March 2011


Cravens cafeteria at Sewanee Academy

As you know, I have been having a very public love affair with facebook for the past 2 ½ years.  Through my virtual lover, I have reconnected with many, many old aquaintances.  Social Media has become an entirely new way to socialize, and I find myself running to my computer upon entering my house after any absences of more than, say, 30 minutes. And, facebook  never lets me down. There is always a new post from someone, leading to comments from others that I know or have become familiar with through this whole crazy web of “friends” and “friends of friends”.

Having had a fist full of face to face reunions with old buddies, and reminiscing about “the good old days”, I started a page for facebook users that at one time or another attended my old high school alma mater, Sewanee Academy.  Being a boarding school, we lost touch, in most cases, right after graduation.

 

The Cross

After hooking up online w/ one old bud, we started online chatting about getting us all together in the spring. Since he’s a teacher, we decided it would be during his spring break, which just happens to be 1), April  Fools Day,  and 2) My birthday. Coincidence? Who knows. More like kismet, methinks.

I regard the rapidly approaching date with a head full of mixed emotions. About 20 of us will be coming together to rekindle old ties and make some new ones.  I suspect there will be some healing taking place, as well.

From the hundreds of posts that have taken off on the FB page, someone posted the question “What’s your worst memory from Sewanee?”

The gate to the bullring opened up. Most of the posts were humorous: “pissing on theean’s head from the second floor window”,  some sad: “leaving”, “breaking up with my BF”, but a few held on to some past resentments. “Getting busted by xxx” and “getting turned in by xxx and being thrown out of school”.

So one girl from my dorm, Phyllis, described being bullied by “mean girls.” I paused for thought. Had I been one of those girls? I don’t think so, but back in those days, we were all so wrapped up in our own personal drama that maybe we had been cruel to others. I remembered feeling judged by some and the ensuing insecurities that plagued me as I carried on living among this diverse group of strangers.

We were here for a variety of reasons, some from broken homes with broken parents, some were “broken” themselves, others had found too much trouble back at home (or maybe were just too much trouble…) and still others came here for the sake of a better education. (Imagine that!)

Regardless of why we were there, the fact remains that we were, so we had to make it work as best we could.  It still amazes me that a mixture of so many personalities could live 24/7 in such tight confinement with so few conflicts. Sure, there were bound to be those that one didn’t like for whatever reason, that is a fact of life, but…

I sent Phyllis a private email. Had I been one of the mean girls? Because if I had, I don’t remember.  But if I was, I am truly sorry.

She promptly “faced” me back. Not me, not at all. I was relieved, but realized that somewhere in even questioning myself,  I probably had some amends to make.  Somewhere. To somebody.

Then, as I see so many posts from so many former classmates facing the same self-doubts or even regrets from our shared history, I realize that we have all grown up, now, and moved on from what damage may have been done those 30-some-odd years ago. I think the only “amends” needed to be made are to ourselves.

So to all my classmates and teachers that I will have the pleasure of re-visiting this weekend, ( and the ones who can’t make it, as well,) let’s pull the bandages off any old sores and allow the fresh mountain air to collectively heal our wounds.  Each of you had an impact on me in one way or another, and for that, I love you.

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I am feeling a tad overwhelmed!  As of last Monday, HK and I are making some MAJOR changes in our life!

Lately, HK has been increasingly frustrated with his life path, searching for more meaning and deciding what to do later on down the road. So we decided to watch the budget and begin making plans for an eventual career-break, somewhere between 2-5 years. Using the power of positive thinking, I had no doubt that this would, indeed, happen.

For the past several years, I have been keeping a dreamboard reflecting the things that I want out of life, long and short-term.  Most of it involves travel, relocation, growth and, of course, meeting Ellen DeGeneres (my idol). HK’s dreamboard is still in his head, but I am encouraging him to make it tangible.

SCREEEEEEEECHHH (that’s the sound of a stereo needle dragging across the record album).  After a week of deliberation and heart-to-hearts, what-if’s and why-not’s, HK formally resigned from his job at a Fortune 500 company where he has worked for many years.  This certainly wasn’t the immediate plan, but, well, life doesn’t always pan out the exact way we figure, does it?  So we’re fast-tracking our plans and furiously figuring out our next steps.  We have no schedule, no itinerary, no concrete obligations, and nothing really holding us back, so it just makes sense to move forward now.

Our goal in this journey of discovery is to figure out to how we want to live the rest of our life. We both agree that Atlanta is not our forever home. We want to live near a coast, but no further south than we already are. Mountains are important, as well. We’re not flat-landers. Actually, we’re not convinced that we need to stay in the US, although, with a family that includes 3 dogs, we will be limiting our upcoming adventures to places that are drivable. (This isn’t too far-fetched, as we drove our 2 dogs with us to live in Vancouver for a summer 2 years ago.)  Besides, they need to have a say in where “home” is gonna be!

When Zachary Scott  said “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do,”  he was speaking to me. As I’ve said before, hitting the 50 year mark was a turning point in my life.   I decided to let go of things that held me back and look forward to forging new paths in life.  Surely I’ll hesitate when I come to a difficult crossing,  but instead of turning back to the safety of the old and familiar, I’m going to hike up my britches give it my all.

What are your thoughts on living life to its fullest?  What’s holding you back from following your dreams? How can you make small steps to overcome those barriers and blaze your own trail? Please share. We all have a lot to learn form one another.

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hihihihihihihi! oooohhhhh! mommy just found the cutest bumper stickers! they’re from lacroixtees.com and proceeds go to their facebook (mommy loves loves loves facebook…) rescue page!  we’re gonna look sooo cute riding around in the car with a bumper sticker that promotes my dawgs!

so what are you waiting for??? order one!  or four!  Arf!

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In honor of No More Excuses Month, I have to say I’ve done myself pretty proud!

Yesterday, in looking over my writing projects, I reviewed some notes I took at the recent SCBWI conference. (Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators).  In the notes were a few random ideas for children’s stories that had popped in to my head at various times, like driving in the car, laying in bed with the pups for “snuggle time” in the morning, and while enjoying a nice long soak in the tub. I realized during the conference that I was investing too much time and energy in this one story that is going to make me a break-out phenomenon.

For one thing, while a story is sitting in an editor or agents slush pile, it is common courtesy not to send it elsewhere. That is called a simultaneous submission, and by most accounts, it is a no-no. So I figured it’s time to get off my ass and start writing another one of my great story lines. Well, I sat down at about 10:00am, and other than a 1 1/2 hour appointment with my physical therapist (shoulder rehab), I had completed my rough draft by 5:00 pm.   And this one is pretty damn good, if I may say so myself.  I’ve read it aloud several times (using my “voices”)  to the dogs, and Chance and Kismet think it’s pretty great.  Chance especially likes it because he is the main character, and Kismet likes it because, well, he just likes me to talk silly to him.  Roxie… not so much. If there is not food or a Frisbee involved, she pretty much hangs out under the bed.

Anyway, sometimes we just need a prod to move us along that path that lies directly in front of us. We often find ourselves just standing there, staring, knowing that that is the ultimate direction that we will need to take to get from point A to point B, but there is often that little something that diverts us. Some little detour in the road. A nice blade of grass? A new facebook message?  The decision to have a cup of tea followed by a glance at your email only to see that one of your favorite bloggers has posted a new entry and you have to comment on it which leads you to reading 7 other comments from bloggers you don’t know and adding them to your RSS feed and then seeing that you have 3 more emails…..

God, it’s no wonder I can’t find the time to write.

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oooohhhh! this weekend was bee-u-ti-ful! sunny and warm, just the kinda day me and roxie and kizzy like to go for long walkies with mommy and diddy. and walk we did! we went to piedmont park and did a big loop, and then we went to quattro cafe and sat outside and had brunch. i love quattro, because they have a doggy watering station and a big jar of doggy treats at the gate. and we can sit inside the gate under the table while mommy and diddy eat. in fact, there were bunches of other doggies there, and we had fun sniffing and sometimes barking.

which brings me to the question… should dogs be allowed inside restaurants?

when mommy and diddy have traveled to europe, they said that people often bring their dogs inside to eat with them. not only that, but those european dogs are very well behaved. that’s right, none of the scurrying around looking for morsels, pulling on their leash to smell every new patron or getting all tangled up in chair (and people) legs. they just lay there, real quiet like.  it’s like they know how they are supposed to behave.
now, personally, in just sitting outside the restaurant (and acting like a little gentleman), i noticed a lot of children running around and yelling and one broke his mommy’s water glass. but they (children) are allowed inside. so why aren’t we??

what are your thoughts on this? do you think we canines (if well mannered) should be given the opportunity to keep our humans company while they dine? please weigh in.  i have a big, juicy bone at steak on this one.

Happy March! There is something about this month that signals Spring to me. Here in Atlanta, March seems to burst forth with blooms (and pollen) and Lenten Roses,  redbuds, daffodils, (pollen) and cherry blossoms. Oh, and did I mention pollen? It is also my Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy!

With the rebirth of so much life, so much color and so much warmth, March seems like the perfect time to start something fresh. Over at one of the blogs I follow, Three Cats on a Sofa, Susan has declared that march be “no more excuses month” for anyone who wishes to participate. Ohhhhhhh!  I just  love a challenge, and the timing is perfect, because at my writers conference this past weekend, I told myself, “self, you need to get off your ass and work on your children’s stories!” I write everyday. I do. Between 2 blogs (this one and a second chance), my Examiner site and my Bellaonline site, plus facebook (of which I am an addict) and emails, i write all day long.  And yet, somehow, I find myself, at the end of the day, having not written a thing toward my biggest goal, my children’s books. So, here goes nothing! NO MORE EXCUSES!!!!!

Are you interested in taking part with us and challenging yourself to make “no more excuses” in March? If so, what are you going to work on?  Please share in a comment and let’s see how many people we can get to join this great challenge.