Saturday, December 30, 2006


Start new
This night.
Each day.
this moment.
Step up.
Move on.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bye, Bye Holidays...

...except for New Year's Eve, and that's a piece of cake.

Christmas here was quiet but lovely.
I spent the day reading a book that I got from a friend. IM'd with my brother in Utah and a high school friend in Ohio. Then multiple phone calls from other sibs and a couple of old friends. Reading bunches of blogs, of course. And, reading and responding to several e-mails from other friends.

No direct human contact all day, but still lots of communicating with lots of people I care about. Warm and fuzzy feelings.
Not bad at all.

So, now that's all done and I can get back to normal.
Wait... I'm not normal. I don't like normal.
I don't want to be normal.

I think I need more coffee to ponder this a bit.
Perhaps a bit of the Dalwhinnie I bought myself for Christmas.
Oh, yeah... that sounds like a much better idea.

p.s. I almost forgot to mention what I did the day after Christmas...

I got to meet a blogger. In person!
My first real in person blogger meeting...
Scott, of When The Smoke Clears, is a gentleman
of the Nth degree. Charming, intelligent, fascinating, wonderful sense of humor.
We spent over an hour chatting, but the time really flew.
Thank you, Scott, for making time for me during your vacation.
I truly hope we get to meet again.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas...

I hadn't planned on doing a holiday post, but...

I just spent several hours visiting all my favorite blogs. Yes, hours.
You folks have no idea how you lift me, inspire me, make me smile and cry.
Thank you all for that.

When I got to Valerie's blog, I lost it... big time.
I have tussled with religion, faith... all of that... my whole life.
But, that doesn't mean the words of those who believe are lost on me.

I want to share what she posted... words from Nelson Mandela...

Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we
are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be?
You are a child of God; your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear our presence
automatically liberates others.

We all have lights to shine, don't we?
I want to thank all of you for shining yours on me.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Try Harder...

"Folks will try harder to keep from losing something
they think they have,
than they will work to get something
they think they really want."

Berry Connell, July 2006

The Old Gazebo...

Winter. Late afternoon.
The beach is empty. The air is grey-blue.
The ocean is grey-silver, scattered with foamy white waves.

At the high-tide mark is a long wooden, railed walkway leading to
an old gazebo perched on top of the highest dune.
Inside the gazebo is a picnic table with benches.

Under the table is a pair of small deck shoes.
Between the shoes is an empty styrofoam coffee cup.

The most interesting thing is on the table. An open book.
The pages on the left are flapping lightly with the breeze.
The pages on the right are clipped together by a pen.
They struggle to move with the wind..

On that first page on the right is a single handwritten line.
In the most delicate and precise penmanship. It says...

"I am going home."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Strength Is Needed...

Please offer prayers, warm thoughts and peace
to this good man and his family.

You Don't Know Me...

I should have been an actress, getting paid to pretend.

The "black dog" is haunting me again and I am doubting my strength to repel his advances this time. Doubting, even, my desire to care.

I am tired of myself. Indeed, do I even know myself?
Do I really want to?

Outward appearance reflects strong... survivor. Inside, I know differently.
I hide. I barricade and retreat. The walls around me grow thicker.
I will let no one inside. Ever.
They would be disappointed and leave quickly. My image tarnished.
My self shamed.

In a post from February 8, a commenter left these words:

"though we struggle to become what we know we are...
we sometimes act to confirm what we believe we are.

I have read her words hundreds of times since.
What I continue to struggle with is figuring out the difference... or, perhaps, accepting the difference... between what I know and what I believe I am.
They seem to overlap. Confusion reigns. And, I don't particularly like the specifics of either, anyway.

Depression chips away at life. The reasons can be elusive, even non-existant.
That probably does not make sense to many people. Especially those who confuse clinical depression with self-pity, whining, pouting.

I do not have... I have not had... a bad life.
Still, the shadows creep over me at times.
Like now.

Offered advice has included, "Just get up and do what you have to do!".
Depression short-circuits that command.

Will this mood pass, as the many others have?
Will I be a better or different person when this finally fades away?
Probably not.

Swirling within myself.
Sounds selfish.
Feels selfish.
Breeds anger.
Waste of time.
Waste of oxygen.

You don't know me.
Most times...

...I don't want to know myself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Night Launch...

Living in Florida affords me the opportunity to witness some truly beautiful moments.
This past Saturday evening was one.

There was a NASA shuttle launched from the Cape at 8:47 p.m.

Watching a shuttle launch in the daytime is undoubtedly impressive.
Seeing it when your world is wrapped in darkness, under cover of a starlit sky, is breathtaking.

My vantage point this time was a long, wooden dock that extended several yards into the Halifax River.

Looking southeast that night, everything was a shadow or a silhouette.
Expansive oak trees shared the riverbank with tall palm trees. Condominiums were sentries, higher than the trees.

Cars were parked along the edge of the road and in the small picnic area beside the river. People came in droves, from those cars, to gather as close to the river as possible, looking for an unobstructed skyward view.
We were lemming-like in our march to the edge.

Keeping track of the time and listening to portable radios, several in the crowd loudly announced the take-off.
You could feel everyone holding their breath.
The tension... anticipation... waiting for the white glow to be visible from some sixty miles south of us.

It took two or three minutes before the light began to show.
The crowd pointed as one and announced to all,
"There! There it is!" Applauding. Cheering. Whistling.
The brilliant white light crawled across the horizon before it began its upward mushrooming spread. Slowly.

The clouds began to glow.
From the bottom center of the sky-horizon
a white beacon emerged. The giant candle struggled upward, then leaned slightly east, toward our left... higher.
Ever. Slowly. Higher.
Half-way up our window view of the sky... the shuttle seemed to shift to a higher gear... moving steadily faster. Moving higher and faster, leaving a long, bright streak behind it.

It outran the mushroom glow.
It slid into the black velvet cover over earth.
The yellow fire from the boosters marked its progress upward. Until, as star-tiny specs, they were released and fell softly.
Fading sparklers.

Some of us lingered.
Straining to see one more glimpse before turning away.
Wishing a safe journey to the brave souls travelling so far.

Wishing even harder, for a safe return home.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What If...

Would it have been
better left unsaid.

Would it have been
better left unseen.

To have never
heard your voice.

To have never
felt your touch.


Sunday, December 10, 2006


Sorry for not doing anything here in a while.
I have an idea brewing. Hopefully, it will be ready tomorrow.

I appreciate all of you who keep checking for a pulse.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Microscopic Welder...

I read the title of this post and cringe.
Where was my brain the day I wrote that in my profile??

Yes, I am a welder. NO... I am not microscopic. Sheesh.
I will leave it as written in the hope that it will keep me humble.

Some folks have asked that I include some personal info on my blog, so I thought this might be a good place to start... what I do for a living.

I work for a manufacturing company in Florida. I weld... under a microscope.
The engineers also call this type of welding metal fusion. GTAW.
It isn't like the type of welding you see done in a body shop, although I wouldn't mind knowing how to do that too.

One department makes bellows and seals for companies that make machines that make computer chips.
However, the department I work for primarily makes bellows and seals for the aerospace industry. I take great pride in the jobs that I work on. Why?
Because most of the aerospace jobs are critical components in assemblies that can affect the life and safety of the people who use them.


We make fuel drains for Lockheed and other customers. Needed for in-flight fueling of military jets.
We make components that are part of the pilot ejection system.
Yet another, a bellow for the PAC-3.
Fluid accumulators for NASA shuttles... they change urine into potable water.
Then, there is part of the assembly that controls the wing flaps on commercial jets.
Another assembly that is part of the fire detection system in the cargo areas of commercial jets.
One of our newest customers is a major oil rig manufacturer.

The job I work on most often is part of the system that signals when the oxygen mask drops out of the ceiling of a jet and dangles in front of your face. It's called an air breather valve.
This bellow assembly is made of stainless steel. The parts I weld... under a microscope... are a mere .0015" thick. The inside diameter is less than half an inch across, the outside diameter is less than one inch across. Thus... the need for the microscope. And, precision and dexterity.

The thickest material we weld is a mere .009" thick. Other than the hardware, which might be from 1/8" to 1/4" thick, that gets welded to the bellows.
Did I mention that paper is about .003" thick?

I've been doing this job for eleven years.

I've had other jobs in other areas of manufacturing, to include... metal stamping, plastic injection molding, quality control, emergency first aid (because my first college major was nursing), CNC operator for the bolt carrier for the M-16, and tester of electronic detectors.
Four different companies over a twenty-three year period.

I also spent nine years working for the local chapter of the National Safety Council.
I started as a part-time instructor (because my major ended up being education). I taught five different driver improvement classes. Oh, yeah... the ones everyone loves to attend when their license is suspended or, right after getting a traffic ticket or a DUI... and a special class for senior citizens so they can get an insurance discount.
After four years of teaching, I was hired as a department manager for traffic and occupational safety. I got to hire and train other instructors, among a gazillion other things.

I've also waitressed, tended bar, worked at a country club and... one year of subbing at a high school. The one job in my life that I liked the least?
I wrote obituaries for the local newspaper.
It wasn't the job itself that I disliked. It was the people working at the paper. Some of the most cold-hearted and egotistical humans with whom I've ever had to associate.

I was working there the day the first shuttle blew up. I was on the beachside that day and witnessed it. A horrible sight. When I got to work that afternoon... a mere two hours after the tragedy... people at the paper were already making jokes! I don't think I stayed more than another month after that.

Manufacturing has been a major component of the economy of this country... forever.
Unfortunately, that has been changing drastically.
It has been a major economic component of almost half my life.
My father was a machinist for Goodyear for 31 years. He wanted me to go to college so I wouldn't spend my life in a factory, like he did.
I graduated from college in 1974, and still ended up in manufacturing.
I'm not sorry.