Saturday, November 9, 2013

A flurry of updates, part 2: I went back to Memphis

G and I hadn't been home at all since 2009, and that was a two-day pit stop as we moved west.  We hadn't visited our friends in Memphis since 2008!  It was long overdue, but we finally flew home for a week at the end of October.

I took a ~few~ pictures.  There's a little bit of riding in here, but mainly it's vacationing, so skip it if you're only here to absorb my endurance knowledge ;)

So I've been gone from "home" long enough that everything is confusing.  I didn't feel like Oakland was home, and I didn't feel like Memphis / The South was home, and I haven't lived in Reno (my true home) for a year and a half, and I was rootless.

We wandered through the Oakland airport, checking out the consumer electronics stores and burner* kiosks.  Our flight was delayed FIVE HOURS, so we had a lot of time to look at all the goods and services for sale in Oakland.

*You know, pay-as-you-go "burner" cell phones.  You watch Breaking Bad, right?  Don't make me explain it to you.  ;)

Eventually, our plane showed up and we flew to Nashville.  (Much, much cheaper than flying direct to Memphis.)  We deplaned at 11 pm or 2 am or something, I don't know, time zones are confusing. The airport was mostly shut down at that hour but one of the first things I saw was this:

That's a makeup kiosk.  From burner kiosks and vending machines that dispense iPads to MAKEUP KIOSKS.

Anyway, it was very late at night and the rental car people were like "you can have a free upgrade, what would you like?"  G looked speculatively at the SUVs, but I focused on the only appropriate car for one's birthday vacation:  the Ford Mustang.
That's right, I was rollin' in my 5.0 with the ragtop down so my hair could blow.

Except we couldn't roll very fast, because the fascist racist cops of Middle Tennessee were out in full fucking force.  It's just under 200 miles from Nashville to Memphis, and we counted sixteen cop cars. Maybe four of them were state troopers; all the rest were local cops out to harass people.  Only two drivers were pulled over with all their shit strewn all over the side of the road getting bullshit drug-searched, though.

I do love Bucksnort.
Just after Bucksnort, I picked up my very own asshole cop!  My shiny new sports car rental had Colorado plates, so I was driving extra-carefully, but I wasn't surprised when a black SUV with a cop spotlight fell in behind me.  He followed me for a couple miles, running the plates.  Then he got in the left lane and followed me in my blind spot for a couple more miles.

Another cop, in a cruiser, came up behind him and he got behind me.  The other cop passed us and the SUV-cop got back in my blind spot.  I had fucking had it with him, so at the next exit I got off.

I carefully stopped at the sign, signalled, turned down the random road, and found a driveway (at a junkyard) to turn around.  I pulled in, stopped, and waited.  Would you like to speak to me, officer? Why are you still following me?

The cop - who'd exited behind me - drove very slowly over the overpass.  G and I smiled and waved at him.  He turned off on a side road and disappeared, never to be seen again.  I signaled carefully, got back on the interstate, and continued my little road trip.

I really, really hate the local southern militia.  They all need consent decrees.

I'm a law-abiding white woman, no longer poor, accompanied by my white male spouse, so I'm not all that intimated by unmarked cop cars.  But if it was night and I was alone?  I'd have called 911 to tell them that some car on I-40 was fucking stalking me.  If I was poor?  Or brown?  Or traveling with my same-sex partner?  That's a nightmare scenario.


Anyway, look, cotton!  Hadn't seen that in a minute.
We ate a lot of barbecue.

I thought about trying out some other joints, but Central BBQ has never done me wrong.  They might not have the best 'cue in Memphis metro area, but they have consistently excellent product.  We ate there five times in seven days:  the perfect ratio.
So my mom - who has been a painter for like 40+ years - has taken up sculpting.  She's got a lot to learn, but it's all technical stuff - what kind of clay to buy, how to fire it, what does a particular glaze really look like.  She's got the artistic part of sculpture nailed, I think.

Here's some elves.

 More sculpture.  I really liked this one, even though it's a work in progress - Mom hadn't done the arms or head yet, but I just loved the unfinished fluid quality of it.  I tried to convince her to fire it just like that but I think she finished it off.
 One of Dad's bottle trees.
 Dad's barn.  This started life as a pole barn, where the pony we briefly owned lived.  (I was 8, and my parents didn't have a clue about training or keeping a pony, so he moved to another home pretty fast. He lived there til he died at 30+ years.)  Anyway, after its short-lived horsekeeping purpose, it became my Dad's shop.
 I stole this sign from Mary Baldwin College when I was like 16.  Surely the statue of limitations is up and I can post my crime on the internet?
 Dad makes awesome birdhouses.  He sells them at regional craft shows.
 Six foot long shed skin from a king snake that lives on the property.
 The little water garden, between Dad's barn and Dad's new little workshop.

 It's like a suit of armor, but it's made from tin cans and it's mounted on a stake below a bird feeder/house.

I don't even know; my parents' house is strange and wonderful.
 View of the barn from the house.  Yep, that's a Red Wings neon sign that says Funderburks - my dad used to own a clothing store.
 The house from the barn.
 The big water garden has seventeen goldfish and a couple frogs and a ton of plants.
 Hey, I stitched those!
 Paintings by my mom.  Metal tree by unknown; metal horse over mirror by Merri Melde.
 Barn's burnt down / now / I can see the moon.
They're pretty cool, those vintage 60s cool kids.

Mom did a copy of Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries by Van Gogh.  Unfortunately, she really likes it, and I haven't been able to convince her to give it to me yet.  One day she'll get bored with it.
 Most of my ride pics languish in dirty ziplock baggies, but a few of them find nice frames in my parents' house.

I did manage to ride twice - non inconsequential, in a week-long vacation!

James was my partner when I first got into horses - we boarded together and he was the only dude I ever met who wanted to ride as long as I wanted to ride, right up until 2009 when I moved to Nevada and really got into endurance.

James is awesome.  He's 31 years older than me, a Vietnam vet, and a great guy.  I learned all of my basic (and basically cowboy) horse skills from him - he's heavier-handed than I am, but his horses are affectionate toward him, obedient, and broke broke broke. 

The spotted horse on the right is SSB.  She's a couple inches shorter than Dixie and a year younger, but when I'd just bought (and was completely overwhelmed by) Dixie, he'd just bought SSB.  He was working on getting SSB broke as I tried to, you know, mount my horse.  (Getting Dixie broke took me so long, argh.)

Anyway, these days, SSB is as much of a good citizen as Dixie is.  I rode SSB and James rode the black on the right.  The first day, we just went out in a cotton field and hauled ass around the edge of it for two hours.

A couple days later, I made it back and we went out again.  We rode down the road, cut across the highway, and headed back up into the trails we used to ride together, back in 2008.  It was awesome. Very, very cool to ride the same trails, with the same guy, on one of the same horses, five years later. Four hours later, we made it back to the barn - it was James' birthday, and I had more people to see.

Highway 51.  Rode across here, across the field, and back up to the left toward the river.

I promised James that it won't be five more years til I see him again!

I saw more friends and ate more smoked pork products, but we were out of time too soon and away we went.

The makeup kiosk was doing a brisk trade when I made it back to the Nashville airport.
And I think that's the moment when I realized I was in the airport to go home.  Oakland's a fine home. It suits me.  Nobody expects me to wear makeup, but nobody bats an eye at my half-shaved head and big arm tattoo. I can bail out of this stupid 8 million person metro area and go ride the Central Valley for the day, or the Sierras or the Great Basin for a weekend. Oakland's all right with me.

Next post - back to endurance with some in-depth horse stuff.


  1. Love your parent's place! Lots of cool stuff there-and a riding buddy too- you lucky girl:)

  2. Your parents' place is awesome, and I love that you got to ride with James again. Riding buddies are the best!

    As far as the zillion police cars on 40, I make the Nashville to Memphis round trip a lot. According to several of my friends in law enforcement 40 has become quite the drug corridor so lots more interest from law enforcement. Sometimes when I make the drive I don't see a single THP or local police vehicle, or even an unmarked vehicle the entire trip. Other times it is what you saw and the whole stretch is just crawling with them. There doesn't seem to be an in between, it seems to be all or nothing. I've learned the hard way (hello speeding tickets, yes multiple) to drive well within the limits of everything when I'm going back and forth to Memphis.

    1. LOL, I got my first speeding ticket on I-40 outside of Jackson almost 20 years ago. The "40 is a drug trafficking corridor" thing was common knowledge then, too. Still doesn't make it legit for unmarked cars to stalk you in your blind spot, though - pull me over or quit trying to intimidate me!

  3. Funder, I really enjoyed this additional side of you (as much as I enjoy the education from your endurance blog) and the amount you were willing to share. Your parent's home seems like a little magic tucked in the forest. Glad you had a good visit and visit down some of memory lane:)

  4. Thanks, yall - glad you liked my parents' place. It really is a magical little spot :)

  5. This whole post explains much of your innate coolness. Look at the grownups who had the raisin' up of you! They all seem extremely cool all on their own.

    (welcome home)

  6. Love your parents' place - so many interesting and creative pieces through which your history is woven and their story told.

  7. Really cool post - love your parents house. It's not "me" and so I'll never be able to "do" my house like that and be comfy in it - but I could chose another, not-so-laced-up persona, it would be the kind of person that lives in a whimisical, artsy, "cool" house.

    Funny, as I was following you on facebook and your BBQ exploits I was like "why didn't I love the south so much that I just moved there?" but then reading here about the cop thing I was all like "that's RIGHT". Lots of really really really good things about the south, but also the bad things like that. I never lived there (obviously) but I visited regularly (one week out of every 4) for a couple of years and that's totally the way it is, and if you haven't actually been to the south I think you read stories like yours and think it's like this really weird story that isn't ordinary, but it IS - it's a southern culture thing ya know?

  8. There is so much to comment on in this post, I can't possibly get to everything. And I'm totally brain-dead, but first...There is a town called Bucksnort? I wouldn't have believed it if you hadn't put in the picture. I love it! And the wood on your parent's floor is so cool! My husband and I have installed hardwood in most of our house and all I can say is that if I had seen the pics of your parent's house, I would have insisted we install it like that - awesome! Thanks for such in-depth sharing of your life:)

  9. Wow, the police


    I have been telling people in my offline life how one of my online friends went to TN and posted BBQ photos that made me super-jealous and they are all super-jealous, too.


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