Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Monday, August 31, 2009

... and frogs, oh, my!

Every time I come to post something on my little blog -- and I do like blogging, you know. It's so much more solid than Facebook updating -- I have to try to weed through the overwhelming thoughts in my head. I could talk about anything. I mean, I really should have narrowed the scope of my blog when I started it so many years ago.

I should have made it be about clever, cutting comments that slayed lesser-than people.

Or I should have made it about quitting smoking. Oh, wait! I did that on a different blog, didn't I?

(And yes, thank you, I am celebrating two entire years without nicotine. Thank you so much for noticing! I could never have done it without Chantix.)

But seriously, I have so many things to say, I hardly know where to start and where to stop.

1. Frogs -- I have made some cards using some favorite Club Scrap frog images. They were part of the incomparable February 2009 collection entitled "Artifacts." I can't do enough with these Aztec-inspired thingamabobs!

And in other frog news, I hear a frog at the creek down the road from my house. Just one. I hope that he/she finds another frog soon, and that they make tons of tadpoles before it gets cold in a couple of months. I do like frogs.

(Bunny trail: Did you know you can buy frogs from PetSmart? I'm not sure how I feel about that, really. On the one hand, I want a frog of my own badly. On the other hand, I'm not sure they should be held captive. Unless, of course, being held captive is all that keeps them on the Earth.)

2. Trips! I'm planning a cruise with my darlin' stister Yamy! February of next year, we're taking off for the Western Caribbean. I'm so psyched! On the other hand, I feel I must quote my husband's uncle, who said upon returning from his first-ever cruise, "It was like being stuck in a bus station for a week."


On the *other* other hand, that uncle and I have absolutely nothing in common. In fact, I think he's kind of a doofus. He loves golf. Loves, loves, loves it. There you go.

But -- totally beside the point -- isn't that an amazingly descriptive phrase? "Stuck in a bus station" would be bad for an hour. A week? Oh, my. Painful.

Still, Wesley's uncle didn't have my brilliant sister with whom to cruise, and I'm pretty sure they didn't have martini clinics when he went for a spin around the Caribbean. So my cruise will be much, much more sparkling and fabulous!

Another trip? Around noon on Monday, I'm taking off from tiny little Philadelphia and running away to the North Georgia mountain town named Helen.

I love Helen.

Well, OK, I don't really love Helen, not per se, but I love North Georgia mountains. I spent my childhood summers in that part of the world. (I've already ranted recently about my fond memories of Camp Cherokee for Girls on lovely Lake Burton.) I love those mountains, I love that dirt, I love those creeks, I love that part of the world, and I miss it pretty darned badly right now.

So we're going to Helen. While we're there, I'm going to take Wesley and the kids to slide down Sliding Rock in the Wildcat Creek camping area. It's late August, so the water will be extra-special frigid, but I'm really hoping we'll be the only people there on a Monday after school has started.

I want to find a trail to hike. Which one? No idea. I just need to get some dirt and elevation in my system.

I would like to drive past camp to see if it looks OK. I don't need it to look the same, the exact same. I just need it to look OK. Someone sold off the boys' camp, and it has been parceled off into lakefront homes. That breaks my heart more than I can convey. The boys' camp had been there for well over 60 years. Now it's some rich person's trophy wife's weekend getaway.

3. Gosh, I'd like to be a rich person's trophy wife with a mansion on the lake.

4. Oh, yeah, except, I have a soul. Darn it! Darn thing keeps getting in the way of my hopes and dreams.

That's all for tonight. Isn't it enough? I hope I have photos of the trip when we get back. Bye for now!

Friday, August 21, 2009

What can you do?

I love movies.

Many years ago, there was a film that captured my mind and my heart. It was so interesting to me. Now that I'm older and more discerning, I think it was about something that I didn't even recognize when I was younger and the film was newer and fresher.

Broadcast News was touted as a romantic comedy. Or a romantic movie. Or a drama with romance. It's difficult to say.

Anyway, it's about how the news is news and shouldn't be entertainment. Or at least, that's what it is to me. Yeah, I identify with the Holly Hunter character more than I do with anyone or anything else. Except I've never scheduled my crying jags according to when I have time to cry.

At the very beginning of the movie, before things become complicated and complex, the William Hurt character as a child asks, "What can you do if all you can do is look good?" The sardonic subtitle then touts caustically, "Future Network Anchorman."


Poor good-looking dunderhead.

I am now not twenty-something. I am now not 112 pounds of excitable freshman flesh. I am not as cute as I once was, nor am I as youthful and hopeful and filled with enthusiasm as I was twenty-some years ago.

I still have the same flair with fashion that I always had, but it's harder to find garments that compliment both my age and my size as well as my taste and style. I don't want to look like Carrie from "Sex and the City;" I was always more of a Charlotte-type person, anyway. But Charlotte is perpetually slender and young. Where does she go when Charlotte grows up? There must be a place -- but it sadly is not located in Tennessee, and it is not one of the more affordable venues.

As I continue to apply for jobs and send out résumé after résumé in the vain hope of finding just one job that will take me and won't make me want to jab my eyes out with a fork, I keep coming back to -- what are my skills, exactly? What is it about me that an employer would want, anyway?

And -- gosh! I wish I could sugarcoat this more glibly! -- I keep thinking, like the William Hurt character, "What can you do if all you can do is be nice?"

I have a perfectly fine brain. It was tested a few times, and it's not a dunderhead. It's a good brain. I like it, even if math is not its main thang. It is not, under any circumstances, going to be confused with Abby Normal's brain.

But it apparently isn't wired in a completely marketable way. I can't program computers or calculate future market trends. I'm not the best person you want on your team if you're looking for "fierce and outgoing marketing and sales GENIUSES."

I can fix grammar and spelling; I can write sonnets in several rhyme patterns, and I am a diva at compliments.

But I can not be mean. I can not exclude. I am not the person you want on the phone haranguing a victim to pay his past-due bills.

I guess I am just going to have to keep looking, and I hope I am going to find something before things become dire at Chez Loftis.

After all, I was born to roll in violets every spring. I was not brought forth to bring violence to the Earth.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Breakneck speed

The summer is waning, and I am already in mourning for it, although it lingers in my neighborhood.

I know that my friends in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire lament a real summer; the Atlantic states of the U.S. have suffered an unusually wet and cold summer this year. I feel badly for them. Even though part of me wishes East Tennessee had suffered the same fate. My attitude is necessarily colored by the fact that our air conditioner didn't play nicely this year and we have spent a number of days/weeks wilting in the heat and humidity of a fairly normal East Tennessee summer.

Now the AC works. The hummingbirds are firmly entrenched in my yard and sipping from my sugar water feeder. The tomato plants are heavy with fruits that will probably not ripen before fall arrives. And yet I'm already missing the hot weather.

This summer of 2009 presented so many unusual and interesting pursuits with which to pass our time.

I have never printed up nor delivered so many résumés and cover letters to be ignored as I have this year. I have never submitted so many electronic versions of those things, either.

I have never spent so much time throwing a tennis ball for a corgi. No, seriously. Although Doris is my fifth Welsh corgi, I have never been so involved with a dog's health, happiness and well-being as I have been with Doris' this year.

I have never walked as much in my immediate neighborhood as I have this hot summer. Thank you, again, to Doris Daylily for getting me out of my comfort zone in more than a couple of ways.

In twenty-two years of marriage, I have never spent so very much time with my husband as I have in the last 11 weeks. (Eleven weeks or so. I'm not entirely sure I've done the math correctly.) We've had lovely vacations in '96, '98, and every year since then, which included two weeks together and sometimes even three weeks spent in close proximity to each other, but never, ever have we been afforded 11 entire weeks just really, really closely to the other person.

I feel... really lucky that he hasn't decided to divorce me as a direct result of all this togetherness. I really thought that by now he would have figured out I'm a narcissistic bitch, but I seem to have fooled him anyway. (Or he's decided to ignore my shortcomings for the time being. Either way, I'm grateful.)

I have never seen so many bats flying out of my next-door-neighbor's chimney as I have this year. I love every one of them, since they eat the insects that I disdain. I need to remember to tell the new owner to please not have all the bats exterminated. I really do think they do our neighborhood a service.

I have never seen an owl flying at night as I did a couple of weeks ago. It was completely silent, and if it hadn't had a white underbelly, I might never have seen it when I took Doris out for a late-night jaunt.

I have never worried so much about frogs as I do this year. And honestly, I worried about them before. I should tell a story about our 2004 vacation at Edisto Island, when I watched a badly behaved little boy stomping ... No, I can't say it. I can't. It's too awful.

I have never been so nostalgic about camp. No, that's not true. I get this nostalgic about Camp Cherokee for Girls every summer. Every single glorious summer, I think about my time on the shores of lovely Lake Burton with the Cherokee princesses of days gone by. This year, I happen to have found a few other Cherokee princesses on Facebook, and that makes me awfully nostalgic. I heard from a woman who was my counselor when I was 9 and 10. Just thinking about camp in those halcyon days before personal computers and cell phones... I could weep with longing. I wish I could go back. I wish I could braid my hair and go back. Other than Mama and the comfort of her arms, no other place on earth offered as much hominess and love as Camp Cherokee for Girls. It never changed. Yes, it did, really, but the basics of it never changed.

I would give anything to stop this breakneck race toward autumn and go back to camp. As a child or a counselor. Doesn't matter. That's how much I loved it. Every once in a while Wesley and I discuss my total lack of interest in entrepeneurial pursuits, and it's true: I really don't want to own my own business. Ever. But ... if I were going to own a business? It would have to be a girls' summer camp. Because everyone should have Woodland Fairies to sing them to sleep during summer nights. And if I could open a business that would do that? I would.


Glory to thee, my God, this night, for all the blessings of the light. Keep me, oh, keep me, King of Kings, beneath Thine own Almighty Wings.

And furthermore, Cherokee's gonna shine tonight. Cherokee's gonna shine.