Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mostly Busy Thursday

My day started out slow, I almost went back to bed after Zach left for school but I've been having so many aches and pains in my back and legs that I just couldn't get comfortable enough.

This was his last day of school so he was back home again by noon. I was dressed and waiting for him so we could leave to meet James down at the farm to pick up his pay check. He only gets paid once a month on the last working day, and normally I'd wait until the day after to do the banking, but the past few months it's been so hectic on the 1st that I decided not to wait this time so that perhaps I wouldn't have so many bad thoughts about the senior drivers and welfare caddys on the road.

After we did the banking, Zach and I stopped in to see the Chicklets for a bit. Jerri was gone when I got there and Banny, her mother, was there with the girls and Jaylen (who was spending the week with them). As I walked up onto the carport, Banny met me and was showing me this little green snake that was peeking his head out of a crack. She told me the little fella was on the back door earlier, trying to get in as Jerri was going out. He wasn't a scary snake at all, not even as big around as a pencil and a little longer than a ruler.

Later, as we sat in the living room, chatting and having coffee, Banny noticed the little snake trying to make his way to the front door and was hanging from a planter on the front porch. We decided we would try to catch him as an addition to the Chick's growing zoo, so Banny went out back to find a critter cage and I grabbed my camera to attempt to get a picture of the sneaky little dude before we did the deed.

That little dude was fast as greased lightening!! Neither Banny or I minded touching him cause he was just a little green snake, but I told her that I'd really rather grab him behind the head if possible because I really had no desire to have him LICK me (his little tongue was darting in and out constantly!) Banny got a towel and tried to corral him to be still so I could grasp him behind his teeny little head. This was not easy because he was a wiggly, squirmy little dude. I caught him around his middle once but I had to release when he turned his head, WITH tongue, toward my arm, but Banny stayed her course with that towel so we finally did it. I held onto him and we made our way into the house to put him in the little cage. I got a little nervous when I had to stop a minute so Zach could get a closer look at him and touch him a little, but we made the capture and all was well.

The kids were busy killing and catching flies to feed Sneaky Freddy (Alexis named him) for a good while afterwards so it gave us grandmas a little free time to chat a bit more and drink our coffee.

I'm not too sure Jerri was totally happy with us when she came home to find an additional pet, but she loves us so she puts up with us.

Later, the kids decided to take a dip in the pool.

Jillian decided she wanted to climb the ladder to see what the big kids were doing.

Two of our babies graduated from kindergarten yesterday. Abby and MeriKate were as happy as little clams.


Jerri called late afternoon yesterday. Her first words when I answered the phone were, "Do you want your Granddaughter, and for how long?" I said, "Which one?" (but all the while having a sneaky suspicion) "What did she do?"

I started laughing as soon as she said "Bisquick". I was laughing so hard I might have missed some of it, but...I think while Jerri was fixing supper, Jillian slipped into the fridge and snagged the box of Bisquick, took it with her to Alexis's room where she poured it out, added some sprite to make a batter, then rolled Cookie the kitten in it.

I'm glad she doesn't know how to use a deep fryer yet.

I wonder how many grey hairs Jerri has today?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Trying

Mockingbird nest with eggs in one of the Rose of Sharon shrubs.

Hmm, wonder what they were discussing here.

Jordan building sand castles.

Jaylen doing a little digging but she was prepared for anything!

I'm doing my best to post more often but much of the time my mind goes blank when I sit down down to do it.

I'll try to do better.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

State Seizes City Payroll Records

You may be wondering why I feel such deep concern over the goins on over in the nearby city of Helena-West Helena, beings that I live out in the country and all, but the fact of the matter is, it's the closest place to do much of our shopping.
I have made the decision to drive the same mileage north to another small town, in another county, to buy groceries once this EXTRA sales tax goes into effect but it'll mean driving an extra 14 miles or so, to yet another small town, to be able to shop for clothes and that sort of stuff.

Gas being what it is makes the longer drive a more difficult one, but I reckon I'll be doing it. It's the principle of the thing, you know? You can't help folks who are helping themselves to funds that don't belong to them!

Hear that All Ye in government in the City of Helena-West Helena?

This little article from The Daily World only reinforces my decisions.

Arkansas State Police served a search warrant on the city of Helena-West Helena Thursday and seized a hard drive from one of the city's computers.

Mayor James Valley stated that state trooper Dell Arnold aided state legislative auditors as they secured the electronic media dealing with payroll records for 2006 and 2007.

Valley said that Phillips County Judge Harvey Yates signed the warrant and state auditors left a receipt with the city's offices detailing what hardware was confiscated.

Valley said the auditors made a copy of the hard drive, took the device and installed a new one with the information copied on the disk so the city could continue to function.

Valley reported that the auditors wanted to restore some information that had been lost as the result of a recent computer crash.

"They want to see if they can restore the records that were lost through the recent hard drive crash," said Valley in a telephone interview.

The state will try torecover the data by utilizing a forensic data recovery program.

Valley said the state served the warrant and collected the hard drive in an attempt to gain a better log of records.

"They want to get a full and complete accounting of the records. They do this to protect the state audit and city and to clear the city of any wrongdoing. This does not implicate anyone," said Valley.

The legislative auditors have reported that they have been in city offices numerous times, trying to audit the city records only to be turned away because of record keeping issues, such as the crash of various computers.

"Typically, when a server crashes the information is gone," said Valley.

He reported that the city had entered data that at a later date could not be retrieved. He also reported that some employee's salary totals were incorrect in the system. He said one employee total showed the individual earning more than $40,000 over a six-month period.

No backups and a state seizure and it does not implicate anyone? I reckon Mayor Valley will be quite surprised to discover that there are ways to salvage the information from a crashed hard drive. I wonder how he'll explain away all that? If the folks responsible for keeping the financial records don't have enough damned sense to do a simple back up of important information, seems to me they need to be doing some firing around that place and hire some people who are actually capable of doing the job right. Don't ya think?

Friday, May 25, 2007


Cindra, over at Red and Purple Haze, has tagged me to do a meme so here goes:

7 Random Things About Me

1. I don't like to wear socks because they're uncomfortable to me, and if I absolutely must wear them, I prefer the very thin trouser socks.

2. I can not sleep if the bedroom door is closed. Hubby gets up before me and has company for coffee every morning by 5 or 5:30. I can sleep through the noise of their muted voices discussing every manner of farm topic, but if he closes the bedroom door, I'm wide awake and up early for the day.

3. I've been in all of the states directly north and south of Arkansas and have been in all of the eastern states except for Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. I've never been further west than Hot Springs, AR. I lived in England for 3 years as a teen and have visited The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Scotland.

4. I have 8 grandchildren and 7 of them are little girls. The oldest, the only boy, lives with us because he wants to.

5. I am the most disorganized person in the world. If something is out of my sight, it's usually out of my mind too, so a lot is left out in sight. I admire neat, organized, people.

6. I learned to drive a standard when I was 8 and over the years have driven everything from a tractor to an 18 wheeler. Being able to drive in the country is almost a necessity.

7. I've only successfully parallel parked once in my life. I was driving a station wagon I'd never driven before, and had to park between a farm truck and a butane truck to pass my drivers test. I was 18 when I got my license because I married 2 weeks before my 17th birthday and refused to have my husband sign as my legal guardian. (you'll notice I drove for a LONG time illegally).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Well, they finally did it. The citizens of the newly combined towns of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas have put themselves at the at the top of the heap in one area. They now have the highest sales tax in the state and probably one of the highest in the whole danged U.S. of A. Shoppers around here will soon be shelling out a full 10% for their purchases.

It doesn't help much that our state sales tax on groceries is supposed to be lowered from the current 6% down to 3% some time in July when the greedy city government over there is going to tack on their 2% to add 2/3rds of it right back. Did I fail to mention the 2% sales tax the county already collects which was supposedly a temporary thing back when it was desperately needed (so they said).

I might also mention that the increase in sales tax won't affect nearly half as many of the citizens as it might in other places since I suspect at least that many are purchasing their groceries tax free already. This would be due to the fact that food stamp purchases aren't taxable at all. The percentage around here (and there) who actually pay the majority of the taxes can't keep taking on the whole load and that percentage grows smaller every day when folks finally get enough of the thieving politicians around these parts and head for a better place to hang their hats.

There hasn't been a reliable audit of the finances of the combined cities in a great while due to the fact that the books are in such terrible shape that the auditors can't make sense of it all. They have the highest water bills and the poorest quality of water in the delta. Businesses have been closing their doors right and left for many years now and the likelihood of new ones coming to the area are slim and none since a great many of the available work force won't work cause it'll mess up their government checks.

In the '60s, Helena was a bustling town, and West Helena was growing by leaps and bounds. But industries gradually pulled out, and when Wal-Mart came to West Helena, it sealed the fate of the local stores, none of which were willing to change their business practices to compete with Wal-Mart. Many blame the casinos but the town was already dead before the casino went up across the river.

A stroll around the, now combined incorporated, city of Helena-West Helena, doesn't offer the sights and sounds that it once did because there aren't as many sights and sounds to be had. Walk down Cherry Street and the first thing you'd notice is all the empty and abandoned old buildings. If it weren't for the country court house being there, I reckon they could close all the doors.

Of course there are rumors and plans bouncing around to make the area as profitable as Beale Street is, in Memphis. Sure the Blues Fest held every October brings the tourist in by the droves for 3 or 4 days. And the Wild Hog Fest in April increases the population by a few thousand for a few days. I reckon this increase in sales taxes will be the final straw. I see more FOR SALE signs going up every time to go to town.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Most Excellent Day!

The kids did a little fishing, did a little playing, and did a whole lot of swimming. The adults kept an eagle eye out and sat around enjoying the lovely day. ( Nanaw looks and feels a tad like a crispy critter right now). We had an easy lunch of sandwiches, cookies, and cantalope, and some cool drinks. It was a wonderful day!

Gonna have a kicked back Sunday.

I'm taking Zach to children's church, coming home to drop a roast into the crockpot, then I'm packing my camera, he's packing his pole and tackle box, then stopping by to pick up bait and to see if Jerri and the chicks want to go to Storm Creek so the kids can do a bit of fishing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Meet Stewart

Stewart is a mouse and his owner is the Chick. This is not the same Stewart as the one she had a while ago,,, that little Stewart went to his heavenly reward. Stewart is very tiny, so tiny that this Nanaw even held him for a minute or two. Stewart has a little cage he calls home that is Jilly Beans proof as this is an absolute necessity. Jilly can sure love their pets hard sometimes.

I stopped by to see the girls yesterday while I was in town and this was the conversation about Cookie the kitten that I heard between Jerri and her mother while I was there:

Banny: Where's Cookie?

Jerri: (looking up from her painting chores) I don't know, did you look to see if he was floating in the pool?

It seems that Jillian insists that Cookie go swimming with them, whether he wants to or not. I suspect Cookie hides a lot.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Before It's Time

James's cousin decided he was done with living some time Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning, and took his life. He left behind a wife and 3 beautiful daughters, one of which was with her mother when they found him. I don't understand how he could do this. Did he even think about what he'd be doing to his children as he was making this decision? His mother? His extensive family?

I couldn't sleep last night thinking of how terrible his pain must have been to never want to see another sunrise.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Menopause and the Occasional Urge to Retire to a Padded Cell for Peace and Quiet

This is an attempt at constructing a 3D map of Arkansas.
Below is the artist in training. I traced, he sculpted and shaped, drew squiggles where there was a need, Sculpted Mt. Magazine ( it looks like a big pimple or a deformed boob), and gave me hives from the struggles to get him to sit still long enough to work on this school project. I had to sit beside him every second to assure that the hot glue gun wasn't used as some kind of lethal weapon aimed at the furniture or anything that breathed. Did I mention my whole house has the lingering aroma of baked clay?

There's still some work to be done as he must still label the major rivers and lakes,,,we're thinking toothpick flags here,,,and construct the information on a poster about one of Arkansas's parks, a town with a population below 20,000, a place with a name that comes from another language, and also his poem about the Strawberry River. He tried to hand print all of that but it was so unreadable that I've sat him down to peck the info out on the keyboard. He only likes one more little thing and he'll be good to go after 1 more round with the hot glue gun, Lord help us!
I sure hope his teacher appreciates his efforts. She gave him a C- on last week's project, Stuart Little's bedroom, because he forgot to include an invention and an explanation on how it would help Stuart. I was unaware of these instructions or I'd have made sure he did it, but getting him to bring stuff home is like pulling teeth!
I feel like I need a gold star for all the corralling and instruction I give him at home,,,or at least a paycheck!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lazy Sunday,,,almost

Here's the Chick wearing the new duds her momma designed for her. She has a little purse to match.

This little angel was pretending to be asleep but she wasn't done playing yet.

PopPop and Jillian taking a nap after their strength-draining ATV ride.

See this little angelic face? Look closer,,,,cute as a bug huh? This is Meri Kate. She decided to terrorize their rotweiler puppy yesterday so she threw the cat on him. He ran terrified through the house trying to remove the cat from his back and fell on sweet, little, Abby (below). Jami called me from the emergency room last night where Abby had just gotten 3 stitches on the inside of her mouth.
Started out calm but with kids you must always figure some excitement into the equation.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Terrorist and Friend

The Terrorist has a friend over this weekend.

Nanaw had no problems getting to sleep last night.
Krysten is supposed to stay over tonight.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Chick's Zoo

The phone rang today and when I answered a little, excited, voice began telling me about the new pet that she'd saved from being the kitten's supper. His/her name is Stuart Little and he/she is a baby field mouse. Jerri had to make a trip to Wal Mart to buy a hamster cage and bedding for the little one and the Chick informed me that she was bringing Stuart to meet Nanaw tomorrow!

I believe by the time Alexis is a teenager, they'd best have a place with a huge barn for all of the animals she'll have gathered up by then. So far she only has,

2 dogs

1 puppy

Momma Cat

1 kitten

2 turtles

2 horses

1 bird

and a baby mouse

Jillian loves animals too but gets a little rough with her lovings so they have to keep a tight rein on her for awhile yet.

Krysten, MeriKate, and Abby love their pets also. I think they've got 3 dogs, a cat who just had a litter of kittens, and a horse or two.
Jordan and Jaylen have a critter too but I can't remember what it is.

We have an extended family down here in the delta!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Disorganizational Skills

Once upon a time we had an aluminum fishing boat, a wooden paddle, a cricket basket, a minnow bucket with little mesh dipper, a couple of cane poles, and a decently stocked tackle box. All of the fishing equipment fit nicely into the boat for storage. The boat was stored outside under the shed. We went fishing a lot and we caught a lot of fish.

Those were the good ole days before we felt the need to have so much stuff.

This morning, as I sleepily stumbled through the dining room, I had to side-step around a new trolling motor, and a metal detector and it came to mind that I've been going around these two articles for several days now. There is a crossbow with 6 arrows atop the armoire in the bedroom, open the top doors of the armoire and there's the training collar for the dogs, with charger, one of those hand held, satellite guide gadgets that supposedly keeps you from getting lost, a rolled up sleep sack, items of cammo clothing, items of orange blaze clothing, and a wooden boxed set gun cleaning kit. I dare not look atop the cabinets for fear of finding some petrified minnow,,, or something,,, once used for fish bait,,, or something.

Somebody in this house had better learn some organizational storage skills, and since I'm the Queen of disorganized, it probably ain't gonna be me!