Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Auntie Mame and the Police Academy

I've been trying to figure out how to sum up the police academy experience.

I accomplished things that I never thought I could.  I got OC sprayed (pepper sprayed) directly in my face and eyes and proceeded on to the required fighting without decontaminating first.   Being OC sprayed, without a doubt, was the most painful experience of my life.  It hurts terribly initially and then gets more and more intense.  No amount of washing it off seems to help much.  Only time really works.

After we all decontaminated and showered, we headed down to dinner. Most of our faces were on fire.  No one felt much like eating.  Some of the instructors put bottles of hot sauce down in front of us.  Ha ha.

I was amazed to see myself later on video on the big screen walloping a punching bag and hollering while I counted out the requisite number of hits.  I took down my defensive tactics partner (a male SWAT medic) three times.  He actually said "ouch."

My defensive tactics sergeant stopped the class and said, "Everyone, look at Annie."  My heart stopped because I thought he was going to ridicule me. Then he said, "Do it just like she's doing it."  There was only one person in my class older than I.

On the other hand, life with four women sharing two bunk beds and 8 women sharing a shower and a bathroom was challenging for me.  I abhor being in close proximity with a group of people I don't know. I crave privacy and down time.  If it wasn't for the three free hours we had a day and a one-hole bathroom at Starbucks with a door that locked, I think I'd be dead.

After not being able to sleep for two nights, I ended up going down to a bathroom that had a little lounge area on the first floor, near a big classroom that didn't seem to be in much use.  I get up frequently at night to use the bathroom (I pee, therefore I am) and cringed every time I had to flush loudly in the hearing of 7 other extremely tired women.  I would sleep with my clothes on, wrapped up in a quilt, trying to nod off while listening to Joyce Meyer podcasts from my cell phone.  Thank you, Joyce.  If I got two hours a night, it was a lot.

One night at four a.m. I woke to see three male trooper trainees standing in front of me - inside the ladies room. These poor slobs have the extreme honor of being charged with unlocking all the doors and turning on the lights before the rest of the trainees have to get up at 5 to go running.  They said, "Ma'am, we didn't expect to see a woman asleep in here," I said, "That makes us even because I'm not used to seeing three guys in a ladies room." They said they were turning on the lights.  I noted that they were already on.

Since nothing goes unnoticed at that institution,  I mentioned the incident to the Sergeant who was in charge of us.  He thought it was hilarious.  Later, he planned to razz them for not securing the "homeless" woman the bathroom.  This was funny, but I have to add that I had some miserable hours trying to sleep there.  Dark, scared hours.  This has nothing to do with the academy or its staff because people sleep successfully there every night, but more to do with my own chronic insomnia in tense situations.

A big shout out to the Chesterfield, VA Starbucks on Midlothian Turnpike (Route 60) who all kept my sanity.  I was able to get email, have a latte, and relax for a while.  Thank you to everyone there.

Many of my friends like Terry, Jim, my beloved Suzanne, Nancy, Lt. Jackson, Jason, and also my Mom, Dad, and sister were a huge support.

Another shout out to my Bruce who followed me up to Chesterfield to ensure that nothing happened on the way, came up Wednesdays with the dog to have dinner with me, and even drove up on a Monday to bring the mouth guard I had forgotten so my teeth wouldn't get punched out.  You think romance is about thong underwear, chocolate and champagne?  Love is...bringing a pink mouth guard north in a 3-hour round trip.  For the record, I have nothing against pretty underwear, a toast, or chocolate. Definitely not against the chocolate.

So even with the uncomfortable times, I was grateful to be chosen to be there. Going to police academy training at 51 is proof of God's grace, his sense of humor, and is proof that he does, indeed, give us back the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I embark on a new career with the Sex Offender Investigative Unit in which I can use my education and my previous experience to directly affect public safety and be a minister of justice.  That is huge for me.

I guess I can sum it up with these lyrics from Auntie Mame:

Open a new window
Open a new door
Travel a new highway
That's never been tried before
Before you find you're a dull fellow
Punching the same clock
Walking the same tightrope
As everyone on the block
The fellow you ought to be is three dimensional
Soaking up life
Down to your toes
Whenever they say you're slightly unconventional
Just put your thumb
Up to your nose
And show them how to 
Dance to a new rhythm
Whistle a new song
Toast to a new vintage
The fizz doesn't fizz too long
There's only one way to make the bubbles stay
Simply travel a new highway
Dance to a new rhythm
Open a new window every day!

The incomparable Angela Lansbury as Auntie Mame sings it stirringly to her nephew Patrick here:

Ignore the stuff about Edison, just listen to the sound track.  I love show tunes. I always loved Auntie Mame, but now I get to be Tia (Auntie) Annie, which is even better.  Compliance Officer Tia Annie.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Virginia State Police Academy

Bad hair day.
   Terrible camera angle
        Lifelong dream realized

2,600 applicants
43 selected for further review and investigation
20 made it
I was one of them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Let the Vintage Games Begin

I'm not sure who is more obsessed with Scrabble tiles, me or Judy.

Maybe me.  That's my Grandmother Dunn's high school graduation pic.  I don't think she minds being under glass.

If you look in the upper left, you can see a crack in the plaster.  I kind of like it there.  It is the calling card of that freak Virginia earthquake last year.  The living room floor kind of roiled and Bruce said, "Geeze, those trucks going down Booker Street get bigger and bigger."  Twenty seconds later, my phone started ringing off the hook.  I am apparently the seismic expert of my neighborhood, which would come as a huge shock to Mr. Pacquette, my earth sciences teacher.

A little borrowing from Mr. Dickens.

I cannot remember where the door knocker came from.  She's holding a pomegranate in her hand and has a ring on her finger.  We'd call her "Thing" like in the Adam's family, but it seems sort of overly-familiar and Cousin It just seems disrespectful.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Refreshed Summer Mantel

Happy Independence Day!

Feeling in a summery mood, armed with a 40 percent off coupon from Michaels and some cool stuff from the attic which I hadn't had out in a few years, this is what I came up with.  The extra shells I needed were whatever $4.99 minus 40 percent is.  My friend, Suzanne, who is reading this already knows how much that is.  I don't and I don't care that I can't.
I was looking through this book for inspiration and realized that the actual book would look perfect right here.  My friend, Nancy, brought me some peonies in that mason jar.
The bird and the sailboat were on my porch one year.  I like them better inside.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith 1926-2012

Oh, dear.  I know you are with your Lord, but I weep.  Every time I visited Manteo, NC not too far away, I felt happy to know that you lived there. Bye, Andy.  I will miss you.  

The link below is a real treat of Don and Andy talking about the show on Today years ago:

It has never been off the air since its inception, which says quite a lot.

Sound of Music Sing Along

I did the coolest thing when I was in Atlanta.

My sister and I were shopping in “Rustique.”  She typically listens to Christian radio, but a secular station was playing that morning.  And behold, the station broadcast tidings of great joy!  A sing along version of the Sound of Music was arranged at the historic Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta two days hence.

I love TSOM, but my sister is a demented fan and has seen it hundreds of times.  However, due to our big age gap, she had never seen it on the big screen the way I first did.

We started our special outing at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, an Atlanta institution since just after the Second World War, when women widowed by the war started little restaurants to support themselves.  

The term “tea room” was thought to put a little genteel finish on it; I agree that the term "tea room" has a certain cachet.

I had a noteworthy salad, and corn bread with “pot likker” for the first time.  My nieces had grilled cheese and chicken and dumplings, while Sis had country fried steak.  The service was superb,  I felt that I had a little slice of the past, a glimpse into a Southern world which really doesn’t exist anymore.
Then off the Fox, an Art Deco jewel.  

Imagine if you will, a huge theater of people warming up for the big event by singing, “Yodalay-hee, Yodalay-hee, Yodalay hee-hee, Yodalay hee” from the “Lonely Goatherd” song.  Before the big show, there were look-alike contests of everyone from Rolf (Nazi telegram boy) to the Baroness. 

We were given little goodie bags with signs to hold up, silk edelweiss to throw, and little poppers to make noise with when Georg von Trapp kisses Maria for the first time.  We “do a deared” and “climbed every mountain,” and “so-longed and farewelled.”  We booed Nazis and hissed at the Baroness.  And an incredibly good time was had by all.  All the lyrics were subtitled on the screen, but I doubt anyone needed them except maybe for "Something Good."

Can you think of a more perfect day?  And with that said, “Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you!”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Today's Blessing

Bless the LORD who daily loadeth us with benefits.  Psalm 68:19

Bruce went to our not-favorite-but-closest store this morning for peaches to put on top of our morning oatmeal.  As he checked out, the cashier asked him how we was doing.  He replied, "I'm blessed by the Best and prayin' for the rest."  Two bouquets were left at the check out area. She picked them up and said to him, "These are free if you want them."

He came home with these:

I added in a few things from the yard to bless three rooms in our home.