May 27, 2008

99-Percent Angel

On MySpace, there’s a dropdown box where you can select your “mood”. I haven’t counted all the selections, but I’m sure that most of the choices they give you to choose from are negative. Of my 10 ‘friends’ whose moods are posted at MySpace, I have “Fermented, Tired, Drained and Restless". Then, "Jubilant, Chipper, Relaxed, Satisfied and Okay". I'm always concerned when one of my friends list their mood as really negative, but I guess that’s the name of the game. Me, I always have to post a positive pronoun! If not, I worry about ME! Ha ha. I can’t win, can I?

When you don’t see a posting here for more than a week, you can be confident that I’m not in a good mood. It’s a ‘sign’ that I can’t churn up enough positive thoughts to create a happy story.

I heard that former President Clinton is mad at the press because they don’t give his wife proper coverage. “It’s just terrible,” he complained. Of course, it’s because of the press that she isn’t winning.

Here are some of the ‘terrible” things irritating me right now. That pesky but persistent paper clip thing that keeps tapping on my computer screen. Does it have to remind me every time that I’m not perfect? While I’m at it. I’m frustrated at too many handicapped parking signs. The price of gas. Bad dreams. My dog who won’t stop whining. The chill wind in the air when it’s suppose to be summer. The answering machine that keeps blinking even though I re-taped a message. People who owe ME money. The price of gas (again) – which affects everything these days!

This Memorial Day weekend John and Denise came here to help us combine two storage units into one. We had a cookout and planted some flowers. John worked hard lifting the heavy boxes for us and digging holes for the large plants. They still didn’t bring the grandkids and we still have their Christmas gifts. (And I deleted what I was going to say about that.)

Speaking of the holiday, Billy called on Sunday!!!!! It's always a treat to hear from him. He’s settled into his new home. Sounds like he’s looking forward to a little summer although he’ll still be teaching.

With the left hand (nursing) not knowing what the right hand (business) was doing, I managed to have a day off work today. I had plans to finish planting my flowers and finalize organizing the garage/storage. But, hubby took the van to work early this morning taking with him the garage door opener and all the potting soil. He felt badly when I called him at work asking why he did that. But, feeling sorry didn’t give me my remote and potting soil. Urrrrr

But, the biggest and most frustrating and awful ‘thing’ of the day was when I returned the garage door opener for garage/storage Unit #2 to the office, and was told by the “office” that we had signed a contract for that unit until October. That $75/month fee that we had been so excited to get off our back - thrown right back in our face.

At first I was quietly stoic, but then it hit me that we are the victim of needless red tape, government-type paperwork and we're being treated like brand new tenants who havent been paying rent on time every month for almost three years! It hit me like a stone wall. "Let’s just click on the cuffs! "

“We can’t afford a second unit AND we don’t need it. We have it all cleaned out. We aren’t using it anymore,” I actually wailed at the woman in the office. It was the last straw of a “I-don’t-know-why-I’m-in-a-bad-mood feeling.

“Well, what if all the tenants decided they didn’t want a place to put their car for the summer? We wouldn’t make any money at all!” she flung back at me.

“Nobody uses those units for their car! Those are storage units!”

“Well, you signed the lease for a year.”

“Of course I signed the lease. We couldn’t have gotten the unit without signing the lease!”

By then I was shaking with anger and bawling so badly I could hardly talk, so I turned and walked out of the office. It was just so damn frustrating. We had planned on cleaning it out for the last several months and had stayed home on this three-day holiday especially to get it done! And, it had been such a sigh of relief to get that expense off the budget.

Thinking quickly, I printed up a poster/sign that said. “Garage Available. Immediate Occupancy”. I listed my name and phone number and posted it at the mailbox area. Of course, maintenance having nothing else to do on this cold rainy day, came by and took it down and put it in the trashcan. But, I took it out of the trashcan and stuck it back on the wall. No phone calls, though. Not sure who’s going to win that battle!

June 16 was suppose to be a red letter day in my life. I’ll also keep this one short, but I considered started the RN course at a new school that opened up close to home. The courses are very simple. No algebra or chemistry! But, I only had two weeks to get ready and I just couldn’t let go of everything I’m doing that quickly and go to school full-time for the next year. Hubby was disappointed. He thought it was the chance of a lifetime. Perhaps it was. I’m hoping by the next time the course comes around, I’ll be ready. In the meantime, I’m sad that it didn’t happen.

28 days ago I did start something new. Some of you know (but most of you don’t) that I cut my nursing back a few hours and took a part-time position assisting with the business promotion program at Dr. Granger's office. Since then, the New Albany part of the business was sold (to a nice young couple) and they aren't hiring new employees. If I continue with this venture, I must work out of the other office that is a further away.

I’ve decided to sell my portable photography studio including White Lightning Studio Lights and nice film camera with all the lens, but can’t decide what it’s worth. Think I'll post it on Craig's List here in Columbus. I'm still doing some on-location photography, but I'm sure I'll never go back to a big-dream, full-time studio. Another slight annoyance is the "Office Space for Rent" sign that's been posted next to my former studio building here in New Albany. Every time we drive by, we check to see if my pretty sparkling curtains are still in the window - and they are. A golden/red reminder of a dream that slipped away.

I made a list of 11 things to do today. Writing on the blog was not one of them. I got five of the eleven items done. This afternoon the maintenance men manually opened the garage so I could work in there. It was too cold to plant flowers anyway. That sorting took longer than I had expected but I got all the nasty old boxes sorted and repacked in plastic containers. What I didn't get done was to write up ads for the studio sale and an electric stove we want to sell. Also, getting a package ready for Billy. After sending Sandy a birthday package that cost $47 first class (I didn't send it first class), I'm saving up for Billy's (housewarming) package. Another Urrrrr.

First on today's list was to decide what to fix for supper. By suppertime (and beyond), I hadn’t decided, so we ordered pizza and a sub. No wonder we keep packing our nice clothes away!

It’s almost midnight. The dog is finally quiet. Hubby is (hopefully) sleeping well. The price of gas went up a dime while I was writing this! Flowers can wait another day.

I wish I could write like a Redneck.

I’d say, “You know what bugs me? You know what really curls my iron? It’s cleaning out the garage and having to look at your life packed away in old water-stained brown boxes falling apart at the seams! It’s tossing stiff yellowed family pictures into the trash because I'm the last one to want them. It's finding a purse-full of old name tags bearing witness to the many 'hats" I've worn and places I've worn them! It’s being blasted with a huge photo of grandma Mascunana eating a messy ice-cream cone and realizing that was the last time I ever saw her! Youngest son with his first puppy. Oldest son in a bad mood. Everybody’s graduation pictures but mine! Thousands of photography business cards too precious to throw away, but too useless to keep. Beautiful blouses that don’t fit anymore - with hope that they will! A pristine old Bible that does not belong to me. Hundreds of pens that don’t write anymore. An child's diary started for Billy when he was five-years old with nothing past the first page. My favorite pair of sunglasses - I think they cost $100 at the South Bend Mall many long years ago!

And, down in the very bottom of the pile, an old set of keys with a silver key ring that says, "99 Percent Angel" A sweet reminder that I’m part of the universe. I can’t put that part in a box or give it back. It won't get old and won't change no matter how I feel about myself. Part of the universe.
Part Angel. 1-percent what? Hopefully, just dreams gone off into the sunset.

Take Care on the Journey,


May 15, 2008

Travel Log of Cades Cove and Westgate Resort, Gatlinburg, TN

Bambi's little brother we named, "40-Point".
Click the picture for a full-screen view.
Photo by Linda Meikle.
I took these pictures of our Smoky Mountain vacation on May 15, 2008, It rained the entire day, but we had fun in the rain anyway!

Bambi's little brother showed up for a spectacular photo shoot! Yep, I got up that close and took his photo in the middle of his favorite grazing spot. You should have seen the cars lined up behind us because I stopped the van in the middle of the road and jumped out with my camera.

The finished cabins (first photos) are Westgate Resort near Gatlinburg, TN where we own a timeshare. Our 1-bedroom cabin is on the very tip-top of the mountain. Next year we hope to invite family to join us here!

The scenic views are on the 10-mile Cades Cove tour we drove today. We saw a mother bear and her two playful cubs in the woods but they were too far away for pictures.

Take Care on the Journey,

May 13, 2008

Poetry, Song Of The Forest

Angel-Dance of the Forest
by Linda Meikle

I woke this morning before morning light
My head was filled with dreams of fright
As often happens during the night.
But we’re on vacation and what a delight
To walk the trails; to see all the sights.

The inviting forest path beckons “Come”
With its cooling breeze and soft gentle hum.
“Enjoy the glorious daybreak anthem
Listen to the beat of a different drum!”

A touch of chill when I stand real still
The scent of ozone as I climb a hill.
The early birdcalls loud and shrill
Remind me that nature is free goodwill.

The morning sun has yet begun
To reach the treetops high
It climbs through the morning hue
And turns the sky from pink to blue.

The Angel-Dance makes the forest ring
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing!

The Angel-Dance makes the forest ring
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing!

Long fingers of light erase the night
Touching the forest bed to awaken life
In need of sun and rain and guiding wind.
The life within begins to spin.

Grand sounds of nature seeking mates.
Nightlife finding daytime dens to sleep in late.
Only nature can translate the great debates
Of forest songs and birthing dates.

The rustle of a million leaves
Majestic bowing of the tallest trees
The sparkling glitter of winter’s death
Fall to earth in final rest.

The Angel-Dance makes the forest ring
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing!

The Angel-Dance makes the forest ring
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing!

Through forest paths dark and deep
Where angels often solace seek
To sit beside still waters running deep
The soul restored for those who weep.

The angel-dance makes the forest ring
With cadence to their maker King
Tall trees bow in graceful majesty
Sunlit leaves dancing pure and free
Whisperings of sweet humility.
The dance is our tranquility.

The alto-rich graceful harmony
Is always there you and me.
No matter how busy we can be
Take time to visit the singing trees

The angel-dance makes the forest ring.
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing.
Sit quietly now and you’ll hear it sing.


PS Jim said this is a 'masterpiece" but he chuckles that he's the one who hiked in the forest for 8 miles today and I wrote this at the kitchen table while he was gone. (I've been there, though!)

Care on the Journey,



May 12, 2008

...Wish You Were Here

... Jim says he'll camp right here.
For those of you who didn't click the link on my posting, A Southern Gift For You, here are the words to that song by Loretta Lynn. (The banjos really make it perfect!)

High on a mountain top
We live, we love, and we laugh a lot
Folks up here know what they got

High on a mountain top
High on a mountain top

Where the rest of the world's like a little bitty spot
I ain't comin down, no never I'm not

Where I come from the mountain flowers grow wild
The blue grass sways like it's goin out of style
God fearin' people simple and real
'Cause up on the ridge folks that's the deal

Well my daddy worked down in the dark coal mine
Shovelin' that coal one shovel at a time
Never made a lot money didn't have much
But we're high on life and rich in love

Well down in the holler lived my uncle Joe
He'd pull out his fiddle and rosin his bow
We'd all sing and dance
And we ain't gonna stop
When the moon shine flows behind every rock

Well we lay on our backs and we count the stars
'Cause up here folks heaven's not that far

High on a mountain top
High on a mountain top

Wish You Were Here…

I thought I’d be very, very bored or at least, stir-crazy during one of the few actual vacations taken in my lifetime. But, I was the one who convinced Jim that our Westgate Timeshare would be a good investment even if he - as the numbers man – argued that this was not the wisest long-term investment. That was 6-months ago, and already we have taken advantage of the log cabin in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee twice and loved every minute!

This is our first official “free” week to find out how two old workaholics would react to the slow pace of cabin camping without shrill alarm clocks and vibrating cell phones.

About 30 years ago, I left my heart in the lovely rolling hills of Dayton, Tennessee as we started down a long winding road that ended at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Moving to the bitter winters and lake-effect snow storms that blew across Lake Michigan from the Windy City, I thought my heart would freeze to death and I would die of loneliness as I missed my friends, the nearness to nature and a secure home setting at Laurelbrook School.

So, coming back to our Westgate Timeshare cabin snuggled on the very tip top of one of the highest mountain peaks, feels like coming home – and Jim is beginning to feel its earthy pull and back to nature comfort too!

Today I dropped him off at the edge of the highway as he struck out on a mountain path he had spent the morning planning for with several maps spread out all over the cabin table. I felt sorry for myself as he disappeared in the thick brush because I couldn’t join him on the trail, but my weak lower back and painful left hip wouldn’t tolerated the stress of climbing up and sliding down several miles of rocky terrain.

I waited in the van with a (boring) library book and thick writing notebook that I couldn’t concentrate on! I turned the van around in the parking lot several times and walked back and forth along the highway as I worried that he might meet a big black bear, or get lost, or step on a rattlesnake! He had promised to return in two hours!

He stepped out of the woods 47 minutes early! He said he knew I’d be worried and he didn’t want me to be upset. Tomorrow he plans a longer trek, but I’m planning to stay closer to the cabin and perhaps sit in the hot tub or watch the little kids play in the water park. We got him a backpack so he can carry water (to squirt at the bears?) and a walking stick (to shove the snakes off the path?).

Actually, there are many things about our trip that have been rewarding and fun!

Philip drove halfway here and we spent a couple hours enjoying the company of youngest son at Olive Garden. He’s very excited about his first year teaching algebra and geometry at a large high-school near Columbia, SC. He talked non-stop about his experiences as a teacher and the challenges of being prepared for the different personalities of his students - and always staying one step ahead.

Yesterday morning I watched and listened to the brilliant, noisy sunrise as it touched the forest and wakened the birds nesting at the edges of the Smoky Mountain National Park.

As each bird started its wake-up call, I wrote down what it sounded like to me – a foreigner who doesn’t speak the native bird-language.

There was the familiar sound of a morning call with a southern accent, “tooo-oooold” “tooo-oooold

I heard a very excited bird calling out, “Can-Can-Can-Can-Can’t” (He never heard of the book, “The Little Engine that Could”.

A very persistent bird attracted a mate, who echoed his shrill, “Birdie-Birdie-Birdie” repeated nine times every time. Then a softer return from his mate (or hopeful mate), “Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie”.

Maybe a third possible mate waited in the wings as I heard, “too-too-too-too”.

I course I had to chuckle at the complicated conversation of the interesting bird deep in the forest that called out, “Pee-U, Pee-U, Pee-U – tickle, tickle, tickle!”

And immediately following….”me-me-me-me”.

Later I’ll write about the rich alto songs of the trees and the cleansing winds that created angel dance in the forest.

Take Care on the Journey,

May 11, 2008

A Southern Gift For You

Vacation - Here We Come ..Click this link and turn up the speakers..

When you get to the link, click on the "Play" button that looks something like this >

Take Care on the Journey,