Monday, July 31, 2006

FSS Registers

A year ago I was absolutely thrilled at the prospect of being on the OMS register. The Office Manager position in the Foreign Service seemed to be the shorter and more sure path...the entry door for me into the FS. I was offered a position in the last March and the May classes which I turned down to see how I would fare at the GSO oral assessment. My attitude toward the OMS position changed when I was placed on the GSO register. I know my placement isn't as competitive as it was on the OMS register, but I feel that the General Services Officer is more of a challenge and a closer career fit to my background. It will better allow me to care for my family and it excites me in ways the OMS position never would have. With these thoughts and more in mind, I have removed myself from the OMS register. I do hope I won't wake up kicking myself in the months or years ahead.

What made this decision hard for me is that I had previously thought that I wanted to be in the Foreign Service so bad that the actual position made no difference. Faced with the two registers, I realize that the more difficult route is worth the wait.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ouch!! I’ve Memed Myself....

Following Nice Mike, JanetLee & Jason’s example….I thought on five songs that take me back in time. There are many that stir particular feelings within me, but only a few that allow me to recall vividly a particular period of time.

Le Freak – Chic. In the late 70’s, my Dad ran a mobile Disco. When he had a gig on the weekend’s he’s bring me along to help. I didn't care much when he played for highschool dances, but loved Summer evenings on the old Folly pier where Under the Boardwalk was and is still popular in this area. Dad always had to listen to the weekly top 40 countdown and would get 45’s of songs in the top 20 to give away each night. In 1978 Le Freak was in the top 10 for the year and I do recall it being played often with blue and yellow strobe lights bouncing off a mirrored Disco Ball.

Roller Derby Queen – Jim Croce. My husband and met at the Mills House Hotel where we both worked. Carroll Brown played in Papa Bears Bar – The Best Friend lounge quite regularly and we got to know him quite well. When we would go out on our days off, it was often to some other place where Carroll Brown played. The Summer of ’92 we often went to Joe’s Seafood Emporium. It was great fun….and at least once the entertainment and friends wound up in Shem Creek! Rumor has it that the band’s coffee had been spiked with Schnapps – that and maybe the Summer heat had a little to do with it. One evening, my not yet hubby wanted to hear Roller Derby Queen. Sooooo, I went up to Carroll and whispered the request in his ear…I didn’t want to have to yell over all the ruckus….and then gave him a peck on the cheek. After that EVERY time Carroll Brown saw me walk into a room, he’d break into Roller Derby Queen.

Wicked Game – Chris Isaac. This one is a little sad and difficult, but it is a part of who I am.. When I turned 21, I broke off a five year relationship with a gentleman I was engaged to marry. Joe was becoming an alcoholic and it was too emotionally taxing to compete with a drink. A few months later he tried to convince me that he could change and one morning I went out to my car where he had placed a single rose in my seat and when I started the car this song was playing by his arrangement. Five or Six years later he killed himself. He left a note telling me to shut the door. This is what he heard when I use to tell him Je t’adore.

Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney. My daughter loves this song. I will never be able to hear it without thinking of her. Since she was six, she will play this song ten times in a row and get the whole family to sing it at the top of our lungs with animation while we dance wildly about the room....sometime she even let's us listen to the rest of the songs from the "Big Night" soundtrack.

Let’s Stay Together – AL Green. Papa Bear’s eyes go soft when this plays. It makes me think of all the wonderful times we have shared together – From our first date watching the sun rise at Folly with a bottle of Champagne (this is not outrageous considering at the time he was a night bartender and I was a night auditor – we generally slept during the day back then) to holding our children that very first time. Just thinking about the song and Papa Bear makes my eyes go soft too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just a Hatchling in the Big Wide World

A friend of mine was perusing quotes today. She was trying to find the perfect one to use for a coworker who is drastically changing careers. The following quote did pique her interest though it was not used:

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.We must be hatched or go bad." -- C.S. Lewis
I began to wonder about this. Why would the egg go bad and how are we all like this hatchling?

We are faced with choices everyday. The first choice a hatchling makes is to stay in the egg or to get out and explore its world. In essence this choice is to live or to die. Once we choose to live, we have many other choices each day. Each choice is a small stepping stone that eventually leads us down the path of individuality as we test our likes and dislikes. We get comfortable with our abilities and one day we spread our wings and make our own path in the world. If the wind direction feels right, we may even change the direction of our path. As a soaring bird way up high in the sky – we are free.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Planet Lowcountry

Zowwy!!! This just in...the lowcountry bloggers now have a blogging planet to call their very own!

Are you in need of a quick fix and have no desire to spend the day clicking away to see who has a lowcountry blog with something to say? Then HEY..I are just one click away from all the new articles of the day!

THANK YOU, EUGENE a la Imablog for hosting our planet!!!!! This gives the sun in my daily planet something to sizzle about.

See Agricola's post for a more accurate description of this sizzling sun.....

Friday, July 14, 2006

Blog Party 2

This is Mary. Mary is a budding young lawyer, geologist, anthropologist, blogger and now..... photographer. Mary accompanied me to the Lowcountry Blogosphere's Blog Party #2 which was nesteled in an intimate room at the Sunfire Grill & Bistro.

Mary had a vision on how to best capture our group, so I turned my Powershot S30 camera over to her for the evening.

Her first idea was to capture us in the act of sitting down, mingling, cocktailing and breaking bread.

When several of our group stood up to bring out their camera's (surely you didn't doubt that a blog party would be without cameras!), Mary decided she needed to get us organized at once. She insisted that a group photo needed to be taken and she was the one to take that photo.

So here we are. There's Chuck, Jason, April, Jared, Heather, Vera, Mike, Me, JanetLee, Joan, and Jason...Jason? Where did Jason go? Hmmm, I think I see an outline of him behind Mike!

Silly, Jason! Yes, Mary understands that you prefer to be BEHIND the camera....but that only makes her more determined to get your photo. She may have something up her sleeve for you later.

Here are two genteel photographers having their photo taken by the paparazzi.

This is Vera demonstrating how she can knit with four needles without looking....Yikes!!!! I have issues just using one with both of my eyes glued to it! That's quite crafty of you, Vera. ;)

Ah, Windviel...there you are! And where, pray tell, is Mustang Rolling?

No worries, she (is Mustang Rolling a she?) is parked over there....hop in!

Psyche! It was just Mustang Rolling's "Mini Me" as modeled by our server Jeannie. Mustang Rolling only cruises the Lowcountry on the weekends doncha know.
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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Banner Elk with Poppie & T'ai T'ai

The family and I took a trip to Banner Elk, NC to visit Poppie and T'ai T'ai who live part of every year on Sugar Mountain. Banner Elk is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and, yes, it was quite cool for July. Our adventure in the Mountains began early on the drive to Banner Elk. It took us a little under 6 hours to get to our destination, but the last 20 miles was nerve racking. It seems the map I had downloaded included a short cut. Papa Bear was in the middle of telling our cubs what mountain roads used to be like when he was little....when the small road we were on veered to the left and ceased being paved.

There were no signs confirming that we were on the right road and it narrowed to the point that we doubted two cars would want to pass as there were no guard rails next to the steep ledges. The road wound around its uneven path and we stared intensely as the route revealed itself to us. It was incredibly beautiful, but we were unable to enjoy a moment of it. Realizing we were low on fuel, we had no idea where we were and we had no way to turn around. After 15-20 minutes of panic, the road gradually became wider and...paved! We made it and were now only 10 miles from our destination without another unexpected event.

Poppie & T'ai T'ai invited us to stay with them on Sugar Mountain, but Sallydog was not allowed in their community. We settled for the Best Western Mountain Lodge because it is the ONLY place in the area that allowed pets. We arrived a day early so we could get settled in and explore our surroundings. Now for the photos:

My two hams got a little impatient with the parents while having dinner at The Lodge Cafe. They finished their dining waaayyyy before we did and began looking for ways to entertain themselves. So they began posing. I did not initially have my camera ready, but I was compelled to bring it out of hiding after seeing this. Papa Bear calls this pose "la piété".

Here's my family of ducks heading toward the Tartan Restauraunt near Grandfather Mountain. We were inspired by the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games taking place this weekend. Papa Bear almost changed his mind when he discovered there were no adult beverages included in the fare. He decided to stay once we told him he could have the afternoon off while we explored Grandfather Mountain.

This is Lizzy on the Mile High Swinging Bridge. It is Mile High only in that is how high it is from sea level.

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This is the view from the same Bridge.

Did I mention she is a drama queen?

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This isn't quite as precarious as it seems....

Poppie was right there to protect Baby Bear.

Baby Bear took this one. I was trying to leave it out...but he insisted I show his work too.

Here's Lizzy, T'ai T'ai, Baby Bear & Poppie. There is some evidence that it was chilly and windy on this fine July afternoon.

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Grandfather Mountain has an animal habitat. This bald eagle was wounded by a gunshot. We also got to see this lazy bear.

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Going home, we opted for a known paved route. Forty minutes after heading toward Blowing Rock and winding a short and dizzying way through the Blue Ridge Parkway, we passed that same mountain road we opted to forgo. We realized it really was a shortcut. Two thing that will be missed back home in Charleston is the relief from the heat and all of the beautiful mountain laurel growing along the side of the roads. Of course, Poppie and T'ai T'ai are always missed.