Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sand Sculpture

I found these today while poking around on Webshots site. It reminds me of the Neptune Festival which is held every September in Virginia Beach and I think it's a Saturday morning when they all start their sculpting. It truly is a great experience watching the large mounds of dry/wet sand slowly transform into art.

And since I still have no idea how to put a picture inside a post even with it's own url, you'll have to unlazy yourself and click on the link. Some of them are very worth it so hurry!

I used to go to the beach's Neptune Festival every year until I moved too far away from it. I was even in the parade one year, when I was about 10 I think. My mom had this friend who we loved to visit and her then husband was in the Navy, too. She didn't have any kids of her own but that didn't stop her from being another mom to us. Perhaps that is why she loved kids so much. You tend to not want to be around other people's kids when you've got your own.

A few times we were even treated to a 1st floor hotel/motel room in honor of the festivities.

Anyway, I like to think it's held so late in the year to guarantee that most of the tourists have gone away. Virginia Beach's tourist season ends after Labor Day generally because then school starts, kids are once again relegated to classrooms and so forth.

I went to Virginia Beach for the day Saturday and part of my trip was to Sandbridge because we knew there wouldn't be gobs of people there. We were right. My friend L. and I took our nephew with us and he played in the water while poking fun at us. We stood on the very edge. Just enough to get our feet wet but nothing else.

Then I remembered someone's meme asking about smells that reminded you of the beach and I said this to my friend L., who I knew would agree with me: there is nothing that reminds me of the beach at all other than the beach itself. Sometimes things will happen that conjure up memories from trips to other beaches or interesting trips to that beach, but I can't smell seafood and immediately connect it with the drumming of waves onto shore.

You see, growing up only 15 min or so from the beach, I could go anytime I wanted, especially after I learned how to drive. Friends and I went almost daily and quickly found pieces of shoreline that were unattended by the mobs of tourists. We would go during our lunch hour, after we got off work, early in the morning before chaos was to begin, even a few times while hurricanes waited patiently offshore before deciding whether or not to attack us. Pat Robertson even prayed a few away, how nice of him.

There is no greater sight to behold than an angry ocean with a tumultuous sky looming just beyond. It will leave you awe-struck. Seriously.

I've taken my dogs for lots of walks there: Storm would fling herself into the water whereas Echo would run toward the water but, much like a little kid, as soon as she saw the water coming to greet her, ran right back to the safety of dry sand. This was her idea of playing with the ocean, not in. Shia never cared either way but loved helping herself to all the people around us. (No, I did not take them all at once by myself, I'm not totally nuts.)

Then there was the time when I called up some friends I knew, piled them all into my '78 Ford Fairmont with surfboards attached on top and spent the day at the beach. The guys surfed while my friend Robin and I talked or read our books. When we got up to go to the bathroom I think it was, we discovered hundred's of ladybugs flying around. Apparently they had choosen the highly populated area to mate. Ladybugs were in our bathing suits, in our hair, crawling up our arms and it is something I have not experienced since.

Once I turned 21, friends and I would hit The Block. The smell of the ocean was always there and on warm summer nights, we'd visit the beach before and after the bars. I even had a guy ask me once if I needed a chaperon and another jump off the pier only to run up to me and ask me what my sign was. I think he gave me a flower, too, but I'm not sure.

Sandbridge was originally built on a large sandbar but with hurricanes and strong northeasters blowing through, the beach had all but disentegrated. I think it was 1997 or 1998 when the last hurricane blew through. I lived in an apartment then, much closer to Norfolk. It was only a Category 2 (that is when I decided that I was leaving if anything stronger came our way) and I remember seeing some of the houses in Sandbridge toppled into the water. (Driving around looking at the "after" was just as eerie because it's so calm and clear after so much destruction.) There was no beach anymore and suddenly, beachfront property had become oceanfront property. They spent over $2 million to dredge up sand only to have it wash away again. Why they thought a sandbar was a great place to build on, I'll never know. Now they are just trying to save it but our past still dictates our future and a Water World we may one day be.

So I think what this means is nothing can quite remind me of the ocean's characteristic's but the ocean's characteristic's can remind me of other things that have happened in my life.

All these memories make me realize that so much of my life has been spent at the beach.

The beach doesn't look anything like it used to though. They've built a new boardwalk, massive concrete bulkheads with beautiful ocean scenery etched into them and dredged up so much sand from the ocean the beach is now 3 times wider than I remember it being when I was a kid. You can no longer curse, excessively honk your horn, yell out your window, hang out your window, drive passed the same spot 3 times within 1 hour, spit your gum out onto the sidewalk, etc.

They do have "sidewalk acts" in the summer months though. The tourist guide people want Virginia Beach to be a "family-friendly" place and so far they are succeeding. Except when the bikers come to town that is, ;).

Still, I couldn't imagine being too far inland and my mom has even told me she couldn't imagine me being landlocked. She's right. As much as I love the mountains, the beach is my home and hopefully I'll be able to go back someday.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I've been writing down each and every book I buy (for the most part as I'm sure I've missed a few) so that I wouldn't end up with 2's and 3's of things (such as The Poisonwood Bible for instance).

Well folks, the numbers are in: I have 353 books right now sitting in my room. I had absolutely no idea I owned that many. I know I'm missing a few in my count because friends L. and C. have some and so does my mom. In fact, my mom and I just switched books this evening. She now has one of my Anne Lamott books and I have the latest from Sue Monk Kidd.

I know I have 353 books because I just finished typing every single one of them into an excel spreadsheet so I'd have a much easier time, as they are now in alpha order by author's last name, looking up each one in hopes that I will not buy multiples again. It's what happens when you own too many books and have read at least half of them.... ; )
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I'm back.

I got back from the conference Thursday afternoon but so much has been running through my head I didn't (and still don't) know where to begin. I did some work on that essay but it's not finished yet. I'm hoping to get it up today or at least by Thursday. So much to think about and say!

I spent the night at my friend C.'s house last night so I didn't get to watch the news this morning as I usually do while getting dressed and ready for work. So I didn't get to hear that Shrub is coming to my neighborhood to speak to the 30,000 or so Boy Scouts that have descended upon us once again. I think I will just have to miss it. Oh. Darn.

But I also didn't realize 4 Troop leaders electrocuted themselves yesterday. They had erected their tent directly into the path of a low-lying power line. Somewhat in their defense, the lines are black and can hide in trees fairly well.

I'm not going to repeat what I said to my friend S. this morning (she was the one who informed me that it had happened) because it really was a cruel statement to make. I know it could have been an honest mistake because there is a street that I occassionally park on and one part of the sidewalk has a black wire that hangs really low. The first time I walked down the path, I almost didn't notice the wire because hey, who expects it to be that dangerously low? I'm not sure if it belongs to the power or phone company, but do I really want to take that chance? Um, no, not really. But I almost walked right into it, that's how low it is.

So, in all fairness to my earlier stupid comment, it could have quite easily been a mistake of judgement and distance. Also, who would think to look when you'd hope the Army guys who designated that space for tents would have made sure it was clear and safe to begin with?

Having said all that, I'm sorry 4 guys had to learn the hard way and that 2 more are severely injured. I'm sorry that a wife had to lose her husband and a daughter/son had to lose their dad in something so easily preventable. (I would include partner here but since we're talking about the Boy Scouts, we need not worry about gay men as they aren't allowed to be a Scout or Scout leader: couldn't resist ;)
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Thursday, July 14, 2005


This morning, I stopped at the local Shell to put $20 worth of gas into my tank. There were 2 county buses there along with various men in either cop or security guard uniforms. I'm thinking they were the latter since I don't remember seeing any guns and they were filling up at least 10-15 red containers with gas.

On the back window of my car, I now have various stickers on the window: Every mother is a Working Mother; Behind Every Successful Woman is Herself; If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?; Russ Potts for Governor; God is Not a Republican or a Democrat; Kerry/Edwards (yep, still have it on there); Sexism is a Social Disease (sadly, I can't find this on the website now). I have a Human Rights Campaign "Equal Sign" on one side window and another Equality Virginia "Equal" sign on the other.

One of the securty guys went in to pay (or something) while the other made small talk with me and Peanut. That part was okay. It's when we came out from paying that he started hitting on me, therefore turning an okay situation into a not-okay one.

Notice again the stickers above that are on my back window.

"I like the stickers on your window there."

"Which ones?" I started smiling because I have been anticipating comments on my stickers since I put them on.

"All of 'em. It shows you have strength and confidence. I like to see that." Or something to that effect.

I simply popped my head into Peanut's open door, buckled him in, closed his door and got into my own. I was chuckling the entire time because this guy thought he could appeal to me through my stickers. The one that said, "Sexism is a Social Disease" was nearly in his face.


He called, "Have a good day," as I got into the car. I stuck my hand out and waved. Peanut liked the guys because they were wearing cop-like uniforms. I exercise extreme caution whenever I see two young men together, uniforms or no, especially when I am with Peanut.

I've already discerned a long time ago that I'm most likely not going to get any dates by meeting random people on the street even though that's how lots of other people do it. I'm always wondering what their hidden agenda is and usually can't get past the cheesy lines they use.

Perhaps the guard was calling me a bitch to his friend as I drove away and/or his friend was chuckling at his failed attempt to hook up with me...I don't care either way because I don't talk to strange men when my son is with me. It's sort of like picking up a stray dog while Peanut is in the car: it's too risky because you don't know their history or how they will behave.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Just so you all know, I'm not purposely avoiding my blog, I've been busy. You see, I help coordinate this Conference that my mom used to do for about 15 years that I now have done for the past 3. I leave on Friday to go to this Conference, or rather, to officially start setting up for it. So I've been busy this week and last getting housing and workshop space assignments done, changing them around at least once a day since finishing, etc. Not to mention the last minute registrants who want rooms and their workshop choices.

And I've been trying to get the company my sister works for out to the house that I now volunteer for (who has a husky rescue) to put up a quad kennel. They are doing it for free yet not really because nothing is ever totally free.

I have had a post running around in my head for quite some time. The visit with MLK, III sparked the idea and a conversation with my Special Friend has fueled it. The post is going to be something with regards to Privilege (yes, with a capital P) and why sometimes, "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand," can sometimes be a valid explanation.

I am going to use my time at Shrine Mont sitting around with a notebook, writing thoughts and formulating an outline to what will become an essay most certainly. I also need to get a few resources like a woman by the last name of MacIntosh who created her own White Women Privilege Checklist.

So I'll be talking with you all soon and who knows, maybe I'll post something tomorrow or Friday before I leave officially saying ciao.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Bad things happen in them. Sometimes you can multiple's of three's in just a few short days.

Yesterday I was talking on the phone to someone for work stuff (at work) and put my lunch in the mircowave at the same time. Apparantly I hit 60.00 instead of 6.00 and did not realize this until 30min later. I can't always here the mircowave beep so I had figured it stopped at its appointed 6 min.

Nope. Lunch was burnt to a crisp and my office stunk of burnt food all day yesterday and still somewhat smells today. I just finished cleaning out the microwave hoping that it would alleviate some of the smell.

Then yesterday afternoon I was over at the Husky rescue helping out in the yard when I moved the garbage bag and sliced the top of my foot open, just below my big toe on my right foot. Wonderful.

But that is not all! Last night around 11:45pm I bent down to pick up some stuff off the floor in my room. What ended up happening is my right eye running into the end of a small metal pole, the kind you stick lawn ornaments in the ground with. These poles were in fact attached to Flamingo's that are going to Shrine Mont with me on Friday afternoon. I had put them in the corner the other night to store them so I wouldn't forget them. It appears that I did.

So not only do I have a swollen eyelid, I have a very sore eyelid with a large red gash in it just below my brow next to the bridge of my nose. Upon inflicting myself with immense pain, I ran into the bathroom to look myself over. Yep, it most definitely could have been worse but I'm thanking goddess it is not.

What was so funny about it was that I had called my friend L. again to tell her to find out the name of the breeder that gave my ex husband's friend a puppy that is only 5 weeks old and turn him in. It's against the law in Virginia to separate a puppy from his mommy before 10 weeks.

While I was waiting for her to get to the phone is when I stabbed myself.

This morning I left my cell phone at home but only realized it 15 min into my journey. Since I'm picking a friend up at the airport this afternoon, I needed it. I turned back around, got it, then tried heading to Richmond again.

Of course I left said cell phone in the car on the front seat.

And then I got to work and quickly realized my period started a full week early. You could set your clock by my menses cycle so it's weird that it's early. I am thankful that I won't have to worry about it while at Shrine Mont though.

But tonight I have to go home and rearrange room assignments and workshop spaces. Again. Geesh.

I leave Friday afternoon at 1pm and this madness will be almost over Monday night once people settle into their rooms to sleep. Then it's smooth sailing!

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Thomas Cannon: 1925-2005

There isn't much that needs to be said about a man who barely made $20,000 a year but gave over $156,000 in his lifetime to poor communities and those who helped them.

Read the article and then listen to the message he left behind. He had taped his own eulogy so there wouldn't be any bad messages or distaste left in peoples' mouths over what someone else said.

*sigh* He was a great man.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Heee's Baaacccckkkkk.

I have Peanut in my possession once again. Yay! I met his dad bright and early Sunday morning to beat the traffic and not wait another day to get my beautiful baby boy back from the evil clutches of his severely fucked up father.

Sunday morning my 5 year old prodigy taught me how to play chess using his brand new Star Wars set that had been purchased from Super K-Mart that same morning. (A parting gift from his dad. I keep telling him that with all the money he spends on toys for Peanut, he could have bought an entire wardrobe instead. He doesn't see it.)

Granted I beat my son in my first time ever playing chess, but it really was amazing how my child was teaching me, his mom. He was also desperate for a playing partner. And it's really not that hard to figure out either. His dad takes all the credit for Peanut's ability to play chess, even though it was a guy at Peanut's after school program that taught him. Whatever.

I'm also realizing that Peanut did not have the best diet while at his dad's house either. When I picked him up Sunday morning, he was gorging himself on a large box of Reese's Puffs cereal. EWWW! This is a cereal I would not have ever bought for him as it has almost zero nutrtitional value and is compiled of glazed peanut butter balls. Wonderful. Not only do I have that box of the crappy cereal, but his dad bought him an even bigger box. I'm assuming it was to make sure Peanut had enough cereal to last him the week.

Also, Peanut no longer wants to drink any milk. When I gave him to his father for 2 weeks, the kid had to have his 1 glass of milk in the morning or he got very upset. Now I have to bribe him.

I can also tell Peanut was spoiled and allowed to get away with a lot more at his dad's house. I was prepared for it since it's happened in the past, but I also know of some stories where extreme favortism was enjoyed by Peanut while his cousin, who is now 11, was pretty much ignored. My ex-husband hasn't quite figured out this whole parenting thing yet and treats his biological son much different than his nephew even though he has been entrusted with the care of his nephew for the summer.

My friend L, who lives with him 'til I move out on my own next year, told me of an evening where he (ex-husband) fixed himself spaghetti and when she asked what was for dinner, he replied, "I'm having spaghetti, I don't know what you all are having." This is the man I have to give my son to every other 2 weeks and then every other weekend during the school year. And then he wonders why I said I did not trust him.

But I'm happy because Peanut is with me until next Thursday, when his father and I meet again for another round of a hellish 2 weeks. Thank goodness I'll be occuppied some of the time with being up in Northwestern Virginia at Shrine Mont. Or I think I'd go nuts again.

Today I had to leave him at the summer program he will be attending while he's with me and I felt so sad because he felt so sad. It's mornings like today that I just want to take him and hold him close to me forever and ever. All of this is foreshadowed by the fact that I have to give him back next Thursday.

I can't wait for summer to be over.
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Friday, July 01, 2005

Your turn

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Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring. I was hoping Rehnquist would because he's not on my side anyway, but with O'Connor retiring, too, this means our 5-4 lead reitres with her.

so FUCK!

If Bush has his way people, we'll be living a real live Handmaid's Tale.

Like Dr.B. said, I'm leaving to have a panic attack now.
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