Costa Rica – My Future Home

      Playa FlamingoCosta Rica  is my future home.   As I sit here texting a friend about the benefits of Cialas that I have heard, while eating barbecue pork rinds with an ice pack on my shoulder and upper back, I thought about my change of plans.

My upper back started bothering me when I was in Charleston. I think it was sitting on the couch in a humped back state working on my class and my blog that did it, but who knows. It could have been a combination of things like the bed I was sleeping on at the house. I did walk every day, so my lower back is feeling great.

Anyway, I started chartering my course for the west, and I realized that if I flew I would only see Portland and I was going to spend around $2,000 for seven days.  If I drove I would spend more but I would get to see more sites along the way, but the hotel expenses would add up.  I did not think my back could handle driving right now, even though it is feeling stronger every day, and I wanted more time away, or you could say more “bang for the buck”. I was attending an amazing Soiree in Portland, OR, which I hope I will be able to attend at a later date. It is going to be an amazing meeting of great minds.

I heard a friend talk about a birthday trip that she was taking to Costa Rica, and I started researching a trip there. I can go there for a month and eat well and take a few excursions for $3,000.00 and stay at a very nice resort.  This would be a sanctuary of beauty and new experiences.  I hesitated a little, and I am not sure why I hesitated, but after a swift reality check by my non-blood sisters, I was ready to book the airline tickets.  I hope to be healthy and full of life for a long time, but no guarantees are given for the future and who knows if we will be alive or healthy next year, and I can be really cheap when I get home.  No new fall clothes or shoes for me, and Christmas might be a little slim, my girls, but I did hit the winter sale at the ICC bookstore in May. I know that makes everyone feel better about his/her Christmas present. My friends who have seen my closet are thinking— what could you possible need that you do not have?

I started my search on airbnb.com. I would recommend this site but save every correspondence that you have with the owners. You must register and then you can send messages to the owners.  The price should be set before you leave. Print off your reservation slip.  I will be staying at the Flamingo Marina Resort. From my balcony I can see the ocean and the resort swimming pool.

Airport location and the location of your place of dwelling is important. When I started looking for a ticket, I chose the most common airport which is San Jose, but it was five hours from the resort. I realized this was not going to work and that I needed to fly in to Liberia airport which would be an hour and a half from the resort. There are several airports in Costa Rico, and you will need to research location. You also must arrange transportation to your dwelling which the price of the shuttle depends on distance and if you can take a shared shuttle or if you need a private shuttle. Of course with my arrival and departure dates, I need a private car.

I have found an excursion site. I want to take the Rincón de la Vieja National Park tour and as many other tours as I can afford. I will also be happy just sitting on the balcony or walking along the beach.  The beach close to this resort is Flamingo Beach.

full-Flamingo-Beach

Many people are retiring to Costa Rico and Belize, so I will need to check out Belize next. I know that YOU want me to compare the two locations for you.  Maybe next year……….

I know some of you are still reading because you want to hear about the Cialias… nothing really to add except if you need it, purchases can be made from Canada. I am not endorsing this in any way just passing on the gossip!

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Wine, Eggs, and Conflict

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It is in most Southern Girl’s DNA to avoid conflict because our grandmothers and our mothers avoided conflict and tried to make everybody happy. This makes some women happy, but to others, it is an energy and soul draining life. We also avoid hurting someone’s feelings at all cost. We sprinkle sugar on the truth. We choose to overlook things that happen while hoping these things will go away and stay in our little happy place that we created in our minds. This brings me to ask you a trivial question: “What kind of wine do you like?”  I was buying wine last night. It was on sale (My friends know how much I love a Sale sign.), and I was looking at all of the different selections, and I realized that I really did not know what my favorite wine was, so I bought four different kinds: Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I thought my favorite was a red blend, but I really had no clue.

http://www.myrecipes.com/menus/top-wines-under-20-10000001695654/

I immediately thought of the movie Runaway Bride. Who does not love that movie? Do you know how you want your eggs? Do you know what you need to be happy? How much of you are you willing to change or give away to be with someone or to make everyone else happy?   Do you know what you like or what you want or do you try to bend to whatever someone wants you to be so you can be his dream woman, her dream man, or the perfect daughter, son, mother, father, brother or sister?

Runaway BrideMaggie Carpenter to Ike Graham:
“When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who didn’t have any idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person’s fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted. So it was good that I didn’t go through with it because it would have been a lie. But you – you knew the real me.”

Yes, I know you have to bend and tolerate things that  would not have been your choice, but at what point do you give yourself away  and realize that you are living someone else’s life.  You wake up one morning, and you feel anxious and not happy, but you do not know why because the farce has been going on so long.  You do not know what it takes to make you happy because you have not taken the time to find out or let’s be real, life does not give you a lot of time to focus on you. I am now getting that time, but it is been hard to wrap my mind around the process of not being identified by my past.

Some people were born with the gift of authenticity, but most of us were not. What does it mean to be authentic or genuine? I think you must know yourself before you can be authentic and then be true to that self that you discover.  It makes me think of the line from Shakespeare as Polonius said to Laertes: “This above all: to thine own self be true…”.  We are not responsible for other people’s happiness, but we are responsible for making someone unhappy if we do not present our genuine authentic selves to the world.

How do we find that? Well, I think it involves a constant pursuit of trying to know and love yourself. Sometimes that requires serious soul searching and painful alone time.  It also means being honest, humble, and filled with love, and you cannot have that if you are filled with resentment because you are not living the life that you want because you do not know who you are and what you like and dislike, or you are not willing to take a chance to be who you want to be.

Embrace conflict if it will keep you from being unhappy or making a bad decision. The conflict will pass as does most things on this earth.  I have so much to learn about me. It is going to be an action packed journey filled with laughter and love!
The real me loves Malbec Wine, and most of the time, I do not want to cook, and I can live without dog hair.

Charleston: What I Need

Charleston 1 235As I arrived home from Charleston, I realized how much I knew about myself that I did not know before which I think happens more easily when you are out of your natural habitat and must rely on yourself.  Until I went on this journey, I did not really know what I would need to be happy or to be content away from home.

  • Coffee pot –Mornings are not happy until I have my coffee and my first breakfast.  Yes, I have my first breakfast then in a couple of hours a second breakfast of yogurt and fruit.
  • Internet access- two screens would be nice. Spoiled rotten. Thank you ICC!
  • Comfortable bed- Yes, my back feels better with a firm soft mattresses. I know that is an oxymoron, but somehow there really is such a mattress.   There is a hotel in the West that had such a mattress. I wonder if they would let me go in that room and just look at the brand.
  • Places to explore or an ordinary place with interesting people – It can be a coffee shop or McDonald’s, a beach, a sports bar – not picky. It does not have to be anything elaborate.
  • Reading material – I hit the $1.00 sale at the Charleston library. Greg bought me a book, and Lori sent me a book. I also had a few of the many magazines that I subscribe to each month.
  • Box fan- This is a very important thing for the packing list.   Those girls would come in at all hours of the night, and I would only hear the front door close. Turn it on “3”, and you might could sleep through a train crossing. They were a very considerate group of girls.
  • Phone calls and text from the people I love- my support team!

I thought my needs were more complicated than this list, but thankful they are not!

I did not need half of the “stuff” I carried with me. I was amused when I started putting all of those hanging clothes in the trunk that I never wore. I mean really who wears blue jeans in Charleston in the summer- not many people. It is too hot! I will be more mindful of what I carry when I pack for heading west, and I will check out the temperature for each region.  I think my tan is going to suffer, but my Secret (deodorant) will not have to work so hard when I venture to the West.

This trip superseded all of my expectations about being in a new place for an extended period of time. It was a test, and I PASSED!  Yes, we educators always want to pass, but if I had not passed, I would have regrouped and tried again. There are some positive attributes of being a stubborn Southern girl!   I have never been away from Mississippi or my family for more than a week or maybe ten days.   I was happy hanging out with new friends; the Herald family and their friends took this MS girl in as one of their own. Lucas, Jessica, and Trey adopted me on the beach and even thought we tied, we had a good time cheering for the USA soccer team.

At one of my McDonald’s internet runs, I met a veteran of WWII, Lee Hunt who was aboard the USS Laffey in World War II   and his friend, Richard Schramm, 1SG Retired. Mr. Hunt was born on June 6, 1926. Mr. Hunt’s kindness and humility was inspiring.  I will always be thankful for the friendliness, kindness, and love of my new friends and acquaintances.

https://www.patriotspoint.org/explore_museum/uss_laffey/

I was also happy alone on the porch reading or sitting on the beach writing. I loved the house. Notice the light blue ceiling that keeps the haints away. “Haints” are restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world.

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Front of the House

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My Reading Porch

Carriage House in the back of the house.

Carriage House in the back of the house.

This does not mean that I did not miss or think of my family and friends, but with the world we live in now, technology allows you to stay in touch and communicate with all of your peeps. I talked to my girls every day just like I do when I am home, and we had a group text going at all times. There were texts and phone calls from family and friends and two great visits with Adelia and Michelle.

I can also live with other people! I have lived with my children, but for the last four years I have lived by myself. I am still (I think) an easy roommate to work with under most circumstances, and I think I showed my college roommates that a woman my age is easy to live with if she is not your mother!

I will visit Charleston again. I had a wonderful month, but now the Wild West is calling my name.

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Charleston Restaurants and Bars

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View from the Vendue Rooftop

There are so many great restaurants, pubs, and bars that I have visited only a small number of the eating establishments. I was fortunate to have a local foodie friend who took me to great restaurants and suggested others. I hope this list will help you when you visit Charleston.

Saffron
http://eatatsaffron.com/
This bakery and café on East Bay Street has amazing desserts and cookies. I tried the Red Velvet, the Turtle Cheesecake and the peppered cheese cookies.

Kaminsky’s Baking Co.
http://www.kaminskys.com/
I had the most amazing Hummingbird Cake on 78 North Market Street. It was so big that we split a piece of the cake, and I still brought home at least half of it.

Pearlz was one of my favorites. It is located at 153 East Bay Street. Pearlz is the go to place for happy hour.
http://www.pearlzoysterbar.com/location/
http://www.pearlzoysterbar.com/menu/pearlz_happyhour_chas.pdf

The prices are reasonable. The food is very tasty, and the beer is cold. I recommend the Southern Fried Oysters and the Crisp Fried Shrimp, and the Corn Fritters. I loved the atmosphere, service and the communal tables. It allowed you to converse with other people and relax. Adelia and Michelle both gave it a thumbs up.

Stars
http://starsrestaurant.com/
This restaurant/bar located at 495 King Street has a great rooftop bar. The Lobster and Grits Dish was amazing. I could have eaten the grits with the vegetables and not have eaten the lobster.

....so good!

….so good!

Vendue
http://thevendue.com/restaurants/the-rooftop/
This was my favorite rooftop which was located on Vendue Range (right off of King Street on your way to the park). It was amazingly comfortable set up, and it had such an inviting atmosphere.

Red’s Ice House
http://www.redsicehouse.com/
This is a great place to watch the boats, kayaks, paddle boarders, and the fish sandwich was really good.   After a day at the beach or a day in the boat, it has the perfect atmosphere and view of Shem Creek.Charleston 1 108

Charleston Harbor Fish House
http://www.charlestonharborfishhouse.com/
This place provided a beautiful view of the harbor.  Charleston 1 089

Basil
http://www.eatatbasil.com/mt-pleasant/
The duck dish was amazing.

Langdons Restaurant and Wine Bar
http://www.owensdininggroup.com/langdons/
Order the pork chop! Great atmosphere!

Shelter in Mount Pleasant is a fun place with good music and a great outside area.
http://www.theshelterkitchenandbar.com/

Southern is a laid back relaxing type bar with an older crowd. It was a fun place to end the night.

The East Bay Bar and Grill was a good place to watch the game. Typical bar food.Charleston 1 201
One thing that seems universal about Charleston restaurants and bars is the outside eating and drinking areas. With the climate of this area, it is what most people want to do. They take advantage of the warm weather and in some locations the wonderful breeze to enjoy being outside. Charleston has so much to offer in the way of fine dining and casual dining.  Enjoy!

Internet Addict

FinallyCreative Commons License Kenny Louie via Compfight
Yes, I am an internet addict. Is there a support group for internet addiction? When is the last time you found yourself without WiFi for your computer? Many people use only their phones and are perfectly content with that, but I want high spend internet for my computer. I like to say a lot, and I cannot do that texting. I have it on my phone at all times, but I am accustomed to being at work with two lovely screens and fast internet and at home with two lovely screens and fast internet. At this time, I have only my phone except for when I visit Greg, McDonald’s on Folly Road or Starbucks in Mount Pleasant or the wonderful Charleston Library. I am not handling this well! There are other locations within walking distance, but my laptop weighs a lot, and my back would not appreciate that walk.
I suspected this might happen when I saw a past due bill here at this beautiful old home in downtown Charleston. When I first arrived, there were four other girls, but now there are only two girls. One of the girls that moved home was in charge of the internet bill; hence, no internet at the house for the last week and a half! I have not had tv since I arrived, and I was not missing that at all. It gave me more time to read and write which are my go to time suckers. BUT no internet has sent me in a tailspin.
My part-time job as an online instructor requires hours of internet usage, and there is so much knowledge that I need to be gaining from various sources to move forward. This fuels my internet addiction and makes me want more hours of internet access.
I have discovered that as I look at future dwellings that I am not concerned with the fact of sharing a bathroom with two other people, but only does it have WiFi? If it does, how fast is it?
When I consider a cruise or a vacation location, the first thing I check is internet connections. I feel a cold sweat start to occur when it dawns on me that internet is not accessible. I have been reading Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche (Thank you, Lori-more on this wonderful book later), and I completely relate to Torre’s internet needs and the excitement she feels when she reaches a port with an internet café.

I think some of this comes from being a type A personality who wants to do a good job and wants all of those items on the to-do-list checked off. When you are an online instructor, internet accessibility is the name of the game in order to meet the needs of the students and to meet deadlines.
What do you look at every day on your computer? This is what I look at first:
• Work e-mail: answer questions and then post.
• Weather – I love wunderground.com. Thank you, Mr. Lindsey!
• Facebook – Yes, I must see what my friends are doing especially My Vault girls, and as much as I do not like to read some of the rants and post that really should not be shared or should in my opinion only be shared on Twitter, I do enjoy reading the motivational quotes and keeping up with the moments of life that mean something to my friends.
• E-mail: I have four. Job e-mails, g-mail, and Comcast e-mail.
• Banking business: I must look occasionally at my statement to make sure that everything is as it should be. As the cartoon I read stated, “They would not steal from your account, but they might make a deposit when they saw your balance.” I am not sure why I feel the need to keep a check on this account, but there is a fear of someone getting my card number and lowering that balance.
Everyone has his/her own sites that he/she feels should be checked often:
• Sports updates- Rebel news- Daddy, Jordan, and Tyler
• Pinterest- Kelley and Jade
• Instagram- Everyone but me
• Twitter- constantly everyone but me. I have had a hard time embracing Twitter because I want to just talk and not hashtag everything, but I am making an effort.
• Travel sites and blogs- Lori
How do you handle not having internet access? I think you probably handle it better than I do!

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No Gray Hair for Me

carriage-tourI color my hair to look younger.  There will be no gray for me  Is it vanity or should we try to be as attractive as we possibly can be? Are we trying to be attractive because it makes us feel better about ourselves, or are we trying to make someone else happy? I like to think we have an obligation to look our best, but it may just be pure vanity guiding my thought process, or it could be the media who encourages us to do whatever we must do to look attractive.

Why do I color my hair? Why have I been coloring my hair since I was 30?  Well, I am genetically prone for sprouting gray hair early, and I have not exactly lived a stress free life, so when you combine those two things, I guess graying early is a given.

All of these thoughts came to my mind since my recent fall on the sidewalk on Sunday.  I had discovered it was time for a little touch up, and since most of the time I do this myself, I started the procedure.  To avoid dying my shirt, I stripped down to a sports bra and gym shorts then I applied the color.  I could not sit in the house for the thirty minutes processing time that is required, so I went out to the back porch totally forgetting about my new friends in the carriage house, but fortunately they missed the incident and did not call 911.

I was talking to my daughter, Jade,  while enjoying the breeze and then as I proceeded to walk to the front porch, I saw a horse head peeping through the driveway opening, and I knew a carriage ride was coming by the house. I could not let these tourists see a woman with gym shorts, sports bra, flip flops and a plastic cap on her head coming around the side of this beautiful antebellum home.  They would remember that sight  even if they forget what the historical guide was sharing with them, so I darted back around to the porch. I made it then I paused and let the carriage tour go by and then I started around the house again and that is when I missed the last step. I jumped up and surveyed the damage. Everything was working, but my knee was bleeding. My strong bones held together one more time, and the stretched tendons and ligaments in my ankles from my sports days just stretched, and there was no pain anywhere else. I was really lucky.  As soon as I realized no doctor’s visit was warranted, I started laughing.

Then I remembered after chemo, when I started growing my hair back. I could see the gray shining. Of course, no one else could. I tried to color the ½ hair and not only did I color my hair, but I also colored my scalp. I wish I had taken pictures of that.

When you can laugh at yourself, you can always be entertained. Laugh at yourself and forgive yourself quickly when you make mistakes. No one else keeps up with your strikes, why should you? If they do keep up with your strikes then maybe you need to eject them from your game. ( Yes, I am in baseball lingo. Hotty Toddy!)

I always said I would let my hair color be gray when I was a grandmother. Well, that will happen in September, and I have changed my mind- I will see what my natural color is when I am a great-grandmother.

This sexy girl- soon to be a grandmother- has her gray covered!

Love to all!

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Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

Dad in NOLAA father’s love is a special gift that he bestows on his children. A man who loves his children unconditionally and teaches them to love their children unconditionally gives his children the best gift that he can give to them. This gift will carry them through life with an open and loving heart. A child will be more willing to embrace the changes and challenges of life if he/she knows that his/her parents are always in his/her corner cheering for his/her to survive, thrive, and enjoy this life.  It is unfailing support that some children are given just because they were born. It reminds me of the love of God because we did absolutely nothing to deserve it.  I know that all children do not have this love, and my heart goes out to them because I do not know what I would have done without the support and love of my Daddy and yes, when I say it, I make it two syllables!

There is a reassurance and a confidence when you know that love and support is only a phone call away. When you know that your father will not judge you for whatever road you choose to take in your life, it allows you to make choices that were what you needed or wanted at the time- granted, they may not have been the best choices, but the support was still there. I am sure for my dad at times it was like watching a slow train wreck (and may still be), but he never left my side, and he listened. I am sure there were times when he put down the phone and said, “Jane, you are not going to believe this.”

His love for his grandchildren is also the same as his love for me and my sister. They know that Pops always has their back, and he will do whatever he needs to do to help them. Their love for him is so strong.Dad- Hotty

Other things I learned from my dad:

  • A good book is a treasure and should be devoured and learned from on a daily basis. Yes, Whistle and The Godfather were read by me at a young age. (You did not know I found them in the bookcase.)  We can both escape to another time and place just give us a book. Be patient because you can talk and talk or a great show my be on tv, but we do not hear you or comprehend what is being said on the tv.
  • Education is a treasure. Not all people have had the opportunity to receive an education. It is not something that should be taken for granted. You can never be too educated, wealthy or wise!
  • Seeing different places and meeting new people enriches your life and your viewpoint of the world.  New York – my first real Italian food, Miami – the guy who brought me carnations at the airport, Europe – I was a pain in the ass, but you did not leave me over there!  The Nutcracker in Atlanta on Peach Street- Daddy worked during the day, and I played in the hotel. My love of travel began, and it is stronger now than ever which reminds me, I need to buy that lottery ticket today!
  • Being willing to take a chance to make something happen takes strength and confidence, and you took a chance many years ago to better our lives. I know now how much courage that took.
  •  The love of good food, good company, the Ole Miss Rebels- Yes, we love our team, but the people you share that love with is what makes memories. I hope they win tonight!

Dad Thanksgiving

  • The cabin- Provide a place where away from home that is like a family retreat where the doors are always open and love will abound for family, friends and our adopted family members.

As I sit here writing this on this beautiful Sunday morning in a beautiful antebellum home in downtown Charleston, I can hear the church bells ringing, and I am so thankful for all of the bumps, hills, mountains that I had to climb to get here, and I am so thankful for my daddy- the strong man in my life who has always been there for me, and I know with one phone call he will provide that one way ticket home.

I love you, Daddy, and I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope your Father’s Day present blooms beautiful red flowers for many years.

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Magnolia flower in September 1 Piers Nye via Compfight

I have always been fascinated by the motivational forces and inspirational forces of writers. I had the privilege of chatting with a Mississippi writer who loves the South. Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a Mississippi writer who embraces her heritage and portrays in her poems the love and rich lifestyle of the South. The titles of her books are Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life In Poems and My Magnolia Memories and Musings -In Poems. She refers to her books as “a celebration of the south and things southern”. She feel that there are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south, in general, but through her poems, she attempts to give a more positive glimpse into the southern way of life.

With the simple language and relatable themes, the poems can be read, enjoyed and understood by readers of all ages from 8 to 80. There is definitely something for everyone. I personally could relate to all of her poems being a Southern girl.  There is a memory that comes to mind as you read each poem. The news from the “Beauty Shop”, the first love portrayed so descriptively in “Tell me Again”,  the acceptance of who we are in “Loving Me”- there is something for everyone. Older Southerners will love the books because the poems bring back wonderful childhood memories of growing up in the south in a simpler time. They are reminded of a way of life that is rapidly becoming just a memory.

For the younger readers, Patricia wants to instill in the youth of our state a pride in the rich heritage of the South. She has received wonderful feedback from places as far away as Spain, France, and Germany. The “Magnolia Tree” poem seems to be a fan favorite around the globe. One gentleman from India asked for permission to translate it to post on an Indian site. A blogger from Austria also used the poem on her blog which featured photos of magnolia trees in her neighborhood in Austria. Overall, I think that the books/poems make entertaining (and educational) reading for anyone from the North, East, South or West!

The poems of her books are reflections on beautiful, happy childhood memories, growing up in Mississippi, so the title was decided because the magnolia tree is the state tree of Mississippi and the magnolia flower is the state flower. Also, Mississippi is known as the “Magnolia State”.  Women of Mississippi are also often referred to as Mississippi Magnolias. Patricia feels that she is deeply rooted and grounded in Mississippi as the strong, ancient magnolia tree. She describes herself as a beautiful Mississippi magnolia flower. The titles of both of her books incorporates the strong feelings of love for her state.

One thing that caught my eye immediately was graphic art of the magnolia on the cover of both books. They were designed by Rainey Scott, a graphic artist/designer from Vicksburg Mississippi. He worked closely with me to bring about my vision. The magnolia on the first cover is by Marty Kintrell, a photographer from Vicksburg and friend of Rainey Scott. The magnolia on Magnolia Memories is by one of my very favorite photographer friends, Bob Franks from Fulton, Mississippi.
February is the month where I buy eight birthday presents, but not Patricia. February is a special month for her because it plays a special role in the life of her “book babies”.

  • First of all, she was born in February.
  • She wrote her very first poem February 14, 2007.

“I woke up out of my sleep on Valentine’s Day 2007, with a poem swirling around in my head. I quickly got up and scribbled it down. After that the poems just started to flow and flow.”

  • Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia was published in February 2008.
  • My Magnolia Memories and Musings was published February 2012.

When asked what her favorite poems are, she said they were all truly like her “babies”.

“I think the signature poems of my writings are “Southern Life” and “If Mississippi’s In You”. I think that they sum up the feel and theme of my all of writings. ‘Southern Man” continues to be a big reader favorite. One of my personal favorites is “Let’s “, because it kind of captures my philosophy in life of enjoying the simple things.”

She plans to publish a third book of poetry in 2015 or early 2016. It will be titled Mississippi In Me- Poems and More. This book will be the last installment of what is essentially a trilogy – Mississippi Magnolia Poems.

If you would like to purchase the books, please click on one of the links below:

 

Name Your Link


If you would like to contact, Patricia please go to these websites:

http://www.patricianeelydorsey.com

http://www.patricianeelydorsey.webs.com

I would like to thank Patricia for sharing her love of the South and her love of poetry with all of us.

Have a great day, my friends!

Morris Island: Guiding Light

 morris island--lighthouse 038
I left the house early on Thursday for a needed beach day. One of my roommates had talked about James Island and another person mentioned James Island to me, so that was my destination until I was introduced to the Morris Island Lighthouse.

I stopped by a convenience store to get my big cup full of ice, and I asked about James Island and the James Island Park signs. I was told that it was a state park with a water park but not a beach; I knew immediately that was not my destination for the day. He said that I needed to go to Morris Island and see the Lighthouse. He told me to drive to Folly Beach and take a left and go until the road ended. Everywhere I go I am showered with kindness and patience. If I ever meet a rude Charlestonian, I may cry.

I was tempted to stop because the beach was nice before I got to the end, and there was free parking, but I continued to the end. A nice family was unloading their mini-van, and they answered my questions and allowed me to walk with them to the beach. It was a long walk carrying all of my stuff.

After you park, you walk through the end circle and down a paved road for around a quarter of a mile and then you decide which path you want to take. I went to the left and found a nice beach with very few people and with a great view of the lighthouse. The lonesome light house looked very regal with sea gulls flying around it. I started looking around me and I spotted a fisherman who was having a great relaxing day just watching his fishing poles.  I think he was the smartest person on the beach because he pulled all of his stuff in a little red wagon. He said the fish was not biting that day, but we both agreed any day on the beach is a good day.

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I then started to unload and set up the stuff! I stopped and purchased an umbrella holder thing on the way to the beach. I always struggle with getting the umbrella not to fly down the beach. I test my reflexes with this every time, so far, I can still catch it before it plunges in the ocean.  This was a big fail.  It did not work, and I was still constantly trying to keep it stable. My next trip to this beach will be soon, and my load will be lightened, and to hell with the umbrella. I will drown myself in SPF 50(as always) and hope for the best. Every time I looked up from my writing and reading, I was looking at the majestic lighthouse and appreciating the quiet and the seclusion.
http://www.follybeach.com/lighthouse.php

While looking at the lighthouse, I could not help but wonder, how many people had this lighthouse guided to safety?morris island--lighthouse 048

At this point in my life, I have not needed a lighthouse for navigating actual water, but I need several lighthouses daily to guide me through the waters of life.  For many people, their navigational “light” comes from a religious or spiritual presence that soothes and caresses the heart and soul. To get to that presence or to find that presence is a never ending journey. Besides a spiritual presence, I need my girls, my family, and my friends who surround me with unconditionally love and support. While they may not understand my thought process, they are always there to listen and pick me up when I am moving toward a dim light.

What is your lighthouse that helps you to navigate this great journey called life?

FYI- Eating yogurt by dipping pieces of watermelon in  the yogurt is very tasty but very messy. Note to self: Remember the spoon next time.

Downtown Charleston: My Eat Pray Love Journey

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“….my shadow has not darkened the doorway of a church or a museum, nor have I looked at a guidebook. But I have wondered endlessly and aimlessly,…..”
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, page 37 .

I love living in Downtown Charleston. Yes, it has only been a little over a week, but I love everything about it. I can sit on the porch and watch the constant flux of people walking down the street, the horse and buggy tourist groups, the bicyclers, and the people walking to work.  There is an energy that you can feel.

I can start walking in any direction and see amazing architecture and pretty flower gardens. I have wondered aimlessly throughout the downtown area. I like having no plan, nowhere I have to be or no tourist site that I must visit. It is a great feeling to ask yourself, what do I want to do today when your life has been dictated for the most part by the restraints of societal responsibility.
Some times by choice, sometimes because I would walk out of a store and go the wrong way, I have toured downtown. You know sometimes left or right is tough, but you always have a fifty percent chance of making the right decision.

“My shaky sense of direction and geography mean I have explored six continents in my life with only the vaguest idea of where I am at any given time.” Page 40

As I went the wrong way when I came out of Victoria Secret (bikini looking a little old- sales staff was amazing), and walked a long way in the wrong direction, I discovered King Street Cookies. http://www.kingstreetcookies.com/delivery.html


The House Specialty  and the Georgia Peach were absolutely amazing. I sat in the big orange chair and enjoyed every bite.morris island--lighthouse 005

As I continued to walk in the wrong direction, I also found the Blue Bicycle Books which was featuring Dorthea Benton Frank’s new book Hurricane Sisters.  It was a quaint bookstore and one guy did come through pushing his bike.  Battery Park is my favorite destination, and I actually know how to get there from the house.  It is beautiful and the breeze and the sight of the harbor helps me to relax and let go.

“People ask me before I left for Italy, “Do you have friends in Rome?” and I would just shake my head no, and say, ”But I will”.   Page 42
I have made some friends, and I will make more because if you stand still long enough, I will talk to you, and I can converse on many different subjects, so changing the subject will not deter me.  I do not watch the news, and I have not watched tv or anything on the computer  since I arrived, but I can still talk or more importantly I can listen; as Lori and I have discovered, most people just need someone to listen and to allow validation to occur for his/her ideas and existence.

“Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” Page 56
I am being polite to myself and forgiving of my directional screw ups. I have no plane to catch or life threatening appointments to keep at this time, so I will learn as I go and continue to find the hidden treasures of Charleston.

As you can tell, I am re-reading Eat Pray Love. I found it under my bed when I arrived at the house.  I think that was a sign that it should be read again. My friend keeps it close to her to re-read again and again, and she is a very wise lady. There are so many parts that speak to me now and it is not only the new destination parts. The parts about life and love and spiritual presence speaks to me in a different way than it did several years ago when I first read the book. I could not relate then but I can now. Many times we are not ready for a message that we are supposed to take away from a book or from a person, but I think I am ready now for the wisdom of Elizabeth Gilbert. I would encourage you to read this book even if you have read it, read it again. Her posts on Facebook are also inspiring and insightful.

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