Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Well, it has been a little over a month since my trip to the north and my longing to not be here in Florida has not decreased a bit or twit. I walk out into the extreme heat and humidity, either stuffed up or dripping from allergies with my head hanging lower than it should, frustrated and longing to go home where the view from my windows is mountains and hills, the pines look like Christmas trees instead of cocktail sticks, where I can breath the air without suffering, and wear a sweater instead of sweat. Enter a sigh here. There's nothing to be done about it and I don't like feeling so powerless. So, color me discontent.

With the economy the way it is, selling my house is not a viable possibility. Yeah, I know. The voice of reason keeps telling me that. Folks aren't moving into Central Florida. They are moving out. 50% of all houses for sale are in foreclosure. At least mine is paid for and at least for now, I can pay the taxes and household expenses without selling my soul to the Devil. I should be grateful even if I am understandably angry that as my house's value goes down the real estate taxes go up. I am grateful. Just restless. My life is tick tick ticking away and I want to enjoy it before it is tick tock gone.

I tell myself that moving to the beach would be a good compromise and it probably would be. I am going to look further into possibilities in North Florida. Close enough to drive back here and see my two daughters and their hubbies and three children whenever I want. Somewhere where the sea air helps my allergies. Somewhere with a different view. Ocean is good. I like sand between my toes. Even if visions of my hilly childhood home place continues to haunt my dreams.

So here's the plan: spruce up the back yard as soon as it is cool enough to work out there. Touch up paint the nicks and scratches inside. Clear out the garage and organize the storage room nearby. Watch the market. Hope that change is on the horizon.

On another tack, I hope to complete my dragon book before another birthday rolls around. I've got a lot to do. So, ttfn. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here I go.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love Thyself And Love Another

A poem I wrote a long long time go. Not my best effort but some truth none the less. Sadly, the people who really need to pay attention to these things rarely ever do. As the saying goes, don't let the door hit you on the way out...too hard anyway.


Better the riches of the heart than the riches of the world.

Ignorance is no excuse.

We all have the same chance to learn.

Pause a moment, be patient and kind,

or you may get the fate you’ve earned.

You’re not alone on the planet

which doesn’t revolve just for you.

If you think only of yourself

your dreams won't really come true.

The way that you deal with others,

is the way they will deal with you.

Today you may be on top of the world

yet tomorrow, the payment comes due.

For meanness feeds on meanness,

and hatred gives birth to more hate.

Put a smile on somebody’s face

and you’ll alter your own state.

What matter fortune and power

if you find yourself alone?

You're not entitled to condescend

at work, or to family at home.

Ignorance is a poor excuse.

Now is the time to change.

Though the hour is growing late,

your life can be rearranged.

For riches and beauty will fade away.

No one will care at the end.

The truest immortality

is the memory of a friend.

December 2001

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reflections and Musings

Some recent pictures from my iPhone taken at Cocoa and Vero Beach. We've taken the Parakeet to the beach on the past two Saturdays, partly to escape our ever present inland pollen allergies and partly with an idea of exploring areas for possible relocation in future. Of course, relocation now is highly improbable if not impossible due to the economy and the fact that Danny has a steady job. You don't just give up a job in this economy in hopes of finding another somewhere else.

I was pleased by some of the housing deals possible at the beach, particularly in Vero, but shocked when driving up A1A from Melbourne to Cocoa at the for sale sign on literally every other beach side house. Too much economic desperation there to be a good short term investment, even if my house here would sell. Which it won't. Folks are defaulting on loans and moving out of Florida, not in. Flagler seemed to be a little more stable if you stay away from Palm Coast, but that is only after a superficial study. I've lived at the beach before (in SC) and loved it and could see doing it again, particularly since we have an RV as an escape pod during hurricane evacuations, but am planning some future mountain trips as well for enjoyment and research. For now, I have to be grateful I have a paid off house as a safe haven during a time of recession and privation for so many folks. Thankfully, I also have antihistamines, nose spray, and aspirin. Cause I need em.

We had a fun week end over Labor Day: in addition to the beach trek we had dinner with several friends we don't get to see often enough on Friday. In fact, one, we hadn't seen in nearly three years. He asked, "What's new with you guys?" and I reflected that a lot has happened in the past several years. I had the sorrow of my mother's death, a daughter's marriage, the other daughter's divorce and happy remarriage, the addition of three grandchildren, two books completed and published, paid off the house, renovated the house, bought an RV and took my first real long vacation in fifteen (yes, fifteen) years in it. Danny finished a degree in IT, got a job at UCF, and his stepson has a son. Yeah, as the saying goes, life is what happens while you're waiting for it to happen.

We also got to have dinner with daughter Laura and her happy clan and met Amy and her family at the mall. Baby Bailey wasn't so happy actually, since she was sick again with ear and conjunctivitis infections, but Alex enjoyed playing hide and seek in the mall shops and keeping his parents in constant motion. I am looking forward to seeing all my kids and grandkids at PJ's seventh birthday party next Sunday at one of those bouncy slidy places, too!

I slogged on and finished the 4th and hopefully last book in the Twilight series. Read em all on my iPhone on the Kindle app! The last part of the 4th book was by far the best in the entire four, except that the abrupt maturity change in Bella and Edward was awkward. Instead of acting like spoiled teens they suddenly became mature functioning adults physically and intellectually. More interesting to me, but from a technical writing perspective, too fast and jarring. Liked the almost nonstop action even if the foreshadowed big fight never happened. In my opinion, Stephanie Meyer isn't really a good writer in so many technical ways, but she is a successful one and popular. I really respect that, knowing how hard it is to get published these days.

Well, that's it, folks. Dog agility starts this week and writer's workshop cranks up again next Monday. It may not be Fall on the calendar but as far as I am concerned its here. I can't wait though, until our next trip out of state on the Parakeet, hopefully Christmas week. TTFN

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More bits n bytes

More thoughts on vampires, werewolves, and humans. I am still reading the 4th Twilight book on Kindle and have decided that I like Bella even less than Edward. Technically, the book moves well and reads easy and it is interesting, but I have never really been a fan of spoiled self indulgent adolescent girls or( vampires it seems, either). I was never really sold on the character of Bella but when she really did choose to become a vampire and reject her humanity and mortality she lost me entirely. Her half human half vamp baby girl, Reneesme, totally creeps me out and the name is probably the dumbest one in recent literary history. Thought I had to read these books since that's what the kids are reading these days but frankly my dear, like Rhett, I find I really don't give a damn. I sorta hope somebody stakes Bella Cullen. Dunno if I will make it to the end or not. I just don't like these characters and I don't think I would have had any more patience with them at twenty.

Almost a month has passed since I returned from the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and I am still very restless and dissatisfied with late summer in Florida. Still sick of the heat and humidity and boring flatness of the landscape. The oak canopy feels claustrophobic to me. The sun feels too hot. I am really annoyed with sweat. I think, dear bloggers, I've just been here way too long. (Uh, most of my life, right?)Really, I do know how nice a place this is. There's no logic to my feelings. But, I wish, how I wish, I could be in the mountains where I could breathe without sneezing or itching or stuffing up. My constant allergies almost disappeared completely there. And now the late summer/fall hurricane season has begun. The lightning strikes have been so severe this week that several houses in the area have burned. A new worry: the summer storms didn't used to be this bad. Global warming again?

Ah, well, it is Labor Day week end, starting tomorrow. I am trying not to think of how pleasant it would be to have days in the low seventies and nights in the low fifties and no dang mosquitoes. I am going to eat barbecue and corn chips con queso and bake the cookies that come in the shape of school buses. TTFN.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BIts n Bytes

Went to the beach last week end. (Cocoa). I enjoyed it a lot. Beach=good.

I used to have a house on Hilton Head Island in SC right across the street from the beach and I walked on it every single day when there. For at least an hour. When I wasn't swimming laps in my heated pool or riding my bike on the miles and miles of bike paths. I loved the beach. Winter, spring, summer and fall. My favorite walking time was after dinner for the hour before sunset. With my dogs, of course. Akita, Nikki, was particularly fond of chasing the ghost crabs that popped out of their sandy homes at dusk to scramble for the ocean. I probably could happily have lived there forever, but fate ruled otherwise and I've been full time in Central Florida since 1991. If I could sell my inland home and could afford as a nice house on a Florida beach, I could be talked into moving. Alas, beachside housing is no longer affordable for me. Fortunately, it's only an hour drive.

At this stage in my life though, I really would like something really different. Like a mountain home, which would be affordable if I could actually sell my present one, and for more than a dollar ninety eight cents! Will the economic miasma ever end? Sigh.

I am still so sick of the steamy weather, the bugs, and the constant allergies I seem to suffer from here in Central Florida. I even am coming to dislike the tall oaks hanging overhead dripping with Spanish Moss. Seems, after the mountains, creepy. But, it is September. Summer's over and cooler weather is only a month or so away. Hopefully.

I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I began to read the Twilight book series. I have actually enjoyed them. Stephanie Meyer may not be a literary giant, but she knows how to keep a reader's interest in stories that have very little if any action. And success like hers must be admired by a writer! I am personally glad when any writer inspires young people to actually read a book cover to cover, but I have to comment that I am a little concerned with the reaction of young women to the characters of Edward and Bella. Young teens who don't have the benefit of experience have been selecting mates since caveman days based on hormones and always will They either hit it lucky or the get divorced/break up. Hopefully, they learn from this and make better choices later in life.

Young women moon and sigh over the 'good' vampire, Edward. And like Bella, seem to equate him with the tragic dark anti hero Heathcliff in the 19th century chick lit novel Wuthering Heights. Which most of the girls haven't and won't read. In Charlotte Bronte's melodramatic but classic book, Heathcliff was a cruel and selfish man, insensitive to the feelings and needs of others and totally obscessed with the equally vapid, mean, and self centered Cathy who dumps him and marries for status and money. They ruined each others lives and the lives of pretty much everyone around them for the sake of their twisted obcession which they mistakenly saw as love. Young girls who love drama and being the center of it, sigh over this, and will probably pass over all too many good guys for their own Edward. Who will, like Edward, turn out to be selfish, controlling, and abusive.

Don't buy the argument? Well, Edward tells Bella who she can and cannot see, call, or visit. He actually has her kidnapped by his sister and held against her will in one book to prevent Bella from seeing his rival freely. He showers her with presents...but always what he thinks she should have not what she expresses a liking for, and is always at her side, day and night, unless he is away briefly 'feeding' on mountain lions and bears. Bella, being totally convinced that he is an 'angel' (her term not mine), desperately fears that he will stop loving her and leave her if she ages so she decides to give up her life and her mortality at eighteen to live forever at his side. Even if she can never grow up, have children, sleep, eat, or feel normal human emotions anymore. Even if she has to give up her family and friends. Forever. This, along with an eternity of blood craving, sounds pretty yucky to me.

Edward is the classic template of the handsome guy who just loves you so darn much he has to be with you every single second and always knows what's best for you. No matter what you say. Cause, he's prettier, smarter, and graceful and has been around the block a few times. Who turns out a few years later to be an emotional or a physical abuser. And young girls, thanks to Twilight, think he's model guy. When a guy who really cared about her would say, "Sure Bels, see whatever pals you want to, drive a truck if you'd rather not have a Mercedes, we don't have to get married if you aren't ready...oh and gosh darn it, I would never ever do anything to hurt you...like turn you into a vampire with a bad temper and insatiable cravings for human blood."

Its a story and as such is fine. But, take it seriously and a whole new crop of twenty somethings will be showing up with bruises on the outside and inside at abused women's shelters before long.

I am reading book number four now and am hoping that Edward will turn out to be a better vampire and man than I think he is being written as. That Bella will grow up enough to realize that her humanity is a blessing not a curse and begin thinking beyond her hormones and romantic dreams of the tortured Heathcliff. I hope the writer has something wise to show young girls after all. I'm rooting thus far for the Werewolf, Jake, who even if he gets a little hairy now and then is a better bet. I mean with Jake, Bella can be herself whatever that turns out to be, still eat chocolates and drink good wine , take a nap in the afternoons, and look forward to a time when she can play with her cute lil grandkids. That's what I want for my own daughters and that's the way I'd write the book.