Friday, January 29, 2010

PERSEVERANCE AND DREAMS

I was born on the East Coast. When I was a small child, we spent a lot of time at the beach, three hours away from home. Hence, I discovered from an early age… the ocean waves… were awe inspiring… to gaze upon… but they were also dangerous, in their relentless fury. My favorite book back then, was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It detailed the perseverance of a young girl struggling to survive life on an island all alone. I was mesmerized by it. I visualized myself as that young girl while I walked up and down the sandy shores of Ocean City, surrounded by tourists. To be all alone with miles of beach, seashells and water lapping at your toes seemed like a fairytale to me. Today, it would be a Reality TV show. Suffice to say… my only big adventures at the Ocean- Front involved very few things. For instance… wandering too far out in the water… and being knocked to the ground, and dragged back by the waves, with a mouthful of sand. Or being burnt… the color of a lobster… by lying out in the sun too long. But… the worst thing that happened to me… was when I was wearing my first bikini, as a pre-teen. The waves swallowed my bathing suit top, right off my body, embarrassing me, for all, the world to see. I never forgot my humiliation. Hardly the kind of thing the girl in the storybook found troublesome. Yet, this was my life. Still the ocean held a mystery, for me. And, in all the years since… nothing else has ever captured my imagination, the way that book, or sand and surf, did. That is… until last year, when I discovered a blog. I have never been on a sailboat. But I follow the adventures of someone who has. She is a 16 year- old girl from Australia. Her name is Jessica Watson. Her boat is Ella’s Pink Lady. She is currently attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world, alone. I read her blog (http://www.youngestround.blogspot.com) to see how she’s doing. I find myself worrying about her, out there, in the middle of the ocean, miles from civilization, all alone. Yet… something powerful, stirs within me, as I think about her. This old woman disappears. I’m a young girl again. My fantasies take flight. I live vicariously through her. She talks about cooking her meals, staying warm, looking at the stars, fishing, surviving storms, doing schoolwork and operating the boat. I follow her journey each day, seeing the progress she’s made, enduring her setbacks, silently, egging her on. Praying she gets safely home. I want her to succeed. As the mother of two daughters, I can’t imagine giving them permission to do something like this, back when they were teens. Yet, maybe I should have. Dreams are meant to be nourished… don’t you think?
PS. Jessica now has competition. A teen from America has joined the fray… to sail solo, around the world. Her name is Abby Sunderland. Her boat is Wild Eyes. You can find her blog at http://soloround.blogspot.com and follow her adventures too. NEWSFLASH...The LATEST report is... Abby is going to have to STOP her journey in Cabo san Lucas and get some technical glitches fixed before restarting again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BOOKMARKS

Five to seven years ago… I bought a piece of clothing. I liked the TAG that came with it, so much… I saved it. It spelled the word SCRIPT. Giant white letters against a black background, on an inch by four inch card. It became the perfect bookmark. Until then… I had used a variety of different things to mark my places in books… greeting cards, store receipts, coupons, library card, checks, napkin, dollar bill, credit card, popsicle stick, fabric, movie ticket stubs, a flattened straw, photographs, stamps, business cards and prescriptions… to name a few. I have never owned a real bookmark. I take that back, Once… I did get a magnetic pad to go on my refrigerator, and it came with a matching striped bookmark. I didn’t use it, because I didn’t like the little satin ribbon that topped it. It was donated in a book to the library. So for now… SCRIPT still marks the spot… but it’s crinkled, old, bent and worn. Maybe it‘s time to retire it for something new… like the electronic bookmark, that comes with my Kindle. What do you use as a bookmark?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

BOOKS & E-READERS

Books are amazing. They transport you to places you’ve never been before. I love the smell and feel of a new book. To be the first to read it, is a privilege. Afterwards, I always donate it to the library, so that others can share in its joy. With funding cuts in this economy, they appreciate the donation. I’m glad I can afford to help. While I delight in my own personal collection of bestsellers and classics… there is something special about going to the library, where all those books are housed in one place. So many titles, so many choices. And, all FREE to enjoy for a limited time. Of course, bookstores offer the same thrill, but with the opportunity to actually KEEP, the brand new book, for a price. It feels good to know a book actually belongs to you, so you can then, read it at your leisure. But in today‘s world, technology is changing our simple pleasures. It wasn’t long ago, I filled my living room with newspapers… nowadays, I read those articles online. Less clutter. Imagine books being permanently replaced with electronic devices called E-READERS. The data is downloaded onto it. No more pages to be turned, just buttons to push. Nothing to cradle in the palms of your hands, except a little screen, to read. I always said a book on my nightstand is non-negotiable. For Christmas, my hubby got me a Kindle. It’s redefining the way I think. I haven’t decided if that’s a good or a bad thing. As long as I can READ, I guess I’m happy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

EVERYDAY, A SPECIAL PLACE

Everyday... between 2-6pm, I go to a local eatery and order a large raspberry tea. I always sit at a booth behind the jukebox. Once situated… I pull a pen and paper, from my purse, and write my best friend a letter, as I slowly sip my tea! She lives miles away, and a week of... good old-fashioned letters, is how we stay in touch… even in this day and age, of cell phones and e-mails. The d├ęcor inside this place is cathartic. It has a 50’s theme, with old advertisements lining the walls. But they’re modern enough, to have XM radio, blaring sounds from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on the radio. Usually the customers have gray hair and shuffle when they walk. Lots of walkers and canes. Just my speed, with my bad knees. That’s not to say… young folks, don’t come here… because they do. I love it here. We all do. As the songs play, I reminisce about the good old days and write about my day. The words flow. It’s like opening a vein. When I’m finished with my letter… I rummage around for a stamp to put on the envelope. Mission Accomplished. Same routine, everyday. Sometimes though, I vary it, and will have a bite to eat. Lately, I’ve been getting the Twice Baked Mashed Potato, with tomatoes, fresh bacon, onions and sour cream. I could do without the onions. I keep forgetting to have them, hold them. But it’s really good, regardless. If I really want to splurge, though, I get the Buffalo Chicken sandwich for $4.59. I dip my celery sticks in the ranch dressing, to ease the heat of the chicken. Nothing is too overpriced here. And everything is made to order… It’s worth the wait, believe me. Yummy food. But, the truth is… I really come here for the raspberry tea, and the chance to escape for an hour or two, while I write. It's my special place. I’m a regular… and will be for a long, long time.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

SPECIAL RECIPE

When the weather outside gets cold… I know just the thing to warm up our insides. I whip up a large pot of my special spaghetti sauce for a delicious pasta meal. It makes the cool temps outside, melt away. But inevitably, I make too much sauce... and have half the pot leftover. So I save it, for another meal. Yet... spaghetti twice in a week, doesn’t sit well with us. That is when... my hubby does his magic, and doctors up my  sauce, making it into a scrumptious, piping hot pan of chili, for later in the week. One hint… the black beans make this chili recipe, sing. Those beans give it a hearty flavor. And the fact it started out as spaghetti sauce, just adds to the unique taste. Every year... the local restaurants have a CHILI COOKOFF, and we swear, our chili could win... if the local yokels, were allowed to enter, instead of the eateries. But it's not meant to be. So... for now, our family recipe for chili remains shrouded in secrecy. I make the first part, and the hubby makes part two. He doesn’t know the ingredients I use, and I don’t know the ones he uses. So… neither of us, knows how to make the complete recipe! Yet, the combination of our efforts, spells success. Maybe someday... we’ll write it down. But for now ,we’re having too much fun doing it this way. Yummy! Yummy!