A Perfect Schedule.

September 1, 2007

This past week has been a little different and has gotten us off our normal routine. Race week was interesting with 160,000 NASCAR fans around, but is now over and our little town is getting back to normal.

Then cousins from Richmond came to town, camping in Aunt Carol’s fifth wheel at the lake.  So we made several trips out there to visit and one day to sightsee with them. This morning we went out to say goodbye and witness the “giving of the quilts”.  My sweet mom and her two equally sweet sisters made these fabric works of art especially for the cousins who were duly surprised and grateful. 

 I am back to working on our project rehab house where the wall paper removal continues to challenge me… but I am winning with only a couple of rooms left to do. 

Yesterday Liza got her new chain saw and Paula Bunyan has been happily felling many small trees that were killed by this Spring’s extreme frost.  There are plenty of trees on this property so the dead ones won’t be missed and will be replaced in the Spring.

Yes, I like having a schedule. Liza’s mom had her own retirement schedule: bathing, coffee, dressing, US TODAY cross word puzzle, breakfast, housework, bill paying or letter writing until it was time for her to prepare the lunch sandwich she would enjoy during “The Young and the Restless”, “As the World Turns” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”, followed by a nap. And so it was, every weekday the same. It seemed to serve her well.

My own mom has a daily routine that I think helps keep her grounded: early rising, grooming, breakfast, projects like quilting, gardening, laundry (she still irons everything) and household chores. Then lunch with her soaps, nap, after which she reads until dinnertime. She reads everything: classics, mystery, romance, historical fiction, you name it. The reading is the reward for her busy and productive mornings. It is her schedule.

What would my perfect schedule be? How could I fit it all in a day? Rehabbing on our project house, reading, writing (which has been reduced to blogging too infrequently), cooking and caring for us, real estate and personal clerical duties, spending time with family and friends, studying and learning, gardening, music, oil painting and other art related activities, traveling…. Trying to find my way and set up a routine that makes me feel happy and productive but not stressed and over-booked. I’m probably not alone in this quest.

But I am grateful for good health and many options. Just sometimes caught myself saying, “I want to do so much but I don’t know what to do next!”

Warm wishes to all.


Richard Petty, Nascar in Bristol

August 25, 2007



Whenever I am out of town and people ask me where I live, and I say Bristol, TN… if they know of Bristol at all, it is usually because of Nascar. Yes folks, Liza and I live in the town known for “the fastest half mile in the world.”

Since 160,000 folks have come to town to watch car racing this week, we are taking a few days off from the renovating of our project house to take in the festival feeling of one of the biggest car racing events in the world.

Now, I am technically a native but really not much of a “gear head”, as car racing fans are referred to. But it is hard to deny that when all these auto racing fans come to town it is quite an event! Pictured here is Richard Petty, one of Nascar’s racing legends. Liza got this photo during “Food City Family Fun Race Night”, a fan appreciation event held on Thurs. night before the week-end races.

On this night, many of the racers and their race cars, sponsors and crews set up in downtown Bristol and offer autographs, photo ops, and free stuff. Although Liza wondered through the crowds (60,000 they say) several times on Thursday, I only made it twice. What a scene! Thousands of race fans standing in lines for things like: Nascar Burgers, official Nascar apparel like a $35 tee shirt, sponsor give-a-ways, or a moment with one of the drivers. Rhonda Vincent sang on a stage at one end of the street (Bristol can’t have any event with out music!!!)

One of the racing teams had a mock pit where ordinary people could try changing a tire to a timed challenge. Changing a tire is apparently not as easy as those guys make it look in the pits on race day! TODAY: the Sharpie 500!!!


1968

July 9, 2007



My only neice just had her 13th birthday. What an important and special time of life. It made me start thinking about when I was 13… in umm, umm 1968!

The sixties was an amazing yet turbulent time in history. And being 13, I was just starting to pay attention to the world around me. Kids slightly older than me were dying in Vietnam and I did not know why. Teenagers across America were involved in politics, having sit-ins, burning bras, enjoying “free love”. I remember thinking it was all so overwhelming for me. But I knew the power of our generation.

Time has proven that the baby boomer teenagers had a huge and long lasting impact on American politics and culture.

My memory of 1968, a freshman in high school, includes an English teacher, Ms. Rutherford (possibly the first Ms. I had ever known). She was the first to encourage the writer in me.

I remember the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War. Lyndon Johnson was president and he announced he would not seek or accept presidential nomination. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, was slain in Memphis. James Earl Ray, indicted in the King murder, was sentenced to 99 years. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary and died on June 6th. Richard Nixon was voted in as President.

Record of the Year was “Up, Up and Away,” by the 5th Dimension. Album of the Year was (and still is) a favorite: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by The Beatles. The rock musical Hair opened on Broadway in 1968.

Music was amazing then! I guess every generation thinks that their music is the best, but how does one argue with this list:
The Beatles, “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution”
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”
Archie Bell and the Drells, “Tighten Up”
The Temptations, “I Wish It Would Rain”
Tommy James and the Shondells, “Mony Mony”
Diana Ross and the Supremes, “Love Child”
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along The Watchtower”.

And others like:
“Judy In Disguise” … John Fred & His Playboy Band
“Green Tambourine” … Lemon Pipers
“Love Is Blue” … Paul Mauriat
“Honey” … Bobby Goldsboro
“Mrs. Robinson” … Simon and Garfunkel
“This Guy’s in Love With You” … Herb Alpert
“Grazing in the Grass” … Hugh Masekela
“Hello, I Love You” … The Doors.

Not to mention: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell, Jose Feliciano’s, “Light My Fire” and Dionne Warwick’s, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”.

Top Movies of 1968
1. The Graduate
2. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
3. Gone With the Wind (reissue)
4. The Valley of the Dolls
5. The Odd Couple
6. Planet of the Apes
7. Rosemary’s Baby
8. The Jungle Book
9. Yours, Mine and Ours
10. The Green Berets
(They just don’t make ’em like they used to!!!)

Yes 1968 was an important year… the year that the successful flight of Apollo 8 made Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders the first people to orbit the moon.

Johnny Cash recorded “Live at Folsom Prison”.

The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Helen Keller died in her Easton, Connecticut home, just 26 days before her 88th birthday.

Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol as he enters his studio, wounding him.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closes above 100 for the first time, closing at 100.38.

Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control.

Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’état.

The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia.

The Medal of Honor is posthumously awarded to James Anderson, Jr. — he is the first African American U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago, Illinois outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.

The United States Department of Defense announced that the United States Army and United States Marines would send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios.

The White Album is released by The Beatles.

1968, when I was 13. The year itself has helped make me who I am. Peace.


around the bend

June 20, 2007



                                       

Starting Over without my father began a year ago yesterday. Liza’s Starting Over without her mom will be two months tomorrow. Just before we left Tennessee, Liza captured this image. It is impossible to know what is just around the bend.

There were times during my grief that I no longer cared what was around the bend for me. In fact, it frightened me because I knew it could be more loss and pain.

As I try now with some perspective to make some sense of it all, I have begun to understand that it is only the fearless moving ahead, the bold task of acceptance that will heal us.

People say, “Time heals”. It is true. Not because you forget the person, learn to do without them, or will ever forget the gut wrenching pain of their leaving. It is because, with time, I have accepted the fact they are gone. And there is nothing to be done about it. Nothing I can do.

So I put one foot in front of the other, understanding that only the Universe can control what is just around the bend. I can only decide to expect happiness again, to prepare for joy instead of fearing the out-of-my-control.

So today I will prepare for joy. And soon, with a passion for living and with childlike anticipation, I will again be able to embrace whatever is meant for me just around the bend.


For all my Musician Friends, Sir Paul McCartney

June 17, 2007

Sir Paul

On June 13th, Sir Paul McCartney played at Chelsea’s new Highline Ballroom to a cozy crowd of only 700.  This semi-secret Manhattan club show was to introduce his new album called, “Memory Almost Full”.  Read what Rolling Stone Mag had to say about this night here.

Our famous DJ cousin, Helen Leight, out of Philly (WXPN) has been a Beatles lover since the beginning. And of course she was one of the chosen few invited to this New York show. Said the show was amazing and that she cried. I probably would have too.

Setlist:

“Drive My Car”
“Only Mama Knows”
“Dance Tonight”
“C Moon”
“The Long and Winding Road”
“I’ll Follow the Sun”
“Calico Skies”
“That Was Me”
“Blackbird”
“Here Today”
“Back in the U.S.S.R.”
“Nod Your Head”
“House of Wax”
“I’ve Got a Feeling”
“Matchbox”
“Get Back”
“Baby Face” (snippet)
“Hey Jude”
“Let It Be”
“Lady Madonna”
“I Saw Her Standing There”

Helen celebrated the anniversary of Sgt. Peppers at xpn with a special Philly concert

I guess as long as we live, Bealtles lovers will always know the impact this music has had on a generation of young people.  Now as we age, we know the value of the work is that it is timeless and classic and that we will carry it with us in our hearts forever.  In fact, it has helped shape us into who we are now… mature Beatle lovers!


Back in Florida

June 11, 2007

Just a short post to let family and friends know that we are back in Ft. Lauderdale at our little camp cottage with no cable TV and no high speed access.  A huge stack of books and magazines will take the place of TV for the next few weeks (yea!) And blogging might be slower with dial up and with less photos… But we are here, back in the big city!

Within a mile from us here is some of the best shopping anywhere. Giants versions of big box books sellers complete with fancy coffee shops, a football field sized Target, Pier One and import stores from all over the world, the trendy and upscale Galleria Mall, no less than a dozen warehouse type furniture stores, luxury auto dealers, the BEST whole and health food markets, hundreds of unusual boutiques and MUCH MORE are nearby. 

If we are not in the mood for shopping (or window shopping), the restaurants are amazing and the beach is only two miles away. 

Mostly, I love it here because of the diversity of the people.  An international city really, with folks here from literally every part of the globe.  Yet our city neighborhood of mid-century ranchers and newer city townhomes is friendly and has it’s own small town feel.  Our good friends live across the street, a nice Mexican family has moved in the rental house next door, John (a sweet beer drinkin’ Irishman) lives in the hood as does the electrician native that just put the addition on his home down the street.

Anyway, sorry for shortage of recent posts. Hopefully the creative energy of the big city will inspire us with loads of blogging material. Stay tuned!

Warm wishes. Anita


Down Town Rehabbing

May 29, 2007


We are rehabbers. My Dad taught us about real estate and helped me buy my first property… a triplex at auction purchased for $13,000. We rehabbed it, rented it, my mom help manage it and we later sold it for $30,000.

Liza’s favorite rehab was an old victorian in a somewhat questionable neighborhood that was our residence for 18 months. That turn-of-the-century, friendly spirit inhabited, cottage netted us enough profit to make our big relocation to Key West where even in the late 80’s it was difficult to find any kind of little cottage in the historic district for less than $100,000. But after 2 years of looking, we found one and purchased it for $95,000. Three thousand of our own money and a second of $17,000 held by the desparate sellers. Within two years we were able to refinance at better rates and pay off the seller. Fifteen years later we sold this property for over 6 times what we paid for it.  Dad, you were right. The harder you work the luckier you get!

Because property had gotten so expensive in Key West, we went on the week-ends to Ft. Lauderdale (where we have dear friends) and purchased another triplex, fixed it up, rented it, and sold it less than 2 years later for a significant profit. I love real estate. 

Now we are back to my hometown. For several years we have been watching our downtown area deteriorate as the mall, strip shopping centers and the suburbs developed. But as many small towns across America, our little town’s city center is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. The wonderful old historic buildings are catching the eye of young investors, the train station is being renovated, local musicians play in open air gathering spots and new shops are opening.

When we decided to come back to East Tennessee (at least part-time), we decided we wanted to be a part of the refurbishing of our downtown. So we purchased the commercial building pictured above. It was built in 1905. Local historians report that it was first utilized as doctors offices.

In the fifties, a group of attorney’s occupied the upper floor while various retail businesses occupied the two small storefronts downstairs. When we first saw the upstairs with the huge skylights, and a room with 60 bookshelves built-in (law library) we knew we had found a new project and home. 

In the eighties, the upstairs was rented by a local radio station. Evidence of this still exists as one bedroom door is labled “studio A, Control room”. We purchased this building last year and have renovated the building with new heating/cooling systems, new wiring, new wood floors, new paint, and new plumbing. We made “studio B, Production” into a roomy and modern kitchen.

We like our downtown loft even with the 25 step walk-up and the parking challenges. We miss a yard and a garage, but are proud of our work and our contribution to preserving something historic and worthy. With the interior almost complete we are now working on the exterior… well, actually, Dave the painter guy is. In Liza’s photo above, Dave is pressure washing in preparation for paint.

Love the idea of taking something old or somewhat forgotten and giving it new life cycle. Our building will be starting over. Starting over as our new home in the city.

Warm wishes.