Rockyou at Flamingo Gardens

March 30, 2007

[rockyou id=62147674&w=426&h=320]

Tried the new slideshow feature at Rockyou through WordPress, but could get it to upload only 2 photos.  Getting to this place was easy but after then, the upload appeared to keep freezing up. I am sure I must be making some newbie mistake like my photo files are to big (did resize and optimize) or something else minor.

Anyway, soon after the first of this year, our dear friends took us to a lovely botanical garden outside of Ft. Lauderdale called Flamingo Gardens.  Was the most restful yet amazing day.

The flamingos were bright pink (would really like to show you but in photos that would not upload!) and would eat from your hand (allowed).  The birds were amazing as were the tall palms and the musical bamboo groves.

Will keep working on slideshow… open to technical suggestions.  Warm wishes.

Without Keys

March 29, 2007

  LOT of antique vintage keys / key TOTAL of 16  

Vintagegoosehas a lovely online shop selling very cool vintage jewelry and other goodies like the antique keys above.  Seeing her photo made me think of an essay I wrote about three years before I “started over”. 

“Without Keys” was written while living in Key West but vacationing on Sebec Lake in Maine. Can you sense the career burn-out in my tone even then? Or just how desperately happy I was to be away from the A-type, three-careers-at-once, too-many-plates-up-in-the-air kind of life I lived…. hmmm.

WITHOUT KEYS by Anita Morrell

I know I am on vacation because I have NO KEYS.  No responsibilities and no keys.  No jingling metal bits to hang from the purple clip attached to the belt loop of my Dockers.  No mass clinking against my thigh as I walk.  No keys.  No responsibilities.  

Now let’s see. There’s the five keys it takes to get us into the business and two keys for our home.  There’s my office key, my car keys and safety deposit box key.  Scooter key, mail box key, pool key, bowling alley locker key.  I have none of them here. I am on vacation and have no responsibilities. 

You don’t need keys here on Sebec Lake.  The pontoon boat that floats us up and down the lake starts with the push of a button.  No keys needed to access the hiking trails or morning quiet.  No keys required for the black night sky and the brilliant stars that are suspended there. 

The keys are important in the real world but not here on Sebec Lake.  Those keys allow me a way to manage and protect the life that affords me this keyless vacation space in my year.  The keys are left behind with our most trusted friends.  They carry my weight just now.  Cause, you see, I am on vacation with no responsibilities and no keys. 

I once knew an Englishman who told me that he thought that cold St. Petersburg, Russia and Key West would make a delightful cocktail.  I now know what he meant.  As much as I love Key West (our balmy sun kissed island), I too love the northern woods and crisp morning air. I love the quiet of the country where the only sound I hear is the breeze rushing through the trees and the squeaking of the boat as it rubs against the dock. 

So I will drink this libation slowly this vacation week, trying to savor and observe and appreciate and feel all that I can.  I will enjoy having only the sweet responsibility of life on Sebec Lake.  Because I am on vacation and have no keys!

18 Years without Spring!

March 26, 2007

Spring has arrived in East Tennessee. The blooms on the Bartlett pear trees are bright explosions of whiteness. Liza photographed this golden forsythia just yesterday.

These misty blue hills of East Tennessee are my home again, although we have been living on the tropical isle of Key West for the past 18 years. During those years, we came home often… just never in the Spring. We came at Christmas or to escape the South Florida summer heat.

I have missed the mountain Spring time. Magically, the fields and meadows turn from a dull straw color to a bright kelly green. The front porches are edged by screaming yellow daffodils, and fragrant purple hyacinths. Tulips are popping up with loaded blooms ready to explode any day. Changes happen quickly from day to day. Soon it will be the redbuds and then the dogwoods as Spring layers persistently towards summer.

Snow birds and other tourists used to ask us if we missed the seasons in Key West since it was always sunny and warm there. Locals (Conchs) and residents for ten or more years (fresh water Conchs) knew that Spring very much existed there as verified by the glorious, reddish orange Poinciannas Trees that canopy the island every year.

Spring in Key West is subtle, sliding from balmy winter to the long sunny days of summer. And as much as I grew to appreciate the subtle changes of season and light in the tropics, this mountain Spring is coaxing out of me a new hope. A lightness of heart and a new interest in exporing and creating is tempting me. This is the Spring of my childhood, like the ones I remember as the REAL beginning to each of the happy years of my youth.

So happy new year everyone! And warm wishes until next time.

Disclaimer: My spellchecker on wordpress is not working. hehe.

Nascar Roars into Bristol

March 26, 2007

Today Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 in Bristol, Tennessee. I know because I live in Bristol. Liza lives here too, and she snapped these photos for us today.

With over 160,000 people in attendance, Nascar fans enjoyed perfect conditions for a day of racing. Sunny and 80 degrees made for a day where the only thing race fans had to fear was a sunburn. Very different from last year when fans enjoyed snowball fights!

Nascar is not really my cup of tea, but alot of folks love it and it certainly helps the economy here. The Bristol Speedway is billed as the fastest half mile track in the world. Race car fans are always delighted with the speed and spills guaranteed by Bristol. Locals (without a ticket) mostly stay home, out of the traffic, and watch this auto spectacular from the safety of their TVs.

I know when I was a very young girl, this track was nothing more than a dirt track out in the middle of a cow pasture used for good-ole-boy-Saturday-night racing. You know, your Ford against my Chevy. It was all about the cars and who could go faster. Not much has changed. Today, Kurt Busch’s decal covered racer was a Chevy!

Tell Me Where to Go!

March 24, 2007

Only been to Paris in my dreams.

But have been to: NYC, Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Charleston, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Winslow, Denver, Las Vegas, San Fransisco, L. A., D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Cinncinati, Roanoke, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Manchester, Asheville, Dodge City, Key Largo, Albequerque, Anaheim, Gallup, Knoxville, Birmingham, Flagstaff, Orlando, and Amarillo.

Been to lots of smaller cities, towns that you may not know like: Bristol, Amherst, Marco Island, Marathon, Johnson City, Greely, Elizabethton, Jonesboro, Etsel, Bluff City,  and Goose Pimple Junction!  Sometimes traveling to a place is even better than you had imagined… sometimes worse. 

And even though I dream of the museums and wines of France, my roots in Scotland or Ireland or Germany or England, the food of Italy or the politics of the Amsterdam, I am partial to travel in the good ole USA… We like to drive and summer is coming so where should we visit next?

Any ideas and why? Thinking about north west… maybe Seattle to visit our friend Mandy or maybe up to Canada. But totally open to suggestions.

Well Bless your Heart!

March 21, 2007

My girlfriend, Diane, and I were discussing the Southern expression so often used in our families and by us… “bless your heart”.  You know, your dog dies… “well, bless your heart”.  Or you found out you have a brain tumor, a lost love, a late bill… it is always the same…”Bless your heart!”. 

We have also discussed, many times, how hard it is to go to Target without spending considerable more that we intended. In her last e-mail she included this “southern prayer” before her impending trip to Target: 

“I too must venture to Target with the hopes of geting out with only what I went in for.
Let us pray together.
Please lord, grant me the power to resist the cute rugs and coffeee pots, the
curtains and the econo size shampoo, the uneccessary power tools and garden
plants. We ask thee for the strength to resist tee shirts on sale, jeans made
for teens, anything sleeveless and the trendy tops that we’ll hate next week and
can’t squeeze into our already crowded, tiny little closets. And dear lord, let
us get what we came for and be in and out within minutes, not hours or days. We
thank you lord for your protection from the evils of vulgar and vile consumerism
as we say together “Amen.”

All I can say to Diane regarding her Target adventure will be “bless your heart”!

Daddy’s Girl without a Dad

March 19, 2007

It has been nine months today since my dad died. It’s still hard to type the words.

I do sleep through the nights now. And my appetite has returned (darn).  I don’t hold my breath all the time now. And my IBS seems better. But the estate is not settled. The grave marker design has gotten botched and has to be redone (another wait).  The paperwork seems unending.

The things he left for us… I don’t know how to enjoy. Don’t know how I will ever feel that they are mine and not a burden to be cared for as I know he would have. 

I can speak of him now without total sadness. I do remember his faults along with his strengths. But how do you replace your biggest advocate?

I am trying to “give it time” and “it’ll get better”… and some days it is. But some days, it is not.

I have so much I want to do to honor him… but I still seem somewhat paralyzed at the same time.  I want to write about him and have in my personal journals (Daddy’s Girl without a Dad)… but his accomplishments merit something more long lasting. hmmm.

So many questions and without the one I would usually ask for advice.  Knowing tomorrow will be better.  Warm wishes to each of you.