July 27, 2005

Tasting It

My friend - She is so going to kill me for posting this.

Want to read more! Visit the blog I update twice daily!

P.S. And by the way, Blogger? THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for making it EASY to post pictures!!

July 20, 2005


Hey...what are you doing? The party's over here!

July 11, 2005

Write Poetry? Not Me!

I’m not a poet, and I know it. I’ve never written poetry and I don’t plan on starting. In fact, when I mentioned this non-desire to a friend of mine, she tried to explain that writing poetry isn’t all that hard.

I simply laughed.

I’m not an abstract person; I think along concrete lines. I look at a tree, and I see a tree, I don’t see a world leader, a symbol, or even nature, I simply see an object and never think anything more. I would LIKE to train myself to see beyond that initial process but I’m afraid I just don’t have the patience to train myself. I have learned to read between the lines in prose, but poetry is still beyond my comprehension.

In my latest version of Writer’s Digest, Miriam Sagan offers advice for poets that are going through a creative slump. Here’s an excerpt:

Found in the Tabloids

Most of us like to scan the tabloids at the supermarket checkout line,
but few of us will admit to buying them. Here’s a great excuse. Buy a few and
look at the most outlandish stories for poetic inspiration. Are 4,000 pairs of
shoes found annually in the New York City subway system? Write a poem about it.
When my daughter was little, I used to enjoy taking her grocery shopping because
she could ride in the cart. I glanced at a tabloid and was intrigued by the
headline, “Baby Found Inside Watermelon.” The story claimed that a large
watermelon on a kibbutz in Israel had been sliced open, only to reveal an infant
inside. Babies and produce were on my mind that day. I wrote a poem that took
its title from the headline:

Tabloid headline on the checkout line

My basket full of cantaloupe
The night you were conceived, little one,I, your mother,
dreamed of a slit peach
With a tiny dark-haired baby inside
Like the old couple in the Japanese fairy tale
Who looked for peach boy, peach girl.

Without the tabloid, I probably never would have remembered the
dream and wanted to share its importance.

The poem then goes on to discuss the tabloid story and ends:

Promise me, little milk and honey girl
That you’ll sproutQuick as the wild gourd
Not hideMystery inside of fruit.

I should say that this poem is profound, insightful, deeply moving, but I can’t. I simply don’t understand it. I suppose that’s the whole point behind poetry - it’ s not meant to have a universal meaning, it means whatever the reader wants it to mean.

I’m too shallow for poetry, and I think that might be a bad thing.

Write From Karen

July 10, 2005

July 08, 2005

London Bombs

London, we can empathize.

This bit by Eric Zorn’s guest blogger, Rex Huppke, really struck home.

What do we do now?

It seemed inevitable terrorists would strike again, would spill the
blood of innocent people, would find a way to show this “war” against them has
not been won. Sure enough, they did it, shook the city of London with four
coordinated explosions that tore the bodies of 40 people apart and injured
hundreds of others. It rattles any sane person. Tough or not, you’re forced stop
and think.

So how do we react?

Bastards. Let’s steel our resolve to root them out.

Cowards. How can they do this in the name of anybody’s god?

Devils. How can we ever stop an enemy like this.

Fools. No doubt they’re fools, but what do we do now?

We’ve gone after them. We’ve swept through a country in the name of
defending our homeland. But did any of us think for a minute something like this
wouldn’t happen again?

Honestly, for me, no. I hadn’t thought about terrorists attacking other parts of the world because for some reason, I had it in my head that Iraq hated us and us alone. I think now that’s an arrogant point of view. Why just us? Iraq is bent on forcing their religious beliefs on the world, not just us, why wouldn’t they attack other “sinful” (their opinion, not mine) nations?

This comment by a California resident really steamed my broccoli:

I am a U.S. citizen in California reading this blog (and Europhobia) and I
must say that even though I detest George Bush and consider him unfit as a
leader, I suspended all of that opinion just to listen to the man and what he
had to say today. I became aware that I finally understood where he might be
coming from in terms of his policies. Prior to today, I just couldn’t fathom his

For reasons unknown to me, I have been more affected by the terrorist
attacks today in London, than I was by 9/11 in my own country.

I feel so very badly for the Londoners, their families and the human
toll this has taken today.

I can’t believe it takes another country’s tragedy to wake this person up! What is WRONG with people?? Why would this person be more affected by neighboring countries’ tragedies than by what’s happening on our own native soil? Why are people so willing to empathize with other people and yet ignore/ridicule/reject the vicitms in their backyard?

Reading the accounts of people who were there, the timeline of the event and one individual’s account of surviving the terrorists’ attacks makes my heart ache. Why are people so cruel? Why are so many people weak-minded and willing to accept evil in their lives? The people who attacked London have cut their noses off to spite their faces - this will only make more of the world understand our (Americans) reasons of why we are in Iraq to begin with - why chase these people all over the world when we can squash their attempts on their native soil?


Here’s an anonymous comment I found on the M.A.W.B Squad blog -

I am not happy what happened in London today.

BUT! At the same time in Bagdad (Irak) were also killed 40 peoples in
bomb attack. Nobody is giving his condolences to the people of Irak an the
family of the killed peoples in that country.
When You look to these differences between the victims in Bagdad and London You will understand why these heappened to the peoples in London!

Let’s recap - WHO STARTED THE ATTACKS AGAIN?? I thought so.

I began this rant with a quote from Rex Huppke and I’ll end it with a quote from the man as well:

Our hearts have to go out to the British. We know too well the unfamiliar
emotions that will now creep into their minds, the naked feeling of having your
security stripped away.
And we must prepare for an onslaught of opinions and
questions about whether we’ve made the world better, or whether we’ve made it

So here we are, left, every one of us — the British, nations the world
over, us — to ask the same question we were asking the day U.S. jetliners became
missiles and changed the world:

What do we do now?

What in the hell do we do now?

Indeed….now what?

July 07, 2005

Summer's Half Over

Thanks for reading about our Sanibel vacation. If anyone missed the diary entries, please go the “Sanibel Vacation” category located in the right-hand column.

It’s good to be back. As I mentioned (in a sidenote) in one of my entries, my writers’ group has disbanded. I’m more relieved than sad, quite frankly. My Outlook hasn’t been dinging every five minutes!! Now that I have more time…wait….did I just say those words? “Have more time?” I think I’ll just step back and savor those words for a moment……

Ok, I’m back.

I’ve revamped my creative writing site if anyone is interested in hopping over there for a visit. In a nutshell, I’ve made a section for my ongoing stories based on writing prompts. I had started this “experiment” over at Scribes shortly before we pulled the plug. In essence, these ongoing stories are exercises that warm me up to work on my novel and short story. On my creative writing site, I’ve also included: past stories, author info, fun stuff for writers, and my portfolio which will list my current progress on my current writing projects as well as submission and rejection info. This site won’t change on a daily basis (well, the fun stuff for writers will) but it will change so please check back once in a while.

I went to the bookstore today and picked up A Little Change of Face by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Baratz-Logsted (what a mouthful!) is the guest chick at www.literarychicks.com. I read this blog on a daily basis and this author caught my attention. I thought her blog entry comparing chick-lit to shoes was clever. Anyway, I’ll let you know what I thought about it. I’m beginning to like chick-lit more and more. It really appeals to my sense of humor and it also appeals to my writing style (whatever that may be at this point). Maybe I should seriously look into writing something in that genre.

Fouth of July was good. We went over to the in-laws Sunday night and shot off the crackers we bought (a burgeoning tradition) and then Monday night we parked at a dentist’s office (along with the other half of Springfield) and mooched off the country club’s fireworks display. We had a good time though. We didn’t have to fight the crowds and we were home within 15 minutes, as opposed to 2 hours.

The 4th of July holiday is the halfway point for the boys; summer is officially half over. I can’t believe they will be starting back to school in about six weeks! I’m sort of ready for them to go back…but not yet. Ask me again after we go shoe shopping.

We’re off to catch some rays!

July 03, 2005

Travel Log

I've been posting my travel log to Sanibel Island at my regular blog if anyone is interested. :-)

July 01, 2005

Sanibel Island - Day One

I apologize in advance for the switch in tenses - I wrote both what happened, what was going to happen and what was happening. Again, this is a documentation of the trip - not an exercise in writing well. :D Thanks for reading along!

I woke up laughing. Have you ever had a dream that made you laugh? Apparently I had one this morning. I remember waking up to the Oldie’s station with a smile on my face. Fragments of the dream lingered like the smell of garlic after an Italian meal.

I woke up at 5:15 a.m. It was too early, I could have slept, but I needed to get up and do some last minute Internet things (see how I love you all?)

Things went smoothly this morning. We threw our health and beauty aids into our luggage, cleaned up the kitchen and took out the trash. Hubby set the light timers and everyone scarfed down breakfast.

The weather is perfect today. Sunny and 70’s – good flying weather. We got to the airport an hour before our scheduled flight and checked in right away. Springfield is such a small city that it doesn’t take long to get through the whole security thing. And everyone is nice. Not like Dallas where everyone looks at you like you’re a bug they would love to squash.

Nine-twenty, our scheduled time to fly out comes and goes. I tense. I’m not a big fan of the Springfield airport because there are always delays. The last time we flew out of Springfield the plane had mechanical problems and since we live in a remote area (by American Airlines standards) they didn’t have another plane sitting around waiting on us. Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight in Dallas and ended up spending the night at a Dallas hotel, in our clothes. It wasn’t pleasant, but it did give us a horror story to tell people. Unfortunately, that was the kids’ first airplane trip and they were (still are) a little leery of flying.

“Attention, ladies and gentlemen. Our mechanics are working on the plane now and it will hopefully be a few minutes before we start boarding.”

Key word here is: hopefully

I glanced at hubby and mumbled under my breath, “This is the LAST time we fly out of Springfield.” I had visions of running our asses off at the Dallas airport again trying to beg someone to give us four seats to our destination and being ignored. I especially enjoy the disgust airline employees display while we try our hardest to remain calm and rational knowing that if we piss them off, even the slightest, our chances of leaving the airport within the next week are pretty slim.

I don’t DO the beg thing.

However, a few minutes later, we did indeed board and we heaved a sigh of relief. We overheard one of the staff speaking to some guy on the phone that they couldn’t find the oil cap and that’s what caused the delay.

This is important, right?

We sat on the plane for about 20 minutes trying to pretend that nothing was wrong. The captain finally came on and said we were waiting on paperwork. Shortly after this announcement, I noticed a tankard pull up beside the plane (we’re sitting in the very back of the plane and I can barely hear myself type over the jet engines. Good thing I brought some Tylenol). Hubby said he thought it was a sewer truck. Couldn’t they have thought of pumping out the poop earlier?
Finally, the flight attendant did her spiel and we’re in the air now.

We got separated from the kids. They are sitting two rows in front of us. Our oldest, who REALLY hates to fly, was pretty nervous and wanted to split up and sit with either me or hubby but I knew that once we were in the air, he’d have fun sitting with his brother so they could compare notes on their new Gameboy DS games they bought yesterday with their birthday/holiday money.

So, I have no idea what they are doing now, but I’m sure they’re too busy playing to be concerned with what’s going on. (I later learned that they didn't played their games because they were unsure it was safe to “operate electronic devices.” Poor guys, they sat, still as statues, until we arrived in Dallas. The people in front of us complimented us on the fact that we have such well-behaved boys. I resisted the urge to look behind me to see if maybe she was addressing someone behind us).

The plane is only about half full. Hubby and I are sitting in the very back and the single row across from us is empty. Technically, the kids could move back here with us but considering they weren’t not acting nervous, I kept my mouth shut.

Our seats were initially all scattered – hubby was going to sit in 3B, I was going to sit in 12A, and the boys would sit together in the 14th row. However, a man in a wheelchair wanted to sit up toward the front of the plane so our seats were reassigned. It actually worked out better because now hubby and I can sit together.

The flight attendant is serving beverages. I both love and hate this part. I love the fact that I can whet my whistle (I always get so thirsty on planes, I think it’s nerves) but I feel like a moocher by taking it. I know we paid for it, but I still feel like I need to leave a tip or something.
The flight attendant is asking the boys what they want to drink and BJ is giving her a hard time. I think he’s flirting with her! AB didn’t want anything, probably because he’s too nervous to drink and too shy to tell her what he wants. BJ made her laugh when she asked him what he normally drank. He probably said root beer and she heard just the beer part.

He’s being his charming self.

It’s nearly our turn and I think I’ll stick to water. Too much sugar gives me a headache (course I won’t mention that I’m carrying a bag of suckers and a bag of Starburst in my carry on. Shh)
We are scheduled to get into Dallas at 10:30 a.m. Since we got a late start, we will probably get in closer to 11:00. This will still work out as we’ll have time to grab some airport lunch (yum) before catching our 12:54 p.m. flight to Fort Myers. More at the airport.

It’s noon and we’re sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. We’re at gate C20 after eating a healthy lunch at McDonalds. Actually, we were going to eat at a Chinese restaurant but it was $6.00 a meal and we didn’t feel like paying $30 for lunch.

I hate the Dallas airport though I have to admit, it’s not very crowded. The last time we were here it was so crowded we could barely walk, let alone run, which is what we needed to do. This time around we have an hour to wait. It looks like our plane is already here and waiting for us – which means of course, that something will go wrong at the last minute and we’ll have to wait even longer.

Our gate is pretty crowded. Nearly every seat is taken. We are sitting facing the runway so we can watch the planes take off. The girl sitting on my left is very antsy and bored. She keeps pulling her cell phone out in the hopes that someone has called between the two minutes she used it last. She keeps glancing over at me and hubby (he’s trying to get his voice activation function to work) to see what we’re doing. She’s young, probably early 20’s, if that. She asked us where we were going to make sure she was in the right place.

Ever heard of looking at a monitor?

She’s thin. She has on a white sweat jacket, tight jeans and flip-flops. She has shoulder-length straight blonde hair and raspberry nail polish. She’s trying to look inconspicuous as she glances over her shoulder in my direction but I’m pretty sure she’s trying to read what I’m writing. I’ll be embarrassed if she actually reads any of this.

Looking around me, there is a hodge podge of people. If I had to put a percentage on it – 80% people aged 50 and over, two other families, one has a boy about BJ’s age and one has a little girl about two.

People at airports used to make me so nervous but there’s really no reason to feel that way. For a short period of time, you share breathing space with complete strangers and are forced to act civilized – smile politely, make small talk “where are you headed,” etc.

Forty-five minutes to go! Next stop, Fort Myers!

We’re on the home stretch. We’re on the last plane and we’re sitting in the VERY back. What’s up with that? One advantage though is we can’t hear anything or anybody because of the engines; they are a low roar and right in our ear. We’re also by the bathrooms which means every Tom, Dick and Harry have to stand right next to our seats to wait to use the bathroom. There’s a little boy and his mother waiting and the little boy is dancing up and down because he has to go so bad. It’s weird being stared at while I’m typing this. I hope they can’t read upside down. My question is – why don’t they go BEFORE they leave the airport? It’s funny to watch them from the corner of my eye as they pretend they aren’t watching me or are trying to look everywhere but at me.

I just had a lady ask me what I was using. I knew that was going to happen. I suppose when you have all the coolest toys people are going to wonder what they are. How did I explain this contraption?

“It’s a word processor without the bells and whistles.”

Not a very technical way of explaining it, but it works.

I really hate sitting back here with the bathrooms. I don’t think we’ve ever had to sit in the back before and yet here we are, twice in one day. Yeah.

Another disadvantage to sitting way back here is that we don’t have a window. So we’re flying blind, literally. AB gets really nervous during take off and landings and when we can’t see what’s going on, it’s doubly disconcerting. We’re back here with the kitchen so it’s kind of interesting to see where they store all the drinks and how they work the carts. Of course, I have to endure the stares as the flight attendant’s seat is right behind me, but I suppose that’s the price one pays when we get a “deal” through the airlines. At least we are all sitting together this time. Hubby is one row up and by himself, but I’m sitting here with the boys. They seem more relaxed this time around – probably because I’m here.

Having the engines in my ear does have an advantage though – I don’t have to listen to the kid screaming toward the front of the plane. I can see that her mouth is open, eyes squinted, but no sound. It’s sort of like watching a silent film in color.

We should be hitting Fort Myers in about 2 ½ hours, which will be about 4;30 p.m. After we pick up our car, we’ll probably drive around a bit, get our bearings (where is the nearest grocery store, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, etc.) and then head out to our hotel. We’ll take some pictures of the area when we get settled.

Why is it so hard to stay awake on a plane? And you know something else? Planes put me in a trance. It’s weird. But once we get going and there’s the constant lull of the plane, I go mental. I just sit there, frozen, staring off into space. If I MAKE myself do something, like pull out my Neo and do a little writing, the trance is broken and I no longer feel airsick. Why is that? Is it because my attention has been diverted?

Yes, I get motion sickness, BAD. I can’t go across town without feeling sick to my stomach. I’m ok if I’m driving, but being a passenger, forgetaboutit.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was invited to go to Silver Dollar City with my sister-in-law (and I hadn’t been her sister-in-law for very long so I wanted to make a good impression) and had to have her pull over so I could vomit by the roadside? Talk about embarrassing.
I’d offer some observations about the people around me, but being in the very back row, I can’t see much other than the backs of their heads. I’m afraid that would be boring to describe as well as read. So I’ll sign off for now – zone out to my iPod and write later.

We made it into Fort Myers right on schedule – 4:30 p.m. After retrieving our luggage we rented a car at Alamo rental. We had to wait in line for quite a while because the first man demanded a Cadillac and the upgrade required more money and more paperwork. The next couple didn’t speak English very well so it took a while for the lady to figure out what they wanted.

Finally, it was our turn. We rode the Alamo shuttle to their lot and was told, “The keys are in the car, pick one (they were divided up into categories, we had the intermediate category) and drive it away.”

That’s the first time we were able to choose our car. In the past, we were simply assigned a car. It was really cool to be able to pick. We settled on a silver Grand Am and took off. It took us about 45 minutes from the car rental place to find our hotel. We drove out of Fort Myers airport, drove down Daniels road to Summerlin, crossed the toll bridge (which costs $6.00 every time you drive onto the island. This means we will be sticking to the island and not driving back and forth to Fort Myers), down Periwinkle, down Lingren and finally, followed the winding East Gulf Road to Middle Gulf Road to the Sundial Hotel.

They sustained some damage from the hurricane last year so there is quite a bit of construction. We had to check in at the gift shop because they are still working on their lobby.
We’re staying in the D building, room 406.

I can honestly say, this is the BEST room we’ve EVER had. It’s more like a condominium than a hotel room. It has a small living area, an adjoining dining room, a FULL kitchen with a bar, one full-sized bath and one bedroom. We fell in love with it immediately. This is saying a lot for me because a hotel room is a hotel room, or so I thought. Not so here. It’s GORGEOUS! And I can understand how people can stick around the beach their entire vacation with rooms like this. It’s very cozy.

After the shock of our great room wore off, we left in search of someplace to eat. We ended up eating at a pizza place just down the road from the hotel. Each of us had our own HUGE slice of pizza and their thin crust was really good (I’m not usually a fan of thin crust but this was soft and chewy, not hard). They served their full pizzas on a silver platter with a stand so people could eat under the pizza and save table space. We thought that was clever.

After pizza, we drove around and explored the island. One half of the island is undeveloped and a big chunk of it is reserved for wildlife. They have a seashell museum and there are bike trails everywhere; we’ll probably rent bikes sometime in the next four days and go exploring.
The other side of the island is more residential and the houses are expensive and attractive. There’s an old lighthouse on the very tip of the island. We came across the lighthouse during twilight so the lights were on and it gave the whole island a very charming feel.

There are raccoons EVERYWHERE. And they don’t appear to be very afraid of us, at all. There were three of the critters scavenging in the dumpster behind the restaurant and we’ve seen several just running around. How in the world did raccoons get on the island?! Hubby thinks they might have come by pirates, but who knows.

There are several swampy areas on the island and we’ve learned they have had about six inches more rain than normal this season. I can’t imagine living here during a really bad storm, there’s absolutely nowhere to go – people would have no choice but to evacuate.

After our impromptu sight-seeing tour, we headed back over the bridge to Fort Myers and bought a bunch of groceries at Publix. We ended up spending $75 on food but we figure we’re saving a bundle by not eating out. There are a TON of quaint eating places on the island, but we aren’t willing to spend $30 each time we go out. So…we plan on using our kitchen and cooking in. This will be a very relaxing vacation, as we don’t really plan on leaving our room or the beach.
We got back to the hotel around 10:00 p.m. and we all sat around, sort of zoning out until 11:00. The boys wanted to stay up longer, but I insisted they go to bed and they were asleep within minutes. They are sleeping on the fold out sofa bed.

I can barely keep my eyes open a moment longer. It was a long day of traveling, but we’re here and we’re VERY happy with what we’ve seen so far.

Tomorrow, we’ll explore the hotel further, sit on the beach and hopefully soak up some sun (if it doesn’t rain). I vote we stick around the hotel tomorrow and just veg. We have four days to explore at our leisure.


Want to see pictures? Go here