Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pajama Party ...

     Normally Thanksgiving is such a big to do around here, all the cleaning and prepping and cooking for dozens of guests. This year we brought it back to the basics (well sort of). Only 6 of us here. My niece Brittney came home from college, my Sister, my Brother in Law, Mom, Dad and Me.


     Mom set the table in it's most festive fall attire, a far cry from the simple table my grand mother set 40 years ago.


    This year the table was the only thing fussy (besides the food), the goal was to celebrate simplicity and not to over do.

     So ... we decided on a sleep over, a pajama party if you will. We really like "pajama parties" I've posted photos before, like this one. 


      On Wednesday night we all just hung out together, fixed a quick amazing meal grilled fillet minion incrusted with blue cheese and steamed snow crab legs (actually more worthy of giving thanks for than the bird and fixings to follow).

     After dinner, we settled down for the viewing of the old 8mm family film we had transferred to DVD after it's 40 year stay in the garage.

     It was fun to watch the old movies, I highly recommend this to anyone with rolls and rolls of family history on film just laying around. Back then there was no excuse needed, celebrating in our pajamas was common place. 


     On Thursday we watched the wet Parade with low flying floats and we all pitched in to cook our family Thanksgiving favorites, we didn't even get dressed (or shower) until after dinner. It's possible we may have carried the laid back and relaxed thing a little to far                  

     Obviously the dress code did not make for many special photo opps and the ones I did take were not very flattering so ... I guess I won't post.


      I do want to say however ... that one person (who shall remain nameless) had on flannels with Lobster Santas, Shrimp, Sea Horses and Crabs (it wasn't me). Admittedly I was a wee bit jealous so ... I'm starting my search now for the perfect pair for Christmas. Thinking seriously about these pink flamingos ... not really sure yet!


     Sooooo many PJ's to choose from!

     Whether simple or elaborate ... I hope you had plenty to be thankful for like we did this Thanksgiving.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

What a year ...

     Training classes, staff meetings and conference calls have dominated my life this year. Two career moves (luckily within the company I have worked with for years) but still career moves. New things to learn, new things to do ... I've hardly had time to hear my own thoughts about anything besides work all year.


     Painting ... photography ... learning to play my guitar ... are all things that I've had to place on the back burner and reading and writing here in J-Land has become something I seldom have time to do.


     I am starting to get settled in now and I think the largest part of the learning curb is behind me now (at least the most stressful part anyway). I expect to start having more time to myself again within the next two or three weeks. I can't wait.


     I took these photos last weekend. My friend Karen (you know ... the clown) just bought a new camera so we went on a field trip so I could help her break it in.


     Plan on doing a lot more of that with her in the near future. It's great to be out and about alone camera in hand, but ... it's always more fun with a friend.


     Hope all is well here in J-Land, I have 325 unread alerts in my in box. I hate that.


Sunday, October 1, 2006



   My Arizona trip was short and sweet, it was the perfect blend of business and pleasure considering time restraints. Not sure why my training was only 4 days as opposed to the usual 2 weeks that everyone else gets, but lucky for me Lisa was really detailed in her instruction.

     The Phoenix office was great, very organized and in compliance. They actually service both Phoenix and Las Vegas from there, it was a great environment to learn in.

     Also lucky for me ... Lisa's husband made himself quite available to us at lunch time and after work he made sure I got to at least see a cactus or two as well as a casino and dinner most nights.

     Every now and then along our journey, people cross our path and instantly we know that they are our friends, our people, you know ... those that become like family. That happened to me in Arizona.  Thanks Lisa and Robert, I look forward to sharing my beaches with you if ever you are in South Florida and ... I will make sure you get to see the alligators and iguanas!

     I got home on Friday night, would like to have stayed another week to finish training but with so much to do in our office, it is probably best that I'm there on Monday morning. Plus ... this way I didn't really have to adjust to the 3 hour time difference and the very, very dry weather at 102 + degrees in late September.

      BTW ... I did not get to take very many photos while I was away. The few that I did take, I was not all that pleased with so ... the graphic above is a watercolor I painted of a sunset I watched just out side of Phoenix on Wednesday. Pretty colors there!




Saturday, September 23, 2006

Changes ...


     I leave for phoenix tomorrow, part of the training process for the new position I'm taking with US. Remodelers I've worked for them for about 10 years now and have held quite a few different titles. So  ... here we go again.

     I am "officially" no longer on the sales team and I am now training to work with install. No longer on commission only, (Thank God) and for the first time in 10 years, I have weekends off. Yep... I'll be going from a 6 day work week to a 5 day work week. When you do the math that comes out to an extra 52 days off a year ... that's something like 7 extra weeks, right? Woo Hoo!

    More details when I get back next weekend!. Oh ... and about the iguanas, I did see two large ones when I stopped by last week, still not sure what's going on (maybe nothing) but obviously where there are two there will be many. They are prolific little things.

                                   *** Coy ***

Friday, September 15, 2006

A bit disturbing ...

     Yesterday I was in the area, near where the iguanas live. It was getting kind of late but I decided to stop by anyway, it's been weeks since I've paid them a visit. See them HERE and HERE.

     This was the first time I stopped by so late in the day and was more than a little surprised to find that there was not a single iguana to be found. NOT ONE!

    I've visited them at different times of day. Sometimes it seems that there are hundreds, sometimes only a dozen or so. But None???

     I decided to chalk it up to being there at the wrong time of day, that is until I got back in my car and noticed a new sign.

     It's big and it's red, don't know how I could have missed it to begin with.


     I hope they didn't do what I think they could have done to my iguanas! I'm not going to let myself get upset "YET." Tomorrow I'll stop by during the day to check up on them, I'll let you know how it goes.

   BTW ... I know it's been a while since I've updated, so much going on with my job. Don't have the (well what ever it takes) to write about it right now, let's just say it has something to do with both "Visine, get the red out" and "I heard that some diamonds just fell into your lap." Sorry for being so vague, it's just like most people, my job is quite important to me and when all is not going as well as expected, it can really be stressful.

     More about it later, just know that everything is ok now but this has been a really looooong 2 weeks. Happy weekend all, I'll let you know about the iguanas.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So much to do about nothing ...

    this time!  

   Obviously the biggest news in my little corner of the world over the past few days has been Ernesto. Although we expect these storms (they are common place here) we still have a little preparing to do when we know one is on it's way.

   Shutters up, gas tank full, ice and plenty of drinking water. Canned foods, flash light, candles, and a radio with batteries ... check, check, check, check, check                                

    One final grocery store run for extra toilet paper, paper plates, napkins and maybe some fun hurricane snacks. Then a plan to simply settle in and enjoy a relaxing hurricane day or two. This is sort of our way of making up for the snow days that we don't get here in South Florida.


    There is never any real way to tell just how severe the storm will be when it finally gets here, this time we're just getting a lot of rain and some wind. Of course I am in no way disappointed that Ernesto did not turn into a hurricane, but this so much to do about nothing, is actually quite inconvenient.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Today ...

     we start preparing for Ernesto. But yesterday was the most perfect, perfect, perfect day in paradise.


     One day weekends ... sometimes they are enough. OK, so they never really will be enough but, sometimes that one single day can be so perfect that nothing else really matters.

     Story and more photos to come if I can find the time to post them. Have a good week ahead, and if you are in the projected path of this storm, be safe.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Anniversary ...

     I was not able to make it last night to join in on all the anniversary festivities but I was thinking about all of you.

     I originally designed this hand made graphic for J-Lands First Anniversary Celebration. It won a contest for the cover of the Haiku Journal. You can see the original graphic and Ku HERE.

     This past year has been full of so many ups and downs because of the whole banner ads fiasco with AOL. It was devastating at best (at least for me) when so many of our friends and neighbors decided to leave this community but somehow we have managed to survive and even to thrive.

     Even though I am really busy these days and have less time than ever to read and write here, I am still very grateful to be part of this little community we still call J Land.  

     I also want to say how nice it was to have some of our old friends pay us a visit over the past few days like Vivian, CarlySteven  and Patrick to name a few. I hope they will always feel welcome here and who knows ... now that AOL will be offering their services for free, maybe we will start seeing some of our favorite writers return. 



Friday, August 18, 2006

Kaizen ...

    Japanese for constant improvement. <- click


     A culture that understands the impact that continuously making tiny refinements can have on the quality of business and on the quality of life.

     A concept worth exploring further.



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Overcoming the fear ...

of making a wrong decision. I'm about 90 days or so into my new job. Making a real decision, a real commitment to change the entire direction of your small but stable and for the most part stress free life, is never easy.

     Today I'm contemplating the amount of pain one has to endure in order to reach the pleasure of the big payoff. I'm sure this next year will be filled with many ups and downs as I'm learning the ropes. I've just got to focus on remaining flexible enough to change my strategies when necessary.                                                                                                           


     I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence and pains be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures.

                              Michael Montaigne.


     Any thoughts about this whole pleasure and pain concept?



Monday, August 7, 2006

Don and Vincent ...

    Nothing new ... this song and painting just happen to be on my mind, thought I'd share.

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...
                                                        Lyrics: Don McLean

Saturday, August 5, 2006

The more things change ...

       The more things stay the same. Because some of you have asked about the purple passion guy ... It's not that it's any big secret or anything, I just make it a practice to write mostly about myself here at Rain and not about my family or friends. (Well, except for maybe Mandy, I think she secretly likes reading about herself here.)

      The purple passion guy is my friend David, he's the closest friend that I have. You know ... like a best girlfriend that you have to discuss every single detail about every single thing in your life with as well as all world issues both current and old.

     We've known each other for nearly 10 years, our friendship is so close and so deep that it's difficult to even imagine how we would get by a single day without it and ... sometimes it's easy to mistake that for love. I don't really think that it is, but sometimes I want it to be so badly that I can think of little else. This is a huge part of my current stuck at status quo issues.  

     It's way past time to make some changes. We will no doubt stay friends until the end of time (we may need each other when we're old) but I know that out there somewhere there has to be more and how am I ever going to find it if I keep letting him take up all the space where someone else should be?

     Below is a reprint from last November, it's one of the few entries I've posted about David over the years and it's also the reason I sometimes refer to him as the Purple Passion guy.

     I don't think he reads Rain very often, and hope that if he were to run across this entry that he would not be to offended. He certainly knows how much time I spend writing here and I guess it's possible he could be one of the secret lurkers that reads and never comments. He doesn't really have to read though, he knows about everything I write here, even before I write it.

    Come to think about it, David is actually the one that told me about AOL J's, 2 1/2 years ago. The first journal I ever read here was Slo Mo I started Rain thevery same day and the rest is history as they say.

    There ... I've said it and if I regret it after I post it, there is always the delete option I suppose. Actually it sort of feels good to write about what's really on my mind, I feel better already. Thanks for asking about this tonight Ash.




Purple Passion ...

Old friends, paths crossed, tentative thoughts of possibility.

Entwined hands, awkward kiss, passion grows, valentine.

Gratifying small talk, struggling hearts. Daring to live, love, laugh and trust again.

Opening up and then closing the door, the good bad and ugly, being fully understood.

Hope grows, as the unknown becomes familiar and then adored.

Giving and taking, wanting more, succumbing to passion yet two years later still somewhat reserved.

 Sometimes helpless and hopeless, other times in complete control. I love you is spoken, but is it really heard?

Vulnerable hearts wanting nothing more than to love and be loved, but not quite prepared to surrender.

Cosmic courtship of Venus and Mars, discontentedly accepting the silence and preparing to dance solo in the rain.

Purple Passion!


Update on ...

        Discontentment and Status Quo!

     Nothing has changed, actually everything is just about the same. Can't shake the feeling that there is something really, really important I'm supposed to be doing, but no matter how hard I search I can't figure out what it is.

     In the mean time ... I'm getting some really great iguana shots. I stop by quite often now that I know where they are and I'm starting to run into other people there that make frequent visits as well. 


        Awww ... just look at those faces. No two are exactly the same.





Monday, July 31, 2006

Gone Fishin ...

     One ugly stick, a couple of hooks, a box of night crawlers I bought from a vending machine at Wall Mart and off I went.


     Actually I was just planning to stop by to see the iguanas first. I did bring a fresh head of Romaine Lettuce and some Red Grapes in hopes of coaxing them over for a bit of lunch and an upclose photoshoot. But when I got there ...


     one of the first things I noticed was that someone had dropped off 30 or 40 loafs of bread as well as several melons and other assorted fruit.

     The next thing I noticed was that who ever the well intended stranger was that was feeding the wildlife, left several loafs of the bread inside the plastic wrapper. This can't be good ... actually it could be down right dangerous if some ravenous critter decided to eat the bread, wrapper and all. 

     I took the loafs out of their wrappers and felt like leaving a note (but didn't) asking that the feeders be more careful next time.


     There were actually several people fishing where the iguanas live ... several people fishing means very few iguanas around as you might imagine.


     Anyway ... I ventured a little farther than I did last time looking for my green friends and I did find a few. I also saw several curly tailed swifts which have also taken up residence there (swifts are also not natives). And then ...


     I saw something that I have not seen in the wild since I was a little girl, it was a manatee. (yes, Mort ... they really do exist)Normally the winter time is when manatees come inland to warm up. They especially tend to congregate near electrical plants where the waters are at there warmest. Was very surprised to see one in July.

     The two photos below are the best I could do because it stayed just under the surface of the water, moving towards the bank a time or two to take a breath.

     Not sure if these guys are territorial, or if they just keep moving but I do intend to ask around and to check back myself from time to time to see if it frequents this place.


     I did not intend to do any fishing in this location but when I saw the manatee and noticed the other people fishing, I thought I could break in my new rod and reel and wait to see if the manatee came back at the same time.



     It's been years since I've gone fishing, and really had to sike myself up in advance preparing to put the worms on the hook but the one thing I forgot to take into consideration was the chore of taking the fish off the hook once you caught something.

     The steep bank, shallow water and lot's of dead branchy things for the line to get caught up on did not exactly make for the most inviting location but what really caused me to cut the adventure short was all the little brim that would find themselves on the end of my hook the second I threw it into the water.

     Five or six of these guys in a row, needing to be removed from my hook and released back into the water was enough fun for one outing. This is one thing that was much more fun when my x husband was around.

     I'll try it again soon, but next time I plan to fish off the boardwalk at Loxahatchee sitting on a nice clean park bench instead of in the more primitive setting where the iguanas live.

     My one day vacation is over, it's Monday and time to get back to work. Don't forget our journals anniversary coming up soon. Stop by and visit Viviane HERE to find out how to take part.