Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Didn't See You There - Jewelry Dept.

Camouflage is a Southern Staple, much like fried chicken and waffles (maybe even camouflaged chicken and waffles?)  I've found it on clothing and cars, household siding and even a wallet made for me out of duck tape.  Even with all that, I could not hide my surprise at finding this new trend: Camouflage wedding rings.  Yes, you got that right, wedding rings with a camouflage design on them.  AND, these are not the only ones out there.  I found an amazing array of similar camouflage selections doing a simple search online.

Now, the non-southerner in me saw this and said "Oh, you have got to be kidding!" and the joker in me immediately though about how you won't be able to see the wedding rings because 'they're camouflaged' (cue laughter, har har har.) But the long time southern resident in me responded. "Yeah, anything is possible here in the south" - maybe even "The South."  (With requisite capital letters.)

You can find wedding rings with mickey mouse and probably even wedding rings with Dr. Who and there are all manner of wedding rings that resemble all manner of toys, hobbies, logos,  animals, planes, trains and automobiles.  It's a way to share part of your life in the design of the one thing that sets your marriage out in front of everyone.  The rings.  (My wedding ring resembles a Rolex Watch.  I have no idea why I put that in there, but it seemed like the place to put it.)

To the average person (read: Yankee) the inclusion of camo on a wedding ring may be somewhat against the traditions of the ceremony. To that I say...well, I'd like to say some things which are known to be used by  longshoremen and truckers but are best left out of blogs like this.

The South is known for traditions, but it is also known for breaking traditions and this is just that. It really doesn't matter what anyone wants on their rings (heck, I've seen marriages where they didn't even exchange rings) just as it doesn't matter their age, ethnic background or (yeah, I'm going there) their sexual identity.  Live and let be. probably can't see it anyway, cuz it's.....camouflaged! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

That Ever So Southern Magnolia Tree

All over the south, you can find the illustrious Magnolia Tree.  Some consider it the essential southern plant, and a requisite for a southern plantation appeal. The Magnolia is an ancient tree, appearing long before bees. (Yes, that's what they say!) They are a hearty tree, with large waxy leaves and a huge flower.  I've seen the flower itself as large as a dinner plate! 

Throughout the south there are restaurants, gift shops, hotels, art museums and I'm sure a lot of other businesses I've not mentioned who use the name Magnolia. It is synonymous with the South and southern gentility. I even know of one woman with the name Magnolia.  (Only one? I'm' sure there are others, I just haven't met them, though I am surprised there aren't a lot more.) 

When I began to write this article, I knew it would be short.  I knew I wanted to mention a few things, Magnolia names: check; older than bees: check; the one person I knew named Magnolia: also check. Knowing I had little more than a passing understanding of the noble plant, I turned to that tried and true center of all knowledge: Wikipedia.  

Wikipedia has a veritable gold mine of information on just about any subject under the sun. Magnolia trees included.  So, I looked, and I found what I needed.  Now, here comes the shocker.  Magnolia Trees are found more in Asia than in the US.  Yep, the main center of Magnolia trees can be found in east and southeast Asia with only a secondary center in eastern North America.  This also includes Central America, the West Indies, and some species in South America.

Well, at least we're 2nd on the list.  And now that I think on it, I bet they weren't counting the gift shops or people named Magnolia.  Yeah, that has to be it.  

I feel better now.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Head for Southern Decorating?

I've said it time and time again, I love the south.  I love the weather, the food, the people and the odd quirky things they do like wearing camouflage to a wedding.  After 20 years, I think I know the folks in the south. (They don't know me that well, but I'm working on it.) Now, that said, let's turn our Southern eye to the photo above.  I found it on 'another site' heading an articled on 'Southern Decorating.'

Now, when I first saw this, I said to myself, that ain't Southern. The color scheme seems more coastal Florida than anywhere in the south (and no, Florida is not really 'The South.")  But more than that, the chair should be camouflaged and those flowers should be magnolia blossoms.  I won't even address the cracked white washed dresser and the rattan carpet.  (Though someone close to me says that the whitewashed dresser is very southern, I'm still not convinced.) 

Even if all that were actually something a tried and true southerner could ascribe to, there is one thing in that photo which grates on my adopted Southern nerves. It's that deer head - or rather, the embroidered deer head. (Nicely placed with the flowers partially obscuring the neck...why? I have no idea.) Ok, so it's possible that southern men (and many southern women) enjoy hunting and might thereby put a stuffed deer or deer head on their wall, why does that mean that ANY deer head is therefore Southern?  I've seen more deer heads on walls of hotels in the west than I've seen in the south, which might seem to state that the embroidered southern deer head above is, in fact, not southern at all.  It's merely some way for some Nawthenuh to put a pedigree to the design they have cobbled together. 

Cracked white washed dresser aside, we got a plaid couch (no camo!) and embroidered deer head.  No, not southern. At least by my Southern experience.  And that's mighty extensive, even if it's not GOB Certified.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

That Quick 'n' Simple Repair

Southerners are very adept at making repairs. I've pointed out many of these repairs and southern ingenuity in making repairs before in my writings and I'm always amazed at the displayed ability in the doing. Myself?  Not so much.

I do a lot around the house, don't get me wrong. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know of the massive repair I've undertaken in the living room as just a sample.  I've got a long list of "Honey-Dos" that cover every end of the house and then some. Most take a lot of planning and more than a day or two in the completion.  But then I come upon one or two little jobs that I think, "Gee, this won't take long..."  and then I suffer. It's not my ability, it's the "didn't think this through" that gets to me.  

Case in point:  That picture up there.  See it?  It's a window in my laundry room, which used to be the garage and therefore has a high ceiling. The original owner (read: massive idiot) put in a hanging ceiling, much like you'd find in an office.  Two big 4 foot fluorescent light fixtures make the little laundry room nice and bright. But the previous owner (read: massive idiot) did only a half way job in closing it up.  This means that my cats love to get up in the drop ceiling by means of the folding table - to the dryer top - to the window sill - to the open end of the drop ceiling.  

Can't have that.  Time to close it up. I've got wood, I've got drywall and I've got drywall screws. It's about an hour's worth of work in total, so of course I think:
This won't take long!

It only takes a few minutes to cut the drywall and the small piece of wood I need and soon I've pulled up the ceiling tiles and am positioning the drywall for screwing it into place.  I've measured the drywall well but didn't take into account how the support (from the drop ceiling) would come into play.  The drywall pushes the support to the side.  I am careful to note this and quickly grab the support and move it back into posi -

This is the point at which almost the entire ceiling drops down on my head.  It turns out that neither of the big lights were properly installed (tied into the ceiling with eyes/hooks and steel wire) and the small movement of the support caused them to move just enough to fall through and since they were tied together, one pulled the other down.  It was loud and heavy when it hit my head and the laundry room was a disaster zone.  I cursed the previous owner (read: massive idiot) and then turned to cleaning up and fixing the dropped (literally) ceiling.

After a trip to the big hardware store, a small purchase of hooks, steel wire and a package of ceiling tiles, the lights were installed (and done properly, because I am not a massive idiot,) the drywall pieces blocked up the cat-access, and the ceiling tiles were in place.  Total time: about 6 hours.

If I had remembered that the previous owner (read: massive idiot) was, indeed, a massive idiot, I might have checked around up there in the drop ceiling more carefully, looking at the supports and layout, perhaps even cursing when I realized things were done poorly.  Instead, I had to clean the laundry room of broken glass and fallen lights.

I won't even go into the piece of the water heater which had to be replaced the next day, which, of course, took way longer than it should have.

Such is Life in the South.  Normally without massive idiots, but ...well, welcome to my world.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Grocery Greetings

Not too long ago, the lovely Mrs. and myself were doing our weekly grocery shopping when one of those truly Southern things happened.  We were loading our things from the grocery cart onto the moving belt when a dear sweet older woman noticed something we had decided to purchase and remarked how good it was.  (It was a spiral ham, and she went on and on about how tasty and delicious it was.) We agreed, as we had purchased this brand of ham before and were looking forward to having it again.

At this point the queue moved forward and we finished placing groceries onto the belt.  Now, you'd think that this is where things would let off.  No, not in the South.  You see, in the south, there is some sort of unrecognized rule which says that once you've begun a conversation with someone - anyone - that you are now the closest of friends. AND in so being, are now designated to receive all those interesting things that close friends share with one another...the uninteresting things, too.

So, at this point the dear sweet old lady began to tell us about her dearly departed husband John, and his love of ham, and how he cooked it himself, in the oven in their little house which they bought when they got married some many decades ago and how he worked on the recipe time and time again and served it at every gathering and church service and did we go to the same church, she went to the little garden church just down the road where they two of them got married some untold decades ago when that nice pastor oh what was his name again I think it was Bob no maybe David oh my memory is just gone to pot ever since I started smoking pot with my husband in the 70s  and have you tried the glaze they give you in that package of ham it's really pretty good and...  At this point my wife and I can only stare with wide eyes and steal glances at the cashier in hopes that this entire thing is almost over. No such luck. 

Later, my curiosity got the better of me and I took the time to ask a few older southerners, (read: neighbor Bubba) what caused this to happen.  The response: that's the "Old South for ya." From what my research has found, in years past, people in the south weren't as connected as they are now.  And, even so, they knew everyone in their area. Knew and, most likely were related to, too! A chance meeting at the grocery store was more than a quick "hey there!" It was time to catch up, reconnect and exchange more than just 'pleasantries.'  Even with the advancing technology, it's nice that Southerners still keep in touch, even if it is with total strangers.