Friday, June 29, 2012

on assignment

Blue Daze Bistro in Hernando, MS where doing your job never tasted so good.

I just needed to put the photo here today in remembrance of the love affair I had with this plate of food last night. It was the kind of love that changes you, one of those dishes which sets the mark for all future meals. Those people definitely know how to present an exquisite plate of food.

Today I am grateful for food and the opportunity to enjoy a culinary masterpiece. (aka that dude can cook)

Thursday, June 28, 2012


She doesn't do housework anymore and she doesn't mind she is ninety-four 'cause all those years, they were good. I need to sit a spell, listen to her stories but life seems, I don't know, rushed. Though in this place during these few moments I remember someone who used to collect rainwater for my baths and how I thought strawberries grew naturally in her yard and when an entire afternoon could never be wasted in a swing on her front porch.

Today I am so very grateful for the women in my life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



We all need.

Today I am grateful for honesty.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012




this. (Priscilla, you'll love her)

I am so very grateful for people who share their lives.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I have contained you in this nice little box of who I think you are, what I think you do, how I think you act, what I think you'll say. I cling to what I believe about you and will defend myself to be right.

Yet maybe I am wrong.

Maybe what I think is a limited scope of how far my mind has traveled, and you, my friend, are so much more. I promise to watch and listen as you show me.

Today I am grateful for my ignorance, for the potential, for what you can teach me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

tossed salads and scrambled eggs

I was the only non licensed care provider in the room and seventeen years later I still haven't figured out how I got there. It was a meeting with medical directors, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers about how we could address a community need of assisting an unrecognized but growing population or tap into a market not yet exploited. This, of course, was all depending on the way you looked at it. The way you looked at it said something about who you were.

The room could have been a school cafeteria with more than one hundred tables yet it only had one at the north end as far as possible from the single door. There were ten of us there, a meeting that had been scheduled a month earlier. Enough of a notice that I had asked my younger brother to pick up my child from a local daycare in the United States since I joked that the meeting would be in Canada. A joke because it was only an hour away but I would be driven there in someone else's car. The someone else's car was my medical director who enjoyed taking her physical disability out on those with lesser mental capacities. Basically anyone else around her.

When whoever's secretary opened the door and began walking across the room on the tile floor I counted the clicks of her heels as they met the surface and I looked at the clock. It was twenty-five minutes past the moment my boy was to be picked up. I had already developed a nervous twitch from attempting to rely on my brother to help me with my son. Looking back in that moment it was my fault. Though my brother lived with us, he was an art student with classes and the stresses of college and the inability to understand what it would be like to be left with a woman who was nice enough but basically just wanted to get home.

I tapped my pen on the table, attempted to look calm and thought, Please God, don't say Josh forgot Slater, slept through picking him up. It's almost noon. I told him how important this was.

God chuckled, It'll be okay.

The lady whispered in the director's ear and then he announced to the table, Shea, you have an important phone call.

My son. My fault.

Seventeen years later, early on a Wednesday morning Josh called.

I have something to tell you.


We're having a baby.

Oh my gosh, I am so excited. 

Yeah. We're thinking once you  move back you can help babysit.

Definitely. I've been planning a huge series of abandonment episodes but don't worry I won't actually leave or forget your child. I'll always be near, maybe crouched down in some shrubs videotaping his little face, the disappointment when he realizes nobody is there to pick him up. Kinda like home movies I think you'll want to see them.

That's it. We won't ask you to help.

 I had been practicing the maniacal laugh for the seventeen years, Ah but yes you will, and it's okay. I'll rescue him at the last minute. Don't worry.

I think that was the moment Josh noticed the early developmental stages of a nervous twitch. Maybe a slight spasm of an eye muscle.

Welcome to parenting, my brother. I love you and your sweet, sweet, I can't wait to hold him, we're gonna have so much fun, oh dear, my nephew, your child. We're having a baby! yay.

Today I am grateful to be a part of beginnings and the excitement of new life which promises that one day when my brother calls to say, You're the last one. We need you. Can you please help us? Don't you dare leave him. I can honestly respond, I'll be glad to help. You can depend on me.

Before we get off the phone his eye will twitch and that's all I needed, just for him to know what it's like.

Friday, June 22, 2012

seventeen year gestation

Dear Reader,

We're having a baby! (to torture)

More on that, I promise. It's just right now Dad is here with his truck and the unbalanced mind is all about how much can be hauled off and fixed and donated and burned and whatever he says. I am his little worker minion which is why I missed our date yesterday. I figure by tomorrow I won't be able to lift my arms to type. We'll see.

uh oh, the master just awoke. wish me luck.


P.S. I am so very grateful for Dad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'll admit it. I get a little cranky, a tab bit morose, slightly sad (read: major depression, lose my appetite for most anything) when life doesn't go as I plan. Or wait, planning is not exactly my strong suit (read: I don't plan). If we are going to be honest here then I will have to say that when I jump off a cliff with a running start while all my friends and family go, Wait. No. You need wings, I respond with, Just do what you believe, and then I flap my arms.

And then I hurt myself a little bit. And then I get all pouty and sad 'cause I didn't listen and I know it's my fault. So I spend about a week like that, and I hate the writing 'cause it's so dark and why would I ever want to give that to the world. Who needs more dark? Don't we have enough? Then I feel guilty and it's this crazy shit cycle of meh, bleh, and all that. It becomes a theme because of the way I look at things.

Prime example is Monday morning I couldn't write. Nothing. Stone cold silence. Not even the chirp of a cricket. I finally gave up, told myself I had the entire day and did the thing I do every morning by going to check Seth's blog. He was promoting his upcoming book on Kickstarter. This is it, I told myself. Seth is even having to create a Kickstarter page to publish a book. Why would Seth need to prove to a publisher he could publish a book? He's a genius. He's published bestsellers. (read: Josh makes fun of me by calling him Prophet Seth and I once dreamed Seth came to my birthday party and ignored me and still I was excited).

The world is ending, the collapse is here. meh, bleh and all that.

Seth funded his book in three hours. Sweeeet. (if you'd like to help there are still some nice prizes)
Then I got a little pick-me-up. Dad's coming with his truck, and I can't even begin to explain how that helps.

Today I am grateful for the cavalry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In the land of plenty sentences came to me in my dreams, a novel on a drive to work. Stuck in traffic was a story, a phone conversation had the potential to make us all laugh. Alice down the rabbit hole, it never occurred to me what I had left. When I came back it wasn't the same, the way I looked at things had changed.

I'll always be grateful for this time in my life.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

day o' dad

I did not take this picture and I am not sure who did but kudos to the unknown photographer. I treasure it. 

This was a couple of years before he found out he would have a daughter and almost a decade later his wife would give birth to their second and last son. Now all these years have past and I struggle to write who exactly he is. As if pressure mounts on this one day which seems silly since there was never a day he wasn't my Daddy. Even in this photograph I see him as that, even before he knew.

We'll just say it is 18 & 430 and I'll throw my hands up by giving thanks to the one man who gave me such a strong sense of family.

Today I am grateful that the world set aside a day for Daddy though there was never a day he wasn't that. Everyday I have and will consider myself a lucky girl in large part because of this man.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


If in the span of time our lives are a blink of the eye then I will hold my eyes open for this hour. I will listen. When the conversation becomes uncomfortable I will make a feeble attempt at a joke. You will tell me everything that maybe I needed to know. I will try to relate.

Cringing I will understand it is my last ditch effort to make this a better place for you. In the world I want you are able to get a good night's sleep. People consider your needs. There is a kindness all around you. Superior, inferior, those words have been deleted. A good day's work is when you feel good about the work you have done. The meals you eat sustain you.

You are able to expand your mind while you work your muscles. You know when to speak though you always have the freedom to do so. Violence, that was just some silly movie. People are honest or they don't say anything at all. Everyday you're able to help a lady cross the street or at the very least dispense some of your wisdom. I would want that for the world but most of all, selfishly, I am so selfish in how I want it for you.

Today I am grateful to understand there are still things I can do for you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

sees chapel road

The doctor prescribed sunlight but we took it a step further. We needed a new place, new surroundings. She almost threw out her hip when I said, Let's go for a drive. Destination unknown, it matters not time of arrival. Sooner than you'd think we almost didn't stop at a little store on our right. 

She got out, cased the joint, met the caretakers of the place. They were two dogs across the road and I thought she's starting to know what she is. I got out my camera and it felt good in my hands. Then I took the shot, a test to check lighting. Another, two or three more until a man appeared at the screen door. 

You gonna take a picture of me? He asked. 

I didn't know anyone was here, I blushed, but of course I will.

Well you gotta see the store, he invited me in.

There used to be six stores and a school. Tom and his eight siblings lived right up the road. His wife sometimes asks him, Tom, when are you gonna close down that store?

When I can't stand in it anymore, he always answers.

You know how you don't know what you need until it comes and then it is like a surprise party and you are simply in awe? Best thing I ever did yesterday was meet Big Tom.

Today I am grateful for handshakes which turn into hugs and how people always seem to be there when we need them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

nobody in particular

She said some days are diamonds, some are stones.
He held a sign. nobody cares exclamation point.
She found her freedom in those words.
One thing was certain.
nobody was sure.

They lived in abandoned rooms someone once called a castle.
She celebrated in a dance with a broom.
Built a fire and watched all of it burn.
Once the smoke cleared she disappeared.

Rumor will have it but no one will know.
the woman who lived in the woods.

Today I am grateful for someone in particular and the sanity (albeit a relative term) he brings me.

going postal

The post office is tiny and we pack in the room as orderly as possible. Forget personal space, this is where we get comfortable with each other. A single file curve begins four feet back from the front desk. You can't help but hear and the workers like to entertain. It is not a bad experience. At times I like to imagine it is my own little mail room and I stand silent with coworkers.

Until the other day when a woman spoke. I guess to some one though the room is so small. It wasn't as if she was screaming or even sounded mad, just aggravated I'd say.

I can't stand this place. I'm not from around here. I'm from up north. There was no southern drawl.

I smiled and waited, looked around the room. One person started to giggle which led to another and so on and so forth until one guy, the clown, said in the sweetest, most sincere you can get, Well we are so sorry. We hope you're able to get back soon.

And everyone started laughing, a good, hearty laughter but not mean. The woman began to smile. She tried to apologize but it was too late and she couldn't take it back so she just blushed. Plus, what felt satisfying about the moment was it was okay. Nobody got defensive, wished her any harm. We all just hoped for her the best no matter where she went.

It was good to be a part of that.

Today I am grateful for this town, these people who for the last few months have been my fictional coworkers. Though there will be other mail rooms I am sure, I think at times I may miss this one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


She sends me a thank you letter and I wince.
How did I ever get so lucky?
There are people of this world who just by their being can make you feel worse.
People who believe, who are kind and encouraging.
Today I should pen a letter or just a small card.
Could I break out the old cursive?

He says don't tell everything and my mind searches. Then I stop.

There is a party to my left, a discussion of theology on my right. Someone is giving up. The web, it is almost too much. Balance, a figment of the unicorn's imagination. I just try to do what I have been taught.

Give without expectation.
But what if I get lost.
You won't.
But how do you know?
I don't.

It was easier when you had money, when social risks could be masked.
Like the lady who cried last night but stopped to polish the silver for today's party.
The rules sometimes don't make sense so I tend to ignore them.
Ignorance can be bliss but not more so than the knowing.

Today I am grateful to know I have to turn off this box, unplug it.

See you tomorrow. love.

Monday, June 11, 2012


pancakes or waffles (for Pam)

Sardis, MS

She stirs her coffee, places the spoon on the saucer, looks out the window. I refuse to love you.

I know that. He smiles, scans the menu, Whatcha' gonna get?

Same as usual.

A man sits at the bar, smokes a cigarette and decides to never return.

There is a guy reading the paper at a booth to their left.

A small brass bell is attached to the door. It doesn't ring she thinks, rather it clinks or jingles or she doesn't know. It could be annoying if someone took it that way but she had refused to do that anymore. He was the one who looked bored.

It is a guy in well worn blue jeans, his shirt untucked. Maybe he is in town to get a haircut. The country folks'll sometimes do that, wait as long as they can before having to come. She remembers him from high school when the tragedy struck. He wears the sadness well as if it relaxes him. There could be something about a man who had been beat. Not that she'd want to know.

Regina takes their order and complains though it is morning.
Her boy is at the jukebox since he is out of school.

I told them not to have another kid, Ms. Mary talks so loud the whole diner can hear her. They can't handle what they got. Times are too tough as it is, she doesn't have to look.
She knows Julia is nodding.

He is on a business trip when he walks in that day.
She notices him not only because he is a stranger.

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Charles Du Bois

Today I am grateful for those who explore and the notes they leave.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

not Cormac

You come to pick me up, claim your disappointment. I had the entire day. Couldn't I be ready?

It's just this and that and that over there and I haven't done that and I need to be doing this and I don't have time.

You don't have time?

I know that sounds silly.

You don't have a job.

Well, I point my finger against your chest, tilt my head and look at you directly. That's not exactly true. I've got a job tonight. It's why we're going out, the reason for this date.

How much money do you make?

I'm building something.

Are those your only clothes?

It's the best I got. Plus, it's boasting badminton and a jug band. Should I get the patent leather out?

No. No, you shouldn't. Just get in the car.

You're running outta gas.

We're only going to Como.

We turn down a thin road, and you say, I don't think I've ever been here before.

You're gonna love it. You've seen it, pictures at least.

I remember.

There at last I watch. You socialize well. You've become this beacon, a home base, a center. I venture out only to do my job and there is a stand up bass and a fiddle. a mandolin and a guitar. Chairs set up on the lawn, they are under a tree. This is my shot. I've got to nail this. There are some people taking some of the most incredible photographs I've ever seen with an iPhone (see Google Plus). I got some meat for a camera and I am not doing what they are doing.

Play Freebird.
Why don't I just shut up?

Still. I am not. I suck for that, but it's not so bad because there is always room for improvement.

I refrained.

I start with them. go back again. It is Karen's Mom's forty first twenty ninth birthday. I try to catch her clogging. Karen, her Mom, another lady too. People in swings and chairs and a blanket on the ground.  The chickens, all seventy-five plus or minus way too many. I had asked Karen to please sedate them. She laughed.

They are a safe distance away.
Sorry, any bird lovers. I have a bird thang. I mean, I like it in the mornings when I can sit outside and hear them sing. They look all innocent swooping down for their worms. Still. Bird poop falls from the sky. They shit in the sky and then it rains down. I mean, not much. I'm not that scared. It's just the fact that they have the potential of mighty jet fighting crappers and I know nobody wants to go down like that.

Anyway, the chickens who I know don't fly but have beaks are at a safe distance. (we at least have to admit here that by mere quantity if those guys started talking they could take over Karen's farm and if I had seventy-five chickens in my yard I would be trapped inside my house)

But not Karen.

Bravest woman alive.

She loves this guy.

And this woman, too.

I was totally gonna drop the camera and clog. Ya' know, show 'em how, but dude, they knew.

Allie is there and so is Walker. Karen's new beau and the tax collector. Someone who is going to get my number and a whole lotta smiles. There is fried eggplant and green tomatoes from the garden. They picked raspberries and blackberries, grilled and smoked meats. A fresh, homemade, who did that, oh my gosh, a strawberry cake. Dad would love this.

Allie has made a request. She wants everyone to eat while sitting on the ground in her yard.

Dogs are party animals.

An hour later I find you sitting with some men. You have eaten, are fascinated by the place and are enjoying the talk. You amaze me, how comfortable you are. It's great to see you, glad you came home.

It's time to go.

We tell Sharon, It was nice to meet you. Happy Birthday and pat her on the back.

Walking through the kitchen we let Karen know how nice it was. Thank you for the invite.

Send me a bill, she says.

We're going to Rolling Stone, I reply.

Today I am grateful for adventures that feel like Mt. Everest because I have been inside too long. Having something to write you feels like the peak. (no, I haven't climbed Mt. Everest but figure this is as close as I'm gonna get)

If this were a site you came to for movie recommendations I would write (in this very spot on this exact day) that you may enjoy Bill Cunningham New York. I love that guy. absolutely adore him.

This is great and won't cost you any money in case you don't have Netflix.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I already suspect it is coming too close to being too much but tell myself it is only a next step.

How much time do we have? I turn off the phone.You have brought me a new book, talk as you walk around the room. I lay back into the arm of the couch, admire the way you move. I find safety in your distance and laugh at your confidence.

You look at your watch and shrug.

Today I lost my mind.

Did  you ever find it?

How would I know?

Valid point.

You sit on the coffee table, prop your feet up on the couch.

Sing to me.

What song?

I don't know. Maybe something about the nature of the universe, the grand will of men.

I forgot that one.

You grab my hand, bow your forehead into my knuckles.

Aren't you going to serve me?

No. You can take care of yourself.

Isn't servitude your duty, your purpose, your life's goal?

I smile, mockingly wipe my brow, To all but you, my truly capable friend. With you I just like to watch.

Today I am grateful for weekends, plans, friends and all the unknown.

Friday, June 8, 2012

home is where you put your desk

I sit in my skin and look out at the walls. I try to imagine them bare but lack in imagination. I swallow hard on the answer of this is where I'll live. Which painting will go where? What can I let go?

First and foremost, the issue of the desk, a large wooden table with wrought iron legs. It will have to be moved and won't fit in the car. Though it could provide for some interesting photos to someone that day if I decide to secure it to the top of the Civic and turn the four hour drive into an eight hour one. This desk, it knows I'll figure it out. We'll* get it to where I am going. I've already spotted it's place under a window looking out into a field. There's a horse who comes there at night. One of my responsibilities will be to feed him.

I am returning home not as a hero. The only battles I fought were in the wars I declared. Timid? I couldn't be. I had to shout and curse and push and say this is where I draw the line. Your flag over there, I'll stake camp here. Don't look at me that way, don't make me call the posse**. You don't know who you're messing with. Nobody ever accused me of being a princess.

One guy is dead, the other in prison.
I have lost some friends and obviously tried to take my own life.
I didn't make it look easy.

Until one day something broke.
I decided I didn't want to be angry anymore.
I didn't want to hate.
There is a part of me which simply laid down, moved away.

Right now, I think, I am just trying to figure out which parts of me are still living. mother. daughter. sister. aunt. friend. writer. blogger.

I will be a photographer.

Today I am so very grateful to have a home and family and friends and whattaya' know, still. aspirations. (you know, those things which tell you your heart is still beating)
good things. beating good things, like love.

*When I say we, it is the team of people I have on staff who are not reading this and will mistakenly answer the phone.
**Same people.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


There is a direct correlation in the pressure of her speech to the height of his fever.
Of course there is.
That would go without saying.

I am mad.
I know.
I just wish.
I know.
It's going to be okay.
Yes, I know.
I need some sleep.
Yeah, I think so.

If we bow our heads and become service to each other our needs could no longer matter and people could take advantage and we may think for one very, very small instant, This is not fair.

No. it's not.
In a world where everything equals everything and nothing is better or worse then what we have here is a close planet of it is too much and not enough. In one field the flowers thrive while in another they could wither without more care. Always some scientific explanation but most of us will still wonder why.

Today I am grateful to recognize a need, to know what I can do and understand the potential of one human because I am blessed with such an incredible example of someone who gives so much.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Remember Olympia Dukakis' character in Steel Magnolias? That is Ms. Clovis.

I had heard her name through the years, always 'cause Mom and Dad would take their taxes down to her. She was a genius of sorts, owned an H&R Block in a rural Mississippi town and had managed to wrap her head around the American tax system. There were rumors of people attempting to take all their records and receipts to shiny accounting firms in the big city but those stories always seemed to end with the people coming back to Ms. Clovis. No need to pay large amounts of money for the same advice.

I met her at Madalyn's shower and told her she was a legend.
I think she thought I was silly, but my hope is she knows.

There was this step at the front/back of the church where if you didn't know any better you were sure to take a tumble. The reason the rest of us knew better was because Ms. Clovis was the first to take that step. On rehearsal night she was at the front of the line and I heard it happen, mainly because of all the gasps around her. When someone in front of me asked, Who was that? Her grandson, Anthony, said, Oh that was just Mamaw. She's fine.

In fact, I think she may have jumped up, did a twirl on her high heel and said, For my next trick I'll take the stairs while doing a tango.

I now suspect she drinks from some fountain of youth fed by a creek out back of her home.

Today I am grateful for the women around me and especially for the ones who surround my niece, Jesse.

And for any of you wondering where your magazine is I am going to the post office today, this morning in fact. The last two days have been a blur of photographic isolation which is crazy and fun and I'll most likely hug the lady at the post office just because she exists outside of this house in a world of trees and skies and wind and sun. or at least that's what I think I remember.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

name the neurosis

Josh holding a weapon eerily similar to the light saber he hit me with as a child.

This is it. I have exactly my response time to a question in a phone conversation to come up with a name for a business I think I may be establishing though I have decided I will clean people's toilets and during my lunch break take photographs of people's toilets and call my blog people's toilets 'cause that's how creative I am feeling at the moment.

What's the name?

It's not we haven't discussed this before. In fact, I spent a week obsessing over it. During that week I called a few people to let them know that the photography business would be called not Annie Leibovitz Photography and in print the not would climb up the side of the A and whenever I answered the phone I would whisper the not part and shout the Annie Leibovitz Photography part. We all agreed it seemed a bit shifty and would likely end me up in court and I would lose the case because of my purple pants. What else am I supposed to wear?

Shea Goff Photography.


Kim's guy/mate/forever lover/common law husband/does it really matter/no/okay, Mark, Shea Goff Photography Marketing Director (now that's a fancy title), would definitely frown on me telling you what is wrong with my company name. At least I think he would since he won't give me any advice until I give him some money. Thus, he is only fictionally Shea Goff Photography Marketing Director and the fictionally climbs up the M in Marketing and you can't read it because it has to be so small that it looks like a fancy design on the M. Right now his job description is simple. He has to exist and I have to think what would Mark say. Mark would say, Don't go on your blog and tell everyone what is wrong with your company name.

Well that was money well spent.

Actually Mark has agreed with me that the name Shea is not pronounced phonetically. It could confuse people like it did my teachers in school or colleagues later in life. In fact the last boss I had thought it was funny to poke fun at my name. Hilarious. I changed my name to Heather in third grade and the PE teacher went along with it but her smirk discouraged me from telling anyone else. Anyway, my theory is if you are looking at an ad for Sally Jones Photography and below it is Shea Goff Photography and they both have local numbers you're gonna call Sally 'cause though there's that extra syllable you know how to say the name.

New name. Call Me Whatever You Want, Just Call Me Photography (also I'll clean your toilets).

Problem with that one is you need enough money or trading in pictures to also include at least one photograph which has to be large enough for people to see sans magnifying glass. Bad idea, name too long.

Shea Goff Photography?

Yeah. Damnit. Shea Goff Photography. I'll send you a photograph of Peyton, we need to say "all occasion" and this little stupid catch phrase I came up with but it sounds so cheesy I won't even write it on my blog and my phone number which will probably change soon and my email address. 

That's it.

Yep. I'd do it but I don't have all your fancy fonts and your mad skills so please.

When is it due?


You're kidding.

Yes. Yes, I am. It's today. That's better than yesterday, right?

Yeah, okay. You're killing me.

I love you. Does that help?

Send me the photograph. I'll send you the ad this afternoon.

Thank you. You rock. It makes no sense at all that I am Mom's favorite.

You really must click on the photograph to see all the love.

Today I am grateful for my brother Josh who has developed an obsessive need to hit golf balls very hard and very far. I can't imagine why.

Monday, June 4, 2012

the highest point

Cheaha State Park, Alabama, The Fall of 2006

Do you still exist? was the wrong question. Neither of them knew at the time.
Yes, he forgot who was asking.
She had been a period, a place. (a name on a list)
He was a belief, a theory. (a hope)
Be happy, he said.
Go away, she replied.
He did.

It was a search for evidence, those years between.
They found what they were looking for.
The looking for was what changed.

I was not on the list, he said.
You have to say you want it, she replied.
He did.

Today I am grateful for dark moments and heavy rains but most especially for the mornings following when the story's characters wake up and witness a daybreak.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


They are the people of the cute, and I visit their land. A surprise, a not like me. He is out in the garden. She is making a grocery list. The house is in the country but a city is so close. I favor the front porch with a yard which reaches to some stables. White horses and fences and a little dirt road.

The temperature has dropped. A steady wind pushes and she meets me at the door. She is the queen of the cute and the princess of the adorable. A big fat cat lays on it's back on the floor. His legs sprawled, the cat looks up. I tell the cat, Hey, and turn to her, You know I'd take a picture of her and show her to the world if it wouldn't get the humane society out here on your ass. That is one obese cat (says the mama of Billy Sue). I think it's funny to pretend my blog has world moving effects as if a wave from me provides some kind of ripple. One sentence typed from my magic fingertips and I can wield the power of the humane society. Now that's funny.

She laughs, Oh shut up. Sit down, I have something for you.

Me first, I say and hand her a magazine.

This is it, she sits and begins leafing through it. Where are the pictures?

Just look. You'll see them, I watch and then she does.

It's the Como article, she recognizes a few of the photos. She starts studying it and I start apologizing. They're darker than I thought. I would have lightened them up. It's digital to print, something I have to consider.

They are good, she says. This being a duty placed on her shoulders when we were eleven years old. She has to tell me at all times I am good or laugh at me hysterically and she must read the blog. Oh, these little rules. It's funny to think about how in thirty one years she has yet to figure out how to change her number and leave me without access especially considering otherwise she's pretty damn smart.

She starts pointing at the pictures and turning the pages, There's the Steakhouse, the Courtyard, my favorite little grocery store. She likes to cook and thus adores the Como Green Grocer.

Do you think she'll love it? I point to the ad on the next page.

She pauses, presses her hand against the page and says seemingly to the magazine, She is going to love it. Her Mom and Dad are going to video her seeing it for the first time.

It is over half a page and in the world of a five year old it might as well be the cover of Toys R Us. Peyton and me, we have been published. She is the photo in the very first ad of Shea Goff Photography. We should wear dresses and have a publishing tea party with cute little plastic cups and saucers and cupcakes with not too much frosting.

She hands me my gift, a large paper sack which signifies whiskey, a purchase I am no longer willing to make. Then she hands me two pieces of paper, one from a coloring book, the other torn from a steno pad. A butterfly, a flower, Peyton has drawn a picture of a camera and written a note in some impressive handwriting. She is a small child of Thank you and I love you.  You know, she is a human who makes you happy just to be human.

I got something free in this world, didn't have to pay a dime other than my labor. The publisher sent me fifteen free copies of eat.drink.Mississippi and they are being distributed as follows.

1. Mom
2. Kim
3. Peyton
4. Mrs. Sue, Peyton's Grandma (among many other titles of wonderfulness)
5. Josh (he designed the ad which is a story in itself)
6. Slater and me (we'll share our copy)
7. Charlie of Woodstomp
8-15. You or a random human at the convenience store.

There are eight magazines I will give away freely, even pay postage. A seven dollar and ninety-five cent value delivered to your door, even more if I need to ship internationally which I will. All you have to do is leave a comment or email me at and say, Dude. I want a magazine. That's all.

It's some great reading (Karen wrote the Como article). There are recipes from this neck of the woods and photos galore. Just let me know. Nothing random about it, early bird catches the free magazine worm.

It's the least I can do and the best I got, like I need to send you some kind of prize for coming here, for reading and looking at the photos and sometimes commenting and always patient and encouraging and beautiful and now I am gushing and you're blushing and it's gotten ridiculous.

I am seriously grateful for you.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

wherein we pepper the OCD with some empty nest psychosis and party like rock stars

Our last morning is tense, rushed. Thirty minutes till your first day on the job and you head to the store to buy a duffel bag. You want to take all your clothes just in case you leave today and don't come home for a few weeks. It's the most absurd thing I've ever heard. You'll be back tonight. I'll cook supper and we'll laugh about how you thought the guy had said something about maybe possibly going to a state that begins with an M.

Missouri?  Surely not.

That doesn't happen. You don't get a job one afternoon and leave the next day going to a whole'nother state possibly beginning with a particular letter in the alphabet which could be an M but not Mississippi or Maryland or Michigan or Minnesota. Maybe the guy on the phone said Missouri and you could get in a truck with strangers and go to a town I haven't scouted and be around people I don't know and

I'll just edit photos.

Don't worry about me. I'll be fine here with these photos and the internet and Billy Sue and really, you'll be okay. They pay for your meals? And your hotel, I mean motel, I mean it doesn't have internet access? okay.


Oh. you're rooming with someone? Is he a crackhead? Not that there's anything wrong with crackheads, I mean we shouldn't judge, I'm sure there are some wonderful crackheads in this world but he doesn't smoke crack, right? Yes, I do realize the fact that I just asked that makes me a crackhead. 

Answer the question. No?


You know I can drive up there, right? Take you out to eat, bring you some more clothes.  
No. It wouldn't be an intervention. 
Are you not happy? You sound serious. 
I'm fine so you are too and everything is okay and I'm just editing photos and deleting photos and Billy Sue did the funniest thing.

oh. you gotta go.

don't go.

That was just a joke. I know you have to leave because you are twenty years old and you are brilliant and you are kind and you will be fine and I was always this crazy but before I just tried to hide it and I have the photos and Billy Sue and the writing and I'll take the garbage can to the road and I'll figure this out because this is part of raising a child and I'm strong and I can handle it and I don't want to make you cry because I love it when you laugh.

I love you. I miss you but not too bad. this is normal. it's just parenting.

It seems silly to say I am grateful for Slater since so much of the gratitude started with him.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photoshop doesn't kill people. People kill people.

I am grateful Madalyn gets home from her honeymoon today and that she likes Photoshop.

Back to our regularly scheduled insanity tomorrow morning.