Category Archives: Jody Spouts off

A Long Walk Today


Today’s walk was my longest one yet. Stef said she kept looking across the street, thinking, maybe, that I’d stopped in to visit with Joanie & Eldon, but I had not – I will go over and see them later on today.

So, I went up the hill, then, down the hill, hung a right and headed down Aunt Debby & Uncle Steve’s street (they sometimes babysit with Toby.) Then, I hung a left and went another block, took another left and then another left on the street beside our house. However, rather than just walking the 3 blocks home, I walked a couple of blocks and turned left onto Ethelyn’s street, down her street, then a right for a block and then, another right onto our street. All in all, this incorporated 12/20 second blasts and 9 sets of 20 side crunches at almost every street corner. Phew. Glad I had those corn chips earlier or I’d be out of steam right now.

So, in other news, Vladimir Putin still seems to be in charge of our government because Donald and the Republicans still think it’s more important for Oleg Deripaska to get his money than our own government workers who have already missed one paycheck and are now headed for another one. What a great group of folks! MAGA, YEAH, BUDDY! JS


Liberals are taking to battle on the 4th of July, 2018


Another 4th of July is upon us today, another day to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA! and be grateful that we live in a country where we even have the right to spout differences of opinion about anything. That’s not true in all countries. The trick to it all, then, is remembering that we are still one nation and one people, all of us wanting the best for each other, in the long run. Or, we should be. JS

According to right-wing blabbermouth Alex Jones, the left is planning a civil war today. I didn’t get the memo – just read it on Facebook which, I must say, is rather disappointing. I mean, if it’s a potluck, too, we could bring all of this artichoke dip and watermelon left over from yesterday, but we have guests here, so, I just don’t think we can make it. Still, we’d like to be supportive – can we send a check? JS

After reading a funny facebook post that started with, “In the Civil War today, we lost Commander Betty White…” by Joseph David Dacus, I came up with my own July 4th action post:

STEF (Major Neyhart) CAPTURED A FLAG! I begged her not to go, but it’s hard to call her down when she’s determined.

Through the haze of gun smoke, she raced alongside Lt. Toby to what she thought was the home of a Trump supporter, scaled the back fence and yanked that flag off the pole. Lt. Toby bravely kept their dog in check by peeing numerous times along the fence line and barking at nothing in particular. Although bombs and grenades were bursting all around, they made it back through the smokey, shrapnel-filled night, both of them with big grins on their faces like they’d just won the decathlon.

I could see them running through the smoke and watched in horror as Major Neyhart sustained a wound to the right shoulder. Luckily, her arm was already in a sling from recent shoulder surgery, and, true to form, she shrugged off her injury and asked me for a Band-Aid. Equally lucky, I had swiped some from Walgreen’s earlier in the day’s battle. Imagine our surprise when the flag she stole turned out to be a RAINBOW FLAG! Our street is way cooler than we even knew! Gen. Jodybob


Liberals are taking to battle July 4th, 2018


My friend, Capt. Judy Miller-Keay, has reported that the rebels have held strong and successful at the Siege of Penzey’s in the Sellwood section of Portland, Or., which brings me great relief. The thought of seeing such a great herb shop floating in a sea of red MAGA hats was almost more than I could bear. Where else could we all get a really decent herbs de provence? I mean, really.

Random bursts of gunfire blurt out every so often in the distance and I heard an ambulance siren earlier, but things are much more quiet today and I am grateful for that. Perhaps, we can all begin to heal. Maj. Neyhart found a definite bullet hole in my pack, although we have failed to find a bullet in my body, nor do I feel the least bit paralyzed, and even tested myself by doing the macarena in the kitchen while smearing peanut butter on my toast. Her shoulder seems better, although she was definitely wounded. Lt. Toby only has some minor powder burns on his paws. My horse Dickens, however, has already begun his rehab and is swimming in our pool. JS


babies being held as “detainees” by our government along the Texas border


It was a balmy 82 degrees last night when my plane landed in Tulsa, and the high yesterday had only been 86 which, you gotta admit, is pretty decent for summer in Oklahoma. I enjoy being surprised in this way at this time of year in this part of the nation. Texas, where I grew up, and Oklahoma, where I have spent a lot of time, are both notorious for getting a running start on summer beginning in late April or early May and not letting up until the end of September, where sticking your head out the window feels like you’ve just stuck your head into a dryer full of still-damp Levis.

The air seems to disappear during this time. For years, in Dallas, I was sure Texas sold all its air to another state and the humidity and heat created its own particular miasma, rather like a wet diaper, and just about as pleasant. Ugh.

I once shared a motel room in Houston in July with far too many people, all of us there to watch a softball tournament. I wound up sleeping on the floor and awoke in the middle of the night unable to breathe. OH, I thought, OH, MY HEAVENS, THEY’VE BREATHED UP ALL THE AIR – THERE IS NO AIR IN HERE! I rolled over onto my belly and commandoed myself over to the door in the darkness, sliding my hand up to the door handle, anticipating oxygen and cool night air and relief of some sort. I cracked the door open enough to stick my big head outside and was instantly stung above my eyebrows by 3 mosquitoes who figured they’d just arrived at a late-night drive-thru, PLUS, there was no air outside, either! I pushed myself back into the room and lay on my belly, panting into the musty carpet and thinking, as I often do, I’M SCREWED. Eventually, I resigned myself to my fate, and, waiting to die, fell asleep. In the morning, I was still alive, still sweaty, still panting, but more determined than ever to find out just who was sucking all of the air out of my state through some giant pneumatic tube hidden somewhere.

I searched for years, upending every suspicious-looking rock I ran across, ready to shout – AHAAAAA! and blow the whistle on somebody for this offense. I never did find out. I moved away to Oregon instead where the summers are not as long and not nearly as intense. There might be some hot days but it always cools off at night in the Pacific Northwest and I like being able to sleep with the windows open, yes, even when skunks come up in the yard late at night to dig for grubs in the lawn. I savor the sounds of the night I can hear at certain times of the year, like the bullfrog who shows up in the pool in the spring, croaking madly for a potential girlfriend. And, of course, what’s a lovely morning in Oregon without the sounds of a hundred birds right outside? Just think of it – all of that beauty and wonder because I get to leave the windows open. What could be better than that?

All of this focus, by me, on the weather, of course, has me thinking about the young children and babies being held as “detainees” by our government along the Texas border in the broiling heat. FOX news right-winger, Laura Ingraham, tried to spin it all as their being at “summer camp” in describing these children and babies who were taken from their parents by people operating under direct orders from the Trump administration. So, Laura, here’s the deal: I challenge you to go and spend a week with these kids in 100 degree heat, in tents and cages, and then tell me if it still feels like they’re at “summer camp.” Because, I tell you what, Ms. Ingraham: UNLESS ALL THOSE CHILDREN MAKE IT BACK TO THEIR FAMILIES – SAFE, SANE AND UNHARMED – KNOWING HOW TO PADDLE A CANOE AND TIE NAUTICAL KNOTS, I’M CALLING BULLSHIT ON YOU AND YOUR STUPID COMMENT. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A HEART, DON’T REMIND US. Ugh. JS


Eldon on Thanksgiving


Our 84 yr. old neighbor, Eldon, is a very active man, always working on his house or yard, and plays golf like I think we all wish we could. He loves it that we keep our yard nice and that we don’t back down from big tasks.

When he first met Stef, she had just moved into this house and was taking down a dying GIGANTIC oak tree in the front yard, pulling the rotting roots out with ropes attached to the bumper of her Volvo. “I’ve never seen a woman take on the projects that Stef has,” he told me. Of course, necessity is the mother of invention, and, when you’re raising 3 kids on your own, there’s very little money left over to hire someone to fall a tree for you so, with the help of friends, she took that big thing down without professional help. Eldon was impressed.

He and I are buddies. It distresses him, I think, to know that I am sick or hurt. When he came over the other day, my new knee still had the price tag on it, it was so new. Eldon looked at me. “So, how long you think you’ll be down?” he asked, “a week, maybe?”

I shook my ahead. “Not sure, Eldon,” I said, “It’s a whole new knee.”

He looked down at my leg all covered in bandages and ice packs. “Okay,” he said, “ten days, then.” I think it makes his world feel safer to know that we are on the road to recovery and not getting out of his sight for too long. He is a very dear man.

So, on this Thanksgiving, as I think back through all the memories of the Thanksgivings of my life and remember who and what I am thankful for, I want to say that I am also thankful for the older friends in my life – people like Eldon and Joanie, like my friend Marjorie who just left us – people who are kind enough to lend their wisdom and experience to me as I bumble and hobble along on this journey.

If you have older people still in your life, give thanks for them on this Thanksgiving Day, and give them a hug for me, too. JS


The book, “WILD”, and then there was me


Cheryl Strayed walked a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her new hiking boots, which were too small, ripped most of her toenails off. After her mother’s death, she had taken a look at her life, didn’t like what she saw, and said, “I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.” So, she did. Her book about this journey is called WILD and it is FABULOUS. They made it into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, which is also EXCELLENT – as raw and real as Cheryl’s life must have felt during that whole time.

Last Friday, I had my right knee replaced, which has been needing to happen for many years. At home now, EVERYTHING I try to do seems to take YEARS for me to do, and, then, I am exhausted. Parts of my body other than my knee now hurt, too – aching and throbbing from being called upon to get to work doing jobs I’ve never asked of them before, or, just from simply lying in bed for hours in weird positions just to get comfortable.

I emptied the dishwasher earlier, which seemed to take hours. Of course, then I was exhausted and grumpy. My leg was throbbing like a sump pump. I thought, as I often do, I’M SCREWED. Sometimes, I am right; other times, I am wrong about that. Then, without preamble, Cheryl Strayed and her journey wafted across my mind and then I thought: WELL, AT LEAST, YOU’VE STILL GOT ALL YOUR TOENAILS.

I hobbled in here to the living room, clicked on the TV, and there was Reese Witherspoon starring in WILD, right there for me to see. Again. Writers have a way of saving each other, even when they don’t know it; ESPECIALLY when they don’t know it. I hope words I have written over the years have offered hope or comfort or insight to someone right at a time when they were needed most, even if it just allows someone to think: WELL, AT LEAST MY LIFE ISN’T AS BIG A MESS AS HERS.

It is important, especially for those of us who tend to “awfulize,” to realize that pain, even in all its rawness and thrashing about, doesn’t last forever. Wounds heal. Movement returns. Things change, shift, and life goes on. Sometimes, Life, with arms spread wide and grinning at us like we just won the decathlon, even forgives us. Today, I needed reminding of that and Cheryl Strayed showed up. Right when I needed her most. Thanks, Cheryl. JS


Dang wrestling match with stockings


I really don’t want to wear those stupid stockings they make you wear after knee replacement. I used to have to wrestle those things onto my mother’s skinny legs and, still, it felt like torture.

They didn’t make me wear them when I had the other knee done, but they kept you in the hospital longer then, too. I understand why – to keep from throwing a blood clot – and I understand the difference between the 20% chance of throwing a clot if you don’t wear them and the less than 4% chance if you do wear them, but I still don’t like it.

I was talking to my friend Beth, a nurse, and bitching about that. She said, “So, what would you rather have – a wrestling match with those stockings, or a sword shoved through your lung? You choose. Idiot.” JS


“Gas Money for California,” he asked


In the parking lot of the Pet Mini-Mart yesterday, a young man approached me as I was getting into my car, asking for money, so he could get to some place in California. His eyes were bloodshot and his demeanor was so mellow, I thought he might go to sleep, leaning across the top of my Honda CRV. I got some money from my wallet and handed it to him. “You look really stoned,” I said.

He grinned. “Well, actually, I am,” he replied, “but it’s legal now.” Then he stared at me. “Do you smoke?” he asked.

I shook my head. “No,” I said, “but I used to work in rock ‘n roll radio. I know what stoned looks like.” He blushed. “All I’m saying,” I told him, “is that, if you want to be more successful at this, you might want to sober up some before you approach people to ask for money. If you look stoned and reek of marijuana, they’re less likely to believe you need money for gas, and they’re less likely to help you.”

He looked startled. “I smell like marijuana??” he asked.

“Well, it’s either that,” I told him, “or you’ve been barbecuing a Herculon couch under a bridge. You just happened to catch me on a good day when my old heart is feeling generous and shiny.” I started my car. “Take good care,son,” I said, “don’t let this be your whole life.”

He was giving me the peace sign as I drove off. JS


Old Clive owes America a giant wad of money


Just roared into southern Oregon while ago after having left Tulsa on 5/26 and driving back in a car that’s new (to me.) Here’s what I learned: the term “Classic Rock” doesn’t always mean what I hope it will, nor what I think it should.

I also learned that I have kind friends across the nation who are willing to put up with me for a night and on very short notice.

One last thing I learned: driving across northern Nevada is unbelievably boring, despite the fact that the damp, salty sand of the Bonneville Salt Flats comes right up to the highway. Around Elko, Nevada, I began looking for that Tea Party darling, Cliven Bundy, hoping that I could run over him with my new car. Old Clive owes America a giant wad of money and it doesn’t appear he will be repaying us anytime soon, so I figured out this is one deadbeat we can do without. Alas, I didn’t see him, so I kept driving, hatching another plan. I know, I know, it’s not very Zen of me. Or Christian. Or even kind. But, as we all know by now, I hold a grudge. And road trips don’t bring out the best in me. Glad I am home. JS