Sunday, April 23, 2017

A million miles away...

It's been just a little over a year since the last time I wrote in this blog. And a lot has changed in that time, so much that when I look back on a year truly does feel like I've traveled a million miles away.

When last I spoke to you, I had just lost my cat Magnum. I don't have a cat or any pets at this time. I may get one at some point in the future but finances are not feasible for pet ownership for me. It's also one less thing to have to worry about as well. Pets do bring a lot of joy into people's lives; my cat certainly did for me.

I'd have to say that most of the changes that have taken place between my last blog and this one have been mostly positive. I finally got to have a real vacation for the first time in about ten years, in which I drove by myself to Connecticut. (I'm a Connecticut native but have made Florida my home for the past 34 years.) It was a glorious time away and so well needed. Whenever I had gone north before, I'd always stayed with people and while those times were fun, last year's trip topped them all. I stayed in a hotel and it was great. I loved it. I felt like a true tourist and didn't feel like I was putting anyone else out. The only time I did stay with anyone was in Virginia on the trip back to FL, and that was with an old friend who I hadn't seen for many years. That was also fun in a different way because it afforded us the chance to really get caught up.

I also moved again in November. I wanted to try to live on my own again, have my own space and it's been extremely rewarding. I am an introvert who doesn't mind alone time, I crave it and need it very much to decompress from the world. I also love my privacy as well and unfortunately, you can't always have it when you live with others.

I have finally caught up on my novel writing and have since published two more books. I know that I need to spend more time with my writing. It's been largely ignored due to my pursuit of other things in life. Writing brings me peace and joy and I have chased after the wrong things for these feelings. Which brings me to the next item on my list...

Last May I had decided to try something new. Something that carried a bit of risk and that at the time seemed like a great choice. I'm not a risk taker much. I prefer the safe and less risky ways to go. I have become accustomed to change and even if it's not a change I agree with, I'd say about 90% of the time I can either come around to it or make friends with it and also make the change work for me, rather than against me. I can creatively make a change work very well for me because I have the freedom to put my own spin on it and make it so that it slowly but surely starts feeling like it was my idea all along.

I had decided to drive for a ridesharing company part time on the weekends who shall go nameless at this time. Ridesharing has come up in the past few years and it is driven (pun intended) by an app. You don't clock in and out, you work when you want. I was lured by all of these great videos on YouTube regarding this part time gig as well as very positive comments from others on how this was the way to go and you could make some good money doing this. I don't doubt that but at this stage of the game, you have to know how to play it and 'get your hustle going'. Yeah, so not me. Gheez, I can barely get my hustle going for my own books...yeah, no.

I tried it and lasted longer at it than I ever could have imagined. For the most part, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting the people I drove, learning all of the shortcuts around town that I never knew about and liked getting out of the house. When I first started, it was a blast. I was soon addicted to it and it made my life better. It gave me extra pocket money and it taught me how to handle and deal with the general public. The downside is that it is also stressful and exhausting.

It's become clear to me in the past few weeks that doing this will not be long term. In fact, I am ready to walk away at this moment. The high mileage, the wear and tear on my car, the low pay, the stress of a malfunctioning navigational system and dealing with other bad drivers and high traffic's not worth it. Kudos for those than can make it work for them. I only did this part time and that was more than enough for me. I also willingly gave up my weekends to drive, missing out on time with friends and family. The benefits of doing this were not enough to keep me in the game. Am I cynical? Yes. Am I realistic? Yes.

I would take away from this a few good things...I got off my butt and tried it. I didn't sit there and wonder about doing it. I did it. I lasted 10 months doing this, which from what I've been hearing lately from a lot of sources is pretty good considering everything I'd mentioned above. But the one thing that was the tipping point for me was the ratings system, set up by this company.

Five stars means you're the best and anything less is not acceptable. Four stars is not acceptable. And anything below that is also not acceptable. The drivers are rated by their riders. I'd say that half of my riders rated me at 5 stars which in MY opinion  is damned good!!! The company would beg to differ. I was polite and kept a clean car. I didn't tailgate, cut people off or speed. I treated my riders like I would anyone else, as I like to be treated. If they wanted to talk, we talked. I asked them many questions about them and they ate it up. I'd say that most of them were pretty damn interesting.

I had two negative ratings for driving and one for cleanliness. Again, out of 248 total rides, that's also damn good. The problem with this is that riders can rate you and also leave feedback and say anything they like. They can lie, they can act entitled to more than they're getting and whatever  negative things they say is always used against you. As a driver, you are not privy to this feedback. You only get a canned response from the company but nothing definitive that you can look at, learn from and try to work at improving.

This completely goes against my philosophy in life. Anytime I have had negative feedback in a performance aspect, I have always been able to have a two way conversation with the critic and have been able to improve from there. I also have been able to use that criticism as a learning experience. But the way that this rideshare company runs in regards to this aspect is something I can't get past.

That being said, I'm glad I tried this. I would have never known if I hadn't given it a chance. The sad part is that part of me is disappointed probably because I expected more. That's the problem with expectations, sometimes they're met and sometimes not. I am grateful for the chance to do this and make it work, if only for a small time. But I also know myself and know that the unhappier I grew, the less chance it had to get better. I also know that I had not failed. I tried it and found that it was not for me. In my book, that's success and not failure.

As the time goes by, I probably will look back at some of this with some nostalgia but there are better things for me, waiting for me and it's time to see what else is out there.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Now is the time to heal, to mourn, to cry and mostly to remember....

It has been a very long time since I've written this blog. My life over the past year took quite a turn and I wrote and published nine books, which took me away from here. I'm going to try to be better about writing more frequently over here.

The year thus far hasn't been an easy one. 2015 was awesome and 2016 has a loonnng way to go to even begin to compete with last year in terms of greatness. There has been way too many losses this year in the entertainment venue as well as personally. Just last week, I found out that a good friend and a person who I had interviewed for this very blog had passed from cancer. I had not even know that he was sick.

Two weeks before that, my precious cat Magnum passed away very suddenly. He was just shy of his tenth birthday and had been relatively healthy up to that point. I came home from work to find that he had died at some point during the day. He was my ally, my friend...more than a pet. He was with me through some of the worst times of my life, never demanding, always willing to listen. Always a calm and reassuring presence.

Also he was extremely photogenic and had to put up with a lot of my taking his photo. He also served as the cat model for the cover of my first kids' book (Fat Cat - A Small Tail). It's just not the same without him here. 

People keep asking me when I'm going to get another cat. I'm not even there yet. I might not be there for some time either. 

So I had been mourning him pretty heavily and then last week had found out about my friend dying from cancer. The sucker punch of the week was capped off last Friday when I found out that one of my favorite musicians of all time had taken his life. One death is bad enough but two in one week was nothing short of brutal! 

Before and during all of this, my creativity had taken a nose dive and had more or less dried up. I have ideas for writing projects but no 'get up and go' to get them off the ground. I don't know if I've just totally burnt myself out from all the writing last year or what. I know that I'm going to get back to them soon. (Fingers crossed.)

I've been picking away at a writing project with no expectations for publication but more so to get my mind back in the game again. I'm trying to jump start my interest in doing this and hopefully it will inspire me to get back to writing. 

But right now, I'm just going one day at a time, trying to process through the pain and sadness that has cloaked me this year so far. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole - Books One And Two

I will be the first to admit that I have not kept up with this blog (or All The Rods either for that matter) as I initially intended to. It's not for lack of interest but mostly because my life has changed just that much in the blink of an eye. I've already covered how much things have changed but my creativity in the past ten months has gone through the roof. I believe that a lot of that has to do with change of lifestyle and stress level.

When I changed the outer, the inner had to change as well and I'm better for it. Due to the fact that I've moved geographically, the energy in my new dwelling has shifted my creativity level to one that I never could have fathomed. I enjoy better focus and clarity in my new digs and it doesn't hurt that the lady who owns the home I'm presently living in is also a novelist as well. In short, the energy is good where I am and it has allowed me to create beyond my dreams.

I finished 'Deja Vu' in September 2014 and took a lot of time off before starting something else. I had initially planned to go right into a prequel/sequel for that novel but it just did not work out. I had a good head of steam going in but I began to lose interest fast. I decided to veer away from it, imagining that at some point in the future I would come back to it but that wasn't to be...

'Down The Rabbit Hole - Book One'  was something that had been in mind for some time. It had begun as a figment of an idea that as I began to write, sort of played out in my mind and became its own story after a while. This novel was started on January 1, 2015 and I am still adding to it and editing it, fleshing it out as I like to say. At the same time, I am also in the midst of creating 'Down The Rabbit Hole - Book Two'. 

I have to admit that as much as I love to write, working on both of these novels has been both a trip down memory lane and a walk in the park as well. Both novels feature the music business very prominently in them and the playlists in my iTunes account are numerous. I have watched and listened to more live concerts on YouTube than ever before, seeking a lot of inspiration from each. I also would have to say that the lyrics in a good bit of the songs in my playlist have been re-imagined into both novels.

I am not a musician but music is such a big part of my life and always has been.  I sort of see both of these books as my way to pay tribute to the bands and the fans that have inspired me through the years.

The synopsis of  'Down The Rabbit Hole - Book One'  surrounds a young American woman who is living in London during the mid-1980s and the people she involves herself with including an unhappily married young musician who becomes obsessed with her. This first book chronicles their time together on and off from late 1984 to early 1999 and how both of their lives change. This novel seems to have a very tragic ending but in actuality, it is a rebirth.

'Down The Rabbit Hole - Book Two' picks up when the rebirth is a few years in and follows the  woman from 2004 to the present time. This novel shows how this woman, now in her early fifties, has changed her life and re-invented herself. She wears a lot of different hats, trying on various vocations and even doing several at once. She shows us all how you are truly never too old to begin again and that the power of forgiveness can set you free.

Plans for both novels include Kindle uploads with an eye towards physical softcover books at some point thereafter.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to my dear friend Joy Hawkins for agreeing to let me use her awesome photo! I had been looking for something a bit out of the ordinary as the cover image and the first time I laid eyes on this photo, I said "That's it! Perfect!" It's up to you all to first figure out what this is and where it was taken. I know that this cover might turn a few heads, that's the hope at least.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Only Constant Is Change

Wow! It has been a long time since I've been here, hasn't it? Took a vacation day from my job due to having something important to take care of. I was finished with that early and then headed to my old workplace to see everyone there (most of whom I had not laid eyes on since Dec 2008!!).

Today was a mixed bags of emotions. Myself ,like so many Americans of the past few years, filed for a Chap 7 bankruptcy. Today was the day that the legal part caught up with all of the other changes in my life. I had emotionally severed ties with everything that no longer served me and I had even moved my home late June 2014. I had been prepping for the day of my court date for months now and then within less than 10 minutes, the long wait was over and I was free.

I thought that by divorcing myself from the past, I had already moved on but today just felt different. It was the final nail in the coffin of my past. Part of me feels like "Now what?" yet another part of me is yearning to really start over and do it big.

Since I no longer own anything except a few personal items, my art and computer stuff, I have a level of freedom I have never really enjoyed yet in my adult life. I know I am going to enjoy the ride immensely. I've spent the first part of my life fulfilling everyone else's obligations for me and now it is MY time. It is long overdue.

With the Chap 7, I now feel more in control of my life. I feel like I can control my spending and cashflow better now than ever before. In the past, in particular within the past 7 years I had felt as if my money ran me and not the other way around. Or should I say, my lack of money which always led to some ill-chosen financial decisions.

A few things led to my downfall and now that I am on the other side of things, I can speak honestly about them. One, I had a great job many years ago. I was almost to 20 years in when I was blown out of there in Dec 2008 along with 79 others. I think that if I had made better choices (such as keeping my mouth shut and going along to get along) I probably might have survived the cuts that seemed to come after mine. Maybe.

From there, I landed at a local mortgage company with some great people, a good many of whom I still talk to. I also still maintain friendships with the folks from the company I worked at where I was let go in Dec 2008. I had imagined I would be able to retire from the mortgage company but alas that too was not to be as the owner of the company had gotten into trouble and had to stop writing mortgages in the state of FL and a lot of good people (myself included) were let go in Oct 2013. Sucked. I had not seen that coming after having gone through it five years earlier.

From there, I wandered around and did some temp jobs. You know, the kind where they're like "Sign up with us, we'll put you in this company and then you will be hired in 3 months." Um no, not quite. To me, the temp agency wanted to fill seats in the company that they placed me at. That was it. To get 'hired' there, you had to apply like a person coming in off the street. Having given up 7 months of your time to work for them was not something that put you into contention, sorry to say! Couple that with working with people on power trips that worked hard to run what used to be a good company straight into the ground, it was time to fly and I did.

I now work at a medical supply company and it's good enough for me for now. They took a chance on me when I had no experience in the job I ended up doing for them. I appreciate that immensely. I get paid time off now and paid holidays. Best of all, it's permanent, I can do as much OT as I like (which I do plenty of!) and they have a bonus incentive program (which I also like.) The people are great. Life is good, end of story.

Part of the first reason for my downfall is that as the jobs changed, the income dwindled. I am now making $5 less than I was 7 years ago. I'm not the only one either. This is widespread. The problem with this is that while my income went down, the cost of living went through the roof for me and something had to give.

Which leads me to the second part of my downfall, reason #2 if you will. I once lived in a condo which I was buying/paying a mortgage on. I had bought the whole "Lifescript-American Dream Scenario" that is forcefed to every American. That would be the one that says to be successful, you not only should own your own home but it is preferable because it proves to the world at large that you are a responsible person etc etc. I would love to know who comes up with this stuff because I'd like to set them straight.

I know a lot of 'responsible' people who had had to give up their homes largely due to the economic downturn among other things. Maybe in 1983, this was the rationale but in 2015, it doesn't work like that anymore. If you are reading this and own a home, great. Good for you. If you're not sweating it and can make it work, all the power to you. I'm not picking on you folks at all, but I was sold a bill of goods that homeownership was the right thing for me and it has more than proven to be a disaster for me.

When I was flush with cash, I used to listen to the Dave Ramsey Show. He used to say often on his show that if you spent more than half of your take-home pay on your house (like a mortgage),you had no business in a house. I didn't like to hear that, because that was me, all the way. The truth hurts. The thing was, I was spending more than  half my income on housing!!!!  (More like 75% of it!!) Yeah, true facts here.

Because I lived in a condo, I also had what is called a "Homeowner Fee", "Condo Fee", "Maintenance Fee". Whatever you want to call it. This is money that you pay out to a property management company via a bank. This money pays for landscape, property improvements, insurance (master property & flood) and a variety of other things. My condo fee was almost as much as my mortgage by the time I moved out. That is insane! The 'house' I live in now, is CHEAPER to live in monthly than that condo was! Like I said, something had to give.

So here my income was sinking like a stone and my cost of living went through the roof. All told to live where I was it hit about $950 mo (this included mortgage and condo fee). This did not include utilities. That is insanity! I felt like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. To live there and afford my other expenses was about $2200 a mo. I did not even make that sort of money, not even close!!! Not even with OT!!

I had to come to a decision and luckily, I was able to find a place to live that didn't kill me financially. I tried and failed to sell my condo. That was a nightmare. The realtor took it on knowing it needed a lot of upgrades and work. I did not have the $$ to put into it and listed it as a fixer-upper. Yet, the realtor would piss and moan after every showing and make little "suggestions" for improvements which of course would cost ME money that I didn't have.

On a side note, one reason why I got into so much financial trouble is that every time something broke, out came the credit card. Or I had to finance the repair or new item somehow. Which piled onto the debt. It had become a never-ending cycle of me working my ass off and never enjoying my life because I had this albatross around my neck.

So, I filed for Chap 7 in Sept 2014 and had my meeting at the courthouse today. I am done! No more of this!

Anyway, anyone that has read this blog in the past knows that I normally steer clear of the heavy stuff like this and try to keep things positive. But I have to be real every now and then and this is one of those times.

Things I have learned in this process is that when  it comes to big life decisions, it is always best to follow your heart. If it feels wrong, don't do it! Don't let well-meaning people give you the old "You should" speech! Run away from that!!!!

When I bought my place, I was advised by people who I trusted but as time went on, it turned into a trainwreck and I'm happy to have this in the rearview mirror now. Not everyone is wired for that lifestyle of immense responsibility like that. I was 21 when I moved in there and never really got to be carefree and fun-loving because I had a "mortgage". It was like being in a bad marriage to be honest.

As for buying another home? No. I will rent before that happens. So what, if I am paying someone else's mortgage???! So? And? Right now, I am set where I am unless something changes. I would look into a Tiny house thing possibly. That trend seems to have taken hold now. Or even a trailer at some point, or an RV or a boat. Who knows?

But one more thought on home-ownership, is that if you are going to do it, by all means make sure you can afford it. If you're single like me, make sure you are good with money and that you can save. Make sure that beyond the shadow of a doubt that you really want to be a homeowner and then set about making that happen. Do not let anyone try to talk you into it. You have to feel that it is right for you, something which I wish I had done. Same as if you are married. If this is what you really want, nothing will stand in your way but married or single, you have to realize how much of a responsibility this is and understand that going in. It's not easy at all. And for me, it was not fun. But like I said, some people love it and make it work and that's great.

Sorry about the downer but I see all of this as a new beginning. One door slams shut and another opens wide!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Pay It Forward Project

Recently, I began in a small quiet way to give back. With all that has happened to me within the past year, I still manage to feel gratitude above all else. Things could be so much worse but really they are not. I think what I've gone through this year has done something to my brain but in a positive manner in that I am a bit more connected to what others go through and in some cases, this would be others that have a whole lot less than I do.

I feel that a lot of us are just getting by for the most part and I've become a lot more aware of that in the past year than ever before.  Sometimes it takes a major lifestyle change to make you see what is truly important and to figure out just what you truly need to be happy. For me, it was a lot less stuff. Right now, I have everything I need. Got my art stuff and my computer plus a roof over my head, a good car, a great job and a great diverse group of friends. I have the finances now that I need for the goals I have for my future. But having said all that, I am not wealthy in the least nor do I have stocks, 401K or anything else that denotes great wealth in this culture of consumption.

I decided to do something a bit different every time I get paid. Rather than blow money on things that don't matter such as buying lunch every day at work, I am brown-bagging it and I will keep more money in my pocket. But aside from that, I have made it a personal mission if you will to kick a spare $10 to someone that might need it very badly.

I am selective about where it ends up. The people that benefit from my small donation are the ones who are generally ignored by society in general. At this time of year especially, there are more child and family-centered charities than you can shake a stick at. Don't get me wrong, those are great. But what about the people who don't have kids who need a leg up? Or the guy living on the streets with only his dog for company? What about them? Or the single adult of any age who has no one? I'm all in.

So starting with my last check, I found an individual who really needed help and anonymously threw this person a spare $10. Today, I found someone else who also was in pretty dire straits and just donated another $10 to them. Yes, I know $10 is not a lot but to someone who is desperate, it can mean the world. It could mean groceries for the week, cat food for the week, another gallon of gas in their car or a bus pass to get to work. But most of all, it can mean hope to this person, family or whomever.

From here on out, whether it is Christmas or not, I plan to find someone who can use the spare money and make a donation. And when my finances change, I plan to give a bit more.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Longing

Lately I've been in the vortex of a longing that instead of going away  had only grown stronger over the passing days. This yearning had no name, only a feeling and certain images and things seemed to bring it out more. 

I've had a trying year on so many levels (as evidenced by a lot of these blog posts) and through it all, I think that I tried my level best to always see the good in the situation as well as take care of myself mentally and emotionally. But perhaps I had not taken care of myself as well as I thought.

Every year when I was still working at a stable company, I had amassed as much vacation time as one might have. And every year, rather than getting out of Dodge and having a proper vacation that either included driving more than one hundred miles or simply hopping on a plane, I chose what folks like to call the "Staycation" where one stays home and does a lot of local activities. I did these sort of Staycations mostly due to finances. The last proper vacation I had was a five day weekend to Myrtle Beach with my former car club, in which we all drove up to an event called 'Cruisers At The Beach'. (I once owned a PT Cruiser and was in an active club from 2001-2013.) The last proper week-long vacation  was in Myrtle Beach and that was in 2000. 

I had tried hard to sort of tamp down the restlessness but it would not go away. It changed from the small not-so-silent voice into a roar that I could no longer ignore. It's funny the things that trigger the parts of us that we think we're so powerful against. The things that are never spoken or hinted at and yet something innocent is a trigger and then the floodgates open. 

Last weekend, I had gone to see the new Robert Downey Jr. movie  'The Judge'. I am not going to give spoilers but I got so much more out of it than I expected to. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love my RDJ and even if the movie sucks, I will still go see it. At any rate, this movie took place in Indiana yet the location they actually used was Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. I am from New England, via Connecticut and had spent some of my happiest times in Massachusetts. Seeing this old familiar scenery awakened something in me that only grew stronger within the passing week. 

(Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA)

(Shelburne Falls, MA)

I saw the movie twice last weekend mostly because of seeing Robert and the greatness that he brings to any scene of a movie that he is in. I also could not get enough of that scenery. And that small voice in my head kept screaming "You need to go somewhere now!" Seeing this scenery just made me miss going away somewhere and it made me realize that I needed a lot more of that in my life. 

Well, I came to the decision during this past week that yesterday (Saturday) would be the day that I cleared my calendar and obeyed whatever Spirit would whisper in my ear in terms of an escape plan for the day.  I wanted to get as far away from home as I could where 1) I felt like I had actually gone somewhere and 2) it had to be within driving distance. I had a Post-It note that was covered with ideas of places to visit.

However, I ended up visiting a place which I had gone to in the past and while I had enjoyed both those times, I really wanted to experience this place in a way that I had not in the past. I went by myself and have never had an issue traveling anywhere alone, ever. As fun as things are with others, I just wanted one day to go as Spirit directed me and if something felt right to do, I'd do it. So I ended up in Mount Dora, FL where it's said that this is the highest part of Florida. 

On the drive up, I had a feeling inside that was indescribable. I felt my energy level soar in a way that it hadn't for some time. I felt instantly better and in a positive frame of mind. I took a highway to get there and then off onto a country road that was only two lanes. I was in heaven. 

This jewel of a city is far inland in Florida and is about 2 hours give or take from my home. It only took less than a tank of gas to and from. I left home and got there before noon. I found a nice public parking spot and just set off on foot. 

                                                               (Mount Dora, FL) 

                                                                  (Mount Dora)  

I spent a lot of time simply walking around, camera in hand and just went crazy taking photos of anything that struck my fancy. I had no plans really. The whole day stretched before me with no sort of itinerary and I loved it! I went into maybe two stores tops but mostly was out and about, wanting to immerse myself within this town. 

I took something called the 'Mount Dora Canal Cruise' and it was about two hours of bliss. I was able to get out on Lake Dora and experience it in a way that I hadn't before. I had always known that the Lake was there but had never really seen it the first two trips to Mount Dora. 

(Seaplane at Lake Dora)

(Cypress trees in Lake Eustis) 

(Big cool building on wharf at Lake Dora)

The whole day I just did what the little voice in my head told me to do. I walked until my feet and legs were ready to give out. As an aside, it is truly amazing the people that one finds on their journeys. 

I happened to stop into an ice cream place to get my vanilla soft-serve fix. There was a small line ahead of me and the guy in front of me told me that he liked my shirt. I have a shirt with a VW Bus on it and the saying 'Not All Who Wander Are Lost' and I wore it yesterday. I like the saying as it completely described me yesterday and you all know how much I love anything VW. At any rate, this nice guy went on to ask if I had a VW. I said no but am an artist who is inspired by them and have taken many photos of them. Turns out he is one of the founders of the Gainesville (FL) Classic VW car club. I am a member of most of the Facebook pages for these clubs, including that one as a matter of fact. Amazing! I never imagined I would run into anyone with any sort of connection to VWs or any other club at all. Wow. 

Speaking of VWs, the one and only shop I really spent any time in had this shirt -

And naturally, it had to come home with me. I was walking through this shop and it was  if I was guided to this shirt. So I got it. I showed it to my friend at the ice cream shop and he told me that he too had seen this shirt. 

I returned home at about 7:30pm last night, spent from all the walking and time in the fresh air. Doing this was the best thing I could have done. I just wished I had done it sooner than this. It also ignited the desire to do this more often. I will return to Mount Dora because I want to do this next-

Yep, they have trains up there! I am very fond of train rides and when I was going to college in New England and had no car, this was the best thing to take. The whole time I was walking around Mount Dora, the train horn I heard intermittently was real and not a train horn like you hear down here on some guy's jacked up truck. Hearing that again was music to my ears and awakened a pleasant memory of times gone by. 

It seems that no matter where I am, I seem to find where the classic cars are or they just find me. I disembarked from the Mount Dora Canal Cruise and saw this parked just up the street. It had not been there when I left-

                                                                    (Lil Red SS)

I thought that this car parked by the railroad crossing sign made for a great shot. There was a restaurant on the other side of these signs and I saw some people watching me take these photos from the patio of this place.  They may have been the owners of this car or not. 

All in all, so needed. I just feel like a different person already having gotten out of here. The day had gone well and I felt my energy level kick into a higher plane. Doing this also reminded me that I need to start traveling again and to not cut off that part of me that has always loved to explore. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A year ago....

I had taken a Saturday afternoon to meet and listen to author Tim Dorsey at the local library. At the time, the specter of potential job loss loomed large over my own head and those of my coworkers. I was doing my level best to find cheap/free pursuits that made me feel good as an escape for how much things sucked or the multitude of worries that weighed heavily on my shoulders. Had I known a year ago how much things would change, I would have been floored. I certainly would not have believed it. Little did I know that a mere few days later, I would lose a job that I loved and a chain of events would unfold that would change my life for the better.

I remember being very afraid of what the future held. I also had made the error of trying to maintain a lifestyle and standard of living that no longer fit me. I was doing what I thought I  "should be doing" as compared to what I "wanted to do" or what just felt right and natural. I don't claim to have all the answers and everyone's path is different but one thing I have leaned that when you try to force things, disastrous results are often the outcome.

I will say that the past year has been one of the hardest in my life but really when you get right down to it, I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. I had to go through all of that to get to where I am now and from where I sit, things are not nearly as stressful as they were even as much as six months ago. I can feel the difference tenfold. Most people I see that I haven't seen for a long time have noticed the change. They remark at how 'happy, at peace' and 'not as stressed' I appear to be to them.

I also had to give up a lot and for some people, it might look like great sacrifice but for me it was things that I had outgrown a long time ago. Currently, I am finally again working for a decent company that has a lot of potential and opportunity. I am living in a quaint and quirky section of town that is nice and peaceful. I have given up my old home in the process of starting over among many other things. I am living in a smaller space now and love it! 

Along with the physical changes of moving and growing, I have also bitten the bullet and taken far more creative chances in the past year beyond my wildest dreams. It was in February that I made 'For All Time' available to the masses. Could it have been written better? Yes! Could it have been better overall? Agreed! But I got off of my ass and did it. Same with my art. As opposed to being a shrinking violet, I have gotten out and went looking for the right people in the proper situations to get my photography and such out to the general public, along with a sprinkling of self-promotion.

I am not even close to finished. I was recently made aware of another opportunity which will enable me to both move forward with my life as well as finally purchase ISBNs for my novel. I plan to remain with the company I am working for now with an eye to making a prosperous future with them along with pursuing more creative endeavors in my free time. The things I gave up to get where I am now are more than worth it.

The only regret? Not doing all of this so much sooner. But then again, I am a firm believer in the fact that when we are ready to change our lives, it will happen when it is supposed to. And on that Monday almost a year ago, what was supposed to happen did.