Monday, October 20, 2008


I have yet another friend who has felt compelled to lend a hand in our countries … need to … put people in harm’s way. In every way I want to support him, just like I did Josh, while he’s over there. It doesn’t matter whether I understand or like why we’re there. What matters is I respect and admire Ken. One of the ways I’m doing “my bit” is to write a weekly letter to him. I wrote to Josh too and told him upfront that I expected no replies in return – it was just the only way I knew I could “do my part”.

After I finished this week’s missive, I realized it would be a good round up for all of you too. So, I’m plagiarizing from my intimate correspondence to feed the www.

I started by wishing him “Happy – “First Weekday of Fall".

If you know anything about the seasons, you know the autumnal equinox happened back in September. But here, in our corner of the universe, I think it officially began this weekend. My heater roused itself from its long sleep and awoke me in the yesterday and this morning ... trying to reassure me the house was warm enough to leave my bed.

Of course ... I had to fight with myself to leave my warm and comfy confines behind. In all honesty, most mornings are like that. It's not that I don't like mornings. Actually my best hours are between 6:00 am and 11:00 am - but there's just something so seductive about curling up and reviewing your dreams and hopes before facing the day, ya know?

Another indicator of fall for me is the cotton harvest. It started about the 2nd or 3rd week of September - and I'd say we're in full swing now. Work is busy. This year it's a little less chaotic. I think the fact that we're only expecting a 12-11 mbc (million bale crop), as opposed to the 22 mbc we had in 2006, has a lot to do with the pace of this harvest and the calls for this season. Most of our customers have been using this current iteration of our software for at least two years - and some as long as eight. Those that followed us from the DOS platform have been using it since ’91 or ’92. Familiarity breeds confidence and skill. (Thank you God).

We still have the people who are dumber than dirt - and it won't matter how long they use the product, they still ask questions like this.

Them: "What do I do next?"

Me: "What's on the screen?"

Them: "To do blah-blah-blah click OK"

Me: (Thinking I've forgotten a screen design) "And what are your button choices?"

Them: "Okay"

Me: "That's your only choice??"

Them: "Yes. What do I do?"

Me: (because you know I cannot squelch my inner asshole) "Choose "No".

Them: "There's no "No" button."

Me: "Choose "Cancel".

Them: (sounding slightly panicked) "I can't do that, it's not there."

Me: "Oh? I'm sorry - what were your choices again?"

Them: "OK"

Me: "I guess you don't really have A CHOICE then, do you??? Click OK".

Usually they don't get it ... but it makes me laugh.

In other news ... the front lawn of our church is once again orange (Our youth sell pumpkins as a fund raiser, and it’s how I happened to start attending this church). At the other end of the color spectrum our ears were bleeding red in the Connection service on Sunday. Seems some people (who shall remain nameless - but NOT Barry) claim to, "know how to work soundboards" and are "helping out".

Last week - EVERY SONG had heavy reverb. It worked really well on one song - but sounded kind of weird on the others. Of course THE BEST PART was when they didn't turn it off - and the Director of Music started talking.

"Nnnnooowwww, nnnooowww, nowwwwww Iiiiiii wannnnttttt youuuuuu alllll to think think think think aboutttttt the wordssss, wwwwordddsss, worrrrdsss of thisssssss next songgggg, songggg, songggg as we singggg, singggg, singggg.”


You also couldn't hear the singers ... but MAN! Those DRUMS!! and THAT GUITAR AND PIANO!!! were AWESOME!!

It was SO LOUD I felt like the stereotypical "little old lady".

"Why do they have to make it so loooouuud," I wanted to wail.

However, I was sure they wouldn't be able to hear me.

Tomorrow night when I go to rehearsal I might mention it. I dunno. I doubt it will do any good.

One good thing about the last two weekends (excluding the ick that is working ½ days on the weekend) is that I've been home long enough to do some cooking.

Of course fall brings up all these great hearty seasonal dishes. October means pumpkin - so I've been experimenting. I found a recipe for "Chipotle Pumpkin and Turkey Chilie" and made it one night. It didn't quite turn out what I'd envisioned and set my mouth for ... but I think with a little tweaking it will get there.

Another night I made Chipotle Glazed Chicken with Pumpkin Mole. (a Mexican inspired dish). This one TOTALLY lived up to my expectations and I served it again when my friend, Gayle from Chicago, came to town for a business meeting. She spent Tuesday night with me - and we cooked, and laughed, and nibbled and caught up on all the "girl talk".

This weekend I made Baked Rigatoni with Pesto on Saturday night - and then last night I had my neighbor over for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas. Today I had the left over enchiladas with rice and black beans for lunch. Now I'm warming up the Baked Rigatoni for dinner.

This week, besides rehearsal Tuesday night, my dinner group is coming here Sunday - for - DINNER! (I know - surprise ending, huh?)

I'm going to make Beef in Guinness with puff-pastry for the main dish.(It's a stew - with BEER! What could go wrong??)

I know it’s been forever since I’ve written. You can all rest easy knowing that November is just around the corner – and I once again plan to keep my commitment to NaBloPoMo.

There are several reasons I haven’t been publishing anything. If you’re pay attention, you noticed I wrote, “Not Publishing”, which is different than “Not Writing.” I have been writing – or maybe more accurately “editing and drafting and plotting.”

In order to draft and plot, I’ve once again dug into researching – which makes writing slow going.

Another past activity I’ve made more time for this summer and fall has been reading. Last fall, between being in school for a writing class and writing for the web, my reading time was all but killed.

I was on the road so much, it restored my time and desire for reading material.

Here’s a partial list of my meanderings (esoterically, guttural, instructional, and thoughtful, all mashed together):

American Alchemy – The California Gold Rush and Middle-Class Culture

Cook’s Tour of Mississippi

Roast Chicken and Other Stories, Simon Hopkinson (a Christmas gift from Chris)

Sin in the Second City, Karen Abbott

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, Gail Tsukiyama

Cold Running Creek, Zelda Lockhart

Up Island (re-reading because I was melancholy for a brief spell), Anne Rivers Siddons

The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson

Iodine, Haven Kimmel

Hard Laughter, Anne Lamott

Currently I’m plowing through Here Kitty, Kitty – Jardine Libaire. It’s not really what I enjoy – but there are times when I’m willing to read “anything” because I’ve got “nothing” lined up.

I think the book that’s made the biggest impact on me, since last years “Eat, Pray, Love” has been Michael Pollan’s, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Several of my friends caught me reading it and wanted to know why I was reading “school books” (ie: not light fluff). Some other people (primarily those in my industry) had comments along the lines of, “those liberal greenie-weenies” doesn’t it just make your blood boil?

And you know – I think this book just beings to scratch the dichotomy between what I do for a profession and what I think as an individual. I’ll leave it at that for tonight.

Now – that cozy bed is calling. See you all “soon-ish”


Bob said...

your discussion of work makes me nostalgic - we used to have a cotton dept. that used commercial software for our laydowns. when we closed or last greige plant the cotton dept soon followed. nowdays I sometime wonder if I'm still working in textiles and not in import/export.

The Purple Panda said...

I missed reading your stuff, Mit! Especially like the autumnal descriptions (makes me nostalgic for New England).
And don't forget: good writers borrow from other good writers; great writers outright steal from them (and, btw, I stole that from Aaron Sorkin). :)

I H8 24 said...

Ok. I confess that I'm one of those who need a confirmation from you before clicking "okay". It's just a ginning thing. We are all so "not comfortable" when we make some of those selections! It's like we're looking for your approval and let's face it, if you weren't so good at your job, you wouldn't have all the customers in the south calling and specifically asking for you!! I was so happy today that I finally figured something out and was comfortable doing it on my own. You know me and that unprocessing thing!! Anyway, glad you finally posted and as usual, it was great! Your food sounds heavenly! I have been reading a lot also. I carry a book in my purse and take it out to the gin when I'm in the weigh booth, although, it's kinda hard to keep your place when we're pressing out a bale every minute, five!!!

Megan said...

Hee. I would totally call and ask questions just to have you make fun of me...that story would be funny even if I were the moron in it.