Thursday, January 22, 2015

Must Have Been Kismet!

Click the photo for a better view!
One of the harder stories to relate to others, be it family, friends or acquaintances, is how Roger and I came to the decision to move from Dallas, Texas to New England.  The story is difficult because it all just sort of happened, but deep down inside, though my heart was full with friends and family, the endless concrete of Dallas was stripping at my soul and spirit.  So in the fall of 1999, a random thought was spoken out loud, which lead to a larger conversation, not in a gripping sort of way, but in a meandering, what-if kind of way.  Where would we move? Near the ocean, of course!  Okay, Atlantic or Pacific?  North or South? Up until this point we'd only thought of perhaps moving to a different house in the same neighborhood. 
At the time I was working for a telecom company with offices on both sides of the continent, so a quick check of temperatures in Miami quickly eliminated a move Southeast.  A quick check of West Coast home prices quickly eliminated a move to California, unless you enjoy living in a trailer that is.  Then a sort of AHA moment. Boston!  It’s on the water, my company had offices there, we have family there.  Boston it is!  Seriously, it happened that quickly.  The tip-toe into the water came when our friend, Juanna, agreed to fly with me to Boston just to have a look around.  It was the week between Christmas and New Years and baby was it cold!  It was a quick trip just to get a glimpse and that’s pretty much all we got, but it certainly fueled the fire.

Next thing we know, Roger and I have a map of the Boston area spread out on our pool table.  Let’s see, Nortel (my former employer) is located in Billerica, northwest of Boston.  Here’s the ocean.  Let’s start right in between the two. Roger began calling the chamber of commerce of various towns just to have a chat.  Out of this came the decision that we’d move to Haverhill.  Had we ever been there?  No.  Had we even been to Boston or anywhere near it?  Other than my brief trip, no. Didn’t matter, this was the plan!

All along, the picture above had been hanging in our home for about 3 years. This was actually a poster that I purchased when Roger was very ill and in the hospital.  He’d been in the hospital so long that I decided we needed to decorate. I came across this picture and was instantly drawn to the soothing colors and pastoral waterfront scene. I brought it to the hospital and tacked it to the wall. After extensive surgery, resulting in a foot-long scar down his abdomen, he finally came home. We were so happy that he was finally coming home that we took the poster and had it framed.  This picture will come into play again in 2004.

Our next step was to book an actual vacation so we could really check out the area, and, to buy a home.  Yep, we flew into Boston the last week of June, 2000 for the sole purpose of buying a house in Haverhill, Massachusetts. We also took in a Redsox game, got horribly lost several times over our five day stay, but still we were undeterred. 
The next couple of days we spent with a realtor with whom we had connected with prior to our trip.  Within 48 hours we found our new home!  Also within that same time period we happened to pick up a local paper with a job listing for Roger.  A quick phone call, followed by an interview and job offer while I sat in the parking lot. 

Click, click, click…one by one all was falling into place.  Our home in Richardson sold lickety-split and on Labor Day weekend, less than 1 year from the initial “conversation”, with 2 dogs, 1 cat and both vehicles, we were moved into our new-to-us home that was built in 1900.

Part 2 is here:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Books, Books and MORE Books very many books awaiting my attention.  I have the actual "hold in your hands and read 'em" books, and of course, books stashed in my kindle, which begs the question, if it's downloaded is it a "book" or a simply a collection of written words?

I actually have James Michener's "Chesapeake" in both versions, as the original tome is so large (published in approximately 8 pt type) that I added it to my Kindle as well so I'd have more opportunities to traipse through 370 years of history.  Having started reading the book back in June, 2014, in anticipation of a September trip to the Chesapeake Bay area, I'm happy to report that almost 7 months later I am now in 1938. Whew!!!  Only 40 years to go!

"Chesapeake" by James Michener
I find it interesting that the past year or so I've leaned towards books on Black history (Chesapeake resulted in this category); and Female Comedians, having read the biographies of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and the most awesome, Carol Burnett.  I'm doing my best to hold off on downloading Amy Poehler's book and so far so good.  As an aside, I also read BJ Novak's "One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories".  Some of his stories are pure genius and others just simply make you wonder.

However, back to what's waiting to be read.  I'm listing them here to see how long it takes me to whittle the list down, but considering that I now want to download, or buy, "Unbroken", and the fact that I'm still reading "Chesapeake", I'm more guessing that this will be a rather fluid list. 

In no particular order, currently on my Kindle:

1.  The Custom of the Country - Edith Wharton:  I read that this is being made into a movie so I wanted to read the book before hand, which implies that I'd actually go see the movie, which I rarely go see any movie, except for Bad Santa, now THAT was a good movie!

2.  The Path to Power:  The Years of Lyndon Johnson - Robert Caro:  As a Texan, I owe it to my heritage to know all about LBJ.

3.  The Elements of Style - Strunk & Strunk:  a book on writing.  Which I should probably refer to at this very moment to determine if I should be ending my numbered entries with a period or not.

4.  Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

5.  Bring up the Bodies:  A Novel - Hilary Mantel:  for some reason I was compelled to download both books.

6.  Tita - Marie Houzelle:  based in France, 'nuf said.

7.  People Skills - Robert Boulton:  according to Kindle I've read 19% of this book.  You'll see similar books like this as I saw my career crashing down around my ears, so I figure it must be a personal flaw. Right? Certainly it's not the fault of the establishment to see a sudden halt to what was originally an upwards projectory.  Right??

8.  Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High - Patterson & Grenny:  This book was recommended by a friend.  I've read 15% of this and am sure I will get back to it - eventually.

9.  301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview - John Kador:  I was in a rather desperate mood when I downloaded this book.  For the sake of everyone, I'm going to share #301.  Well, sadly they're not numbered so I guess I'll have to actually read the damn thing, but I did notice that there is a section on "Crucial Conversations".  Interesting.

10.  Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich:  I love, love, love the SP series! Such a fun, quick, laugh-out-loud (if Roger wasn't sleeping beside me anyway) series.  I'll be heartbroken if I find that at some point she's killed off her pistol-packing grandmother.

11.  The Naval War of 1812 OR the History of the United States Navy during the Last War with Great Britain to Which is Appended an Account of the Battle of New Orleans - Theodore Roosevelt:  It was a free download and that is the complete title.

12.  The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

13.  And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

14.  Chasing the Sun:  A Novel - Natalia Sylvester:  A "novel"?...okay moving on!

15.  The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis

16.  The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith, JK Rowling's  pseudonym

17.  Dark Places:  A Novel - Gillian Flynn:  again, another "novel".  Flynn wrote the oh so infamous "Gone Girl:  A Novel" which I could not finish. So, I'm trying another of her books for some unknown reason.

18.  Praying God's Word:  Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds - Beth Moore:  Moore released 3 books for free download.  I've read one, and have 2 to go.  I did enjoy her style and her sharing of God's place in her life.  Another conundrum...should it be three, one, two; or 3,1,2; or is it fine how I wrote it in the first (1st?) place?

19.  10% Happier:  How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story - Dan Harris.  Okay, Dan, I think you could have gone with "10% Happier:  A True Story".

20.   Hot Six (Stephanie Plum) - Janet Evanovich:  I'm so glad I created this list as I'm afraid I would have skipped # 6 and gone straight to #8.  Not sure where #7 is.

21.  The Associate Press Guide to Punctuation - Rene Cappon

22.  Negotiating Life:  Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy - Jeswald Salacuse:  see entry #7.  Serious self-esteem issues at play here.

23.  Eats, Shoots & Leaves:  The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynne Truss: Perhaps I should have simply paid more attention in high school.

24.  On Writing:  A Memoir Of The Craft - Stephen King:  I only recently learned the King actually taught writing, and perhaps still does. 

25.  The Women in His Life - Barbara Taylor Bradford:  a weak moment in time when I downloaded this book.  Who knows, it may carry me away!

So it appears that there are many more to list, so I'll stop here and resume with a secondary post, that's if you're still with me!