Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Crazy-Ass Type-A Mommy Blogger

Some things never change. And some things change a lot.
Her name is Kerry Ferguson, but I will forever think of her as Kerry Mulvaney. Meg and I met her in the first grade in 1982 and watched with pity as her Mom dragged her down the hall and into Ms. Carter's classroom as she wailed and screamed and cried and clung for dear life. That child did NOT want to go to school in the morning and EVERYONE heard about it. Meg and I felt sorry for her, I guess, and somehow we all ended up friends pretty quick. One thing that has not changed: Kerry is still very expressive and maybe a tiny bit dramatic. One thing that has changed: Kerry is OK walking into a classroom without her mother (she is a college professor now).

Over the years, Kerry and Meg and I grew up together, being our weird selves and collecting all sorts of weird memories, such as chair dances for traffic in the middle of Queens Road West, Andreas Bolanos following Kerry home from school in 2nd grade, The Meg and Kerry Show, the Small and Brown club (don't even comment on that one), trips to BB Jamz where we actually saw Andreas Bolanos as a White Night dancing for himself in a studio mirror (and we almost got the shit kicked out of us for mocking all the White Nights' dancing), Meg doing the bloody finger in a box trick at Kerry's school's football games, raps about Phil Kornhauser, and the list goes on. One time when we were young, the three of us tried out at the Charlotte Children's Theater to be in the play Peter Pan. Kerry and Meg were both cast. I was not.
One thing that has not changed: Kerry and Meg are both still officially artists (in fact Kerry is both a writer of plays and a director of them) and I am officially not. One thing that has changed: We don't see Andreas Bolanos anywhere anymore (sadly).

Last weekend Kerry was in town for a Type A Mommy Blogger conference. One thing that has not changed: Kerry is a Type A personality. One thing that has changed: Kerry is a mommy. We got together twice during her weekend in town and one thing that is very major that has not changed is that Kerry is a most dynamic story teller and dancer at a party. Please notice her captivating expressions as she tells me a story about a Mr. Willie Williams III, who was a young black man from New Orleans back in 1988 when his car broke down in front of the Mulvaney's house in Charlotte.

The story is that he knocked on the the Mulvaney's door to get some help. Well Kerry's dad, Mr. Mulvaney (you'd have to know him to get the full effect) invited Willie Williams III in, sat him down, gave him advice and money and told him to call. This was the beginning of what would be be a life long relationship between two unlikely men (Mr. Mulvaney seems to specialize in unlikely relationships, come to think of it.) The latest news in that friendship is that, 2 years after Willie Williams III successfully started a golf club for disadvantaged youth in Houston (inspired by Mr. Mulvaney's love of golf), Willie has been selected as a player on the next season of "The Biggest Loser," a reality show about weight loss. He is going to dedicate his weight loss on the show to his angel and mentor, Mr. Michael Mulvaney.
One thing that has not changed: interesting and bizarre things happen to the Mulvaney's. One thing that has changed: we are old enough to have the life perspective to realize just HOW interesting and bizarre some of these things are.

Saturday night Kerry and I went to the roller derby and then she talked me into going to an art party at the Phil Mechanic building in West Asheville by the river. A poetry teacher of hers was a host of the event. I said I was only staying a half hour. Yeah, right. Not if Kerry's in there telling some stranger to call her Chauncey after my childhood pet, a hermaphrodite schnauzer, and the stranger proceeds to casually refer to her as "Chaunce" for the rest of the night. And when she is in there bustin it on that dude's theramone with her little striped hoody and shit eating grin.

And then she's bustin some old school moves on the dance floor and playing with her shadow and laughing her head off and not giving a shit. Some things really never change. And then again some things do, because at the end of the weekend Kerry went home to her husband and children in Spartanburg to return to her role as one bad ass type-A mommy (who blogs something fierce- but sorry, her blog is private members only...). I love her. And that will never change.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The sun shone for our equinox yesterday, thanks to all the forces that be. BIG thanks. I got up at daybreak and stepped outside. To my surprise I heard a loud roar which was nothing other than the very largely swollen French Broad River. I decided it was a good equinox sunrise pilgrimage to go check it out so off I walked, stopping only at L&K's convenience stop parking lot to say hey to a buddy who was sitting in his truck there, and stopping again at my favorite horse chestnut tree to gather a few nuts for the equinox. The river was gorgeous at 11 feet, brown and rushing.

That much water is scary and exhilarating. I heard on the radio that the river was at 21 feet in some more southern counties!

Later I had a nice drive up to Bluff to pick up some mums and pansies from a certain really beautiful nursery up there.

On the way back down the mountain I passed a caravan of mule and horse drawn covered wagons. There were 6 or 8 of them. I asked a lady where they were going and she said, "We don't know."

They appeared to be on a leisure tour.
The day was sunny and lovely. Later I got to pick up EL, whose car broke down in Newport on the way to Nashville. We had a nice and chill time watching some "Breakin' 2" and then some Northern Exposure.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Flowers at The Mag

Since my flowers at home got shredded by the hail storm right when they were starting to bloom, I have decided to go ahead and brag on flowers at my work. These are two of my seasonal favorites from the Mountain Magnolia Inn. The first is the red zinger hibiscus bloom (compliments of Beth Trigg), and the second is a chocolate morning glory, which the guests find delightful and worth lots of questioning- my favorite...
Both of these flowers bloom in the fall. The hibiscus is light sensitive and will only start to bloom when the days are getting shorter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Big Time in a Little Apartment

PBR Cake:

My light rock cake for Jessie (twas her birthday):

Ha Ha Ha Ha- Everything is funny tonight:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

9-09-09 Part 3 (aka:9-11-09)

*Author's note: I have decided to return to my normal tone for this post. You may have noticed I employed a different dialect on 9-09-09 Parts 1&2. This was in honor of the old people around here I have heard tell tale of storms such as this one, and also in honor of Shorty, in whose old house I took refuge from the water and ice that night.

On The 11th of September, a day and a half after the storm, I went back over into the holler to begin clean up. I decided that creek clean up would be a good starting point. For one thing, I hate the idea of my trash and belongings junking up the creek banks. And also, I happened to know that many of my empty lotion and salve bottles (new and unused) that I was storing in the barn had washed down. I knew this because 2 of my neighbors were making an activity of collecting my stuff that had washed down to their property and dumping it into the bed of my truck. And there were quite a few lotion bottles.

So I got my "Tevas" on and brought some trash bags and walked down through the creek, collecting trash and other items. Susie and Todd joined me and together we walked all the way down Gentry Branch to the Shelton Laurel River. I do not know how far that is, but it is kind of a long distance. It actually was a beautiful walk and made all of us feel better about everything. We picked up garbage bags full of stuff. Here is a list of some of the stuff we found:

* Mecho's heavy ass tile saw- (caught in a culvert)
* a large glass door that wasn't even cracked lodged in a creek bank
* about 30 or more feet of chicken wire
* lots and lots of plastic and glass bottles (mine) all over the place
* 2 dead snakes (drowned)
* 1 dead salamander
* some pieces of old leather shoes (Susie went hog wild over these)
* a piece of precious little tea china that was mine
* a brown paper bag that said "Deez Nutz Who's your Daddy?" that Michael gave me a
gift in a couple of months ago- perfectly intact
* bits of hymns from one of Shorty's hymnals all down the creek banks, including the
Doxology, which says "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" (appropriate for a
flood and just beautifully poetic that they were Shorty's)
And finally the most amazing to me: on the shore of the Shelton Laurel, Todd found a perfectly intact and gorgeous habanero pepper that had been washed all the way down from my container garden. I sent it home with him for dinner...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They Have Arrived

Mom, Jenna and KM are officially in China, safely, and 12 hours into the next day.

Check back soon for "9-09-09 Part 3 (aka: 9-11-09)"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

They're Off

Mom and Jenna left this morning for China. Jenna will be at The First Teaching Hospital in Tian Jin for 3 months of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatments. She is excited about her journey. Mom will be there for 2 months, during which time Dad will visit for 3 weeks. Our friend KM will be there with Mom and Jenna for the trip over and the first 2 weeks of the stay. I will go for Jenna's last month, during which time our friend SR will come for the last 2 weeks and the journey home. On account of the flood (which is being portayed in parts on this blog) and to be helpful to Jenna, I am temporarily relocating my central station to Jenna's house in Hot Springs with her dog Joey. For the next month I will be back and forth cleaning up from the flood and helping repair the driveway and staying here in town.
It feels weird in Jenna's house without her here. Her energy is so vital and lively that the house feels really empty without her. I will have to add some livliness of my own to the house while I'm here, I suppose.
"God speed and be well" Jenna and Mom!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9-09-09 Part 2 (aka:9-10-09)

"I huddled in the bed and finally drifted off into a sleep that was infused with the sound of rushing water and the smell of pines and asters and all other manners of plants that had just been shredded to pieces by that ice. It smelled like a fresh tea of all the plants in the holler were just a-washin' down that holler with the rain. The air was cold and wet on account of the ice. My sleep was not what you would call particularly restful. I awoke in a state of confusion at daybreak and I swear to you- when I sat up and looked out that window I thought I was dreaming in a nightmare. There was piles of ice ever which a way and a new branch flowing plum through my front porch area. The air was cold and a dense ice fog had settled in the holler and that chopped up plant smell was still thick in the air. It wasn't a wonder either, because all the leaves of the trees and the 'maters and flowers and what have yous was chopped to pieces and laying all over the ground and the piles of ice. That river was flowin down the driveway and over the culvert. I realized if I hadn't-a moved that little ole truck, it very well might of plum floated away. The whole scene just seemed plum unreal. I had to get on the telephone and call someone just to talk.

Well after a while I got up and went up the drive to Neighbor Mecho's house. The drive had these deep ruts and parts of the drive was just washed out. The banks of the creek were washed down and the waterfall was rushin and then the water flowed over the road. After a while we just all gathered around the table at the Mecho's and talked it out.

That afternoon I was just fixin to go out and help work on clearing some of the clogged culverts when it started to rain. Well it poured the rain and before you could imagine, that river started floodin again and this time it was about to wash right under that little ole camper. Susie and Greg and Kristen helped me real quick to to build a dam of sorts to keep that water from flushing plum underneath of my living quarters. We worked purty fast out there in the pourin down rain. And son, it worked. Those people were like angels from Heaven."

to be continued...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9-09-09 Part One

"It was back in two thousand and nine. I was a-sleepin' in my crazy silver camper when the thunder started at about half past two in the mornin'. I had just returned from a trip up to Virginia that night so I had pulled my little truck down into the yard to unload my belongins. Well I woke up and a-heard that thunder and after I downright squatted on the ground to do my business, I said to myself, 'I believe I'll move that little ole truck up.' So that's a-what I did. I moved that little ole truck up to the driveway, in case hit rained.
Well, the wrath of God was unleashed on that little ole holler just a few minutes later. I call it the wrath of God because, honey, that's a-what it felt like at the time. Neighbor Greg described it as 'Mother Nature got DRUNK last night!', and that is a downright funny way of lookin at it. But whatever you want to call it, that storm was fierce, son. First the thunder came. Then the hail. Then the rain started in, and just when I thought it was comin down just about as hard as it could, that sky ripped open and really let it loose. It was just about hailin' heads of decapitated horsemen, although neighbor Todd said that hail was just pieces of unicorns and mermaids, so I don't know how you want to look at it. Those balls of ice were a-poundin down like fast and furious hammers on that ole silver camper. I stepped outside to look and before I could say Dear God, that water came a-rushin down from the gorge. It rolled a poplar stump the size of 10 baby Jesuses all smushed together and it came a-crashin' into my front step. There was a river just a-raging through that holler. I thought to myself, if I don't want to float away I best take to higher ground.
So that is what I done. I put on my cowgirl boots and wrapped myself right up in my fluffy pink robe and held me a towel over my head so the ice wouldn't bust my skull. I slipped and slided up that hill through a good 2 inches of ice balls on the ground until I found my way into that old house that Shorty spent the best 40 years of her life in. Well normally of a normal night, I will find ever reason not to go up to that ole house or even look at it. Fallin in the way it is and what with all those rats and snakes and heaven knows what else, it is a downright spooky place. But that night it was about the most safe and comforting place a body could imagine. I looked around at all of Shorty's rat torn belongings that was a-scattered about, and I remembered a story I had heard about her when she was a young girl. She was a-walkin through the woods one day and a terrible storm came down. She didn't have the time to get home, so she sat underneath of a rocky over hand on the bank of a creek and just sang hymns to her Lord until the storm a-passed on by. She said those songs were the only comfort to her fear that day. I thought about that and thought to myself while I was a-sittin- up there shivering in that old house that I should get out her old song books that I had seen up there before and sing to the Lord. But I will admit to you now, I was so scared, I just didn't have it in me. It was gettin colder and all I could hear was the rage of the ice above and the rage of the water below. After a while I saw headlights across the way and darned if it wasn't that Neighbor Susie comin to check on me. We hollered at each other the best we could across the raging river, but we could not get to each other. After a while the rain stopped and she left in the dark.
I looked around and could tell that the water was startin to wane back. I was so cold all I could do was to go back inside the camper and a-huddle in the bed and wait for dawn."

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"My Precious"

"My Precious" Wednesday morning beauties today were 2 gorgeous blossoms: Ipomoea alba (aka: moonflower) and Abelmoschus manihot (aka: manihot hibiscus). Moonflower is the lovely and fragrant night blooming precious which is the cousin of morning glories and sweet potatoes.

I planted a "privacy fence" of them in pots next to the Airstream so that I could have something to bathe behind. The only thing is I usually go ahead and bathe in front of them because there is more room... The blooms are a pure perfect white and the smell reminds me of something distant and sad but beautiful.
The other precious, manihot hibiscus, is a cousin of okra, and originally comes from East Asia (a place I will soon be). It has a velvety cream colored flower with a very dark velvety sinister maroon center.

It is the softest looking flower I have seen. Manihot is used as an annual ornamental in these parts, but in Japan it is known as tororoaoi and is a key ingredient in "washi" paper making. The roots are crushed to extract a vegetable mucilage called "neri" which is used to keep other plant fibers evenly suspended in water during the paper making process (or so says my quick morning search on the "world wide web"). I wonder if it could be employed medicinally in place of marshmallow root, (another cousin I think) whose mucilaginous roots are used to sooth dry coughs and other dry conditions.
At any rate, I hope you, dear readers, enjoy these pictures and this text about my morning "precious." Love, Dana