Back from paradise

I’ve been staying at a friend’s guest house in Oak Island, NC. A friend and I drove down and stayed at the house that fronts Davis Canal and is within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway. It has neat beach decor and big picture windows.

While there, I journaled up a storm. I wrote and wrote. The environment and atmosphere stimulated my imagination (I named many of the sculptures including a wooden bear and a metal dolphin). They are Oscar and Ozzie, respectively. I also contemplated the world a little.

Paul and Lynn took their boat out and I sat there, with my hair whipping in the wind. I could see almost forever. The birds were unbelievable – herons, egrets, an eagle, gulls of all sorts, ibis, hummers, cardinals, blue jays and many more I didn’t know.

In addition, we filled up on seafood – crab, fish, shrimp, scallops. Yummy!

Now it’s back to work. My house is a mess as the painting is not yet completed. Hope it’s done by the time I return from Brevard early next week.

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Just about ready

I’m getting there – slowly but surely. My house will be ready for the painting crew by Monday. I’ve almost cleared all the stuff off the tops of furniture and moved things on the floor (other than furniture). Still have the kitchen, but that shouldn’t be hard (all they’re doing is painting the ceiling there).

I’ve taken down my pictures. Now I need to take down my grandmother’s handpainted paints in the kitchen and my teapots on top of my built-in book shelves. My bedroom and master bath (which won’t be painted) look like a storage facility right now. Only the bed and a path to the bathroom is clear.

The painting should be completed by the time I return from the beach (Oak Island, NC). Then it will be time to clear my bedroom for the flooring. But since three types of flooring will be installed, I’ll be able to time it so I can move the stuff out and back to where it belongs (at least some of it). The first thing I’ll do is rehang the pictures.

I never knew something as simple as painting and reflooring could be this difficult and complicated.

Turned in first work

I turned in the four stories I rewrote for a non-profit organization that I am freelancing with. It turns out that asking the questions myself is easier than writing – or rewriting -from someone else’s interview. But the stories are revised and, I think, sharper than they were.

The next agenda item is an interview with the executive director for a press release about a grant the organization received. And then I can go on to interviewing and writing short stories about successes for the online web site.

Renewal time is here

Rain is falling gently on my head.

Actually, it is falling but not on my head. At least, not yet. I am considering a rainy walk in the next few minutes. The rain makes me feel so renewed and clean – just as it makes the whole world look more clean and renewed.

I’ve been out once already –  to the bank – but that was in the car. Somehow, it’s just not the same, being encased in steel and glass and watching wipers clear away the raindrops.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m finishing the clearing of my house so painters can come in next week, to renew and freshen it. Then new flooring. It will seem like a new house, even with the same furniture. And I may be getting rid of some of it. But not my couch, the recliner that doesn’t recline (my mother sat in it when I was a baby) and the overstuffed chair that I curled up in to read when I was a kid.  But no telling what I will find I can do without.

Bad night

Today is a tough day – I feel all washed out.

Last night, I had a bout of food poisoning or something of the sort. I was in the bathroom for hours. I seem to be fine today but rather slack and don’t feel like doing anything.

I’m still with my mother taking care of her so I’m cooking (don’t feel like eating), but that’s about it. I’m looking for a better day tomorrow.

Found a project

Good news!

I have secured a freelance gig, writing sucess stories and press releases for CommunityWorks Carolina, a non-profit that helps people afford down payments for affordable housing and is in the micro-lending business. The director is willing to pay my rate, but she doesn’t want me racking up hours.

The job should be fun and shouldn’t take long to do each thing. I’m beginning by editing and rewriting four stories they have already written. That is tougher than writing it from the beginning.

I also may do photography for the online writing.

A day to remember

9/11 – Americans who are old enough to remember Sept. 11, 2001, will hold the date in their memory, just like those alive on Dec. 7, 1941. Both days are remembered for attacks on the United States by a foreign power.

But they are very difficult. The Japanese attacked our military in Pearl Harbor, pulling the United States into World War II. A total of 2,335 U.S. service members were killed in the attack, with 1,143 wounded. Also, 68 civilians were killed and 35 wounded.

9/11, on the other hand, was an attack against civilians by a foreign terrorist organization. Nearly 3,000 civilians were killed that day with the plane attacks on the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the four planes used in the attack. One crashed in Pennsylvania. Many firefighters also died trying to rescue others.

I remember being in a therapy session, recovering from car wreck. When the first plane hit, I thought it was a terrible accident. As soon as the second plane struck, I knew something terrible was happening. I went home and called the newspaper (where I worked) to see what I could do.

Both attacks were sneak attacks, a surprise to the United States. Both, however, were anticfipated at some time and place but the country was not ready to meet either attack.

I wasn’t alive during the Pearl Harbor attack, but following the 9/11 attack, the United States truly was united. We were one people, all the same. We hugged friends and strangers. We prayed with others. We donated or helped in other ways. We were proud to be American. And the world stood with us.

I expect the reaction after Pearl Harbor was much the same although it was a military attack.

We learned to be scared following Al-Quada’s attack in 2001, but we haven’t learned to stay united. We were not asked to sacrifice to help the U.S. overcome the blow. We depended entirely on the military (this was unlike after Pearl Harbor when everyone sacrificed and most had family members in the fight).

Americans have become fragmented. Many of us became greedy. We let the middle class and the poor bear much of the burden. When the recession hit in 2008, it hurt homeowners in the middle class and the poor the most. As we slowly, painfully, recover, we’re placing most of the burden on the backs of those with the least.

That’s not the America I want to be proud of. I want to be a part of the America that pulls together, generally in one direction. Where we don’t demonize those who disagree with us. Things need to change – fast.

Labor Day with little work in sight

My first Labor Day celebration since I graduated from college when I didn’t have a job waiting for me after the holiday.

But I do have a possibility of some permanent freelance work that I’m interviewing for on Sept. 11. So maybe I’ll be doing a little bit of work after the holiday, even without my full-time job.

And, just to let you know, I’m happy about taking the buyout. It gives me time to be with my mother when I need to be. It gives me time to clean out my house, get it painted and the flooring changed. It gives me time to write what and when I want to. It gives me time to go out and shoot (cameras not guns), It also gives me time – plenty of time – to rest. I have times for friends. So it’s been a wonderful 4 1/2 months.