Author Archives for Smartass Cook

About Smartass Cook

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Photographer, Traveler, Tarot Card Reader and Dream Interpreter. Gypsy Soul, Child of Rock, Motorcycle Enthusiast

Thoughts on Money

Collecting has become such a popular pastime these days. People collect all sorts of things. They think their items will become valuable down the road but guess what?  They don’t!  My advice on collecting is this…. Collect your money instead.

This is very valuable advice. I’ve spent a lifetime collecting worthless junk thinking it will become valuable. Has it? No. Most things have actually gone down in value. Besides going down in value there is the loss of space due to having to store these items. They sit in boxes in the attic virtually untouched for years and years. I could have all that money sitting in a money market account or invested in something, reaping interest or dividends.

When we buy things we get that temporary high. But once it’s home and unpacked that’s the end of the high. We forget about it and move on to the next worthless piece of crap we want to buy.

That is why my advice is to just save your money. Start a savings account and at the end of every month take whatever is leftover in your checking account after paying your bills and sweep it in there. You’ll be shocked at how quickly it will add up.

Live a simple life. Remember… the less you have, the less you have to clean!


Organically Speaking

Last week I decided to go completely organic. I’d been eating a semi-organic diet for quite some time.  What that means is I was eating organic foods as long as they were on sale. I think that’s what most people do. I doubt I was getting the full benefits of eating organic foods when I was mixing them with pesticide-ridden chicken and beef.

I recently read an article about a family in Sweden who changed their diet to fully organic for two weeks. The results were dramatic. Here is the article in case you’re interested in reading it.

For me the greatest benefit so far has been the lifting of the brain fog I’ve experience for so long. When I say long, I mean a decade or so. I also have increased energy and feel clean on the inside. I don’t really know how else to describe it but it’s a good feeling.

I hate it that organic food is so much more expensive in the grocery stores and that because of that young couples and small children are left eating foods that are chemically-ridden only because that’s all they can afford. I look forward to the day when everyone can enjoy the health and benefits that come from eating organically grown fruits and vegetables. It seems like there should be laws about selling food that is known to be unhealthy. Maybe one day….

Laura’s Most Cherished Poems

“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”

Robert Browning Hamilton

Hurricane Irma

I recently fled the state of Florida and my home in order to keep myself and my dog safe. While I could have gone to a shelter, I learned that only a couple of them in my evacuation zone accepted dogs and they were already full to capacity.

I’ve always wondered how it is that during these kinds of crisis pets get left behind. Now I know. I used to blame the pet owners but now I’ve come to be a little less judgmental.

Fortunately for us, we had a safe haven for us to go. We drove for 14 hours in heavy traffic but finally made it to my son’s little farm in Tennessee. We were blessed to be welcomed with hugs and kisses. However, I realize that not everyone had that option.

State Representatives need to realize that in our present economy there are still many people who are living paycheck to paycheck. They can’t afford to just pick up and leave and go to a hotel. Additionally, not all hotels will accept animals and the ones that do fill up very quickly.

I hope that the states that have recently been effected by these tragedies will see the need to put something in place to provide for more “pet friendly” shelters in the future. If not, then we can’t prosecute people when they are forced by circumstances beyond their control to leave their pets behind. It is wrong to place people in a position where they have  to choose between the safety of their children or elderly family members and their beloved pets.

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world that has an abundance of “pet friendly” shelters rather than what we have now, which is a tremendous shortage of them.


All Veterinarians Are NOT Created Equal

After moving to a new state one of the first things I knew needed to be done was to find a new veterinarian for my senior dog.

I found a nice looking place nearby my home but looks aren’t everything. It didn’t take me very long to realize that all veterinarians are not created equally.

Maybe my other vet spoiled me. She was an amazing woman who truly had a gift and a love for animals great and small. Even if we weren’t there to see her, but only for a nail trimming, she always made it a point to peak her head in and say hello…. not just to me… but to whichever pet I was there with that day.

When my Sheltie became arthritic she would kneel down on the floor to do her examinations so as not to cause discomfort to my baby. To me that was the true sign of a great veterinarian.

On the other hand, my new vet, well I don’t think I’ve even met her yet. I made my initial appointment to see her so we could introduce ourselves and get acquainted with each other but instead I met her Physician Assistant. I was charged the full doctor’s office fee without actually seeing the doctor. That didn’t go over very well with me.

Anyway, pretty sure I’m going to be looking for a new vet in the very near future.




Life is just one cliche’ after another…

It’s been a fabulous four-day weekend! Life is good. The universe is full of surprises and I’ve learned in my recent years that it truly is better to wake up with a grateful heart.

After spending a good chunk of my life trying to hold on to a past that no longer wanted to hold on to me, I’ve finally come to understand the meaning of “Letting Go”.  And yes, it is freeing.

Life truly is about flow. It’s true that one journey ends and another begins. I’ve never really grasped that concept until now. We have to let go. We have to eagerly let go and eagerly and vigilantly seek out the new.

As a young girl I instinctively knew this. If someone wasn’t treating me right or a situation didn’t serve to move me closer to what I wanted, I said adios and moved right along.  Somewhere along the journey someone got the thought into my head that this was selfish. Someone somewhere convinced me that I should give people second chances. The problem with second chances is they became third chances, and fourth chances, and so on and so forth.

In looking back, I can see that every time I gave someone or some situation a second chance I was actually lowering my vibration and cheapening my value. Not only did they lose respect for me but I lost respect for me too. Every time I accepted less than I desired or deserved the Universe took note and sent me lesser and lower opportunities.

I used to lament that all I had to choose from were crumbs …. but I had been the one who had set the table.

I no longer think it’s selfish to want to surround myself with good people and move toward achieving my goals. Not every person or situation that you come in contact with deserves a place in your life. We must choose wisely.

It’s ok to take your time and be particular and selective with your own life. It’s not only ok, it’s necessary for your self-esteem and confidence. With each choice you make you’re creating the life you want to live. That’s not selfish, it’s smart.  The better the choices we make the better choices the universe offers us.

Raise your vibration! Start today! It’s never too late.




Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tennessee

Can you imagine what it would be like to have a massive army camped out on your front lawn? Now imagine another one in your back yard. This is the story of the Carnton Plantation home and the McGavock family who lived inside.

Carnton Plantation is located in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee. It is literally built in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sprawling fields. It was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Upon his death, his son John inherited the farm. John married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in 1848 and they had five children, three of whom died at very young ages. There were two small children living in the home at the time the battle began. There names were Hattie, who was 9, and Winder, who was 7.

The Confederate Army of Tennessee attacked the Federal Army at 4pm on November 30, 1864. What resulted was a massive frontal assault and one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and within very close range. For that reason it’s believed that both sides killed some of their own soldiers just because it was so pitch black and they couldn’t see.

The battle lasted barely five hours. Casualties numbered 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops.

On November 30, 1864, Carnton became the largest temporary field hospital for tending the wounded and dying after the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks opened their home to as many as 300 soldiers although it’s believed that at least 150 died the first night.

The upstairs bedrooms were used for surgeries and the floors of the restored house are still stained with the blood of the men who were treated there. Amputated arms and legs were tossed right out the window and lay in the yard in a heap. Hundreds of dead bodies were spread out all over the property.

carnton reenactment 1carntonstainsmall

Carrie McGavock donated food, clothing and supplies to care for the wounded and dying. Witnesses said her dress was blood soaked at the bottom. The children witnessed the carnage and even helped provide some basic assistance to the surgeons.

On December 1st, 1864 the Union forces headed to Nashville leaving all the dead and wounded behind. It was then that the residents of Franklin were left with the daunting task of figuring out what to do with over 2,500 dead soldiers.

The McGavock’s designated approximately 2 acres of their land to be used as permanent graves for the soldiers. In 1865 many of the Union soldiers were moved to the Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.


Carrie oversaw the care and maintenance of the cemetery until her death in 1905. Her son Winder inherited the property but died just 2 years later. His widow moved out of the home and sold it in 1911 ending a century of family ownership. It passed through several hands and was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. W.D. Sugg in the 1950’s. The property fell into disrepair in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In 1977 the Carnton Association was formed to raise money to buy, restore and maintain the mansion. In 1978 Dr. and Mrs. Sugg gave the house and ten acres to the Association. The Association acquired an additional 38 acres and began restoring the home and grounds. The restoration was completed in the 1990’s and today the home and property are open to the public. 







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