Monday, January 30, 2012

The Review

Written for GBE2 week #37 prompt - Review



     "I just don't understand," she mumbled to herself as she drove across town yet another late night.  "I should be a star reporter by now but instead here I am hopping from nightclub to concert hall night after night, alone.  When will I get a break?"

     Kari had graduated college with honors and worked her way up through small town newspapers until finally she landed a job at the most prestigious newspaper in town.   Unfortunately, the only job opening was for a music review column; not exactly her dream job.  Thinking this would get her foot in the door she eagerly accepted, knowing that it would only be temporary until the editor saw her talent and promoted her to news reporter.   After all, she was a serious journalist.  Famous last words.  Here it was a year later and she was still writing music reviews for wannabes and has-been musicians.

     Arriving at the address she had scribbled on a post-it note she found a parking spot and entered the smoky nightclub.   Sliding into a booth in the back of the room she pulled out her notepad and laid it on the table with her pencil.  It was already past 11:00 and the opening act was still going.  She had to admit she was a little anxious to hear tonight's subject.  He was a guitar player...supposed to be the next Jimi Hendrix or so she had been told.  Finally, he was introduced by the club owner as Kari stifled a yawn.   He began with his own rendition of Jimi's Purple Haze.

     Suddenly the room was empty...or was it.  She could smell his Jade East Cologne before he came into sight.  She hadn't thought of him in years.  It was as if it were 1969 all over again.  He came closer and closer; her heart pounding wildly.  Their eyes met as he laid his hand on hers and...

      Kari jumped, startled, as the realization of what had just happened set in.  The waitress was gently shaking her arm with a worried expression on her face.  "Miss?  Are you alright miss?    I'm afraid it's closing time, do you need me to call you a cab?"

     Mumbling an apology of sorts and assuring the waitress she was fine Kari made a hasty exit to hide her embarrassment.  Sitting in her car she played over in her mind the possible scenarios that could play out tomorrow.  How could she write a review of the guitar player when she had slept through his whole performance! 

     Morning came way too soon and Kari still didn't know what would happen.  Could she write a review on a musician she never heard, or worse, would she be the one under review.







Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Friday, January 27, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

     The timing couldn't have been worse.   This can't be happening this morning of all days.  It was early and I was in the bedroom getting ready to leave for the airport.   Kenneth was already a nervous wreck over me leaving for 8 days.  He doesn't like flying and to make it worse I was going to be on a boat surrounded by water...also not high on his list.  Then, just as he is putting on his shoes to go to the dairy barn the horrifying pictures are plastered across the TV screen.  Five more minutes and he would have been out the door, but instead he stands dead in his tracks listening to every word.

Photos: Italian cruise ship disaster

Italian ship aground
13

Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

A luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. A luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


     This was terrible.  My heart bled for those poor people on the ship and their families.  I was about to embark on the trip of a lifetime and this has to be the last news story I hear before leaving.  I could put it in perspective and know that my trip would be safe  but I knew it was weighing heavy on Kenneth.  He didn't say much as he walked out the door.  

      Shortly he returned to take me to meet the girls to go to the airport.  I knew he was worried but he loves me and didn't want to keep me from having a good time.  We didn't mention the sinking ship as we drove to the designated meeting place.  Conversation was light and we said our goodbyes in the truck before the girls arrived.  By the time they came he was smiling again and even joking with Linda as he loaded my luggage in her car.  I would miss that smile but knew I would see him again in a few days.  Not even a distant sinking ship was going to ruin my cruise.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Open Letter to Beth

GBE2 Week #36 prompt - Time


Dear Beth,

     As a blogger who has only been blogging for 6 months, I am still learning the ins and outs and proper etiquette of the blogging world.   Thanks to wonderful people like you I have met with nothing but positive and encouraging feedback.    You have been a friend, a mentor and an inspiration.    You could never be a failure even if you tried.

      You always made keeping up with it all look so easy that I often marveled at how you managed your time.  For you to admit that you aren't super-human and that you struggle with finding time to keep up with not only yours but everyone else's blogs only makes you even more loveable.   

      In response to your blog, Blog Fail, at Word Nerd Speaks, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and observations.

1.  Blogging is fun, but extremely time consuming.   If we spent all the time we would like to on 
     blogging we could easily spend 24 hours a day on the computer.  That is not realistic.  
     We all have families, friends, jobs, etc., and we can't let the computer take over our lives.

2.  There are hundreds of great writers out there worthy of our time spent reading their blogs.  
     Trying to read every  single one every time they post can be overwhelming.  You could 
     soon spend so much time reading blogs  that your real life will suffer.   You have to stop 
     and put things in perspective, prioritizing the really important things in your life.

3.  Even though you are a wonderful friend and mentor to many people you cannot be 
     personally responsible for keeping up with everyone.  Do the best you can and don't 
     beat yourself up when you can't get around to every blog on the list.  The writers will 
     understand you do have other responsibilities besides reading their blogs.  That 
     doesn't make you a failure...it makes you human.

4.  As far as responding to every comment - I try to if I know someone has commented, 
     but sometimes I miss comments if they are on an older post.  I truly value each comment 
     and love to read them.  I don't get upset when someone doesn't respond to my comments.  
     Some comments don't really call for a response.

5.  I don't have a set number of blogs I read on a weekly basis.  I read as many as time permits.  I
     leave a comment if I have something to say and sometimes just to let the person know I 
     enjoyed their post.  I do sometimes read without commenting.

6.  I don't have a set number of blogs to write in a week.  I started out thinking I had to post every 
    day and  soon found out that was not doable for me.  Now I strive to post at least 3 a 
    week, but sometimes I don't make it and if I don't, that's okay.  Last week while on vacation 
     I never thought once about blogging and you know what, time didn't stop.

7.  And finally, how do I do it all?   I DON'T!  Lots of things I would like to accomplish every 
     day go  undone and guess what...they are still there tomorrow.  I learned a long time ago that 
     I stink at time  management.    I can waste it faster than you can say Jimminy Cricket!  I used 
     to beat myself up over it  but one of the good things that has come with age is acceptance.  
     I have accepted my faults and shortcomings as part of who I am and I no longer stress over 
     them.  Give yourself a break.  Don't expect more of yourself than you are realistically able to 
     give.

     In closing, dear Beth, just let me repeat, you could never be a failure.  You are one of the kindest, most sincere people I have ever met with a bubbling personality that is contagious.  Please remove the weight of the world from your shoulders.  We all love you and don't expect near as much of you as you expect of yourself.  Blogging should be fun and when it gets to the point that it stresses you out it is no longer fun.  When you become that overwhelmed it is time to take a step back and take a look at what is really important in your life.  You have our support.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sailing the High Seas (and I do mean high!)

     Last week was amazing!  So amazing that I don't even know where to start...so, I guess I'll start at the beginning.
     This is our first picture on board.  We had just walked up the ramp onto the ship, our home away from home for the next 7 days.    From there we were sent up to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 where lunch was served.  This was the beginning of a never ending array of food available at our beck and call.   The food was wonderful and always plentiful any time of day or night.  Most mornings we had breakfast brought to our cabin where we could enjoy at our leisure and drink coffee on our private balcony.  

     Exploring the ship was so much fun.  I was totally in awe everywhere I looked.  It was so glamorous  and beautiful - unlike anything I have ever seen.    We had 2 adjoining cabins on deck 7.  They were great...much roomier than I expected, and were close to the elevators making access to almost everything convenient.  It was like being in a city that never closed; shopping, restaurants, movies, live shows, music, swimming, rock climbing, putt-putt golf, casino, you name it, it was available.


     Our second night out was our first formal night.  We felt so glamorous going to dinner that evening.  There were photographers at every corner waiting to take your picture.  Of course, I took just a few myself.  By the time  I got home my camera had 442 pictures on it.   I guess I got carried away!  At dinner each evening we had the same waiter and assistant waiter, Fnu and Christian.  Fnu was from Indonesia and Christian was from Peru.  They were so nice and by the end of the week you really felt like they were family.

     Now, before I go any further, I must include the fact that not everything went according to plan during the first 3 days.  On Sunday when we pulled out of Florida, it was extremely windy.  As we got further out to sea the wind seemed to pick up speed.  I knew the ship was definitely rocking but since I had no previous experience to compare to I thought maybe it was normal.  I was hoping not.  Let's just say it was really hard to walk a straight line.  One minute I would be on the right side of the hall and next thing I knew I was on the left side - and I wasn't even drinking!  On Monday morning we were supposed to dock in Cocoa Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island where they were to put on a big bar-b-que and we were to spend the day at the beach.  This was the only stop where the ship could not dock at a pier but instead had to drop anchor a ways out and passengers would board small tenders to row into shore.   As luck would have it, the wind was so strong that it was unsafe to take the small boats into shore because of the rough waters.  We completely missed our day at the beach.   Even though I was so looking forward to a day at the beach, I can't really say the day was a disappointment.  There were so many activities on the ship that we had a great day anyway.

    
     Before we knew it, Wednesday arrived and we pulled in to the beautiful port at Charlotte Amelie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.   After taking a guided tour of the island, we returned to the shopping district closest to the ship and shopped till we dropped.  It was dark when we pulled out of port. 



                                      Next morning we arrived in beautiful St. Maarten's, on the Dutch side of the island.   This was my favorite of the 2 islands we visited.  It's beauty was breathtaking.   After getting off the ship we walked up the pier toward the shopping district.  We had just passed through security and suddenly realized Brenda wasn't with us.  We all began looking around for her and finally spotted her.  We nearly rolled on the ground with laughter.  You would have to know Brenda to understand why none of us were surprised. 

This is where we found her...

    

     Once we tore her away from the band, we spent the morning shopping and then took a bus tour of the island which took us over to the French side where we shopped at a local bazaar. 





Beautiful beaches everywhere!








                                            Definitely our favorite port!

     
    

     Every evening when we returned to the cabin we were greeted by a new pet.  A rabbit, a swan, a monkey, we never knew what the cabin steward would leave on our bed.

    


     Luckily, after the rough wind and waters the first three days the rest of the cruise was smooth sailing.  None of us got the least bit sea-sick and we all had the time of our lives.  Both days in port were perfect weather and couldn't have gone any better.   I could ramble on and on for days about the great times we had but I'll just leave it at - IT WAS AWESOME!

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat





Friday, January 13, 2012

Bon Voyage

    

     This is the view out my back door this afternoon.  It is currently 22 degrees Fahrenheit and snowing.  Too cold to stick my head out the door. 



     Tomorrow morning, along with my 4 best friends, I plan to board one of these to fly us out of this cold, miserable weather.  I will be leaving behind my husband and my cat, both of whom I hope are still alive by the time I get back.  (Not sure which one will kill the other!)

     After an overnight layover, on Sunday we will be on our way to a brand new adventure.  For me this will be my first experience.  The others have done this before.  I can't wait...I am so excited!  I will be going on my very first 




CRUISE!

    
     I will actually be checking off one of the items on my bucket list if you remember those from a few weeks ago.  I have always wanted to take a tropical cruise and I can hardly believe it is finally coming true.  I hate leaving hubby at home but he is not a traveler and would never go on a trip like this.  Thank heavens for girlfriends who love to travel as much as I do.  
 
     I plan to document my entire trip so watch for posts and pictures after I return home.  I will not be taking my computer so don't look for any posts from me next week.  I will be lounging on deck or shopping and exploring on a beautiful Caribbean Island.    Believe me, I will be like a kid in his first candy store on this trip.  Everywhere I look will be a new experience and it doesn't take much to impress me.  I'm one of those sappy people who can get emotional over a rainbow or a beautiful sunset so there is no doubt I will simply be in awe of the sights that await me. 

     While I am gone, I wish all of you a wonderful weekend and a spectacular next week.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not Quite As She Expected

     She jumped out of bed earlier than usual, too excited to sleep.  She couldn't believe the day was finally here...she had waited so long.   Today would be her first major "rite of passage" to adulthood.  She would now have some freedom.

     Mom drove her the few miles to the county courthouse.  Here she would first take her written test, followed by her driving test.  She had studied the book until she knew it front and back and  Dad had been letting her drive the car for over a year now.   Even knowing she was prepared she was still a bundle of nerves.   They pulled into the parking lot.  It was time.

     The written test over, it was now time for the road test.   A man approached, introduced himself and informed her he would be conducting her road test.  He was middle-aged, short, slightly graying with a medium frame.  He looked like someone's father and immediately put her at ease.

     Pulling out of the courthouse parking lot they headed down the hill toward town.  As soon as they were out of sight of the courthouse he slid over in the seat next to her.  She flashed him a quick inquiring glance and he explained that he had to be able to see the speedometer and other controls.  She wasn't fully convinced but continued through town.  

     Then it happened.   As he instructed her to turn onto a road that she knew led out of town he slowly and gently placed his hand on her thigh.

     Horrified, she screamed, "Stop that!  Take your hands off me!"  As he tried to calm her down and convince her that it was necessary to be nice to him and continue the road test she cried, "No, I'm going back to the courthouse!", which she immediately did, driving as fast as her shaking body would let her.

     She couldn't get away from him fast enough.  Once in the courthouse she told the clerk what had happened.  She wasn't sure if they believed her or not but all she wanted to do was get out of there and go home.  To her surprise, she was given her drivers license.

     She later found out that she hadn't been the only young girl victimized by this letch, but maybe the first brave enough to report him.    Even knowing that he was fired couldn't take away the bitter memory of a day that should have been one of her happiest.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat






Monday, January 9, 2012

I Was Destined to Become a Baptist

Written for GBE2 Week 34 Prompt - History

     Several years ago, some distant cousin in my Dad's family decided to trace the Williams family tree.  Once finished they sent copies to all the living relatives.  Dad, in turn, made copies and gave to us girls so we would have a record of our family history and genealogy.  

     Reading through such a list can be quite interesting.  After several pages of names including the usual outlaws and in-laws, Indians and gypsies came a name that I vaguely recalled from history.  That name belonged to none other than Roger Williams.

     For those of you, who like me, have seen many moons since you studied early American history, let me refresh your memory.

     Roger Willliams was one of the thousands of Puritans who departed from England in the 1630's to escape religious and political repression at the hands of the King and the Church of England.  Even though he had been privy to the planning of the exodus, he did not make the trip to America until 1631.  When Williams, an ordained minister,  learned that the established churches in America did not want to break ties with the Church of England he refused to accept offers to pastor churches in Boston and Salem.  He settled in the Old Plymouth colony where he found a church to attend that had completely separated from the Anglican church.  

     In 1633 Williams returned to Salem and accepted an Assistant pastors position, later becoming the minister upon the former ministers death.  He began to preach his concept of "soul liberty", separating church and state and removing the government from religious matters.  He believed  they were founded on two different principles with the church based on the love of God and the state being based on the sword.

     By 1635 the magistrates had had enough of Williams radical ideas.  He was arrested, tried and convicted on charges of sedition, heresy, and refusing to swear allegiance in God's name.  Before Williams could be banished to England, he fled to Narragansett territory where he puchased land from the Indians to start his own settlement.  He called it Providence where everyone could have freedom of religion, completely separate of Anglican rule.  Providence became part of Rhode Island.

     Williams held church services in his home several times a week and after about 2 years they became the first Baptist Church in the New World.  

     I didn't grow up in a Baptist Church.  I married into one in 1972 and have been a Baptist ever since.  I guess you could say it's in my genes.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat



Friday, January 6, 2012

Good Food, Good Times, Good Memories






      This building may not look like much from the outside, but if its walls could talk, boy, could they tell some  stories.    For most of my life this building housed some type of restaurant.  Owners may have changed along with menus and genres, paint colors and customers.   But one thing that never changed is the memories and history held within these four walls.

      

     My mom owned this restaurant for much of my first 14 years of life.  The name of the restaurant at that time was The Mill Inn, named after the old working mill that used to be just down the street on Blue River.  Needless to say, I spent a lot of time there.  Mom used to tell about sitting me in a playpen in one of the front windows.  She said everyone who came in commented on my curls and wanted to play with me but I just wanted to be left alone to play.   I can't say that I remember those days.

      As I got older I helped out as much as I could.  I loved spending time there because that's where all the kids hung out.  We had a pinball machine, a jukebox and of course, the famous Mill Burger, the best hamburgers in southern Indiana.   Mornings all the local regulars gathered for coffee.  I can remember from the time I was little one of the men who always came in for coffee carried Juicy Fruit gum in his pocket and never failed to ask me if I wanted a piece.    At lunch, all the local business people came in to eat mom's home cooking.  After school kids came in to play the pinball machine, listen to music, talk, do their homework and eat - hamburgers, fries and lots of ice cream.  And the joint really got to jumping after the home basketball games.  Everyone in town attended home basketball games and nearly all of them showed up at The Mill Inn afterward.  It was great!

     Among some of my favorite memories are buying 45 rpm records from the jukebox man for a quarter whenever he would come around to change them.  Also, learning to drive in my early teens after we would close the restaurant late at night.  My dad would let me drive the car out the road and back before we went home.

      Mom sold the restaurant around the time I was 14 and she and I both went to work for the local drive-in restaurant out on the highway.  After that it changed hands several times and changed from The Mill Inn to Blue River Cafe.  Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, this beloved building so full of history and memories, burned to the ground.  The current owners rebuilt and last summer opened the new and improved Blue River Cafe just back of the original spot.  The new decor is beautiful and the food is delicious but in my mind it will never compare to The Mill Inn.  Even though the building is gone memories will last a lifetime and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the old corner hangout.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat








Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life is Work



     Work - A simple word with many definitions and interpretations.  To some, work is their lifeline, their passion, the center of their universe.  To others it means a paycheck to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.  Then to some, work is a 4-letter word, bringing dread at the very sound of it.  No matter how you feel about it work is an integral part of everyone's life.  No one is completely exempt.

     Most of us if we live long enough will experience jobs that we love and jobs that we hate.  I have been lucky enough to have both experiences.   "Why," do you ask, "do I say lucky enough to have had jobs I hate?"  Because without those I wouldn't have appreciated the ones that I truly enjoyed.   As the old saying goes, "That that doesn't kill us makes us stronger."

     Life has a way of throwing us unexpected curves.  If we look at those curves as a new opportunity, good things can happen.  In 2004, when health problems forced me to quit a job that I loved as a registration clerk in a local hospital, I was able to spend more time at the gift shop that my sisters and I owned at the time.  In 2006 when it was no longer economically feasible to keep the gift shop open I started to look around for something I could do part time to keep me active but yet wouldn't cause added stress to my already painful joints and spine.   I decided to try direct sales, or more specifically, selling Avon.  Avon was a perfect fit for me.  I was able to work on my own schedule; days I didn't feel like working I didn't have to.  It got me out with people so I didn't sit at home and get depressed over things I couldn't change.   But best of all, it brought me four of the greatest blessings of my life.  Through Avon I found the four best friends anyone could ever ask for.  We jokingly call ourselves the Fab 5 and the bond we share is nothing short of fabulous.  I know I can always count on them no matter what.  They have my back and I have theirs.

     Work is always going to be a major part of our lives.  It doesn't matter if you work at a job or if you are a stay at home mom work is unavoidable.  Even the most mundane work can have its benefits and perks and I guess what I'm trying to say is that our attitude toward that work is what determines if we are happy or unhappy in what we are doing.  Life is short and it is a shame to go through it only looking at the negative.  Whatever your work, find the positive and enjoy each day to the fullest.  Be passionate about everything you do.

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat

Written for week #33, GBE2 prompt - Work