Truckin’

I love stories about people who just do things–not bad things, like the Joker, but beautiful things, like Maya Angelou or Stella McCartney. Everybody has something they love. I love to write (obviously) and sew. I also love people because we’re all unique works of art, no two are alike. Here’s some cool people who love doing things:

Bob Weir

Bob Weir played guitar for the Grateful Dead, almost his entire adult life. He started the band with Jerry Garcia. Don’t check my facts, but he more or less moved in with them and played music every day from the time he was a teenager until now. He loved doing it, so he just did it whether he made money or not. He decided that was the way he wanted to live his life. The fact that he was eventually paid for it was gravy as far as Bob was concerned.

Now, don’t they look happy?

Francis of Assisi

God told Francis, the wealthy young son of a merchant in 15th century Italy, to “rebuild My church.” So Francis gave up all his worldly possessions, moved out to the countryside, and started restoring an old ruined church, brick by brick. He didn’t make any plans. He didn’t ask anybody for help. He didn’t even stop to ponder what “rebuild My church” meant. He looked around at what he had and went to it.

Not so happy-looking, but he said he was very happy.

That’s a great way to look at life. I don’t believe in reincarnation so, for me, this is it. This is the life I have in my hand, so I’m going to live it. No plans, no conferences, no paychecks, I’m just moving in with Garcia.

 

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Beautiful Things

Sorry about the hiatus. I’ve been taking a little time to think about which way to take this thing. Writing a blog is more than blabbing about my personal observations, it’s about community . . . well, this one is, anyway.

“Home is where the heart is” is right up there with “Live, Laugh, Love.” Honestly, in the 1980s and 1990s, we were overrun with little houses with hearts in them and geese. Heaven help us, the geese.

This goose has a little cape.

We also had various other farm animals: pigs and cows and chickens, oh my. I lived on a small farm, growing up. I’ve seen what those creatures look like in their natural settings, and I can say with no small amount of gag control that I don’t care for them being anywhere near my kitchen unless they are on a plate (apologies to my veggie and vegan buds).

Living, laughing, and loving has obviously run its course. Again, I raise my hands to heaven in gratitude.

I know. Instead of hanging it on our walls, let’s actually do it, right here, on this blog! Let’s celebrate home in all its juicy goodness. I’ve already fan-girled my town (and don’t think I’m gonna stop), and now it’s time to talk about nice things. Remember those? Remember Little House on the Prairie and Mary Engelbreit and Laura Ashley?

Oh, you better believe I’m going there. I’ve got a closet full of Briar Rose English day china and I’m not afraid to use it.

Yes . . . yes . . . yhhessss . . .

Here’s to cooking, sewing, and little girls with tea sets and dolls! Here’s to dogs and cats and hamsters and cherry Kool-aid! Here’s to crickets and lightening bugs and honey suckle and going barefoot in the grocery store! And here’s to NO POLITICS! Can I get a “hallelujah” up in here?

Here’s a dog.

On this blog, we bake, we shop, we start Christmas browsing in August. We eat terrible things because they taste awesome. We drink tea. We talk about British television and the best way to organize a house or clean out an oven. We might even make a skirt! That’s right. We’re shallow; we’re silly, and we may or may not be a little chubby. Sometimes we knit.

Oh, and I’m about to start watching When Calls the Heart, because I am that person.

This one can’t see, anymore, but he sure can smell.

I am sick to my soul of all the ugliness in the world. I’m tired of being told who to like and who to hate. Instead, I think I’ll crochet something for somebody’s Christmas gift. I think I’ll go volunteer with my friends at the church. I think I’ll bake some cookies for the neighbor’s kids. Maybe I’ll take our blind dog outside and let him sit in the sun for a while.

I may even go online and fill out even more job applications for the umpteenth time, but I’ll need a cookie. What I’m not going to do is obsess about other people’s opinions. You know what they say about opinions.

Get Out of Here

Nashville is lousy with artists.

Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, I see art, hear music, witness free self-expression, find bookstores and junk stores full of treasures, the cast-offs of the creative minds who live, work, and sometimes struggle to make a living in Music City. My nephew visited a few months ago, to work the house show circuit. He’s very good, just like the oodles and boodles of other amazingly talented people, around here.

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Phat Bites in Donelson

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I can’t remember where this was, but don’t even worry about it. These little jewels are all over the place, and looking for them is the best part of the experience.

The citizens of Nashville, TN are used to living next door to drummers, writers, actors, professionals, not-so-professionals, and a hundred other craftsmen, builders, welders, dog groomers, you name it; we got it. I regularly visit a little shop on the edge of Hermitage/Donelson where the owners are super-friendly (like most folks around here) and, more importantly, they provide the work of local artisans for public consumption.

Spring is almost upon us and that means FARMERS’ MARKETS!!! They are EVERYWHERE, and they are ALL GREAT!

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This is in the parking lot of an ACE hardware store. I’m losing my mind with wholesome pleasure goodness!

POINT: I know everybody’s shrieking about, “support this,” and “boycott that,” but the local creative community is worth buying into. Don’t you hate yourself just a little, every time you go to Walmart and become one of the ‘walking dead,’ shuffling up and down its decaying, consumer-corrals? Sure. We all do. Don’t you feel hip and cool, strolling through Centennial Park in the grass and the sunshine with your dog and an armload of homemade soap? See? Quality of life–that’s all I’m sayin’.

Life is short, people. Let’s squeeze as much out of it as we can, and let’s make somebody else’s day better, too. Let’s keep those actors acting, those musicians musicking, those candle dippers dipping. And take your dog for a walk, for cripes’ sake.

The Truth about the Birds and the Dogs

I took Cosmo, the ancient Shih-Tzu, outside this morning to do some things. That’s a nice way of saying he needed to do some things. At six o’clock in the morning, it’s still dark, but there’s a little gray light on the horizon. People were already up and moving around, here, in Hermitage, TN, and the birds were sure singing. We had all kinds of birds in the Panhandle of Texas: robins, doves (lots of doves, or are they pigeons?), all the mainline colors: blue, red, and black. We had a lot of little brown ones with yellow breasts. Canadian geese wintered with us; that was cool. But I missed the songbirds. When I was a girl in Dickson, especially in the springtime, those freaking songbirds would wake me up before five thirty in the morning, singing their little hearts out. When spring was good and coming, we slept with our windows cracked open when the nights were still chilly, but not freezing, and those little chirpies would tune up while it was still dark, attracting mates, fluffing their nests, laying eggs, and singing about it. That’s what little birds do. When you’re busy being a bird, you’ve got a song about birding, and your bird DNA must proclaim your bird-ness.

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I read a story, last week, about the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, a German shepherd named Rumor, who ran away with Best in Show. One look at the five-year-old female could be enough to know why. Her intelligent face was full of life and character. Watching her interact with her handler, pacing around the ring, and engaging the ecstatic crowd was mesmerizing. I like watching dog shows because the dogs are so proud to be dogs. They love the attention and the people. They’re happy and it shows when they take their turns around the floor, and stand at attention for the judges to “paw” over their indiscriminate parts. The judges look at performance, but they concentrate on the characteristics of the breed. Is this dog the best representation of its breed? Of all the terriers, of all the standard poodles, of all the German shepherds, is this one closest to what makes that breed specific, like no other? The dogs seem to know who they are, and they strive to be everything that they were born to be. You may not be crazy about pugs, but the pug doesn’t care. He’s the best pug, and he knows it.

Life has been good, and life has been bad, but one thing is for sure: life has never been, and will never be, easy or fair. More important than learning who I am has been learning who I am not and being okay with that. When I was twenty years old, I tried to lose my southern accent because I thought it made other people think I was stupid. But I don’t care what people think of me, much, anymore. You may not be crazy about the Tennessee accent, but the Tennessee accent doesn’t care. She’s the best Tennessee accent, and she knows it. I’m not gonna worry about who I ain’t. I’m gonna build my nest and sing my song, and proclaim my Connie-ness. If you don’t want to hear it, that’s alright. Just shut your window, and go back to sleep.

Home Again

When I was a kid, I loved growing up in the country. Dickson, Tennessee was very different from Nashville, where I was born. The food was better. The people were nicer, and the woods…I loved walking in the woods.

When I graduated high school in 1984, I couldn’t get out of the woods fast enough. I moved back to Nashville for the bright lights and the party nights. After my feelings got hurt a few times, I decided that the whole state of Tennessee was the problem that needed fixing, so I left, thinking if I never saw it again, I would be just fine with that.

When the world came crashing down around me in 2014, Texas felt like an alien planet and my heart ached for the woods, again. More than anything in the world, I wanted to be in the one place, the last place, where the things and the people had made sense to me. I wanted to go home.

This blog is a celebration of home, my home in the great state of Tennessee. We’ll see how many stories I can remember, recipes I can find, and pictures I can fit on one blog for free. If it gets too full, I guess I’ll have to go premium. By then, hopefully, I’ll have figured out the mysteries of WordPress networking.

My goal is not just to shamelessly brag about Music City and the fantastic people and culture, but to help a reader, somewhere, who’s ready to stop, turn around, and remember who your people are and the stories they told. It’s time to go home. Y’all come in and eat some beans!