Friday, December 30, 2011

12/30/11 - A Mandate from Bubba

Consider this the finale to a trilogy. I spent the evening with Robert/Bubba, my nephew/brother, and his lovely wife. Robert says I absolutely have to state that since Mother gave birth to 4 other children, her bloodline/DNA goes on. It is my birth father's DNA that truncates with me. Tomato, tomawto. Same thing I've been saying: my bloodline ends with me. But I promised Bubba I would clear things up. So there. All clear. Feel better?

12/30/11 - No TV, No Problem

I cancelled my cable last week and returned the boxes today. A major step to setting priorities, simplifying and cutting-back. It is so freeing!

The only reason I kept the service this long was for my roommate, and he doesn't watch TV either. He does everything on his computer. And since he isn't going to move out and is staying for awhile now (Thank God!), I took a leap of faith, called the provider and said, "Shut 'er down, Danno!" It took awhile for them to understand me but they finally gave me a disconnect order number. Some people just don't speak old Hawaiian TV anymore.

It won't actually save me that much in $$ because I had to keep the ISP, but I haven't missed the boob tube for a second. I've got way too much to do to watch TV anyway!

I want to tweak my website so that I can include the 2 new mobile businesses I've recently created in my head. Yes, I know a cerebral image won't actually generate an income, but one has to start somewhere, right?

The name of the businesses are: All Things Photo and At Your Service. Stay tuned for details. Coming soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29/11-Family, Dads and The Red Tea Kettle

I had a minor meltdown last night. Okay, those of you who helped me through it know that there was nothing minor about it, but at least it didn't last very long. That's something, right? What is it with me and the water works these days anyway?!?

If you have followed my blog, you know that my family is blended - at best.  The Dad I just lost, the one pictured below, was actually my stepdad. He was the best Dad in the world and the only one I ever knew. He was actually the best person I've ever known. There was never a person that met him or knew him that didn't like him. There aren't many like him on earth. Honestly.

Why am I sharing all of this you ask? Well, because somehow, in someway, it's part of my move toward a mobile life. It is connected with who I am and where I'm headed. Don't ask me how, but that's the why.

My birth father died when I was nine months old. Last night I found out that the aunts and cousins on my birth dad's side of the family are actually half-sisters that never even knew him! Couldn't someone have told me before now?!? All these years I thought that they were the closest "blood" I had. Now? Not so much.

I know it doesn't really matter. Love is love and they're the same great folk they've always been. Nothing will change that, or our relationship, but it was a little bit like finding out you're adopted. It was a shock and it took me awhile to digest it. I lost a huge chunk of something I never even really had, and found myself  grieving over yet another loss. Yet another bizarre awareness. There must be something in the air. I've cried more these last 3 months than I have in my whole life.

My cousins and me on my 18th Birthday

Mother, Grandma Holland, Me and Aunt Joyce
On a very positive note, I mentioned at the end of a previous blog, that I wanted Dad's red tea kettle to go with me on the road one day in my RV. I can't wait for that day!  Well, I got the courage to ask Mother for it and she gave it to me this week. Woohoo!  Here's a picture of Dad when I gave it to him for Christmas in '07. That's all he wanted that year and was so happy to get it. Sweet man.

Christmas 2007
This will be my last entry about family for awhile (you're welcome). I'm movin' on, so to speak. With that in mind I just have to post this picture that I put on FB on Christmas Eve because 12/24 was Dad's birthday. This Holiday was tough; next year will be better. Thank you for all the love and support.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12/27/11 - Clarification on Family "Ties"

My comments in yesterday's blog about being a 1/2 relative, and in some ways an odd-man-out in my family, made some people sad and they are VERY important to me so I want to clarify.

I have 3 1/2 sisters, a 1/2 brother somewhere I've never met, a step-brother and a step-sister that I am very close to. (And an Aunt and many cousins.) They all have children and grandchildren, and none of us differentiate between half, full, step or otherwise.

Having said that I want to also stress that I love and am loved by some great family members that support and encourage me. There is no doubt in my heart, mind and soul about how much they love me and how close they feel to me, and I to them.

"Family" can also be a relative term (pun intended, grin). One doesn't have to be a "blood" relative to be loved and included as a family member. Agreed. I am blessed to have several of those too.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12/26/11 - Christmas 2011

There is no doubt about it - I have some great friends and you helped me make it through this Christmas Season. Thank you. I can post this here because it is the ones that read this that make all the difference. I thank God for you.

I didn't "over" do it this year. I took care of myself and said no when I needed to. For a variety of reasons, I didn't get to see some of my friends that I wanted to, but because they're my friends, they understood. SWAK!

And I didn't get in to the whole buying frenzy thing. Not once. It's never really been my thing, but this year I didn't participate even a little bit. I gave a few meaningful gifts but that was planned. Not the same as buying for buying sake.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Condemned House-Dec 2011

December 2011, Contest Rules - 750 words are fewer, based on the prompt: "You return to the house where you grew up, only to learn it has been condemned."

I found perverse pleasure as I looked at the house. The boards over the windows were rotting. I noticed the glass beneath them. “Where did the glass come from?” Growing up, it would have been nice to not always have curtains blowing through to the outside for all the world to see.

I looked at the ground and moved dirt with my shoe, uncomfortable with the memory. I had been so proud when we first hung the curtains. We danced ring-around-the-Rosie, and laughed, and ran outside to see what they looked like. That was a fun day. A stupid day.

We didn’t actually “hang” the curtains. We pounded nails through them into the trim above the window. For some reason it had been okay to put holes in the trim, but not into the wall. I never understood that, but it didn’t matter. We had curtains.

Now the house had glass windows and was being condemned. There was poetic justice in that. “Just goes to show that you can’t escape your past.” I said it out loud, directly to the house as though it were a living being, and climbed the few stairs to the porch.

The bitch mother of all condemned houses creaked and groaned with each step I took. I ignored the yellow caution tape and headed to the front door, but I stopped at the dining room window and peered through the dust and cobwebs.

It was empty now, but our dining table had been right there, in the middle of the room. Our old table was broken and we had to stack boxes underneath it, centered just right, so the table wouldn’t buckle. Dinner time was hell. I hated them all. I wiped some more dust away and noticed the hole in the floor. I spoke to the house again, “Serves you right.”

Then I felt bad. After all, there was a special place in the house that had saved me all those years ago. I sidestepped several boards that were broken or missing and entered the living room. The smell had not changed. Old, wet wallpaper. The odor lingered in the air even though the wallpaper was long gone. “How is that possible?” It made me angry the house didn’t answer.

Two mice scurried across the floor. They left through the same panel that had been my favorite hiding place. I didn’t need to lift it to know what was there. More bugs, stronger stench and darkness. You’d think I’d have developed a fear of the dark, but I didn’t. It had been my friend. I had been safe in the dark, behind the wall, just beyond that panel. Safe there, but nowhere else.

I did a 360. Was there anything here I needed to see before they tore it down? Was there anything I would miss? Maybe, I thought. Just maybe.

I quickly but carefully walked through the kitchen to the back door. The door was gone and the screen hung on one hinge, but I could see immediately that it was still there. The old tire swing still hung from that poor tree. The steps were too shoddy to use so I jumped from the threshold to the backyard. Something about the jump made me smile and I pulled my knife out of my pocket. Still smiling, I cut down the tire swing.

I turned and looked at the house one last time as I picked up the tire. We had both been condemned in so many ways. I had managed to build a pretty good life for myself that was culminating in the reconstruction of this neighborhood. I was going to create a new development one house at a time, starting with this one. And God willing, there would be no foreclosures here.

I knew my architect team was not going to be happy with me. They were going to have to spend countless hours revamping the playground because I had just decided I wanted tire swings. Most of the team had been with me for years. They knew I rarely made such major changes before a groundbreaking. Perhaps that would soothe their pain. I smiled again as I hoisted the tire to my trunk. “Then again, probably not.”

The demolition crew pulled up. I waived to them as I got in my car.

I spoke to the house one last time. “Being condemned isn’t so bad. You’ll come back bigger, better, stronger. Beautiful.”

Gatorep said...
This did not take the turn I was expecting, but it was still a good story! The ending was nice, how you were going to re-do the neighborhood, starting there where you lived at one point.....and taking the one good memory with you---the tire swing!

Anonymous said...
I vividly could see the curtains blowing! Your description came across as if I were walking along beside him. I felt as if could feel his emotions and actually heard him say "You’ll come back bigger, better, stronger. Beautiful.” Loved It! -- Carol

DSD said...
@Gatorep-thanks! Would love to know what turn you were expecting. Interesting.

DSD said...
@Anon Carol-I'm humbled. Thank you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

12/23/11 - MI 3, Failure to Launch

One of my new-found blogger friends, John aka BlackSheep fka Gatorep, recently asked me if I had given up on my blog. Since it has been 10 days since I last made an entry I can completely understand his wonderment. No, I have not given up. I promise. I will never give up - on my blog OR my goals, but I must admit... I too am bewildered.

At the onset I said that I don't know how to juggle my j.o.b. that keeps a roof over my head and food on the table, and still have time AND energy left over for the things I really want to do. How does one do all of that while working 60-70 hours/week?!? Don't get me wrong. I know tons of people are able to juggle this and more, especially people with children, and especially the single parents out there. I know I'm not unique in this aspect, but I honestly do not know how to do it and obviously don't seem to be capable of doing it all. Not being able to blog or write these last 10 days has been extremely! frustrating for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13/11 - Christmas Cards & SO

I am SO enjoying working on craft projects again, but it amazes me how long it is taking to complete each step of each project. I am SO out of practice!

For example, I used to be able to make 10 cards in an hour. SO far, my card:time ratio is 0.5 per hour. For someone that wants to do this as a living, that's not good! It also feels like I'm trying to run in quick sand while editing photos. SO far, I'm able to finish about 1 per hour. I used to be able to do most manipulations within 5-15 minutes. SO, I need more practice to get back in the swing of things. Lucky me!  Literally.

Considering it's been 2 years since I've done anything, and things are set up differently here than they were in my old workroom, I'm actually quite proud just to be engaged in completing projects again. And did I mention it's fun?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12/11/11 - MI 2 of 3 COMPLETE!

Well, it took forever but I just completed my 1st project in my craft room/bedroom/office so I feel comfortable declaring MI 2 of 3 complete! Woohoo!

You may recall...
Mission Impossible 1 = get my room organized and cleaned, and clear things out.
MI 2get the rest of my photography and scrapbook boxes unpacked and the equipment set up for use... by Sunday night at the very latest. Everything --my bedroom, my craft room, my office-- all in one room, organized and functional.
MI 3complete tribute albums to Dad as Christmas Gifts.

OK. Break time is over. Back to work. I mean play. I mean work. What a dilemma! :)

In addition to my friends and the blogs I follow that keep my dream alive, here are some things that spurred me on today:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~Albert Schweitzer

The belief that the future will be much better than the past and the present is known as the optimism bias. It is present in every race, region and socioeconomic bracket.

Scientists propose that one of the main functions of memory is to imagine the future, thus enabling us to prepare for what is to come.

Thought For The Day
The kingdom of God, where there is always abundance, is within you!

12/11/11 - Blind Faith, Not

I must admit. I am struggling with my faith. I have run the gamut on trying out different religions, trying to find one that fits. None have. In fact, I am not into religion at all, but I do believe in God and spirituality.

My Dad had the greatest love for God and Christ that I have ever seen. I often envied his personal relationship with the Trinity. He never wavered on that. Nor did he ever thump people over the head with his Bible. It was his relationship, his love. He merely enjoyed it, cultivated it, and quietly lived it. While I could never subscribe to his particular religious beliefs, John L. Whittington was the best man I've ever known. Every person that ever met him, liked him. Most loved him. I have never met anyone else that can say that. I hope this blog does not have him turning over in his grave.

Why am I blogging about this, you might ask? Well, I have kept a gratitude journal since 2003. After my blog interactions yesterday, it came to my attention this morning that I have been sorely neglecting this inspirational tool. In fact, I discovered that I only wrote a gratitude list for 10% of 2011. That means 90% of the time I was not consistent! No wonder I'm having a hard time!

When I'm "on", I have a morning routine that includes the following:
Gratitude List

My best years have been when I do this routine "most" mornings, not 10% of the time! Can you tell this little bit of reality check has slapped me between the eyes?

So, back to why I'm blogging about faith. The books I call "Readers" as listed above, are a collection of daily devotions, reflections, quotes, etc. One of them I read every day, the others I rotate on a daily basis as I use them. I never know what they are going to say, but they are always spot-on.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12/10/11 - Attitude of Gratitude

After reading the wonderful comments from some of my readers, I started feeling better this afternoon, physically and mentally. I actually made it into my craft room and began some work by about 5:30 or so.

I know that we are to be happy from within, whole through Christ and dependent on nothing, but I 'gotta tell ya', support helps. It amazes me that the support I get these days comes mainly from people in other cities - people I once lived nearby, and people I haven't even met yet.

So I 'gotta' say, "God always gives me what I need and for now it is thee." OK. I know. Way over the top. Sorry I couldn't help it. It was in my head and just cracking me up. It made me laugh out loud and snort, even as it probably made you gag and puke. My apologies, but it felt good to laugh. Even at your expense.

Which got me to thinking. I have so much to be thankful for (thank you for the reminder BlackSheep), and am building toward a future that I really, really want (thank you for the reminder JB) so why have I been so down? Well, let me count the ways (man, I'm on a roll tonight)...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8/11 - Wherever You Go, There You Are

Last week the flu, this week strep. First round of antibiotics didn't do the trick so here goes a 2nd round.  I have been sick, that is true but the worst part is, I'm mental. A sad, numbing, depression has settled in and I can't seem to shake it.

Every night I go to bed and I hope it will be gone when I wake up. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I also feel like my j.o.b. is in trouble and that doesn't help either. I am struggling in all areas of my life and I find myself thinking, "If only I were out there already, living on the open road in my RV, writing for a living." But the truth is, as my friend, the late, great, R. T. Miles would say, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12/6/11 - Avalanches

I cannot believe how much STUFF I have!  No matter how embarrassing, I must share that I have an entire double-car garage crammed full of boxes of STUFF! I am able to park my car in there, barely. Most of the STUFF has been in boxes since, well, for years.

Earlier this evening, while looking for a simple, stupid spiral - one of the walls of boxes came tumbling down. When I realized I could do nothing to stop it, I yelled "AVALANCHE" and the dogs and I scrambled out of the way. When the dust settled it looked like a small bomb had exploded.

I haven't gone through some of the boxes because the memories are painful, but mostly I haven't known what to do with it all. Now I do. I cannot wait to go through it and get rid of it. I am only keeping what I can use for my business, my mobile income. The rest either gets donated or will be sold. How wonderful is that?

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/5/11 - MI 1 of 3

I didn't get much sleep last night but at least I accomplished my Mission Impossible 1 of 3! My goal was to get my room organized and cleaned, and to clear things out so I could move my laptop back to my desk. (I've been taking my laptop to the living room.)  Check!

MI2 will be to get the rest of my photography and scrapbook boxes unpacked and the equipment set up for use... by Sunday night at the very latest. Everything --my bedroom, my craft room, my office-- all in one room, organized and functional. I have to cull and streamline to live in an RV one day anyway, right? Might as well bite the bullet and get compact now.

MI3 will be to complete the tribute albums to Dad as Christmas Gifts. Yepsters. This Christmas. 2011. I can do this!

I've been waiting for this clarity and vision my whole life, wasting even a single moment just doesn't make sense to me. So, madness now (MI 1-3) and then in January I will enter a new writing contest for the month (TBD), and I will also make portfolio albums that display my photo/scrap work.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12/3/11 - Slow but Steady Progress

I didn't get much sleep last night but at least I accomplished my Mission Impossible 1 of 3! My goal was to get my room organized and cleaned, and to clear things out so I could move my laptop back to my desk. (I've been taking my laptop to the living room.)  Check!

MI2 will be to get the rest of my photography and scrapbook boxes unpacked and the equipment set up for use... by Sunday night at the very latest. Everything --my bedroom, my craft room, my office-- all in one room, organized and functional. I have to cull and streamline to live in an RV one day anyway, right? Might as well bite the bullet and get compact now.

MI3 will be to complete the tribute albums to Dad as Christmas Gifts. Yepsters. This Christmas. 2011. I can do this!

I've been waiting for this clarity and vision my whole life, wasting even a single moment just doesn't make sense to me. So, madness now (MI 1-3) and then in January I will enter a new writing contest for the month (TBD), and I will also make portfolio albums that display my photo/scrap work.

12/2/11 - I'm Back!

OMG! I hate being sick!

I barely made it home from my trip. As I drove, I thought it might have something to do with my leaving in the middle of the night after a long, exciting day, OR, maybe I thought... it might just be that normal let down I get after a great trip or exciting event. Either way, I struggled immensely on the drive home.

By the time I got home, I didn't even finish unpacking the car. I was chilled to the bone. I greeted my animules, put on my flannel pj's (yes, sexy I know) and crawled under my electric blanket and turned it on high. In Texas. With temps probably no lower than 40. What the heck!?!

Friday, December 2, 2011

11/26/11 - It's a Girl Thing

As you know from my previous blog, in what now seems to be an eon ago, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my friend Carolyn and her family. It was followed by an equally marvelous weekend.

Friday afternoon Carolyn and I actually went to an RV lot! Straight up I told the salesman I was at least 3-5 years away from a purchase. I'll never know whether he believed me or not, but he still chose to spend time showing us the different models and answering all of my questions. What fun!

Unfortunately, I could not see me living in the 21 footers they had on the lot. I was bummed that the only RV that seemingly came close to being practical for my office and living needs (at least as I see them now) was a 31 ft!  Among other amenities, I could envision building storage for paper bins, photo supplies, etc., to replace the bunk beds. But no matter how functional, I just don't see me traveling carefree in such a huge monster!
Class C Sunseeker by Forest River

Plus, I trust all my RV traveling gurus that tell me for every foot over 21', you lose major flexibility and mobility. So tons of fun cruising and perusing the RV lot, but I left with no imagery of my future and no visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. :(

Enjoyed the rest of my day with sweet Carolyn though and the very next day I got up early to go meet my friend Leslie for breakfast. What a great way to start the day! It was such fun catching up! As I pulled out of the parking lot, but what did I see? A possible chariot that pleased me! I followed it to the Cracker Barrel parking lot and was thrilled to see a girl driver. I felt hope renewed and parked several rows away to wait on her to come out. Had my game face on and was ready to casually approach her to discuss RVs, girl to girl, Amiga a Amiga. After awhile, it dawned on me; she wasn't coming out.