Day 8 – Balloons


Sadly today, I only have a picture of my laptop to post. I really did not see too much else of the world today, and the one interesting thing I did see, was gone before I got back in the house to grab the camera. Not only was I in front of my laptop all day, I will be there for some time this evening trying to get caught up.

I do like the photo I have as my desktop, and no I did not take the photo of the balloons. I would love to see the AT&T balloon. Did you know I “celebrated” my 29th anniversary with the company on Saturday. No celebration really, I just mentioned it to Tara as we were driving down the toll road.

I have always loved hot air balloons, and when I got my very first 35mm camera in the early 80s, it was a Hot Air Balloon festival was one of the first things I photographed. I still have some of my favorites framed. Here in Florida I don’t see hot air balloons as often as I did in PA.

That does segway nicely to the interesting thing I did see today, but could not get a picture of, that being a DIRECTV blimp. It was quite ironic, as I was standing outside with an AT&T technician checking the junction box for my phone lines for a new installation that is being done on Thursday. AT&Ts new product – U-Verse which replaces cable TV and DSL!! I can’t wait…. I love technolgy.

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Day 7 – My History of Cats


Today’s photo is a close up of the face of one of our four cats. Of all of our cats, with their unique personalities and quirks, Cassie is the fairest one of all. She is also the biggest and laziest, and of late loves nothing more than cuddling with Tara…. right on her pillow!

Cassie is a calico with some very fun markings. One of her back legs is striped like a tiger cat, it looks like she has on a sock.

When I was young, I did not like cats. This could have been because my father did not like cats. I had a dog for a few years, but after that no pets until I was in my 20s.

My first cat Ebony came into my life in 1985, when I headed to the SPCA to fill the void in our house that was made after my sister, her two kids and their cat left after living with us temporarily. I didn’t miss the humans, but I did miss the cat! Ebony was a beautiful black cat. Shortly after, she moved to VA and she kept me company in a new an lonely place. She traveled with me on weekend trips back to PA, and she consoled me in her own way after my dad passed and I returned back to my life in VA away from my family.

Two years later (1987), I decided Ebony needed a friend, and I adopted Portia. She was a lovely long haired gray cat, who much preferred the wild life to the indoors. We came to an understanding, and she settled enough to become part of the family, but she did not like people, but tolerated me.

Both cats moved back to PA with me and lived happy lives from many more years. Ebony died in 2000, at 15 years old, and Portia who I believe was depressed after Ebony’s passing, became an outside cat once again. She would come to the door for her food, or if she smelled salmon, but other than that she choose to be outside. This broke my heart as the cold winter weather neared. One day I feed her and realized she was not doing well. I picked her up (an unheard of feat) and once at the vet found she was very ill, and it would be in her best interest to put her down, as she was suffering. This broke my heart, but I did not want her to suffer any more. Both deaths were amazingly difficult for me, they were such a part of my life.

Soon after Portia’s death, Tara and I went in search of our new pets, and we found Emmie and Cassie – 7 week old sisters at a rescue. They have been such a joy now for 7 years, moving with us to Florida. I don’t think they have ever quite forgiven me for bringing first a dog, then another dog, and cat, 5 kittens (one of which we still have) and now six guinea pigs into the family!

They still are the queens of the house, demanding chopped up canteloupe each morning for breakfast, and making it quite clear if the food bowl is empty. Along with the oddity of liking canteloupe, they also like Cheez its?

Our other two cats are Daphne and her son Kovu (aka Bubba, one of a litter of five kittens (she got out one day before I had the opportunity to get her spayed!) Bubba is Tara’s cat. Daphne delivered her first two kittens right in Tara’s bed while she was sleeping (ewwww), and Tara was there for the delivery of the rest. He is a big old scardy cat, but follows Tara where ever she goes, and gives her kitty kisses.

Daphne is the hunter of the pride, and the only one that I think could fend for herself if she had too. She loves to hunt lizards, and has also brought me frogs and a mouse one time. She needs her outside time every day, but likes the cushiness of the indoors as well. If she is outside when I walk the dogs, she will follow us down the side walk meowing all the way, and getting louder and louder the further away from home we go. She spends a good bit of her time outdoors on the roof! Cat on the Hot Florida roof. If it is very quiet, you can her the pitter patter of her paws! At least she is fairly safe when she is up there!

So, there you have it, the history of cats in my life!

As I end this Queen Cassie and Prince Kovu are having a hissing match in the living room, as they both try and stake their claim next to Tara!

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29 years ago……

today, I started my career in the telecommunication business. I was 21 years old and it was my first day working for Bell of PA (later to evolve through Bell Atlantic & Verizon). How telecommunications has changed since then – who would have thought almost everyone would be walking around with a phone in their pocket or even dreamed of the Internet! Those were the days when they encouraged people who needed new phone service, or to move their service or change their service or even disconnect their service to go to the “Phone Center Stores”, that was the beginnng of the self service culture for utilities. I remember by first day at the business office in Norristown, I remember what I wore, I remember parking at the bottom of the hill in the parking lot and walking the two or three blocks to the office. I remember the smell of the pizzelles and other goodies coming from the Italian bakery. Some how I made it through training and three companies later (Bell of PA, AT&T Information Systems & AT&T Corporate), and many many jobs later, I am still here. I have worked in King of Prussia, PA, Jenkintown, PA, back to King of Prussia, then on to Vienna and Herndon VA, only to return to King of Prussia & Wayne! Those jobs led me to travel 110 miles each day to jobs in Bedminster and Bridgewater, NJ. The mid-90s brought me a job that offered telecommuting – what a gift after so many years of commuting! I am still in that same “position” – should I say, I am still working for the same manager. The other folks around me have changed, and the work that I do has changed more than once, and I moved my personal life to Florida! Wow…. how things have changed. I have encountered many people along my way, and done jobs that I didn’t like so much and some that I loved.I have been gainfully for over 10,000 days, I am not sure there are too many people these days that can say the same. Here’s to several more… and that 30 year gift this time next year!

Tara and I had a fun outing to Downtown Disney again today. She had worked diligently over the past couple of evenings, re-organizing our Disney pins, and had come up with a few more that she thought she would not mind using for trading, so off we went. It was busy today, and looked like rain at one point so we decided to go see Madagascar 2 before we hit the Marketplace. We got there just in time for the next showing, and after picking up a couple hot dogs for lunch (why do they always taste better when you eat them out?), we settled in for the show. We saw several previews for movies that will be coming out soon, and have added those to our list. Movies has been something Tara and I have enjoyed together since she was about three. I think it too until about then for her to sit through an entire movie. I love that we have this that we can share as she grows. The movie was good. I as usual snoozed through a bit. I always get cold in the theater, and when I get my self all comfy to keep warm, I tend to doze off! I’m getting OLD, what can I say.

After the movie, we headed back to the Marketplace. We wondered a bit, and headed to the Pin Shop and Christmas store. Tara traded for some new pins, and we bought a couple as well. We then went into the Christmas shop which too was bustling with folks doing Christmas shopping. We did not stay for long, and soon decided it was time to head home. I love this pin that I got for myself.

A quick stop at Wal-Mart Market, and a $4.98 Take and Bake pizza, and our quiet evening at home began. The weather is quickly changing from a very warm and humid day to what is supposed to be a rather chilly day tomorrow. It feels wonderful outside tonight…

Here is what two of my “girls” can be found doing while I type this:

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Day 6 – Patience

These are two oranges (1/18/09 – edited to add – actually these are LEMONS) growing on an tree in my side yard. You are probably wondering what oranges (lemons) have to do with patience aren’t you?

Tara and I moved to this house in June of 2003, in the yard there was a small, sad looking shrub. I was not sure what this was, but suspected it might be some type of citrus. It was not healthy looking at all, and that first summer it ws too hot, and I was too busy enjoying the pool and visitors to worry about the yard.

Two years after we moved here (the spring after Hurricane Charley ripped through our area), on a sunny spring morning, I walked outside and smelled the sweetest smell. I realized it was coming from the blossoms on a neighbors tree. I walked over and breathed in the wonderful aroma of the orange (blossoms. For as long as the blossom were on the tree I would stand outside, inhaling the sweet smell trying to memorize it forever. Not long after the blossoms were gone, I noticed the fruit starting to form, first as small green lime like balls, and slowly, very slowly growing larger and changing to the color of the sun. By December the fruit was ripe. It was then that I realized that it takes many months for citrus to mature!

I occasionally looked at the sad bush in my yard and thought I really should take it out, but never took the time. The next November my sister was visiting, and she was having a grand time with my large pruning shears, and she RADICALLy pruned the tree. She chopped it down as far as it would go. I was sure that it would die. The little tree had other plans. The next spring I noticed, from the branchless stump in the ground, sprouts were appearing. It was a resurrection of sorts. One day this past spring much to my surprise, I walked out to the side yard (it’s a part of the yard you can’t see from the house), and realized I smelled that sweet smell once again, and this time it was not coming from my neighbors tree, but MINE. After almost five years, that ugly bush, had grown into a tall fruit bearing tree. The fruit are slowly ripening this year, some have been destroyed by the squirrels and bugs, but I am going to keep an eye on these two and pull them off the tree sometime soon, and hopefully they will ripen so we can have a taste!

With patience (and I guess a little procrastination on my part too), what I once thought was an ugly shrub is now a beautiful tree (athough still a little lopsided).

Patience is a virtue that I have lacked most of my life. As I get older, I realize that there are things that we must wait for, and many times we appreciate them as so much more when we do. Things that come too easy to us, are many times just as easily tossed aside.

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Day 5 – Shuttle Endeavour

Tonight Tara and I witnessed what is said to be the last night lauch of the Space Shuttle program. We have watched all but two of the launches since moving to Florida in 2003. Each and every time, I am a bit anxious until the shuttle is up and out of sight. I see each launch as a little piece of history. We have a pretty open view to the east if you go out our front door and into our cul de sac! There were not many folks out in the neighborhood tonight, but you could hear those that were giving the launch a round of applause.

In this photo you can see the moon (bluish orb to the left) and the glow of the shuttle in the middle of the picture. It was an awesome night weather-wise.

I wonder where space exploration will take man next? Will we re-visit the moon?

Godspeed to the crew until your safe return- Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe, Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Steve Bowen, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus


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Thank Goodness it’s Friday….

TGIF – I am so ready for a weekend. Six more work days until I will have six days off in a row. I tend to take my vacation time a couple days at a time, and sometimes that’s just not enough to regenerate, so I am really looking forward to that time off!

I keep changing the title of my blog. I guess it is a good thing I have not given it too many folks! I not only changed the title, but I changed the web address too. I don’t want this to be about my being a mom, that is what my whole “identity crisis” is all about anyway. I want this to be about me, finding me again after 14 years (including those with my ex) of being what others needed or wanted me to be! Of course being a mom is a big part of what I am, but it just can’t continue to be all that I am. I am not just Mom, or Tara’s mom….. I am MARTHA…..

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to pack Tara up and send her off to boarding school (although there are days…..), she is my heart, and there have been times when she was the reason I got up each day. She is a bright funny and loving child. We are so much alike though that we butt heads from time to time too!

I am sitting here trying to think of a list of things that I would like to do for me… and you know, I really can’t think of any except to READ A BOOK. It has been so long since I have put me first that I don’t know how to do it anymore. I have become one of those women whose puts (out of necessity at times) everyone/thing before them. I desperately need new clothes, a hair cut, a manicure and pedicure. There are days that I don’t get a shower, and I wear the same clothes two days in a row (I work at home, and many days I don’t do anything more outside the house than drive Tara and her friend to school, and pick Tara back up and walk the dogs under cover of darkness!)

I do spend time on the computer, that is me time… but many times interepted by a call for help with something, or a dog that needs to go out! I love photography, but most photography outings involve activities with Tara, and I can’t always focus (no pun intended) just on picture taking!

My mind has been spinning all week – maybe that is why I had such a hard time focusing on anything for more than a few minutes…. It really hit me this week, that I am 50, and this year in particular, I don’t think I have accomplished much of anything.

Well that’s what’s been floating around in my head all day….. I have a dog whining at me for who knows what reason. She has been a royal pain ALL week, maybe it was the moon this week… it was full yesterday! I might just send her to the moon!

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Day 4 – Morning Coffee

I love my morning coffee, and I love drinking it out of fun mugs. I have several Disney mugs, and mugs with palm trees, as well as a collection of Starbuck’s travel mugs. They were always fun to buy and use when I spent more time in the car with coffee. Right now, I rarely take hot coffee with me, but will occasionally stop at McDs for an Iced Coffee!

This mug makes me think of Disney and Christmas time. I bought it at the Caribbean Beach Resort gift shop when my sister Linda visited. Probably four years ago! The Disney Blend coffee is good too!

Tara asked me the other day while we were sharing a Starbuck’s coffee drink from a bottle, when I started drinking coffee, and I really don’t recall. I know I HATED the smell of coffee when I was a kid. Was that because my mom disliked coffee? She disliked chocolate ice cream too, and I never liked it much when I was young! I don’t recall drinking coffee in college either, back then it was not such a big thing, I remember hot chocolate from packets and water from the hot pot (no microwaves in college rooms back the either!). The earliest time I remember being part of my morning (now that does not mean it did not happen before) was when I worked in a beautiful building near Dulles Corner, VA. They opened a coffee shop in the lobby, and you could not help but smell the delicious blends brewing as you walked by. I think that was where I bought my first “flavored” coffee beans. Chocolate Raspberry, and come to think of it, I probably had to buy a Mr. Coffee too! Fond memories of days can by.

See what kinds of thoughts posting a simple picture of my morning coffee can bring!

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Totally boring Thursday

Oh – don’t you just love the Turkey background? Why yes I do! (I have to answer the question myself because at this point, I have no clue if anyone is EVEN reading my blog!)

We are on the downward side of the work week slope and I am glad that it is almost the weekend. I guess we did more than we have done in recent months the past couple of weekends, so I have not felt as rested. Happier probably, but just not rested!

I never finished yesterdays post… OOPS……

The day was uneventful.

The roast I made in the crock pot was great, and it DROVE the dogs crazy all day. They wanted at the meat!

Survivor was good (I watched it at 3am)! I’m glad to see things getting shaken up a bit! Randy needs to go. He is arrogant!

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Day 3 – Growth

Day 3’s photo is a group of new palm trees that were planted in the recreation area of our neighborhood association. We live in an area called Waterford Lakes, that is made up of several smaller sub divisions. I drive by this recreation area probably 360 days a year….. only time I wouldn’t drive by it is if I don’t leave the house. I love these new trees, it now makes the area look like FLORIDA. Before it really could have been anywhere.

My plan is to photograph this picture next year, same time to see how much they have grown. I am also looking at this next year as a year of growth for me. I have become so stagnant. I work, take care of Tara, the house, the pets, but I really do not do much for myself. Since Tara was born, I have become Tara’s mom, and Martha has gotten lost. Our children should be our first priority, but to what expense of ourselves. I need to find this balance.

Will we still be in Florida this time next year? Last year we thought we would be back in PA for the holidays, but 18 months later we are still here. What other things will change over the next year? I am not a planner (I guess that has been my problem most of my life?), I pretty much live day to day. People would ask about a 5year plan in your life/career, and I would not have an answer. I suppose I never really knew were I was going, I was just working on getting to the next day! Will my mother move to Florida with us? That depends on something else not in my control, and this if my employer sends me back to work in an office after years of working from home…. just changing that one thing, changes so many things that have become our routine, our life!

Anxiously waiting to see what 2009 brings my way!


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Middle of the Week Blues

I am going to get an early start to my entry for the day, although I am sure it will be a compilation of events and thoughts throughout the day. It seems by evening time, when the day is winding down, so am I! Last night I had good intentions for accomplishing “stuff”, only to wake up at 12:30 and realize I had been asleep since 8:30! Not really a bad thing, since I can use the sleep, but I never really went fully back to sleep. I was up at 3am when I realized I had not done the load of laundry I promised to do. I get upset with Tara when she “forgets” to do things, but lately, I am not much better!

Speaking of forgetting things, how much time do you spend each day looking for things you have misplaced? Now I’m not talking about things they you have not used recently but thing that you JUST had minutes before. I do this all day long with my glasses. I need them for reading/computer work, but not for walking, watching TV. They don’t fit nicely on my head like my sunglasses do, so when I get up from what I am doing, to let the dog out, or whatever, I talke them off and set them down. Now I don’t always do this before I get up, sometimes it’s an after thought when I realize that if I take another step with them on I will FALL! I then return to whatever I was doing, and realize I don’t have my glasses….. but where are they? I do this more than once a day most days. Most times they can be found on the back of the sofa or love seat, or on the kitchen counter, but this morning… they were on the floor in the back of the car. I had taken them with me and they had fallen out. I am soon going to have to admit that I am OLD, and get one of those things for around my neck to hold my glasses. Think how much extra time I will have in my day to look for all of the OTHER things that get misplaced.

Once again, after dinner, I sat down to watch TV, and next thing I knew it was 10pm, dozed back off and it was 12:30am, of course the dogs (well dog – Maia) wanted to be up at 4am. Is it any wonder I am always tired. Having pets is worse than having an infant in the house (well at least in my house!)

So as you can see – another uneventful day in the life of Martha! Uneventful is good in some ways… it means nothing BAD is happening, but when you are trying to write about life it is just down right BORING!

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