Sunday, March 12, 2017
Even this lovely drive along what's literally called Scenic Highway would get old day in and day out. These pictures, taken out my car window, don't do justice to the beauty and diversity of my drive along the causeways and waterways, the mansions and hilltop overlooks, the moors found in Milton. And right now, the azaleas are blooming everywhere. It's breathtaking.
I'm not big on change. I like listening to the same songs in the same order when I run the same course, I like eating the same breakfast every morning (cheerios and cherries with soy milk -- weird, I know), and settling into writing with the same routine of computer games. (I wrote a short piece about my writing process, See the post here.)
On my drive to work, though, one of my favorite things to do is look for new things. One house has two dog statues that look completely real, but they can't be; they haven't moved in all this time. I've named them Liz and Eddie. During the holidays someone had a 20-foot blow-up of Rudolph's Abominable Snowman in their front yard. There's no telling what's going on at the gold house with it's fountains and Bentleys!
Although I'm watching countless home improvements and new construction, what makes me happiest are the little touches I notice. A new planting area, a tire swing from a tree, a holiday wreath on the door.This is a beautiful world because people are making it beautiful, and I challenge you to find that beauty along the roads you travel.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
|Cali's Baptist Seminary|
What follows is an excerpt from my book about the Plaza de Caycedo:
|Plaza de Caycedo|
Cali's downtown streets swarmed with people as we headed toward the park to sit on thick concrete benches under towering palm trees. Some Colombians were dressed for work, moving quickly past us, while others relaxed with their friends in jeans and T-shirts.
"That looks fun," I said, pointing to a group kicking a soccer ball around.
"Yeah." Aunt Rosie leaned back and closer her eyes. "Do you realize, Josie, we could be anywhere in the whole world?"
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know; it just seems like people are the same wherever you go. Every city has a park for people to hang out in, and it usually has a statue of an important person in the middle." She opened her eyes and pointed to the bronze image of a man clutching a flag. "Who is that, anyway?"
"I'll go find out." I jumped up to read the plaque. Returning, I told her the statue was of a man who helped Cali gain its freedom from Spain. The park had been a public market in the 1600s.
As cathedral bells rang out, I looked around the old park with new eyes, wondering how much -- or how little -- had changed in three centuries. When the bells finally stopped chiming, I pulled out my camera to take pictures.
"I'm glad you like your new camera," Aunt Rosie said.
"Maybe I'll become a photographer for National Geographic one day." I took a picture of the statue with palm trees behind it, then one of the soccer ball flying in the air. "I'll travel the world, visiting all those parks."
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Sunday, January 29, 2017
First, I woke up to a 3x5 inch picture of my face on the cover of the Lifestyles section of my local Gulf Breeze News, and no, it's not a mug shot! Thanks to Lisa Newell, who told my town about The Existence of Pity. My daughter said people were congratulating her in the high school halls.
Then, at 2:31 pm, I got a message from The Book Doctors. They had written an article about me and put it in The Huffington Post. Yeah, you read that right, THE Huffington Post!
But my luck didn't stop there. My older daughter and I were traveling that day, heading to her home for six months in Virginia. (She's taking a gap semester and serving AmeriCorps at a beautiful state park.) On our way through North Carolina, we stopped at Red Adept Publishing and I got to meet Lynn McNamee, the woman who made my dream of publishing a book come true. Her dog Cody is adorable, and so is Louie!
Now THAT'S what I call a red-letter day, so of course I had to buy a lottery ticket. And guess what?? I didn't win. But I still feel so lucky, and grateful!
Once more with the links to the two articles: Gulf Breeze News and The Huffington Post.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Saturday, December 24, 2016
|NAS Lighthouse, Chris Zokan's Photos|
I'm a Retail Merchandiser for Hallmark, which means I take care of Hallmark cards in eight locations -- mostly grocery stores and drug stores. Each week I go to my stores, find my boxes in the stockroom, and put the products on display. It's definitely a part-time job because these are mindless tasks that take a few hours per store -- until Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas roll around.
But even in the busiest season, to a shopper walking by it looks like I'm just organizing cards. Actually, I'm off in my own little world, thinking about the next book I'm writing, the scene that hasn't come together yet, the characters who are telling me what they want to do. It's my lighthouse job, and the only problem I've come across is getting so lost in thought I've almost jumped out of my skin when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
Here's a link to Einstein's thoughts on the service of lighthouses: http://blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencecareers/2011/01/an-interview-wi.html
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Seventy-seven young men, journalists, and flight crew members died. Only six survived. Colombia and Brazil are still in shock as they grieve the tragic loss. Atletico Nacional, Medellin's soccer team, has made it clear they hope the South American Football Confederation declares Chapecoense the champions of the 2016 South American cup.
Hearing this sad news reminded me of two other memorably horrific accidents. In a post (on September 2014) about a trip to Colombia with my oldest brother, I write about one. "Soon we will see the Andes, and I push the tragic memory of Flight 965 carrying Ariel Felton and Catalina del Corral out of my mind. That flight, and those school friends, didn't make it over the mountains in 1995."
And there’s the crash in 1972, when a Uruguayan plane crash-landed in the Andes carrying a rugby team to Chile. Sixteen of the 45 passengers survived and were rescued more than two months after the crash.
Here's an excerpt about it from The Existence of Pity.
“Why did everyone on the plane cross themselves and clap when we landed?” Aunt Rosie asked, setting her bag down by the car.
Mom’s hand hovered over the handle for a moment before she opened the door. I knew what she was thinking: South Americans never took flying over the Andes lightly. A few years earlier, a jet had collided into the mountains, stranding the few survivors on the treacherous peaks for over two months before they were rescued.
“They always clap like that,” Aaron told her with a casual smile. “They’re just glad to be on land again.”
“Well, I’m glad to be on land, too,” Aunt Rosie said.
I hated to admit it, but my brother knew how to smooth things over.
The Andes, so magnificent, so deadly. A Chilean saying is, “The Andes don’t give back what they take.” My heart goes out to the loved ones of those who died, and to the soccer community as a whole. This team will be sorely missed.