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

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RV Dreaming

May 24, 2007



The good folks at GoRVing.com have some pretty compelling arguments for the road trip Liza and I are contemplating:

“What will you discover when you go RVing? That boredom can’t find you if it doesn’t know where to look. (That sounds GOOD!)

There’s taking a trip from Point A to Point B. And then there’s RVing. Recreation vehicles give you more control,convenience and comfort than other forms of travel. With an RV, you can hit the road more often for longer periods, for less money.

The reasons you go RVing are the same reasons you take any vacation. To get a break from the daily routine. To be with family and friends. To rest. To relax. To see new places. To try new things.

But the difference between RVing and other types of vacations is that RVing allows you to truly achieve all those goals – and more.

With RVing, there are no flights to catch. No security hassles. No long lines or lost luggage. No hauling heavy bags in or out of costly hotel rooms. No expensive, unhealthy food. No strange bedrooms, bathrooms or kitchens.” (This part is most interesting to Liza, since she tends to be a bit of a germaphobe.)

According to a study released by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, the U.S. ownership of recreation vehicles (RVs) has reached record levels in the past couple of years. One in every 12 vehicle owning households in the U.S. owns an RV (amazing!), representing approximately 8 million RV households, a growth of a stunning 58% since 1980.

RV demographics include:
1. Typically RVers travel 4500 miles annually on excursions that total 28 to 35 days annually.
2. Americans in the age group of 35-to-54 year are keener on owning an RV of their own.
3. The typical RV owner is age 49, married, owns a home and has an annual household income of $68,000.”

So we are wondering if we will fit in with these adventure loving pavement travelers? Or if that matters.  We wonder if our summer should involve the purchase of an RV? Or with that number of RVs on the roads, maybe a used one? Wondering too about cost of fuel, security… how will I blog?

HOW WILL I BLOG!  Hmm. How do I get hi speed access in a mobile RV? I feel a new technology learning curve approaching.  This BBB (boomer baby blogger) might have to gear up  for starting over with an RV and a road trip.  Maybe.

Or maybe I’m just RV dreaming!

Best wishes.

(Photo thanks to Accent Alaska and The Voice of Eye.)


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?


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!


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.


One Human Family

February 23, 2007

During my Starting Over process I was cleaning out a box from B.D.D. when I ran across a bumper sticker that read:  “Everyone in the world can share the Official Philosophy of Key West, Florida: All People are created equal members of ONE HUMAN FAMILY”.

It occurs to me now that I am not just missing my Dad but am also missing the life I had in Key West for 17 years. By letting go of my professional life, relocating our homes, and suffering a tragic loss – all in a very short time, I fear I have created for myself the perfect storm… but that is not the subject today.

Key West is a tiny island at the end of a chain of islands (Keys) that pushes itself out into the Atlantic Ocean like a plantling stretching for the sun. Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is the USA’s only tropical, frost free oasis to which one can drive.

That is exactly what we did in April, 1989.  Our 23′ long U-haul, plus towed Mustang, arrived in Key West carrying us, possessions to meet immediate needs and enough musical equipment to stock the little music store that we intended to open.

We are proud of our work there knowing that we filled a need that afforded us a modest income and passage into a truly amazing community of characters. The people in Key West are as diverse as those colored sprinkles that top your ice cream cone from the local DQ.

But no one there seems to notice.  It is a very live-and-let-live kind of place.  The movie star lives next to the retired or escaping corporate dude, who lives next to the bartender from Sloppy Joe’s, who lives next door to Cuban bakery.  The cheese toast and buche are enjoyed by everyone on the island including the conch on his way to a City job who lives next door to a household of hotel workers from Mexico.

My friend P. is a fifth generation conch who lives in a turn-of-the-century gingerbread eyebrow house and is a perfect example of the excepting nature of the island.  P’s family included a great, great grandfather from China who married an island girl.  Her family has co-existed with the Cuban folks who came in the 60’s (and still come today), with influxes of Irish immigrants, not to mention the eastern block invasion that happened after the cold war passed.  Even before P’s time, her family was exposed to travelers from all over the world including the US military that has occupied the island and still does today.  P. contends it is the island’s diversity that makes it the special place that it is and I agree.

Not too much “keeping up with the Jones” in Key West. Everyone wears shorts and sandals.  Some don’t have to work, and some have 3 jobs.  Some fill their days with artistic escape, volunteering, partying, some work 15 hours a day just so they can live the remaining hours in this magical space.  At the end of the day, all join together at the edges of the island to praise the Universe for producing yet another dependably stunning sunset over the crystal tipped waves of the Gulf of Mexico. 

I miss Key West, but I miss her people more.  I am a better person for having lived in Key West because I embraced and took with me the concept of One Human Family.  I wish I could put this understanding in a pill that the whole world would take.