Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Special Brownies

We talk about our Moms a lot here on the blogs, but that's because to Chelly and to me, our Mothers were such role models and strong, hard to forget women, just like we aspire to be.

Now, to know me as an adult, you would never even imagine me outdoors doing anything remotely close to building a fire, setting up tents or learning to cook in the ground or over a flame. Stepping on a snake, or lying awake all night under the stars while getting eaten alive by Mississippi's state bird (Mosquito) are things that I avoid with every ounce of my soul. I mean, my gosh. Girl Scouts are always doing things like cleaning up trash on the highways and getting stung by bees, singing "Kumbaya", hiking in the swelter, mucking around outside in the stinky, muddy, sweaty outdoors. However, there was a time that I, Auntie Jax braved the elements and did my time learning survival skills, earning patches and of course, selling those famous cookies we all know and love. Things have changed a lot over the years, I know, but once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout (if nothing else, by being traumatized by the experiences, or being thoroughly enriched by some of the strengths and habits we were instilled and left with).

My sweet, adoring and sometimes fanatical Mother, you see, was a Girl Scout Leader, eventually earning herself a lifetime membership. She was all things outdoors, loved the lifestyle, adored primitive camping and was in my honest opinion, the epitome of what a true Girl Scout should be. "You always leave things better than you found them." She delighted in passing these values and skills along to us, her daughters and grandchildren too. However, some of us were not quite as enthusiastic about it (mostly me, I think lol). But the principles and lessons learned in Girl Scouts, I admit are wonderful building blocks for us as young women. We could do with a lot more of that today. But alas, I wasn't that happy about it back then. I felt forced, but I appreciate now what my Mother was truly trying to do, ain't that the way it goes?

A word about the Girl Scout Motto: The Girl Scout motto is "Be prepared." In the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." The same holds true today. We began our meetings, always, holding up the Sign with our hands, and reciting our Girl Scout Promise:

On my honor, I will try: 
    To serve God and my country,
    To help people at all times, 

    And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

(Read more about Girl Scout Laws, Promise and Traditions)

Day Camp, for me was a particularly dreaded nightmare. All the interaction with other troops and the chores, outdoorsy events and tasks we were charged with, all in the name of scoring those badges to go on our sash. These events were always in the dead heat of a Mississippi / Memphis summer, which you've heard me tell before is something akin to Malebolge.

One particular summer, we were attending our usual Day Camp at Arkabutla Lake. It was the usual uncomfortable 'fun' and fanfare, when we planned that Thursday to be an overnight camping stay. Needless to say, I was less than enthused about this. However, that evening rolled around, and our sleeping quarters were set-up, supplies in place. It was not just our troop, but girls from others as well. My niece Stacey (1 year younger than me as I always remind you guys because I was an Auntie at such a tender young age) was in attendance. Once the campfire songs were over and we had cleaned up after our dinner, everyone set out for bedtime. All was quiet until one of the girls from Tunica, Mississippi pulled a knife on another girl, and had to be dealt with. My Mom moved us out of the tent with the 'violent Tunica girls' as she referred to them, and Stacey and I ended up having to rough it outside on a picnic table. As the night drew on, the Mosquitoes descended upon the camp and Stacey and I were both prime targets.

My Mom, The Forever Girl Scout
I am struggling to remember if we had any "Off" or other spray. I know that my Mother also knew of the merits of Avon's "Skin So Soft" bath oil, that repels the little blood sucking varmints for some odd reason. However, we must not have had any at our disposal as they were literally trying to carry us away. It was a miserable night. One poor girl was covered in big 'whelps', even worse than me.

This ordeal got so bad, that my Mom pulled out these packs of industrial cleaning rags that she had packed away, and began to burn them in pans in an effort to smoke the hordes of mosquitoes out of camp. At one point the Park Rangers came over to see about us and thought we were performing some sort of weird rituals since they spotted the burning rags. Haha! Eventually, the night was over, and we had to power through the very last day of camp on virtually no sleep, little energy and wanting to go home and get back to the comfort of our central AC so badly we could taste it! (or was it the taste of smoke?)

Either way, I think that was one of the last times I remember going camping with our Troop. Mom somehow kept me in Girl Scouts up through Brownies (which is around middle school level). I never went further than that.

Though these experiences were harrowing while we were going through some of them, we really did have a lot of fun times too--I just rarely admit that since I am not much of an outdoorsy gal. There were many laughs, good friends, good food (like S'mores, I adore them to this day!) and of course those famed Cookie Sales. Girl Scouts really is a great thing for many women, and I hope it continues to be something meaningful for girls everywhere throughout the ages, just like it was for my beautiful forever Scout Mom. Hope you're up there in heaven Mom with your fire ring and roasting marshmallows, because I still miss that, and always will miss everything about you. What I wouldn't give to have a weenie roast out in the pasture with you right now.

Enjoy these shots of my Mom, a little later in her life, still playing with her fire ring, and reveling in her love of all things outdoors. Kumbaya Mama, Kumbaya anytime! xoxo

My Mom, while she and I were walking back to her "Fire Ring" she kept at home. 

Mom with one of her mighty
German Shepherds enjoying the day

A Scenic Spot off the highway near my home in
Northern Mississippi, Home of my Girl Scout Mother

Monday, April 24, 2017

Keepin Those Pigs Warm

Well, happy "National Pigs in a Blanket Day" everybody! I'm not one to lay heavy on the pork, well I know some folks use various ingredients on those little 'delicacies', but just thought I would share as it's one of the more prominent things to celebrate today.

Since it's a Monday, I figured it would perk everybody up a bit, who doesn't love party food? Or if you've a respect for farm animal life, we can honestly celebrate the cuteness of an actual real adorable Pig in a blanket, I kinda prefer that myself, anyways, how bout you?

The other holidays we can celebrate today are:

Administrative Professional's Day
Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
National Pigs-in-a Blanket Day
World Meningitis Day

So, as you can see, I felt like the Pigs in a Blanket thing was the best choice to make something cute out of it... Not that "Administrative Professional's Day isn't cute, but hey they all get enough attention. Pigs go unappreciated, in my honest opinion.

Now Armenian Genocide and World Meningitis are not to be taken lightly by a long shot, so let's take a pause to think on those and remember as well as think of ways to prevent the both. (insert silent moment here).

Other than that, I just wanted to pop in and make a short blog entry, and I'd like to add that I have continued to write, jot down ideas, brainstorm and still trying to improve, de-clutter and pep up my space, as well as my life. Each day a little better... Momento al momento, right? I'm trying to keep myself on the track of being more positive, more confident and really just enjoying each moment as it comes and letting it flow. Life is too short to stress or really let anything get to us or beat us down. We gotta hang in there and stop fighting against the tides, and holding on to the bank, relax and go with it. Things get so much easier when we do that and have faith in where we are and where we are going naturally, I believe that 100%.

Now let me finish out this afternoon's tasks, and get hold of myself, after all, I still hate Mondays.

Just me,

Jax (Aunt Jackie)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Don't Use That Tone With Me!

Karaoke?! Let's Go!!
Well for starters, Karaoke has been on my mind lately... some friends and I have been discussing this, and there is a place that is having Karaoke tomorrow night (Thursday). She asked if I wanted to go, I said maybe but I think I should make it a definite, what'cha think? After all April 16th - 22nd is National Karaoke Week (Set for the Fourth week of April). So if I do go, what song(s) do I sing? Do I sing at all? I haven't done this in quite some time. Sometimes I'm very confident, sometimes I'm not. My voice is craaaackly at times, and I get all respiratory-itchy, and other moments, I'm all clear. We shall see. I've always kind of taken it seriously, like I wanted to sing as best I could... but I think many find the point to be making a fool of yourself and singing badly is the point? I'm not sure... I still like to try to sound good though.

It's National Karaoke Week Y'all!!!

The movies have depicted some fun Karaoke scenes, like "My Best Friend's Wedding" where Julia Roberts tries to shed some ugly light on the guy's non-singing fiance by showcasing her terrible karaoke skills. Didn't work, guy still loved her. Then "Lost In Translation" where they did karaoke into the night, which isn't it actually of Japanese origins? Oh and even on T.V.'s "The King of Queens" where the gang goes to karaoke, and Doug thinks he has a stalker, but it's really Spence, who's tired of always being the one getting bullied so he pulls a fast one on Doug? Yes all so good... but my favorite movie karaoke scene (not due to comedy just performance and song) would have to be from "500 Days of Summer" where Tom sings "Here Comes Your Man" by The Pixies... feel good performance.

Remembering Karaoke times past, I can think of some funny moments and great times, good songs and fun. Used to go to a place in Memphis with my friend Kim called the "Cockeyed Camel" where I remember this one drunk bozo belting out "New York, New York". Not quite a hit with me. I sing various songs, just usually go through the book and find something I like and think that I can handle. One of my friends once took me to a "Crazy Karaoke" at a local bar, and that was interesting. You think of a song, write it down on paper, fold it up and put it in their little "lottery shuffler" (can't think what it's called, where you turn it and then draw out an entry). So you don't get to choose the song, you submit, they draw one for you and you have to sing it. Ha-ha. So the song I got there was "Paradise City" by Guns & Roses. I did the best I could, but let me tell you. Axel would not have been proud. Finally a guy jumped up on stage to help me out, and I was so grateful that I let him finish the last chorus by himself lol.

The last one I'll mention is when I was still with my ex-husband, and his friend KB took us to a little juke joint out in the middle of nowhere, and there was Karaoke. When you mix rednecks, Budweiser and Karaoke, hilarity ensues. One guy jumped up and did his not-so-magical rendition of "Hard To Handle" in the style of the Black Crowes. Let me just say, he was not in key NOR was he in time, and my ex-husband, who is a bit of a music snob anyways had to leave 'on that note' stating if he didn't get out of the building right then, he was going to throw up.

Now you may think that he was just saying this to be an asshole about the guy's lack of musical talent, but he was actually being serious. He stated that the guy's performance literally made him nauseous and he had to go... like right then.

Then there was the time that we went to the Lesbian bar in Midtown and I had a female admirer who loved my "Trisha Yearwood" number. That's fine with me, I don't mind anyone's admiration, and I dislike anyone who is homophobic or closed-minded, so If people hang out with me everyone must treat everyone with respect. There is never a good reason to be callous and intolerant, or to act out unless someone tries to harm you. So there. Love everybody.

Other than that, just catch an event once in a while with various friends when we can find a place that has one, or find one on certain nights. They can be pretty fun. I love to sing, even though I don't really consider myself having a great voice, it's all about enjoying life and the people in it.

Have a great Hump Day! -Jax

Check out these Funny Karaoke Word Plays!

Daily 2017 Holidays that fall on April 18, include:

Adult Autism Day
Animal Crackers Birthday
International Amateur Radio Day
International Day for Monuments and Sites
International Juggler's Day
Last Day of Passover - April 18, 2017 (movable date)
National Columnists Day
National Golf Day
National Lineman Appreciation Day
National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day
Pet Owners Independence Day
Tax Day (still??)