Friday, July 19, 2013

How many times have I started a new post, only to leave it lingering in the "Drafts" section. For the past few months, I've just not felt motivated, or that I really had anything to say.

I'm coming off my boss's last day and a nice, relaxing dinner with a friend, where I took the long way on the walk home, senses heightened by one glass of a nice chardonnay and pinot grigio. I'm sad to lose my boss. She's awesome, was a great motivator and leader, and extremely talented. It's a void I've been feeling since she's announced her resignation. She's dropped full-time work to freelance, concentrate on her writing and because her job was incredibly stressful. She left me a kind note, one of the things which she said, thanking me for not being afraid to voice the truth to those in power, and that she slept better knowing I had her back. I did, and still do. She had my back when she hired me and inspired me to do great work. Not only that, she was hilarious and had an incredible people sense. I'm happy for her, but sad for me.

Over the week of the 4th of July I went to Atlanta, GA to visit my sister, her husband and my 16-year-old nephew. Then, we all drove to Lake Toxaway, NC where my dad and step mom have a lake house right on the water. It was so great to see family and be in the Southeast, where there were lush trees and grass, gigantic clouds, lightning and thunderstorms. I was relaxed, happy and laughing a lot. Los Angeles has a lot of things. In fact, anything that I want is here. That is, except family. I have no family here. It pulls on me, especially after seeing them.

My sister and I caught up on the rooftop of her awesome apartment building. Somehow, the managed to score a condo to rent in this building that also houses the likes of Charles Barkley and other pro athletes. They've seen Shaq in the elevator, celebrities and other Atlanta socialites. There are Bentleys and Astin Martins in the parking garage, as well as a host of other exotic cars. They sold their house and decided to rent, and upon finding this place, joke that they're the low rent neighbors. I'd forgotten how green Atlanta is. And the sky, clouds and lighting, as evidenced in this photograph, is just stunning. I'm growing increasingly tired of the boring weather we have in Los Angeles. Today we did have partly cloudy skies with a nice breeze. That was a change.

On the way to Lake Toxaway, we stopped in Walhalla, South Carolina to stock up on groceries, and while in the fruit section, I heard a man repeatedly announcing over the PA system to stay clear of aisle twenty-two. At least that's what I thought he said. When I asked a store employee who was standing at the end of aisle one what had happened, he told me that someone had sprayed mace in aisle one and two. We were standing at aisle one, and almost as soon as he said it I felt the burn in my throat and my eyes start to water. Because the person on the loudspeaker had a pronounced southern accent, I'd not understood him and walked right where I wasn't supposed to. I made my way to the checkout, coughing and picked up a bottled water, then guzzled it down to flush out my throat.  When we all reconvened in the car, I learned that my sister and nephew had gotten it too. This counts the second time I've been maced. However, the first time was full force and on my birthday.

Later, we saved a turtle who was precariously crossing the road on the way there. We turned around, Joan's husband jumped out of the car and picked him up. We relocated him to the lake house yard. He took to it immediately, as it is a vast, moist green yard surrounded by woods, plants and right by a lake. We put him in the ivy and an hour later, I checked on him and he was gone. Happy life, little one.

It rained practically the entire time we were there, but I welcomed it. It was glorious to fall asleep to, along with flashes of lightning lighting up the room followed by booms of thunder. Even though that meant the fireworks were rained out on July 4th, we were treated to nature's spectacle in its place. The lake house has a huge 2nd story patio that is screened in, so we cooked hotdogs, burgers and ate outside as the weather raged. I played lots of games with family, ate, drank, laughed and let my mind relax into another plane. One where I just let things be, was constantly surrounded by people and let go of my autonomous ways. It was a wonderful, welcome change. On July 5th, we had drinks at the Greystone Inn, then walked over to the Lake Toxaway Country Club where we had a spectacular buffet with a fabulous desert table. We all ate to our heart's content and it was fun seeing my dad and stepmom talk to all their Toxaway friends.

There were reprieves from the rain, and we took those breaks to visit the falls, which were roaring
because of all the rains. Here, I'm standing in front of them up on a hill. They go way down and feed the lake, which was at really high tide. So much, that motor boats weren't allowed for fear that their wakes would damage the shore and docks. There were a lot of people in canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and stand-up paddle boats. One woman had her huge dog along for the ride. He was sitting there on the paddle boat, happy as a clam while she stood and paddled them around the lake. It was adorable and hilarious.

We visited a real life country mart where we picked up some groceries, and of course, RC cola and moon pies. It was the first moon pie I ever had, and was a treat.

Sadly, my stepmother's mother died the day after we left. She was 95 and had been failing for quite some time. When we got back to Atlanta, my dad called us and told us the news. She'd lived a long, good life and went in comfort. Her daughter really took care of her and her sister, first buying them a home to live together in Florida, then when it was time, moving them both to Asheville, NC where they lived out the rest of their days in a very nice assisted living facility near her and my dad. The sisters lived together for 50 years. Amazing. Two tough, yet so sweet Italian women. They died within weeks of each other. Two more of the Greatest Generation, and their living history, gone.

I'll post more pictures of my trip. Finally, I'm hitting send.


tarabu said...

Sounds like a great trip - and yeah, accents down home takes some time to adjust to hearing!

Mark said...

I look forward to your posts - they're always fun. Makes us feel as if we are traveling with you, without that pesky getting-maced thing. I wish you great happiness at work under a new boss, who should be the same as the old boss! And safe travels everywhere. Your beloved BMore is a stinky sticky mess today - almost 100° with high humidity. In other words: Artscape Weekend! Take care, Anne!

BlogBroad said...

So glad you had such a relaxing trip and got to be rained on--I'm sure that felt good.

I was sorry about Marie's mother's death, always a hard loss even when you've had her a long time.

I hate that you lost that great boss! Hope the next one turns out equally fabulous.

dogwooddiarist said...

Anne, was getting updates from ABT Alumni, learned about Gladys the pianist's passing, and read your post in connection. Sounds like you and I were at the company around the same time. What is your last name? I am Eva Robertson.

Anne said...

Tara, It was, and I know, took a bit of adjustment.

Thanks Mark! I've heard how hot it is in Baltimore from my mom, who lives in Bolton Hill. Ground zero for Artscape! Btw, a little secret, that's her below your comment. ;)

Anne said...

Hi Eva! Very sad about Gladys. What a sweet, genuine giving soul she was. My last name is H-e-f-l-e-y, (dashes to thwart Google) and I was staff. Development, artistic, then worked with the company managers throughout college. Um, if you read the post I think you did, you got quite an eyeful!

Arvind Kelkar said...

Hi Anne,

It was nice to read your post after a long time. Family and the time spent together is my favorite subject too. I had a wonderful three months in US connecting with friends and relatives on east and west coast. I am returning next week from Seattle where my son lives with two adorable grand daughters. Take Care and Keep Smiling. Arvind kelkar