A Tour of Photo Forums, not Memes

spincyclesmallThis week’s Spin Cycle topic is “Memes.”

I’ve been participating in various photo memes forums, almost from the first weeks I discovered blogging. As my son Kyle said, it gives me a place to showcase the thousands of photos that I have.

(We’ve been informed by Spritetskeeper that these are not truly “memes.” Technically they are forums.)

One thing I’ve never really posted about it is the fact that my husband and I attempted to publish a small, community based magazine called Scene Magazine a few years ago. We were laid off at the time, it was my uncle’s business that he was trying to sell  so he could move to sunny Sarasota, Fla. and it seemed like a fun idea to take it over from him.

I’ve never had more fun in my life.

Scene Magazine gave me a creative outlet to write about something I love passionately – my hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. It also introduced me to the fascinating world of photography. Our camera started going with us everywhere, as we were constantly on the lookout for a stunning shot that would become our next cover.

Reality set in eighteen months later, in the form of a bill from Cobra Ins. I realized then that if I wanted to keep some kind of health insurance I needed to get a real job.

This left me with a large collection of photos of the beautiful area that we live in, as well as an addiction to taking photos that did not go away. I was thrilled when I discovered  City Daily Photo, a website that encourages folks to publish a photo a day on their personal blog of their own cities all over the world. When I found out that Wilmington, NC was not yet on the list, I immediately started Wilmington Daily Photo.

I get a kick of knowing that my simple photos of Wilmington, NC are displayed on the City Daily Blog every day, alongside  exotic places like Drammen, Norway and Sophia, Bulgaria!

This photo is not only displayed on the my About Wilmington page, but is an actual cover shot that we used for one of our issues of Scene Magazine. It is a photo of the Wilmington waterfront, from the other side of the Cape Fear River.

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I have since then become addicted to participating in all kinds of photo memes forums. Sometimes I post a photo on here (When Ginger snaps…) and sometimes on Wilmington Daily, depending on which blog I think the photo best fits.

This is a picture I posted for a meme called Macro Monday. This was posted on my Wilmington Daily Photo Blog.

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I posted this picture, of myself in a gift shop at The Biltmore House in Asheville, on a  meme photo forum called Ruby Tuesday. It was my first entry for this meme. I really look forward to Ruby Tuesdays. I find myself looking for red items to photograph all week long!

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This one was on a meme forum called Watery Wednesday. I called it Floating Downstream. We took this in Playa Del Carmen when we were on a cruise.

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This is a photo of my step daughter, that I posted on the meme forum called I Heart Faces.

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The majestic Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, posted on Wilmington Daily Photo, for a meme forum called Monochrome Weekly.

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My little grand daughter, Freya, looking at my husband, her “Pop Pop.” Isn’t this just worth a thousand words? I chose this one for a meme forum called A Thousand Words Thursdays.

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And last but not least, I can’t leave out Shadow Shot Sunday. This is a fun meme forum that has folks posting pictures of shadows, and the photos are always creative and interesting. This is one that I posted, of a couple overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in Kure Beach, NC.

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I hope y’all will go and visit some of these photo forums and think about participating if you don’t already. And if anyone has any suggestions of any others that I haven’t discovered, then hey, comment me already!

K? Thanks!

Driving Miss Lucy

spincyclesmallIt’s time to do another Spin Cycle. Finally. I know. This week the topic was “driving”. And, miraculously, I thought of something to say about it.

Now I have to admit, I’ve been real reluctant to write anything lately. I guess y’all could say I’m pouting. See, my new baby grand daughter, and her parents, my son and his girlfriend, are planning to move away to another state. And this news is just so …..crappy…..  that I’ve been in an awful mood about it.

But I do realize that folks move all the time, especially in this economy. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own childhood. My parents decided to move from Wilmington, NC, my hometown, to Eau Gallie, Florida when I was only five and my brother was a newborn. Now I know how lost my grandmothers must have felt, since we were their only grandchildren at the time.

But the two of them were good friends, having met on the job before either of them even got married. Both of these fine women were telephone operators for Ma Bell in the 1930’s. They both eventually married my grandfathers and settled down on the same street to raise their children. Both families attended a small Baptist church on that same street. My parents were the epitome of “childhood sweethearts”. They met as youngsters in Sunday School.

Having their children and grandchildren move to Florida in 1963 meant just one thing for these two lifelong friends, who were by then both widows. Road trips! My mother’s mother, Miss Gladys, being known as a tomboy all her life, of course drove. My father’s mother, Miss Lucy, being one of the prissiest women the South ever turned out, of course rode. Oh, and she talked. If there is one thing Miss Lucy was good at, it was talkin’ yer ears off.

I’m pretty sure she had some stories that probably lasted the whole trip.

To say my brother and I  looked  forward to these visits would be an understatement. It was a car full of love ( two grandmothers at once!)  that pulled into our driveway a few times a year, just in time for supper. They would usually stay for a few days, bestow us with hugs and kisses and gifts and plenty of grandma stories, and then make the trip back.

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The two ladies seated in this picture are my grandmamas. The one on the left, in the dark glasses, is Miss Lucy. The one on the right, clutching her purse, is Miss Gladys. I think this picture was made at Miss Lucy’s birthday, when she was about 89. When she passed away, a few years later, Gladys wrote the following poem, describing their road trips to Florida to see me and my brother.

LETTER TO LUCY

You passed the door of mystery
The door we’ll face one day.
We breath and live in this world
And one day we’re taken away
To a place with streets of gold
No sickness or sorrow there
Just love and beauty I am told.
God’s love is everywhere.

I’ll always remember my co-pilot
Who talked and guided the way
On trips to see our children;
It always took a day.
On 17 was the way to go
No super highways then.
Some day this I know
You will be my co-pilot again.

With Love,
Gladys (5/19/03)

I’m certain of few things, y’all. One is, I was very close to my grandmothers, even though I was growing up over 700 miles away. And I’m determined to be close to my grand daughter, if it’s the last thing I do. Two, I know my grandmamas, grand ladies that they were, are together again right now. Gladys was able to join Lucy last October. They are up there somewhere right now. And, of course, Gladys has the wheel.

The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Six

spincyclesmallPlease read The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part One, Part Two, Part ThreePart Four, and Part Five before reading Part Six. Part Five was part of the Spin Cycle’s Topic of the Week: Minding Your Manners. I’ve missed a few weeks since then. It’s amazing how time gets all away from you, when you work shift work.

This week’s Spin Cycle topic was Pets. I managed to re-post a blog story to take care of that one. Last week, Spirteskeeper, the keeper of the Spin Cycle, came up with an impossibly hard topic: Prom.

In thinking about it, maybe that’s why this cruise was so important to me. See, I never went to a prom. And I’m not going to lie to y’all and say it was because I way too mature for that sort of nonsense, or tell you that I was boycotting it because it was outrageously expensive, or claim to be dedicated to a vegetarian lifestyle, and therefore unable to be in the same room with a tray of ham sandwiches. Nah.

The cold stark truth of the matter is this: No one asked me. And back in the dark ages my high school days it wasn’t  socially acceptable for girls to ask boys out. Besides, I was dating a man who was much too old for me, what the hell was my mother thinking? a cool college guy. And he was too old to go to a high school prom with a baby, like me.

cruise 07 020 - CopyBut the cruise….ahhhh! would include a “Formal Night.” That was, I learned during my extensive research, a fancy dinner and lots of dancing! It would be like the prom I never got to go to. I figured it was the perfect excuse to shop for a sexy dress, strappy high heeled shoes and matching jewelry. I found the perfect outfit, in slimming classy black, and had it all packed away weeks in advance.

And I wasn’t about to let a little ol’ detail like missin’ a couple of flights keep me from wearing it!

The week before last, which I also missed, the Spin Cycle topic was Making Mountains out of Molehills.

Back when I was 49, I started thinking about going on a cruise. Everyone I knew, it seems, had already done it. And so I approached my husband with the idea, and he didn’t exactly say no was thrilled, so for a full year before my 50th birthday, I was in full scale pre-planning mode. I read everything I could get my hands on about cruising. I joined a discussion forum. I ordered travel books and was up-to-date on all the major cruise line’s ships and itineraries.

One thing I kept reading, over and over again, was something subtle like this:

51JT9rjKlqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_The first piece of advice: Get there early. A day early. Plan ahead, particularly if you’re flying during winter seasons (or even summer thunderstorm seasons). If you must fly to the port on the day of embarkation, try to catch the earliest possible flight. At the very least, leave a minimum of a four-hour window between arrival and cruise take-off time.”

And as I read all that, I was thinking, “Yeah, right. Overkill, that’s what that is. They are really making a mountain out of a molehill!”

See, I was convinced that the cruise advice forums and the travel books were all in ca-hoots with the hotels, y’all. It was a big ole plot to get people to spend some more money. I thought it was real clever of them, how they used fear to get folks to book extra nights, in hotels in strange cities.

But Iwasn’t fallin’ for it. No siree. I was smarter than the average cookie. I just knew that nothing would go wrong. We would fly on down to the port, board the ship in plenty of time, and sail away into the sunset. Smooth as silk. With extra cash in our pockets, unlike all the gullible fools that had gotten suckered into spending an extra night.

Little did I know. In reality, the molehill was not just a mountain. It was a nightmare.

First, our early flight, that would have gotten us to the port in the minimum four hour window, got canceled. Then, in spite of inadvertently becoming security risks, we managed to get ourselves booked onto another flight. Then, THAT flight got canceled and it became a free-for-all in the Wilmington airport for a ticket. Our next problem was getting to Raleigh in time to catch still another flight, that would barely get us into the wrong port in time to catch a cab to the right port, all in time to catch the cruise ship, which we had been dangerously close to missing all day.

But then, if y’all read Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five, you already know all this.

But I’m southern, so bear with me.

The Spin Cycle topic the week before the Molehills topic, was “Mistakes.” Boy-howdy, did I ever mess up by not finishing this story that week. Because….When my husband took me on a cruise, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I ignored the advice of  every professional travel planner on the planet,  did things my own way, and in the process, managed to survive The Ordeal of a Lifetime. This is Part Six of the  story. It is true, y’all.  Every single detail of it.

So where were we? Oh, yeah.

300px-MiamiInternationalAirportFront.JPGIn Part Five of this saga, I had managed to stave off a hissy-fit in the Miami airport, only to begin screaming at pleading with an innocent Jamaicancab driver, who calmly agreed to “do his best” to get us to the Port of Ft. Lauderdale. In 35 minutes.

If there was ever a ride to rival “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”, this was it. That cab driver was not fooling around, y’all. He was intent on keeping his promise. He drove like a man on a mission.

A “give your poor passengers in the backseat a nervous breakdown” kind of mission.

As the taxi wove in and out of traffic, passing everything else on the road like the first Cape Canaveral rocket launch, I managed to sneak a peek at the speedometer. It said 97 miles per hour. I clutched my purse and my laptop and closed my eyes. And I silently prayed.

“Dear Jesus, please just let us get there alive. I swear I don’t care anymore if we make it to the cruise. I really don’t care (much) about wearing that new dress (or the cute little black sandals with the darling rhinestone accents). You know what’s best for us, Dear Jesus, and I trust you. Must be, there’s a real good reason why we’ve had so much trouble on this trip, so just please don’t let us perish in this here cab. Amen.”

My husband and I were holding hands. My knuckles were white from squeezing his fingers so hard. The two of us exchanged a look. We knew we were going to die.

But miracles still happen, I reckon, because we pulled into the Port of Ft.Lauderdale at 3:55 PM. My heart was about to stop, and I had the weak trembles. But we had made it.

cruise 07 005The cab driver drove us right up to the ship. Only it was the wrong one. The big letters painted on the side of it plainly read “CARNIVAL.”  And we were booked on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

He turned and flashed a brilliant smile at us, as if driving 97 mile an hour was an everyday occurrence. “Port of Fort Lauderdale, in thirty minutes, Ma’am,” he announced.

“No, no, no!” I barely managed to get out, as if I was talking in slow motion.

My husband set him straight. “We are going to need to find The Jewel of the Seas. It’s a Royal Caribbean ship.”

We looked around. There were four ships at the dock. A Carnival, a Norwegian, a Princess and a Disney.

It was almost four o’clock; the time after which, we had been told by several people, the ship would not allow us to board. We were so close. Had we come so far, only to miss it?

For a moment, the cab driver looked confused. His brow furrowed. Suddenly, he whipped the cab around and we were headed back to the main gate. “We will go back and ask directions to this ship,” he said calmly.

There was a little road, that we had missed, that took us to another dock. And there, in all her splendor, sat the lovely Jewel of the Seas.

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I had tears in my eyes. I wanted to hug the cab driver. But there was no time for me to get sentimental. The baggage handlers were swarming all over us the minute we stopped.

“Are you sailing on the Jewel?” one of them asked.

No sooner had we said yes, then seven or eight men and women in Royal Caribbean uniforms were grabbing our camera bag, laptop case, a carry on,   four  suitcases and incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps and throwing it all onto a baggage transport cart.

All the while they were frantically waving toward the check in area. “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” they told us. “You need to hurry! Have your tickets and passports ready!”

I had my pocket book and my precious itinerary, which contained our tickets and passports. We took off, running. As we entered the huge check-in room, which was completely devoid of people, there was a lone woman standing behind one of many booths. We rushed over to her, panicked that we were a few minutes late. I immediately started spouting gibberish about canceled flights and wild cab rides, while waving my tickets feverishly in her face.

She looked amused. Then smiled. A beautiful smile. “Relax!” she said. “You made it!”

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About an hour later, we were standing on the deck of the ship, having that much anticipated “froo froo” drink, during what is known as “the Sailaway”. Sailaway is a party that the cruise line throws, as the ship sails out of the port, to get you all liquored up and in the mood to spend some more money start the cruise on a festive note.

Well, after the ordeal we  survived to get there, it took more than a few drinks and a couple of days before we even started to relax.  I would love go on another cruise, y’all. But, next time,  I think we’ll plan on spending a week in Fort Lauderdale before the cruise….just in case.

Dog Owners Have Feelings Too

spincyclesmallI’ve told y’all this story before. But it seemed perfect for this week’s Spin Cycle topic, “Pets.”  So, I’m telling it again doing a re-run because I’m southern and we love to repeat ourselves it’s a subject that I’m passionate about.


IMG_0049I love my dog, Hannah. She is like my own child. She is the “baby” that my husband and I could not have. We really feel that way about her. If, God Forbid, we were to ever get divorced, I’m sure we would fight over custody of her.

Now I realize there are folks who are not dog lovers. I don’t understand it, but I know they are out there. What I don’t understand is how someone can dislike an innocent creature, who has done them no harm, to such an extent that they don’t care if they insult the owners. Because, let’s face it, y’all, owners are people. Usually people that these dog haters profess to care about.

So here’s my spin on this. And listen, if you love a person, try not to shudder when their furry child walks into the room. Really, y’all. It’s rude.

How Could You Not Just Love Her?

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This is my Rottweiler, Hannah, and me. We are lying on our tummies at the top of our stairs, waiting for “Dad” to come back.  Hannah has  hip dysplasia, an affliction that is,  unfortunately, common to a lot of rotts.  It makes it difficult for her to go up and down stairs and she requires alot of assistance. But she will endure all kinds of pain, if it means she gets to spend a little quality time being petted by mom and dad, while they watch TV in their Man Room. And getting a few bites of “people food” sweetens the pot a little, too, of course.

To get her up the stairs, one of us has to go ahead of her and call her. One of us has to get behind her and push her bottom as she painfully pulls herself up. Getting her back down is even more of an ordeal. I walk down backwards,  taking each step slowly and stopping on each one, to pat the previous step and call her. Hannah will come down one step at a time, with careful little hops, pausing to look at me plaintively between each step. When she finally reaches the bottom, she jumps onto the waiting area rug with a little triumphant flourish and a wag of her nub, as if to say, “I made it one more time, Mom!”

So going up to the Man Room, to spend the evening watching a movie, is quite a production at our house. Once up there, Hannah has to stay until we come down for bed. If we make a quick  trip down for a potty break, she lies at the top of the stairs in utter despair (we call it the “Great and Powerful Sadness”) until we return. I love the expressions on her regal face, and this one always gets to me. Who couldn’t love her right to death, y’all?

My stepmother, that’s who.

Twice a year, my daddy, “Pa Bill”,  and his lovely wife, Shelba, travel six hours from their mountain home… to visit us, ya’ll. They know we have a dog. They know her name is Hannah. They know we love her just like one of our own children. But, when they show up for their Royal Visit, my stepmother, who acts like every dog in the world  is a  snarling hound from hell, ready to tear her limb from limb, will call Hannah “it” or “he”.

As in, “Ah’m asceered to go in the house, ’cause Ah’m asceered It will bite me!” This, as she stands firmly rooted to the spot, outside the front door, refusing to come inside, until we assure her, multiple times, that the dog is not even HERE! It is at grandma’s house for the evening. Then she’ll ask, “Are you sure he’s not here?  Ah’m afeared of Rock-wilders and Ah’m allergic to dawgs.”

We’ve gone down this road before, y’all.  Back in the beginning of our dog ownership, we tried, during the Royal Visit, introducing our sweet, adorable Hannah to her “step-grandmother.” To describe it as a “disaster” doesn’t even come close, y’all. After watching Shelba shudder and convulse every time Hannah even looked at her, we decided to put her in the bedroom and shut the door. Well, you just don’t do that to a dog who goes into mourning every time you go downstairs to take a pee break for a few minutes. Naturally, she tried scratching on the door.

SCRATCH on the bedroom door.

Shelba almost faints. “OH MY GOD, BEE-ILL!” She clutches my dad’s arm, in terror. “What was that?”

“It’s just Hannah, scratching at the door,” I explain, trying to stay calm.

Hannah hears her name. SCRATCH.

Shelba practically jumps straight off the couch, clutching madly at my father. “AH’M AFRAID HE’S GOIN’ TO GET ME!”  she wails.

Hannah, hearing all the excitement, decides to bark. A very polite bark, but still.

By now Shelba is all but having a nervous breakdown. She’s shuddering, she’s trembling, she’s probably wet her “bloomers”. My dad is staring at me accusingly, as if I am the perpetrator of a diabolical plot to drive his poor bride mad.

“She can’t get out! She’s not going to bite you! She just wants to come in and say hello!” I try to explain.

“Ah just don’t know why you’s cain’t put him in the yah’rd,” Shelba says, tearfully.

“Well,” I say. “We don’t have a fenced in yard and our homeowners association won’t let us put a dog outside unless there’s a fence or she’s on a leash.”

“Well you could tie hit to a tree, couldn’t you?”

“No Shelba. It’s December. It’s 30 degrees out there. I’m not putting Hannah outside in this weather and TIE HER TO A TREE!”

Hannah hears her name. SCRATCH.

At this point, I made an executive decision, y’all. I decided that I would never, ever, as long as I live, put myself through this scenario again. So now, when Pa Bill and Shelba come for their annual Christmas visit, Hannah gets to go and spend the night at Grandma’s house. Hannah has been going to Grandma’s house for at least three years now, and Shelba still stands in the front yard, afraid to come in, until we assure her, repeatedly, that the vicious “Rock-wilder” is not here.

img_0150Funny thing is, Shelba, bless her heart, doesn’t mind our cat. And to tell you the truth, the cat would probably bite her quicker than Hannah ever would. Shoot. To tell you the truth, I’d probably bite her quicker than Hannah would. Not that I ever would, or anything, y’all. I’m just sayin’.

Home Entertainment, or “How to Survive When You’re Broke”

img_0019This image is an original oil painting by my grandmother, Gladys Parker. You can read more of her poetry and learn all about this amazing woman at her blog, The Rock of Gibraltar.

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is supposed to be about sharing our best cost cutting secrets to help you get through these tough economic times. I must confess – I have no cost cutting tid bits. I’m kind of like Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar.  I spent the first 24 years of my adult life living hand to mouth. When you’re always broke, and always poor, you don’t think about how to cut costs. You think about how to answer the phone when the bill collectors call. You think about how you’re going to buy a week’s worth of groceries on the measly nineteen dollars you have left over in your checking account, after you paid your light bill (late) so you could have power for a few more days.

We ate alot of grilled cheese sandwiches and canned applesauce, y’all. I don’t want to think about it, much less type anything about how I did it. I just did it.

So. Here’s my spin on this topic. I give to you the words of the wisest woman I’ve ever been privileged to know – my grandmother, Gladys Parker. She raised her three children, on her own, during the great depression.

One of her favorite expressions was “making do”. As in, “we just had to make do”. She was an expert at making do.

To say she was tough is an understatement. She had to be. And in living her life, she learned to appreciate, to revel in, the little things around her. She entitled this poem “Home Entertainment” because, truly, this is how she entertained herself. Not by spending money on movies, or dinners or in the shopping malls. She looked out of her window and marveled at the creatures and beautiful sights that were there. And then she wrote about it, or painted it, and in doing so, shared a bit of herself with the world.

HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Interesting, the things that I see
Looking out over my balcony.
Squirrels are running and playing today
Up and down their little highway.

Amid the trees – most limbs are bare
And not quite touching everywhere.
For the little gaps they care not at all
They take their jump and almost fall.

Two of them jump with great ease
Like a pro on the flying trapeze.
Another is running – then turns around,
Sizing things up ’til a new way is found.

The last one comes to try his hand,
Jumped right over – where did he land?
On a branch that bent far, far down
He nearly fell to the ground!

It’s fun to watch these dare-devils play
And beautiful birds that come this way.
Hadden Hall is the place to be
On the penthouse floor up in the trees.

Gladys Parker
January 2001

What If… we could just slow down?

This week’s Spin Cycle is about the topic, “What if?”

I liked this poem, because it makes me think about how short life is, and what is really important.

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How Do You Live Your Dash?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning … to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1900-1970)
For that dash represents all the time
That she spend alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard…
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat others with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash….
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
Author Unknown

Guilt, Southern Style

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No, I didn’t say Grits, y’all. I said Guilt.

It’s the Spin Cycle topic of the week. I started out thinking that I just couldn’t write about this. I was born in the 50’s, in the South, and as such, raised in a culture where women are set up to feel guilty about everything. Really, y’all. We were put up on a pedestal of The Perfect Southern Belles – obedient, little, polite and always smiling, pleasantly pretty wives and mothers. We weren’t supposed to have an opinion, speak our minds, get dirty, look disheveled, or care about anything except attending to our husbands’ needs, first, and then assuming all the chores of raising children and keeping the house tidy. It also helped if we could make a banana puddin’ every Sunday and grow a few rows of turnip greens and tomatoes….in our spare time.

Southern Belles certainly don’t raise their voices, argue, drink alcohol, act ugly, know more than their husbands, swear or forget to fold their laundry. Their husbands expect a good hot meal, obedient children, a cold beer and a fresh wife when they walk in the door every evening. She was supposed to be interested in his day, offer cute little anecdotes about the children and remain silent while he watched the news.

While all this sounds real peachy, it just doesn’t happen in real life, y’all. Not even down here in Dixie. So when we didn’t measure up to the Perfect Southern Belle Image, our southern men conveniently had a right handy person to blame. And yes siree, we got blamed for everything.

I think all this collective guilt kinda rolled and trickled down through the generations and by the time I was born it was just in me, like a disease. My mother and her mother were experts at playing the role of the Failed and Blamed Belles, and so I learned from them how to quickly apologize for anything and everything, and how to internalize everyone else’s problems and make them my own.

All my life I’ve been apologizing. I’m sorry for talking too much, not talking enough, calling at the wrong time, or not calling when I should, wearing the wrong thing, not saying the right thing, having a bad day, having too much fun, eating too much, not eating enough, being tired, being broke, having trouble understanding, expecting to be understood, having to ask questions, not asking the right questions, not doing enough, sleeping, drinking, being emotional, getting upset, having a headache and ever, ever hurting anyone’s feelings.

So, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to write a blog about everything. But there’s some southern gals in the Spin Cycle that are a lot smarter than me, and they figured out how to explain what I was feelin’ pretty darn well.

My girl Debbie, over at Buzzin’ By, from Southern Maryland, said she has guilt about bein’ a workin’ mom and spending time on herself and just about everything else in the world: so deeply imbedded that it is just part of who she is. Well said.

Sandie, at Sandie Simply Says, in Georgia, says she feels guilty for every little thing she’s ever done wrong in her life. “Little” is a word we southern woman seem to use a lot. I think it makes us feel a little less guilty, when our issues are small. (There. I just said it again.) Sandie has a lot of “mom” guilt, or as Arwen, over at Spors in the Desert, calls it, “mommy guilt”, which seems to be a common thread of every mom, no matter where we hail from.

Heather, at Riding the Short Bus, sums it up this way – she asks, has there been a more pervasive emotion in my repertoire since I became a mother? She says motherhood is synonymous with guilt, and the prevailing theme of her blog.

Ve, over at Getting Older… And Still Neurotic, broke my heart with her story about the guilt she feels over losing an unborn child. She’s in Texas. Y’all should swing by her blog and show her some love.

Rachel, at Burning the Soufflé, from Tennessee, took us all the way back to a friendship she had in kindergarten and had us weeping along with her as she enveloped us in a blanket of guilt. Only a true southerner can tell a story like that, y’all.

Laufa, at Morgan Madness, claims to be in the Midwest, but said she is from a long line of women who mastered the art of the Guilt Trip. Definitely southern. So, I did some snooping on her blog and discovered that her family in in Florida, and her son’s nickname is Bubba. I’m going to claim her as southern, y’all.

Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, a darling southern gal if I do say so, took the words right outta my mouth when she started talkin’ about her ex-husband, the “Grand Master of the Guilt Trip.” I had one of those, myself. You know the type. A good ole boy. Mine even managed to make me feel guilty for gettin’ cancer before he had time to go out and buy a life insurance policy on me. Jan, bless her heart, came to the realization that dragging around a shitload of guilt served no purpose in her life. And she even used the “F” word. (Pretty gutsy for a southern girl. I love her for that.)

Heather, at Geez Louise, said she was BORN guilty. Oh my, how southern. I started chiming right in, agreein’ with that emotion.  But the first thing I see on the top of her page? Colorado Girl! And she’s Catholic, not Baptist. That hushed me right up. She says being born Catholic makes her automatically guilty. Huh?

Well, huh.

Rikki, at Cowgirls like Me, (from somewhere in the desert, y’all) said that guilt was as much a part of her daily life as trying to decide which pumps to wear with her tweed skirt. And Amber, at Travis and Amber, in Utah and new to the Spin Cycle, listed seventeen things that she feels guilty about. (She must have at least a couple of southern roots there).

Meli, at Meli’s Rambling Randomness, really blew my mind. She said she had so much guilt that it was oozing from her pores. Her pores, y’all. You can’t get much more southern that that. But guess what? She’s in Canada! Yep, all the way up there in God’s snow country.

Michelle, at It’s a Dog’s Life, is in Washington-I’m-guessing-State. She says she’s guilty of being the biggest idiot on the earth, EVER, for also being married to a jerk. So that’s not just something us southern women do!

Phhst, at Pseudonymous High School Teacher, lives in Hawaii. She says she used to wake up in the middle of the night and worry about details left undone. I’ve done that one, too. She says it took a trip through cancer territory to teach her to stop beating herself up over things. Then she goes on to completely blow us all away with a story about a teenage prank that practically drips with shame and emotion. I was transported back to bein’ fourteen and awkward, y’all.

A South Dakota girl, Jennifer, at Whoa My Horses, made me go, “Whoa,” when she said she grew up listening to her mother say she was sorry about things, whether it was in her power or not. So she’s constantly apologizing for things that are not her fault! She thinks her guilt could come from being raised in a church, or from a past relationship flop, or from simply being a woman and trying to make everyone happy.

Mo, at The Daily Snark, had me laughing my southern fannie off at her blog about how she’s guilty for everything because she’s Catholic. She says she can think of a million things to feel guilty about, without even trying. She describes her mother as being nagging, over protective, controlling and more than a bit manipulative on occasion. She has just described every southern, biscuit bakin’ mama that I know. Where’s she from? I had to know. Philadelphia! And grew up in San Francisco! And lived in Taiwan for two years!

Michelle, over at Michelle’s a Mom, tells us an amazing story about her grandmother, in a blog about guilt, which she calls her demon. Rather strong language, I thought at first. She cautions us not to let it pull us into it’s clawing vortex that will rob our soul. She’s Jewish and I don’t know where she’s from. It doesn’t matter….she’s got a fabulous attitude .

Leslie at Captain Crazy, who’s mother gave her every Southern Woman’s Secert Weapon –the silent treatment – says guilt is a member of her family, because she’s Italian!

Here I was, convinced that we Southerners, and the ones reared up in the Baptist persuasion in particular, had the market cornered on the Guilt Thang. This week I learned that I was wrong.

Thanks to y’all, I learned that Yankees, Italians, Catholics, Mid westerners, Canadians and just about everybody else, especially mothers, all have the same inner struggle with this demon called guilt! Who would have thought – we’re not that different, no matter who we are, or when we were born, or where. Guilt is just a human condition and not a southern affliction, like I had believed.

Unless, of course, all of y’all are really southern and you’re just pullin’ my leg.