Saturday, November 29, 2008


Have you ever had one of those times when you just get slapped upside the head with sorrow, or grief, or depression? You know, things have happened, but you're dealing, and then all of a sudden the dumbest thing reminds you and it's like a punch to the gut, and then for a couple of hours, or days, you can't get it out of your head.

Those times suck.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have one brewing about Black Friday but today I feel like crap so it'll have to be later than I'd planned.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Say a Prayer

This was the scene across the street from Mamaw's house in the wee hours of Friday morning. A week ago, this building was a Mexican food restaurant, and home to some close friends. Farmdad traded salsa recipes with Rocky, Mamaw and Pam traded entire meals, Jazz provided teenage entertainment for everyone, and everyone traded jokes, stories, and general good times. These people were good friends to many in the community, good people. Rocky and Pam were always willing to help out their neighbors, and they always had a smile for a stranger.

The Volunteer fire departments of five towns and two counties fought for hours, not to save the wooden building, there was no way, but to save the homes around it, including Mamaw's. The local police went door to door waking neighbors and evacuating them, going so far as to move vehicles for them, in conditions that can only be described as hellish.

The fire burned so hot that it broke glass, and melted paint on the fire engines. They say that the fire sucked all the oxygen out of the area to the point that this truck wouldn't start so that they could move it. The firemen had to take a hack saw to the hose to get it off the truck.

People watched this scene Friday night, not knowing if their friends had gotten out. Four people were in the house, one made it out alive. I don't usually ask this kind of stuff, but please, if you pray, say a prayer for the friends and family of Rocky, Pam, and Jazz. And please, say a special prayer for Pam's mother, who survived the fire, but lost her family.

There are few people in this world with the kind of heart and generosity shown by this family, and their deaths mean a true loss to this community.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The FBI Is Looking Out For Me

So, I'm checking my email, minding my own business, when I see an email from none other than the FBI. No, really. The senders name was "Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Because, you know, No one at the FBI has their OWN email address, it's all just generic.

Yet another scam, this one badly put together. Here's the text:

"Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc

Attn: Beneficiary,

This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we
have thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence
Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal Transaction with
Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of
Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr Frank Nweke, Dr. Philip Mogan, none
officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Barr. Derrick Smith, kelvin Young of
HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule,Larry Christopher, Dr. Usman
Shamsuddeen, Dr. Philip Mogan, Puppy Scammers are impostors claiming to be the
Federal Bureau Of Investigation. During our Investigation, we noticed
that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you
have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of
your Contract/Inheritance Payment.

Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your
behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by cordinating
your payment intotal USD$11,000.000.00 in an ATM CARD which you can use
to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world with
a maximum of $4000 to $5000 United States Dollars daily. You now have
the lawful right to claim your fund in an ATM CARD.

Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this
transaction, you have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our
duty to protect the American Citizens. All I want you to do is to contact
the ATM CARD CENTER via email for their requirements to proceed and
procure your Approval Slip on your behalf which will cost you $250.00
only and note that your Approval Slip which contains details of the agent
who will process your transaction.


Do contact Mr. Daniel Smith of the ATM CARD CENTRE with your details:


So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment
information’s which you'll use in making payment of $250.00 via Western
Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your
Approval Slip after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be
effected to your designated home address without any further delay.

We order you get back to this office after you have contacted the ATM
SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with
our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon.


Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices
claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advice only
to be in contact with Mr. Daniel Smith of the ATM CARD CENTRE who is the
rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and
forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act
upon and commence investigation."

Good grief, people. If you're going to pretend to be the FBI, at least try not to spell the British way. Oh, and I
love the "Anti-Terrorist and Monitory Crime Division." They're my favorite division, like, ever.

Oh, and the email address... The government has their very own mail servers, so I highly doubt that anyone from the FBI would be sending email from ""

Get a life.

The Dash

One thing that I loved about grandpa's service was this poem, and I decided to share it with all of you. It's a ray of light in what would otherwise be a very bleak world right now.

The Dash
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile

Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash

Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, Hell.

I am in the rather unusual (for me anyway) position of having quite a bit to say.... and having no words.

Bare facts... My aunts and one of my uncles need to disappear. As in, into a hole that will never be found. As a matter of fact, as far as I'm concerned they are no longer related to me. I refuse to acknowledge grasping, bitter slimeballs like them. I've scraped better candidates for human beings off my boots after slipping into a stagnant pond.

Early this morning, a fire claimed the lives of three people back home. They were friends of the whole Farm Family, good people. I'm just... numb. Too much has happened, I just can't process all of it.

Old news for some people now, but Cowboy Mechanic and I are no longer together. He broke it off the night we brought grandpa home from the hospital. Yes, he knew what was going on. No, I don't really want to talk about it.

This morning, I participated in the show, and I still don't know what I scored, because I had to leave right after I did my pattern, to get ready for grandpa's funeral. Etta did really well, though, as far as I'm concerned. I rode for three hours this morning, before the show.

It was enough for Etta, but it wasn't enough for me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm Gonna Miss...

Grandpa's health has been getting fairly steadily worse, and recently, steady has turned to quick.

Tuesday the fourth we found out that the cancer that the urologist had suspected, and Grandpa had refused a biopsy for, in his prostate, had spread. To his liver, and lungs. By then half of his left lung was already tumor, with masses apparent in the right lung as well. That explained the poor breathing that the clinic doc had sent him to the hospital for, under the diagnosis of pneumonia. He had that too, but not near as bad as they thought.

Grandpa decided against treatment, and since then, has been waiting.

Today, I came to my grandpa's, for a meeting with the Hospice nurse. My aunts and one of my uncles were here, as was my cousin C. Shortly after I got here, Grandpa fell, for the fifth time in the last two days. C was in the room, and missed catching him by inches. C immediately started kicking himself over the fall, and he and I had to have a talk about stubborn old men, reaction times, and plain old bad luck.

After that, we got to talking about our memories, and the great times we had with Grandpa. It was the kind of conversation you wish you could have without the underlying sadness, and it made me think of all the things I'll miss, when Grandpa is gone. Which, honestly, shouldn't be long now.

I'm gonna miss playing pool in the basement. I've never been a great player, but what I know, Grandpa taught me in his basement. I even had my own, shortened cue. It's still down there. I looked. To this day I can't look down a cue without hearing Grandpa's voice in my ear, telling me to put a little English on it.

I'm gonna miss days on the lake. That man was a hell of a water skier, and a genius with the water sled. He also had the whitest chest and legs of anyone I've ever seen. How he kept from burning to a crisp every time he took his shirt off is beyond me.

I'm gonna miss our evergreen clubhouse, in the windrow of spruces by the road. When we were kids, all us kids would hide in there when it was time to go home.

I'm gonna miss laying coins on the railroad tracks, and seeing which ones came out the thinnest.

I'm gonna miss the way he would growl when we did something wrong, and then go right back to spoiling us rotten.

I do miss going on the mail route with him. He retired from carrying mail a few years ago, but I still vividly remember going out with him to deliver the mail. It was always exciting, especially since he always had his stash of candy and snacks in the pickup.

I'm gonna miss the stories about growing up on his family's farm, and his favorite "horse tales" that he always shares with me when we're talking about the ponies.

I'm gonna miss the stories about Korea, and the service he gave to his country.

I'm gonna miss the way his eyes twinkle when he's being gruff but doesn't really mean it, and the laugh that always follows after.

I'm gonna miss the squabbles we have, and the talks about books. The way his eyes always light up when I talk about my classes, and the pride I can see there when he asks about my grades.

I'm gonna miss the man who always fed the animals outside his back door, even the cat that ate more than he did.

I'm gonna miss the advice, the life lessons, the laughter and the hugs.

These are just a very few of the things that I'm going to miss about the man in the next room, lying on a hospice bed. I remember him, not young, but vital, always vital. Now, his cheeks are sunken and his physical strength is waning, and all that I can hope for is a peaceful end, for him, and for us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Long Awaited

I have finally, finally polished the third chapter of Jane enough that I'm comfortable showing it to ya'll. You can thank AD for poking me about it. If you need a refresher, or if you're new to the place and have no clue what I'm talking about, go here first, then here.

Meanwhile, Enjoy.

The next day, between classes, Jane drove to the boarding stables that had taken in the traumatized horse. She was able to see him and get some private time because the woman’s family had decided to sell him. They didn’t want any reminders.

Jane simply told the owner of the stables that she was considering buying him. The man had snorted and warned her that he didn’t think the buckskin gelding would ever be useable again, because every time people got near him he started shaking and sweating. That had only made Jane feel worse about what she was about to do.

::Hello.:: Jane put as much reassurance and calm into her mental tone as she could, once the stable owner had left to tend his other duties.

::Who?:: The tone was panicky, and the muscled gelding backed into the corner of his stall, snorting.

::I’m Jane. What’s your name?::

::Buck. Where are you??:: Confusion was starting to overwhelm the fear in his tone. ::Can’t see you, can’t smell you. Where are you?::

::I’m right in front of you, Buck. I’m People.:: Jane kept her eyes averted from the horse, trying not to put any more pressure on him than he already felt.

::People can’t talk. Every hoof-kin knows.::

::I’m a special kind of People, Buck, I can talk, and I can hear. Would you like to smell me?:: Jane moved slowly to the door of the stall and stood leaning one shoulder against the wood, presenting her profile. She kept her face turned away and a bit down, relaxing her body and not turning her predator’s eyes on the frightened and nervous prey animal.

Buck stretched out his neck, keeping his feet planted, but couldn’t quite reach her. Even out of the corner of her eye Jane could see that every muscle in his body was wound tight, ready to flee or attack. When he couldn’t reach, he took one stiff step forward, and then another. As soon as he caught a whiff of her, he stopped, and drew her scent in.

::Are you ok?:: Jane had decided to go the roundabout way to the subject she needed. Maybe if she came at it at an angle, he would stay calmer.

::No.:: Buck’s body relaxed in increments as he detected nothing immediately threatening in her scent.

::The herd is only as strong as its weakest member.:: Jane used a phrase that she had heard from Legs. It never failed to bring the subordinate herd members to tell her their problems, so that she could fix them.

::You are not my herd. My herd is gone.::

::I am herd to every hoof-kin who needs me.:: Jane watched the horse out of the corner of her eye, and caught his ears laying back.

::You are NOT my herd.::

Jane sighed. She didn’t have the time to build a rapport with Buck, as much as she’d prefer it. She turned to face the horse full on, and drew herself up to her full height.

::I am lead mare. You cannot take that position from me.:: She put the force of her will into the connection, cowing him under sheer power.

Buck’s head dropped and he began mouthing the air, signaling his submission. Jane spared a moment for regret, before shaking her head and getting back to the issue at hand.

::Now, do you want to come to my range? The rest of the herd is there, and you will be safe with them.:: Jane had already made up her mind that she’d be taking this horse home, if he wanted it. She wouldn’t force him, but he deserved a place where he’d be safe and able to recover. Legs would know how to take care of him.

::Hoof-kin, or People like you?::

::Both.:: Buck was smarter than she’d originally thought. He might come through ok after all. She used the connection she’d formed with the horse to send him an impression of the ranch, the horses and the people there, and most importantly, the safety of the herd again.

::I will come.:: Buck’s body relaxed, in a subtle and different way, once he tacitly accepted membership into Jane’s herd. He was a herd animal, and in his mind, with the death of his previous owner, his entire herd had been taken from him.

Jane sighed in relief. She could tease the story out of him by inches at the ranch, or even better, ask Legs to help him. Joseph could wait for his information. And while she was thinking of Joseph…

“Joseph, it’s Jane. I need you to transfer four thousand dollars into my account.” Jane tried to keep the grin out of her voice. This was going to be an interesting conversation, and she was far enough away from Joseph himself that she could enjoy it.

“And why, exactly, do you need that?” Joseph’s voice was steady, but she could hear a note of puzzlement in his tone, along with a hint of suspicion.

“Because you just bought a horse. One registered buckskin Quarter Horse gelding, with a big long name on his papers. But he answers to Buck.” Jane bit the inside of her cheek to keep from giggling. A werewolf owning a horse, that was a rich one. But she couldn’t afford to buy Buck herself right now, and after all it was Joseph’s pack that orphaned the poor creature. They could make up for it by financing his purchase.

“And what, precisely, am I going to do with a horse, besides give it a heart attack?” She could practically hear the gears turning in his head as he thought over the implications of her statements. And about whether or not she was challenging his authority by basically demanding the money.

“You’re going to put him into training on my parents’ ranch, that’s what. I’ll work with him on my off time from school. We’ll have to completely redirect him away from trail riding, of course, but he’s got a good mind and the right bloodlines to be a cowhorse. We’ll see how he does when confronted with an actual bovine.” Jane examined her fingernails as she leaned against the side of the barn, keeping her voice airy. The stable manager watched her from across the yard, knowing that she was talking to a potential buyer. She hadn’t given the man a definite yes or no yet. If Joseph balked she was going to have to find some other way to come up with the money.

“Jane, is this that horse I sent you to interrogate?” Joseph’s voice dropped a couple of octaves, hovering just above his growl tones.

This is where it gets interesting, Jane thought. “You didn’t send me anywhere, pack leader, you came to me for help.”

“Fine, is this that horse that I asked you to interrogate?” Jane listened closely to his intonations. Even tenor, level, not monotone, but not moving from that almost-growl either. Good.

“Why yes, Joseph, my friend, it is. He’s too traumatized to give me any information until he bonds with another herd. Hell, he’s too traumatized to do anything but go to my herd, if he doesn’t get some help he’s going to have to be put down.” Jane made sure her tone imparted exactly how she felt about that option.

“And you think I should finance his rescue why?”

“The pack leader is responsible for the actions of his pack.” Jane was quoting one of the etiquette lessons that Joseph had given her all those years ago. She left it at that. Joseph could, by pack law, deny any responsibility for the horse, but that would mean he was denying Serina as a member of his pack. He could accept the responsibility for the horse’s condition, but decide that his responsibility was to spend a couple of hundred dollars having it euthanised instead of thousands of dollars buying it and a token fee for the books every month on the “training.”

There was a long silence, and Jane was getting nervous when Joseph finally said “Is there a transfer fee for the… title?”

“There’s a small fee, plus a membership fee for the American Quarter Horse Association. And it’s registration papers, not a title. He’s a horse, not a car.” Jane went a little limp with relief.

“I’ll expect you to actually do something with him. If I’m going to own a horse, it’s not going to be a lawn ornament. I’ll expect progress reports.” Joseph’s tone was much lighter now that he’d apparently decided to make the best of it.

“Well, he’ll need a few months at least of just running with the herd to form a proper bond and to recover from his trauma. But after that, he’ll need a job.”

“You’re the trainer. Give me the address and the total cost for the horse, and I’ll have a check cut and sent over.”

Jane did, and gave the stable owner the thumbs up. He sagged with relief. He’d been worried that he’d never sell the horse, he’d confided to Jane, and he’d have to put the poor beastie down. Jane had told him that she knew a philanthropist who might be interested in rescuing the “poor beastie” just for the sake of the rescue.

She might have told the stable owner a white lie, but it was better than the truth. And it all worked out in the end, she thought as she made arrangements to pick Buck up and trailer him to the ranch.


“Why me?” Jane moaned to herself as she walked out of the class room.

“Why you what?” Trevor bumped her with his shoulder, nearly shoving her into the bulletin board. At six foot two, and a hundred and eighty pounds of well-toned muscle, Trevor dwarfed Jane’s slender five foot seven frame.

“Watch it, you giant! Why me a test to study for this weekend on top of everything else. I have entirely too much to do, and I can’t afford to blow off any of it.” Jane grimaced as they passed the rooms containing the nursing classes. This week they were covering enemas, and had been begging everyone for volunteers. Her steps quickened until the hallway opened up into the atrium.

Trev slapped one hand to his forehead, and held the other out, as if groping for something in the dark. “I foresee…. I foresee you losing sleep!” His eyes shut tight, Trev didn’t see Jane reach up to flick his ear. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Just because you see the future doesn’t mean you get to be an ass.” Jane snickered at the comical hang-dog look on Trevor’s face.

“But it’s true, you are going to lose sleep. You’re also going to lose weight if someone doesn’t make sure you eat.” Trevor looked at her, trying to be stern. Jane wasn’t convinced, though. She’d known him long enough that she still saw the chubby six year old snot inside the large young man. He was well able to intimidate anyone else, but not Jane.

“I’m sure you don’t mean to be overbearing, Trev,” Jane said with a look that told him he’d better not mean it, “but I’ll be perfectly fine.”

“Uh huh, right. So dinner tonight?” Trevor ignored her look and smiled down at her.

“Fine. But you’re buying.”

“Ok, I can handle that. Hey, you might want to stay away from Shannon for a while. Her boyfriend is cheating on her and she’s finding out tomorrow. She’s gonna be pretty torn up.” Trevor was very helpful to Jane. He could see the future, sometimes, and a specific person’s future usually, if he touched them. He tried to warn Jane if he saw something highly emotional coming, so that she didn’t get blindsided.

Brat still won’t give me the lotto numbers though, Jane thought.

“Thanks. How about Chinese?” Jane asked.

“Sounds good, I’ll see you later.” Trev gave her a one armed hug, and headed off to his next class. He turned back with a big grin, and said “And, congratulations on your nuptials.”

What?!?!?” But Trev just laughed and jogged off.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Hits all at once.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, I swear, I'm not dead, injured, or deathly ill! Just.. busy.

Grandpa is not doing so well, and we're on the 24 hour care with him, so I've been helping out with that, in addition to classes, and making sure Farmmom doesn't completely lose her mind.

Other things have been happening as well, but I'm not quite ready to talk about them just yet. Suffice to say that trouble comes in threes, and I'm waiting for the third.

Thank you to everyone who has written emails checking on me, and I'm sorry I've worried you. I'll try to be just a tad more present, when I can.