Sunday, October 31, 2004

Living In Excess

This camping thing is infectious and addictive. Who would ever have thought that I would need to be looking for a 12 step program to get this backpacking monkey off my back. But that's the way of society. If a little is good then a lot more is... ridiculous. And leaves you jittery & sniffing for the next fix of 'gear'.

Yesterday we went to six stores (count 'em) picking up such dire necessities as rope lighting to put around the edge of the cooking canopy. Because if you're going to be so gauche as to have a gourmet kitchen in the boogie-woods, then by gum, have the canoles to 'light it up!' Dish drainer from the $ store, (due to the fact that we are too cool for paper plates, and now have to wash the damned things), a clothesline, for drying towels, a new 150 gallon ice chest,(w/ bins & sliding doors)because you know the capacity for the foodstuffs needed for 2 growing adults (& unfortunately, I mean that literally)for a simple 2 day period of camping.
Which led to 'Oh my God, what if we have more than 2 guests for outdoor dining?' (supposing the gang from 'Deliverance' might show up?) So that led to another setting for 4 of Corelle ware. Which led to let's be really civilized & get some nice wine glasses. Then we HAD to get the firepit, for those romantic evenings in the deep woods.. or simply making 'smores' & watching our butts grow.
Next came all the electrical paraphenalia, like outdoor recepticles, extension cords x4, cord winders, etc etc.. It's an endless sucking hole of 'needs'.

Then we came home & yes, of course.. got online for MORE GEAR!
www.campmore.com is a personal favorite. www.cabelos.com is another. But they all bear surfing, studying, perusing & of course buying. So from there we got a screenhouse, to encase the portable picnic table. Those brave & pesky squirrels will get into our candy bowls no more. Then we ordered a queen blow up bed on legs. No more need to actually bend over to get into bed. Go figure... energy calories saved.
Then, since I love to read while we're out in the great outdoors, a pop up hammock.
For the screen room entrance to the tent, an indoor-outdoor carpet.

And last of all.. a cool knife.. for slitting our wrists when the bills come in for our 'roughing it' to excess!

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Things We Take For Granted

When I first moved to FL, my personal life was renewed. I now had it all. Sunshine, reading material, apt pool, good music. Then life got even better! I met the man of my dreams.

Long sultry summerlike days, some of them beachside.. long sultry summerlike nights, most of them steamy.
Voracious reading, dancing around the house to a reggae tune...

Fast forward 3 years and we're both working way too hard for way too little. My tan is fading, the books are few & far between. I'm beginning to give away the cd's, from disuse.

Then you have a day like today when everything slows down to the speed of life.
I sleep in to a decadent 9 am.
I email at my leisure, and co-rant w/ the faithful few about Dubyah the Anti-Christ. I smear on tanning oil & hit the backyard w/ a rum & coke.
My reggae brothers croon to me in the background, as I read Carl Haiisen's 'Basket Case'.
Sheer fluff for a sheerly don't-have-to-be-nowhere-day.

And I 'breathe' without the clutch in my belly, or the checking of the clock, or the jangle of the phone.
These were the days I once took for granted. But now they are Blessed & I am more than ever in-the-moment of gratitude for them.

"You put the lime in the coconut & shake it all around.."
Wishing you & yours an erie day, mon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Universal Laws & such...

I love that the Universe has such order to it. It abhors a vacuum, so that when we experience a loss or a 'give-away' of things; we have room to receive even more. We may not see it that way, as it's happening. Rather like the example my mother gave me 5 decades ago as I sat embroidering through little metal hoops. She told me to turn the hoop over to see the underside of my creation. It was just a mass of uneven threads that made no sense at all. But the top of my project, was a lovely picture of Little Bo Peep. She said, 'This is how life feels sometimes.. all tangled & a mess. But when you see through to the big picture, it all makes sense, like the top side of your embroidery.' There have been untold times I've had to ask God to untie some of the knots for me, because my insight was so enmeshed in the underbelly of life. And the end result made perfect sense.

One of the first Universal Laws that I learned, was Like Attracts Like. What we are, is what we attract. Thought has great power, so like the Bibical scripture, 'where your mind is, there will your heart be also'. St Paul encouraged us to 'think on good things', because a positive mind will draw positive results.
If you ever wonder why you are surrounded by negative events or negative people, ask yourself why you're 'drawing' them to yourself. Are you in need of the life lessons that they have to teach you? Or are you just comfortable in the 'birds of a feather'

We are a fine balance of Body/Mind/Spirit. And if we lose balance in any of them, we suffer for it. Therefore, it behooves us to take care of our bodies, keep challenging our minds for new growth, and maintain a positive thought for spiritual strength.

Like Attracts Like.. & I'm happy that I attracted you into my life.

Monday, October 25, 2004


We survived! And in grand style, I might add. Our set up drew many comments; some complimentary.. some sheer jealousy I'm sure. Or just mean people. Anyway, it did look like the outdoor version of the Ritz-Carlton, or at least the Motel 6. The tent was a 3 room extravaganza. Complete with queen bed on one side (which is going back to Sam's Club because it deflated on a regular basis. Nothing like the whine of that inflation pump at 1:00 in the morning, to make camping friends.) At the middle of the tent was a 7'2" high dressing area. So nice to stand up in a tent! At the far end were the coolers (one for foodstuffs & the other a makeshift bar)
Under the easy up canopy were the sink (love this thing!) with all kinds of storage for meal prep, including hanging pots & pans, glasses, etc. Then the humongo 100,000 btu stove, which Dan could cook any & everything on. And did.. we ate our way through the adventure. Dan's personal favorite was his 10 cup coffemaker.. what a deal.
The tent had a screened porch, where I slept away an afternoon, free of bugs/squirrels/critters.
We brought 4 chairs, so 2 were kept by the firepit & 2 under the canopy. The only thing we didn't set up was the picnic table, since a larger one was provided.
We did add a red & white checkered cloth to give it some elegance.
Voila! We are camping!

While we were setting up, a couple of clean-cut guys walk up. (Yes, I looked for the skinny black ties & the Book of Mormon. But they weren't out prostelytizing.. they were being camper-friendly). They introduced themselves as Brandon & Steve. They were there with their fraternity brothers for a wk-end retreat. Making it sound for all the world that the Christian Fellowship was out for a prayerful time of introspection. 'And please, let us know if we speak too loudly'. Of course Brandon & Steve.. I'm sure your prayers could get a little frenetic, depending on how charasmatic you are. We assured them they'd be fine with us. Fast forward to 1-7 am.. 'F*** YOU!' 'No, dude, F*** YOU!' "YOU WANNA PIECE-A ME?!" 'Okay, let's do the fraternity yell AGAIN!'
Yes, all night long Brandon, Steve & 20 of their clones cursed, fought, ran, fell, drank & drank, got louder & louder. A few of the families around us screamed back at the fellows (using some of their same language, I might add). But we kept our peace. I had vivid dreams all night with the fraternity members taking prominent parts; then again, maybe it was just wishful thinking that I was in a sleepstate.
At daybreak the camping 'host' (where had he been all night?) came & asked the motley crue to leave our happy group. They did not go gently into that good night, what with slamming doors, thrown beer bottles, peeling of tire rubber, honking of group horns.. ahhhh-hhh the sounds of human nature.
But go, they did. And now the camp was safe for the 10,000 KIDS! who had shown us for Fall Fest at the park. Dear God, why did they not forewarn us of this travesty on the website?? Bring back the frat boys!
The kids 'trick-or-treated' each evening. Being unprepared the 1st nite, they each got a handful of potato chips. They didn't seem to care. The next day Dan got candy supplies while in town (buying more bug spray to prevent anymore disfigurement to my body from all the bugbites)
We put the potato chips in the tent for safe-keeping.. but that was a minor challenge for the 3 baby raccoon kits that entered the tent thru a 2" opening of the back door. It was a sight to behold watching Dan try to scoot the 3 scared critters out of that same 2" opening! I could scarcely hold the camera straight.
Next morning, we find the squirrells rifling thru the leftover halloween candy. But they didn't care much for Snickers & Tootsie Roll Pops.

Meanwhile Dan fished (& released) a 3# bass.. I finished & loved a book for the website review (I highly recommend Natalie Goldberg's newest book, "Great Failures")
We took a leisurely canoe ride up & down the river (much easier doing 'down') Tried not to disturb all the alligators sunning & swimming by us. Saw fantasic birds, snakes, & fauna. Canoeing adds a lot to camping, so we're going to get one someday.
All in all, a wonderful 3 days & 2 nites of adventure. Took us only an hr to tear down what had taken 3 hrs to put up.
Now we look forward to doing this once a month.. checking out all the state parks in our beautiful countryside. And for sure we'll be asking about frat parties & children's festivals!

do not disturb! Posted by Hello

The beauty of the river Posted by Hello

frito bandito Posted by Hello

trick-or-treating squirell Posted by Hello

kampers-R-us Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I Wanna Be a Camper

I have surprised some friends and family lately, by professing an interest in camping. Even coming from homegrown roots in Oklahoma, I was always a bit of a prissy city girl. I like the conveniences of Circle K's, Taco Bells, Target's, & gas stations.
As a child, my camping experiences consisted of an occasional blanket thrown on the front porch. I was no Girl Scout or Campfire Girl. Being one of 8 kids, we could never afford the dues or the uniforms. I swear, I'm not that bitter.
Growing up w/ my kids (literally), we did a few of the lake-camping ventures w/ family. But never more than a 2 day stay.. when the funk became so over powering thatwe knew it was time to go home.
But now, modern day campsites have blessed electricity, running water, bathrooms! So I'm rethinking my aversion to 'roughing it'. Never one to dream on a small scale, I lambasted my husband w/ a shopping list for equipment that would shame a 3rd world country.
We are now proud owners of a monstrous 3 rm 17X25 ft tent (includes a banquet hall for entertainment purposes), a 90# cookstove w/ 100,000 btu's (whatever those are, I'm told they cook well). We could feed the entire state campsite off this magilla. A food prep/sink w/ hooks for hanging your gourmet pots & pans & wine glass holders. Civilization should not end in the wilds!
A porta potty, lest we should be more than 12' away from facilities.
A hammock to hang from trees.. in case we get tired of the queen sized blow up bed.
A set of real dishes, because I hate sagging paper plates. (& I have the sink to wash dishes in)
A variety of lights, fans, chairs, & geegaws that fill a dozen plastic storage boxes. A trail bike, a canoe.. surely I'm forgetting something!
We figure it'll take a trailer to haul all this bounty to a little campsite, creating urban blight for the true camping enthusiast & sportsman.

But what the heck.. I never got to be a Girl Scout or lousy Campfire Girl.. & I'm getting even!

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I'm working too much & living too little!
These twelve hour shifts are kicking my butt.
I'll be in better form tomorrow, I promise..

Friday, October 15, 2004


No, this isn't a blog about the catpan.. it's just a theatrical name I thought would be befitting, should I ever run away with a traveling stage play. Star of stage, screen, & radio..Miss Kitty Litter!

Actually, I wanted to talk about my cats, of which I have four. Elusive little minxes who wind their paws around your heart, and then make you beg for their attention. We 1st got Buddy, a Bengal SnowLeopard; rescued from a family of hellions who loved nothing better than chasing him with a fireplace poker, among other atrocites. In the 3 yrs since we adopted him, he has gone from a scared-stiff recluse to the alpha cat he was born to be. He still won't allow us to pick him up.. it has to be his choice to bless us with a lap visit. But he has given us the gift of his trust.
Next came Tabitha, a Tortoise Tabby/Persian, rescued from the Humane Society. She posed & pranced for our attention, until we got her home. We have had 'sightings' of her on occasion, since that time. Dan swears she shows up for the morning meal of Fancy Feast. I think he has early morning hallucinations. We affectionately call her '1/2 cat', since she's around about that amount of time. She finally wore Buddy down into acceptance of her presence into his kingdom, turning her belly up to him, until he realized she just wasn't going to go away.
Numbers 3 & 4 also came from the Humane Society. We had gone to an adoptathon 'just to look!'
Yeah right.. a little grey-backed part siamese kitten caught Dan's eye. 6 weeks old, 1#4oz. It would be fun to see the antics of a kitten since the others were adults when we got them. Perhaps we could actually create a 'lap cat'. While we were playing with Puki, his littermate kept circling my feet. The other 2 kittens of the litter could've care less that we were there. But Tigger (the circling orange Tabby/Maine Coon) was bound & determined that if Puki got a free ride out of the hoosegow, he was going too, by Jove! Rather than trip over him, I picked him up. Big mistake.. pleading yellow eyes & the 'M' for mischief on his forehead.. snap went the bands to my heart. So we added 1# 6 oz to the weight scale, & adopted him too. The little guys were fearless, & all of Buddy's hissing & swatting in the world wouldn't deter them from being a part of this menagerie.
So now they greet Dan at the door when he comes in, like panting dogs. They each wait for their pet, then go to the backdoor where they paw at the door handle to be allowed out on the lanai. They don't show a lot of interest in me other than to beg for the kitty treats, or to urge me towards the utility room to clean out the 4'X 2' catpan. Lucky me!
I urge everyone to visit your Humane Society & increase the love-levels in your homes by adopting these sweet strays & cast-offs. They provide so many hours of entertainment & immeasurable amounts of unconditional devotion. Unfortunately, we are banning ourselves from any more adoptathons. We know our weaknesses!
But if one shows up on the doorstep, well then it's God's will.. ;o)

Baby Puki Posted by Hello

Tigger Posted by Hello

Buddy & Puki Posted by Hello

Tigger & Puki hanging out Posted by Hello

Tabitha Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Dreaded Dentist

Why is it we so dread going to the dentist? It's not like we're in the 1800's & forced to undergo anything painful without benefit of a deadening agent. They don't give you a slug of whiskey before they pry your teeth out with a set of heavy pliers. Although I'm a tad sorry that the practice ended on the whiskey part of it..
But in today's modern office, we see candles burning, cookies on the receptionist desk (granted, she might slap your hand if you decided to take one), colorful magazines on floral couches, and muzak piped in.. Christopher Cross takes you saaaiiling..
However, that doesn't stop my heart rate from excellerating from 60 to 120 as I step through those portals. And with my first whiff of the candle-scented masked formaldehyde, my limbic brain goes into overdrive. 'Run Away! Run Away!' But I settle into comfy couch, pick up the 4 year old People magazine & read again of Britney & Justin's woes.. just like it happened yesterday. Then a strange thing occurs. I swear they pipe in a little free floating nitrous oxide.. because by the time they call my name, I'm yawning like I've been listening to Rumsfeld drone for 15 minutes.
And I go under the hygienists deft hands, praying the sharp object doesn't slip & poke through my cheek. (Which urban legend says happens every other patient!)
Finally, as the dentist tells me 'Everything looks okay..' I secretly know I got away with it again.. Nonny-nonny-noo-noo.. I don't floss everyday!
Maybe I can fool him again in 6 months.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Life Is About Change

Seems life is all about change.. hence, my background (to the blog) has changed at Dan's request. The black background was messing with his visual prowess. And I think the green has a more 'sage-y' appearance anyway.

I once read that the only thing that is unchanging about life is 'change'. If things aren't flowing, they're stagnating. And so we should welcome that chaotic 'flutter-in-the-chest' bedlam of feelings that precedes change in our lives. Uh huh.. tell that to yourself when you feel as though you're standing on a cliff with a charging bear at your back. Some changes are more welcome than others.

I grew up in a wondeful era of the '50's. For all intents & purposes, it indeed was the 'Happy Days'. We all knew a Richey Cunningham, & we all lusted for the bad boy 'Fonz'. All the drugs were in New York City, far away from the pastoral setting of Oklahoma City. Everyone agreed that the fast girls were the ones smoking in the bathrooms, & we just didn't associate with them. We all wanted to be cheerleaders, sing in the glee club, & wear the quarterback's letterman's jacket.
We had our 'school' friends, our 'church' friends, & our neighborhood pals. Seldom did the trio intersect. It's just how things were.. social segregation of a sort.

I was number 6 of 8 children. A rather nice place to be actually. I got out of a lot of chores by blending into the woodwork & knowing the best hiding places. My older brothers and sisters were starting to marry by the time I became cognizant of familial place & issues.. so I tended to think of them as aunts & uncles. My closest allies were the 2 sisters who came after me. Time has been the great equalizer, & all my brothers & sisters are friends & family by now.
We were raised in a Pentecostal church, mostly Assemblies of God, or Churches of God. Always charismatic. I enjoyed it.. lots of emotional release, socialization, good music, & certainly the teachings were simply black & white.
I started teaching Sunday School when I was 17. Let me tell you, those 3 yr olds can curl your hair with their prayer requests! "Pray for my mommy, 'cause daddy punched her in the nose last night." (this from the deacon's child)
Having a problem with the word 'no', I started teaching children's church, and a teen-age girls group, attended a women's group within the church, sang in a trio, went to every revival meeting, special service, gave to missions, etc etc.. My church was my life, literally.
Then 'WHAP!' change enters into the fray. And my marriage of 17 yrs went kapoot. Well, crap happens, right? And at least I had the good people of the church to console me. Not so quickly there! Turns out that divorced women couldn't hold a position in the church & I was politely asked to surrender all my classes. Hmmmm.. What Would Jesus Do, indeed.
I grieved for my loss for awhile.. tried to find a similar place in other branches of religion.. but nothing clicked.
I was having a tearful moment at work one evening, lamenting my fate with the loss of husband, church, family. When a young intern talked with me about 'taking my power back' (ME? Power??) and handed me the book 'Illusions' by Richard Bach. Thus beginning my spiritual search into Metaphysics and all things mystical. When I look back now, it's with a sentimental eye.. I don't want to judge what I went through as hardship & dogma. I try to think of it as a foundation that I built on.
I never want to stop 'seeking'and learning.. I love my journey. And it continues to lead in depths & heights I never fathomed.

Life is about change.. scary/extraordinary/gentle/heart-thumping/natural/paranormal/liberating change!
Let it go.. let it flow.. dance the dream.. enjoy the flight.
And so it is..

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

View From My Window

I love the view from my office window. Since Dan has created the 'He Said.. She said' desk arrangements, I got the long straw & received the desk with the window. He gets to be the mole in the dark corner.
Needless to say, I spend many hours in my comfy desk chair. The 5 new inches on my hips will attest to that fact. But my fingers are ever so slim & tightly toned, from the hunt & peck method of typing I adhere to. In addition to the desk with a view, there is a TV overhead where I can watch Headline News at any given time of the day. (If I were just too giddy on life and needed to be brought low by the news of the day.) Why, life in this cubby is just so compact & complete.. if I added a mini fridge & a portable johnny, I might never need to leave this space..
Back to my view.. I am able to watch the seasons change in Florida just from looking out this terrific window. Spring is a light lime new-growth green, Summer is dark green, Autumn is medium green & sometimes breezy, Winter is the lighter paler shade of green. Gotta love this state (or what is left of it after the big blows came through. Blessedly, we were spared all but a few oak limbs & a couple of papaya trees.)
Frequently I see the local Mennonites on their 3 wheeled bikes, going hither & yon (I would imagine that's what they'd call it). They are dressed in long sleeved black clothing at all seasons of the year. I can only hope their deoderant products would hold up to the 100 degree/100% humidity days here in summer. But they are always cheerful, always waving & saying 'hallo'.. (yes, that's how they say it). I always feel a bit of religious-guilt when I walk by them, in my shorts. All this skin showing, when theirs is so carefully covered up. But they seem to be forgiving, lowering their eyes (whispering prayers for my damnable soul?) and possibly speeding up on their bikes. One day I saw a Mennonite man talking on a cell phone as he pedaled by, & I have to say I was shocked & disappointed. If you take a vow of poverty & no modern conveniences.. lose the phone Brother Hamus! It just looks ostentatious.. a gaudy accessory never works for the austere. And while I'm tattling, I've seen a Porsche Boxster in one of their little clapboard white, unadorned house driveways! One of these things is not like the other! hello? Did you know that male Mennonites begin their beards when they marry. So don't flirt with the hairy ones.
From my window, I watched a drama unfold across the street. A new family, complete with a dozen teen-agers, okay, 3.. moved in with the woman & her dogs who had lived there alone. They had many deliveries of new furniture, carpet, windows, remodeled the whole works. So I figure they're sisters & the one moving in is a new widow, & she's spending the insurance on fixing up her spinster sister's house. This has created havoc with the sedate dogs & they frequently 'break out' & come to our house, looking at us with mournful snouts, as if to say, 'For the love of God, can we live with you? We don't mind the cats, honestly..'
The new teens are outdoors on their cellphones a lot. Making their drug deals with Mennonite teens who are on their 2 yr hiatus from the church, probably. Or maybe they're ordering pizza.. who knows. Sometimes the moms are outdoors on their cell phones, which leads me to believe there's a phone 'dead zone' in their house.. or maybe they're cancelling all the pizza.
One day the teen age boy was outdoors sitting on a cement culvert, his skate board resting against his leg. He hung his head between his hands & he was crying, I watched his shoulders heave in convulsive sobs.. I wondered what caused the angst. Did his girlfriend break up with him? Did he just receive the diagnosis of 6 months left to live? Was he missing his deceased dad? Did the dogs eat his homework? After a few minutes, he wiped his eyes & did some mean quarter pikes against the culvert; he'd be alright.
Now, I could go over & introduce myself, & find out that my every imagination was way off the mark. And what fun would that be? I like keeping them in the cloak & dagger stance.
Ah yes, the view from my window.. tells me it's past time to mow the grass. That's what they make shades for.

sande Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

So Here We Go...

Okay, I couldn't resist... I'm into blog reading & have felt the call to join the masses. I realize my only audience may be posthumous (when I give the grandkids the password), but what the heck.

I'm a 56 yr old Cherokee-Irish lady living in FL. In re-reading that sentence I'm reminded of the brevity of an obituary. It's unbeliveable to me that the sum of our days can be contracted down to 3 sentences. ' Jane Doe was a 120 yr old Baptist, survived by no one, endured by few.' Geez, make that one sentence.

When in all actuality, we all have these glorious happenings & histories & stories! We have just lost the ability to tell them. Perhaps that's what we most love about blogging. We are allowed to tell our stories, unedited, without judgement, and all elements of truth can be suspended at any time.

So here we go... my stories, my ways, in my time.

I was born 4 days before Christmas, which is second only in crappy birthdays to my dtr-in-law Darla. Hers is the day after Christmas. In my growing up years, I never had a birthday party that I remembered.. the holidays were just too busy a time, & school was out for the season, so who would come anyway. My little sister Sallye had the perfect birthday in Oct, when the school year was still new & everyone still played well together, & the party could double as a Halloween celebration. I'm still a little bitter towards Sallye..
So when the big day came, I don't recall ever seeing a cake; perhaps I have selective memory, but the 1st birthday cake I remember was made for me by my 2nd husband when I was 35. That's a long time to wait to blow out the damned candles!
Then there was the advent of the gift giving. Over time, the parents didn't even bother to hide the fact that they were pulling the gift out of the pile underneath the Christmas tree. Did they think I couldn't count? That I couldn't tell the difference between Christmas paper & birthday motifs?
And so I went through life lamenting the dreaded Dec 21 (even at the tail end of the Sagitarrian sign).. until a miraculous happening in March of 2001. I had moved to FL & seeking a nice male companion, I of course went to Match.com. (Doesn't everyone?) And lo! A stranger beckoned. Behold! He shared the same dismal birthday. Well, needless to say, you don't find this kind of offering everyday. So I wrapped him up in birthday paper & married that man in 2 months time.

December 21st is the loveliest day of the year...

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