Monday, September 29, 2008


This story is based on real events. Parts of the story may be incomplete, dramatized, or completely made up to emphasize the tragedy (also due to my limited knowledge of the facts; probably better that way). This is the Cliff’s Notes version:

This summer, an old man, we’ll call him Arie, watched with sadness as the last orange was picked from the groves that his family had operated since the 1800’s. It wasn’t just the end of the harvest; it was the end of an era.

Arie’s family had settled on this barrier island along Florida’s east coast back in the 1800’s. They were subsistence hunters and farmers. They hunted gator in the wetlands and hooked redfish in the estuary. They planted citrus groves. Over time they planted more citrus; several hundred acres more. There were hard times, the occasional freeze or a long drought, but they made it… farming was a way of life for them.

By the 1960’s things began to change. Word spread that the government was moving in. They were buying everybody’s land and moving the houses, even the homes and land that weren’t for sale. The government bought up over 140,000 acres of land, including Arie’s groves. The groves, the homestead, gone.

Once word got out that the government ousted farmers from their livelihood people were outraged. The agriculture lobby was not having it. So a compromise was reached and the government rented the land back to Arie so he could grow his citrus.

This agreement went on for over forty years. Over time the aging groves became susceptible to citrus canker and citrus greening. Yields dropped, and the agency was becoming increasing annoyed with this seemingly sentimental exception that had been repeatedly grandfathered in over the years as part of the agencies responsibilities.

Arie was getting up there in age. He was diagnosed with cancer, probably the result of a life-time working in the groves. He kept working though. Citrus was his life.

A decision was made by the government to not renew the citrus contract. Arie and his crew had until July 31st to pull out. They harvested their last batch of oranges in June. July rolled around and the government hadn’t changed their mind. Arie had to once again say goodbye to his family’s legacy, his life’s work, the only thing he knew how to do. By the time the barns were emptied, the weeds had already swallowed the once thriving grove. Without a purpose, Arie gave up the fight. The cancer took over; he died six weeks later…

Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose ~ William Cowper

Now listen to this song. (thanks Emily)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Or at least that is what I call him. He is an adowable wittle puppy dog.... well not too little. He is all white with a big black left eye, floppy ears, and a long tail that is fixed between his legs. He wanders the streets at night; probably because he is too afraid of his own shadow to come out during the day. I think he has been wandering around all summer. It breaks my heart every time I see him. He shamefully scurries away whenever we get close. Tonight he showed some interest in us, but not enough to take a chance. If we ever catch him he is coming home with us.

I don't know his story and that really doesn't matter. Sometimes all we need is a fresh start. He could just be lost, lonely, and afraid of being vulnerable...

I understand its hard to trust, but you have to be willing to try...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Perspective Restoration

Ahh the stress has lifted. I re-read my blog from Monday and can't believe how flustered I was. Its crazy how I can get so worked up, thinking my world is caving in, feeling hopeless, like somebody dumped out a filing cabinet in my head; then with time and focus I pick up the pieces one at a time and perspective is restored... maintaining that perspective is the challenge.

Once again:

"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw anyone out" - Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Week Left

So my stress has lightened a bit from my mindless Monday. I think the anxiety of the changes that are about to come kind of set my head spinning. I still have a lot of work to do before I leave, but I think I can get it all done. Its been somewhat rewarding to finally wrap all this stuff up... I have done a lot in the two and a half years I have been here. Its funny last week I moved all my projects to the server and it was like a journey down memory lane. Its probably going to get more chaotic before I settle in to my other job, but for now I just need to take one day at a time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rare Occurance

Right now there are two shuttles on the pads. This usually doesn't happen, but since the next mission is to repair the Hubble they need a rescue ship ready in case something goes wrong.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slippery Slope

The climb is steep and slippery... and I have fallen and slide back to the bottom. There is a lot of stuff down here that I had dropped along the climb. I had hoped I would never see some of these things again but here they are.

I have been losing my footing for a couple weeks and I knew I was going to collapse like house build of cards. I envy people that can roll with the punches. It seems that the slightest bit of anxiety or stress disorients me and I lose myself and spin into a funk. I hate living like this. There are things to be happy about but they seem overshadowed by the stresses of life... I guess more appropriately-I let them overshadow the lighter side of life.

Its so lonely in this one horse town. I am a regular in the geographical fix category, even though I know that is never the answer to what I am looking for. But I feel like I am in prison here. And unless I want to eat 30k on my house I am trapped. I can't stand this. I am wasting my life. I am grateful for my friends here, but none of them know me, I don't feel comfortable talking to them, and there always seems to be more compromise on my part.

Its so hard to get excited about anything. Even external things like getting a new car and new job don't even register on the "something to look forward to" scale. I think anxiety about the new job and tying things up with my current job may have a little bit to do with my stress level. I guess I look forward recognizing that once the excitement of the new wears off, I will settle backing into an equilibrium of unhappiness.

I know wallowing doesn't help and I know that I have to do this myself. It is embarrassing that I have to try to be happy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Puppy Dog

I can't really describe how much I love my Big Guns. Yesterday I ran into this amazing artist lady that I used to work with a couple years ago. She does amazing animal paintings and once she saw a picture of G on my desk she became obsessed with him. She wanted the picture so she could paint him and use his portrait as a sample of her work. I got extremely possessive and told her no because he is mine and I didn't want him to be used as an advertisement (seems like an odd response looking back on it). I was actually kind of paranoid that she was going to copy the picture when I wasn't there... anyway.

So yesterday as we were talking I told her yes. She could paint him. I would hope I could at least get a copy of his portrait because I can't afford her work... it's definitely worth the money, I just can't afford it.

We had a lot of dogs growing up, but I have to say I have never had one that commands (and demands) so much attention. He is a special boy. I am afraid that if I move, losing Gunner would break my neighbors' hearts. They come and get him everyday and take him over to their house... he is getting fat from all the treats.

Oh puppy dog what would I do without you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Didn't Forget

Enjoy YOUR day.

Our existence changes everyone and everything. The world will never be the same. Its all a matter of scale.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obsession? -- Indeed

I received my DVD in the mail yesterday "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West"... and I will be returning it to the sender.

The threat of Radical Islam is the most important issue facing us today. But it's a topic that neither the presidential candidates, nor the media are discussing openly. It's our responsibility to ensure we can all make an informed vote in November.

Umm, its not the most important issue to me. Now I am confused, because they obviously watch FOX Noise or the elephants' convention, but yet they don't think the media is discussing it openly?... Are they suggesting that FOX Noise is not a creditable news source? It is sad that people really live in fear like this... Take a risk assessment course or basic statistics...

How can you help fight Radical Islam?
- Get informed
- Get involved
- Take action
- Contribute

Fuck that! I am informed. This is a waste of time and money. These are the same people that go to the Anthony to house protest... what are they protesting again?

Racist, trigger-happy, alarmists. Obsession-yes indeed. You are obsessed with promoting fear.

UPDATED - 9-29-08.

Check this out

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bland Potpourri

Spent most of the day at the beach yesterday. I even went back at sunset… but that was part of a personal tour of Titusville I gave for my friend and her mom. I was planning on going to Publix yesterday, but I didn’t want to expel all my fun activities in one day, so I am saving that special event for this week.

For the past week I have been in miserable pain. I did something to my back last weekend and it is still lingering. I had a massage Wednesday and it just made it worse. Rose and Jo gave me a concoction of drugs yesterday that actually helped. My problem is that I have not been taking it easy. It started to dull last week, but then I played basketball. The pain intensified and moved lower. I feel like such a little bitch… but back and neck problems just fuck up your whole life. Can’t wait for this to go away.

Speaking of concoctions of drugs and alcohol, I saw Burn After Reading this weekend. I found myself laughing at things that nobody else found funny…

The countdown is on, just over two weeks left at the refuge. Hmmm. Talked with my homies at ECT. Sounds like I am going to be in the field a lot for the first couple months. I think there is a good chance I will get to go to Maryland, Mississippi or Ar-kansas.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Roll Out

So last week I got to see the shuttle roll out to the pad. I have been here two years and this is the first time I have seen it. I was able to get super close because one of my projects is right across the canal from the crawler way... check it out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It Happened to ME

Like OMG! I never imaged it would happen to me. I know I am almost 30, but still, I like to think I am somewhat hip… But last night I caught some of the VMA’s and it became blatantly clear that I am out of touch with what is cool in pop culture. What the fuck has happened to MTV? I was never a huge fan, but now I think you are required to have ADHD to follow the shit on that station. I am no accomplished pop culture critic, but it seems MTV has transformed B-listers and mediocrity into mainstream icons and the social norm.

I am not really disappointed with the realization that I am no longer “cool” to teenagers but I guess I was somewhat surprised when I found out…

I do see the value of the platform MTV has to promote awareness, regardless of how superficial and trendy they make it seem… but for issues like politics and global warming I think the “talent” have a way of almost diluting what it means to be liberal or green.

For instance, Paramore (a teenage rock group) showed up to the VMA’s in Smart Cars. When asked why, they said they were just trying to be different… Now I think a better explanation could have included words like “better for the environment”, “more efficient” , or “reduces our dependence on foreign oil” (for you conservatives)… But no, Haley said something like “I used a lot of hairspray and showing up in these offsets that” … I guess their half-assed effort to be sexy-green was far better than Tokio Hotel showing up in a monster truck…

P.S. I am addicted to The Hills. It is my guilty pleasure.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Bit the Bullet

So I finally bit the bullet and bought a car yesterday. Its a Matrix like a couple friends of mine have. I am not super pumped though... and I am not really sure why. Maybe its the money or maybe I am just not completely in love with the car, but I really can't think of another car that I would rather have (that I can afford). For a while I wanted to do the noble thing for the D and buy a Ford or GM, but when it came right down to it, the Matrix and Vibe are made on the same assembly line in Canada. So at this point I put aside my ambition to support my home and went with functionality.

Since the name "Trixy" was already taken, I named him "Trixster".

I left Trizzy at the dealer yesterday and drove Trixster home. Needless to say I had some explaining to do when I picked him up today. I honestly felt like I was cheating on Trizzy as I was driving him home today.

It was a hard decision to make. Trizzy and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary together. Its funny how attached I have become to this inanimate object. Yes, you need to be up to date on your tetanus before you ride in it, yes, it has not been detailed...ever, yes, the wipers turn on automatically when you make a turn, yes, the floor is covered with dog hair, yes, it leaks like a sieve when it rains, yes, I have to put water in the radiator twice a week, yes, yes, yes! I hear you haters! But, Trizzy has been there for me for ten years... hauled dirt, mulch, trees, trash, couches, desks, chairs, a section of boardwalk, six kayaks at once, worm bins, you name it. Five years ago, I set off on my own with everything I could fit in a U-haul trailer... and who made it happen; Trizzy did... 23 hours on the road. So how, after 10 years could I throw him away?

Well I can't. You see, its not that my needs have changed, its just that some needs that weren't being met have surfaced and they need attention... Thats all... Never throw anyone out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Famous Flower From Canaveral

For you... but don't touch it, it loves you not.

Mr. Clean

I have discovered that there is a direct correlation between my clarity of thought and the cleanliness of the floors in my house... interesting.

Monday, September 1, 2008


By The Numbers:
82 - Years old
58 - Years as the National Chairmen of MDA
43 - Telethons
65 Million - Dollars raised on this year's telethon
2 Billion - Dollars raised for MDA in 43 years

We had these mandatory online discussion boards for this humanities class I had at MSU. One of the questions was about social icons... I put it off til the last minute like I do everything. I couldn't really think of a social icon... well I ended up writing this thing about Jerry Lewis and it turned out to be the thread of the week. The teacher used it as a example in class.

I wonder if I would even watch the telethon if I wasn't one of Jerry's kids. I wonder if I would be as empathetic or sympathetic if I was normal. Maybe I would be, but probably not to the people that deserve it...

I have been saying for years that it would be a dream come true to go to the national telethon to see Jerry. Every year after telethon I say that I am going to go the next year... but never do... I made a half-assed attempt to inquire about going this summer. I did find out how to find out though... so maybe next year if...