Tuesday, June 28, 2005
My friend Vivian was in town over the weekend and we went to the local flea market (I found a carved, marble Buddha head for a great price) and then the outlet mall. I found some great end tables and Vivian almost convinced me to purchase one she referred to as the "faux S&M table." Although tempted at the possibilities of conversation it would invoke, I couldn't open my wallet and make the commitment. Instead, I visited the local thrift shops, got some bargains and decided just to make good with what I have right now (which is a lot).
In every move, there are some casualties - not everything arrives safely. I haven't finished unpacking but so far, I've lost a container of Quaker Oats, a big nick in one of my dinette chairs and Peter twisted his ankle. (Yes, "that" Peter helped me with the move.) He fell off a chair. He wasn't sitting on it and I didn't push him off. He was mounting the drapes and stepped backward. He spent the rest of the day limping around. I'm appreciative of the free labor. Tomorrow is the long drive back to Sarasota.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I spent about 12 hours in the car today and didn't leave the state. I drove up to Tally to sign the lease on my new apartment and move some stuff in. The complete move will happen Monday.
Upon advice of some Tally residents, I took SR27, a short cut and scenic route. It was nice getting off the Interstate and seeing some of rural Florida, despite it still having waving Confederate flags here and there (guess some people haven't gotten the memo on that one yet). I was so caught up in the activities of small-town America, yard sales, fireworks tents, toothless men, women's stomachs bulging over their shorts and a Dollar General in every town, that I missed the turn to head north. I thought it was odd when I crossed over the Interstate and knew if was well off to the east of where I was supposed to go. I was 30 minutes down the road before I realized I missed the turn somewhere. If I took the Interstate, it would have taken me five hours (I've driven it). This time, it took me six hours and thirty minutes to get there.
Walking into the apartment was a relief. A relief that after 8 months, I finally have my space again. I spent less than an hour there and headed back home.
I opted to take the scenic route again, thinking maybe it was a long-cut because of my navigational error. Nope. Took me six hours to get home.
My dinner consisted of orange Powerade, two mozzarella sticks and beef jerky (side bar: the best beef jerky I've ever tasted was from South Africa. A friend I worked with in the Everglades had escaped from there in the 1980's to avoid going into the military. I always think it's sad that he can never return to his home country to see his family. Anyway, he used to order the best jerky from S. Africa and share it with me - the power of the Internet!).
When I stopped to refuel the car, there were hundreds of bugs swarming me (and everyone else). Think they were mayflies. While pumping the fuel, I noticed a lady bug on the side of my car and thought it was odd. Without notice, the bug disappeared and a mayfly landed on the contact of my right eye and it was stuck! "Don't panic," I told myself.
I ran into the ladies room and in the mirror, I could see the bugger stuck there, which made it more painful. Luckily, I had brought my glasses along, which I normally don't do for day trips. With my gas-pumped finger (side bar: fuel is not the worst thing I've accidentally put in my eyes, I once sliced garden-fresh jalapeno peppers. Later that day, I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to my cheek tingling. I didn't make the connection that the tingling was from my pepper-juiced-stained hands until I took my contacts out and burned my eyes. Be ware and wear gloves!) I slid off the contact with the bug carcass, splashed water in my eyes to relieve the stinging and hit the road again.
Things I thought about on the drive home:
- More story ideas for a guidebook I'll be contributing to.
- An online guidebook.
- The new airport security mechanism: the puffer machine. I experienced this latest contraption this past March at the Gulfport/Biloxi Airport. I was concerned because I had spilled fuel all over my feet while refueling the rental car. For certain the remnants of the fuel would be detected and I would be pulled out of line for questioning or a pat down. Didn't happen. The machine is like a giant version of that eye test the doctor gives you - the one where a puff of air is blown in your eye without notice. Unlike the eye test, it puffs you from the top, down. I thought I would draw at least a smile from the security agents as I posed like Marilyn Monroe when I was puffed at my skirt's hem. Nope. I was waved through as a non-suspicious passenger.
- A dream I had about a guy I went to college with and haven't thought about him in ten years.
- That Saddam Hussein and I both like Doritos. (side bar: How can those soldiers go around and give interviews like that anyway? This is why we are in Iraq, to protect the American liberties).
- How nice it will be to have my own bed to sleep in! (I've been sleeping on a futon since April).
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Did you know that this week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week? And, July is the most active month of lighting strikes in Florida? At lunch yesterday, we talked about this and how a woman wearing an underwire bra is (I THINK) 7 times more likely to be struck by lightning than a woman not wearing an underwire bra.
I returned to my "home" this afternoon in the pouring rain and a lightning storm. My uncle was gone and the house was too quiet. I looked in the pool and there were four teenage boys splashing around in the rain and lightning. I'm not a Florida gal but growing up in New York, we were always told to get out of the water when lightning was around. Guess it's a good thing my cousins et al are not busty, teenage girls.
I'm back at Starbucks tonight. I've just spent the last hour listening to a fifty-something-year-old man gab the ear off of some woman. He's professed his love to her, how he's attracted to her spirituality, how beautiful she is, blah, blah, blah. In that hour, he hasn't let her get a word in edge-wise. She's sitting there politely, nodding her head. I would have cut him off 10 minutes into the conversation; I'm a "cut to the chase" person - get right to the details. My problem is I assume a lot, which gets me in trouble.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
The thing about good friends is that you can eat like that without regrets. Enjoying the moment, talking about life. I'm going to miss those times with Zelda Mae. Not just the eating but her words of wisdom and "Big Sista" attitude.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The positives today:
- One more day left of work!
- My future employer called to let me know they will be signing me up for some professional accreditation programs. I haven't even started and they are already looking out for me and that feels good.
- I'm a girl. I like to shop. Now that I'll be moving into my own place, the nesting instinct has kicked in and I've been looking and shopping with plans on how to decorate my new pad. I'm sooooo excited!
- One of my cousins volunteered to help me carrying boxes into the house - very sweet of him.
My annoyances today:
- On Sunday I visited the local flea market and picked up some fresh produce (pretty cheaply, too). Today, I craved the fresh green beans and sweet corn for dinner. I returned home from shopping, started boiling water and went to the fridge. To my disappointment and horror, those veggies weren't there. Turns out they got "cleaned" out. There's been stuff in that ice box for more than 3 months and my 3-day-old veggies are victims of the compost!
- I'll admit, I'm compliant. I follow the rules, especially when it comes to crossing the street. I hardly ever jay-walk, usually crossing at the designated places, waiting for the "man" to turn white, indicating it's safe to cross. Today, a rather large woman was in the a medium of a 6-lane thoroughfare, carrying a baby! Some people just don't deserve to have kids, I think she's the epitome of that. What example is she setting for that kid? That it's OK to play in traffic? She began to cross the road and I slowed down for her. She casually crossed the street. It was like letting a turtle cross the road, but turtles run faster (this time of year in Florida, it's common to hold up traffic for bold turtles who think they are chickens, trying to cross the road). I was tempted to get out of the car and escort her across, like I sometimes do for disoriented turtles, but I patiently waited and waited. I gave her the hairy eyeball.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I started laundry and continued packing for the move. Something told me to go check on them and SHIT!!! In the corner, I saw a screen panel dislodged and the three beasts were missing. All I could imagine was that movie with talking dogs and a cat traveling the country. "Had they made their break to the Smokeys to find their owners?" I thought.
Remembering too many stories of naked women running out of the house to catch the stray dog (remember, I was doing laundry) I frantically threw on some cloths and began calling their names. Luckily, the cat was in the house. I imagined the worst for the dogs, picturing them running down the middle of the road, dodging traffic, acting clueless- which has happened before.
But, I found them next door, running down the sidewalk and away from the house. When I sternly called their names, Phil and Luke (guess I could be out calling for little boys), they stopped, turned around and almost grinned at me. Knowing I was pissed, they came running up, ready to play and a look of innocence in their eyes.
I wonder, since dogs have a "pack" mentality, can they help me "pack" for the move?
A reporter embedded with the Marines in Iraq was giving an update of the most recent Marine movement. She was asked what the mission was of the Marines and she said something to the effect of to kill as many insurgents as possible. I thought about that concept. How nonchalant she said it. I contemplated the idea during the 5 hour drive home, in between James Taylor and Disco's Greatest Hits.
The United States is sending people over there to kill. As a country, is this how we defend ourselves? By killing those people who don't think the same as us? What does the killing create? It creates more hatred. We are also trying to use United States philosophy to communicate with the Iraqis. People are people the world over, but boundaries need to be respected.
Rather than educating and showing what we are about as Americans, through our actions, we are showing the world that we are ignorant and intolerant - which is not what our country was founded on. I had the opportunity to hear Col. Colin Powell speak at a conference last month. He reiterated how important it is to educate and show the world what the United States is about, not to shut them out. I full-heartily agree with that philosophy.
While on the topic of politics, earlier this week I entertained 7 British journalists. We briefly spoke about politics and Howard Dean's actions came up - his screaming. When it happened, I really didn't think anything of it, just that he had a lot of enthusiasm. Well, we know what happened next, he eventually dropped out of seeking the Democratic nomination. The irony is that the general public felt his actions demonstrated that he is a bit of a, well, "loose cannon," unable to control his emotions. Tell me, how does that differ when President Bush said, "Terrorism is terrible, but we're gonna smoke 'em out of their holes!"???
Friday, June 17, 2005
I got to see Mother Nature at work. A pond turtle decided to lay her eggs next to the office. I watched her as she dug nest after nest in pursuit of the perfect lair for her babies.
The office also had my goodbye party. I had invited some key people from the industry to join us and I was overwhelmed with happiness and love having everyone there in one room. As I stated in a previous post, I had no idea how much of an impact I've had within the community.
I came home to crap (literally) and had to feed Gecko. I discovered that a couple of glasses of chardonnay make the snatching of crickets easy.
Time to call it a night.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Tonight I've been pushed by a family member (related by marriage). I began the week enjoying the house alone - just me, Gecko and the sacrificial crickets. Tonight, I'll be going to sleep with the addition of 2 dogs and a cat. ARGGGHHHH!!!! All because other people didn't want to be inconvenienced, I'm the one to be inconvenienced.
One week, and I'll be moving into my new space. Maybe I'll finally find "NO BOOT CAMP" that my friend ZeldaMae has told me about.
Today I began cleaning out my office. Clearing away more than four years of memories. It reminded me that I'm comfortable being a wanderer; my roots are in people and experiences. I need to keep focused on what I have and who I am.
I packed away pictures of people who when I first met, considered them only as business colleagues. Now, they are treasured friends. I also found my head-shot, taken the first month I started the job. Not only was I younger, but I was two dress sizes bigger and 25 pounds heavier.
Thumbing through stacks and stacks of business cards, I was reminded of all the people I've come in contact over the years. Most of those cards brought back happy memories, a few didn't. A couple stood out:
The overly "fluffy," Jewish-African-American-Republican-Anti-War woman who had me drive her all over the county one day to find a venue for a peace rally. I remember being worried that she wouldn't be able to get out of my little Saturn Ion because she had to squeeze herself to get into it (and I was a little bit worried about my shocks, too.)
Then there was the man who wanted me to mail postcards from Sarasota for him. Nothing odd about that, except, these were cards being sent to his children and friends stating he was sailing around the world, when in fact, he was sitting comfortably in Iowa. OK, still not that strange. BUT, a month after I sent the cards out for him, I received an envelope in the mail that was made from a calendar (which I've done) and decorated with scratch n' sniff stickers. This was the time during the Anthrax mail scares so our designated mail person carefully opened the envelop while wearing her sterile, latex gloves and face mask. White powder didn't fall out. Pictures of a time machine did. This man, who called himself "Captain," had constructed a time machine in his backyard, wrote me about his journeys and invited me to come along. Flattered, I chose not to mess around with time.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
- Killings: 87 spiders (one mama wolf spider and the babies; not my shower-mate).
- Work: Kayaked through mangrove tunnels with seven UK journalists (only lost one along the way).
- Sacrifices: 3 crickets to Gecko.
- Boxes Packed: 1.5
- Cost to Fuel Up the Car: $22.13
- Number of People I Discussed the Michael Jackson Verdict With: 17
- Number of People I Talked to Today Who Want My Current Job: 2
- Number of Dead Birds I Discarded from Outside the Office: 1
- Most Embarrassing Thing I Did Today That I'll Admit To: Watch "Britney & Kevin: Chaotic."
Monday, June 13, 2005
The tour of the Camp, however, reminded me of the tour of the Mormon's Temple Square in Salt Lake City, UT. The guides were extremely different - the one at the Camp smoked the entire time and I know that's something Mormon girls don't do (at least not in front of heathens), however, the similarities were in how the guides were trying to be convincing that their "religion" is the right one. In both cases, they were trying to convince themselves.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
During the early 1980’s (or maybe it was the late 1970’s) I remember my Dad coming home from school with an Atari PC. We quite didn’t know what to do with it other than play video games, but, I taught myself how to type and learned how to create my own video games from the computer magazines. I remember how time intensive it was to enter in all of the coding and the attention to detail it required, but I always was proud of the end product. I was (and still am) amazed at the coding. I think my parents specifically thought the computer stuff was for my brother, but I enjoyed it, too.
There were some downsides, and I don’t think my parents know it. I do remember (accidentally) erasing big floppy discs and deleting files from ClipArt. Oh, well. Guess those files weren’t that important.
The third year as a front desk clerk in Yellowstone we converted to a computerized system (yes, up until 1993 the park was on a manual system. The property I worked at had 609 units, all handled manually. Today, I can’t even imagine that). I quickly learned the lodging program and used that and my people skills to get promoted. The following year we changed systems and I mastered that. I ended up training several of the front desks in the park and always told the students “there isn’t anything you can do to break it.” Well, I found ways.
I ended up breaking the codes in order to access other national parks that were using the same software and access other areas I wasn’t supposed to. I could usually get out of these situations but sometimes, would have to sheepishly call the software company and tell them what I did and to get me out.
Eventually I was introduced to Word and the Microsoft products and somehow (unintentionally) figured out how to create computer viruses. I remember the IT guy at Death Valley scolding me and asking how I did it and I couldn’t give him an honest answer. I really think he was intimidated because I had mastered the resort’s software system and he knew he was no longer the one with all of the control.
And here I am today. I have not kept with technological progress but I’m trying to catch up. I am working on building my own site ground up (not the cookie-cutter site). I think it was sometime in the late 1990’s that I learned that some porn star created and updates her own site. I am amazed with how successful she made the site. No, I am NOT creating a porn site, but a site to post my formal writings. Besides, mine are “real and they’re SPECTACULAR.” (Seinfeld fans will understand).
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Friday, June 10, 2005
I had a very productive day (including writing a tear-stained email) but the gloominess of constant rain reminded me of what I've been feeling on the inside. Driving home this evening made me feel like I was in an old black and white movie. Everything around me was gray and called out misery. While stopped at a traffic light, I looked up and a splash of pink caught my attention. Two roseate spoonbills graced the dull sky. Maybe hope does exist.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I read a story this week stating that divorce rates were up with active duty military personnel, one of the stressors being war. Hmm, isn't our President who led us into this war pro-family? Yet, the war is increasing divorce rates. Interesting...
I've been Gouranga'd! Perhaps this is a sign of good things to come...
I'm house-sitting and cat-sitting for some friends this week. I've indulged in the little things while doing so, such as raiding the freezer of pre-made meals (because Zelda Mae is a kick-ass cook - she doesn't need to know how I splattered chili on the ceiling because I've cleaned it up) and utilizing the spray-starch while ironing. Oh, the simple things. I'm also tasked at taking the cats outside, on harnesses and leashes- it's not as easy as it sounds. Regardless, I'm happy to report that both cats are accounted for this evening...
Pedicures, they're my guilty pleasure. Feet are the most awkward body part (although pretty vital) and I just can't imagine being one of the pedicurist. The place I get them done doesn't have native-English speakers. While I'll gossip with my friend as we're enjoying the sensation, we find the pedicurists chattering amongst themselves in a language foreign to us. I imagine they're talking about big, smelly, ugly feet. I could be wrong and maybe they're talking world politics. Who knows...
I'm 35-years-old and had a baby-sitter last weekend, well, only for an hour. My uncle had gone away for the weekend and his kids were being watched by three different sets of people during the course of the weekend. They were to be returned to their home at noon on Saturday by their grandparents and that's when the baby-sitter showed up. They hadn't returned but the sitter arrived. She reminded me of the sitters I had while growing up, she wanted control over the remote control...
And thongs. Come on, ladies. Some of us just weren't built to wear them. I'm OK with that and will take granny panties any day. I was driving down Main Street yesterday and some big gal (larger than me) was sitting on a bench with her back towards me and half her thong was hanging out! I kept thinking, well, uncomfortable thoughts. Shrugged them out of my head and kept on driving...
Today I said goodbye to my therapist. She complemented me on what a good client I've been (of course I'd be a good client, I'm a perfectionist! That's been part of my problem!) Seriously, she has helped me work through a dark part of my life. Ironically, it was the last check I had left in my checkbook with my old address. Symbolic? Perhaps.
I’m second guessing my decision to move, I suppose that’s normal. I’m realizing what an impact I’ve had on people within the community and my circle of friends and family. Life around me seems brighter, I’m noticing subtle vibrancies around me – the pink rain lilies, the albino rabbit that lives around the corner, better appreciation for my friendships.
My emptiness this morning was quickly filled with humor. I thought I was done dealing with drunk Japanese men when I left Japan last November. Not so. I still occasionally receive emails from Japanese men professing their love to me – and I can only imagine they were written in drunken moments when their wives weren’t present (either that, or the wives don’t read English or they just don’t care).
This morning, I had to call a Japanese man about bringing a group to the destination. I had dealt with him last year and had been waiting for his return call. Albeit a 13 hour time difference, I called him on his cell phone at midnight his time (he called at 2 a.m. his time yesterday) and had to muddle through my broken Japanese in order to speak to him. Once he remembered who I was, the conversation slid into English (thank god) and he informed he was “getting high” on rice wine and it is “very difficult to concentrate” and would have to call me later. This was the smile I needed to begin the day.
There's really no point to writing about this, just that the day, like life, took an unexpected turn.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
I was offered a new job yesterday in a new town and I accepted - I made a choice, the right choice for me. While I'm excited and happy, I'm scared and nervous at the new beginning that awaits.