Monday, December 24, 2007

My Weekend in NOLA - Photo Slide Show

I'll blog more details about the trip later -
but for now here's my weekend in pictures!

Wishing you & your loved ones... a very..

Friday, December 21, 2007


I'm in a rediculously giddy mood today lol so I'm going to drown my blog in happy videos =) But they're great and make you feel good.. so watch them!!

Love, Joy, Peace & Hope

New Years Resolutions

I've never been one for making New Year's Resolutions.. I always thought, why wait for the new year to do what I can do today... I still think that way. But this year has been a big year for me, I've learned a lot about myself, life, love, hope, despair, happiness, joy, determination and many other things and I've decided that this year.. I have some resolutions to make. I have some changes that I choose to see transform from "what ifs" in my head to becoming "what IS" in my life. I've read some books by author Neale Donald Walsch over the past few months that have completely transformed my way of thinking.

The funny thing is.. the ideas in the book, the revelations, the motivations.. are all things I've thought for as long as I can remember. They were also things I always thought could never truly be, just hoped for. That has changed... I've allowed myself to be opened to an incredible world of possibility - a world where really believing something is possible is enough, nay MORE than enough to make it not only possible, but so.

One of the things in the books I've read that really stands out to me is the power of words. The power of their effect not only on others when spoken by you, but the effect that self spoken words have. I've struggled for as long as I can remember with depression, I've never really persued medical treatment or taken medication. I've gone to therapy here and there, but I've always been one of those people who believed that admitting I didn't have total and complete control over my life and my emotions was the same as admitting failure. And as a perfectionist with a mild case of OCD (obessive compulsive disorder) failure was not an option.

What I've come to realize is that no one is ever completely in control. We like to feel that we are, we like to give the impression to others, and to ourselves that we are, but in reality having everything totally, completely "under control" isn't entirely possible. What we CAN have under control though is our own response.. to the things we do have under control, the things we "think" we have under control, and the things we have absolutely no control over at all. As an intelligent, emotionally motivated human being I CAN control how and even IF I allow things to directly effect myself, my feelings, my mood and my life. There's a section in the book I'm reading now, "Friendship with God", that says that one of the ways to achieve true mastery over life - is to decide HOW you will react to a circumstance BEFORE it occurs.

For someone who's unexplainably more often sad that not, and always wishing she "could feel different" that's earth shattering. If what the speaker is saying in this book is real.. and possible, then everytime I've been sad, upset, hurt, angry, and any other emotion that I've felt as a reaction to something that's occurred in my life or something I felt someone "did" to me, I could have simply CHOSEN to feel another way. I know it's one thing to hear something like that.. you think sure.. that's easier said than done. No one WANTS to be angry, or hurt, or sad.. Everyone would CHOOSE to be happy and joyful all the time if they could... right? I mean wouldn't they?

Crazy as it may sound.. I'm thinking.. no.. more often than not they wouldn't. Why? Well because if we didn't feel hurt and angry when our boyfriend, husband, wife, cheated on us then we wouldn't have any "right" to say mean things to them, or to talk bad about them to our family, or expect other people to not like them because we were angry and hurt. I personally am not guilty of this one example - I went the extreme in the opposite direction actually - I simply accepted that what had happened happened, forgave him and went blindly on for many more months thinking things would work out, but it was the first example that came to mind. Something the key speaker in "Friendship with God" says is that as people, humans, a culture, a society in general we thrive on drama. Any kind of drama. He said this so I'm angry drama. She did that so I'm hurt drama. That friend wasn't there the way I thought they should be, so I'll never forgive them drama. The senarios are endless. And the more I think about it.. entirely too true.

I've always says that I hate drama, I moved 1100 miles away from my family so I could have a nice, quiet, peaceful, drama free life, and for the most part I did. I, like many others had relationship problems, and friendship problems, job problems, money problems, etc. And I got angry, sad, hurt, indignant.. you name it I've felt it. Most of us have. But think about it.. how much simpler would live have been if we'd chosen, instead of getting all riled up about something that happened - we'd stopped, taken stock of what had happened, considered the possible why's, who's, what's, where's etc of the event then said - Ok.. it is what it is, now it was what it is, and I'm moving on. Well that's what I'm deciding to do from here on out. That's my number one New Year's Resolution. Every morning when I get up I will say "I AM happy, I AM full of joy, I AM thankful for my life, my health & my intelligence, I AM BLESSED and I WILL remain that way regardless of what today brings my way." It sounds so rediculously easy doesn't it? To just DECIDE to be happy and full of joy. No Matter What. Well it's exactly what I intend to do.. and I'll let ya know how it goes along the way! =)

The video is something I found this morning while looking for a Christmas ecard I could post on here and my MySpace.. It's very simple and very deep.. and very how I plan to start my new year.. except that I'm not waiting until January 1 to do it... I'm starting Now.

Peace, Joy, Love and Blessings to you all..

Thoughts for the new year...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random Bloggingness

For some reason it feels like it's been weeks since I last posted even though my last post was only 5 days ago. Maybe it's just because a lot has happened since then. Friday evening I swung over to Gulfport, MS to pick up my mom. She was my guest for company's I work for annual Christmas Party. They had it in New Orleans this year. 3 days 2 nights all expense paid at the Harrah's Casino & Hotel. Sweet.

Well let me back up a little further. If you've been reading my blogs, then you may remember that I was in an auto accident on Nov 21st. I was on my way home from work to do a final check on my kitties before I headed over to MS to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday (the 24th) with my family. I saw a car two cars in front of me just stop in the middle of the road, the truck directly in front of me hit that car. When I tried to stop my brakes locked up and I slid into the truck. Thankfully I wasn't badly injured, just some pretty ugly bruises and swelling where my hands hit the steering wheel, but I ended up spending both Thanksgiving and my birthday home alone. yay. Not. So today has been 4 weeks exactly since my accident, 4 weeks that my car has been in the shop and almost 2 weeks PAST the date that I was told repeatedly by multiple people at the body shop that my car would be ready. It was "supposed" to be ready on the 7th. Then it was supposed to be ready today, the 19th. I called yesterday and was told, call towards the end of the day for an update. GRRR. Of course I'd rather it take longer and everything be completely repaired, but the delay is increasingly aggravating and inconvenient.

My employer, wonderful company that they are, flew the employees that lived too far to drive to New Orleans and paid mileage for those who lived close enough to drive. Since I didn't have a car to drive and get mileage reimbursement for they provided me a rental. It was a Mazda 3. This is one sweet car. I enjoyed driving it... a LOT. So anyway after work Friday I swung by the house to pack for the weekend, love on the kitties so they wouldn't be too mad at me when I got back home 2 days later then headed out to swing by my sister's and swoop up my mom. Our mom lives with my sister, her husband and their 2 girls.

New Orleans was a blast.. I'm waiting for my mom to e-mail the hundred or so photos I took and I'll write a follow up blog detailing all the interesting stuff we saw, and let me tell you, interesting doesn't even begin to describe some of the things we came across. I hadn't been to New Orleans since I was a small child. My grandparents took my cousin and I to the Audubon Zoo there when I was about 7 or 8. For some reason though I was completely unaware of just what Bourbon Street was all about.. but I'll save that for the My trip to NOLA blog.

I think today is just about the halcyon meanderings of my over stimulated brain. The off switch in the thinking part of my brain.. it's broken. Sunday I was talking to my mom and step-mom about sleep deprivation and they were talking about things they'd taken to help them sleep when they were stressed, or upset, or were for whatever random reason having trouble sleeping. I explained that I'd tried, Ambian, Rozeram (sp?), Lunesta, and about every over the counter sleep aid available with no success. My mom asks, "Is it your mind?". Then she suggested some Xanax or Valium as possible remedies. Gotta love my mom. My brain just never seems to shut off, never stops, never zones off into outer space thinking about absolutely nothing. I lack the ability to enjoy thought nothingness. I've recently begun reading about and practicing meditation before bed. It helps some, but I imagine it will take quite some time and practice before I can get to the level where I can really think about nothing. I'm not giving up hope though!! I will be able to be empty headed!! I'm determined lol. That sounds ridiculous. But trust me, if you've ever suffered from sleep deprivation, empty headedness sounds like a small slice of heaven on earth.

I go to bed usually between 9:30 and 10:30. I usually fall asleep between 11 and 12am. Then I usually wake up around 2, 4, 5:30, and finally I get out of bed at 6:20am. Sometimes I'm lucky and only wake up at 2 and 4. But it's very very rare that I sleep through the night. It's a very draining thing, exhaustion. It makes small things seem much bigger than they are, it makes it hard to concentrate and makes you much more susceptible to being annoyed and agitated by things than you usually would. I'm normally a pretty laid back person who doesn't let most things get to me. Waiting a long time in line at the store - makes most people angry, me.. eh I'll get to the checkout when I get there. Getting irate and talking about how slow and inefficient the checkout clerk is isn't going to get me there any faster and will only raise my blood pressure in the process, so why bother letting it bother me.

But lately I've been in a pretty consistent state of agitatedness. I know that's not a word, cut me some slack. I'm trying to make this interesting here. I'm pretty sure it's a result of the combination and build up of events since my wreck. Spending the holiday alone sucked.. a lot. Riding the bus for the past month.. well while it started out interesting and educational.. I'm over it now. I want my car back. I missed my bus yesterday morning and had to wait for the next bus an hour later. Then when I got to the mall for the connecting bus at 8:45am the sign said the bus I needed to get to my office didn't come till 10am. Grr, Argh, Ugh.. So I called my boss and he had Michael (the tech support guy) come get me.

I'm appreciative that I have the bus to get to and from work, I really am, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the people who have been riding it for years. It's just not working for me anymore. Standing outside in 32 degree weather for 20-30 mins 4 times a day, then walking a half mile in that same weather wears on you.. FAST. I drove a car in Michigan for 4 winters with no heat. I would literally have to put my feet in front of a space heater when I got to work in the mornings for 10-20 minutes until I could feel my toes. I have a new car now.. WITH heat.. I don't want to be cold again.

Then I feel guilty.. there are people living outside in this weather, with no home, no coat, no job, no so many of the things I'm blessed to have. What right do I have to complain?! I know in my soul that everything that happens in life - however sucky it seems at the time - happens to give you an experience that will benefit you later in life. I just get tired sometimes. Other people seem to have life so easy. Great jobs they love, great husbands or wives, children, wonderfully happy close families. I've always been blessed with the ability to get by, I've always had just enough experience at a previous job to get me into a new job sometimes even in a completely different field and I know that so many things in my life have been blessings that have and are preparing me for some greater purpose. I get that.. I really do. I just wish sometimes I could have an easier purpose that didn't require going through so much stuff to get ready for. I honestly have no idea what my greater purpose is. I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

Neale Donald Walsch wrote a book called "Friendship with God" that I'm reading now. Great book.. I highly recommend it. But in the book Neale talks about how, looking back, he sees that all of the events of his life - the relationship he had with his parents, jobs he had, hardships he endured - all were training and education for the bigger and most important purpose he was intended for. He'd had jobs in radio, journalism, education.. even in a couple of different churches, and when he realized what it was he truly wanted to do, he saw that all of those different jobs and experiences had given him what he needed to accomplish his dreams. So I started thinking about all the things I've been through, all the different kinds of jobs I've had, and I've had more than a few.

I've been a babysitter, clerk at a grocery store, photographer, hair & makeup artist, veterinarian technician, phlebotomist, legal secretary, direct care worker in a group home, waitress, leasing administrator and receptionist. I've worked at a video store, coffee shop, movie theater, women's clothing shop, trained as an emergency responder and disaster relief worker and organized from the ground up the opening of an office for a non-profit organization. To be only 32 I have the experience and skills knowledge of someone almost twice my age. I've done a lot, seen a lot, been a lot. But for the life of me I can't imagine what thing, what goal, what purpose all of those things together add up to.

I know that I love children, I know that I have a heart for the poor and suffering. I know that I LOVE knowledge and educating myself. I know that I love photography and nature and children and animals. I know that I want to go back to school, fall in love again, get married, be a mother, share the things that are important to me with others and make a difference in the world. But I don't like being around people, I suck at socializing and small talk, I wish in the deepest part of my soul that I had a different relationship with my family then feel guilty for being unable to totally love and accept them as they are. Most families have a "black sheep" in them, well I'm the "white sheep" in mine. I'm the only family member who's never drank, smoked, done drugs, or waited until I was older than 16 to have sex. I care about the environment, I try to educate my self and be informed about what's going on in the world and what I can do to help, when something interests me I make an effort to research it and learn what I can. I made the decision to stop eating meat based on research I did, because I wanted to know more about what was best for me, my body and the effect my decisions made on the world around me. I stopped being content to just live in my little bubble and remain oblivious to anything outside the 4 walls of my life. Because of that I don't "fit in". It makes me sad that I feel I need to fit in with my own family, but I guess I should be used to it, I've never been like or felt connected with most of the people in my family. That hasn't changed in 32 years.

I'm adopting in 2 years and am still deciding between Vietnam or Africa as the country I want to adopt first from. Do you want to hear something really sad? I'm afraid to adopt a child from Africa because there are people in my family who are racist and I'm terrified they'd say something even unintentionally that may one day make my child feel uncomfortable. How horrible is it, that that is even a thought I have to entertain in deciding where my child comes from. I wish with every fiber of my being that I had the kind of family that I could count on to be a support group, that would join together with me and rejoice and celebrate me bringing a child into my life from another culture, but that's not the kind of relationship I have with my family. Most of them would say it's my fault, that I distance myself from them, and to an extent they're right, but it's because the majority of my family live lives that involve values and lifestyles that I really don't feel comfortable being around. They don't think like I do.. about life, respecting people's privacy (once you tell one person in my family something everyone knows), caring about how the decisions they make effect the planet and people around them, about anything really. And it's just really hard feeling comfortable when you're the square peg surrounded by a bunch of round holes. Do any of you feel that way? Like you've spent your entire life in a family you have absolutely nothing in common with?

When I was younger it hurt a lot to be so different. I was angry, all the time and at everyone. As I get older it just fills me with a deep sadness that I'll never know the kind of love and closeness and acceptance other people feel with their families. I've gotten a bit closer with my mom as I've gotten older and more forgiving than I was when I was younger, but this weekend I realized that I still and may never have the traditional "mother-daughter" type of relationship with her that I'd like. Saturday night at the company Christmas party we were having dinner and my mom was talking to some people across the table and I looked over and saw everything in her mouth. She was chewing and talking at the same time and I realized that everyone else could see the same thing I saw, and I was embarrassed. I nudged her and said something under my breath about not talking with her mouth full. And in the back of my mind I wondered, how is it that I ended up so incredibly different in every aspect of my being than anyone in my family. My mom is a very friendly, loving outgoing person. She loves to meet people and talk to them and hear about their lives. And apparently having a mouth full of food just wasn't something that occurred to her to let impede her conversation.

I know it's a culture, my family is from the south, the deep south. They are ALL southerners through and through. I'm not, never have been. I don't "do" southern. I like the city, and activity and culture and a somewhat more refined lifestyle. I felt horrible about correcting my mom, yet I couldn't stop myself from doing it. It was like I was outside myself watching myself be mortified that someone my realize my mom had no table manners. And it's not that she doesn't! Most people probably wouldn't have even noticed, but I did. In the book I mentioned earlier it talks about the true meaning of love, and what REAL love is. TRUE love is loving someone with no requirement, without needing anything from them, or expecting anything from them in return for loving them. Real love is allowing someone to be who they are, whoever that is, and in whatever way being who they are occurs. I read this part on the bus on my way home yesterday and it hit me that by chastising my mom about her table manners, I was in essence not allowing her to be who she was. I was not really, truly loving her. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. It's taken me many years and some emotional therapy sessions to get to where I was able to, but I do love her.

Then I wondered, have I ever really truly loved anyone? Has anyone ever really truly loved me? Someone has always expected something from me, or required something of me. Have any of us ever really truly loved anyone? I don't think most of us even know what really truly loving someone is. Most of us have been shown that in order to be loved, accepted by those we want to be loved and accepted by we have to do or be a certain way. We have to be good obedient children so our parents will love us. We have to excel in school to be someone our parents can be proud of. We need to have a good education and a good job and a spouse and children and nice house and new car to be worth something according to society. Sigh.. It's funny in a not so funny way. I've always been the kind of person who refused to change so I could "fit in". I may not be popular or part of the crowd or have all the friends but I would be me. I never felt the effects of "peer pressure". I never felt the need to do something, anything because everyone else was doing it. And I'm thankful. Being that way has kept me from going through many things that my peers went through. I never experienced problems with drugs or alcohol or being promiscuous. I never got wild and crazy so I could join in the parties and have all the "fun" my classmates and friends were having. I also spent a very lonely isolated childhood.

That isolation and loneliness has followed me throughout my pre-teen, teen and young adult years. It surrounds me even now. Yet I have no idea how to change it, I don't know how to BE anything but who I am. And who I am is the little girl who refused to drink because she remembers her mom having to pick up her pawpaw from behind the convenience store because he was passed out drunk. I am the child who saw that her parents thought spending money on cigarettes and skoal and magazine subscriptions was more important than being aware how much it would have meant to me to have more than 2 pair of shoes for most of my life, what it would have meant to have a class ring, or a dress so I could go to prom, even if I didn't have a date. The girl who was too embarrassed to have friends over because my mom ran around the house in her underwear and paid more attention to her soap operas than me or my siblings. I'm not saying I had bad parents, I just think maybe they didn't know any better. Most people carry their parenting skills down from their experiences of being parented. So maybe they did the best they knew how. It just wasn't the best I needed from them.

I'm going to wrap this up for now.. I know it's not an ideal ending or stopping place but I'm at work and some of this stuff is still pretty hard to talk about... and as much as I like to think I've put it all past me, the fact that it still effects me so much tells me that there are many things in my life that still need to be properly dealt with. I think that is a big reason I decided to start blogging actively.. I don't want to be the parent who passes baggage from their childhood onto their child. I want to be free of the hurts and damage I suffered so I don't inflict the same type of trama on my child. I want to be the best mom I can be. I want to be the mom I always wished I had...

So until later.. thank you for being a part of my journey.. however rough and bumpy it may sometimes be.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Pecans & Proposals..

This morning I got on the bus like usual... sat down like usual.. and pulled out my book to begin reading.... like usual.

What occurred next was decidedly UNusual.. at least to me lol.

The seats on the bus are situated in different directions in different areas of the bus. At the front of the bus are a row of 4 seats on each side situated along the sides of the bus. So you're not facing forward but rather sideways facing the people across from you. Right behind those are 2 rows of two seats on either side that ARE facing forwrad. So you're sitting perpendicular to the guy next to you if you're in the last seat on the sideways row. (Just in case someone doesn't know - perpendicular means in the shape of a T or in a shape forming right angles).

So I'm sitting in the last seat in the front row, and there is a man sitting in the outside seat of the first row of forward facing seats. He's probably ehh mid to late 40's maybe early 50's. And he's crunching the heck out of something. He'll pull something out of his pocket - bite it and then set something on the seat next to him. I just assume it's sunflower seeds.. until I keep hearing this really LOUD crunch. So while reading my book I slide my gaze to my right to see what he's putting on the seat next to him. It's PECAN Shells.. the man is cracking pecans WITH HIS TEETH, picking out the nuts then putting the shells on the seat next to him. I think um ew. So I ask the guy a couple of seats next to me (in the other direction) to hand me one of the little plastic white trash bags they keep at the front of the bus. I quietly, without saying anything pass it to the nut cruncher to my right.

Ah boy - I should have just let him keep putting the shells on the seat and hoped some poor sod didn't have the misfortune to sit on a piece of shell with a sharp edge later in the day! Because evidentally handing him a plastic bag translated into "let's chat". I didn't even look at him when I passed the bag rather kept my nose firmly in the pages of my book!

"Hi" he says. "Hello", I reply. "Ju have a husband?", he asks. (Yes that really was the second thing out of his mouth and from the accent I'm assuming he was hispanic, although he looked pretty white to me - who can tell these days?!). "No I'm not married".. "Are ju looking for a husband?". uh... uhh... I smile...uhh..."I'm waiting for the right man", I say, hoping that by bringing my book yet closer to my face I can hint nicely that I'm more interested in reading than chatting.

"Ju have just met him".

I try really hard not to laugh. I mean to totally crack up at the surreality of the moment. Picture this coming, not from a dark, handsome exotic latino like eh Mark Consuelos for example but rather a very balding Ricardo Montalban.

Now picture me back to uhh.. uhhh. smile. uhh..uhhh....

I said something along the lines of I'm waiting for God to bring me the right man for me... to which he replies something.. I dunno.. but I heard in the middle of it that he was waiting for God too.. I finally smiled and buried my nose so far in my book there was no way anyone could have failed to get that I was REALLLLY interested in what I was reading.

So he asks..."Ju like to read a lot eh?". "Yes", I say, ""I've read 3 books in the last 2 weeks". (flip pages in book and appear to concentrate feverishly).

He finally must have realized that I just really wasn't up for an impromto meeting of my future husband.. at least not this particular day and he went back to cracking and crunching his pecans...

I hope he has better luck on his next proposal.. maybe it will be met with slightly better reception and excitement.. who's to say you can't meet the man or woman of your dreams amidst bus smog and pecan shells.

Love and blessings to you all!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Penny for your Thoughts..

I found this neat story in the news this morning and wanted to share.

NEW YORK - One hundred million pennies for your thoughts on the latest display in Rockefeller Center. New York first lady Silda Wall Spitzer joined hundreds of public school children on Monday to unveil a mass of $1 million in pennies collected for charity. The display, called the Penny Harvest Field, includes an estimated 100 million pennies — plus a few nickels, dimes and quarters that slipped in by mistake.

The exhibit, 30 feet by 165 feet, as long as a city block, is the culmination of the nonprofit organization
Common Cents' 17th annual Penny Harvest, a national educational program designed to teach children about their value as contributors to society. Hundreds of thousands of city students from more than 800 schools spent the weeks between Oct. 22 and Thanksgiving going door to door and collecting the pennies, which will be donated to organizations of their choice for causes such as protecting the environment and helping the elderly.

The exhibit was designed by architect James Polshek and will be on display in Rockefeller Center, near the famous Christmas tree, through the end of the year.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Leaving yesterday behind..

I'm going to warn you ahead of time - today's blog is probably going to ramble a bit..

To say it's been a rough weekend would be grossly over simplifying things. It's been rough, it's been sad, it's been angry, it's been enlightening, it's been a time of release, a time of relief, a time of self discovery and self preservation - and those are only some of the spectrum of emotions I've wandered through since Friday evening at 5pm.

We'll start off with how my day ended Friday.

Normally Michael - my co-worker gives me a ride to the bus stop just over 1/2 mile up the street. (Let me redefine "normally" b/c "normally" I get in my car and drive home! Normally in this case means since my car accident on 11/21) The bus usually comes between 5:20 and 5:30pm. Yes I've been waiting outside in the freezing cold for half an hour every day after work. Yes it kinda sucks - but I read to pass the time - standing or rather leaning against a power pole on the side of the street. Well I read until the street light goes out - which I'll NEVER understand why street lights EVER turn off after dark, but that's a whole different blog I'll post one day on things I just don't get!. So anyway, Michael called off work Friday - he felt bad (excuse the eye rolling here - Michael is a kid - 24yrs old who thanks to a short stint in the Marines, thinks he is THE SH*T and talks about how awesome he is pretty much all day. He didn't "feel bad", he knew our boss was out of town and he could get out of sitting in the office all day). But anyway since Michael wasn't at work I walked up to the Win-Dixie on the corner a block down from where my bus stop is. It was only 5:05 so I knew I had time to run in and get a couple things I needed. I even set the alarm on my phone for 5:15 to make sure I was out of the store in plenty of time to walk one block up before the bus came.

I walked out of the store at exactly 5:14, my alarm went off as I was walking across the parking lot. There were still 5-10 mins before the bus came so I figured I'd walk up the street to a closer bus stop - not worried about missing the bus b/c if it came before I made it to an actual stop it would have to drive pass me and I'd wave and the driver would stop. So I'm walking... walking... walking.. it's 5:20, 5:25, 5:35.. no bus. I don't worry, thinking well maybe it's late so I keep walking, knowing for sure there is a bus stop just outside the library a little further down the street. I get to that stop at about 5:45-5:50. Still no bus.. Still not worrying - or even agitated yet.. it's a nice night out - not too cool, not too warm - there's a nice breeze. I sat at the bus stop (there was a bench at this one) and thought I'll just read until the bus comes, maybe it came early and I missed it but another one will be coming soon.

Little did I know the bus I catch in the evening after work is the LAST time that particular bus runs it's route! So 6:15 - 6:30 comes and goes and I'm getting a little irritated by now. It's late, I'm tired I want to be home. I try calling the Wave Transit customer service # to see if I've missed the bus, if there's another bus coming.. no answer - I select 1 for customer service and scheduling - ring, ring, ring, ring. I call back and select 2 for Operations - ring, ring, ring, ring. I call back and select 0 for the operator - ring, ring, ring, ring. I call back and select 3 for complaints and feedback - ring, ring, ring, "hello - I'm sorry we don't have bus schedules in this department - call back and select 0 for the operator". Seeing a pattern here??? So I start walking - thinking either I'll run into another stop or I'll pass a bus soon. I knew my normal bus ran this route - again what I DIDN'T know was that my normal bus had retired for the evening and wouldn't be passing by again until the morning. So I walk, and walk, and walk - I mapped it after I finally ended up getting home and it was just under 3 miles I walked - from my office to where I finally caught a bus.

I ended up finding another stop with a different number than the one I had been calling - ring, ring, "hello" - "Yes I need to find out when a bus will be coming by this stop - or where the next closest stop is I can catch a bus". "Let me transfer you to that department" - "Extension 222 is currently unavailable - please hold - your call will be ordered in the answer it was received""We're sorry extension 222 is not available at this time - this box is not currently accepting new messages - goodbye". I went through this last step about 6 times before I finally go the lady to buzz the driver that drove the route for the bus stop I'd made it to on the walkie-talkie. (WHY IN GOD'S NAME DIDN'T SHE DO THAT TO BEGIN WITH?!?). So she tells me - via the driver - that there is a stop right around the corner - only 2 more blocks - and that bus goes to the mall (where I need to catch my connecting bus) and will be there at 7:05.

It's 6:45 now.

So I walk to that stop and waited - needless to say my feet hurt, it was getting cold by now, I was tired, cranky and more than a little peeved at the whole situation. 7:05 the bus pulls up. YAY!!!! Don't get so excited - the bus driver tells me she's off and won't be going to the mall. She can drop me off near the freeway off ramp and all I'll have to do is walk over a busy road right where cars are zooming on and off the freeway and the mall is RIGHT THERE! Deep breath... in with the good air, out with the bad - Wuuuuuu saaahhhhhh. (you'll only get that last part if you've seen Rush Hour) "Ma'am", I ask the driver - "do you have any idea WHY the lady on the phone would tell me you'd be going to the mall if you weren't?!?!?" "Well she just assumed I would.. I should be off by now". She and I debated back and forth a bit - she was obviously in a fowl mood herself since she thought she should have been off by now and I was in more than a fowl mood b/c I'd just walked 3 flippin miles after missing my bus, then get on a bus that I was told would take me where I needed to go, ONLY to be told that I would have to walk some more, and over a busy on/off ramp overpass at that!! After me telling her more than a few times that I was indeed NOT being rude, I was just frustrated and confused as to 1. why my bus never came, 2. why the lady told me she'd take me to the mall if she wouldn't..(there are more reasons to my frustration of course, but those were the 2 that seemed most relevant to my conversation with her). She finally offered to drive me herself from the Wave station where they drop off the buses to the mall. It was probably less than a mile but I would have had to cross a major interstate to get there walking. I thanked her PROFUSELY! So I finally get to the mall around 7:30pm. The next bus I need doesn't come until.... are you ready?....

8:20pm. I got off work at 5PM. It's taken me 3 miles of walking and 2 1/2 hours to catch one bus, only to wait another 50 mins before the bus comes that will finally.. finally take me home. I hate shopping so wandering the mall just isn't even the slightest bit appealing to me, but I am hungry (I've kinda passed my normal dinner time by now) so I set the alarm on my phone and begin the search for a food court. I moved to Mobile in May of this year and have yet to actually step food inside the mall - I really really hate shopping. After turning a few corners and looking for one of those wall things that tells you where everything is - and not finding one - I stop a security guard and ask her where the food court is. She laughs at me - huh?! She says there isn't one - used to be but now there's only.. and she proceeds to name off 4 food places left in the mall. Only one of which I have any hope of finding anything without meat in it to eat. So I head to the Chinese place - there's a guy behind the counter yelling - yes yelling at the top of his lungs - BoBu Cheeka!! I didn't actually know he was saying bourbon chicken until I got up to the counter and saw the sign showing the special of the day - Seriously.

I had some fried rice - took my sweet time eating - and headed back outside to the bus station. I finally made it home at about 9pm. I was exhausted - cranky - sore - aggravated - irritated - any kind of peeved adjective you can think of - I was. I wanted nothing more than to kick off my shoes and fall directly into bed - clothes and all - I'd feed the cats in the morning. But nooo that would be entirely too easy lol - (see I'm able to have a sense of humor about this 3 days later. That's good right?) Why is that it's just impossible to lay down right after you get home - instead you have to have that time to "unwind". To just sit and do nothing. I know where I can do nothing.. in MY BED! Anyhoo I unwound and went to bed and slept like death till the next morning.

I told you this was going to ramble a bit... sorry

Saturday I realized I needed toilet paper, garbage bags and cat litter. There are 2 Rite-aids and a Walgreens all within .6 miles of my house. Walking distance.. easy walking distance even. If any of you have cats you know there is NOTHING easy about lugging a 15lb box, bag or tub of cat litter.. from the grocery cart to the trunk of the car much less over a half mile! I went to Walgreens because I had checked out both stores online and Walgreens had the cheaper cat litter. The walk there was nice and uneventful up until the last block - where an old white man slightly resembling Santa clause came walking out of a gas station parking lot trying to flag me down. "Hey.. Hey!.. wanna go do something?" Ya that would be negative. I just smiled, waved and kept on walking. The walk home - omg by the time I got to my apartment I'd transferred the jug of cat litter from my right to left hand a dozen times, switched from carrying it under one arm to the other, tried carrying it from the bottom resting against my chest.. you name a way to carry it other than on my head and I tried. My arms felt like they were literally going to fall off! I was reallllly wishing I had my car back. The whole riding the bus back and forth to work thing - with the exception of Friday's fiasco - isn't really that bad. It's the needing to just up and run to the store and not being able to that really sucks.

Sunday afternoon I got into a vicious fight with a friend of mine via text messaging. You may or may not remember a blog I posted a while back about trying to understand people who were just un-understandable. That's her. In that post I also asked if there every really came a time in a friendship where you finally had to say enough is enough and cut that person out of your life. I'm sad to say now is that time. I text her while I waiting on the bus Friday -"OMG I think I just walked 3 miles" - thinking like most people she'd say really why? or something similar. Nope the reply I got was - "You wanna cookie". I said "no thank you, but I'm sure you could use one - something to sweeten that sour disposition of yours!" Probably not the best response but I was tired, sore, cold.. and so NOT in the mood for smart ass comment made for no other reason than she could make them. But I let it slide - we texted a bit more and I thought nothing of it. Well Sunday I was doing laundry and while I was walking from my apartment to the laundry building in the back of my complex a guy stopped me - he said hi, introduced himself - said he lived in the building next door and noticed that I watched tv alone a lot. (I sit in front of the window and my blinds are always open so at first I didn't think anything of it) He said he'd just moved to Mobile a couple of months ago and would love company sometime - then he asked me to dinner. I've been single for 4 years. Other than my ex-fiance I haven't been on a date in almost 8 years. Suffice to say I was a little startled - I was in an over sized t-shirt, cotton jammy pants, had not a speck of makeup on and my hair was pulled back in a wadded up pony tail. I honestly was so flustered I stuttered uh uh I suppose uh sure ok. I gave him my number in a dumbfounded stupor and wandered off to the laundry room. After I got home, sat on the couch and started thinking I freaked out.

OMG I just gave some guy my number and said I'd go out with him! I'm sure most of you are thinking uhh ok so what, big deal. I don't WANT to go out with him. Not even the slightest tiniest bit interested in getting to know him, hanging out watching tv with him or struggling with small-talk over dinner with him. Some of you are probably asking why not - does he have 3 eyes, walk with a bad limp, some horrible disfiguration, a drool and a slurp that totally makes him unappealing to me? Ha, you laughed - my job is done! =). No he doesn't. By societies standards I suppose he's an average looking guy - probably late 30's, early 40's - slightly balding on top - average height and size. So what's the problem? Me... I did the love the person on the inside thing - I was with a person for almost 4 years whom I never thought was cute. And I realized that shallow as it may seem physical attraction is a MUST for me. As much as I loved my ex in the back of my mind I always wished I was more physically attracted to him. Don't get me wrong - he turned me on, we had fabulous sex - I know that's way more info that you wanted to know lol - but looking at him never made me go WOW. I got butterflies in my tummy from the way loving him made me feel but I never got them from just being so turned on by him. So I decided that I'd never waste someone else's or my time initiating a relationship if I wasn't attracted to them. I know I know - I hear you - if you really LOVEEEE the person that's all that matters - attraction will follow - looks aren't everything. Well guys and gals - I've been there and done that and it does matter.. at least to me. And I've realized that while it might not "sound" super nice and it might "seem" kind of shallow that it's really not. EVERYONE has something that attracts them to someone...some "thing" they look for in a potential special guy or gal friend. For me - initial attraction is a must.

This is where the big text fight with my friend comes in. I text her asking for advice - you might remember I mentioned before that she's gorgeous - men.. and women fall over themselves to talk to her. She's one of those naturally flirty people who just knows how to do the social thing. Ya me.. not so much. So she says well just have dinner anyway - maybe you can be friends. Which may or may not be true - but I know me well enough to know that I don't do small talk - I don't go out of my way to make new friends - either I have a connection with someone and we just naturally hit it off or I don't. This guy that asked me out -- no such connection. So it goes back to the wasting some one's time thing. There are certain kinds of people I meet that I can just chat with for hours about an endless number of topics and we never run out of interesting things to say. Those are the kinds of people I make friends with. I'll never not be polite or friendly to someone I meet in passing, but I'm just at the point in my life where making new friends isn't going to be something that takes effort. It's not worth it to me - I'm ok being solitary. I'm not anti-social as much as just not overly social. At parties in school - which I never went to - I would have been that chic who was friends with everyone at school - but stood by the wall watching everyone else have fun at the party. At the club I was the girl who had a blast completely sober dancing by myself and then drove all my drunk friends home. Everyone has different social habits - those are mine. So while I was trying to explain to her why I didn't want to waste this poor guys time, or lead him on thinking we might become fast friends or possibly more she got really condescending and judgemental.

More rambling - but I promise it will all come together in the end!

I'm currently reading this book called Home with God - in a Life That Never Ends by Neale Donald Walsh. He's the author of the Conversation with God - an Uncommon Dialogue books I've mentioned in I think one of my other blogs. If you've ever had a problem (something just doesn't "feel" right) with what your "religion" of choice has taught you then I highly recommend reading his books. Well weekend before last I posted a blog where I mentioned that I had a really really bad night the weekend after my accident. Where I just laid in bed weeping and begging God to "take me home". I didn't want to be here anymore, I was tired of the stress of living up to other people's ideas of who I should be and always falling short, tired of never feeling completely loved and accepted unconditionally for WHO I WAS, tired of a variety of other things I won't go into detail about. In that blog I also said the next morning when I woke up - it was a new day. I started reading the Home with God book then. It was just too coincidental that I'd begged and pleaded with God to bring me home then picked up a book called Home with God. I'd gone to the library about a month ago to check out the 3rd book in the CWG (Conversations with God) series and any other book I could find by the author. I didn't even remember what most of the titles were. The ones I hadn't read yet were sitting on the shelf in my living room next to the TV. Reading has for as long as I can remember been my method of escape - reading and movies. I can completely immerse myself and get lost in the characters lives. When life on earth isn't seeming too appealing I'd always and still do just grab a book and start reading - or head to the movie theater.

After this I'll post some excerpts from Home with God in another blog that really stand out to me. What it's basically about is showing how we can be "Home" with God here on earth. It talks about how life really never ends and how death as we know it doesn't really exist. We don't end or stop when we "die", rather it transitions into a different phase or form of life or energy. We live as spiritual and physical beings while on earth - attached to our body, and when we "die" we become fully spiritual beings without the hindrance of the physical body we were formerly attached to. Death is in fact a re-birth. It goes on to explain how we don't have to wait until we "die" to meet God. We can talk with Him, commune with Him, develop a friendship with Him right now.. and it explains some of how to do that as well. Another thing it says is that every thing that has ever happened or ever will happen, happens by our choice, perfectly in time and reason. And that it all happens to help us experience all we've come to earth to experience and guide us to learning who we really are. Some things happen consciously, some subconsiously, some superconsiously, but all happen because we choose them.

I have to tell you some of this stuff hit home so deep and so true I cried while reading - I was reading on the bus on the way home the other day and had to stop and close the book. Some of it however sounded like bologna. I mean I can guaran-damn-tee you that I didn't consiously, subconsciously or any other kind of consciously choose to get in a car accident on my way home from work on November 21st. I mean why on earth would I ever CHOOSE to crash my car, to get all bruised up, to experience the physical, mental and emotional pain that resulted from the accident. All of a sudden the events of the days since the accident began to filter through my mind. I saw myself looking up information on the public transit system - finding an alternate way to work. I saw myself walking to the store to get things I needed. I saw myself arguing with my family and feeling so hurt, but then realizing that I'd been alone for a very long time and I'd made it ok.. and I'd make it ok this time too. And I thought... maybe the accident did happen just the way it was suppose to, at the exact place, the exact time and in the exact way that was perfect to guide me to the realizations I needed to know at this time in my life.
I've realized that:
  • I'm a lot stronger and more resourceful that I thought.
  • As much as it hurts that I don't have a closer relationship with my family - the relationship I don't have has left me with an overabundance of love to give to the child I'll soon have.
  • I'm not reliant on having a car to take care of myself and do the things I need to do - doing things might not be as convenient - but they can be done
  • I really do have a passion for photography and seeing the beauty and simplistic complexities so visible in the world if you just LOOK.
  • I am NOT a victim of circumstance. Even though things may not always happen the way I think I'd like them to - I can always choose to turn things around and to my benefit.
  • I've been wanting for the longest time to get up earlier in the morning to start walking before work but have always been to tired - now I'm used to getting up 40 mins earlier to catch the bus - how coincidental is that.. lol
  • The relationship with my friend who always seems to be so damn negative had a purpose - and now that I've realized it's purpose I can move on.
  • That the past is truly the past and it's time I let it go. What was "meant to be" was evidentally only "meant to be" for the time it was and something new and better will come along once I wholly and completely LET GO of what I've been holding on to.
  • It's ok for people you love to move on and be happy without you. You served a purpose in their life the same way they did in yours. They just realized your purpose sooner than you realized theirs.. it's ok to be happy it didn't work.
  • It's ok to love MYSELF - and I shouldn't let what other people say or think effect me or hurt me the way I do. I know my heart - GOD knows my heart and we both know I'm ok just the way I am.
  • I have a long history of behavior based on events that have happened to me in my past - and to change that I'm going to have to face those things head on, acknowledge they happened, admit they only have power to hurt me if I let them and MOVE ON to becoming the person I know that I am inside and choose to be.

Some of these things had absolutely nothing to do with my accident directly, yet all of them are realizations I've come to since and as a result of the changes in my life the accident caused. There are many more too, but I know this is already pretty long so I'm going to wrap it up soon..

Last night I went through my phone and deleted all of the numbers of people who had been a part of my life, but who I am no longer in regular contact with as well as people I am in regular contact with but no longer need to be. They all served a purpose and that purpose has been realized. I went on my computer and deleted old pictures I'd kept of my friend with the bad attitude and other friends - memories of the times we had together. Conversations that messenger had autologged - back when I used it.. The pictures - the laughs in the conversations - the love those friendships brought will always be safe in my memory and I no longer need to hold on to physical momentos of those times past.

I've started reading up on meditation and possitive self-affirmations. I taped to my bathroom mirror a piece of paper with the following statements:

I love you. I appreciate you.
I forgive you of any mistakes you have ever made. Today is a NEW day. The past is gone.
I choose to begin anew, better, wiser, kinder than before.
I choose the path of excellence bcause I am unlimited in how wonderful and productive and creative I can be.
I treat others as I want to be treated.
I respect the rights of others, and I choose to respect myself. I am grateful for my life, my health, and my intelligence

On my refrigerator:

Every day and in every way I am getting better and better; I am becoming more and more
I am peace. I am love. I am joy
Health and wealth are my birthright, success my tool, kindness my standard.
I am beautiful and loved RIGHT NOW, for I accept and express the goodness which resides within me.

Every morning when I get up - while I'm making my breakfast I read the ones on the fridge.. while I'm brushing my teeth I read the ones on the bathroom mirror.. and by doing so I'm making the conscious decision to alter my life to fit these statements. We all can be the person we feel we are inside. We all can make the decision right here, right now to STOP letting the past events of our lives - and the present ones effect the life we live, the way we act, the way we think of ourselves.. and the way we react to how others think about us. We can choose to be the very best us we can be. Imagine the greatest version of the grandest vision you can about the person you'd choose to be if you had a choice - THEN CHOOSE TO BE THAT PERSON.

Love and Blessings...


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Morning Commute

OK so wow, when you make a conscious decision to open your eyes to the world around you, you begin to see so many interesting things! Simple things, complex things, things that just make you stop for a moment, take a deep breath and smile..

Here's some of those things from my morning commute =)

Well first here's ME! =)

<~~On my way to the bus stop. It's about a half block from my apartment to the intersection, then I hang a left and walk another block to the bust stop. This morning was really nice - not too cold, just a little nippy - it gave the air a fresh crisp feeling. Usually I just walk the walk and not really pay attention to the surrounding scenery. This morning I looked..
~~>Here's me at the bus stop - the blue thing to my right behind me is a bench - I have a slightly better picture you'll see a little further down. There's a huge tree right on the corner too - it's beautiful.

I forgot what these are called but they remind me of Christmas.. there's a tree in a yard I pass on my walk to the bus stop in the morning - the ENTIRE tree looks like this - bright greens & rich reds. HOLLY that's what it's called - how funny! I don't know about you but for me it always works that way - I'll wrack my brain for hours trying to remember a word for something or someone's name then the very second I give up & say oh well, it pops into my head!

Here's fellow passengers at my morning stop -
The guy in the red jacket has been there every morning. I think he works at Wal-Mart - at least that's where he gets off the bus every day. The lady - it's the first time I've seen her. She wouldn't sit on the bench lol I imagine because she was wearing white pants. She was also freezing - she didn't have on a coat!

The bench I was nervous to sit on my first day - it's got what looks like green spray paint all over it - some kids idea of graphic art I'm sure. But it's actually pretty clean. I was for sure it would at least have some bird poo on it but nope! I wonder if people from the transit authority do regular checks of the stops to make sure they are in decent condition..

This is the house that sits on the corner where the bus station is. It's actually an lawyer's office now - I'm sure it was converted. Mobile has absolutely some of the most beautiful homes and architecture I've ever seen. One of these days I'll get downtown with a regular camera and take some pictures. It reminds me a lot of downtown Boston

Here is what's left of a pair of sunglasses on the ground in front of the bench. I noticed them Monday. I wish there was a garbage nearby - it's sad that people feel it's ok to leave their trash on the ground just anywhere.

This past Saturday - my birthday - I walked a few blocks down the street to the corner store to buy myself some ice cream - since my accident stranded me at home for the weekend and I missed out on birthday cake. It amazed me the amount of junk people had thrown on sidewalk and surrounding lawns. Dozens of pop bottles, bags of chips, candy wrappers, empty fast food bags, you name it and it could probably be found on the side of the road in the few blocks north of my house. It's odd really - my street - well the block of the street I live on is in a nicer area of down town. Yet once you go through the light at the corner of my block you enter into an completely different world. The houses and apartments are run down, the roads are littered. It's not entirely unlikely that you might be able to find a um "lady of the night" on the corner a few blocks up.

The turquoise dot on the aeriel map is my apt - the yellow one is the store I bought my birthday ice cream from lol - the pink dot to the right is the bus stop I walk to in the morning. It looks a lot further than it actually is lol.

OK - so I suppose I'd better actually do a little more work today so I must be going, but again I hope you enjoyed coming on my journey with me today! I hope today and each day after brings you a journey of your own!

Love and Blessings

Mollie Jo

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Riding the Wave....

I apologize ahead of time for the bad spacing in between the pictures and paragraphs - for some reason blogger doesn't allow you to put stuff where you want it!!

I've always loved photography. Viewing the world through a lens, seeing life in pictures. When I was younger I'd carry my little 35mm camera with me and just snap random pictures of random people and places. I have a great picture of an elderly black man weed eating the sidewalk, a neat picture of a group of workers striking outside the building where they work with signs.. a cow in a field near the construction office where my mom used to work..

It's a hobby/passion that I've never really pursued seriously but also never really stopped enjoying. I said all that to say this.. I've realized during my journey on the public transit system that there are some phenomenal pictures to be taken. And my camera phone just isn't cutting it!

I did take some pictures today though, on my ride home from work and I'm going to share them with you.. and the stories behind them...

Here is the stop where I caught the bus for my trip home from work. The bus makes it to this stop at about 5:25pm. I get off work at 5:00pm. There is no bench at this stop, it's on a relatively busy road - 2 lanes each way. And it was, again, COLD. Not as bad as yesterday, but still cooler than comfortable for a half hour wait outside! The way the cars look in the picture.. that's pretty much how they looked to me. When it starts getting dark out and you're facing traffic, the lights on the cars give everything a blurry appearance. Just blur and lights and more blur.

Here's where I stood for most of the wait. I stood on the grass for a while but it was really thick and really soft. My shoes kept sinking. So I stood on a concrete slab over a drain on the side of the street. It's really hmm I guess a combination of peculiar and thought provoking, waiting on the side of the road for a bus. People in the cars driving by seem to really only have 3 ways of reacting. They either stare at you as they zoom by. Probably wondering why in the world is that girl standing on the side of the street? Why doesn't she have a car? Doesn't she know anyone who could give her a ride? Or they glance at you and quickly turn their head, pretending they didn't see you standing there on the corner, all bundled up with your head tucked into the neck of your jacket shivering. A young girl in a van that stopped at the red light on the corner where I waited took this approach. She looked at me, I smiled, then she looked away and made an obvious effort not to turn her head back toward the window. I took a picture of her but it didn't come out very well. Then there is the last reaction. They just zoom by and never even notice that you're there. I can't count the number of people I saw eating, drinking, chatting on the phone, reading!.. completely oblivious to the world around them.

Here is the mother and her two little girls I mentioned in my last blog. I think they missed the earlier bus they usually catch right after school and had to wait for the next one. This was at 5:45pm. Every day she boards with her little angels and they entertain themselves for the 20-30 minute ride. This evening they started out singing their ABC's.. that lasted for about 10 minutes. Then the little one on the left entertained herself for about 10 minutes folding her pink toboggan in half over and over again, then unfolding and folding all over. The older one had a fantastically entertaining and in depth imaginary phone conversation with Barbie. Her hand was the phone and she chatted away - playing both sides of the conversation - for a good 15 minutes. When her little sister realized that she wasn't being paid attention to she began to mimic her and had her own little phone conversation. She had butterflies on the bottom of her shoes. You can tell she adores her big sister and wants to do everything just like her. Their mom.. some of the older ladies on the bus this morning were gossiping about her after she got off the bus. The older of the two girls took off to cross the street as soon as they disembarked and her mom grabbed her arm just in time to stop her running right in front of a car. The ladies on the bus commented "She need to stop chatting up the driver and watch those babies! - that one.. she run right off every time. She ask that other driver will he wait on her in the afternoon - ask him to wait on her." They sounded very ehh well judgmental and unimpressed with the pretty young lady and her requests for it seemed to them special treatment. I did notice the morning bus driver makes a point to chat with her and the girls for a few minutes every morning when they get on.

Here's some of what the inside of the bus looks like -

It seems that there are 2 or 3 different bus models, and they all have different seating arrangements. My evening bus has two seats right when you get on the bus to the left that are raised up off the floor about a foot and a half. Then there are a row of 4 seats on each side of the bus. This picture shows the upper seats in the back of the bus. They're two steps up off the main level. I've sat in the upper seat in the front and the seats on the rights side of the bus for all of my trips so far. I don't think I'll go to the back. I like to see where I'm going to make sure I don't miss my stop!

Here are some of my fellow journeymen and women -

The older gentleman in the middle apparently has a crush on the lady in the blue sitting in front of him. The guy in the hard hat - he was sitting two seats from me - was sitting where the guy in the brown jacket was sitting, but when he saw the older gentleman at the upcoming stop he moved - and commented laughingly "I'd better give ol boy his seat - you know how he likes to sit next his buddy!"

Mr. Hard Hat putting his bicycle on the front of the bus.. He was on the first route I took this morning too. Before my public transit adventure is over I may ask him his name and see if he'll share some of this story - but for now I'm content to just watch and imagine - plus I'm chicken! lol I can admit it =)

This guy got on close to the end of my route - for some reason I guess he felt like he'd better fix his do.. which I found funny because other than a ring of longer white hair around the bottom of his head he was completely bald?? See the lady sitting in the upper seat behind him? She nodded off as soon as she got on the bus.. and stayed asleep through the entire route! That is absolutely amazing to me because these drivers drive like bats outta hell. More than once I was certain I would be catapulted out of my seat onto the floor! See she's still sleeping~>

These two got on at the mall with me.. that's my hand in the first picture holding on for dear life.. sure I'd be thrown from my seat at the next curve in the road! They only lasted a few minutes into the ride before nodding off. The briefcase & the arm on the far right of the picture belong to

This guy -
He got on, set his briefcase and bag down then went back to the front of the bus to pay his fare - (OH I realize I haven't mentioned the fare!! It's $1.25 per ride - and a 10¢ connection fee - so I pay $1.35 for my ride to work and $1.35 for my ride home each day. Not bad huh!) Then he sat down and chatted with the bus driver about video games - I don't remember which one he was talking about but I do remember hearing him say it cost $399.00!! Then he lamented about how he can't ever figure out his woman - she gets mad when he plays the video game - complaining that he doesn't pay attention to her, but then when he does pay attention she isn't happy.. here's him shaking his head about the whole subject ~~>

Here's the bus stop at the mall - this is the connecting stop for all the buses... and the nifty little digital sign that tells you when what bus will arrive next - the last picture is my connecting bus to get home. I guess he put the sign on NOT IN SERVICE during the break between his routes so no one would get on the bus while he wasn't on it and not pay - He forgot he'd changed the sign too - someone asked him which bus his was and he said - "Doesn't it say Dauphin on the front?!" - "No sir, it doesn't"

So that was my journey today - well the half that took me back home anyway - I hope you enjoyed the ride and again I really do recommend that everyone try out their local public transit system at least one time - if for no other reason than to say you did it! lol But I'm pretty sure you'll get much more out of the ride!!!



- postscript-
I always wondered what Namasté meant so I did some looking - taken literally it means "I bow to you" - Deepak Chopra gives it a less literal and I think more enjoyable and acceptable meaning - "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me." Just some fun facts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Public Transit... and being thankful

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 4:48pm I was in an automobile accident.
Someone two cars in front of me stopped dead in the middle of the road - apparently to let someone on a side street out. How nice of them you might be saying - that would be so if the place they decided to stop hadn't been in the middle of a very busy 4 lane rd with NO stop lights or stop signs anywhere near by. The truck in front of me tried to stop and hit the car who'd stopped in the middle of the street.

I was about 2 - 2 1/2 car lengths behind the truck and thought I had plenty of time and room to stop. That might have been the case, except as soon as I touched the peddle my brakes locked up and I slid into the truck that had hit the car in front of him. My airbag deployed and my seat belt, thankfully locked so quickly and so tightly that my back never left the seat. I have wonderful multicolored bruises from my collarbone all the way to my heel, but I am in one piece and I am alive -- and thankful! That little recap was to get to the subject at hand.

The Public Transit System - in Mobile, AL also known as "The Wave". I've never been in an auto accident before - in all my 16yrs of driving. I've had a little fender bender or two but never anything serious. It's because of this safe driving history that I never thought I'd need rental reimbursement and opted not to have that coverage on my insurance policy when I bought my new car. Silly me. So I, much like the average person I imagine, just didn't have the extra cash sitting in the bank to cover a rental car for two weeks while my car is being repaired. (Think upwards of $400 for a compact!!) I wracked my brain trying to think of an alternative way to work for two weeks. I live about 8 miles from my office, which doesn't seem that far... if you're a trained marathon runner! So I hopped online, did some searching and discovered The Wave. I've seen the buses periodically since I moved to Mobile in May, but never really thought much about them. Needless to say I started thinking lol.

I have to say I was nervous.. what if there isn't a route that goes by my house? What if there isn't one that goes anywhere near my work?!? Well as the case usually is, it's the times when you worry most about something that it ends up you needn't have worried at all. Turns out there is a stop one block from the intersection near my apartments. So it's about a block and a half walk. Then there is a connecting bus at the mall here that takes me to the corner of the nearest intersection where my office is. That stop requires a bit more walking but nothing impossible. It's about a half mile, maybe less or maybe more lol but it only took me 5 mins this morning to get from the corner where the bus dropped me off to my office. Those 5 minutes wouldn't have even been as bad as they were if it hadn't been so dang COLD!

So now I'll get to the thankful part. I get to the bus stop this morning, terrified I'd missed the bus, or worse yet it wouldn't' come at all. (I'd heard many a story about how unpredictable the local transit is here, evidently the people telling me how unreliable it is have never ridden it). Within a few minutes 2 ladies joined me, then a young man. The ladies were polite and conversational. So we board the bus and SWEET JESUS the driver drove like a maniac!!! I thought for sure we were going to flip over more than once lol.

I've never been a prejudice person, not of race, age, or anything really.. but I couldn't help, as I looked around the bus, but notice that I was in fact the only white person riding. Half way through the route a middle age white man got on - dressed for probably a construction job, but he only stayed on for a few stops - probably using the bus to get to a carpool. The ages of the riders were varied, from early twenties to possibly late 60's or 70's. A beautiful young black woman got on at the second stop with her two little girls - probably ages 3 and 5 or 6. They were riding the transit to school. I couldn't help but wonder how they ended up going to the school they were let off at when it was a good ways from where they boarded the bus. In Mobile you're required to attend schools in your district. But more than that it just really hit me.. here is a young mother - boarding the public transit at 7am to take her babies to school. For some reason I never imagined there being a need like that. I mean I know there is poverty and misfortune in America, but when you think of children going to school, somehow the public transit system never quite comes to mind in the picture you imagine.

I got to the mall, which is the connecting stop, at about 7:40am. The next bus I needed to take wouldn't come until 8am. It wasn't until I'd been sitting outside for about 10 minutes that I realized just why the driver offered to let me wait on the bus. IT WAS COLD! But there were several people, again of all ages, again of only one race sitting on the benches under the metal awning waiting for the next bus to take them to their destination. It was about this point that I stopped just going along for the ride (I read the first half of my trip) and really let the reality of what was going on around me start to sink in. I opened my eyes, and my mind to see.. An elderly white lady got on sometime during the second half of my trip. She was on her way to a dr appt. She had one of those 4 leg walkers with the seat in the middle. A couple of seats next to me was a young girl, in her early to mid-twenties. She had a McDonald's visor in hand and was trying to nap during the ride.

It was looking at that McDonald's visor that it hit me like a kick in the gut. I was in an accident, ya. My car will be in the shop for 2 weeks getting repaired, ok. I'm bruised from head to toe and feel like I've been thrown down a flight of stairs, sure. But I'm alive. I have a good ok decent lol paying job. I HAVE a new car even though it's a bit banged up right now. I have my health. I have for all intents and purposes a pretty damn good life. I felt guilty.. for feeling self pity about my situation, for being angry that my family didn't jump and come to Mobile to make sure I was ok after my wreck. (My cousin Karen did come stay the night with me the night of the wreck and for that I am so grateful) But I wanted my sister to come, my dad to call and see if I was ok.. All of which you're probably thinking are normal things.. ya well you haven't met my family, but that's an entirely different blog!

The night after my accident I was so upset, so hurt, so tired, just so overwhelmed about everything in life that I wanted to die. I laid in bed, weeping and begged God to just take me home. My Thanksgiving was ruined, my birthday was spent alone, in pain, with no where to go and no way to get there. I have to pay a $500 deductible that I don't have to get my car out once it's repaired, and God only knows how much the hospital bills will be from being taken to the ER in an ambulance! It was just too much, I was too tired and I couldn't take it anymore. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up the next morning it was a new day. None of the problems I was facing had gone away, it still hurt that my family hadn't been there for me the way I'd needed them to, but I'd been given a new day, a new breath, a new opportunity to get through.

I won't lie and say I all of a sudden got happy and thankful, or that I had an epiphany that everything was going to work out perfect. But this morning on the bus I got a glimpse of what my life COULD BE.. and it hit me that in spite of all the crap the world throws at me, and all the things that happen to bring me down, I could have it so much worse than I do. Not to say my life is any better than anyone else's, but I know that in 2 weeks, my car will be repaired and by some miracle, God will, as He always does create a way for me to have what I need. I know that even though I don't particularly enjoy sitting at at desk, I have a good steady reliable job that allows me to have an apartment with heat, a bed with soft sheets and comfy pillows, a refrigerator with food in it, an oven AND microwave to cook that food in, clean clothes to put on in the morning, hot water to take a shower... and so much more.

There's a blog I follow by a guy names
Travis Ruse. It's a photo blog and it's pictures he takes of people on the express train on his daily commute to and from work in Brooklyn. When I first found the page and looked through the pictures I was just blown away by the simplicity, complexity, beauty and so many more adjectives, of the images he'd taken. People, just like you and me, people you've never met, and probably will never meet, yet in the images Travis takes you feel that you know them. You feel like you know their journey, their struggle, their accomplishments, their life, and yet this morning when I hopped on the bus, hoping it wasn't too awful of an experience I was surrounded by those same people, I WAS one of those people. And it was amazing. I think even after I get my car back I will take the bus every once in a while just for the experience. I truly recommend everyone use their public transit system. Even if only once. But when you get on the bus, get on and open your eyes... open your mind.. open your heart and you will see that you are so so incredibly blessed beyond your greatest imagination.

I laugh to myself now as I hear in my head the comments some people will make at the idea of using their local public transit system. Um no thank you, ew gross, that's only for poor people, ugh only smelly people ride the bus... they're all comments I've heard and some I'm ashamed to say I've probably thought at one time or another. I can promise you, just try it.. once.. and truly be aware of your surroundings when you ride... it will be an experience that can and if you let it change the way you think about your life, about other's lives, about life in general.

So I leave you now.. I have 4 hours and 6 minutes until I leave my office and walk the half mile to the bus stop to catch my ride home. I probably won't get there until about 7pm. I'll lose the time I usually use to feed my cats, change into my pj's, watch the episode of Ellen I recorded from earlier in the day, cook dinner and relax after work.. but I'll be grateful for every second of the ride.. knowing that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING this world can throw my way that God can't and won't provide a solution for. It may not be the solution I'd like..but His solution just might be better FOR me.

God Bless..