Tag Archives: memphis

The Bucket Shrub

12 Dec

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

My husband found four shrubs and a palm tree by the side of the road. Well, it’s not really a palm. It’s some kind of giant fern with a weird (PORN NAME ALERT!) hairy trunk. And it’s like four feet tall except now it’s dead. Or maybe it’s just resting, what do I know about plants?

We have some neighbors who have a lawn care business and generally leave the carcasses of shrubs and other assorted flora in the Designated Trash Spot which is the fence at the culvert. This is the best place in Memphis to find and leave Stuff. Chuck and his friend Alan hauled out our busted washing machine a few months ago and by the time they’d finished a beer to reward themselves for the manly job they’d done, the sucker was gone. I once saw this great end table and by the time I circled back around to pick it up, it was gone. I saw a middle aged woman in a Mercedes sedan try to pick up two club chairs and put them in her trunk. It’s like the FAO Schwarz of junk. On Black Friday.

I don’t know why these particular plants were put out to pasture. They were all healthy. The four shrubs have been sitting in their pots in front of Chuck’s garden forming a nice hedgerow. But it’s Christmas and I’m Southern. By law, I must decorate the house in some fashion. Usually, I just put a ribbon around a bottle of Jim Beam and call it a day. This morning I stuck a shrub in the ice cream freezer.

Part of Chuck’s dowry was a White Mountain ice cream freezer. You know the one. Wooden bucket, loud motor. He comes from a big ice cream-making clan, but that’s another post. Believe me. I really liked the bucket and being a gal on a budget, I stuck it at my front door and threw some greenery in it. It looked really cool. Then, of course, I let the greenery turn brown. You’ll know my house by the ice cream freezer full of sticks decorating the front porch. Oh, and spring before last a squirrel nested in it. So that was nifty.

But this morning I looked at the pumpkins (from his garden, thankyouverymuch) and frost-bitten croton and thought, damn. I should be embarrassed. I mean, I’m not. But I should be. So I grabbed a shrub, threw out the nest and the pumpkins, and now my porch is about a quarter of the way to being festive. I’m going to hang some glass balls on my bucket shrub. Maybe put a wreath on my door. OBVIOUSLY, I will be putting Fernando The Yard Flamingo in his Santa outfit. By that point I’ll be exhausted and need to recouperate by watching Love Actually for the 4,593th time. And I’ll probably require a cheeseburger.

Then I’ll wait with a finger or two of bourbon for a really pissed off squirrel to come banging on my door wanting to know how in the hell I thought I could evict him without proper legal notice.

As I Was Saying…

9 Jun

tweet yallYeah, so didn’t make it back quite in the time frame I imagined. I’m just not going to get into why because it’s really just not that interesting. I mean, I know I’m not generally interesting anyway, but this is like hearing someone else’s dream not interesting. It’s like listening to someone describe a dress not interesting. Have you ever noticed that when someone describes what she’s going to wear, it never looks like you think it will? There’s a lot of that going on in my world.

And yet here I am. IT’S ALL FOR YOU, INTERWEBZ!

I just want to say that I hate spring. I mean, I hate summer more. Especially August. But summer is at least honest. You know you’re going to be miserable in summer. You know you’ll spend three months peeling your thighs off hot car seats. You know you’re going to shower three times a day because walking out to get the mail makes you sweat through your caftan. And your mailbox isn’t even at the road. You know there are bugs as big as toddlers that are just waiting patiently to suck the life out of you by biting your ankles…just like toddlers with wings, in fact.

No, I hate spring because it’s too damned optimistic. Spring is all about promise, but it’s like the promise of that pub with the sign “Free Beer Tomorrow”. And now we’re into June and it’s going to be 95° this week with 876% humidity. You know what that means? There’s nowhere for the sweat to go. So you spend a little time outside and you turn into a Syracuse salt potato but without the creamy interior. Spring is crafty like a ninja. One day you’re sweating your bippy off and the next day you’re digging for wool socks. One day everything’s all green and fluffy and the next day it’s like Colonel Kilgore decided he wanted to smell victory so everything’s charred.

Also in Memphis, as in much of this part of the world, the hotter it gets, the more we all start sounding like Blanche DuBois. The heat turns our brains syrupy and ridiculous memories start oozing out our ears so then we’re like Blanche DuBois at the end of the play. And we start using the term “branch water” too much.

I’m going to be writing more regularly this summer, although I’ll just tell you up front I’ve got some obligations that might make that more difficult in the immediate future. BUT DO NOT CRY, GENTLE READER. For just like bangs and STDs, you’re pretty much stuck with me from here on out.

Not That Kind Of Quiet

29 Aug

I’m cheating on my library. No, it’s not because of the e-book thing. I have to schlep out to Colliervile two days a week and the library out here is good for hanging out. I’m a city girl. I like being inside the 240. The Memphis Central Library is within walking distance of my house–not that I ever walk there. I think about walking there, but I guess that’s kind of not the same. Anyway, one of my favorite places to sit is up on the fourth floor of the library, especially when it’s rainy. It’s not so much that the view is stellar. I sit where I can overlook East High School and the scrubby little strips of cellphone stores and nail places on Poplar. I just think it’s amazing there’s this big building full of books that could answer any question a person could have. AND THEY’RE FREE! They just GIVE them to you. Unless you’re me. When the weather is extremely hot or cold, there are a lot of scruffy men draped across the pleather chairs. They always seem to be eating Hot Fries. Back in April I was up there on a rainy morning. Several men were sitting around complaining about wives and trading stories about church services. The men began talking about work. Most were retired. It ended up that two of the men had worked for the city during the sanitation strike, but didn’t know each other. I tried not to act like a creep, but HISTORY! I had to listen in. And that’s why I love the library and Memphis. I can look out over a high school that looks like something out of a John Hughes movie while listening to people talk about being there the last night of Dr. King’s life.

The library in Collierville has carpet that cost more than my house. I don’t know how new this place is, but it doesn’t smell like a library yet. You know the smell. Paper, mold, dust, the reference librarian who still wears Wind Song. This library smells like a hotel. But credit where credit’s due. The outlet situation here is superb. There are many places to plug in one’s computer. Of course, today I seem to be the only person here using a computer which doesn’t belong to the library. Downside is I don’t get to bond with a harried grad student when we make a deal to watch each other’s stuff while we go to the restroom. I think I could just leave my stuff on the table if I need to go. I appear to be the youngest person here by at least fifteen years. If the old guy behind me wearing seersucker shorts and suspenders tried to make off with my laptop, I could take him down. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I could totally trip him with his own cane. And don’t think I wouldn’t do it. I have many important pictures of kittens cuddling with pandas downloaded on this machine.

It’s nice to be able to spread out. I might bring a snack next week. I find every task more enjoyable when snacks are involved. I’m kind of lonely though. The people-watching situation here is sub-par. The quiet here is a real quiet. Not the quiet of kids just sprung from school and eager to check Facebook. It’s not the quiet like when I try not to yell because they keep moving the 300s and 700s.  And everyone smells nice. I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with that.


Politics Most Fowl

1 Aug

I know everything is political. I get it. Shoes, makeup, the kind of bags you haul groceries in are all indicative of exactly how black your soul is. And now? Your choice of fast food chicken tells me how you feel about teh gayz. That’s right. If you eat at Chick-fil-a, you’re a gay-hating, gun-toting, Bible-thumping troglodyte. If you don’t eat there, you’re a homo-lovin’, granola-crunching, atheist communist. AND THERE IS NO IN BETWEEN.

Soylent Green Corporations are people. People have rights. Like the right to royally piss off a large segment of the population which believes same sex marriage is a civil rights issue rather than a religious issue. When I hear someone say, “I think we are inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about,” it’s no different to me than saying that in the context of a discussion about black people marrying. It is purely a civil rights issue to me. I understand not everyone feels that way, and I DO believe that simply because you do not believe gay people should enjoy the same civil rights you do, doesn’t necessarily mean you hate gay people. That’s too easy. I think you are wrong, but I don’t make the leap that you hate. You may disagree with me, and I think I get where you’re coming from.

But people, THIS IS LUNCH. If you don’t want your money contributing to whatever farkakte charity a particular business supports, don’t eat there. If you do, eat there every day. THEN MOVE ON. If you live in Memphis and want to do something meaningful and political, then vote tomorrow. It’s free, it works, and it does not generally give you gas. But exchanging money for a hand spun peach shake does not make you political. It makes you a consumer. If you want to stand on line for two hours for some waffle fries, be my guest. But don’t expect it to change the world or save you a seat in heaven.

Look, eat mor chikn, don’t eat chicken, eat at KFC in protest, only eat fruit which has naturally fallen from the tree. I don’t care. If you’re looking to make a political statement with your food, I’d like to recommend you do so by supporting some of the many local restaurants across this great nation. Those of us who derive income from local restaurants appreciate your support.

Yeah, And Another Picture

2 Mar

A long time ago in a universe far away, I had another blog. That blog spawned a photoblog, but I abandoned it because I shut down the old blog and–more importantly–I am not a photographer. I had some old ads and miscellaneous junk posted, and it was nifty for a while. 

Be that as it may, I like to take pictures. Occasionally. I was reading something from a photographer asking people if they were “binge” photographers or “snack” photographers. I’m of the binge persuasion. The jasmine outside of Standard Shed Studios is about to bust out and it inspired me to start snapping, dust of the photoblog, throw some stuff out, and relaunch it.

I give you Yeah, And Another Picture

Things Currently Annoying Me

8 Feb
  1. Westbound Poplar drivers who think it’s nice to let an eastbound moron turn into Office Depot across two lanes of traffic. Just because you in the inside lane are trying to be nice doesn’t mean the outside lane feels the same. Idiot should have turned in from Mendenhall. LIKE A SANE PERSON.
  2. That I am now, officially, A Memphis Driver.
  3. Frothy Santorum’s statement that THEY want to tell you if you only believe marriage to be between a man and a woman then THEY are trying to tell you that you’re a bigot. I’m not TRYING to tell you. I AM telling you.
  4. You say you’ve been to a certain city and Tessie Traveler wants to know if you’ve been to all these places there, but the places are like all the places the tour bus is legally mandated to go and beeteedubs I have my own opinion about where to get a really good pulled pork sammich in my own town, thankyouveddymuch.
  5. HEY! You! In the suburbs! My assumption is that you live there because you don’t like the city. You don’t need to give me a detailed list of Memphis transgressions. Only those of us inside the loop pay the tax for that privilege.
  6. I’ve got this thing with my foot.
  7. People freaking out about breastfeeding. And I’m talking either way. One, it’s a thing, okay? Women do it to feed their children. FEED. THEIR. CHILDREN. Second? Some kids don’t latch. Why do we need to make the mother feel like a failure? Answer? WE DON’T.
  8. My overzealous use of the caps lock key.
  9. Wanting me to read something, but not letting me read it. You read it to me instead. Quit it.
  10. I seem to be annoyed a lot lately.

Your Assignment For The Weekend

18 Nov

Y’all marinate on these two things over the weekend.

1. I was talking to my friend Jessica and we were saying we both had deviled egg trays, but both HATED deviled eggs. Into what could one’s deviled egg tray be re-purposed?

2. I respond better to assignments, so I’m crowd-sourcing the blog. If you have an idea for a blog post, (I’ve already written about bacon and cupcakes. Those are usually the top two suggestions, so, um, no) let me know. You can tell me in the comments, on my The Facebook page, over at The Twitters, or you can email me at susan@standardshedstudios.com. I’m like all Web 2.0 and junk.

3. The person who has the best idea for the egg trays and anyone whose idea for a post I use will get YOUR CHOICE of one of the prints below. I will be happy to mail you a print or email a digital. You may use them however you wish UNLESS you wish to make money off them. It is my gift to you, not my retirement plan to you. Also, these are thumbnails. The pictures are larger and some have more stuff. I will let you see the one you choose full size before I send it, don’t get all huffy.

Okay. GO!