June 4, 2008

Obama and COTA

(Bus Route...#33)
The TITLE was selected because those two items have been keeping me up at night and causing me to be too tired to write at my best these days!

While last night (June 3, 2008) was a historic moment for the United States and the world when Obama officially became the first African/White American (his mother is from Kansas) to win the Democratic presidential nominee ticket by nailing down the required 2,118-delegate baseline needed to qualify for the position, we were too exhausted to stay up and wait for the magic moment.

We started recording the news on CNN when he had 4 more votes to go! (By the way, I’ve had an Obama ad at my personal MySpace for several months!). I missed his victory speech, …”The end of one historic journey…the beginning of another” because I was online searching the bus schedules from our home to Jim’s work in Columbus, Ohio!

Due to the nearly 100 percent price increase in gasoline, we are having to come up with creative ways to cut monthly expenses. Taking the COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) bus will save our family up to $200 a month in travel expenses alone, but it requires some uncomfortable changes!

We have to get up at least an hour earlier, when ‘before’ was already ‘too early!’ It makes us feel like we got up four hours earlier by the end of the day. He’s been catching the bus at 6:30 a.m. so he can be to work by 8 a.m. and I’m trying to make him a good breakfast before he leaves.

The ride has been interesting though. He says the people on the bus act like a big family with jokes and friendliness. The first morning as he boarded, someone greeted him with, “So the price of gas got you too!” Another man has new jokes every morning that he shares with everyone.

So far, I can’t get Jim to take the transfer bus that stops right in front of the building he works in! He’s afraid the transfer bus won’t show up, so he rides the first bus to the end of the line and walks about 3 blocks to work. I suppose that’s okay, but I won’t stop nagging until he takes the complete circuit!

In other news, mark your calendars. I finished planting all my flower seeds on June 3. It was suppose to rain real big yesterday, so I threw the last packets of wildflower seeds in the patch of woods next to our yard. At Samantha’s grave site (not far into the woods), I scattered a packet of sunflower seeds beside the tulip bulbs that have already bloomed this year. At another spot, I dropped in some fancy gourd seeds. I’m curious to see how those grow. I’ve never grown them before. We made up a pretty little flowerbed under our kitchen window last weekend and started several colorful containers of mixed flowers on the porch – including several pots of my all-time favorite Morning Glory seeds. Anticipate end-of-the-season pictures this fall on my websites! My boys (if they ever read this) will remember my famous Morning Glory flowering vines that covered our front porch in Michigan each summer. One late summer, they were so big and heavy that it pulled the porch light down.

Last week was the end of the season for several TV shows that have kept us entertained during the long winter evenings. We are grieving (LOL) the loss of our favorite characters that were ‘killed off’. Our favorites, NCIS, CSI and Numbers will never be the same.

If you’ve checked out a couple of my official websites, you may find that they need some updating. I just discovered our hosting service has changed its format and we can’t get into those sites to make any changes. Sure, they still send us a bill every month, but
http://www.photosbylinda.com/ and http://www.lindasbookshelf.com/ seem destined to remain forever frozen in time unless a web master unlocks they key. Sorry. Jim says he will look into it with his slight advantage over me in the Webmaster department, but I think it’s a lost cause. Technology can sometimes be such a delicate process and so easily imbalanced! That’s why I like the versatility of blogging and MySpace. I enjoy searching for new material and the freedom to be creative without complicated HTML code and passwords.

I’m still waiting for the check-in-the-mail from the 40-year old bank account in Missouri. Yep, back in 1964 grandma deposited $6 into an account for me and another one for Sandra. We’ve each requested our “Unclaimed Funds”. Some people say if it was in savings, it will have earned interest. Others insist we won’t get anything. We don’t have high expectations, but it gives us a chance to dream and laugh a little. I say if I get a $6 check made out to Linda Mascunana, I’ll frame it like I do my $4 AuthorHouse checks from the sale of my book! Oh, I take that back. This quarter, my AuthorHouse check was for $7. And that was profit for 10 books I ordered at 10.55 each. I’m still happy I can give my book, “Dusty Angels and Old Diaries” to friends for FREE.

Last week I took some family pictures here in Columbus. The mom made a slideshow with music that is becoming quite the talk of the family. (I know the family through my work as a nurse.) It's posted on their family website so I'm adding the link at the end of this posting. (I don't want you to click away from here before you get to the end. ha ha.) We're so pleased with the results of the shoot although I was worried because we had to shoot outside in the noon sunshine.

In my last posting, “99-Percent Angel” some thought my article was sad and/or frustrating. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. My thought in writing like that is because I know many of us share the same challenges every day. I believe it is encouraging to ‘see’ others in the same boat. Along that line, today, I noticed a story on CNN titled, “Please Shut Up” By Martha Beck from "O, The Oprah Magazine," July 2006. In short, it asks if you’re telling your sad story to figure it out or to get pity. Martha says we should not get stuck in the past but should get on with our life.

Beck says, "Getting bogged down in old stories stops the flow of learning by censoring our perceptions, making us functionally deaf and blind to new information. Once the replay button gets pushed, we no longer form new ideas or conclusions -- the old ones are so cozy. But becoming present puts us back in reality, where we can rigorously fact-check our own tales."

Try dredging up one of your favorite stories --maybe a classic like "I'm not good enough." Treat it as a hypothesis. Research it. Is there any evidence that contradicts it? Have you ever, in any way, even for an instant, been good enough? Insist on the truth. Whatever terrible things may have happened to you, only one thing allows them to damage your core self, and that is continued belief in them."

Put all your energy into your life's work. The moment you lift your gaze from your old stories, you'll see your life's work. I don't mean a gilt-edged proclamation from God, describing every step you are to take for the rest of your existence. I mean the next step, which is usually very small: Ask for the promotion. Pick up the kids. Take a nap. Then take the step that comes after that. From time to time, as you continue along, a Big Dream will coalesce out of the swamp fog.

The way forward is to shake the quicksand off your feet and take one small step toward that dream. Trust me, it will be all you can do. Taking things step-by-step means working -- working hard, working scared, working through confusion and embarrassment and failure....Dwelling endlessly on the past keeps us from the wild, exhausting, terrifying tasks that create our right lives.

Try it for yourself, right now. Look around you. Listen. Touch your hair, the floor, this page. Whatever happened 10 years ago, whatever happened 10 minutes ago, is not your present concern. Neither is what will happen in another 10 years, another 10 minutes. This moment is all you have to worry about. Narrowing your attention to this point is your reconnection with solid ground. Call this anchoring, establishing a simple, physical, factual connection with present reality."

Thinking back to the beginning of this posting, isn’t that how Obama got where he is? Last night he thanked his grandmother for pouring everything she had into making him what he is today. (I peeked at the recording.) Hopefully, we will always be thankful for our past and not be afraid to get out of our comfort zone when opportunity knocks.

Here's the link to the family photos http://www.babyhomepages.net/storm/stories.php

Take Care On The Journey,

Home: http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

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