Tagged: 8 Random Things

July 2, 2007

QuionMonkey and Ybonesy are writing/blogger pals over at Redravine. As I understand it, I am supposed to write a blog about eight random items of interest about myself. In that blog, I am also to tag eight other bloggers to do the same in a blog about themselves and include these rules of the tag. I then leave each of them notes to let them know they have been tagged. 

Ybonesy explained the tagging process this way: “to share eight random things about ourselves. “Tagging” (aka a meme) is kind of like those chain letters you get via email — send this note to a dozen other people and you will get showered with joy — except without the prognostications of happiness, good fortune, or money if you follow through.” Does seem like an interesting way to get to know others and just have a fun writing challenge! So here we go…

My Eight:
1. I am not very random. I try to be. And I very much enjoy others who are random and spontaneous. I tend to plan and anticipate and organize and plan some more.

2. My right and left brains constantly battle. I am seriously tortured by the feuding between my business and artistic selves.

3. Liza and I have been enjoying life’s adventures together since 1984. Time with her, and the rest of our families, is my greatest joy.

4. I like making old things new or usable again. Consequently, I love rehabbing, yard sales, vintage stores, 50’s modern, old cars, historic architecture.

5. I try to look for the good in all things, but there are a few things I hate: cooked cabbage, lima beans, intolerance, being late and/or unprepared.

6. I lived in Key West, FL for 17 happy years.

7. I changed my college major 5 times. (art, education, journalism, business and merchandising… I just loved learning and I still do.)

8. I love things that sparkle. Yes the obvious like diamonds, crystals and jewels. But also, sparkling conversation, downtown raindrops in the evening lamplight, giggles, sunset reflections on ocean waves, snow and ice covered woods on a sunny midday, the eyes of healthy babies, coins, candlelight, fireworks, and enthusiasm.

There. Now here is who I am tagging:

RachelCreative

DarrellKlein

igblog

nacona77

josephbuffett

jessicatorrant

Happy blogging!


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.


Rebel Barn, Pride or Hate?

May 15, 2007


My Liza came home with this disturbing photo today.  What is this rebel flag suppose to be saying to us?  Is it “southern pride” or is it “state’s rights” or is it some kind of backward racial comment made by someone clearly still residing in another time?

As a white female boomer born in the south, I am very proud of most things southern. Love my Mama and my family and my southern musical heritage. Love Tennessee Pride sausage gravy and homemade biscuits almost as much as a nice thick authentic southern accent. I call everyone “Y’all”. I love the climate: the four seasons of the Applalachian mountains, the tropical flavor of South Florida, the historical architecture of Savannah and the diversity of New Orleans and Atlanta. And I like the weather too.

I decided a long time ago that I would travel everywhere, but would not reside west of the Mississippi River nor north of Virginia. I am a southern girl. This doesn’t mean I am proud of every page of my southern history book.

Having said that, I am also a product of the sixties. I beleived Mr. King. Racial bigotry is the same to me as any other hate based thinking involving discrimination. Whether against women, gays, minority races, or religious/secular groups, it is all the same. I have always beleived that a lack of mutal respect for other humans and/or a lack of education must be behind this kind of narrow (if you are not like me then you must be wrong) thinking.

I am a product of Key West’s ONE HUMAN FAMILY philosophy.

So what does this rebel flag emblem suppose to mean to me? Or should it exist at all?


Gotham Writer’s Workshop????

April 4, 2007

In my new effort to improve my non-fiction writing chops, I am considering participating in an  writer’s group at Gotham Writer’s Workshop (NYC of course).  Have any of you experience with this organization? 

Their credentials seem in order.  I would prefer a writer’s group in person, but none are available nearby. 

A.D.D., I seem to be in need of structure and accountability. Perhaps a writer’s group would be the encouragement I need.

Kindred Spirit in Key West offered a writing course that I took a few years ago.  In one class exercise, Instructor Shelley had us write on writing.

“Writing for me is basically an involuntary reaction like throwing up, belching, or sneezing when I get black pepper up my nose.  I haven’t much choice.  I write so I can go on.”

“I remember after Hurricane Georges numbly shuffling through the days of clean-up: the heat, the muck, the worry. I even saw a man die. Run over on his bicycle by one of those monster debris removal trucks. There the stranger lay on the pavement: helmet removed, a single trickle of blood making a puddle near his dark, curly hair. The huge truck’s driver sitting on the curb with his head resting in open hands.”

“Somewhere into the second week after the hurricane, the storm raged on in my mind. I felt so heavy with the collective trauma. I needed to catalog all the impressions and feelings. To put them somewhere safe for keeping. I unloaded my weight onto the page. There. I could move on!”

My journals are filled with the births, deaths, and all varieties of change and drama. “I write when I feel. When I feel so strongly that I can not help myself, I write. I need the release. Writing makes me feel light and unburdened.  It allows me to go on.”

Shelley gave me permission to write not only when necessary, but just because I could. “I write in my notebook filled with loose leaf paper.  I also write on the white paper napkins while I drink White Russian milkshakes at Louis Backyard Bar. I also write on the back of K-mart receipts or a small notepad with “First State Bank… your hometown bank” printed in neat aqua letters across the top of each sheet.”

“But I am not a writer. Writer’s get paid and are interviewed by Matt or Al on morning TV. Writers get published. Writer’s get read.”

Thanks to blogging, I now have a forum for writing not just because I have to, but because Shelley said I can.

Warm wishes until next time. anitamorrell.wordpress.com


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.


Teleidoscopic Photography

March 6, 2007

Take one creative soul, give him a camera and a computer with some editing software and step back!  Teleidoscopic photography is born!  See Dan’s amazing work at tropicalwave.com  In his work you will see hints of the island he calls home.  But you will also see industrial elements and an amazing sense of color and rhythm. Did I say rhythm? That would be logical since Dan is also a bass guitar player and sound engineer with a recording studio called “Private Ear”.  A highly skilled, creative soul that dances to beats of his own vision.

Warm wishes to all.