Tuesday, October 31, 2006

a ghost story.....

A long time ago when I was still a teenager, I took a job of babysitting houses for people who had business out of town. Since we lived in a little cow pasture of a town anyway, everybody knew everybody else... and their cousin, and their cousin's cousin. Well, you get the picture. One house in particular was a pass-down job to me from a friend who used to sit there on occasion. Many times she would call me up and ask me to stay over with her, as it frightened her to stay alone. I guess I couldn't blame her, as the house was actually named: The Grey Ghost Manor. I was too young (only 19) to really think there was anything behind it... only a name of an older home set back on a country road. That is until one time when I stayed there alone.

Upon returning to the house at dusk, after work and grocery shopping a few items for dinner, I parked in the detached garage of the house and started to walk up the short path to the back door. Looking up to the second floor I noticed a light on in the window of a corner room. Strange, I thought, I didn't even go into that room. How could a light be on? Was somebody in the house? Since there were no other cars around, I deduced that I was alone. Or maybe I was just naive enough not to think it all through before I entered the house. No ghost met me at the door, or on the stairs leading up to the second floor. I made my way around to the corner bedroom, saw the light, and shut it off. Whatever turned it on was a mystery to me, and to this day, remains a mystery. But it all didn't end there. I would find things misplaced or moved, and always had a shiver up the back of my spine whenever I traveled into the livingroom. The kitchen stayed warm and friendly, but the livingroom was a complete contrast. There were creaky noises, but my rational mind told me that the house was settling... a lot! After all, it was built in the 1800's.

My last night there gave me the biggest scare of all. I never did actually see a ghost, but I felt it's presence around me somehow. It's not anything I can explain fully, but the goosebumps on my arms convinced me that I could no longer stay here. Perhaps the house missed it's owners and was trying to find a way for me to leave and never come back? I would find out later that my friend had the same experience as well. She would never return, and I told the owners I couldn't either. We never saw anything.... we only felt it, whatever IT was. I'm sure the owners thought us to be silly girls who scared too easily. Regardless, I find it difficult to feel comfortable in a home when I know there are ghosts involved, even if it is in name only.

My brother Karl had a house in Massachusetts that was rumored to have ghosts as well. I didn't know this at the time of accepting his invitation to stay overnight years later when my son was still young. My brother Eric told me about it on the trip up to Karl's, and for the rest of the evening I was too nervous to sleep. Cuddled up with my son on the couch in the livingroom, I left the TV on for noise, glancing up at the stairs that led to the second floor.... looking for any sighting of a ghost coming down. I never did see one, thankfully.

If I want to see a ghost, I'll be patient enough to wait for Halloween to be properly frightened by the kids in the neighborhood and their costumes. Thank goodness for the big bags of candy I purchased, as I'll get quite a few customers tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

a long nap for sunday....

As this weekend comes to a close, so will I. Plans have been fit into the schedule to include a nice nap for Sunday, as Saturday will be filled with a big birthday party bash for Poppa.... hubby's Dad. He turns 80 in a few days, and the family cannot get away with the customary cake and candles. 80 is a big number.... and only your imagination can wonder what this man has seen during that time.

He was born in the city of Atlanta, and saw it grow over the years. At the time of the premier of Gone With The Wind, in 1939, Poppa had pretty much a front row seat to the gala the city threw for the stars of the movie. Poppa was also around to witness the Winecoff Hotel fire in 1946, that took 119 lives. It was the worst hotel fire of it's time. He actually witnessed people leaping to their death, as the hotel was not up to fire code standards, and did not display any fire escapes for people to flee on. When you witness something like that, I'm sure it stays with you for a lifetime.

Poppa worked as a bread man all his life, and it wasn't unknown for him to bring home bags of bear claws, ho-ho's, cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread, and other delectable goodies for the family to enjoy. In the late 1970's, Poppa transferred to Ft. Payne, Alabama, and took an administrative position with Earth Grains Bakery. Since they had a nice plant, and he was once again surrounded by country, it appealed to him. By this time, hubby had already graduated from High School, and decided to stay in Atlanta instead. He loved Atlanta... it was his home, and always has been, and didn't see the need to move up there. Besides, hubby is to "citified" for that much country living.

Poppa finally retired from the field some years back. It was time for him to do some traveling, and he took full advantage of the US map to explore areas he and my Mother-in-law weren't able to do when they had young children (five to be exact). Trips to Alaska, New England, the Grand Canyon, and many parts unknown were always showing up in our mailbox in the form of a postcard... and I was glad to see they were smart about their money, and not saving it for anyone to fight over long after they were gone. Spend, Go, See!, I would tell them.... you deserve this! You've worked hard all these years, now is the time for you to enjoy. And they did. Of course, I would miss the bags of goodies he used to bring to us, but he still had some clout with the bakery, and was able to land a bag or two whenever we took trips up to Alabama to visit them. The plant is now closed, and the bags have ceased.... much to the happiness of my hips, although not my sweet-tooth.

When we took our little excursion to the Smokies back at the end of August, we took Poppa, my Mother-in-law, and brother and sister-in-law out to dinner in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After dinner, we walked around to scout the shops (and there are many of them.... they don't call it Myrtle Beach of the mountains for nothing). I walked with Poppa while everyone else paired off. I noticed that he walked a bit slower, more hunched over, but with a will that was a strong as any young man. He kept assuring us that he was keeping up... and no, he wasn't tired at all... but the first chance we came upon a bench, he made good use of it. His wit is still there, as is his knowledge of cars and knives. He can tell a good story, and keep up the the rest of the family when it comes to jibs and jabs at each other in fun. He is a good man, faithful husband, and proud Grandfather to eight grandchildren who adore him. He deserves more than a cake and candles for his 80th year..... he deserves a party worthy of Atlanta's finest caterer.

And Sunday..... well after I successfully get those houseplants off the porch, cleaned and spiffed up for indoors (minus all those pesky spiders that like to hide out in the leaves), I plan to put my already tired feet up and read the paper.... or watch movies.... or nap.... or whatever. My busy season has already started, I'll need every bit of feet-up time I can get.

Have a great weekend everybody... and remember to set your clocks BACK an hour Saturday night.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

i believe......

A dear friend shared this with me. Please read this very slowly... it's a keeper for sure. There are so many truths in it.

I believe that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that.

I believe that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. The same goes for true love.

I believe that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words... it may be the last time you see them.

I believe that you can keep going long after you can't.

I believe that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe that money is a lousy way to keep score.

I believe that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I believe that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them, and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others, sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other; and just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean that they do.

I believe that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.... it could change your life forever.

I believe that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I believe that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I believe that you should send this to all the people that you believe in. I just did.
In all things... know that your God is with you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

a sad state of affairs.....

For the past week I have been looking up the statistics on gun control and anything related to the issues of guns. Needless to say, I would have to live three lifetimes to get all the information out there, nevermind all the changing stats that come up everyday. It is an issue that many talk about, whether they are pro or con, and an issue that sparks loads of emotions for either side of the ballot for gun control. The subject also brings out some of the most diversified arguments for owning a gun I've ever seen.

Topping the list: the 2nd amendment. One cannot even bring up the issue of gun control without someone countering with a debate that it is "the right" of every man to bear arms. Without the 2nd amendment securely in place, our country would immediately resort to a Totalitarian state, and the government would then swoop in and take over the masses.... as did the Nazis against the Jews during the 1930's. Yeah, excuse me while I don't quite fall into that realm of thinking. Given the problems they are having in Washington, I hardly find that likely.... but it is a stand that gun-users use most often. Personally I think our government is doing more damage economically, and can't see their way out of a paper bag with both sides open.... but that's an argument for another day.

More statistics showed that even with programs in place to yank the guns off the streets, or programs in place for exchanges, it still did not reduce the numbers of crime all that much. Criminals were not the ones handing in the guns, as they hardly had any use of the $200.00 voucher from Target (as Massachusetts tried) to do so. Folks who participated in the exchange only went to the nearest Walmart and purchased a newer gun. So that program, although nice in it's efforts, goes unrewarded if someone really wants to carry a gun.

This brought up the issue of criminals being the only persons who would have guns, and how would one defend themselves in an attack? And here I found something very interesting. Polled in a prison (don't ask me which one, as I read so many articles on this, I just can't remember now), prisoners who used a gun to rob, kill, or rape said that they would not have had the kahunas to pull off a stunt IF they didn't have the gun in their hand in the first place. Some did admit that if they didn't have a gun, they could or would have used a knife.... they were just that hell-bent on the crime, but the majority of criminals preferred having a gun in their hand, as it empowered like nothing other.

And that is the whole thing in a nutshell: empowerment. For some reason you stand a better chance of warding off an attack if you had a gun of your own. After all, the playing field has evened up a bit, right? Ah, well, perhaps so.... but I still find that a sad state of affairs.
I am, and will always be anti-gun. I find no practical use for weapons, and find them destructive and counter-productive for a peaceful society. I find it hard for the United States to profess to the world that we are a "peace-loving society", when we have such a fascination with weapons.

Oh sure, I read all the arguments for reasons why we need to be toting guns.... go to wikipedia and they have them listed nicely. It still didn't change my mind.... it only made me sadder to think that the enemy was us.

In writing this post, I am not out to offend anyone who does have a legitimate license as well as education on how to handle and store a weapon. It is your private right to do as you please, after all, you are protected by the 2nd amendment on this issue. I only hope to never meet up with you when you are pissed off at the world in a moment of passion or despair, or in a moment when you are being robbed and I'm caught in the middle of the gunfire.

Too bad we don't live in a time when we could actually give peace a chance.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

welcome baby 300 million.......

At 7:46 AM this morning, the 300 millionth baby was born in the United States, a mere 39 years after the 200 millionth baby was born in 1967. At the statistical rate we are headed in, they estimate that the 400 millionth baby will be born in 2021, or thereabouts.

According to several different news services, baby 300 million was born in Atlanta, at our own Northside Hospital. Woohoo for another first for our lovely city. Of course, New York City is also claiming the honors... so it may be a few days before they can sort it out properly. In the meantime, go forth new baby, have a wonderful life, and remember to do good things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

time out..........

Time has become a dimension that is unknown in my universe lately. To make any real plans depends on everybody else, what they're doing, and how involved they've made me. This goes especially so for my work, as it has top billing. After all, it pays the bills, so putting off work is something I have to carefully consider when other plans pop up.

This morning started much the same as all the rest... rising at 5:30 AM. With a quick shower, a fast spritz of perfume, and a jump into some comfortable jeans, I was out the door and on the road to my kitchen 30 minutes away to prep for six caterings, all to be delivered before noon. Noticing that my gas tank was reading a little below half a tank, I decided to play it smart and stop to fill up. No sense running out of gas on Atlantas finest highways, right? Not having my trusty glasses on to read at the pump, I mistakenly pushed the button for a car wash to be included. No problem, as my windshield resembled the bathroom of the many birds that occupy the trees above my driveway. It would be nice to drive without the splotches that dotted my view.

I arrived at my kitchen, and immediately hit the ground running. Making sure that each separate bin for the customers were filled with the necessary components for their individual caterings, I went on to the next task of grilling chicken for a baked potato and salad bar we offer as part of our menu selections. It is usually at this point that I multi-task and scrub up the pots, pans, and many utensils we use throughout the morning. Since it is right next to the stove, I am in the best position to muddle through this, all the while keeping my eye on the chicken so that it won't burn. Feeling relieved that I finished it all so quickly, I breathed a sigh of relief. What could possibly go wrong, as I was ahead of schedule. Leaving with three of the deliveries by 10:15, I had more than enough time to get to the first one... and decided that a stop to the post office would allow me to drag my feet a bit. No sense in delivering hot food too early, as it will cool down too quickly. Besides, the post office was on the way, and it would be nice to see a few checks in the mail. That would be my second and most fatal mistake of the morning.

Returning to my car to start over to the clients office, the key would not turn over the engine. Repeated attempts only allowed for a "click, click, click" sound... not to mention a few choice words uttered from my mouth. This is my utter nightmare when delivering, and it's not the first time I've had this experience. Usually, I am lucky enough to be over and done with delivering before car mishaps happen, but today wasn't my lucky day in that area. "THINK!", I kept repeating to myself, "THINK!" What were my options? With one partner an hour and a half away south to me on two other deliveries, and another partner thirty minutes west of me on another delivery, I knew calling them was futile. Oh yeah, that's right! Chris is home....what did he say before I left this morning.... that's right, no school today. So with a quick call to him to get over to me immediately, an even quicker transfer of food bins, I was behind, but not by too much. Since the post office is located close to my home, I dropped him off and proceeded onto the first delivery. I called all of my clients to let them know of the circumstances, and each were pleasant and understanding..... after all, this was beyond my control, but I had a handle on it if they didn't mind me being a few minutes late. No problemo.... or so I thought.

The first delivery held me up for ten minutes, while they decided where they were going to put the food, the second delivery (20 minutes in another direction) was at a hospital that had little to no adequate parking for delivery vehicles. A few more choice words came out of my mouth (windows rolled up, of course), and I finally arrived to the third delivery (another 20 minutes in another direction) ten minutes late. The gentleman who had originally ordered the food through his secretary (who I had called 45 minutes earlier to let her know of my car troubles) was fuming. When I had explained what had happened, he wanted no part of it. "Just get the food in there!", was his response. I quickly set it up, and headed out the door, handing the secretary her receipt. She took a look at it, and asked if we were going to take anything off "for being late". Scenes played in my head when I remembered the last delivery I had at this particular client, where they made me wait fifteen minutes to set up a catering they had ordered, and I did arrive on time. Since I do a good deal of business with her, and not wanting to lose them as clients, I told her I would get back to the office to see what I could do. I'm almost too glad she didn't follow me to my car, as I was not a happy camper at this point. To think I had risked life, limb, and radar to speed over there..... only to be a total of ten minutes late.

Calling one of my partners, I explained the situation. Now began his tirade of choice words. Being that he is of kind nature, he volunteered to come out to where my car sat dead to take a look at the battery. After all, that seemed like the most logical place to start. If it was just the battery, he could remove it, and plop in a new one.... and, Auto Zone was right across the street, how convenient was that? As it turns out, the battery was worn out, he is very handy, and I was on my way again by 2:00. I picked my son back up, we went back to get my vehicle, and returned home by 2:15. My first order of business was to attack some of the charges against the last delivery's invoice. By this time, I had significantly cooled down, and was generous in taking $75.00 off.

One of the most important things that hubby has done for all of our cars is supply us with tool boxes, and in my case (as I have a problem in this area) jumper cables. I can't think of how many times I have been stranded on the road with one car trouble after another, and hubby wanted to be sure I was armed with enough tools to take care of simple fixes. Yes, I do know how to use them, and have had to plenty of times. When I was stuck at the post office, a kindly older gentleman asked me this very question, and I assured him that I was well rounded in jumping a car. He laughed, and said that he also had a "problem" in that area. He offered to give me a jump from his vehicle, but the charge wouldn't take. He then offered to take me where I needed to go, but I declined as I explained I was a caterer on three missions, and there was no way I could occupy all that time from him. Besides, Chris was home, and I was fortunate that home was only two minutes away from where I was stranded. He looked relieved, even if I looked harried, and I'm sure he said a silent prayer to St. Christopher in my honor. After all, I was still careful in my driving (not like a madman, mind you) but still driving beyond the posted speed limits. I feel quite sure he asked St. Christopher to make sure I arrived safely, and best yet.... no speed traps.

Now that I am home, and it's three hours later, I have no plans to go out any further. Work piled up in the office that needs attending, and I need a little more cool down time on the couch. After all, my choice words earlier, earned me a "time out" of sorts. If I were much younger, my mother would have considered washing my mouth out with soap.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

a new level of terrorism......

There really used to be a time when we could rely on living in a Pollyanna existence.....the world was relatively safe in our part of the playground. Parents could let their children roam the neighborhood.... in fact, it was encouraged. Since Mom was home all day with you, it wasn't below her to use any ploy to get you out of the house, and out of her hair. We still had strict instructions to stay within earshot, lest we be late for dinner, but the freedom of being outside meant playing baseball games till dusk, long games of hide and seek, or fort building. Well..... at least that's the way I remember my childhood. I don't see any of that anymore.

When I was a young mother, I feared for the safety of my child, just as any parent does. The only time I felt really safe with him being out of my sight was when he attended school. It was a safe-zone..... completely off limits to drugs, knives, guns, and any other perverted means to harm innocent people. Just as my son was springboarding into High School from 8th grade, Columbine happened. I sat watching TV and cried. It seemed so senseless..... so wrong, and I couldn't understand how the people who branished guns and randomly shot scared fleeing victims could feel any sense of good out of this. What did it actually accomplish? We may never really know, as the profiles for these deranged people change daily, and the statistics for this type of violence rises.

There was a time when school shootings were as unlikely as lightening strikes..... the statistics were millions/ billions to one that anything like this was ever going to happen in your neighborhood. I can bet the gentle Amish folk had better odds than that. Sadly, we have entered a new level of terrorism by our own people. In the past week alone, three more senseless school shootings have been added to the list, and our collective hearts have been saddened further. We mourn for the families, and pray they find some semblance of normalcy to carry on with; and we hope that the people who carry out these hideous tasks find the proper help they need before they barricade themselves in with weapons to take out innocent lives with.

For all the families who have been effected by this mindless carnage, you have my deepest sympathies. May your God find a way to console you through one of the darkest moments of your life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

two of the three "r"s.......

One writes because one has much to say. One reads because they have much to learn... saving all their writing for commenting opinions or using the prose as a muse to springboard into a story of their own. Lately, my muses have been a bit dried up. Not that there isn't enough topics to write about, but rather I lack cohesiveness that comes with putting out a good paragraph. Questions come into play whether the topic is good, rambling, or enough to draw in a captive audience, and many days I fall very short of a good mark to get a post off the ground. Many days, I really do get busier than I had expected, too.

I find myself traveling around to everything I can read, the blogs, the web, even the newspaper for stories that spark a passion to put out an opinion, but all to no avail as I slip under the waves of procrastination. Tomorrow morning, I tell myself... tomorrow will be the magic day when writing will come as natural to me as breathing. But sadly, tomorrow is another day for me to procrastinate further. I have to pardon myself for the apathy I display, and try to get on with the business of work.... after all, I still have to pay my way through this time, regardless if I put word to page or not.

So, once again, I apologize for falling very far behind with all the friends I have made through this medium. You have all kept up very well, had lively stories, and put forth a wonderful effort to keep me, as well as your regular readers, amused and informed. You have allowed me to think beyond my little corner of the world, while expanding my opinions. Bravo to you..... after all, I am usually set in my ways on certain things, but have managed to see a different side of possibilities I may never have thought of.

Regardless of whether I comment back, I always manage to catch up on the reading end of blogging. To leave a comment three posts back is further embarrassment that I am not on the ball as I'd like..... but some days, I really need to walk away from the computer and take care of the real world I live in. As it stands now, I am more than one month behind in shipping out a birthday present that should have arrived to the recipient by September 2nd. Thankfully, she is a forgiving friend. Yet I find myself devastated by my lack of being on top of things. That just isn't me, and never has been. I'm not sure if age has anything to do with it, but I'm not going to make any excuses for being lazy.... because it's all my own fault. Yeah, somedays are busier than others, and 24 hours can travel faster than a speeding bullet when the plate is loaded with too many tasks. I guess it's all in the category of time management.... which I seem to lack lately.

I pulled off the web altogether this past weekend, neither reading or writing, because I was deperate to have some time off to tend to the yardwork and house repairs. It seems that my house is systematically breaking down a little here and a little there. Is it no wonder they call this purchase the "money pit"? Nothing major had to be done, but a lot of little things needed tending to..... after which hubby declared that we were taking Sunday off to go to the Botanical Gardens in downtown Atlanta. Since it had been years that I've walked around the beautiful gardens, and many more exhibits had opened up, I couldn't refuse his request.... and we got extremely lucky on our choice of days. Not only were we able to see the special exhibit of mosaic statuary on loan throughout the gardens and greenhouses, but they had a trail through the forest with the most artistic scarecrows on display. Two special exhibits for the price of one! Woohoo.... a great way to make your money stretch while enjoying a free day off from the regular world. Since the day was sunny and breezy, we spent a good deal of time there, and I have to admit our lazy day wasn't wasted. And, oh my, I didn't care if the phone was ringing in the office, I needed a day to be off altogether, then waited on for lunch. I guess entitlement is a by-product of procrastination and laziness sometimes, because it sure worked well on Sunday.

But here we are.... back to the regular work week, or as hubby refers to it: back to the big house (his definition of "work"). I feel accomplished to a small extent, as many house repairs were tended to, the yard was mowed, and flowers watered..... but I still have a list to check off for things that will take more time than I allowed for them this weekend. Oh well.... there is always a tomorrow.

In the meantime, I will wonder around my links to check in on everybody.... and hope that blogger is kind enough to quite swallowing the comments I do leave. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and a great week in store ahead. How can you not when the weather has cooled down, and the leaves are slowly starting to turn their shades of red and gold? This is an amazing time of year.....