Thursday, October 27, 2011


 It had been 4 years since I had an actual vacation.  You know the type where you plan, buy, pack and drive/fly and stay someplace other than your house. .  This one ended up being a mixer of sorts.    

After working at my current job for 2 years I finally had two week’s vacation and wanted to do something.  It had to be very inexpensive too. My BFF mentioned she was heading to St. Louis for NAWIC’s National Convention I sent her an email saying I had a wild ass idea – what if I come?  We discussed it and it wasn’t a good fit.  Then she mentioned she had been thinking about signing up for the AIA GA Design in Athens Georgia in October.  If I could figure out how to support her products with a-fab’s then I could participate at the show.  That was plausible.  What would we do from there?  Could we take a couple of days to run over to my dad’s just over the South Carolina line?  Thankfully my BFF and I are well versed in our respective family dynamics so that would be ok.  What then?  October, North Georgia well my BFF loves to hike and I could hang in a cabin and get my creativity on.  Hmm a plan of sorts started to swirl.
My BFF has hiked several times in the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains so she started researching.  There had to be a compromise because she and I have very different ideas of what vacation means.  I need a roof over my head, walls, floor, electricity and a real bathroom.  She doesn’t need any of that.  After a lot of research she emailed me two different locations to choose from.  One was Fontana Village and the other Amicalola State Park. Fontana was a few hours further north and would add time to our return drive. Amicalola had a lodge, rental cottages and camp sites.  Well camp sites were automatically out but I liked the cottage idea.  Further discussion and we both agreed on Amicalola, now to decide whether we stay at the lodge or in a cottage.  BFF checked and only one cottage was available for the dates we wanted in October and this was June!  We had to make a fast decision and boom it was booked. 

For you Bob Borson!
Like with all fun events it seem to take forever to get here and then it is moving by fast.  We had a great time at the show and my dad’s was actually ok too.  Now here I sit in a cottage with the sun streaming through the windows listening to music while my BFF hikes today. I wrote this morning, practiced some yoga and meditation, walked around taking a lot of pictures, read outside, answered a few emails but only a few because reception is spotty, napped and am writing again. 

This isn’t my element so I am trying to relax with all the different noises going on. It is a busy place with lots of people even for a Monday. I am hoping I do better tonight about relaxing to actually sleep. 
But that is a minor inconvenience in the total picture.  My BFF is getting to do something she loves and so am I.  Isn’t that what vacation is all about?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic.  This week LetsBlogOff asks the question: What is home to you?

In almost a half of century of life I have never lived in a neighborhood like Seminole Heights.  I grew up in south Florida and the area was just big to feel homey.  I followed my heart to New Hampshire when I was 25 and wow was it hard to make friends up there.  Thankfully my former husband had a great family and a few close friends because that made up my family.  When we went our separate ways I lived in a sub division for two years, walking my dog three times a day and no matter how many times I said hello to people I never got more than a nod back. 

When I moved to Tampa I rented for a while to get the lay of the land.  I knew I wanted a neighborhood without deed restrictions, with mature trees and central to the city.  I found Seminole Heights and loved loved loved the houses.  1920 bungalows were the norm.  I moved in 9 years ago and a place has never felt more like home to me than this neighborhood.  

Neighbors actually dropped in to say hello and brought bake goods.  I joined a local yoga group where 6 out of 8 of us plus our instructor live in the neighborhood.  All of us live within minutes of one another.  Pick up the phone for an impromptu yappy hour and people and dogs will be there.  Call to say I have a heavy piece of furniture I need help moving and someone will be there before you have hung up the phone.  Whenever I go to our little grocery store I always run into friends.  This past trip I saw a friend who belonged to the same book club as I did a few years back.  We hadn't seen each other for a year or so and gosh I realized how much I missed her.  

We watch out for each other here in the 'hood.  We have a very strong sense of community.  One of the original owners on my block passed away a few years ago.  Most of the block went to the funeral.  She was in her early 80's and I loved listening to her stories from 50 years ago. Mrs. Linderman was the one that told me about why my living room isn't square, it has a strange little nook in it.  The builder's wife played the organ. She was so talented other churches asked her to play for them too.  The nook in the living room is where the organ resided.  It had to be close to the front door because most of the other churches were too poor to have their own organ, Mrs. Hudson had to bring her own!

Several years ago my brother and sister in law and my two nephews visited for the first time and I decided to throw a party in my backyard.  I invited neighbors, friends, yoga chickees, my boss and his wife who lived in the 'hood.  All these wonderful different mixes of people and my BFF drove 2 1/2 hours to be here too!  I had a blast but what made me feel really good was the next morning my brother and I were drinking coffee in the backyard and he turned to me and said what a special place I had found.  He felt it too.

Please take some time and read the other participants talented writing in Lets Blog Off

Sunday, October 23, 2011

AIA Georgia Design Conference

Living in FL I thought I was familiar with southern hospitality.  I was wrong.  The AIA GA members made an incredible impression on me with their warmth and sincerity.

The show was located in the Foundry Classic Center which was a mix of beautiful old brick and modern conveniences.  The AIA GA Board of Directors has done a great job at educating their members to the importance of making the exhibitors feel welcome.   Having attended many trade shows in the past two years I have never had so many conference attendees come up and thank me for spending the effort, time and money to exhibit.  They spent time at each booth to really learn what each exhibitor had to offer. 

I was part of the a-fabco team that exhibited at the National AIA show in Miami and I can honestly say I was disappointed.  I know my boss will probably never spend the money to exhibit at the national level again.  The GA Design Conference was entirely differently.  It provided a more intimate setting to allow the architects to discuss their specific needs.  Points made to us were interest in more Grade 1 lever designs and the need to met government specifications. 

This experience has lead me to express interest in exhibiting at the AIA Florida Annual Convention being held at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach July 19-22, 2012.  As an aside I used to work at The Breakers many years ago so this would be a nostalgic experience for me. 

The AIA South Atlantic Regional Conference will be another possible opportunity to exhibit.  It is being held September 19-22 at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, GA.  It brings together architect membership from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

All in all this was an excellent show and I greatly appreciate the generous and kind hospitality shown by the GA AIA membership.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Let me start this post by saying I like Orlando, the city has a lot to offer beyond the mouse.  There is nice hiking and canoeing in the Little Big Econ State Forest.  What seems to be lacking in Orlando are street signs at major intersections.  You know those nice big street signs that are nowinstalled on the same lines as the stop lights.  The road name is readable from a distance and you even know what street number you are at.

Add caption
I drove over to Orlando for a trade show and got lost twice.  I am pretty good with maps but it's hard to read one while driving.  The first issue was though the Goggle map called a road  by a name all the signs said Hwy ....  Well how the heck am I supposed to know Highway ... is also named ---?   It must be a local thing.  But I was able to get to the hotel before the show started and even had time to help set up the booth.  Breathing normally.

Big sign where is the # block?
The second lost episode (no not that one) was from the trade show to the hotel.  It was dark and raining which makes for fun times anyway.  It should have taken me 15 minutes to get to the hotel from the trade show.  At 30 mins. I called my BFF and begged her to please get on her computer and figure out where the heck I was.  I hadn't run into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf or even Georgia so how lost could I be?  Turns out I wasn't too far off the beaten track I just turned right when I should have turned left.  Of course if there had been a street sign and the street sign had the street numbers by block on it I would have realized my mistake 20 minutes before.  Thankfully my BFF stayed on the phone with me and directed me to the hotel.  How can I not love cell phones and the internet!

Living in the Sunshine State I love tourists!  I want to keep tourists happy so they keep coming back and spending their hard earn dollars in my state.  Orlando is a city that tourists flock to - in droves.  Most rent cars since Florida isn't known for any transit system.  My plea to the City of Orlando is get your DOT to work and make some readable road signs and install them at every major intersection.  Please!