Thursday, April 28, 2005

PUFF! Be Gone!

When they figure this out, I'm going to take whatever it is to the movie theatre with me for those times when it just might come in handy.

Bye Bye Birdie

There were peeps this morning and parental chirps this afternoon but by 2pm, the babies were gone. I am going to assume all is well and the family is on an outting collecting bugs and exercising growing wings. I removed the nest knowing it was no longer home for the twins. An empty package was left behind, however.

My Dream Job

Someone recently asked me what my dream job is. Perhaps I should have said Vision Guidance Leader. If so, maybe I could work here. (What a great site! Felt like I was watching Saturday Night Live.)

Cinema d'Idiots

I recently caught an early afternoon matinee of "The Upside of Anger" starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen. At the time of viewing, there were seven people in the theatre, myself included. So, you can imagine the wide-open seating, my sense of being the only one in the theatre, it being my very own personal screening room, oh the joy and excitement of such a setting! It should have felt like that, but it didn't.

When I took my seat dead-center in the theatre, there were two women in the center back row, being very chatty with one another and an elderly couple whispering in the front row, aisle seats. That left approximately 115 other seats still open.

A few minutes before the previews, two women walked in and took seats in the row in front of me to my right. They were close, but not so close I felt compelled to put my feet on the floor. *yes, I'm one of them* Next, a woman walked in and also chose the row in front of me, directly to my left. The theatre lights were still up, could they not see the 115 remaining seats still available? Do they have no respect for personal boundaries? No, they weren't sitting directly next to me or in front or rear of me, but they were still stifling close considering the vacancy of the theatre.

I, with my standard contraband lunch from Chick-fil-a, decided to just suck it up instead of moving back a couple rows. They'd have to endure the aroma of my lunch as their penance for sitting so close to me.

Throughout the entire film, the women to my lower right talked. One even took a cell call. I was *this* close to flinging a leftover, ketchup-laden waffle fry right on her excessively hairsprayed head, but once again, I sucked it up. I resisted the urge. Where'd I gain such control?, I wondered.

At the end of the movie, the chatty-Cathies from the back row walked down the steps while giving their reviews of the movie. "Cute," one said. I am sorry... did we just see the same film??, I said to myself. What exactly was cute about about a drunk, controlling mother; a missing father; a washed up baseball player; a borderline pedophile and an anorexic?

Cute, yeah, I guess that summed it up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Nature's Nursery

By what I can tell, Ma & Pa Cardinal had twins and they actually look like birds. I can't believe the transformation in just two days. What growth, what development! Their eyes are open, they're squawlin' for vittles. Before we know it, they'll be flexing their leg muscles very soon as they eye the branches in the bush and ready themselves for exploration.

Ma & Pa are really working for a living as they protect their humble little nest from the Blue Jays. On Monday I watched a feathered dogfight between the trees in the front yard once the Jays learned of the couple's new bundles of joy. Ma & Pa worked as a team fending off their babies' predators, flying from tree to tree, taking jabs at the Jays to eventually send them flying off to another yard nearby.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Nature's Maternity Ward

While begrudgingly tending to yard work today I discovered a wonderful piece of beauty. The nest of Ma & Pa Cardinal and their precious babies. They're not so beautiful now -- but they will be. I stood there in amazement while I watched three separate baby birds sleep. Each one breathing at their own tempo, unaware of the world around them or the nurturing care their parents were providing. Oh how I hope all survive to possibly build their own nests in my yard in Springs to come.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Room With a View

Ma and Pa cardinal were in their usual tree in front of the living room window this morning. They chirped for well over an hour, so much to say, this couple. Accompanied by two of my three cats, I stood in the door watching them for a good long while. In all of their flittering about I discovered the shrub where they're nesting this Spring. I couldn't help but wonder, is this the same couple that is here year round? Do they migrate throughout the neighborhood or has this been their home? Is it a young couple or an older couple that has been around for a while? It's interesting to watch them, how they look out for each other. The vibrantly-colored male feeds the female from time to time. I love that! It reminds me of how much I like to be fed. Having an apple sliced for me is one of my most simple pleasures... it's almost primal.

The feeder is new and it only took Mr. Cardinal five minutes to take to it. He's quite the multitasker. While retrieving seeds, he chirped, kept a mindful eye on the cats, me and his less colorful mate. They don't seem to mind the activity that takes place just a couple feet away from the branches and the feeder. I will tempt that trust in upcoming days and try to get a photo while sitting on the steps. The above photo was taken through glass in the door and isn't the clearest but it shows what my view was this morning.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Not-So Green Thumb

There's a patch of spider plants in my front yard that started out as one spider more than 20 years ago. Hard freezes and drought have failed to prohibit the growth of these plants. I'd like to credit my green thumb for their growth but it's simply my neglect that promoted the growth. It took a lot more than neglect to encourage this growth.

Images of Florida

Laughing gull, not laughing.

It's not unusual to hear me say "I don't want to live in Florida." I've lived here for 15 years and believe that's been long enough. I consider Florida a nice place to visit but I don't want to live here. Although my heart yearns to relocate to someplace, anyplace with elevation, I decided to review some older photos that remind me why Florida is a nice place to visit.

Fountain at a private residence.

Cormorant, stretching.

I do appreciate the unique, natural beauty of Florida. There are still oysters in the rough, "Old Florida" as some call it. Small, rural towns both inland and along the coastline. One particular section along the Gulf of Mexico is referred to as Florida's Forgotten Coast. It's a wonderfully quiet, peaceful and friendly place to visit. Some say it's what Key West was before Key West became Key West. The locals will welcome you but prefer that you not stay too long. They actually like things the way they are and after spending a couple of weekends there, I understood what they meant. This isn't the Florida where I live but it's the Florida I'll always hold dear, even though there's no elevation.

Tin roof, rusted - and pelicans.
Gulf coast dunes.
Gulf coast sunset.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sense of Accomplishment

Sometimes it is the simple things (or WAS this so simple??) that make one feel like they've accomplished something in a day. Tonight I managed to strip an orange of its peel all in one piece.
Sadly, the orange didn't taste so great. Dana has a theory as to why we eat junk food and my less-than-juicy-and-delicious orange defends that theory. She believes we consume junk food, i.e. chips, candy bars, ice cream, fast-food, because there's a consistent, guaranteed flavor to be tasted. That food item we enjoy is something we've grown accustomed to, we trust that item to be as good as it was the last time we ate it. "Fresh" fruits fail us. I should have had the Orville Redenbacher's Kettle Korn I was craving.

Horoscope, Schmoroscope

I'm not one who believes in daily horoscopes, however, I am one who believes in the attributes of astrological signs. Mine is Gemini and I'm every bit of a Gemini there is: the good, the bad AND the ugly.
When I was younger, I'd read the "qualities" of my sign and felt absolutely berated, defiled, humiliated and ashamed. Geminis possessed, what I considered, many negative characteristics: indecisive, stubborn (a word used too often to describe me to this day), superficial, gossipy, flighty, two-faced, inconsistent, and cunning. I didn't like being any of those, yet at times throughout my life, I've seen myself clearly be any and all of those things. It took a long time for me to look at the positives of who I am, as a person and as the Gemini I am. My more galant attributes include: adaptable, versatile, lively, witty, good with new ideas and multi-tasking, intellectual (although I'll argue that point!), a quick learner and communcative.

Some people would argue that we all have our good side/bad side but that's not what this is about. This is about truly being divided as a person or being two people at once. It has scared me at times in my adult life and I've silently questioned whether I am bi-polar. People close to me have commented that they're not sure which girl they're going to experience at any given moment. I am not saying that I flip-flop at a rapid pace, but I do have my "moods" that can be quite opposite at times and I suppose that's me just being human. At least I hope so.

I DO love the stellar qualities of my star sign and am trying to make those attributes the ones that people experience more often than not. I want them to work in my favor for my own benefit and for the benefit of those I love, care for, respect, appreciate and work with.

So anyway, back to my schmoroscope for today:
"The Sun is in Aries and the Moon is going into Virgo. There'll be
new assignments to complete over the next few weeks. You'll get
to spend more time at home. Better start making lists."

The timing of this did strike a chord today as I took a step towards working from home. That has been a "want-to-do" since I bailed from the corporate world in *gasp* 2001. Since leaving the workplace, I've been draggin' ass to make anything happen -- and I mean anything. If it didn't involve motorcycling or traveling, I had little to no interest. I've been afraid, nearly paralyzed with fear and anxiety and motorcycling was the only thing in my life that I found freeing. It became my therapy as well as numbing agent. Over the last few years, internal demons bred at an alarming rate and the struggle to move forward became more and more difficult. I am at the point now where it's time to slay those demons so I can continue along a path I've wanted to explore since I was a child. I am going to utilize my skills and love for the written word, which is also a Gemini trait. ;) I AM going to be a freelance writer/editor. For four years my business card has said that's who I am. I am going to become that person. It just took time to realize that I CAN be her.

Monday, April 18, 2005

She Left On A Jet Plane

Somewhere over the midwest.
Hello from home. On my flight back east, I had a connecting flight in Minneapolis. I have a love of Minnesota, mostly because my mom called it home years ago. It is there that I have friends and family and memories that warm my heart in the coldest of winters. My layover was about an hour so I took the opportunity to call a Minnesotan friend. It felt so strange to be there and not be visiting with someone I knew. Talking on the phone filled a little of that gap and afterwards, the gap was closed. I was sitting in the terminal waiting for the loading to begin when someone walked up to me and said, "Those are nice glasses." I looked up and couldn't believe my spectacled eyes... it was Jeanne, a Minnesotan transplant who works at my optometrist's office. So there, I wasn't so alone in Minnesota after all. What a small, small world it can be sometimes.

Let me backtrack a couple more days, to that day in Balboa Park, last Thursday to be exact. I'd been severely craving an afternoon in the sun, in the grass, in a wide open space. After hitting an In-N-Out drive-thru, Michael and I took our lunch-to-go to the park. Complete with a cooler of beer, a camp chair, a blanket, writing materials and a few hours to spare, we laid claim to a spectacular sunny spot on the lawn. I laid the blanket out just beyond the magnolia's shade and it became my outdoor office. Michael had a seat on the other side of the cooler and it became his writing niche. We were both there with pens in hands, soaking up suds and sun.

My cowgirl hat and the questionable restroom in the background.
My intent was to write correspondence, a task I enjoy nearly every day. My thoughts were drifting like the clouds over head, I couldn't maintain a flow of thought but I didn't mind too much. I scribbled one missive and put my postcards, writing papers, note cards and Sharpies away to devote time to the writing taking place in my head. I don't often allow myself to complete the sentences, thoughts, memories, and observations that find their way inside my mind. Sometimes my internal editor (a.k.a. The Bitch) nixxes the thought process and other times I just fail to maintain focus. More times than not, something or someone snatches my attention and the thought bubble over my head is burst.
On this day, I had questions. As I laid on my back, squinting at the sky, I had questions about the trees in my view. There were two trees that were nearly touching branch to branch. They were so different from each other yet I found both interesting to look at and consider. One was so lush, so green, so plump and full of fresh leaves. This tree's boughs offered secretive shelter inside and a carpet of shade beneath. In stark contrast, the tree beside it seemed like a skeleton with its bare branches, skinny, twiggy, nearly naked and so exposed. The shadows underneath it were vein-like, leaving squiggly lines on the grass. There was no lush canopy overhead. Looking up was like looking at an umbrella that was sheered in a strong wind storm. What did that tree have to offer in comparison to the tree standing boldly beside it? Did birds frequent one more than the other? Did children choose to climb one more often than the other? Did people look at one and say they'd like to have a tree just like it in their yard at home? Did one feel less significant, less pretty, less loved, less desireable, less worthy than the other? Which tree could I relate to the most? Which tree do most people relate to the most? Has anyone else noticed those trees besides me?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Stumblin' Drunk

Can you walk a straight line?

Age Discrimination

It seems that age discrimination is everywhere, including city parks. Last week, while at Balboa Park in San Diego, my friend Michael went to the public restroom that was located near our sunny lounging area. He came back shaking his head and seemed a little upset. It wasn't until after he told me about his potty break that I understood he was a victim of age discrimination.

He said the walls in the restroom seemed to have been painted recently but there was one note of graffiti on the wall that read something like: Blow Job 18-40 Last Stall. Sure enough, as he was leaving he saw a dude sitting there with his hand in his pants. (Editorial note: I don't mean to make it sound like he was scouting this guy out, he had to pass the stall to leave... and besides, he didn't meet the age restriction.)

We were both on a stake-out for a couple hours after his trip to the john. It was like gawking at a train wreck, we just couldn't stop staring! We kept an eagle eye on the restroom, watching the guys who went in, the guys who walked out (some adjusting their zippers and looking around). I thought I saw the perv leave the scene in a closely parked beater car, no pun intended. Then anger set in for me. That is a public restroom. What if a group of youngsters had walked in there?? Do your business, I don't care, just don't subject others to your follies, you farkin' freak.

Apparently, sex in the city park isn't a new issue. According to this from 1997.

Get Out Your Gaydar

Dave at Blogography asked "How gay are YOU GirlOnAGlide?" I didn't know until I took the test. As it turned out, I'm gayer than him but still clearly categorized as a hetero babe. My gayness score was 46%. I wonder if my score will increase after watching the next season of The L Word.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Relax, Don't Do It

Where was Frankie when I needed him? I spent one and a half hours beneath the skilled hands of a massage therapist yesterday and was still too tense to receive a proper chiropractic adjustment, one that I've been needing for well over a week. As one who has occasional back troubles, getting a massage and adjustment has become status quo. I was looking most forward to yesterday's massage because I have been retaining my tension in my shoulders and neck and I have developed a reoccurring problem with my sacroilliac joint. I have been a regular o' pack rat of problems lately and hoped a helluva long time in massage would help me get the release I needed--but no. I laid on my tummy enduring deep-tissue pressure that I thought would bruise my organs and ended up crying for a short while. My masseuse and I talked throughout the whole session which was a huge mistake. Don't Do It! We talked about decisions I've got to make, feelings I've got to sort out, issues that I need to resolve and everything else that could basically place the weight of the world on my shoulders. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect a good body job to fix my ailments but I certainly didn't expect it to make it worse. *sigh* I have another appointment in two weeks... I'll ask for silence and music only. Actually, I do really enjoy talking with M. She's a great listener and she did offer some feedback that I found useful.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cal-e-forn-ya Here I Come

... here I am, actually.

I flew out yesterday so I'll try to post from here. It's so hard to do with so many wonderful distractions like the ocean, the mountains, the desert, the fabulous restaurants, the nice people, the interesting tourist spots, the wineries. Oh, I could go on and on! I'll stop, enjoy a deliciously juicy California navel and decide where I'll let the day lead me today.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A New Ride

It wasn't my intention to come home with a different bike, but I did. It was a day like any other day. I took Thor to Gainesville to get him serviced but came home on a 2005 FLHTC and it's black cherry pearl. The whole deal was completely out of my hands, I had little choice in the matter. I hope Thor isn't too sore at me.

The fact is, this is the first time I've ever had to leave him at the dealer for service. He is sick and had to stay in so I had no choice but to leave him there with his top end in organized pieces on the table. He was so exposed, so vulnerable. My poor Thor. I know he's in good hands and will be back under my butt soon.

Diagnosis: his cam chains, tensioners and included guts were "slap wore out." This came as quite a shock to me since I had the cam chains and tensioners replaced (under warranty... YES, buy an extended warranty if you have a bike you actually ride!!) at 75K and he rolled in today with 83K. Because this was a quick turn-around with so few miles since my last replacement, my service dudes did more exploratory. They were concerned a rod problem might be presenting itself, but that wasn't the case. They saw a bolt missing and referred to the motor as a grenade waiting to explode. It seems as though the lifters are a part of the problem so I'm getting new cams and associated pieces and parts.

I came home on the gorgeous new bike because they were going to schedule a claims adjuster to review the motor tomorrow. Considering the bike is in Gainesville and I am in Jacksonville, they just loaned me a bike. I've been singing the praises of this dealership for several years and this is why: they flat out take good care of me and my bike!

The honeymoon of having a new bike will be over tomorrow or the next day but it was fun getting to pretend I'm actually a new bike owner.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Hey, That's Not Funny

A favorite comedian of mine passed away last week. RIP Mitch Hedberg. Damn, he was funny.

Friday, April 01, 2005


I just can't help it. Stuff like this just makes me giziggle.

Motorcycling Coast-to-Coast

It was April of last year that I rode one of my most memorable rides, a coast-to-coast ride from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA. For me, the idea of riding from one ocean to the other is a romantic notion, one that reminds me of wanderlust and adventure. It wasn't much of a casual ride, however. As a long-distance motorcyclist, it was a certification ride for the Iron Butt Association and one that combined my love of sitting in the saddle for a long time and general touring and traveling. I rode the 50CC (coast-to-coast in less than 50 hours) and took two weeks to tour the southwest, so that explains the combination. The weather and scenery could not have been any better and the experience could not have been any better, either.

I did make a couple of tourists stops in Arizona while en route. One stop was at Gila Bend to take a picture of the city limit sign and the other was at the Saguaro National Park to collect a cancellation stamp for the Master Traveler Award I completed last month. The cacti were in full bloom at the time.
Desert bloom, Tuscon, AZ. April, 2004.

One task for the ride was to collect water and sand from both coasts. This was the collection from the Pacific shore. I have water and sand from both oceans displayed in a wooden memento made especially for that ride.
The Pacific Ocean, San Diego, CA. April 2004.

This is Thor, my motorcycle (2001 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard), an ocotillo in bloom and me in Joshua Tree National Park.
The California Desert. April, 2004.
What would a ride into Nevada be without a cruise along Route 66??
Historic Route 66. Near Amboy CA. April 2004.