Tag Archives: Blog

I am Expecting!!!

Yes, you read that correctly, I am expecting! If you are reading this blog then you will find out the true meaning of the title. See last weekend I wrote about my husband Chris going back to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He left his local job at Booz Allen Hamilton where he was less than challenged, to travel back and forth to Minneapolis, Minnesota. This job switch might mean that we have to move to a larger city for his job at PwC. But I don’t think anyone read that blog!

See, I think people just read the title and skipped the content. No one asked me any questions about my blog, “Single Again,” However, people asked other people if Chris and I were getting a divorce. This has forced me to make a new life rule! Life rule number six states, never ever will I post personal life changing news on Facebook, GraphiteFree, or in general the internet. Furthermore, I will not use Twitter or text messaging to deliver news to my friends and family that might be shocking or scandalous.

In conclusion, I am expecting you the reader to read the contents of my blogs in full. Don’t just read a title and assume that I am not wearing underwear (Going Commando), getting a divorce (Single Again), or I am pregnant (I am Expecting). Please, I encourage all people that can read the southern English language to read, comment, and correct my spelling. Please refrain from gossip based solely on the title of my blogs!

100th Post, 100 Words

My first journal was started in January of 1985. Wow! 25 years ago. Ironically, that was the month my younger brother died of meningitis. I only wrote in my little blue journal until early March, but it stood as a history for me as to what happened during those days. I wrote about things like who visited our family, and how I dealt with loss as a second grader.

Later I would write several journals while on expedition to England and France. I loved walking though some of Paris’ notable art galleries, sketching and jotting down my thoughts. I would capture all my thoughts and feelings into a spiral bound notebook to later ponder them.

Finally, last November I started this weblog – blog. I have enjoyed every minute of composition. To date, I have written 99 entries. For my 100th blog, I give you my 100 favorite words. This process has taken almost a week. I have scribbled and erased many times but here is my final list!

grace Thanksgiving sovereignty cheerios
glorious serendipity barbeque backpack
love perseverance Bully rockets
peace Yankees salt rifle
grand pottery pepper cantankerous
gordo rabbit skillet moonpie
cotton corn delta unflappable
puppies okra boots moleskine
friend chipotle quirky cat tails
whiskey jalapeño excellence dyslexia
grits integrity obstinate mentor
cuddle Dixon rules champion
red service stadium raptor
tiger aviation fire three
amazing baseball vigilance knife
camp Jesus blues mustang
Peabody space family Apollo
squire peanut butter bookkeeper ginger
adventure Ticonderoga Mississippi Olympics
freedom fuckity tiramisu gravity
wisdom Hampton kaleidoscope cross
cowbell dinosaur cornbread fish
fractious dictionary mercy misspell
Reagan liberty nomex fore
chocolate bacon graphite matches

Hope you enjoy my blogs? I enjoy writing them!

Welcome to 2010

Survival TrainingI started this grand and glorious year with my brother and nephews at Pilot/Co-Pilot camp, a program of Aviation Challenge. It was so much fun! Whoever runs that place is a redheaded mastermind of fun! It was great hanging out with my family at AC for the weekend! It didn’t matter that Reece, call sign Pigskin, looked like a homeless Vietnam War vet. God love the little man, but he doesn’t care how he looks. Rhett, call sign Yankee, was concerned with shooting Alvin down. We all wanted to seek revenge on someone. We are a very competitive family! Shot down everyone in the sims and won the Flag Award. We had our fire built before Cornbread came back to the Boy Scout Area with matches.

Great weekend. I think Walt and I will be remembered as the college football people (Ole Miss and Florida played in Bowl games), because everyone knows I have to keep up with Urban Meyer and his boy! Ole Miss, I was hoping, would get wrangled by the OSU Cowboys. Great weekend only leads me to believe this will be a great year!

I am looking forward to training the newbies, presenting at SEEC and Honeywell Leadership Academy, the Star Wars exhibit, another AC 12 Day camp, and who knows, maybe another trip to Prescott for Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale and a PBC Wedge, or maybe, just maybe a winning season for MSU football! This year I started a really cool five year journal. Every day for five years I will add a paragraph about the day. Quick thoughts, maybe the quote of the day or something like that. Sounds like fun!

With the new journal, I am going to make a few changes this New Year. And they are as follows:

  1. Wear more pink, “Pink is my signature color!”
  2. Watch more reality TV. I want to create a new show, “Real Housewives of the Barn.”
  3. Be more huggie! Being affectionate is the true sign of a great leader!
  4. Stop using Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. Truly, you can’t tell a difference in Dixons and the Staple’s brand.
  5. Finally, break up with Peyton; I think I am more interested in younger men now. Tim Tebow is a hottie!

Good luck and God Bless in 2010!

2009 Year In Review

Last year I had a lot of fun with my year in review blog. Therefore, I made an executive decision to continue the tradition this year. The year 2009 was a great year for me and my hubby Chris. We spent most of the time sleeping under the same roof which was a drastic change from the previous four years in our marriage. During the year I took an exploratory outlook on life. I returned to the Barn after a ten month break and began blogging about the misadventures of the Barn. It was a year of great highs and a few lows, but overall it was a wonderful year! Here are my top ten moments of 2009!!!

Green Bay Pre-Game10. Trip to Wisconsin: Visiting Lambeau Field would have been great if I had seen just any game. However, our visit to Lambeau field was for the Packers vs. Vikings game; the game where Brett Favre returned to the Frozen Tundra, his former home. The best part of the road trip was sharing the adventure with my mom, dad, and Chris. The part that sucked was throwing up in the back seat of my mom’s Lincoln Navigator. All is well in the world, and Brett Favre was victorious!

9. Arizona Traffic School: This doesn’t sound like it should be a highlight of my year’s adventures. However, the recruiting trip to Prescott, Arizona is one of my favorite work assignments. During the fall, Snapper and I made our way back to Embry Riddle for the third time. On the trip into Prescott, a traffic camera caught me speeding. I am well versed in what to say to an officer when they pull me over. I was left speechless when I received a speeding ticket in the mail. One Saturday morning in December I played Mariah Carey music while I completed my online traffic school. The only thing that would have made Arizona traffic school better would have been a PBC Wedge from the Prescott Brewing Company.

8. The Plumber App: With a Twisted Taco cup in one hand and a crescent wrench in the other hand I attempted to fix my tub’s broken facet. I am not a plumber nor should I ever become one. In this attempt I broke my Motorola Razor and made way for my darling husband to purchase me, at long last, an iPhone with Plumber App. Looking back at this mini adventure and all the laughs it was well worth the mess I made in my bathroom.

7. Flaming Hookers: I am not going to tell the whole story, but the night of the Space Camp Hall of Fame a few friends and I continued the party at a local watering hole (ATO). This is where I was introduced to a Flaming Hooker. No, it isn’t a lady of the night who is being cremated. It is a drink made popular to space geeks in the book Riding Rockets. This story really isn’t the highlight but gives a great example of the fun I have had socializing with friends, astronauts, and space geeks. The top memory for me wasn’t the night of the hall of fame, but happened a few weeks later when I visited with a few members of STS-125 and Hoot Gibson. It was great sharing Story stories with Michael Massimino. Now I know how the bolt on Hubble was over torqued.

Jack Daniels (Dec 2009)6. Becoming a Squire: Last year while standing in line at Jack Daniel’s, waiting in the bitter cold to have bottles signed, Divot and I made a commitment to visit Lynchburg on a regular basis until one or both of us were Squires. In April of 2009, I received my deed to land at Jack Daniel’s making me a Tennessee Squire. Divot and I continued to visit the distillery and go to bottle signings. Visiting Lynchburg is fun, and being a Squire is a big deal to me!

5. Houston in February: Right after training dozens of new Space Camp counselors, I get away from my job by flying to Houston Texas to attended SEEC. Yes, it is a vacation to me! Learning more about space may make me a space geek, but hanging out with teachers from all over the U.S. is fun to me. Hanging out with my friend Rhonda is a plus! Last year we took a break from the conference to watch Pat Summitt win her 1,000th game as a head coach. I think Urban Meyer can learn a few things from Pat Summitt. She has 8 NCAA Championships over 35 years of coaching. Meyer has two BCS Titles in his young career. Coach Summitt, Rhonda, and NASA are all pretty dang cool!

4. Bourbon Trail: In late August I took a road trip to Kentucky. I was all by myself on this excursion. I visited Mammoth Cave and five bourbon distilleries. Along the way I learned a lot about Kentucky’s history, how to make bourbon, and why Jack Daniel’s is the best whiskey. True, you may think I am a traitor for visiting Jack competitors, but I wanted to see for myself what the difference was between Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey. If you decide to visit the Bourbon Trail, make sure you visit Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. By far, those two distilleries have the best tours and a better product than the other bourbons.

Lucy's First Egg Bowl3. Lucy’s Bell: What do you get when you mix family with Mississippi State tailgating? The answer is, the best Egg Bowl ever! It was Lucy’s first Egg Bowl so she got a brand new pink bell from the Barns & Noble at State. Mississippi State gave Lucy and all their adoring fans lots of reasons to ring their cowbells this year in Starkville. Once State took the lead in the third quarter they didn’t give it up again as they pounced on Ole Miss 41-24! I know there have been bigger wins in MSU history, but for me this was the best one ever! My whole family was there for the game as we joined my aunts and uncles for pre and post game refreshments. Days and games like the Egg Bowl can show everyone outside of the South why SEC football is so near and dear to its followers!

2. Epic Return to the Barn: I left work at the Barn in the spring of 2008 just shy of five years with the store. I didn’t think I would return, but in March of this year I did. I was surprised after returning that I love working at the Barn more now than ever before! There is something about it. It is like when I left I was simply a Barnyard Hand in Training. Now, I feel like a Barn Ninja. And on top of all the fun I have working at the Barn, when I get home I can write about working at the Barn. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Working with characters (boy, are they characters) such as Hudson, Manhattan, Josephine Bedding and all the others is fun and enjoyable. Isn’t that what we should want in any job?

Red Bull stew1. Chief Reunion: In late July Chris and I visited Camp of the Rising Son for its 30 year reunion. Wow, CRS has been around for 30 years! I enjoyed visiting the camp that gave me my start as a camper and my first job as a camp counselor. It was wonderful visiting with old friends, I mean Chiefs. The whole process was a blessing as I reconnected with so many people. One of the highlights for me was my team winning the Camp Stew Cook Off! The secret is in the bacon! Unfortunately for me, some stories of the past did surface. I would like to tell everyone reading, I am truly sorry for tossing a bucket of water on a past Chief. And yes, the bucket had a few frogs in it. As a camp manager, I have learned that pranks are bad for camp.

Camp is my life! It has molded me into who I am today. I am a rambunctious, redhead who isn’t afraid of adventure. I love my family more than camp, but it is good going to a job you love every single day. My job has given me a lot of the experience listed above. I am lucky to have a great life surrounded by people I love, and who I think love me, or at least they don’t dislike me. So I am looking forward to the adventures of next year, and the next decade. I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Bucking Tradition

Manger Growing up Christmas was so special. You learn about the birth of Christ in the nativity play. You witness the compassion and giving through family gatherings on Christmas day. Santa is a larger than life figure in a child’s development. The magic he represents and the belief that anything is possible can impact a child to dream big dreams. For me Christmas was all those things, but now I am just like all other adults I have stopped believing in Christmas.

My father laid a foundation of Christian beliefs before the belief of Santa and his elves. Each year before opening presents he would read the nativity story from Luke 2. He would always remind us that Christmas was more about our Lord giving his Son to us than it was about gifts and treats. I remember enjoying being in the Christmas play and sign carols at church. I loved Christmas.

One year in the late 80s my father and I heard a story about a cross being removed from hill side public land during the Christmas season. To answer this action, my dad build a ninety foot cross with PVC pipe and strands of Christmas lights. Drivers could see the cross from US 51 and sometime Interstate 55. I remember playing outside in the glow of that cross. It was comforting and somewhat protective. No one could change the culture on our hill in Carroll County.

As a thirty-three year old kid I don’t enjoy Christmas as much. I have seen the world and all its marketing executives hijack the meaning of Christmas. I work in a retail job where I see people flood into our store and the mall just to find stuff for people who do not need stuff. Most of the time what these people really need is love, hope, peace, or grace. So often in our modern, on the go, culture we forget the simple things. I have grown to hate Christmas as an adult. I know that is some strong words. However, we creep ever closer to forgetting what love really means.

For example, advertisements for jewelry stories trying to convince consumers that diamonds are the sign and seal of “True Love!” That if anyone wants to tell their significant other how much he or she really means to them they should buy a diamond and give it to them in a driving thunderstorm or at 2 AM beside the Christmas tree. What is love any how? Isn’t it patient, kind, protective, trusting, and true? And the only one who I think can pull off that kind of love is the exact person Christmas is supposes to honor and glorify, not Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, Saint Nick or any bearded old man in a red suit.

If you have been reading my blog since the start, this may all sound a little familiar. In my second blog entry, Traditions and Symbols, I talked about creating a new Christmas tradition of using a “feed trough” rather than a Christmas tree in my home. Pottery Barn didn’t catch the trend, but my father made me a darn nice manger. This year my gifts are wrapped in brown paper packages and tied up with string laying gently in a manger, just like baby Jesus thousands of years ago. Having my manger has melted just little of my Christmas hostility.

So I encourage everyone to finds something about Christmas they love. Latch on to some old traditions, break some rules, be nice to everyone, and create your own tradition. Our lives are not going to be as perfect as the Zales commercial might lead us to think they should be. However, if we put our faith in Christ and follow his example for life our next life will be perfect!

Blogging for Blog Sake

Lots of GraphiteLast year on November 27th I posted my first blog on Blogger, and I have enjoyed every minute of the adventure. I am not blogging to make money, market a product, give cooking tips, or improve your golf game. I am not a mommy blogger or topical blogger. I am blogging to improve my writing skills. Yes, you read that correctly, I am blogging just for the heck of it. I am not hoping to get a book deal or have fifty-two minutes of fame. I am simply doing it to grow as a person and as a writer.

Growing up I struggled with the English language, and yes, being from the south there is a wise crack there somewhere. I couldn’t spell, didn’t know how to diagram a sentence, nor could I tell you the difference between a preposition and a participle. Despite my struggles I graduated high school and college. In fifth grade I was evaluated for a learning disability. My parents and I learned that I don’t decode words the same way most people do. I see the shape and my brain breaks words down like it would art or a geometry problem. I see shapes not sounds. The examiner told me that a typewriter was in my future. Wow, he couldn’t tell the future but was close, because I got a laptop!

My freshman year at Delta State I had one of the toughest English composition professors, Dr. Sarcone. I was scared to death of her. She kicked my butt, however I didn’t give up. She would tear my papers to shreds and then stomp on them. If only she had used a Dixon Ticonderoga correction pencil I could have found some positive in the class. There was one paper I wrote about living in a small town that she liked. As shocking as that was, I still couldn’t spell and I didn’t read so well, but this small bit of encouragement fueled me not to give up on school.

I sometimes feel like my blog is very “me” centered, like I want to draw attention to myself. This is not my intention, but I do want feedback. I want people to tell me if I have typos or misspelled words in a blog. I would like to know if I make sense to the general public. Looking back on my year of blogging I asked people on Facebook what their favorite blogs were. Facebook is where most people read my digital ramblings. There was no clear cut best blog and it seemed like all I was doing was drawing more attention to myself and butchering the English language. I have narrowed the list down to ten of my favorite blogs. Before I give you my top ten blogs, here are a few fast facts about my year in blogging…

  • I have written 83 blogs. Combine them all together, they account for more writing than I did in all four years of college at Delta State.  Sad, but true.
  • I started blogging on Google’s Blogger, but recently I have switched to WordPress.org using a personal server. I have some regrets to the switch, but the editing flexibility is worth it.
  • I have divided my blogs into seven categories and my favorite category to write about is the Barn. I get to use more creative license with Barn blogs than any other.
  • Facebook pushed more people to my site than any other referral site, almost as much as direct links to graphitefree.com. If you are considering blogging, make sure you have a great network of friends on Facebook.

After those few facts, I am sure you will not be interested in my best blogs to date; however, I will tell you anyhow. You can stop reading; we do still live in a free country! In no particular order here is a few of my favorite ramblings.

Boo in Sleeping BagHouse Guest: I loved writing this sentimental blog, but I knew that I was hooked on my new hobby of blogging when in the middle of the night Salem the cat used me as a pillow. I thought to myself, “This would make a great blog”. I was addicted and I didn’t even know it at the time.

Plumber App: Plumber App was a great way for me to poke fun at my awkwardly ironic life. It was short and to the point, but funny. And it was fun to write.

Barn Gone Wild: I enjoy writing Barn blogs more than any other topic. I started writing my twist on my retail experience in June. I have to be creative with my Barn banter to help protect the identity of those who shop and work at the Barn. And those who know what I am talking about seem to think it is funny stuff.

Dead Bird: This blog give a great description of why my job is one of the coolest jobs on earth. I can walk down a sidewalk, get distracted and meet a moonwalker. Or I can hang out with space shuttle commanders at Otters giving a new meaning to ATO!

Raptor (1997)Piggly Wiggly Flu: A very deep topic, I almost didn’t post it because it may be too heavy for readers, especially on Facebook. I was wrong. A lot of people enjoyed it and was pleased that I wrote it. Keep washing those hands and taking vitamin C!

Ode to the Raptor: I write about camp, a lot! Since I was young all I ever wanted to do was work at a summer camp. From Camp Garaywa, to CRS, and now at Aviation Challenge I love the dynamic educational environment around camps. This blog represents the best in the camp spirit. I love my AC family and that includes the Raptor.

A Jack Daniels Still Bourbon Trail Blogs: I love my adventure blogs, because my first journal was a travel journal. Lookin’ for Adventure, Joe and Jim, Who is Elmer T. Lee? and White Dog were the blogs I wrote while on my Kentucky adventure. I can’t just pick one because I like them all. While I was gone I realize that if I don’t make it with my real job or working at the Barn, I could write for travel magazine.

Benefits to Jack Daniels: Chris made a contact with his current employer while sharing a meal with strangers at Miss Mary Bobo’s in Lynchburg, Tennessee. His move from PwC to Booz Allen Hamilton has forced us to be married… first time in five year of marriage.

Good Okra Hunting: I love my college. Sharing my love for Delta State and the Mississippi Delta is so enjoyable to me. I wrote this blog after a recruiting trip to DSU with Amazon. I got to find new places to eat and catch up with a few professors and friends.

I Think I May Lose My Job: My blog is about my random rambling about my life. When Bill Belichick went for it on fourth down against the Colts I knew I wouldn’t get much done at work the next day. I love Peyton Manning and I love went Boston teams loose!

AC Birthday Bonanza

Funfetti Cake... Dixons! Today was my birthday! Someone told me it was a special day. I replied with “I am too old for a special day”.  Reluctantly, today has been a very special day. From birthday greetings on Facebook, to the delivery of the F-16 engine at Aviation Challenge, it was a spectacular day! Today would have a been a great day if all I did was hang out on the right wing of Story Musgrave’s T-38 while Snapper and Slip Knot taped the plane. Today would have been great if I had only hung out with Tank and Divot as the engine was lifted off the 18-wheeler. But I got to hang out with all my friends.

My birthday started with a text message to my friend and delta twin Emily Erwin. Emily and I graduated from Delta State together a really long time ago. One spring afternoon, way back in 1996, on a golf course with Ricky Jones we discovered that we shared a birthday. Emily has always been one of my favorite people. Knowing that I share my birthday with the coolest, curly haired chick in the Mississippi Delta is special… Special day confirmed! She pointed out that year 33 should be known as the Year of Boo. Not my dog, but Boo Ferris the former Boston Red Sox pitcher and Delta resident! Emily is the curator of the Boo Ferris museum.

F-16 Engine... Pratt Whittney Perfection!This morning I arrived at camp, and the fact that I work at a camp is pretty special all by it’s self. Breakfast was chicken biscuits in the chilly rail car. All was great I thought, I thought that the plane would be painted before lunch, but I was wrong. Unexpectedly a super secret terrorist organization kidnapped all of the AC management team but me and I had to rush to their rescue. Not really, but that was the scenario I was given. I rushed to the freshly painted Hab3 showers, climbed the Pamper pole, raced to the Davidson Center, right justified, and then toward A Time for Courage. All made sense when I finally made it to the Corporate Classroom, not the Board room, and found all my fellow buds along side a funfetti cake and power point projection.

Slip Knot was the pastry chef this year! She made three cakes, two Dixon Ticonderoga pencil cakes and a chocolate checker board cake for Marcia who doesn’t like funfetti. Marcia didn’t know that funfetti was the official cake of Aviation Challenge! The gang had tried surprising me with a website for my blog. I had forgotten to tell them that graphitefree.com was already my domain name, so that wasn’t an option. They did give me number 2 Dixon Ticonderogas with graphitefree.com stamped on them. I am very excited!!!

T-38 Table!!!Shortly there after, we got a call for the recruiting goddess, Charity N. Stewart, about the F-16 engine making a legal U-turn in front of HR and headed to Aviation Challenge. But the day wasn’t over after the F-16 engine was put into place. I got to help (in a small way) put the stripes on the T-38. Discussing the future paint scheme of the YAV-8B Harrier was another highlight to an already special day. The Harrier will be a great paint testament to all those who love Aviation Challenge. It will show what pride, professionalism, and leadership truly is to all the campers and staff in the next generation of AC. I love my life at AC! I love eating lunch on the wing of the T-38! I love seeing things improve throughout the years. I love funfetti and all the other official AC brands!

Poverty Barn

This weekend was a great weekend at the Barn. I had been away from the Barn for over a week. Returning from a trip to Wisconsin and a recruiting trip to Florida, it was great to work with all my friends on Sunday. I got to work with an old timer Manhattan Chair. Manhattan and I go way back… back, back, back, back, all the way back to the store opening. Earlier this fall we celebrated our Barn’s sixth anniversary by working together. I have learned a lot from everyone I have worked with, but Manhattan has taught me a lot about management and the PB way!!!

I want to share one of Manhattan’s stories with you first.  She had a guest that wanted to freshen up her bedroom décor. Fresh being the key word… This guest needed something new to re-energize a room that had given her so many memories. She shared that so many men had influenced her life and this was represented in her bedroom. She had dated a Protestant, a Catholic, and… {whispering} a Muslim… she had been married to an American, a Russian, and a Canadian. At this point in time, I would have boldly stated, “I feel so uncomfortable!!!” Not the calm, cool and collected Manhattan Chair! The guest was asking for intimately more than decorating advice. She stared a blushing situation down without blinking an eye. I on the other hand would have run screaming into the back of the Barn. No time to chat about rolling in the hay around this Barn.

I had the privilege of meeting a delightful couple in need of a dining table and chairs. This I could handle! They reminded me of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. The Montego family sat in one chair and it was too BIG. They tried another chair and it was too SMALL. They finally found a chair that was just RIGHT!! It was so charming how they moved from one chair to the next and communicated their likes and dislikes. They looked at this table and that table and found the one that was just right for them. They asked me if it would be going on sale anytime soon. Unfortunately for them the Barn’s executives don’t share top secret pricing information with little ole me. I shared with them some shopping strategies and tips and they shared with me their pet name for the Barn.

Before I tell you their clever name for the Barn, the Montegos are loyal lovers of the Barn. I am sure they are just Dave Ramsey disciples. Their pet name is a great reminder that the Barn must truly appreciate their loyal lovers during this economic down turn. Thus, customer service is a must! They lovingly call the Barn, Poverty Barn, because if you shop too much at the Barn, you will be forced to live in the poverty house. As soon as they shared their pet name, they gave me permission to use the name. So I shared with them my little blog that I sometimes write about the best retail store in Huntsville!!! I think me and the Montegos are kindred spirits. I hope I am at the Barn when they purchase their dining room table.

Barn Yard Behavior

It was great to be back at the Barn after traveling around the southeastern states. I look so forward to my time at the Barn on the weekends, because so many of our regular visitors stop by to say hello. This weekend we had so many friends and family come a calling. I was stationed in the back of the Barn which is a great spot to people watch.

I noticed that some Barn visitors wear their sunglasses inside. I guess they are just that cool. The lady wearing her Chanel shades made a mess of everything. She looked at the pillow covers, and tossed them back. She rummaged through the baskets only to leave some in the floor. She even pulled rugs off the display table. I guess those glasses keep her from seeing the mess she was making.

There was another friend who visited. We know Savannah because she has a twin, Havana. Savannah and Havana are identical twins with identically good tastes; they shop at the Barn. Savannah and her hubby are decorating their new home. She worked with almost every barn yard hand to find all of her decorative items. Going through so many hands we would call her a barn utensil. She needed a mirror, candle sticks, pillows, and bed linens. It is so fun to see a new bride with a new house shopping in the Barn. Heck, I remember that feeling. I picked up two dinning tables, two desks, a media suite, several rugs, and some knives from the farm kitchen. Savannah is a great friend and we enjoyed serving her.

The last friend who visited during my shift was a wonderful woman named Bella Beer Mug. She is a Russian immigrant who loves to bargain. “In Russia, we wheel and deal… haggle.” Magnolia Garland says Bella visits every Friday to visit her twig hat rack. Another married couple visited the Barn earlier in my shift and purchased the twig hat rack. I am sure after their honeymoon they will return the hat rack, but for this evening there wasn’t a rack in the back to sell. Bella came in to the Barn with all of her soviet swagger. “In Russia there are discounts on the last items.” I thought to myself “In Russia there are no Barns.” This made sense to me, not Bella. She tried her best to purchase the twig rack at a discounted rate.  Heather Chenille stood his ground, firmly dedicated to the cause, proclaiming capitalism and barn yard profits. Bella walked out of the store with a bubble wrapped twig in plastic bags, but it was at full price.

So God bless capitalism, and the men who created this great land. When Ronald Regan stood in Berlin asking Mr. Gorbachev to tear down “this wall” I am sure he didn’t expect the shock waves to be felt in the Barn in 2009. I love America! I love that we can build a better space station than those “godless commies” could ever dream of building. I learned that language from an astronaut friend of mine. I love that I can purchase a scent diffuser one day and a semiautomatic hand gun the next. God Bless the USA!

Going Commando

Stop! I am not referring to what you think I am referring to. I have started to use this term to refer to sending emails, posting blogs, or writing letters without letting others proof my work. I must admit, I like using this term in this way. Because, knowing that someone else has looked over my writing is reassuring. Just like…

Let’s begin by defining the term for those who are not familiar with this unique piece of phraseology. “Going commando” is defined by Wikipedia as the practice of not wearing underwear under one’s outer clothing. I could take this in many different directions that would lead me to the gutter. Please, this is not my intent.

Everyone has gone commando at some point in their life. Whether it is while attending a party as a Sweet Potato Queen or just in a hospital gown, you have experienced going commando. I would like you to consider the comfort in knowing you are well covered. Think of it this way, remember your mother packing extra undies when you would go off to camp… just incase. It is comforting knowing that if something would go awry you would be covered. Or your mom asking if you had on clean Fruit of the Looms before going out, just in case you were in an automobile accident.

I refer to posting a blog without editing as “going commando” because of the comfort level. If you know me, you know I can’t spell. Let’s imagine I posted a blog without editing it and Dr. Sarcone of the English Department at Delta State finds my blog and grades it. I would be horrified. So to me there is no greater fear than to be caught with a horrendous blog post, with crazy grammar or obvious spelling errors.

So, I want to introduce and thank my army of editors… three to be exact! They have helped me write and have laughed at my mistakes. But it is wonderful to have friends that can help a poor learning impaired kid like me.

Chief Editor and husband, Chris Key, he is a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Advisory practice; he is just a computer geek, not an accountant. He has been helping with job resumes, grant proposals, letters, and blog postings since we began dating in 2001. He can decode Ruth better than any other human. However he sometimes makes me sound smarter than I truly am.

Editor and Yankee Girl, Charity Nehls Stewart, she works in HR at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. She has been editing and inspiring me since Alumni Andi. Charity will be the first to point me in the right direction if I am uncertain of what to write about. I can not only use her as a spell check, but can bounce ideas off of her. Big thanks!

Chief speller and aquatics goddess, Wendi Scott, she works with me at Aviation Challenge. She does the majority of my OTSS (on the spot spelling) in the rail car at AC. She helps out all the poor spellers in the office. Heck, everyone needs a Wendi around their office or home. She is really good at the really long words like, floccinaucinihilipilification. Check me this is a real word and I spelled it correctly!

So I hope I didn’t shock you with the title or the new meaning for a somewhat naughty phrase. But think of your comfort level in a hospital gown and your comfort level when you are in your favorite pajamas. Now can you see where I can make this comparison? I can’t spell worth spit! Having an editor handy is better than packing extra undies.

Introduction to Graphite Free

Welcome to my blog, Graphite Free! I have thought about creating a blog for many months. But always thought it would be true vanity to post my writings online for the world. I came to the conclusion that the world wouldn’t be reading my post. I am sure there will only be three people to read my blog.

Why a blog?

Spell check is the simple answer. I love to write and I enjoy compiling information in my journal. But years from now, after my death someone will read my journal and come to the conclusion that Delta State University should take away my 1999 Bachelors of Science in Education because of my poor spelling and sentence structure. With a blog, I can have someone proof my writing.

Why Graphite Free for the title?

Everyone who knows me knows how I love to use Dixon Ticonderoga’s world famous #2 pencils. Graphite is the main component of a pencil core. This blog is most definitely free from pencil markings. My love of pencils is why I selected an image of a Dixon Ticonderoga on my journal as my profile picture.

What will I write about?

There will not be a running theme on Graphite Free, but I will write about many, many topics. I am sure I will cover two of the three subjects you can’t talk to campers about at Space Camp. The three things you absolutely positively can’t talk about are religion, politics, and sexuality. Religion and politics are my two most favorite things to talk about. So I am sure those topics will be highlighted often. I will leave sexuality for my friend Anderson to write about.

Things to remember…

I invite all to read, comment, or correct my spelling. I will cover a variety of topics and useless information. I will tell stories, rant about the political scene in American, or share jokes. This will not be one of those blogs consisting only of family anecdotes. I promise never to talk about underwear in the context of explaining how hot a summer is. If I bore you, simply stop reading.

And yes, there will be inside jokes. So read often.