Monday, April 30, 2012

It is Monday...

     .... and I'm feeling exhausted and a little snarky.  The weekend was frustrating and I'm so very ready for all of this to be over.  The thought keeps crossing my mind to just walk away from it all, stop packing, stop worrying, and just leave.

     But I can't.

     I found this card while I was packing away some things in the office.  I remember quite well when I bought it because I bought every single one the store had since I was planning on sending them out for "an occasion."

     On the inside of them is printed "Life's too short to be subtle." in a rainbow of colors that was too difficult to see here.

     They were musical cards, and of the six that I bought, only this one still worked.  It plays the first line of this song:

     

     I was buying them to celebrate a divorce from a former husband, but apparently packed them away when my father went into the hospital a few days before my divorce was final, and it just seemed inappropriate to send them.

     To be honest, it is probably inappropriate for me to use it now in the way that I want... but it is just so tempting.  I would love to use it on my last day of work, to put my access badges into it and turn it over to my boss as I head out the door.

     I would probably never be able to work for the Army again (*enter sarcasm here* Oh, what a great loss that would be!), and if I ever did work for the government, I would probably have to attend more than one sexual harassment course and sign all kinds of waivers saying I would never, ever have a sense of humor again.

     Considering all that... I think it just might be worth it.

Texas things...

Things I will miss about Killeen/Ft. Hood, Texas when I leave:
  1. Shopping at the O Mart and wishing I could read Japanese.  "What IS that?" "I dunno.  You wanna try it?"  "No.  Do you?"  "No."  "Okay then, stop staring at it because it's creeping me out.  Let's find something we can read...."
  2. Hearing Taps played every night... and its echo across the valley.
  3. Being able to see the wisteria I planted really take over the pergola like I had planned.
  4. The big back yard at the rental house that the dogs really loved.
  5. Blue bonnets and wildflowers.
  6. The squawk, unique calls and chatter of the starlings and grackles.
  7. Having a fireplace... and a fire pit... I can sit and watch the flames dance for hours, just mesmerized and hypnotized.
  8. Fishing on the lakes, especially those days when we didn't catch a thing but just floated and talked.
  9. Living in a real house... no shared walls... no stairs... room for gardens in the yard... lots of windows.
  10. New neighbors/friends I've just met and made ... secret angels.

Things I will NOT miss about Killeen/Ft. Hood, Texas when I leave:
  1. Insane drivers and late afternoon traffic.  They really need to make all residents attend a driver's ed/anger management class every three months.
  2. Unrelenting summer heat and nine months without rain.  Large cracks in the back yard from the heat and drought that were a foot or more deep.  I always worried about Trooper or Henry breaking a leg, Trooper especially when he got one of his wild hairs and ran full speed in circles.
  3. The wind.  Not the occasional gentle breeze... but the hurricane force winds for days at a time.
  4. Stress from work slowly killing me.  Well... maybe not so slowly.
  5. The overwhelming feeling of nothingness, hopelessness, and helplessness.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Selections...

     I am linking to the beautiful photo selections of Kim at FrogPondsRock and The Elephant's Child.

[Kim's Linky Blurb: She take a lot of photos and most of them are just sitting around in folders on her desktop not doing anything. She thought that a dedicated post once a week would be a good way to share some of these photos that otherwise wouldn't be seen by anyone other than her. So she has started a photo meme that anyone can join in and play as well. The rules are so simple as to be virtually non existent. Just add your name and URL to the Mr Linky. Publish your photos on your blog using the “Sunday Selections” title. Link back to her.]

     I had not planned on participating this week because I've been in a deep, dark hole most of the week and so far this weekend.  A hole where there are no answers.  Only questions, and not the type of questions most like to answer.  Questions like ... what makes life worth living?  What is your reason for waking every day?  Questions that don't really have a definitive answer because there are no wrong answers, as each one is personal, and right for that person.

     So for this moment... this very second... in time... these are my answers... and I hope that tomorrow I find more...
Trooper

Trooper being my rock (Tink is now at Rainbow Bridge)


Me and Mom when I saw her last in 2007

Trooper and Henry

Oreo... patiently waiting for me to come home


Friday, April 27, 2012

Sort of human...

     A thought occurred to me recently when someone I worked with made a comment about my mood lately.  She was trying to convince me to reconsider leaving my job here in Texas without having a net to fall into to keep me from smashing into nothingness when I hit the ground.

     When I told her I just couldn't stay anymore, that the stress of the job was literally going to kill me, she was surprised and said she didn't believe me.  That the strong woman she read about recently in my first book, "My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs" just wouldn't feel that way, that she (I) was stronger than that.

     But the truth is I'm not always strong.  I'm only human.  My life has reached a point of overload where I cannot continue to live this way.  I can't leap tall buildings, or run faster than a speeding bullet.

     I wondered then if I wasn't doing my readers a disservice by being honest about my ups and downs, if I should try to sugar coat my life and pretend I lived at Walgreen's in a Perfect World.  I don't know if my readers follow me looking for strength and all the right words.  I don't know if they expect me to have all the answers.

     I don't always have answers.  Some days I have more questions than answers.  Some days, I can't even think, or remember what I had for breakfast because I'm just focused on getting through the day without crying.

     I do know that there are times when I am strong.  There are days when I do have answers.  But I'm just as much a student of life as everyone else is.  I don't always pass every test.  I don't always get things right.  There are more days than not, that I find strength and answers in some one's blog, photos or words.  In the answers to the questions that they learned on a test.

     I can't be what I'm not, and right now, I'm not Wonder Woman.  I know that one day I will have strength again, but for now, I just have enough to get me back to the beach where I can draw my strength from the waves...
Margot Datz
I just MUST get this book!

Five on Friday...

Monday... I opened my day planner/journal to this week and read a reminder that I had taped in there two months ago.  Apparently my subconscious knew just what I would need to read and when.  "I love who I am and am grateful for the journey that has brought me to this place."  I know that lately I've been whining commenting quite a bit about this "journey" and "this place" but in all honesty, I am grateful.  I've learned more about myself in the last 20 months than I probably have in the last 50 years.  I have been forced to not only peel layers, but to dig deeper into my heart and soul to know just what it is I want, and don't want, but also I've found out who I really am.  Bedtime... I'm exhausted and stressed, but have found I'm sleeping better just knowing that not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel... but the end of the tunnel is getting closer.

Tuesday... my Note from the Universe reminded me of something today that I've been overwhelmed by... Maxabella loves blogged about them a few weeks ago and called them "Self-induced Annoying Things."  She talked mostly about those little things that need repairs around the house that we just continue to overlook rather than take the five minutes to fix them that it would require.  Mine... not such an easy fix.  My note today said that the reason our human brains are so much larger than most of the other creatures on this planet is so that we can imagine all the details of my heart's desires; "not so that you can figure out who you need to meet, when you need to meet them, where you need to be, or how you're going to pull it all together."  Thank God.  Imagining all of my heart's desires is so much less stressful than all of the other things I've been worrying about for the past few months.  I am grateful that I can take that "SAT" and turn it over today.   Bedtime... I lie there thinking of all the things I'm going to do once I am "home" again, and all the self-induced annoying things I'm actually going to enjoy having to do.

Snow day!
Wednesday... Karen at This Old House 2 recently rescued a dog.  Not just any dog, but probably the wisest dog since my own Trooper.  His name is Frasier, and he is handsome.  You can tell by the pictures she posts that he is at home with her... and it is a home that he was always meant to be in.  I am so grateful for my pound puppy, Trooper, who at 73# pounds is no longer a puppy, but a strong, comforting weight against my legs during the day, and against my back at bedtime.  I'm also grateful for my rescued pug, Henry, who was named after Thoreau and always provides me with reasons to smile as he watches videos on the computer over my shoulder, or shares his sugar boogers with me in the morning.

Thursday... I have a short-timers attitude at work.  It isn't making me do less work, or slack off on the quality of work that I do, but seems to have wrapped me in a "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a darn" attitude when certain people want to push my buttons and try to spoil my mood.  I wish that it could be put into a liquid (non-alcoholic, of course) to be shared with my co-workers.  It might ease some of the stress that everyone is feeling with workloads that seem to double overnight like rabbits.  Bed... time... I'm enjoying the comfort of my bed, the way the mattress conforms to my body, and the way my down comforter folds around me.  I know that once the movers come in a week from tomorrow, I will be sleeping on the hard floor until they get to Florida.

Friday...  coffee... Friday... can there be anything else to be more grateful for?  Oh, and of course, bedtime tonight and the thought of sleeping a little late in the morning...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eden asks... What is a blog?

     One of my heroes, Eden Riley, in Australia (a place I've never been to yet, but is on "the list") has asked "What is a blog?"  She's doing a big give-away thingie, but really the only thing I'd truly love to win are her  Holy Kitsch Day of the Dead Flags because I think they will be awesome for my 50th birthday party... which will be celebrated late, but actually falls on Cinco de Mayo.  So how much cooler could that be?  But I'm really not writing this piece to win or compete.  I'm writing because she asks a good question.

     To be honest, when I first heard the term "blog" I had to look it up on Wikipedia.  They all just looked like websites, and I had one of those for years before they were ever called a blog (which by the way is a "portmanteau of the term web log," and I had to look up the word "portmanteau" also.  I'm starting to wonder if that MBA was just wasted money or if I'm getting too old to keep up with the language.)

     My "website" originally was an easier way for me to keep in touch with family since we've always been scattered to the four corners of the Earth.  It eventually evolved into a blog because I realized it was becoming more of a soapbox for me... and I was unhappy with my website server insisting on putting pop-up advertising and banners that I felt were sometimes inappropriate for "family" reading.


A hero is someone who thinks outside the box
but also,
sometimes gets outside of the box.

     Unlike Eden, and many of the other blogs that I follow... I've never been approached to have a sponsor.  I suppose if I wanted I could advertise products, but I wouldn't have a choice in what they were.  Often I do write on something I've tried or found and include a link to that site.  But as far as earning any kind of an income from my blog... no.  Except perhaps for the person who occasionally gets weary of my ramblings about my books and actually buys one to read themselves. (Yay!).

      My blog has more or less remained my soapbox.  I talk more about things I feel strongly about, things that have affected me physically or emotionally, and the occasional random Oh, look!  A chicken!  But my 'audience,' I've found reaches, around the globe.  Not just the four corners.  It has become a way to meet new friends, soul sisters, and hopefully to make a difference in someones life.

     Like Eden, there was a time when I almost let the haters shoot me down.  I deleted almost two years of posts because I felt that I had exposed too much of myself, peeled off too many layers of the onion that I am, and I was tired of the criticism from people who just didn't get it.  Especially since some of those haters were family.  Those hurt the most.

     Then I realized a few things... first, when you hit that delete button in anger, you will always regret it.  Second, by letting those people dictate who I was and what I wrote about, I was giving them power and control over me that I have fought so hard to get back. 

     This is me.  Like what I write or not, these are my thoughts and feelings.  No one is forcing you to read them.  No one has glued your eyes open.  If you don't like what I write... go find something else to read.  This is the Internet version of reality reading.  It is almost like getting a new chapter every day, without being able to read the last page of the book to know how it ends.  It is a way to keep a family history going... and shared, as I have done with some of my Dad's carpentry projects.  It is a way to reach out to others, to share knowledge, experiences... life.

     Facebook is ... reality television on steroids ... Beverly Hills Real Housewives on Crack... Survivor of the Rudest.  It is sometimes like a brief glimpse into the worst side of humanity.  People bully, attack, and air their perverse and dirty laundry. 

     Blogs can be that way also... but it seems like those of us who use this 'medium' are creative artists in a different way.  Our words are our art.  We can share photographs, ceramic creations, paintings... but for the most part, we combine them with words that are written to build... not destroy.

From the darkness... a ray of hope...

     My birthday isn't for another week and a half, but since I have no adult supervision at home, I open cards and packages as soon as they arrive.  No matter how many times Mom writes "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 5 MAY" or "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY" on the envelope or outside of the box.

     That is the wonderful thing about refusing to grow up and not having any adult supervision.  Every day can be a party.  You don't have to wait for one specific date on the calendar.

     Yesterday I received two cards in the mail.  There was nothing on the envelope stating that they were birthday cards so I opened them right away.

     Plausible deniability.

     One was a card from my Aunt in Arizona, who is so wonderful about always remembering to send a card for every occasion that I often feel guilty when I realize that a holiday or birthday has come and gone and I've not sent anyone a card.  Her card was joyful and sweet (it had a cake on the front of it).  The fact that it was bought at Trader Joe's made me think of the time I last saw her when we all gathered for a reunion, and I thought I could just live in Trader Joe's forever.  It brought a smile to my face and made my heart do a little happy dance.

     The second card was from my Uncle, now also in Arizona.  His card was the ray of hope... ray of light... that I desperately needed yesterday afternoon.

    
Wonderful are Your works...

     My Uncle's card had this quote on the front of it with a beautiful orange sunset and sailboat on the water painting:
"There are things only you can do,
and you are alive to do them.
In the great orchestra we call life,
you have an instrument and a song."
~ Max Lucado ~
Inside the cover of the card was this:
"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Wonderful are Your works; 
And my soul knows it very well."
~ Psalm 139:14 (NASB) ~
The card read:
"God has blessed you with your own special gifts,
with a light that is uniquely yours.
Your birthday is the perfect time to celebrate your gifts...
and the wonderful person you are."

     While both cards brightened my mood tremendously, the message on my Uncle's card was the reminder that I needed.

     I am better than She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and all of her petty attempts to catch me in a lie just because I caught her in several.  She will fail.  I will prevail.  I know who I am.  I know what kind of person I am.  What kind of ethics I have.  I know that one day, she will find herself alone in the office because she has chased off everyone with her management 'style' of spying, accusations, and distrust.

     Yes, I am blessed.  Yes, I have a light that is uniquely mine... and if she can't see it or appreciate it... I will take it somewhere else.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dreams do come true...

     Wednesdays are usually wish casting days with Jamie Ridler Studies, but she is taking a break for two weeks to make one of her dreams come true by going to Paris, France!!

     Her guest bloggers are all discussing dreams that have come true, so I dug out the journal and list of dreams I wrote up back in the late 1980's and see how many of them had come true.  I was trying at the time to list 50 things I wanted to do, but could only think of 40.

  1. Ride in a hot air balloon (January 1988)
  2. Go to Alaska (I went twice!  Summer 2008 AND winter 2009)
  3. Visit Germany as an adult and see my childhood memories through older eyes. (2007 and 2008. Still had magic!)
  4. Write a children's book (it was never officially published, but was a photo book of the adventures a small Steiff bear had on my first Alaska trip and I sent copies to my nieces and nephews)
  5. Go snorkeling (Bahamas 1986)
  6. Go on a cruise (river cruising is the ONLY way to go!  2007 & 2008)
  7. Try sushi (2010)
  8. Take cooking classes (2007-2010)
  9. Go white water rafting (Cody, WY 1997)
  10. Learn to crochet (Sept 2001)
  11. Stay with one company for more than three years (Lockheed Martin 1997-2008 before a moment of insanity)
  12. Learn to speak enough German to not get lost (2007 ~ LOVE Rosetta Stone!)
  13. Go to Switzerland (2007)
  14. Get a tattoo (2010)
  15. Run a 5k (1998)
  16. Finish my MBA (2001)
  17. Be a mom (so what if I'm counting the kitten I bottle raised who still calls me MawMaw)
  18. Teach (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University 2005-2008)
  19. Write and publish a book (three of them now! 2008, 2009, 2011)
  20. Take some kind of art classes (I learned how to slump glass and make jewelry, plates and bowls 2008)
     The amazing thing has been that after I wrote that list, the journal was hidden away, then boxed up for a move or four, and forgotten since that time.  It was only when I unpacked it in the last year that I looked at it and was able to check off so many things on the list.  Without even being aware of it... my subconscious mind remembered the list... remembered my dreams that I hoped would one day come true... and steered me in directions to make at least half of them possible.

People aren't numbers. People are love.
     Some of the things on my list will never happen... like being a bio-mom.  Some of them I've realized I really don't want to do ~ like going bungee jumping, although hang gliding is still on the list.  I've also learned that some of my dreams... like weighing 125 lbs for five years or more... was unrealistic.

     Because the most important thing I did check off my list that I didn't put above was this:


     21.  Love myself and be happy with myself just as I am.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sinks...

Some more of Dad's projects... these are some sinks that he put in a vacation house for a prominent oral surgeon in Panama City.  Here is the garage sink project.
This is the unfinished version of the tub sink in the garage.
What I thought was REALLY cool was not just the storage drawers on either side of the sink, but the stairs that pulled out from under the sink for the kids to be able to get up and wash their hands.  When not being used, they just folded up and out of the way!
This is the 'bar' sink that he put in the laundry room
to replace the tub one he moved to the garage.
Okay, so that picture above is 'eh?' no big deal... at first glance.  But check out this Rodgengineering....
To make the skirt bend around the corner he cut it into segments and glued it back together (it has a piece of Tee Shirt epoxied on the back side of the corner to give it added strength). The brackets were made from a piece of dunnage that he dragged home from the lumber yard. It took four tries to steam bend the trim around the counter top (out of 3/8" Oak – the radius is about 3 ½"). The sink is up off the floor so it can be cleaned under and there is a place to put the trash can.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Monday...

One of those days...
Post Script...one of those days I wish I'd never gotten out of bed for.  Nothing seemed to go right until tonight, when I had dinner with neighbors and oinked my way back across the street to get to bed.  Work tomorrow... it will be my TwoMonday since I'm sure that all the emails piled up and small fires became bonfires today while I was gone.  Only 11 days 4 hours and 18 minutes until I am on the road.  Just 9 more work days.  Just one day at a time... one hour... one minute... one breath.

“Never let go of hope. 
One day you will see that it all has finally come together. 
What you have always wished for has finally come to be. 
You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself... 
'How did I get through all of that?”
~ Anon ~

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day...


Moon rise in Texas

Sunrise in Florida

Sunset in Texas

Hearing a Who in Whoville...

Families

Wading

Remembering we all share the same home,
we all must care for the Earth,
 so that we all might survive... 
Priceless.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Photos...

     I am linking with Kim of FrogPondsRock in Australia for her Sunday Selections of photos.  The 'rules' are really that there are no rules, and anyone can join in the fun by linking up with her blog.  Kim's selections today were beautiful, scenic sights for all of her house-bound friends, and The Elephant's Child has a wonderful selection of flowers from the garden.

     I have spent the day watching once treasured belongings go for nearly nothing as I try to get my moving expenses down to at least one kidney.  As a result, I am exhausted and feeling a slight bit of loss for those 'things' which I once swore I would never become so attached.  Things are just things after all, and no matter how hard we try, we can't take any of it with us when we go.  We come into the world naked and with nothing and leave the same way.

Dad, Aunt Linda, Uncle Ron
     My selection of photos tonight then will be some of the "things" I've lost, but have not really lost because they will forever remain in my heart and are so much more important to me than any of the "things" that left the house today.
Grandpa L, Aunt Sue, Grandma L
Grandma Nor & Grandpa C.

Tink

Mandy
Miss Ebony

Cali

Chynna

Crystal

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five on Friday ~ "It's Alive!"

     This has been an incredibly difficult week for me so my high fives will be simple.  I'm linking late to Maxabella loves... who is grateful for fresh starts... as am I.

Monday... I'm alive AND have angels for co-workers who pick me up in the morning to drive me to work and then bring me home again.  I know that this paralyzing fear that I have right now is a mental reaction to change... even though it is a change for the good and I'm going back to things familiar to me and it is truly a fresh start.  I've just made SO MANY starts in my life (not always fresh, new, or good) that I just am ready to stop.  To be able to make this fresh start the first page of the last chapter.

Tuesday... I'm alive AND at least a few people get my warped sense of humor AND the ones that don't can't fire me (no matter how much I wish they would).  I know I will get a new job soon, and the fresh start will give me the opportunity to shine without someone judging me.  Even if I don't get a new job right away, I will still have my sense of humor.

Wednesday... I'm alive AND have angels for neighbors who let me borrow their car to get dog food.  So grateful for this fresh dog food that won't make the dogs fart.  I know that doesn't have anything to do with a fresh start, but at least it rhymes with fart.

Thursday... I'm alive AND have angels for neighbors who offer to help me out on what will soon be my LAST day in Texas.  Why is it always that when you meet new people, and have a fresh start at making some lasting friendships, it always seems to be at a time when one of you is leaving?  Growing up a military brat I should know that is the way of life for military families, but it still seems so frustrating that those friendships wind up being 90% email, snail mail, and phone calls.  I really miss the potluck game nights, and hope for some fresh starts when I get home to Florida.

Friday...  I'm alive.  And it is a fresh start to the day and weekend.  Rains are forecast for today, to give the earth a wash, and a fresh start to the weeds that will grow in my recently mowed lawn (by one of those angel neighbors I might add).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday.... plausible deniablity

     My wanderlust which I hoped would have been satisfied with writing about travels on Thursdays ~ or reading ~ about places that others want to go ~ has not worked.  It has been making my feet itch and my ears long to hear the rush of an airplane as we take off for places unseen, to arrive in an unfamiliar city, to hear accents spoken in unfamiliar languages or to figure out just what they are talking about even though they use the "King's English." [American English by the way must have been developed by one of the King's juggler's who tossed their sails over there where they're going on sale while they read the book they wanted to read.]

     I've thought about making Thursdays the day to share my favorite recipes but I honestly don't cook enough to do a weekly blog, and most of the time when I do cook, it is srevotfel which is just leftovers spelled backwards.  That is what my mom called it, but my husband just calls it Cindi's surprise.  Usually the surprise is that no one gets sick or dies from it.  Plus there are about a gazillion other blogs on cooking and recipes and I don't want to just be another lemming. 

     It is hard also to explain how I make my own barbeque sauce because apart from the basic ingredients (ketchup, mustard, honey, strawberry jelly) which are not measured but just thrown in the pot to be cooked down and blended. I usually just grab the odd seasonings (Cajun, Ancho chili, or whatever is handy) and make it to taste.  It is never the same twice.

     Thursdays seem to need some kind of structure.  Some kind of OCD order to my ADD thinking.  A way of starting my weekend early by starting to unwind a little early for Friday.  So for now, I think I'll share part of an email of my warped humor and honesty that makes it far too obvious that I'm a short-timer here... let me preface this by saying this wasn't the first time the excuse had been offered, and it always made more work for me to get things accomplished.  Rest assured I did apologize later for snapping off, but my head remains on the chopping block...

Off with her head!
"Just because BQ "wasn't there at the time," he is there now, and is still responsible for the contract NOW because he is the current contract officer representative.
I would love to be able to say that I wasn't here at the time this contract was created so it's not my problem. That would leave me off the hook for about 75% of the 150 files in my cube. But that's not how things work.
He is the current rep, and so at the very least, he needs to be aware of what is going on with the contract, whether it involves a past action or not. Any corrections or de-obligation of funds we have to modify on a previous task order are going to be a part of the current contract.
Plausible deniability only works for the President and members of Congress.  Not for contract officers, specialists, administrators, or representatives."


     Yes, I really should work for myself and be my own boss.  I at least get my own sense of humor.

** Editing to add the response by the recipient after my apology:

I have always really appreciated you and you are a heck of a person/employee.  I have really enjoyed working with you and hate to see you go. You will definitely be missed by us!!!!!!!!!!! No worries about the email. No offense taken, appreciate your honesty. Something you rarely see these days.
Respectfully,
J

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A much needed laugh tonight...

First off, I absolutely LOVE the music.
Secondly, I love these dogs.
Third... I laughed until my sides hurt.



It was a much needed and very good end to a frustrating day.

Where do you wish to go?

    Duh!  Honestly, for all of the Thursday Travels I've written, and blah blah blah I've written about going back home to Florida, I know you are SO sick of the subject by now and wishing I would just shut up and go.

     But the prompt that Jamie Ridler has given us for this Wishcasting Wednesday is again one to make us dig deeper, think harder, and become more in tune with our inner selves and desires.

     I wish to go big

     I'm going to see my name scrolling up the little screen at the end of the Lifetime Movie Channel's awesome production of my book, "Trooper's Run."  I'm going to see "Eagle Visions" hit the top 500 in the New York Times best selling book list.

     I'm going to live big.  I'm going to make a difference with my words and actions.  I'm going to give back to those who have given to me, and I'm going to give a chance to those who think they have none.

     I'm going to be healthy.  I'm going to be happy.  I'm going to be stress-free... or at least not so stressed that I feel life is not worth living.  I'm going to live.  I'm going to love my husband, my family, my friends, my companion animals.  I'm going to survive and thrive.

     I'm going to go and do, and be, and I'm going to wish the same for you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dad's Jenks Avenue Project

These are photos of one of Dad's last projects that actually took him several years to complete.
This is a before picture.  The house was built in 1937.
Here is a picture of the front steps after all the shrubs were cleared out.  The steps were sinking and needed to be rebuilt, but they didn't want to use "new" bricks since they wouldn't match the rest of the house.
Front steps
Here you can see closer what the problem was ~ the original steps were built on a mound of sand that over 69 years washed away causing the steps to sink and become unstable.

He was able to remove the bottom step without damaging any of the bricks and rebuild and reinforce them with a good foundation of concrete that should last another 69 years.


Wherever possible they recycled wood from the original house in the remodel.  Below is a picture of the back side of the house and what would become the new entry to it.  All of the trees were removed with a little help from a hurricane which took down the large tree in the picture above.
Back side of the house which became the new entry door.
The back side of the house is where most of the real work was done.   There was an old two story WWII era apartment building on the back of the lot - not occupied since 1974 - and the siding on that was a good match for the siding on the house. He was able to recycle enough to replace all except one board on the old house.
Work on the back side of the house with the recycled wood.
The intent of the remodel was to keep it looking as much like the original architectural design as possible.  The picture below is the "after" of the front of the house.
After
The rear of the house, after...

The house is currently a law office.  The lot next door, to the far right in this picture belonged to the same attorney and Dad built a house on the lot.  It was his last project that he never saw finished.  When I get home I will have to take pictures and post them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

i will not allow...

     This morning I read the latest blog by one of my blog heroes, Eden Riley of Edenland.  I've linked to her blog before, but I won't this morning.  The reason I won't is that she links back to an article written that she interviewed for in which the 'reporter' twisted facts and words.  Not just about Eden, I'm sure, but probably about all the mommy bloggers she interviewed for the article.

     I posted a rather long comment to that blog which I will share here because the more I wrote, the more I realized that "we" [the collective we, the blogging community] are gaining momentum, and a voice.  And as such we are becoming a threat to journalists because we don't have to write to please our editors, or the guys who count the pennies out each month.  We write because we LOVE to write.  We write because we speak OUR truth.  Not the truth we think you want to hear.  I don't have sponsors for my blog.  I don't make money from my words except for the books I have written, self-published and sold.  Sure, I put a linky up asking for donations because I'm desperate to get back home to Florida.  But I will never change who I am just to get a dollar here or there.

     So here is my comment on Eden's post [Mom, I'm apologizing in advance for the language at points, so don't share this one with your church ladies.]

Once upon a time, I had a great deal of respect for "the media." I wanted to be a writer 'just like them' when I grew up. I wrote radio ad copy for about two years and loved every second of it even though my 'office' was about the size of a small utility closet in the basement of the building. Then one day I was watching news about the murder of actor Patrick Duffy's parents ~ a robbery in which the man who killed his parents took less than $100. The thing that has forever stuck with me was the insensitive, persistent question by "the media" of "How does it feel to know your parents were murdered for less than $100?" How does it feel? How does it feel? I've heard that question time and time again when "the media" questions parents whose children have died in Iraq, or some other war. When husbands or wives are asked "how does it feel" watching someone they loved be lowered into the ground.

I lost all respect for the media that day. I wanted to scream at them "How the f*%k do you think it feels? I'm sure they would give anything, do anything to have that person back!" I haven't bought a newspaper or trash tabloid since that day. I know that my revolt is not making much damage to their bottom line, there are plenty of others who continue to feed off their lies, their stories, their "truth."

The truth is that Life is just one huge recovery effort for all of us. Every single day we deal with, cope with, fight with our own addictions. It doesn't have to be drugs or alcohol. It can be food, sex, Farmville. It can be work, sleeping, running. Every single day that we wake up, we are trying to recover from all of the memories, experiences, pain of our yesterdays. Some days we succeed and we can move forward. Other days, we relapse and are caught in a moment of weakness where we just sit in the tub and cry all night at the unfairness of it all. The helplessness. The hopelessness.

You, Eden, are a rock of honesty that "the media" just can't deal with. You are raw, you are beautiful, and that bitch that twisted your words to make them 'more interesting for the reader' will one day regret all of the things that she said and did to further her career in "the media" because she will see it for what it really is. Nothing but lies and smoke up our asses.

Blogging has become the #1 competition for "the media" because we are out there. Living life and talking about it. Sharing it. Giving readers more truth and honesty than what "the media" ever has before. And they can't handle it.

Don't ever change.

I have a piece of art that hangs near my computer that says "i will not allow myself to be less than i am to meet anyone's expectations."


     This is my vow to my readers.  I will not allow myself to be less than I am to meet anyone's expectations.  Ever.  If "the media" can't handle that... oh well, their loss.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dad's Gifts...

     I am linking up with Kim and Frog Pond's Rock for her Sunday  [in Australia] Selections of photos.  While these are not ones that I have taken, they have been sitting too long in my files, and I wanted to share them to keep Dad alive somehow.  He has been gone now just over five years which seems hard to comprehend.  There are days, like today, when it feels as if it were yesterday...




     The project above was the audio table for a church.  His notes say that he just made a rough sketch of what they needed and then made it up as he went along. The top of it is a roll top that he had to work with cables in order for it to roll correctly.  This was just one of several projects that he donated to various churches around town.  This one being the St. Andrews Methodist Church.

     It was the same church where he restored this window below.  I couldn't find any other pictures in his files.  The one just beneath it is one I snagged from Google Maps Street view.  I remember this project of his because he had a difficult time getting the wood frames for the windows to bend the way he needed them to without breaking.  So he just built his own steam machine that softened the wood enough to make it pliable.



    In the photo below, he created an Ark for the Torah at the Temple B'nai Israel in the name of Lou Schatz, one of Dad's good friends.  He used 100 year old rough sown pine that he got from another remodel project three years prior.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Five on Friday ~ Simply Grateful

     Another week behind me, they are starting to speed up... and that is a good thing.  I've accepted that what I don't get done before I leave... can wait until I get there.  There will be days when I get home, before I start working, that I will have hours to do all of the things I want to do.  So for now, I'm just sorting the obvious things I don't want to take with me, things I need to box and ship to cousins, and things I want to take with me.  Linking to  *Maxabella loves... for her 52 Weeks of Grateful meme today.
Monday ... I made a decision hire movers after I sell, trash, donate, or leave as much of my furniture as I can.  Keeping David's boat will be the biggest expense, but otherwise I think I will be able to get the costs down with less furniture.  Now I feel like things are moving forward and I'm no longer in limbo.  Just the fact that I've made a simple decision has made me feel weightless this week.  Now to just convince my bathroom scale....

Tuesday ... somehow, my dad's work (civil engineering and carpentry) came up in conversation at work today and when I got home I found the article he wrote and some of his project pages.  Sharing them here on the blog is making me feel like he is still with me and that his legacy will last forever.  He was a simple man with simple needs, and always found the most simple way to make me feel loved.  We didn't get to spend much time together or talk much in those last five years, but just the times when we were able to sneak off to lunch together made me simply happy.
Wednesday ... found out that my favorite blend of Cafe OlĂ© Texas Pecan coffee is available for online purchase.  Yay!!  I'll be able to order it still when I get to Florida.  Now to convince Best Maid to put their hot dill relish online!  I'm finding joy and satisfaction in some of the simple things in my life.  I'm looking forward to just enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise over the bay.

Thursday... I'm starting to feel a little more motivated, and after two weeks of fighting with Cricket Wireless, things finally turned in my favor.  They still owe me a little bit of money for some wasted minutes, but refunded the cost for phones and minutes since they don't have service in Florida.  It was frustrating fighting with Cricket when it would have been so simple for them to just say "Sorry, we don't service Florida."  Instead, not once, not twice, but three times I had sales techs let me order a phone with a Florida number.  I suppose I should be simply grateful that I did get most of my money refunded.  Although they should be more grateful that I kept my cool when I went into the store to complain.

Friday...  I am simply grateful that it is Friday.