Friday, February 26, 2010

Life Story # 30 --- Surviving With the "Others"

Just before I start my North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida travel reminiscing posts, I am feeling the need to post a little bit about my life with the 'Others' while living on an island group in the South Pacific that the "Survivors'" cast actually visited one season.   I have been scanning slides, of course.  I am not in the photo below, but I took the picture.

I have remained in touch with two of the people in this photo but the lady in the hot pink dress has since passed on.  She was a red-hot momma and full of interesting stories, and the only one that I knew there that swam in the ocean nude, which I pretended did not shock me at all at the time.  She had two teenage or twenty-something boys from whom she was estranged as they led drug-delaying lives in Southern California.  Her husband was sharp as a tack and was a former pirate and smuggler of rare animals into the U.S. before actually taking an honest job on this island running the tuna cannery.  He reminded me of John Wayne or Hemingway with his larger than life personality and body size.   I was a twenty-something farm girl and it didn't take much to keep me fascinated during those years.   The baby in this photo is my daughter. 

This apartment building, as you will remember if you read prior posts on my blog, is where I lived.  They were called the 'Pink Apartments ' by the expats and they only had running water and electricity every other or every third or every fourth day.  It all depended on whether the drunk who ran the generator remember to add fuel or whether the other local islander remembered to turn on the water that day, as water was rationed.  The fact that we all remained friends was a miracle, but it does explain the need to use alcohol and sex to soften the tension.  The stenciled numbers above the door makes it look like some military base or certainly the location of the 'Others.'  (Maybe that little boy in the foreground is a current producer of "Survivor" or "Lost" and this is where his vision for one of the television series first took form.)  

Actually living there was more like "Desperate Housewives" than "Survivor."  The affairs and flirting and babies...I would spill all, but some of it is really X-rated, such as the American nymphomaniac nurse that eventually got kicked off the island.  I guess that I actually got sophisticated fairly rapidly having friends all over the spectrum including the missionaries who were there and didn't really get along with each other and the priest who was an alcoholic but a gentle old soul.

I have probably forgotten the best stories.  Should have kept a diary.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Returned from my cool spring days visiting in Florida. Weather was in the high 40's to high 50's and only hit the 60's on one day. Thus the only beach pictures I have were taken through the window of a bar as we watched the setting sun on Shrove Tuesday at the touristy Ft. Myers Beach area. We are not the celebratory type, so we sneaked away to an odd little room off the bar and sat at a wobbly little table to quietly watch the sunset and left the old and young folks with the feathered hats and beads to the other end of the room.  The strong wind across the beach created little feathers of rainbow dust, which was fun to watch.  A few hardy souls in coats and hats walked the shore.  These photos are for Colleen who loves the beach as much as I and who would have put on her jacket and posed for me!

As to the title of this post, why am I bummed?  Well, it is not the weather because the odd cold spring in Florida is still better than winter here.  It is not the snow and downed trees that awaited my return because they had been somewhat cleared and we were actually able to drive right up to the house on our return.  It is not the bill that will come from the young men who removed (partially) the trees.  (It is not those politicos whose statements followed us on the radio where they were using the snowstorms to denigrate Al Gore and climate change...although, I do find it depressing that such ignorance about science exists in Congressmen and that whatever school system they went through did not educate them on the differences between weather and climate and how climate change is going to produce dramatic weather changes.  If it was all in jest, then I can hardly wait to see their second act when entire cities and villages drift into the sea.)

The actual reason I am so bummed is because my Canon Digital SLR, purchased in early 2007, died yesterday.  I have no idea what happened but it will not turn on.  Changed batteries, cleaned terminals, etc. and no luck.  I called a repair place about 70 miles up the road and they said it would cost a minimum of $255 AND would take 4-6 weeks as they send it away!  I don't know if I am more depressed about the cost or the loss of a camera for so long especally as spring gets here.  (I bit the bullet and sent the camera directly to Canon at the minimum cost of $215.)

I have a bunch of travel photos to work on, so that will keep me busy while I think or perhaps EXERCISE---now that would be novel!

My point and shoot which was my back up camera no longer focuses when the zoom is on as the focus mechanism is broken when I bumped the extended lens two weeks ago, so that is limited help.  When it rains it pours...but at least the rain is melting the snow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Difference of Opinion

Before we left for Florida I got to spend snow time with my two most favorite little munchkins.  One child loves the snow and we couldn't get him inside until the sun started going down.  The other one as you can see, not so much!

I guess that is why we call her The Princess!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Enough Already!

I am in Florida trying to thaw my frigid bones as this post is being published.   It seemed that almost every weekend that we headed into the city to visit my daughter this past winter, we saw this mess in our driveway on our return.  I love the beauty of the snow but this winter we have had at least 5 (6?) snowstorms when usually we have only one little one.  I have become way too familiar with the snow shovel as we keep the deck clear and the sidewalks safe.  The driveway has to take care of itself because it is quite large.  I guess that I got spoiled by the past decade of milder winters.  I hate to say it, but we better not see this when we pull into our neighborhood upon our return and yet,  I am sure we will.  Photo above was taken after the second major snow storm.

Here is the same driveway after the fourth and record breaking snowstorm and just one day before we left.  What looks like a berm of snow is actually snow covered ice! The hedge in the mid-distance is a lovely cedar that fell across the driveway with a big snowy sigh.  There was another even larger cherry tree across the driveway closer to the house!  It was like our hiking trips to get back home.  (Post Script:  Just got off the phone from talking with our tree removal guy who cannot get into the driveway with his big truck because it is still too snowy and wet...he did say that the other BIG pine tree at the front of the driveway also added its opinion to this snowy winter...that makes 4 trees down so far!)

If we do have this much snow when I get back,  I am getting out my magnifying glass and putting a stop to all this nonsense.  Let's hope I don't start a forest fire!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

I was trying to remember how I felt about my appearance when I was in my twenties, just married, and not bogged down by the demands of small children.  While I was pretty self-conscious during my teenage years, I think in my twenties I didn't think about my appearance very much at all.  I was living a new married adventure.  I pretty much kept my hair in a pony tail and the only make-up was the little lipstick I sometimes wore.  After all, I lived on a 'remote' tropical island that was frequently without water or electricity and where the daily temperature always made you sweat...who cared what I looked like?

I guess the good thing about living in the remote areas of the world is that there was no television to remind me that I needed improvements through magical cosmetics and dynamic hair care products.  No one was telling me my eyelashes needed to be longer, my hair shinier, and that I needed to lose weight---good thing, because according to these photos I was pretty thin.

I bought myself a scanner and light table last month and have been spending a little time going through old slides and seeing which ones might be fun to put on Facebook for family and friends and trying to think about the work in starting an archive project where I might need to scan and organize  thousands of photo digitally.  I came across these two slides and actually was amazed...really amazed at how thin I was.  I do remember that I loved to eat like a horse.  Ah, the wonders of youthful metabolism.  This photo above was taken at U.N. Days in Palau, Micronesia.  I vaguely remember one of the activities during the two day celebration involved a rooster fight, because I came across the photos!

This next photo was taken at a meeting in Tonga.  (I did the math and my daughter was conceived at this meeting.)  No, none of the above is hubby.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just the Facts

Some people say that statistics lie.  Depending on how they are presented, they can frequently tell more than one story.  The same is true of the news as we all know.  What you hear, read, or even see is not always what actually happened or is only a surgical part of the whole story.  For example,  this photo below could have been taken on a gray day with the promise of a building storm.  It could leave the impression that the weather was quite foreboding when I was out and about.

If I tweak this photo just a little I can make the day sunny and filled with promise.  It looks like the weather may not be so bad after all once I candy-coat the image.  Maybe the storm is waning?

But what if I decide to be truly honest and let you see the full photo and let you decide for yourself about the sky that day?  What if I trust you enough to handle the full story...all the information?  It would make a big difference, wouldn't it?

(If you are an educator of children and teach critical thinking skills, please feel free to use this post.)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ten Questions to Ponder.

  1. Do you ever wonder if we truly have only a finite number of heartbeats in our magnificent body?
  2. Do you wonder if you had started writing poetry when you were young that you would have run out of poems by now.
  3. Do you wonder if there could ever be too many children to love? (No. this is not an Octomom question.)
  4. Are 1000 digital sunset photos too many to collect?  What about 2000?
  5. Is it better to live in a society with too many rules or too few?
  6. Can you remember the last time you laughed until your face hurt?  (I can, but it was too long ago.)
  7. How many love songs can be written before they all sound too familiar?
  8. Would you be bored by too much good news?  Would you like to try it and see?
  9. How old do you have to be before you are too old...for whatever life throws your way?
  10. Finally, what do you have too much of and what do you have not enough of?
I am off to warm my toes in some Florida ocean water knowing full well that Mother Nature's disposition will follow me with tropical storms and maybe tornadoes there.  (If you want to know why, check in on my other blog in a few days to see what is happening in the Room Without Walls.)  Meanwhile you can ponder all of the above!  I will bring my laptop and be checking in.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dog in the Sun

This photo is not the mini-me version of the sun or some alien vehicle crossing the winter sky on the horizon.  These are sun-dogs that I was able to capture during our recent tour of Stratford Hall Plantation in Virginia.  (Stratford Hall Plantation is approximately 1900 acres preserved in memory of the very wealthy Lee family of American history.  Maybe I will post more on that someday.)

These sun-dogs are formed by sunlight and ice crystals and can be seen best when the sun is low in the sky.  They appear on each side of the sun.  These photos were taken at about 4:00 in the late afternoon.  If I had been able to shoot directly at the sun with a filtered lens I would have been able to capture the sun-dog on each side with the sun in the middle.  But here the sun is off the screen on opposite sides in these photos.  The earliest description of the sun-dog was probably 1533 in Moravia.  Fascination with sun-dogs can be found in literature, poetry, music and art whenever people think three suns  in the sky are an omen of some kind.

Keep your eyes toward the late sky in winter and you may see sun-dogs.  Woof!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Time is Such a Moving Thing.

I somehow missed the headline in the Science section of the newspaper about how the earth is ever so subtly speeding its rotation.  I failed to learn that the earth is on a new scary speed.  I guess that is why I had the conversation below:

Tabor:  Is today Wednesday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  Thursday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  FRIDAY??
Hubby:  Yep.
Tabor:  Oh s**t...!  (I only swear like a sailor when it is truly important and it appears that someone or something stole my whole week.)

Not too long ago my week was composed of 5 long days and two very short ones.  Now my week is composed of three very short days.  I am still trying to figure out how this happened and to adjust.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Steal

Start the car!  Start the car! (link to the ad here.)

This is exactly how hubby and I felt after we purchased this large garden structure from Lowe's hardware store.  I had planted a climbing rose last fall and had nothing for it to climb on when this summer came!

This was the only arbor remaining in their cold and dreary outdoor garden section and had been marked down for clearance to $60.  It was made of cedar and completely put together and originally $200!  Putting it together would have taken me all day!  Now all I needed to do was bring it into our basement to dry out then take it out in the spring and do a little sanding and some sealing as it already had a nice gray patina.

We drove home and got our little pull-behind wagon to load our find.

Immediately after it was loaded Hubby shouted "Start the car! Start the car!"