Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How can you just sit there?

I need to have an adventure on a daily basis. In some way, shape or form, I have to experience the unknown. The satisfaction of having met a new and unfamiliar situation is refreshing. I know folks who would sooner scrape their fingernails on an old school chalkboard rather than face the unknown. Many people are perfectly happy with the everyday “go about my business like I have for 20 years” lifestyle, and that is wonderful, at least I tell myself it is. But, even though I cannot believe these folks living a Bill Murray Groundhog influenced life are really content, I accept their accepting it is the life for them.
No matter what or how we have chosen to life our lives, temptation is always with us. Now I believe some of us go about creating our own temptation in a attempt to prove our worthiness. There are people who have to fight temptation in the street on a daily basis, much as I need to experience adventure. I see this everyday and believe me when I say this, because I have two hound dogs that couldn’t be more different.
The greyhound mix named Kramer (yeah, from Sienfeld) and plot hound named Lola are polar opposites in attitude. Kramer is laid back, in not hurry and just rolls with whatever the flow is for that moment. Lola on the other hand is all about the next conquest. She is up and ready to explore and find that which is new. Both dogs will go out in our small fenced in yard to do their business. Kramer will head over to a weed or the fence then come back and catch a few rays on the deck. Lola, she begins sniffing as soon as she is out the door. Everyday there is something new. There is no such thing as “old hat” as far as Lola is concerned. She is looking for that critter that dared trespass in her yard, that lizard crawling on the wall, or the cat trying to get over the fence before being “eaten” by the hounds. All the while, Kramer is looking over as if to say, “Have at it girl, been there done that.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

James and the Giant Peach

Contribution by Saul Martin My son’s class is reading James and the Giant Peach as a class right now, and I just saw that the movie is coming on Houston TX Satellite TV this weekend! Perfect timing! I emailed the teacher and told her I would record it for her and send it in case they wanted to watch it as a class when they are finished reading the book. I always enjoy watching the movie, of a book I’ve read to see the differences and compare the movie to the book. I think that would be a good educational experience for the kids, too. It would be neat for them to get to see their characters come to life on the screen. I heard the movie is pretty good too. They also have a “homework” assignment to create a “magic potion” like in the book out of things at home. I offered to get that ice that smokes…I forgot what it is called. I thought that would look really magical to the kids to see the steam.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The drive behind the adventure, aka TEMPTATION.

There is great frustration to be experienced in the everyday day events of our lives. Generally this frustration is generated by the inability to complete or participate in opportunities we find enjoyable. On any given day these opportunities can and will change. Some opportunities are created by ourselves, others are just chance happenings where we are in the right place at the right time. Or wrong place wrong time as the case may be.
But for the sake of nit arguing, let’s say we are creating these windows of opportunities and go with the notion we are in a good place for good reasons when they are presented. After all we can all point to bad experiences and our desire to avoid them. It is resisting the temptations of the good and seductive opportunities that are the most frustrating.
Before we all get into a heated discussion on what is or is not temptation, let’s avoid the semantic war by just saying each of us knows temptation when we see it. The only caveat I am willing to stipulate to is that the temptation is legal in and does NO harm to another or property.

Living with history in the backyard.

Here in North Carolina, public cemeteries are not as wide spread as they are in the north. It is more common to have a family plot just outside your door or in the middle of your field under the 150 year old pine tree.
When I first moved to North Carolina, I was astonished to see a family cemetery in the field or sometimes just on the other side of the garage. I suppose nothing made more sense than being buried on the land you had and your family had worked for generations. In the north that w=is how many cemeteries started. The one in Wyandotte, Michigan started when a young girl in the area dies and needed a burial place. The landowner had previous set a section of his land aside where he had buried several family members and opened up the area to local residents who needed a place to bury their family members. It was at a time when Wyandotte was transitioning from a agricultural society to one more “urban” and many farms had been divided into tracts for housing.
Here in North Carolina, I imagine it was much the same until a few years ago. When your family member died, you just contacted the authorities and filed the required documents for a death certificate and went out back and dug a hole for a final resting place of your loved ones. Something I found even more astonishing is many of these family cemeteries are still active.
When I came to North Carolina in February 2009, I rented a room in a singlewide trailer in Selma. Jim is a great guy and we were fortunate that we had similar outlooks and established a wonderful relationship that we have maintained to this day. Eventually I found a house to rent 25 miles north in Zebulon. Now if you are fans of that Tru-TV show LIZARD LICK TOWING, you pretty much know about Zebulon.
We lived on Carlyle Road just north of US 64. One day on the way to the convenience center, aka dump, I passed a small cemetery on Thomas Arnold Road. I see a canopy standing over a pile of dirt. That was when I realized these small family cemeteries were still being used. Later I would pass another in Bailey. This had me thinking about how complicated we had made the act of dying in the north. Here in the south it was as easy as wheeling your loved one out back.

History has been a major influence

I must admit, part of this adventure is being on the road. In previous years, I would search out destinations. There was always a new city or town within a 2-3 hour drive of the house. This afforded me a few hours to look around and still be back within a reasonable time.
Then I stumbled across a few older cemeteries. I began to recognize certain headstone designs as being of a particular era. I went looking for the sections that had the short thin headstones or the taller kiosk style markers. These were generally in the same area of a cemetery, usually in the back and set upon a hill. I made a note of the names and took pictures of the graves that were older than 1930 date of death. I stopped at one cemetery in Waltz, Michigan where I found a family plot. It had 4-5 smaller headstones and on either end were larger headstones. The 4-5 graves in the middle were children, having died over a 5 year period beginning in 1920. The graves on the outside were the parents, buried in the 1950s. I would like to find out how this family lived and what happened that caused these children to die.
I began finding a lot of history in these old cemeteries. This was enough to feed my sense of adventure. I found many famous Detroiters’ buried at Woodmere Cemetery. Many had roads and through-fares named for them. If you are ever curious how nearby towns and streets got their names, stop by the local cemetery.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blame it on my Ventral Striatum

There has always been a sense of urgency. The need to get it done. Though its origin has never been identified, it seems to begin from within. Somewhere in the ventral striatum is the voice of adventure that is every bit as annoying as tendinitis. This voice is always on the low, and generally barely audible. It is the reason I turn left at the intersection when the road ahead is straight and flat. It becomes my justification for questioning the established routine and seeking out the unknown solution. For so long as I can remember I have always looked for a more interesting way to solve a problem. I have even gone so far as to create problems so I can ponder all the possible ways it might be solved.
What most people see as an emergency, I see as just being another event that needs a solution. My ventral striatum tells me that no solution worth developing can be thought of too quickly. Don't get me wrong. I am far from a typical procrastinator. Yes, I will wait until the last minute to complete mundane tasks. You know those projects that really should be done, but there is no sense in doing them too soon. Once a task like this is done, whet does one do next? Isn't it better to have a task undone, waiting in the wings, than to be with out a task?
Then there is the adventure concept. Not the walking the edge of death adventure. Not even the adventure of exposing something to a risk. This is the adventure of the undiscovered. It is this adventure that creates a sense of urgency within me today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Our first experience with the Pollen Storm

This is of course our third year here in North Carolina. It is also OFFICIALLY the worse spring on record for POLLEN. Not just any polled, but the yellow-green sea of dust that blows across the road like sand in Nevada. Previous years we hadn't even noticed the pollen unless it had rained and the edges of the puddles were outlined in a disturbing color of yellow-green.
Surprisingly it hasn't covered the interior of the house. As a friend stated on city-data forum, he has to BRUSH off his car every morning as if it were covered in....YELLOW SNOW. Seems almost everyone here is struggling with temporary asthma, watering eyes, scratchy throat and headaches. Even our two hounds have pollen colored nasal passages. This is the first time i have had to deal with an allergy related illness.
We are now faced with the prospect of washing the 5er once the storm subsides. Not that this is a bad thing. It is long over due for a bath. We had wanted to wax it during our stay in Michigan last June, but we couldn't find the RED MAX floor wax at Lowe's. I have the 8 foot ladder, but no power washer. This might be the excuse I need to pick up an economy model on craigslist this weekend, right after I get the tire tire inflator for the riding lawn mower wheels.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Anticipation is killing us

We have been looking at the Coachmen Catalina 5er for what feels like an eternity. We parked it on July 25, 2011. We had just returned from our maiden voyage. It was suppose to be a shake down trip to Michigan and then to Amish country in Shipshewana, Indiana.
It evolved into a round the Great Lakes in 14 days tour. By the time we pulled up at the homestead here in Bunnlevel, North Carolina we have traveled nearly 4,000 miles in a little over 6 weeks. We were able to see some great sights in between some grueling setbacks. Overall it was an excellent trip and we learned so much about the 5er and the Dodge Diesel.
We learned that the 33 foot 5er was just about the perfect size for the two of us and our hounds. The Dodge was going to need some fortifications if we are to take on the Rockies in the coming year. We also learned we will need a serious Wi-Fi connection to stay in touch and maintain our internet obligations.
I really think we were not prepared for the angst of being land locked during the winter. At least I wasn't ready for the feelings of entrapment. We had made plans for New Orleans at Christmas 2011. We were all planned, investigated and chewing at the tires to get on the road.
Just as Christmas was approaching, and we were ready to confirm reservations and route, Mary is offered employment working with her sister and nieces in Michigan. I have previous mentioned this and the changes n our plans that have resulted in this great opportunity. Still missing Christmas on the road made looking at the 5er even more difficult.
Mary has made the move back to Michigan to begin her apprenticeship for real estate appraiser. I wil follow by July. So until then, I am busy with cleaning and reshuffling the interior of the 5er in anticipation of the trip north.
Looks like our first trip of the season will have to wait until September or October. I just hope it isn't too cold to be in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We missed Pictured Rocks in July.