Sunday, June 29, 2003

Planus Interuptus

It's been years since my dear has been to Ward to visit my dad and my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. The plan was to ride motorbikes for the 4th of July weekend since an uncle is having a cookout and all are invited to partake. Because we're running behind on IBR (Iron Butt Rally) preparations and my dear has to travel soon, the plan has been interupted. The new agenda is for me to drive over for the weekend and my dear will stay with Thor to make the mods for the fuel cell and electronics. If my visits with Papa were more often, I could skip the weekend to stay home, but that isn't the case. Seeing my dad is a priority in my life and since my dear is able to help with Thor, then it all works out for the best.

*photo removed due to space** This is Ward's Home Store... or what's left of it. My Mammaw's house was located to the left rear of this store, just the right running distance from the back porch. As a child, it was tradition to run from Mammaw and Pappaw's to the store to buy candy. I was surely out of breath by the time I made it to Bob Ward but he could tell what I wanted by the finger pointin' and gasping request for Super Bubble Bubble Gum and peanut brittle. I enjoyed sharing the peanut brittle with Pappaw while we rocked in chairs on the back porch. There wasn't much to do in Ward and there's even less to do today since the railroad tracks have been pulled up. Counting rail cars was a great way to pass the time those days.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Rain Removes Toe Polish

Our waitress at lunch today brought up some interesting conversation and for the life of me, I can't remember EVER discussing this issue. I was sitting at a picnic table comfortably smooshed between my dear and Jason. Across from me was Robert and Randy... a very fine group of folks to share lunch with at the Outback Crab Shack, formerly known as the Six Mile Marina, in St. Augustine. Jason was in the process of ordering his lunch when the topic of rain came up. It's a given that weather WILL be discussed when in Florida, it's a guarantee so place your bets accordingly. Our waitress, the very pleasant Kay, formerly of Nashville, was telling us about a recent shift she worked when the heavens opened up. She and a few other servers were handling a party of 300+ guests whom all flocked under the tents to continue their lunch and attempt to stay dry. The servers, however, were in and out of the rain. Kay told us it rained so much that when she got home that evening and removed her socks and shoes, her toenail polish had come off. That was some kinda rain, no doubt.

Speaking of Polish, I am. My mom grew up in Arcadia, WI but we always went to Winona, MN to visit my grandma and uncle. I rode to Winona last month as an endurance ride the IBA calls a BunBurner (1,500 miles in 36 hours or less.) My uncle Shorty lives in Winona and I absolutely love visiting there!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Clear and Present Danger

I copied this from IA's site Patent Pending. I haven't told him that I have, but I will. This is a great little tale that deserves sharing:

    I was in the South Bronx over the weekend helping my brother move. At one point, my father and I were standing on a corner of 191st street waiting for my brother when 3 large gentlemen stopped their BMW across the street and got out.

    Music was blaring. The windows were tinted. The rims were gleaming. They all had huge rasta braids and sunglasses despite the rain. They opened the trunk and took out 2 huge black garbage bags that looked pretty heavy and left them on the curb. As they started walking back to the car, My father started walking towards them.

    He said, "Excuse me gentlemen, but you seem to have forgotten your bags. I wouldn't want you to leave them behind."

    I thought to myself, "We are going to die."

    The three men looked at each other, said a few unintelligible words, WENT BACK, picked up the bags, put them back in the trunk, and drove off.

    I couldn't believe it. My dad said to me "Well, you're not supposed to just leave bags in random areas. Perhaps those fellows were new to this country and unfamiliar with our sanitation policies."

    My dad is so cool.

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Today in history:

    On June 26, 1870, the first section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk opened along the New Jersey beach. Dr. Jonathan Pitney and civil engineer Richard Osborne began developing the area on Absecon Island in 1850.

    President Kennedy gave his, "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner) speech on June 26, 1963 in West Berlin.

    The St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, was opened on June 26, 1959.

    U.S. troops pulled out of the Dominican Republic on June 26, 1924. American occupation of the island nation began in 1916, following years of political intervention in the republic. The Dominican Republic had achieved independence from Spain in 1844.

    The bicycle was patented by New York City resident W. K. Clarkson on June 26, 1819.

    The Pied Piper exacted his revenge upon the German town of Hamelin on June 26, 1284. The townspeople had promised to pay the piper a large fee if he could rid their town the nasty rats running all over the place. He had played his trusty pipe and the rats had followed him out of town and into the River Weser. But once the rodents were eliminated, the local folks decided not to pay after all. The piper was not pleased and repaid the townspeople by playing his pipe for the children of Hamelin, just like he had done for the rats. And just like the rats, the children followed him out of town. The Pied Piper of Hamelin led the kiddies into a hole in a hillside. They were never seen again.

    On June 26, 1981, Mrs. Campbell of Mountain Home, Idaho, took her clipped coupons and rebates and bought some groceries. A lot of them. Checkers totaled some $24,460 worth, in fact! How much did Campbell end up paying with all of those coupons and rebates? Only 67 cents! Reports indicated that she would have received a refund of $12.97, but she decided to get film and flashbulbs after the bill was totaled.

    The Arizona Republic reported it was 122 degrees in Phoenix, hot enough to cancel some flights at the airport on June 26, 1990.

Famous Birthdays

    1892 - Pearl S. Buck - Nobel Prize-winning author: The Good Earth [1938]
    1909 - Col. Tom Parker - carnival barker, show business promoter: manager of Elvis Presley
    1914 - Babe (Mildred) Didrikson Zaharias - 'The outstanding female athlete of the first half-century.' [AP 1950]; International Womens Sports Hall of Famer, Olympic Hall of Famer, World Golf Hall of Famer, LPGA Hall of Famer, National Track and Field Hall of Famer
    1956 - Chris Isaak - actor: Little Buddha, Silence of the Lambs, Married to the Mob, Twin Peaks; singer, songwriter: Wicked Game, Blue Hotel, LP: Silvertone
    1970 - Chris ODonnell - actor: The Three Musketeers, Dead Poets Society, Scent of a Woman, Fried Green Tomatoes, Circle of Friends, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, The Bachelor, Vertical Limit

My dear friend D-A-N-A !!!!!
Happy birthday to you!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Bad eBay, Bad!

There are times, I'll admit, that I'm carefree about my spending. Sometimes I throw caution into the wind and purchase without pondering. That hasn't been the case lately, however.

My dear and I are busily preparing myself and my bike, the beloved "Thor", for the Iron Butt Rally (IBR) that takes place in August. In following guidelines set forth by the Iron Butt Association (IBA), we've been adding goodies, gizmos and gadgets to the bike to aid in my comfort and navigation for the 11-day/11,000 mile ride around the U.S. and into Canada. There are rules and limitations to the modifications a rider can do to their bike, such as fuel capacity. We are adding an auxiliary fuel cell to Thor to allow me to ride further with fewer stops and to add peace of mind if I find myself nowhere.

One item we've decided to add to the bike for navigational aid is another GPS. I have one GPS that was given to me by the IBA at the 2002 "Pizza Party" in Daytona. I'll be very proud to ride with that GPS because of its sentimental value. I'd only been a member of the IBA for a couple months when I received that hand-me-down unit but my pride as its recipient would make you think its monetary value was in the 6-digits.

The 2nd GPS we opted to purchase is the Garmin StreetPilot III Deluxe. It has a bigger viewing screen, which was its #1 feature to me. The unit has many other valuable features that I won't go into, but in comparison, this is an upgraded unit and one that I will keep after the IBR. My plan is to return the IBA's gift back to the IBA so they can pass it along to another rider. I really like paying things forward and have appreciated the IBA's kind gesture.

Now here's the problem and where eBay comes into the story. We "purchased" the SPIII by winning an auction on eBay. J was very skeptical about bidding on such an expensive item but we decided to go for it. I assured him that I know several people who have had no complaints about their eBay experiences. HA! Once we won the auction, the seller, Nick Smalling, was quick to email an invoice requesting payment. No surprises there. We quickly responded with the shipping information he requested and forwarded payment. We mailed a money order because he had requested that as his first choice since he was experiencing difficulties with PayPal. That may have been our first mistake.

A day or two later, I swapped emails with NS about the GPS and my intentions for its use. He was very polite and helpful but then all communications came to a screaching halt. No further updates on the purchase, anticipated shipping, etc. I let a few days pass and still received no replies to the several emails I'd forwarded his way. I checked his feedback page to see that his once stellar selling reputation had turned to red negatives. We were not alone in our dissatisfaction and or in the fear that we'd been schnookered. NS did reply to some of his negative FBs including mine. He was nothing short of rude and unprofessional and in spite of his misfortune is still well deserved of his insults.

Many of the buyers have swapped emails communicating about their issues and several have apparently filed complaints through eBay and Square Trade... and possibly other agencies including law enforcement. Based on an email received over the weekend, NS was involved in an accident last Wednesday and was hospitalized. He, his family and friends are attempting to address the matters of business and asked for patience. Fine, I can be patient but the guy was a total ass prior to the 18th, the day of his accident and there's no excusing his rude behavior and comments to his "customers."

As my monitoring of the situation continued, I discovered yesterday that eBay had frozen his ability to trade. He was listed as a not listed user and was therefore banned from conducting further auctions. Oh great! We were totally screwed, I just knew it!

This morning the following communication was received:

Thank You for your Email. PLEASE only send one email to this address. I will respond within 48 hours. I apologize to all my customers who are having to deal with this. I just want to assure everyone that has paid money to me that you will get your product or your money back. Due to some very unfortunate events in my life as of late, some personal, it has caused serious neglect and hardships on some of you. The whole deal with Paypal that some of you have been informed of has permanently damaged my company. I have had to file suit against them to attempt to recover some damages. However this does not fix the issues of any of you the customer.

I have requested financial aid to assist me in refunding money, or replacing items owed to any of you. Many items that are in stock will be shipped as soon as possible. I am sorry for the delays but I am a little overwhelmed by all the misfortune I have experienced. But as they say when it rains it pours.

I do not want, or expect pity from any of you. Many have expressed words of comfort and they are appreciated, some of you know a few of the things that have occurred, many do not. Since many are personal in nature, they will not be disclosed. Never the less, they have affected my performance in business and in turn affected you the customer. I lacked the resources to compensate for the troubles. All I can do is give my apologies, Please understand I mean it for all I'm worth, I did not want it to get like this. Some of you will accept my apology others will not, either way I thank all of you for the opportunity to do
business with you, I wish it had been a good experience for all of you.

I WILL MAKE IT RIGHT! You may not trust me but all I can say is that I will supply what you paid for, or I will refund you your money. It seems a few people have filed complaints with various law enforcement, I ask please refrain at this time from doing so as all I need in my life now is legal issues, it will only slow down the process for all. Please only use it as a last resort, if you feel truly that I tried to do you wrong, and made no attempt to fix it.

Thanks Again for your understanding during this time. I hope sometime in the future I can make this up to all of you. I will Respond to your email in 48 hours.

The clock is ticking... 48 hours and then what??

Incidentally, a friend of mine is having an issue with a liar a.k.a. seller from eBay as well. I know there are bad apples out there but I just regret that I picked the one with the worm.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Three Strikes and...

... I was out. %$#@! What a crappy way to end an evening. I got a disturbing email from a friend, I dropped one of my cats, and then yelled and cussed at my dear. All I could do was take a shower and go to bed. The tears soaked my pillow and I was out by 10:20pm. Not a good night, no, not at all. Today is indeed a new day and all is well with all three issues but damn! I hate when I'm emotionally charged... when I am mean, when I cause harm. It doesn't help that I recently took a little quiz, yeah, I'm a junkie when it comes to those sometimes. It was very close to the truth... more than I like, actually. It talked about my narcissitic tendancies, yeah, it is ALL ABOUT ME. I know that I twist conversations and issues to my side and it is such a natural flow that it is sometimes hard to re-direct to the person or real issue at hand. I am aware of this behavior and am making it a priority to focus on that aspect of communication. It's really not my intent to be so self-centered.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Thanks... and Keep the Change

Since my dear was out of town for our anniversary, we decided to go out to dinner last night. We went to Carrabarra's which J had never been to. I'd been to two, one in Tampa and one in Jacksonville Beach. Our meal was very good and the company was even better. It's not an every day occurrence that we sit and enjoy a slow meal with conversation. We talk, oh boy, do we talk, but it was different last night. We ate slower and savored our food. We both chatted about friends, aspirations, dreams and realities without any rush and without any of the stressful issues weaseling their way into the dialog. We both complimented one another, which isn't rare, but it added to the atmosphere. A shy smile of thanks and appreciation is always a welcomed and tasteful touch of spice.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

I woke up around 4am thanks to a kitty with an upset tummy. Hearing a cat puke can turn my stomach but then cleaning up after them is even worse. It's hard to believe I actually enjoyed working at the Louisville Zoo the summer after graduating from high school considering the pounds of big cat (tigers, pumas, lynx) waste I had to shovel. It was really an enjoyable job and although I really wanted to work with the animals in the Aquatics and South American areas, it was Bill that made me want to be there. Bill was the zookeeper I worked with every day, from 7am until 4pm, Monday through Friday. I was a frequent visitor to the zoo prior to working there and I'd noticed Bill on a couple different occasions while he was working. He always had a pleasantry about him... in his gait, in the manner in which he spoke to the public, in the way he went about his tasks without ever looking like he wished he was somewhere else. His outward appearance stated that he was a keeper. In addition to his zookeeper khaki uniform of a button-down, short-sleeved shirt, expedition-style shorts and boots, his physical being said that he was a naturalist, an outdoorsman. He had that Grizzly Adams' look but in the thinner version. I was an impressionable 17-year-old and was lured to the zoo after seeing him on so many of my visits.

When I applied as a volunteer for the summer, I specifically asked to be in the area that I knew Bill worked. Despite the coordinator's speech on not getting to select where you work, I was given the area I wanted and was pleased. Not only did I hope to work with Bill, I hoped to work with the polar bears, sea lions , seals, and large cats. Ever since childhood, I've enjoyed being around animals. At one time, I had aspirations of pursuing a career in marine biology or some other overly scientific field that only interested me because animals were involved. Volunteering at the zoo fit the bill. I was able to learn about the animals and provide health care and nourishment without having to provide their Latin name or any other details that one learns from studying them academically.

I got close to a few of the animals, like Waylon and Willy. Those two wolf pups were blind and if I got the story right, it was due to the gelatin provided in their diets. Knowing that humans were to blame for their inability made the reality of zoolife plain as day. I spent time bottle-feeding those energetic and incredibly precious little creatures... many times with tears in my eyes because I knew that I wouldn't be feeding them for much longer. Due to their loss of sight, they would not be accepted into the pack. The saying "Only The Strong Survive" is a truth in the animal kingdom. They could never maintain in that environment, even if they are contained in a fenced yard. I was told that for Waylon and Willie euthanasia was inevitable. If I didn't have plans of going off to college, could I have taken them home and provided safe harbor? No... of course not. It was difficult to swallow since it wasn't Nature that caused their inability, and because of that, Nature wasn't allowed to run its course either.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

I Am South Africa

After almost endless suffering, you've finally freed yourself from the oppression that somehow held you back. Now your diamond in the rough is shining through, and the world can accept you for who you really are. You were trying to show who you were to the world, but they weren't interested in helping you become that until it was almost too late. Suddenly you're a very hopeful person, even if you still have some troubles.

Which country are you???

Take A Look At My Brain

Here's my Brain Usage Profile

Auditory : 57%
Visual : 42%
Left : 70%
Right : 29%

The results said:
you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.

What's yours look like?? Mind Media

That's Entertainment

I've enjoyed watching movies since I was a child and for many reasons. I think the most important reason at the time was as an escape. I didn't like where I was or what I was surrounded by, I always hoped to be somewhere else and the movies could transport me there by the flip of a switch. I could be surrounded by beautiful scenery and people who were interesting, loving and laughing. Today I still enjoy watching movies... for the pure entertainment they provide. Some movies are simply silly and mindless. Others can yank so hard on your heartstrings that you end up wallowing in pillows on the floor crying. Some can just make ya feel good while thinking about a message or two conveyed through the plot and its characters. I have a childlike wonder when it comes to movies... in fact, I can watch a movie twice without remembering it the first time, so it's a new movie to me. That comes in handy when I can't find anything "new" to rent from Netflix or Blockbuster. I still have my tried and true favorites: To Kill A Mockingbird, Pay It Forward, You've Got Mail (and the many other Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks flicks), Amelie, Bridget Jones' Diary, etc. I recently watched Dancer in the Dark, starring Bjork. Could they have actually enjoyed making that film?!?! OMG... that was painful! Well done but painful. Do they make heart-sized Band-Aids?

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Happy Anniversary Baby! I've Got You On My Mind....

Today is my/our 14th wedding anniversary! I LOVE YOU, MY YOU!... even though you're not home to tell you in person. Me, here, you, here.

Isn't She Lovely?

I have been given a gift... a wonderful surprise by someone I know only through the mail and her website Given.Eyes.To.See. THANK YOU Miss M... you're a beautiful person!

Monday, June 16, 2003


The text below was how this started. Miss M Turner started this site for me as an act of encouragement and to fuel a fire under my arse. I'd mailed her a little package through PostcardX! telling her that I was envious of her webpage and that I let my internal editor prevent me from attempting to learn how to maintain my own site. She gave me the shove I needed by starting this blog for me and I appreciate that and her SO much! All this kindness from a stranger... a mere someone I know from her website and the occasional piece of mail. Her kindness is evident and my thanks are enormous.

test. 1,2,3... here is where you'd talk all about you. talk talk talk.

*I am: a geek for mail. a bookcrosser. a nervousness person. a 1000 journals journaler. a geocacher. a mother to three cats.

*I consider: post offices my own personal mecca and cleaning bathrooms enjoyable.

*I enjoy: making my own mail thing (mail art, water color, rubberstamping) but also enjoy buying cards and stationary that catch my eye.

*I like: motorcycles, cats, travel, reading, writing, independent film, music, small towns, quiet places, handmade items, items from nature, positive memories, personal achievements, sights and scents that make a person smile.