Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A measure of success -- jcarolek

Until my 20th reunion, I had never considered attending one of these affairs. I don’t like parties and I generally feel I can make better use of my time (productively). But that year, my best friend from high school was making the trip, and I decided it was worth my while just to see her. We arrived within minutes of each other, and, though we had not seen each other in at least 18 years, we fell into easy conversation, as if we’d never missed a step!

Our lives were so different from those we had “planned”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Learn how to duck! -- jcarolek

Almost two years ago I underwent surgery to repair my sinuses so that breathing through the right side would become an option. According to the CT scan, I had badly deviated septums on both sides, a bone spur that had completely cut off the right nostril and cartilage which was supposed to be anchored to bone at the base of the nose, be which was anchored to nothing. (how lovely) Now, understand, I knew nothing of all this “interesting stuff,” until they finally sent me for the CT scan after I was unable to stay free of sinus infections for any reasonable time. When the doctor told me of my three “fixes” he was curious about the cartilage one. He wondered how it had become unattached from its bony

Monday, March 26, 2007

Look in the Mirror -- jcarolek

Today I had the opportunity to drive along I-10 from Biloxi, MS, where I am staying this week, to Pascagoula, MS, where I am working this week. The drive was an easy one and gave me a bit of time to think about “stuff.”

When I was a little girl, I had a doll house. Actually, my sister and I “shared” the doll house, and honestly, I never recall playing with it. But there it sat on the dresser, the front facing the door of our bedroom.

One afternoon, during “nap time” (a time when we were

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hiding in Plain Sight -- jcarolek

My hubby and I had arrived home, a little later than usual that evening, as we had waited a few extra minutes at the babysitter’s as she was sending us home with freshly baked lasagna. So, it was dusk as I juggled the lasagna, a baby and the key, trying to unlock the front door. It took a while, but finally, the key turned in the lock and the door swung open.

Hubby, who entered first, immediately noticed things were awry.
“What the heck were you doing?” he demanded of me, when he saw the TV, stereo, etc. pulled out into the middle of the living room.

Before I had a chance to defend myself, he strode

Monday, March 19, 2007

I was fired -- jcarolek

I was 17. I had landed a job in a summer camp for rich kids in upstate New York. I would be teaching arts and crafts. My boyfriend also had a job at the same camp. He would be teaching hmmmm…I don’t actually recall, but something sports related. Both of us were hired to come up there a month early and “build the camp.” OK, so I did not get hired to come up and build the camp, but I was hired to come up and cook for the 40 guys who were hired to build the camp.

So, up we went. Those weeks spent on Lake George will

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

On the Wrong Side of the Tracks (again) -- jcarolek

We lived in a typical suburb in Bowie, MD for much of my young life. We had strict rules, because, at least in those days, it was easier to raise six kids by the RULES than to try to convince them the rules were fair, equitable, yada, yada, yada. One of the rules was "never cross the main highway, Rt. 197." Another rule was "always be within earshot of 'the bell'" Mom rang to call us in. Had we been better at complying with that rule the other would have been unnecessary.

Nevertheless, brothers Dan and Ted wanted to “get something” from the local jiffy store. Getting there,

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Snakes and Such -- jcarolek

Thank goodness we kill those black snakes that meander through the “yard” every now and then!

I, for one, am not a fan of killing snakes or anything really. But, much as I try to intervene every time one of these “horrible creatures” is discovered in “our territory,” my husband often manages to “take care of the problem” before

Friday, March 9, 2007

We may never have water again -- jcarolek

We might never have water in our pond again. It’s true. Why? Well, in September 2006, the dam, the one built after hurricane Floyd caused the old earthen dam to fail, taking with it the main “highway”, failed. This failure was due to a condition known as “piping” rather than the “over top” failure during Floyd in 1999. Nevertheless, the water flowed out and we were left with a marshy area.

Since that fatal day when Ernesto took our dam

PIGDOG -- jcarolek

My dog just let me know I needed to let her run free on the “acreage.” Nighttime is generally spent on the enclosed porch where she snoozes happily in her heated dog kennel….but….the nights are coming more and more alive….

So, she scratches at the door and I got out and do her bidding. I open the screen door and down the steps she flies, off into the woods, making the most ungodly “pig” noise!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tru it is -- fish 'n chips -- jcarolek

Friday afternoon was always my favorite when we lived in Cheltenham, England. A short bicycle ride from home in an area we called St. Marks was the small, but very busy fish and chips place. Armed with the money Mom had given me, I peddled my way to pick up that weekly bounty.

I took my turn in the queue and when I reached the counter, I announced clearly the amount of fish and chips required to feed our family of eight. Quickly, the owner wrapped the order in newspaper, held it closed with a short piece of tape, collected my offered payment and handed me my package. Peddling faster than on my trip over, I made my way home with the fish and chips, piping hot in their newspaper

Ever wonder why some people are just plain odd??? -- jcarolek

Ever wonder why some people are just plain odd? Well, I can speak only for myself and so I will. I think the root of my one odd self can be traced back to my childhood, where, as I have mentioned before, we had a monkey.

Having a monkey for a pet was fairly unique, even WAY back then. We had a dog and a cat and the guinea pigs and hamsters et al, but the monkey was the culprit in my oddity. He ate “monkey chow.” I mean, we gave him his cup of coffee (with cream and sugar) every morning and we gave him his fruits and table scraps, but all monkeys should eat Monkey Chow. And so, in the garage, was a GIGANTIC

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

When the squirrels came to play -- jcarolek

In the backyard of my house in James Store, VA, in the middle of the woods, on a little over six acres, I cleared a space for my gardens. One was to grow vegetables and the other was to be a strawberry patch.

In due time, with soil properly worked and seeds and seedlings acquired, my vision of bounty was beginning to take on a reality. I was excited. I worked hard and tended my

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Perceptions and Expectations -- jcarolek

Everything I see and everything I understand is based how I would react in similar situations. Or is it? Many times in my life I have been astounded by how others have reacted to a situation, because their reaction is so mind-boggling when compared to what “I would do.”

But, as with everything, some lessons must be learned the hard way. I must live them to KNOW how I would react. Below I have put forth real life occurrences, my anticipated reaction, and my actual reaction.

1. In 1985 my aunt called to tell me that my grandparents’