup bottle you squeeze, and the endless Coke from a fountain. Ho hum.

What I really wish is not to go out to eat, but for other people to stop it. That would be nice wouldn’t it? I’d also wish other people would stop hosting parties, promoting gatherings, going to sporting events, clubbing then going to see their grandparents the next day.

In short, I wish people cared about complete strangers a little more. I wish they had the willpower to not put others at risk. I wish they could say, hmm, sitting in a small, badly ventilated place with my mask off for several hours seems like a bad idea. I don’t want to risk it.

Maybe if more people hadn’t been to a restaurant to eat in the last seven months, we wouldn’t be so much worse than we were back in April. Maybe there wouldn’t be 215,000 dead people. Man. I hope your date night, or your football tailgate, or your 25th wedding anniversary was worth it. Because if you’re doing or have done those things, you’re only adding to the problem. And we are all adding to the problem in one way or another.

Stay safe and sane, y’all. Wear a mask. I’ll be dreaming of diners…

M.

Read news and wear a mask and stay home. It’s not that hard.

Raynaud’s Disease

If you’ll remember my Dr. Dickhead story from the other day, you’ll remember one of the diseases I was diagnosed with was Raynaud’s Disease. It’s sounds scary, but it’s really not, especially if I have the stand alone version of it. The stand alone version means that your small arteries contract sporadically and restrict blood flow to certain parts of your body. See, it sounds scary. But for now it’s only happening in my toes and fingers. But I can happen in other, more important parts, like your heart and your deep veins. Which is why answers are still needed.

So what does it mean when the vessels spasm? I get very, very cold. My toes will go numb, I’ll lost feeling in my fingers. In fact, I have slippers that you can microwave for two minutes then stick on your feet to help. Well, I had them. Winnie decided to chew one up this week, so I’m patiently waiting on new ones from Amazon.

The problem is, if I don’t warm my feet quickly, they will turn blue, then purple, then white. Then it’s bad. It can take an hour to regain feeling in my toes when it strikes. Keeping the symptoms at bay are most important. The problem is, it isn’t just a sudden gust of cold air that can make it happen. Stress is a factor.

Yeah, you guys know how great I am at handling my stress! Ha! So over the last year this has been happening to me several times a week, some weeks it happens every, single day. It’s more annoying than anything else, but now that my family is used to it, they act quickly to help out. Warming my slippers, or grabbing me gloves. Sometimes I read with gloves on, while I am sipping hot tea and it helps my hands. Sometimes all I can do is sit on my feet until I regain feeling.

So there you have it, Raynaud’s disease. It’s a thing. If this happens to you, you need to see a doctor quickly. Don’t wait two years like I did, assuming it was normal and you were just getting old. Bleh.

M.

Saturday at the Farm

We visited a friend’s farm last weekend. It is called Butts Mill Farm, and it is out in Western Georgia, near the Alabama state line. Our friend’s parents own it, and it’s less of a farm in the way you are imagining, and more of a family-fun farm, complete with peddle cars, number boats, and miniature horses that you can pet and feed and fall in love with and try to convince your husband to let you bring one home and get denied. Which is bullshit, but I just want you to be aware before you go.

Well, maybe you’ll have a nicer husband.

I digress. We had an excellent time at the farm, and not just because we visited for free and were fed pizza for lunch (although, bonus!) Yes, our friends are that nice. But really it was because we adore these friends and their family was so super nice, that we even got a super-special tour of their big collection of vintage cars and truck, which Jackson LOVED! Whew.

We got to play in a creek that has swings you can set in and watch the whole day go by. We got to feed goats, and go inside an antique Grist Mill. We got to ride a horse (well Jackson did, for the first time mind you) and play all day. Jackson was happy to be with his buddy Bella, whose grandparents own the farm, and Jerimiah and I were happy to hang with other adults and carry on conversations and not be inside our house. It was sort of the perfect day. Not too hot, overcast most of the day, and did I mention the 12-year-old rescued Macaw named River, who was just a delight, until he started screaming at me? Wow. It was a good day. Here are the pictures and trust, if you ever find yourself around these parts and wanna go check out the farm, let me know. We are always in for a trip out west.

M.

Dr. Dickhead

I met this crazy rheumatologist, let’s call him Dr. Dickhead. I met Dr. Dickhead several months ago by a referral from my doctor over some scary test results. This is his story.

I moved to the Atlanta metro area last year, and had yet to go to an Emory facility. Then a couple of months ago I was referred by my PCP to Emory at Decatur Rheumatogy, that’s when I met Dr, Dickhead. I was referred based on a very high ANA test result along with debilitating joint pain, among other symptoms.

The first hurdle was simply getting an appointment with Dr. Dickhead. I called for a week to try to get an appointment, and kept being told (when someone answered the phone) that someone else would call me back. On the third call to a woman at the front desk, they told me that someone named “Kim” was who I needed to talk to. They confirmed that they had received my pre-appointment paperwork and said she would call me that day. I never heard from her. I chalked this office up to chaos and decided to call the Emory hotline to help me find a doctor. With the help of that hotline I secured another appointment with a different doctor, but they could not get me in until November.

My doctor believed I needed seen before that, so she took matters into her own hands and called Dr Dickhead’s office. I received a call the next day, wherein I was told that they called and left a voicemail (they had not) and basically told that I just have just missed it (I had not). Then “Kim” made the appointment with me.

The above situation was a small inconvenience compared to how I was actually treated by the doctor himself when I got to my first appointment. 

As soon as Dr. Dickhead walked into the room with me, he began to berate my doctor, a women it would appear he doesn’t know, and complain that it was like, “pulling teeth” to get my pre-appointment paperwork. I had already confirmed two weeks before that they had received it, not to mention the fact that the day my doctor’s office sent it over I called the office several times to talk to someone to confirm they received it. They had.

After he finished his tirade on my doctor’s office and how horrible “offices like that” are, he asked me to tell him about my symptoms. At this point I was shocked. I wasn’t sure what he meant by a doctor’s office “like that,” but was increasingly feeling like as a white male, he didn’t appreciate or understand my very female, very female originally from the Middle East, doctor. Ahem.

But I was stuck and thought he was the only one who could help me, so I proceeded to tell him my symptoms, but he immediately stopped me. He did this several times throughout the appointment, both stopping me to tell me he “didn’t care” about one symptom or another, or that he was “all done” listening to me.

I’m not sure if he’s had other women complain about him being rude, with a horrible bedside manner and slight bend toward masochism, sexism in the least, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has. He had me so upset and flustered I started to forget all the things I needed to talk to him about and I transposed the dates of my first symptoms. He berated me for not remembering the exact dates, which added to the confusion, not to mention that was one of my symptoms, a brain fog that hasn’t lifted like the joint pain, no matter what I try.

But he didn’t seem go particularly want to hear about my symptoms, rather he wanted to tell me how I was feeling and should have felt. He kept mentioning that “as a man” he can only do one thing at a time, so when I would remember something that he wanted to know he would shush me if he was writing. Like, actually “shush” me. Then make that “I’m a man” joke like I was supposed to forgive him because his gender doesn’t know any better. I was starting to think I was on one of those shows where a person with a camera pops out and tells me I’ve been punked.

He all but told me he didn’t believe any of my symptoms, although he several times repeated, “I believe you, I believe you.” I’m not sure what that was about, but I didn’t care whether or not he believed me–I had already been diagnosed from the symptoms I was discussing with Raynaud’s Disease, by my doctor. Of course I’m sure he didn’t believe her capable of diagnosing me…

He eventually told me that there were over 100 auto-immune disease that he had to “cross off the list” and test for, but that we would find out what was wrong, though he told me more than once that my very high ANA test was probably a “false positive.” When I asked him why I could be in so much pain then, he said it was probably an overreaction of my immune system. Isn’t that why I had a high ANA then? I asked, confused at this point and he said, “doesn’t matter.” Kinda felt like it mattered to me though, seeing as I’ve been rendered almost completely immobile several times over the past three months.

Eventually we got to the current symptoms (I had to think back over the last several years) and I started to tell him about the joint pain, the swollen blood vessels that have appeared on my legs, the weird skin problems I have been having and then I said a word that apparently was like a knife to him, “steroids.” I explained that on my original visit to Urgent Care, and then to my subsequent visit to my doctor, both medical professionals had prescribed steroids to help ease the pain, and he went absolutely bananas. Like, he fucking lost it, y’all.

He stopped taking notes, he told me that anything I said “after that point” was not important and was just symptoms from the steroids. He ranted about how horrible they were and that that explained my test. When I informed him that I hadn’t taken them before that test, he flipped out again. Threw his pen down and made a big show of it, arms up, like a child. That’s when I assumed he was a Trump supporter.

I assured him that I had these symptoms before I took the steroids and he said simply, “No you didn’t.” The problem was, I did. I mean, I know I’m just a woman, Dr. Dickhead, but I’m not completely ignorant.

He then did a physical exam, wherein he told me I had no symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease (something to do with swollen arteries in my toes and fingers that he looked at with a small magnifying glass of some kind) while he told me that “Big Box Clinics” were horrible and asked why I even went to one. I tried to explain that I had experienced suddenly swollen joints with a fever and they were afraid I might have Covid-19, so my doctor wanted me to visit an Urgent Care first to be tested. But of course he didn’t hear any of that, as he was still saying that “steroids are bad” and any doctor who prescribes them are horrible.

At this point, as you might imagine, I shut down. He never even let me tell him other symptoms. He asked me to tell him more, but I was nervous about being berated more, and I didn’t know what he wanted to know as the main reason I was there, aside from the ANA test results, was for joint pain, which he told me I didn’t really have. He then told me he would run bloodwork and that bloodwork would “show him the truth,” which I took to mean that I was a liar.

The last thing I asked him was whether or not I should take the other steroids that had been prescribed to me. I had another pack to help ease the pain I was having and he laughed and said that it would skew tests (of which I would have no more) and that I should never take steroids “unless you have something that requires them.” I asked him if I should stay with the physical therapist and he said, “Do what you want.” I said it didn’t seem to be helping, so I would stop. The last thing I asked him before I was ushered to the lab for bloodwork, was how I was supposed to help ease the joint pain and Dr. Dickhead told me “to suffer.” And so I did.

That’s brings me to my follow-up last week, three weeks after my initial appointment which seemed long, considering the lab said he would have my results in 3-5 days. I was there for an hour before I saw him, meanwhile I overheard him talking to a male patient in the next room (where he seemed very nice and cordial). As an aside, that office has very thin walls. At first I thought it was because Dr. Dickhead has a shrill, loud voice, but then I heard the women at the front talking about all sorts of things (one woman, “Kim” was mad that they had let her teenage daughter participate in a mock election at school. “Why would I want my daughter to be involved in that?” She wondered to someone. The other person replied, “Isn’t she 14? Won’t she be voting in the next general election?” To which “Kim” replied, “I told her she didn’t have to vote, that’s her right.” So yeah, that’s the kind of people working at Dr. Dickhead’s office.)

When he finally got to my room, Dr. Dickhead told me that I did in fact have Raynaud’s Disease, this as I said, I already knew. He also told me that I was an “interesting” patient and that he could diagnose me with more, or run more tests (because I had some “interesting” finding) but that he wasn’t going to do that.

He told me I could have CREST Syndrome, or a couple of others, but that I probably didn’t. He didn’t schedule any more tests, he didn’t do as he promised (crossing more tests off the list to find out what is wrong with me) and he didn’t answer my questions. He basically said, “I’m telling your doctor you are fine.” Then wrote my paperwork and told me to take a baby aspirin every day.

When he asked if I had questions I had a few, like why was I still experiencing joint pain? He said, “I don’t know, I’m done.” Then when I asked if these auto-immune diseases, the ones he said I may or may not have, could impact other symptoms I am experiencing, including the aforementioned swollen blood vessels, the reddening skin, the ulcers, the gastrointestinal issues, etc. He said, “I’m not taking responsibility for any of that on.” Then he said goodbye.

My whole experience mad me so upset I wanted to scream. Instead I wrote a strongly-worded email to Emory (I won’t hold this one experience against Emory as a whole) and asked what I do now.

I have an appointment with my doctor in a few weeks, and I plan to tell her all the awful things he said about her and her office, but I still have the appointment with the other Rheumatogist in November, which I would like to see because I honestly have no idea what to do next. Do I need more tests to cross out more diseases? Do I need to watch for any other symptoms? Raynaud’s can stand alone, or be the first symptom in a string of other, bad diseases like CREST which can have negative impacts on your cardiovascular system.

I’m honestly still shocked and in awe of what I went through with a “medical professional” and one that represents a place like Emory. I had heard such great things about Emory, and I was disappointed, but most of all, I was shamed, made to feel like a liar, made to believe what I was feeling was not real, made to think I was sort of crazy. Not to mention the fact that I was repeatedly talked down to, from the receptionist to the doctor. My best experience throughout that whole ordeal with with the lab next door (LabCorp). The calmed me down that day, when I felt like crying. 

I’m sharing today because I learned a valuable lesson: I won’t be letting anyone treat me that way again, there are too many other nice people in this world. And please don’t let anyone treat you that way either.

Let’s stand up for ourselves, shall we?

M.

Vote

Have you voted yet? I have. Jerimiah and I mailed our ballots in at the end of September. Then we used Georgia’s “My Voter Page” to ensure they were received and approved. We used the USPS and guess what?! Nothing catastrophic happened! All is well over here. Very well, in fact. I just read 538’s new report that turns Georgia into a “True Toss Up,” which I don’t have to tell you, is amazing.

Meanwhile, I’ve reminded all my close friends and family to have a voting plan. I’ve shared the shit out of voting “Cheat Sheets” like this one:

And if you’ll remember I sent my junior senator a nasty little email detailing how I’ll be doing my best to vote her ass out of office. Crossing my fingers for a run-off.

So yeah, things are busy, busy here in Georgia. People are amped up to vote from Marietta, down to Peachtree City over the Perimeter to Stone Mountain, the ATL is turning out, y’all! We are striving for a government, local, state, and federal that looks, thinks, and loves more like us. So I guess watch yourselves, Georgia and the rest of you. Would hate to see y’all left behind.

Vote.

M.

What the What?!

I feel like all I write about is going to the dentist. Probably because as a writer I write about my life and my life is just a series of times in between my next horrific dentist appointment. What gives, y’all? I went to another dentist visit yesterday, this one was with the Endodontist. What the heck is an endodontist, Missy? Great question, so glad you asked. Endodontists have additional training that allows them to focus on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canal treatment and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. The experts say that in many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment. I’ll give you two guesses what I have?

If you didn’t know, like I didn’t know, some root canals can fail. The very first one I had when I was 20 years old has failed. Thanks Heartland Dental in Leavenworth, Kansas. Now sometimes it isn’t the dentist’s fault, things just happen. In my case though, well it would appear that the root canal was never actually finished correctly, and here I am two decades later paying for it, figuratively and literally (about $1,000). They didn’t actually pack both roots. Bitches.

Nevermind all that, have you or have you not ever had lidocaine accidentally shot into a nerve in your mouth?

If you have, you probably just grabbed the area in which it happened, involuntarily. When I asked Jerimiah this question he make a pucker face, tilted his head to the left, and tried to remember. No need. If you need time to think about it, the answer is a big no. You don’t forget pain like that. The pain that feels like you stuck your tongue into an electrical socket. Right after the first jolt yesterday the endodontsit asked me, “Does it feel like your were shocked?” Yes, yes it does. Then she told me that she must have struck the nerve. What she didn’t tell me was when the needle came out the shock came again. Fun times.

Turns out, are you ready for this, the diseased tooth was infected and had to be packed with penicillin and I had to be put on a course of amoxicillin and pain meds after she drilled down into the old root canal, dug around, and pulled out the stuff. Which by the way, smelled of rotting flesh and infection. Sort of like what you think a dead body that has been left in the sun and half eaten by lazy house cats might smell like.

Christ, that might be enough for today. I’m sorry you read this. Consider it a cautionary tale, per usual.

M.

Falltober

Fall hasn’t hit Central Georgia yet, but I was feeling optimistic with the storms we were having over the weekend, so I made chili. Then we ate it in the air conditioning. It’s humid as hell today, y’all. Damn you, The South! But we pressed forward and pulled out the Halloween decorations last night. Jackson has been slowly inching into more “spooky” things lately. We certainly aren’t ready to watch “Halloween” let’s say, but we’ve almost finished the first season of “Stranger Things” and we are considering that a win. He’s so sensitive to that kind of “spookiness” though, that we have to watch the episodes during the day, quickly followed by an old episode of “The Big Bang Theory.” Ha! Working on it.

So last night we put on some Halloween music (mainly “Thriller” and the “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack and we got to work making things “spooky” for #SpookySzn, but you know, only a little spooky.

Hope you are all full in Spooky Season, or in the least, able to eat some chili.

M.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Today is a day to celebrate America’s Indigenous People, and while I support today as that day, I implore y’all to not forget about Indigenous people tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after. In fact, too little is said about Indigenous people, the way our country has treated them, the reparations they are owed, and how the colonization of their lands has negatively impacted them, and if this isn’t on the forefront of your mind most days, you will miss an opportunity to help.

For starts you can follow accounts on social media like: @IndigenousPeoplesMovement, @IndigenousRising, and @DecolonizeMyself, as well as @ChiefLadyBird for starters. You can also follow hashtags like: #IndigenousPeople or #IndigenousArt or #DakotaPipeline which can be a good way to start getting more recommendations for pages and accounts to follow so you can learn more about the struggle Indigenous People live through in “The land of the free.”

Please educate yourself on Indigenous People. Please vote with them in mind. Please respect and honor those before us, and those still struggling.

M.

Something About Sunday

There’s something about Sunday that makes me want to get my shit together. Commune with nature. Get right with God. Overhaul my eating habits. Buy a big screen TV. I dunno, Sunday is a thinking day. It always has been. I didn’t grow up going to church. In fact, my mom used to say that she was forced to go every Sunday as a child so she wasn’t going to force us. Really, she was just ashamed and felt guilt, as most Christians are taught to feel, and found church was a place of judgment. Which I’ve found from my own experience to be correct.

But Sunday was still a day of rest for us, and I guess I’ve continued that in my life as well. But for me there isn’t ever a day of “rest” when it comes to thinking, planning, strategizing. So Sunday has become that day. The day to get mentally organized, I suppose.

How do y’all spend Sunday? It’s a rhetorical question, like all of mine are. Just ponder over it, and let’s connect on Monday, when there’s a bunch to do.

Stay safe and sane!

M.

Andalusia: Part Three

You’re possibly fed-up with me at this point. Couldn’t this have been one blog post? Sure, but then I wouldn’t have the space to tell you about the Hungarian Bible Salesman that came calling on Joy/Hulga, err, I mean Flannery O’Connor, when she lived at Andalusia. The Bible Salesman loved Flannery, but the love wasn’t reciprocated and she sent him broken-hearted back to Hungary. Without an artificial limb.

Flannery and her mother inherited this farm as a dairy farm from Flannery’s uncle sometime around 1940. He wasn’t the first owner of Andalusia, which had been a plantation when he took it over in the early 1930s. He made it into a dairy farm, then when Flannery’s father died in 1941 from complications of Lupus, her mother made the decision to run it alone as a widow. Righteous.

The only piece of furniture in the house that predates the family is an absolutely hideous and disturbing sideboard that Flannery’s entire family hated and wanted removed, but she begged her uncle to keep it on account of the “pleasure of the hanging pig,” and so he did.

A dairy farm proved to be too demanding for Regina Cline O’Connor, so she made it into a beef farm. Beef cattle are easier to run than dairy cattle. She hired a family who moved into the house behind the main house, Hill House, and much like Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman, the ladies would chat in the kitchen in the mornings as Flannery readied herself in her room, before entering the kitchen to make her way to the bathroom.

Flannery and her mother lived on the first floor of the house, as Flannery couldn’t successfully navigate the stairs. The original parlor of the house was turned into Flannery’s room and a second parlor was added on. The women’s bedroom’s were separated by Regina’s office, which housed, among other unique artifacts, an artist’s rendering of Jesus Christ that was signed by a Pope. Which Pope I can’t recall. I wish I could.

The second parlor housed a set of bookcases that her family hated so much, they sold them to a man in Savannah who drove up and picked them up while Flannery was away. When she returned, she immediately called the man in Savannah and purchased them back from him and he returned them post haste.

Thanks for going down this rabbit hole with me. I hope you are learning things you never knew before and I hope you don’t mind my foggy memory and horrible literary jokes. Remember, you are what you read…

M.

Andalusia: Part Two

Flannery O’Connor was an odd bird, pun intended. She once took a census of her Peafowl (plural of peahen and peacock) and she stopped at forty. Forty. She also hated classical music, stating that, “All classical music sounds the same.” True that, Flannery. But there was one particular song she liked her mother to play for her on the piano. It became somewhat of a party trick. When their house was full of guests, just after dinner, Flannery would open the hand-stitched peafowl curtains, and her mother would play this song, the name escapes me now, but the notes were so sharp that the peafowl would come running into the front yard screaming at the top of their lungs. So yeah, Flannery was my kinda lady.

As a child Flannery had a penchant for dressing her pet ducks up in little costumes that she made herself. Her mother, worried about her daughter’s odd behavior but was assured by many that she would outgrow it.

There were many small trinkets throughout the house, but the majority of the knickknacks were birds of some kind. Chickens, ducks, doves, and peafowl.

Bookcases and birds. That was the extent of Flannery’s bedroom. She kept a tight ship with all the rest. Her bed, desk, and chair were all within an arm’s reach so she wouldn’t need to rely on her crutches when she got around. Her bed was a single, with one small quilt on the top, and a cross next to the cradle Catholic’s window. Make that bookcases, birds, and God.

At one point she moved an armoire in front of her desk to shield her mother from her usually habit of slamming though the adjacent door when Flannery was trying to write, of which she did every day from the from between the hours of nine am and noon, just after a two-hour mass, just before she went into town for lunch. Because she refused to write looking at a window on account of possible distractions, as one might assume with 40 peafowl roaming, she didn’t mind staring at the back of the armoire when she wrote.

There are two peafowl at Andalusia now, Ms. Shortley and Astrid. They didn’t much care for me, and I for them. They are a particular bird, with a certain opinion of themselves that I did not share. Funny, peculiar, opinionated. The birds.

M.

Discovering Andalusia: Part one

I finally did it, I finally made a visit to Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor’s farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. It’s been on my list of places to visit since I found out about it a few years back, and it turns out to be about an hour and a half from my house now that we live in Atlanta. I’d planned to take a day trip over the spring, but Covid set me back, and it wasn’t until I had this looming Flannery O’Connor project for school that I decided to buck up and go. It turned out to be a lovely visit, with a knowledgeable docent and an all around pleasant , albeit warm, morning and early afternoon.

It’s just now apparent to me that I have so many pictures and so much to share, that it would probably be best if I told this in parts. So let’s get started.

I left Atlanta alone about 9:00 am, as I couldn’t talk Jackson into a trip to a dead writer’s house in the middle of Trump-Country Georgia on an unseasonably humid Southern day. Weird, I know. But it was best. I can’t say he would have enjoyed sitting on the front steps re-reading Good Country People, as much as I did.

I got to Andalusia just about ten minutes before the hourly tour started. It was very easy to find, just a straight shot down I-20, then onto Milledgeville Highway. There are ample signs the closer you get.

Traffic was light, and the drive was relaxing, even with the alarmingly high number of Trump signs I saw. These were my favorites…

The American flag really sets them off, huh? Basically, I could tell I wasn’t in Atlanta anymore. I had my windows down and was enjoying the nice back country roads vibe of Milledgeville Highway, until a man at a stoplight rolled up in a big lifted Chevy, looked over at me and said, “DeKalb County, huh?” With a cackle. I was waiting for the banjos to start as the light changed.

A little while later I was safely on the Andalusia grounds, where one would assume big Chevy truck guy was not headed.

Andalusia was gifted to Georgia College by the O’Connor estate in 2017, and since then they’ve been working hard to restore the farm. The house sits right off the Highway, just about a quarter-mile down a quaint, tree-lined dirt road, and although I had looked at pictures before going, I was still a little surprised at how nice the farmhouse had been kept. It’s quite pretty from the outside. And sets you at ease, putting you to mind of the old farm houses you picture your great-grandmother growing up in. Well, if she was a wealthy, white, Southern woman that is.

It’s getting late, and I have some tea to sip on the porch, so I’ll leave you here, with some more pictures of the outside of Andalusia, where after the tour I enjoyed some quiet reading time, while a noisy hawk nested on the large tree beside me (they most know birds of all kinds are always welcome at Andalusia), before heading back to the safety of the city.

Enjoy!

M.

What Doesn’t Kill Us…

Tough times around the Goodnight house as of late. Tough times everywhere, for everyone, I suppose. Some days, some weeks, are better, then some aren’t so stellar. Yesterday morning, as Jerimiah and I sat in my office and I said things to him like, “Why can’t people understand an m-dash?!” And he said things like, “What is an m-dash?” And he said things to me like, “Municipal waste tonnage” and “Budget review amortization configuration” and I said, “Sure, sure I follow…” we stopped and looked at each other and smiled. Life sometimes. Whew.

It’s budget review season for him.

It’s mid-semester, residency in a couple of weeks, copy edits for Ponder Review due soon season for me.

Same, same.

Sometimes we just pass each other in the hallway and make surprised expressions toward each other. He’s still upright, I’m still upright. Wow, what a world! Sometimes we stop and hug each other. Sometimes he texts to ask if I’m okay when he hears screaming coming from my office. Sometimes we drink wine in the hot tub late at night, the only time we have to take a breath.

We keep saying, “Next week will be better.” And we keep truly believing that. Next week.

Here’s to next week, y’all! If we are lucky, we all get to try it again.

M.

Jackson’s Birthday Surprise

My kid is addicted to cars and has been trying to learn how to drive an actual, real car since he was about three years old. He has been driving a real car since he was about nine, so we haven’t helped much. One of the perks of having grandparents who live in “the country.” Unfortunately, we don’t live in the country, we live in Atlanta, which means no driving around here for our 12-year-old and when he is able to drive I’ll be terrified because, well, if you’ve ever driven in Atlanta you understand my concerns.

This is all to say that Jackson’s BIG birthday surprise involved driving!

There is this awesome place here called Tiny Towne. We’ve been a few times and Jackson loves it. It’s a large building that they have built a little city inside of, complete with “streets.” Kids as young as 10, get to drive golf carts around the town and get some experience behind the wheel, as it were. (Even smaller kids can drive tiny go-karts on a separate track!)

So Tiny Towne partnered with the University of Georgia on a pilot study to see if driving at a place like Tiny Towne over the course of a few years (ages 12-15) is a just as good, if not better (their hypothesis) than taking a driver’s education course at 15, and having to cram in all the tests and driving in one year. Studies have shown kids who are behind the wheel earlier, are more cautious drivers, and that pays off in the long run.

We sort of lucked out because we live about fifteen minutes from Tiny Towne, and had already been there numerous times for fun. Then when Jerimiah got an email about this pilot study we jumped on opportunity. A normal Driver’s Ed course here is about $500, but if you want to do this pilot study it’s only $350 and you pay that over the course of the three years. Every year when you sign up for the next season you pay $80 or so. This covers the cost of the classes, of which there are ten (in person, but because of Covid they are doing them on Zoom now) and the tests (ten total, and the child has to pass all of them at 100%).

There are some added costs. For example you have to pay to drive at Tiny Towne, but you get a 50% discount every time you go, and every time you go counts toward the miles a normal kid has to drive toward their driver’s education. By the time they are 15, they have to be able to parallel park the golf cart, and drive the whole course in reverse! Jackson is actually pretty pumped about that challenge.

So we made the news his final birthday surprise week present last week and we took him to Tiny Towne to sign up on his birthday! He was pretty excited. We even let him drive that day because there was no one else there! Win/Win!

As always, here are the pics that I snapped, and if you want more info I you can click here.

Have a safe and sane day, y’all!

M.