JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Archive for February 2011

Rick Bragg on life

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I had always expected the worst, regretted choices, wondered What if? And now it was too late to rewrite my life, too late to do anything but live it out. Even if I got to live it all again, from the beginning, I would still live it imperfectly, raggedly, shamelessly, in my own skin. It is a hard and bitter thing, a life, but so loathsome to leave and so stupid to regret.

– Rick Bragg, in his essay in Real Simple

Written by Jessica

February 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

“Our details are important”

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Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on the earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter.

— Natalie Goldberg in “Writing Down the Bones”

Written by Jessica

February 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s a celebration

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Nothing too exciting has really happened in my life as of late, beyond lots of work. Recently changed beat areas, and because of that a few weekends ago I had a one-day weekend. Determined to make the most of it, I schlepped over to Orlando on the Turnpike and went south to visit Celebration, Florida.

It’s a town that makes you want to put an exclamation point in it. I once had a friend who lived in Surprise, Ariz., and it took every ounce of willpower I could muster to not to write “Surprise!!!!!!!!” on the mailing address.

I first heard about Celebration when I moved here, when I picked up a book on Florida oddities from the local library, and have been meaning to get out there sometime. It’s also been in the news in recent months for it’s first homicide. Nothing like a homicide to stir up some interest in traveling there.

Murder aside, I figured, why not go on my mini-weekend?

So, here goes.

Celebration, Fla. is, in many ways, similar to the retirement community I cover. It’s a planned community with the same type of governing system (Community Development Districts, which are given authority through Florida’s Chapter 190 statute), and it’s got a centralized shopping district.

Unlike my community, Celebration was founded by Disney and is a stones throw from Disney World, which is kind of interesting. The first stages of the community were developed in the 1990s. While I didn’t get any shots of neighborhoods (lest I look like I’m casing the place), I liked the way the houses look. I’m not a fan of Florida houses, at least those in subdivisions around here.

I walked around the town square and took some photos. It really reminded me of the community I work in. When I drove in, I was excited to stumble upon a farmer’s market. They were packing up for the day and I had no cash on me, but it was kind of neat.

They had some stores here and there: a candy shop, a Sanrio store bulging with Hello Kitty paraphernalia (I only saw a handful of Keroppi, my favorite Sanrio character growing up), and a Kilwin’s ice cream joint (love their toasted coconut ice cream!).

I found this, one of two ‘Celebration’ signs outside the former theater:

And I also found this outside of an Irish pub. People in the outside seating area there were cheering on the Packers in the Packers vs. Bears game. For shame.

and I also saw this nifty Bank of America tower:

I ended up sauntering over to the Starbucks to drink a vanilla latte and read for a bit, though.

I was perfectly content to just sit and journal and read in the courtyard area outside of the Starbucks, until some noisy birds came along in the tree above me. I didn’t mind the chirps, but I was not too fond of what came along with them — yep, you guessed right — I became a target for bird dung. Immediately grossed out, I jumped up, tossed my stuff into my bag and cleaned myself off. So much for peace and quiet.

I left, and ended up sitting next to some ladies from Minnesota who were knitting next to a big pond area (retention pond, I reckon).

See those green umbrellas? I was over there, where they had some rocking chairs. After being traumatized by bird poop, I was angling for one of those seats, but alas, some spry young’uns saw me walking towards them and picked up the pace to beat me to it. Jerks.

It’s ok, though. I eventually left and found some more neat areas of the pond.

Lotsa lily pads.

Written by Jessica

February 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Florida Living