This is the first time I've used a photograph on this Blog that I didn't take! A momentous occasion! Just FYI.
This photo above is a very close facsimile of the stove my Nana had and used on a daily basis in the kitchen of her house in Maine. This cookstove was huge! Not just the centerpiece to the kitchen but to the entire house. You know how they say that the kitchen is the heart of the home? It was never more true than in Nana's house. The kitchen is where everyone gathered, sitting at the table talking, laughing, eating, and generally getting in her way as she baked and teased and scolded and handed out advice.
She also made baked beans in an old bean pot that, once filled with all the yummy ingredients, fit right down inside the stove. The cooktop itself was always hot, the entire cooktop. Not like nowadays where there are specifically hot areas that you turn on and off and up and down. Nope, The entire top surface was cookable. I don't know for sure that you can tell by the photo, but there are little circle areas and each one has a small hole in it. There was a tool with a handle on one end and a kind of squared off point on the other that was used sort of like a key that fit into that hole and lifted that circle off so that the bean pot could be set down inside where the dish simmered all day, then the circle replaced. Nothing tasted or smelled quite so good.
The stove didn't fit flush to the wall. There was a little niche behind it with a window. The space just big enough for a small rocking chair. On a cold, wet Maine day, it was the perfect place to daydream, warmed by the stove and looking out to sea. Nana's house sat right on the ocean's edge. There was just enough room for a small garden to stroll through before arriving at the wooden steps that went down to the beach. The shore Mainers call it. So the water was easily visible from that kitchen window. On the rare occasion that Nana ever sat, it was in that chair while she darned socks or mended ripped hems and torn pockets. She might have been snapping green beans or rocking whichever baby was nearby. too. But that rocker was a perfect place to sit in that kitchen, right behind that behemoth of a stove in the coziest spot in the house.
I remember sitting in front of the open oven door in the evening after washing my hair, combing and fluffing and allowing the warm oven air, still redolent with the fragrance of cookies to gradually dry my hair and drowse me ready to drift off to sleep. Towels hung nearby dried quickly and smelled wonderfully. And on a chilly morning everyone wanted to get dressed by this stove, both for the warmth and the proximity to whatever wonder Nana and that stove produced for breakfast. I remember donuts and blueberry cake especially fondly.
Memories of this wonderful stove came flooding back to me this week after Skyping with youngest son and his wife over the weekend. I don't recall how the subject came up but somehow someone mentioned baked beans (probably me). Daughter in law scrunched her nose in the same way I do when anyone mentions sushi (I am NOT a fan) I was surprised. I didn't know that anyone on the planet didn't like baked beans. She reported that she most definitely did NOT care for baked beans. I told her how one of her husband (my third son)'s favourite childhood meal was one all of my boys referred to as 3B, that is, 'basa, beans and biscuits (home made of course!) He and I waxed nostalgically about Nana's baked beans and the other amazing goodies that came off of that old stove and then the topic changed.
Daughter in law must have seen the longing in his eyes because shortly after that conversation she reached out to me with questions about making baked beans. Now of course she doesn't have Nana's old stove, but we figured that a crockpot would be a good enough substitute. We went back and forth a few times talking recipes and ingredients. A little later we went back and forth a few more times talking kielbasa and ideas about it's proper cooking. Lastly, we texted a bit about tips and tricks for making biscuits. She was so excited to make this meal and so hopeful that he would enjoy it. Spoiler: it was perfect and he loved it. And she enjoyed it too, not just eating it, but the creating both the meal AND the surprise for him.
It wasn't made on Nana's old stove of course, and I wasn't there live and in person to suggest and guide, as Nana would have but the spirit of it all was there without question. And that is how "family" carries forward generation after generation. By sharing the essence of what a family is: traditions, recipes, love and memories, we honour the past and create a future.
That is a lot of awesomeness to come out of the memory of an old stove.
I have an appointment this afternoon with an eye surgeon. Turns out, I have mature cataracts. Dang! That sounds so old. really despise everything involved with getting older. Cannot begin to tell you how much. Oh well, facts are facts and cataracts are cataracts and I got 'em and something must be done about them.
I was told at my appointment with the regular eye doctor that there are three possibilities. First, I can just have the cataracts removed. Ok. I will see a little better but my astigmatism will not have changed which means other than probably being able to tell the difference between black and navy blue and being aware that trees have individual leaves on them, nothing much will be any different for me. Second, they can remove the cataracts AND whatever magic it is that they do so that I will no longer require glasses for seeing distance. What? That's just amazing to me. How is that even possible? Third, they can remove the cataracts, fix my distance vision AND do additional prestidigitation that fixes my close up vision too. No Glasses At All Ever Again (other than sunglasses of course). Okay now that's just crazy talk.
I've worn glasses since I was three years old. They are part of my face. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to be able to just open my eyes and see. It's incomprehensible to me. But it sounds wonderful doesn't it? I was not a candidate of Lasix due to my severe astigmatism. We found that out after Tim's very successful Lasix was done. He was (and remains) very pleased. So I was stunned to hear that this was a possibility for me.
Actually there is a fourth option. I could choose to do nothing at all but that means that eventually the cataracts would render me blind and I consider that no option at all. Something will have to be done. So after my lengthy (3 hour!) appointment today where my eyes are severely dilated and various things are measured and considered and scrutinized repeatedly, I will find out if it is really true that all those option are available to me and then I have to choose which one I want and then when do I want it done.
I will ask loads of questions (I have a list) a lot of them about money of course. But also risk assessment, recovery time, and what actually is involved with this surgery. It's a little scary but mostly this like an amazing adventure to me!
There is a down side of course. Once my eyes are fixed, I will find out how dirty my house really is! Hey, I'm not joking. I dropped a cheerio the other day. It rolled under the kitchen counter. I kneeled down to pick it up and noticed a dirty spot on the lower cabinet where obviously something had dribbled while I was cooking. I got up and retrieved cleaning stuff to fix it and when I returned, from a standing position, I couldn't see the spot. I kneeled again and there it was. Hmmmm. I stood again. Gone. I kneeled again. It reappeared. Interesting.
I wonder what other things will be different for me afterwards? It's exciting to contemplate!
Wish me luck!
Oh dear, we have a sick person in the house. Tim came home Friday from a week long business trip in Dallas, He was tired, which is not unusual, but fine. He was also fine on Saturday and a little more rested. Sunday however, he woke up with a sore throat and a look of utter weariness. Oh dear. He swallowed gingerly but nodded when I asked if he was ok. The liar. I decided that we would just spend the day relaxing. He did not argue.
Ensconced on his sofa throne in the family room , clicker in hand, masses of pillows and a super soft blanket surrounding him, he tried very hard to feel good. But he could not "wish" himself better. I gave him the narrow eyed experienced mom-look and said, "I think you have a fever'. "I do not" he returned rather grumpily. "Hmmm" I said. And then the cough began. At first it was an occasional tiny little cough but it grew into a larger, impossible to disguise or hide, more frequent cough as the day went by. I said, "I'm going to the store to get you some cough medicine. Is there anything you would like?" He shook his head no. "AND I'm buying a thermometer" I announced. He nodded in defeat.
I wandered the aisles picking up things that struck me as being yummy for a sick person with a sore throat: cough medicine, Advil, throat lozenges, lemon Italian ice, soup, mashed potatoes oh yeah, and a thermometer. Not yummy, just to prove a point. Deny it all you like my dear, You Are Sick!
Tim doesn't get sick very often but when he does, it's a thorough job. Turns out I was right, he had a fever. The cough medicine helped the cough a bit, the Advil is helping to keep the fever lower but not gone completely and sure, rest will help with the fatigue but who knows what sort of germ found him that we need to do battle with this time around. I swear, airplanes are just giant petri dishes! Nearly every time we fly, one or the other of us gets at least the sniffles if not something worse. Geez! Flying should be labeled dangerous for your health!
All those strangers, up close and personal, crammed way too close to each other, breathing each other's air for hours at a time. I always wonder just how clean the seats are, the little buttons above our heads, the bathroom!! I'm not a germ freak (can't be having had three rambunctious boys - just impossible.) But y'know, the thought crosses my mind for just a tiny moment each time we board a plane that has just disgorged a hundred or so other people, that they could not possibly have had the time to properly truly clean that thing between unloading and reloading passengers. Just sayin'.
If necessary, I will drag him to the doctor's office of course, but for now, we fight the good fight with Delsym, soup and popsicles!
Word to the wise, when you travel, for goodness sakes, don't touch anything! And try to stay healthy!
Intrepid explorers we, Joy and I hiked through this sort of muck today. To be fair the trail started out nice and dry. We didn't see the mucky bits until we were at least an hour into the hike.
It was a pretty day, chilly with peek-a-boo sun and very few other souls in our sights. Lots of birds, lots of green, interesting things here and there to admire to photograph and talk about. We have been to this particular state park many times now on our photo safari's so we were surprised to find a brand new trail cut in so of course we had to check it out.
We walked and talked and stopped to take photos as we went and were having a particularly lovely time when we rounded a corner and found water covering the trail in the photo above. Dang. Now we realized that we had a choice. We could be brave and slog through it or turn around and go back. Because we are relatively fearless and occasionally a wee bit reckless, we chose to go forward. Also we could see the continuing dry trail on the other side which encouraged us. What's a tiny bit of inconvenience after all.
Carefully we picked our way along the extreme sides stepping from grassy bit to muddy bit and only occasionally stepping off, unintentionally, into ankle deep, cold, wet muck. Ewwww. Cameras held carefully out of harms reach, we slowly made our way forward and were rewarded at the end with dry ground. Hurrah! Feeling proud of ourselves for not chickening out (there could have been yucky stuff in that water y'know...like snakes) we continued on our way.
As we rounded the next corner we were dismayed to find that there was another section of trail covered in water, again with dry ground on the opposite side. OK, deep breath. We were already wet and mucky so why the heck not. Decision made we strode forward. The sides of the trail in that section were even narrower than the first spot and the water was deeper. So no matter how carefully we stepped, we got wet. Water muck inside the shoes and inside the socks. Yucky yucky. But finally we cleared the swampy area. Swamp hikers rock!
Eventually we got to yet another spot with even deeper water over the trail and worse, no dry trail on the other side. The trail ended at the deepest water. What? Crap. That means we had to turn around and go back, slogging through mud and water and God knows what else to get back. And no don't tell me because I do NOT want to know. But we did it. We felt AWESOME!
Our shoes made splutsplut sounds as we squelched along the nice dry part of the trail but we took some more awesome photos and saw all sorts of birds and trees and flowers and vines and in short, I think that Joy and I would completely agree it was totally worth the cold, the wet, the muck and having to put our shoes through the washer when we got back. The socks however, were irredeemable. I threw them out. Maybe, instead I should have had them stuffed and mounted. I could hang them on my wall like a trophy! Or maybe I need to buy some hip boots for future hiking trips. Heh.
Periodically, for no reason that I can determine, I feel the need to re-invent myself. It always starts out the same way. Life is rolling along just fine, I don't really notice my physical being any more than absolutely necessary. You know what I mean, when I'm putting on mascara I am seeing my eyelashes, when I'm brushing my teeth, I see my teeth but otherwise, I don't pay any attention to me. I'm just going about my life doing what I do and thinking about other, far more important things.
Then out of the blue one day I notice perhaps that my fingernails are too long. Or my pants are too tight. And it's funny how all of a sudden one day it's apparent to me. Oh I go ahead and lose a couple of pounds, just for comforts sake and I trim and reshape my nails so that I don't accidentally impale myself or anyone else but it isn't as though the problem popped up overnight. I didn't gain those extra couple of Elle Bee's while I was sleeping, no it happened over the course of days, or more probably weeks. Same with my finger nails. They didn't sprout over night. I just didn't notice until all of a sudden, I did.
Same thing happens with my hair. I'm perfectly happy with it. I pay no attention to it. I wash it, dry it and that is about the end of it on a daily basis. I obviously am not looking in a mirror while washing it and often not even while I'm drying it. So it could look great, it could look awful. I have no idea. Until all of a sudden one day, I notice. I started to notice a few weeks ago that my bangs were getting too long again. I could feel them when I blinked. My usual response to bangs being too long is to change the part in my hair so that the bangs sweep to the side. If they get really long, I usually clip them to one side just until my next scheduled hair appointment. No big deal.
This time, I also noticed that the colour was getting, kind of, well, bright? I've been colouring my hair for years. Or at least my various hair dressers over the years have been doing it for me. And the colour has changed a zillion times. I've been auburn, strawberry blonde, full on deep brunette and every shade of blonde you can imagine. It has gotten to the point where I have no idea what my actual hair colour is. I do it because it's fun. That's all. No deep psychological meaning behind this desire to change my hair colour. I just enjoy colouring on this particular canvas.
It's something I can do, easily, to satisfy my innate desire for change. Some people are resistant to change. I enjoy it. I like shaking things up a little bit now and again. In another time of history, I might have been an explorer, always seeking new vistas. In this point in time and space however, I am happy where I am geographically, so my desire for change has to be satisfied another way. And hair colour just a different way to do it.
My stylist and I talked at length. I kind of like being surprised. She was concerned that I would blame her if I didn't like a change that I didn't orchestrate. We compromised. It took some time to find the middle ground but finally, for now at least, it's done. Occasionally a person needs to get back to their roots, so to speak. So that was our jumping off point. Will this be the final version of me? I can almost guarantee you 100% that it is not. I'm absolutely positive that the colour will change again. And again. And again. For now, I'm satisfied.
I think currently, my hair colour is closer to what my actual hair looks like. But of course I cannot be sure. You can decide for yourself what you prefer.
I took the photo on the left a week or so ago. Very blonde with a little copper in it. The one on the right I took yesterday as soon as I got home from my appointment. No red in it at all, just a little bit of blonde highlights in kind of medium brown hair. Hmmmm. It's different for sure. Now to be fair, one picture was taken outside in natural light, one was taken inside with house lights so there is that different immediately. But otherwise, what do you think? Do you have a preference?
I remain undecided. I wanted a change and it is definitely a change. Not certain how I feel about the results (not my hairdressers fault at all. Totally on me) But I'm happy that I made the jump to try something new. The only thing I am positive about is that, it will change again.
Yesterday was a pretty good day for all that I was madly busy every moment and it was pouring rain at the start. I love a day that is just inherently good. But by 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when I had not yet had time to eat (seriously) I was getting pretty hungry. So as I drove near the grocery store, I decided to stop in and buy a treat for myself. Celebration of such a good day, as it were. Photographic evidence above.
I rarely eat ice cream. For whatever reason, my body does not process it well. I never eat ice cream when we vacation, for instance, or if I need to be somewhere in short order. Nope, I only eat ice cream in the safety of my own home when I have no place to go and nothing else to do. Home, where we have not one, but two working bathrooms. Despite it's appalling affect of me, I love ice cream. I love the texture, the flavor, the variety! And I only eat the good stuff. If I am going to have this rare and wonderful treat, it will be the real deal. Nothing low fat, or with substitute sugar or with anything remotely healthy in it. And in fact, in a perverse act of rebellion, I gravitate toward the absolute worst choices in ice cream. Basically the more unhealthy it is for me, the more likely I am to chose it.
So, at the end of my long day, I nestled my oh so hungry self onto the sofa with a book, a spoon, a napkin and my treat. Then for some reason, I picked it up the container backwards which meant the ingredients list was immediately visible as was the nutritional (hah!) information. And that's when I saw it:
This little pint container of Ben & Jerry's finest is supposedly 4 servings. What? How can that possibly be true? Out of curiosity I pulled out my measuring cup to see how big a 1/2 cup would be. Hint: It's not very big. Tim could eat it in one bite. I tend to savour my food and while it would be multiple bites for me, as a whole, it would not be a very satisfying treat.
Fascinated now, I started reading the serving sizes on all sorts of things in my pantry and fridge. We have a Snack Factory brand bag of Pretzel Crisps in the pantry. The bag which is very small and at least half of it is air, weights 7.2 ounces. A serving size is one ounce. One Ounce!
There was also a package of Lancer Toast Chee Crackers in the pantry. It was leftover Hurricane food. If you aren't familiar with the name of this particular "food", and I use the term loosely, it's those little cellophane wrapped packaged of six square orange cheese crackers sandwiches that have peanut butter in the middle. Turns out that one package is three servings. That means each serving is two cracker sandwiches. Two! Who are you serving these to, Elves? Hummingbirds?
It's not just junk food that has crazy serving sizes. In our fridge is a bag of green beans. Fresh veggies. Yummmm! I love 'em steamed until they are just fork tender. Servings size turns out to be 7 beans. Seven Beans! That is insane. I not only can eat an entire can of green beans by myself, I often have turned one 14.5 oz. can into my lunch or dinner. Turns out that average can of beans is 3 1/2 servings. Woe unto the 1/2 person who gets that last serving. Wow!
Did you know that a serving of chicken is supposed to be the size of a package of playing cards? Or that a serving of pasta should be half the size of a baseball. Nothing like walking away from the dinner table hungry. What are these people thinking? I know what I'm thinking. I'm thinking they are wrong.
Attention all you superhealthy nutritional information label writing people. You are hereby notified that the actual serving size of a pint of Ben & Jerry's is one. One serving. All you need is the pint and napkin and spoon. Further evidence to follow:
And if I suffer later for the eating of it, that's on me. I'm just talking accuracy here. One pint, one serving. The End.
The above is a sideview photo of our local theater. It's a live theater not a movie theater. And I'm so tickled that we have one right here on the island. To be honest, we have thus far only seen one production. It was of 'The Christmas Carol' and it was excellent. But just knowing it's there and well attended is enough for me.
There is something very special about live theater. There is some chemistry or electricity between the actors and the audience that doesn't happen with film. There is an unspoken agreement between both parties, you are a team, you are part of the story, helping it to unfold in a quiet, behind the scenes sort of way. I am captivated, time is suspended I have to remind myself to breathe now and again.
Whereas, when I watch a movie, it just kind of washes over me. First of all, I can walk in and out of the room at will, if I miss any part of the movie, I can back up and see it again. I can watch the film over and over if I wish. It's not unusual for me to be multi-tasking while watching a movie at home. I might be folding towels, ironing, talking with Tim or IM-ing with a friend or I might even be playing a game on my tablet. Not so with a play. Any live performance is lightening in a bottle. It's a moment captured in time and unless it is filmed, it cannot be recreated in exactly, precisely the same way twice no matter how hard a person may try. So I do not want to miss a single precious second.
The worst secondary activity you might catch me doing watching a play, is singing along if it's a musical. But I know the words, I do it very quietly and hit all the right notes or so I justify it to myself.
I count as live theater not just plays, but concerts, ballets, symphonies and yes, recitals and school plays,by the way. Tim and I recently had the pleasure of seeing the musical 'Grease' performed by our oldest niece's school. Those kids were having a blast. And their good time radiated out into the audience. I assume you know the story (is there anyone who doesn't?) We could not help but smile as Rizzo sneered her way through "Sandra Dee" and Danny and the boys strutted across the stage as they sang 'Greased Lightening'. The girl who played Sandy had a clear, beautiful voice that Olivia Newton John would have been happy to hear.
The stage wasn't on Broadway by a long shot and the set designs only hinted at the intended background scene. Some of the dancers were quite good some were most decidedly not. Some of the singers had serious chops and others stumbled around trying to find their key. But the sincerity of the work and the dedication of the kids and their director was never in question. We loved it.
I have a long history of attended amateur productions or one sort of another. Somehow I often had "artsy" friends. They were either the actors, the dancers, the singers or the backstage people. I am none of the above. But I'm a great audience. My sister was a dancer. She loved being on stage and she was good at it. I sat through and was delighted by many of her recitals and plays.
Youngest son was another one who was not shy about being center stage. In fact, after his first time of being front and center (primary school at the time), his brothers and I went backstage to congratulate him and one of the other boys asked him 'weren't you nervous?". "Nope" he whooped and leaped into the air with excitement, "I loved it!" And it was that excitement that translated to the audience and captured the eye of everyone watching.
Now me, not so much. I don't really like being the center of attention. I'm uncomfortable with people noticing me. I've done it. I've played both violin and piano on stage. Hated it every single time. I love making music, just not under those conditions. When I was in college I took a course in public speaking. I got credit for it and hoped to help improve my self-consciousness to boot. I do not think it helped me at the time but I remembered those lessons when I was called upon many years later to do some public speaking. I even got pretty good at it. But it's still not my most comfortable thing.
There may be an alternate world Sam who is a star of stage and screen and loves every moment in the spotlight. But this world Sam is far happier being in the audience. I'm really, really good at that. It's important to know who you are. I am an audience member. I'm polite, I don't talk during the show. I applaud at the right places, I don't use my phone. And I drink it in. I love every single solitary moment of every production.
I am audience. Hear me clap.
My vacuum cleaner hates me. It's true. Never mind that it is an inanimate object and therefore has no feelings. My vacuum cleaner obviously is sentient and has emotions and it's primary goal is to frustrate me until I act outside of my normal, easy going, happy demeanor.
I am hard on a vacuum cleaner, I will admit. When we had pets, of course there was all that fur to deal with and I like a clean house so I vacuum frequently. I use all of the attachments and back in our Colorado house, hauled it up and down stairs on a regular basis from the second floor to the basement and back. And not very gracefully either. Lots of bumping and banging on the way up and down. It has held up far better than any vacuum I've ever owned.
The previous one, a Dyson, just wasn't up to the task. In just a few short years it gasped it's last and even before it died, I found myself on a regular basis sitting on the floor with the vacuum in my lap and a pair of scissors in my hand, cutting away hair and thread and whatever other bits of this and that had entangled itself and prevented the rollers from rolling. I was not sorry to see it go.
Before the Dyson I had somebody's castoff vacuum that only lasted very briefly and a cheapo sales dealio special that was only slightly better than using a broom and dustpan and refused to pick up pet fur at all. At least the Dyson initially made an effort.
The biggest gimmick with the Dyson was that it was "bagless". The idea of not having to buy and replace vacuum bags was appealing, I won't lie. Right up until I held that full canister over the garbage can, flipped a switch and all of that dust went up while the weightier schmeg went down. Coughing and gagging, I dropped it all and fled the room, my asthma kicking into over-drive. Lesson learned. Be Very Careful emptying that bagless canister. Even though eventually I did get better at it, never once did I empty that canister without afterwards having to sweep the floor. Seems kind of ridiculous to me.
So our current vacuum has a bag. replacing it is certainly a cleaner prospect than emptying a canister. Ok. And it has all sorts of neat-o attachments for cleaning draperies (if I had any) fabric, carpets, tile, hardwoods, heck I can even dust with it if I want to. It even has that little nozzle-ish sort of thing that goes into corners like a champ. It's not too heavy, doesn't take up a ton of space and so what exactly is the problem, you ask?
Well lately, it doesn't want to work. Unless Tim is in the room. I am not even joking a little bit. If Tim is in his office working, door closed, not to be interrupted and I'm trying to vacuum, it will turn on, but it doesn't vacuum. I mean it makes the appropriate noise as if to fool me into believing that it's working, but nothing is actually happening. Oh, if I take it apart and use just the fabric cleaning attachment, I can make that part work. But seriously do I want to vacuum the entire house hunched over with a tiny four inch long thingie in my hand? I have done it out of desperation but it's a back killer for sure.
The first time the work stopage happened, I assumed the bag was full and needed to be replaced. Replaced it. Nope. Nothing. Was the roller tangled? Nope. Is there a clog somewhere in the hose? Nope. Hmmmm. I put it away until Tim had time to check it out for me. That weekend, he agreeably pulled it out, plugged it in and it was fine. "What did you say was wrong with the vacuum?" He asked me. I explained what happened. "Well it seems to be fine now" "Hurrah!" I said and quickly ran the vacuum through the house.
The next time I pulled it out, nothing. Ratz. Tim checked it out for me again. He plugged it in, turned it on and voila! Perfection. He started looking at me oddly. "I swear to you" I protested, "It wasn't working". "I believe you" he said, totally not believing me all the while. And it was fine again. For awhile.
Then Christmas happened. Christmas is a glittery holiday. After I put all the decorations away I definitely wanted to do a very thorough job of cleaning to get the marauding sparkly bits under control. Out comes the vacuum aaaannnddd it won't work. Dang!
Very calmly, I wrapped it all back up and put it away and swept everything. I swept the carpets, I swept the floors, I dusted the furniture. A few days later I tried again. This time it worked, for awhile. By the time I reached the family room it stopped again. That was the time I finished the job all hunched over with the fabric attachment in my hand, swearing colourfully all the while. I think when I put the vacuum back away, I may have given it a little kick.
Once again, when Tim checked it, it started up with no problem. The entire time he was in the room with me it worked fine. As soon as he left the room it quit. I swear this happened. When I reported this to him, he rolled his eyes but wisely said nothing.
So this is how I vacuum now. Tim has to start it for me. When it, inevitably quits, it sits and waits until he has time to come in to the room and make it start again. It can take a full day to get the job done.
I think I just realized what is going on. My vacuum has a crush on Tim! HAH!
Personally I think this entire problem could be solved by just having Tim do the vacuuming. Everyone would be happier. Well except possibly Tim.
HGTV Dream Home Giveaway! Wow! Win a house, all the furnishings and décor and a car and money! Such a deal! Show of hands here, how many of you enter this contest every day? I do. I'm not sure why I do because I already know that I won't win but I dutifully send in my online entries (you can enter each day twice) when it pops up in my email every single day. That's loyalty baby.
I am not 100% positive, but I think I've been doing this since the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway began and that has to be at least 20 years. You'd think at some point I'd get wise to the fact that I'm just not a person who wins things.
I will confess that I used to enter that Publishers Clearing House thing too. Originally it was simpler. These envelopes filled with lots of paper and complicated instructions came in the mail. There was a lot of lick'n'stick going on, checking boxes and including this and throwing away that and then, why easy peasy, you just mail it back in. Until the next one arrived and it all happened over again. Really not such a big deal until it went online. Now it's endless. Unless you have loads of free time that you want to devote to an apparently hopeless pursuit, do not begin this (if you haven't already). I am not fully convinced that anyone ever actually wins Publishers Clearing House.
I didn't even win games at birthday parties as a kid. It was a thing people did at birthday parties when I lived in California. Back when I was a child and dinosaurs walked the earth kids played games at which some people won a prize and others didn't. Yes Virginia, even at birthday parties, back in the olden days, some people went home without a prize but with our self-esteem still intact. Some kids won lots of prizes. I won none of them. AND I wasn't surprised in the slightest. I think I've always know that I'm just not the sort of person that wins games of chance.
And now I remember that once upon a time, I actually did win $40 so obviously I am lying. Well I'm sort of lying. The first time Tim and I went to Las Vegas of course we stayed on the strip. We had a great time doing all sorts of things, museums and tours and shows and at some point we went downstairs to the casino part of our hotel. Tim gave me some quarters and I wandered around trying to figure it all out. It was my first time in Las Vegas afterall. And for me, it was kind of overwhelming. Finally I randomly chose a quarter slot machine and gingerly planted my butt on the seat. I put the first quarter into the slot and pulled the handle. (This was before the push a button to play days). Lots of dingdinging went on as I watched the pictures flip around and around and then finally stop and of course no match. Repeat as many times as I had quarters. Sigh. Ok I'm done. That was........interesting. And then the man next to me got up and began to walk away. He dropped a quarter as he stood up. I noticed and picked it up, "Sir, sir...you dropped a quarter" I called out to him. He stopped and turned around and said..."You play it". "Are you sure?" I asked. "Yeah, knock yourself out kid" he said and left. I moved to his seat, put the quarter in and promptly won $40 dollars. I was stunned. Once I got over my shock, we took the forty bucks and went out to dinner. It was pretty good too.
But that's it. Lifetime total winnings and it wasn't even my quarter. But I suppose it still counts. I don't play the various lotteries at all. Mostly because I know deep down in my heart of hearts that I have zero chance of winning. I mean zero. I know that I will not win so much as the price of the ticket back. With the same certainly that I know that fire is hot and water is wet, I also know that I will not win. I have been told that the reason I don't win is because of my negativity about it. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hmmm. I suppose that could be true. Or perhaps I just know it for true, as we used to say when we were kids.
I read somewhere once that a person could be lucky at cards or lucky at love but not both. For those of you who win lotteries and giveaways and contests...that's wonderful and I am genuinely happy for you! But as for me, I know I won't be winning the HGTV Dream Home but I hit the jackpot with love and I'm good with that.
Okay, before I start, let's all keep perspective in mind. I live in Florida not Wisconsin and yet this is how I am dressed to walk on the beach. Beautiful sunshiney day and I'm wearing a fleece AND a jacket. This is just wrong. We did not anticipate this to be the situation ever when we moved to Florida.
Yes I know, we are still getting out of this winter lucky. There is no snow. Absolutely true. But compared to what we have become accustomed to, this is, well, it's not very Florida-like. The temperature dipped to below freezing last night. There are reports of black ice in the Tampa area (about an hour north of us) The good people of Florida have no idea what to do with black ice or any ice that isn't in a drink for that matter. The news guys actually had to explain to their viewers exactly what black ice is and how it impacts drivers. (insert much shaking of my head here)
The same thing happened when we lived in Texas. One time, in the entire...what? four years?... that we lived in Texas there was a snow over night. It was completely melted by noon but the entire state had come to a screeching halt by then. People were urged to Stay Home unless absolutely necessary to go out. Accidents by the score. Power outages and of course the DOT has no equipment to deal with actual winter weather conditions. It was a mess.
I'm sure the orange and strawberry growers are concerned this morning as are the orange and strawberry eaters!~ If the crop is ruined we will be strawberry-less! And Orange-less. Which is very sad to contemplate.
I actually pulled out our down comforter last night. Hey! It was 40 degrees in the house, that's a little chilly even for Tim! I almost got rid of the down comforters before we moved here certain that we would never need them (as I got rid of most of my sweaters, heavy socks, and longjohns) but for some reason I held on to the comforter. Probably because down comforters are damned expensive and we all know how cheap I am. Boy am I glad I held on to that! Even if we only need it a couple of nights a year, I have no problem hauling it out and then shoving it back into the giant zippy bag that it lives in the rest of the time. All for the sake of warmth.
I will say that there is something luscious about snuggling down under a comforter on a cold night. The sheets start out so cold but before long, the body heat trapped underneath makes for a cozy sleep in a chilly room. It does make it hard to get up in the morning though. "No, I do not WANT to get out of my warm little nest. No Thank You Very Much Please!!"
Obviously I did get up, against my better judgement. And lest you think I am exaggerating the unusually brisk temperatures here and that I am just a big baby, (which by the way is true, I AM a big baby) I offer this photo. Total strangers also walking on the beach: (and one surfer dude, but frankly they are crazy and are not to be taken into account)
Please note that they are also wearing long pants and coats. See, it's not just me. I did take a little peek at the projected temperatures for next week and things will soon be getting back to normal which is 60's and 70's.
I know winter is far from over in other parts of the country and if you are not a happy cold weather/snow person I am sorry to hear that. But I'm just a pleased as I can be that the cold part of our winter amounts to perhaps an entire week's worth of days spread out over a month or two. Yeah, I can live with that.
Stay warm, stay safe! I understand that Spring is just around the corner
Have you ever heard that saying about how people who've been together a long time start to resemble each other? Hmmmm, It's not as if I can grow a beard to look more like him but the expressions on our faces in those photos are frightening similar. While a lot of "old sayings" are sheer balderdash, there might be something to this one.
It makes sense. There have to be some similarities between two individuals that draw them together to begin with. So there is some degree of inherent similitude in any couple. Over time, and when you think about it, it's a long time, it's only natural for some of each other's quirks to be adopted by the other. Oh come on, you know that it's true. Have you ever had a friend who had an unusual phrase or word that they used a lot and then one day you hear that word come out of your own mouth? It happens parent to child too. Can you honestly tell me that you never ever heard yourself repeat something that Mother or Father used to say? (if you tell me "No" I will know you for the liar you are)
Tim and I have been married for 24 years. That is 8,760 days for anyone who is counting. Or 210,240 hours. Or 12,614,400 minutes. Holy Cats! How could we not impact each other in that amount of time together? It's inescapable.
While not everything we do, say or think is exactly the same as the other (how boring would that be!!) it is not at all unusual for us to share the same idea, like thinking that the family room needs to be repainted or be in the mood for the same kind of food when it's a night out for dinner. Still we reached a whole new level on our anniversary this past December.
Part of our anniversary tradition is to always give each other two cards, one funny and one serious. We have done that from the very beginning, without discussing it beforehand. Our first anniversary, we sat down to dinner in a restaurant, we placed our order and then I handed him two cards from my purse and he grinned and plucked two cards for me from the inner pocket of his jacket. We have done it every since.
I always put the cards out for display for awhile. As we have moved from place to place, where I set the cards out changes but walking through the house and seeing them sitting there always makes me smile. The only difference here is that it was hard to find a place to keep the cards until this past December.
You see here part of the living room with bookshelves flanking the entrance to the family room. I put little tiny Command Strip hooks on the outer edges of the book shelves and strung ribbon between them. At Christmas time I hung Christmas cards there. Now it holds only our anniversary cards. If you look really closely you will see two pink cards, one on either side.
On the left side are the cards Tim gave me, on the right the cards I gave Tim. Clearly, those pink cards are identical! Hysterical! We actually picked the exact same card to give to each other! We giggled about that for the longest time.
We actually put a lot of thought into our card selections. There is always a reason a particular card is chosen. As is the case with this pink card. The front reads: Because you know me inside and out, the good and the bad, and you still love me, I have just one thing to say..." The inside of the card says, 'What is wrong with you?" HAHAHAHAHA
Amusing, to us anyway, is the story behind it. Way back when Tim and I were dating, I was a lot less confident about myself. I was very insecure and had sadly low self esteem. I was always sure that any day it would be over. He would break up with me and that would be that and I would then be alone forever. I was sure it would happen. But it didn't. He stuck around. And then one day we had a argument. It was a big one too. He was very annoyed with me and I was equally annoyed with him. He left angry and I was, again, certain it was over. But the next day he came back and I was shocked. He walked in the door smiling as if the disagreement had never happened.
The conversation went something like this. I said, 'You're back!" and looked as shocked as I felt. (I have never had a poker face) He said, "Of course I'm back. Why wouldn't I be back?" I stuttered something about, "That fight yesterday. That was horrible. You were so angry" He nodded, "Yes I was. But I'm not angry now. And even if I was I would come back." Stunned I repeated his words back to him, " You would come back? Even though I said such mean things?" He was surprised that I was surprised, "Of course I came back, I love you". I starred at him for the longest time and then the following words burst out of me, "What is wrong with you?" It was a huge turning point in our relationship. Someone loved me enough to continue to love me even though we didn't always see eye to eye, even though I said horrible things that I didn't really mean, even though I was a neurotic mess! It was a shocker for me.
I can't believe we found a card that said those exact words. And more, I am surprised that we both remembered that I said those words all those years ago. And then we gave each other the same card?? Too funny. Teehee!
Sure it's intended to be an amusing card, and it is. But it's also an important place marker for a huge milestone in our relationship. They day I realized that someone could love me no matter what and that we would be together forever. Awwwwww.
Come to think of it, it also brings to mind another old saying that my Nana was very fond of, "Great Minds Think Alike". And over time, I guess, we think even more alike than we realized. Kind cool.
I am annoyed today and while I don't usually like to do an online whine, today I afraid that I am going to. You are forewarned. Sam is cranky today.
This thing. This horrible awful thing. It is my arch nemesis. We do not like each other. We do not have a healthy relationship. And society does not help with this at all.
I have to back up a little here. All my life. My entire life, I am not exaggerating for effect, I literally mean all 64 years that I have lived on this planet, I have been told that I am fat. I do not measure up. I have been told this by people I know, by people I believed loved me and even people I do not know at all. They have all told me I need to lose weight. There apparently is some standard that I struggle to meet, some number that has been chosen and I fail to reach every day. And then there is our society which tells me that this is important. Not merely important, but paramount. Magazines tell us, TV and movies tell us, fashion tells us and commercials tell us this, so it must be true, right?
My weight has been an issue for me for 64 years. I have excercised and starved myself and frankly I'm tired of being hungry. I'm tired of saying, "No thank you" to an offer of a cookie or a piece of cake. Weary of feeling guilty when I "break the rules" and eat a piece of pizza or a serving of pasta. It's a cookie for heaven's sakes, not an entire cake! But I feel guilty if indulge in my cravings and then I stupidly try to balance the moment of indulgence by eating nothing but the thing I crave. Not a healthy way to live and I have for far too long.
My constant struggle with my weight over the years has evolved into becoming the center of my existence and that is just wrong in so many ways. Dreading doctor appointments, not because I am worried about what is wrong with me but knowing that I have to get on a scale and then seeing THAT look on their faces, tsktsktsk. Trying on clothes at the store and nothing looks right, nothing feels right and then seeing THAT look on the face of the sales lady. Meeting people for the first time and being surveyed, up and down and then seeing THAT look on their faces.
Frankly, I'm over it. I'm tired of feeling like I am substandard. I'm tired of thinking about food all of the time. I weary of being hungry all of the time. I am over feeling guilty when I eat. And mostly I'm tired of THAT look.
Not long ago, my regular doctor (who, by the way, has never said one single word to me about my size) sent me to a gastro doc for my long standing problem with indigestion. The very first thing he said to me was that I needed to lose ten pounds. I responded with, "Well actually doc, I've weighed all sorts of different numbers and the issue has always been there". He nodded and smiled and said again, "I promise you, if you lose ten pounds, the issue will go away." I did not smile as said slowly and clearly, "Actually, I have weighed a lot less, still had the problem'. He continued to beam at me, "Lose the ten pounds and you will see". I was irritated. Clearly he was not listening to me OR he didn't believe me. I'm not sure which is worse.
The truth is I have weighed a lot less. At one time, as a full grown adult, in an effort to please the people who insisted that I was fat, I managed to lose so much weight that I came in at a measly 86 pounds and still was told that I was fat. By that time I had developed such body dysmorphia that I couldn't see how bad I looked. I honestly still thought I was the porker I was being told that I was. It took me a while to get healthy again after that. That was not a good thing.
I do not contest the fact that I need to lose ten pounds. It's true. I would certainly look better ten pounds lighter. My clothes would be loose. I like it when my clothes are very loose. But to achieve that nowadays, I have to be really hungry all of the time. I have to go to bed at night listening to the growl of my belly. And worse, the older I get, the harder it is to lose weight. That's just a fact for nearly everyone.
Here is how I see it. I walk nearly everywhere I go, so that's some serious walking, every single day. I take pilates classes twice a week. I enjoy biking. I don't sit on my butt all day. That said, I'm sure there is more that I could do as far as excercise. But in all honesty, I probably won't. I eat fairly healthfully. There are no M&M's in the house. Haven't been for a very long time. I love veggies and fruits. I rarely eat meat. And while I do enjoy an occasional treat, it isn't as if I ate a box of donuts every day.
So I'm done. The world is on notice. Do Not Dare tell me that I am fat anymore. I am not fat. I never was fat. I will never be fat. But I also won't be skinny. For the record, my cholesterol is great. My bad cholesterol numbers are good and my good cholesterol numbers are great. My blood pressure is rockstar and I'm still in the sweet zone BMI-wise. I'm doing okay. But I am not going to think about food all day every day. I am not going to be hungry all of the time. And I am not going to feel guilty on the rare occasion that I enjoy some ice cream. And believe me when I tell you that when I do finally allow myself that luscious treat it is not low fat, low calorie or in anyway healthy. It's the real deal and it's wonderful.
I am healthy. I am happy. And yes, I should lose ten pounds. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won't. But either way, I refuse to feel bad about it any longer. And woe unto anyone who dares tell me otherwise. That goes twice for our bathroom scale!!!
How was your weekend? I know for some of you it's still the weekend which is always a treat!
Our weekend started on Friday. We woke to a chilly, breezy, overcast day with a distinct threat of rain , looked at each other and said, "It's a perfect day to go......to Disney!" (You thought I was going to say go to the beach didn't you? Come on admit it.) So yes, we played hookey. And are totally unapologetic about it. Come on, if you already lived at the beach, as we do, and lived only two hours from Disney, wouldn't it at least be tempting?
"What?", you say, "Again?" you say? "How much Disney does one person need?" I hear you ask. Well here is the thing.
As Florida residents we get a discounted rate on Disney tickets and at the time when we bought them, last year, the best dealio was the annual ticket. It allowed to go any time we wanted, as many times as we wanted, to any parks or multiple parks. We do not pay for parking any of those times and get discounts on Disney hotels and some restaurants and at some of the shops. So the plan was to "get our money's worth".
And each time we have gone this year, we centered the visit around one particular park. This time, The Magic Kingdom itself. And it really was the perfect day to go. We have avoided this park for the most part for several reasons. It is always the busiest part, the screaming kidiest part and since it has the most rides, the longest line part. But on this rainy, windy, chilly gloomy day, not so much! Not so say that there were no people at all, oh there were people, gobs of people, just not the absolute CRUSH that the kingdom usual features (and we avoid)
We had a good time and did way more rides than usual because there are more rides that I can actual go on without getting so dizzy that I have to lay down. In fact, we went on a few rides that I have never (lifetime never) been on before. Like the racecars at the speedway! Woohoo! Tim drove and he really doesn't like it when I take his photo :)
We also did things we have done before like The Haunted Mansion and The Swiss Family Treehouse. We had a great day and a good time and only got a little bit wet. After a little bit of a mix up (their app was clearly having some issues) we even had a fairly good meal before heading home. There are still a few rides in the park that we want to go on but haven't so I'm reasonably certain that we have one more Disney trip in us before our Annual Pass expires. So yes, I am a Disney Fan.
That said, I am always a little disoriented there. Maybe it's the sheer volume of people. Or the almost overwhelming amount of things to hear to smell so see to touch to taste All Of The Time. Or the choices, my goodness the number of choices you have to make every second. "Oh I want to do this, no that, no the other". Or maybe it's the amount of wait time that is involved that requires Constant Planning. There is no longer the option of just "winging' it. Everything had to be planned and arranged ahead of time, meals, rides, shows and I don't find that especially restful. I really really really do not like the app that is how you manage that sort of organization and we know how much I do enjoy organization and tidiness! The app defies me at every turn. I do not find it Sam-intuitive one single bit. And as I said before, it was having issues. Even Tim had a few struggles and he is my Go-To guy when it comes to technology.
Perhaps if I hadn't had the experience of going to Disney as a kid where you really could just walk through the gate with your book of tickets and stand in a reasonably long line before moving on to whatever you wished to do next, and eat at a mealtime that made sense and not get crushed trying to move around inside a shop and things didn't have to be planned two weeks in advance. Hey, I can be spontaneous sometimes. Just not at Disney.
If we wanted to eat sitting down in a Disney restaurant (and we did because frankly their fastfood sucks) we should have made a reservation at least a week earlier. But, we didn't know we were going to be there a week earlier, y'see the dilemma. So around lunch time we started checking their restaurants on the little app. Again I had to turn that task over to Tim because I couldn't make it work right...argh!!!! Every single place to eat (and there are a lot of them) had a minimum two hours wait, some had no openings at all. Tim booked a reservation for us, it said confirmed and we went off to find other things to do (read other lines to wait in) for the interim. With bellies growling we moved on. A little before our reservation we walked to the food place. Finally got to the lady at the desk and guess what, they had NO record of our reservation. Tim checked his phone. There was no confirmation email. Dang! There must have been a glitch between the app saying..."confirmed'...and it sending the email. Oh well, what you gonna do?
Well in our case we went to yet another restaurant and waited there about another half hour (thirty minutes hungrier) and finally around 3 o'clock had lunch. Well at that point it more like linner or dunch...some combination of lunch and dinner. Which is fine but still.......
Anyway, we still continue to learn how to properly "Disney" nowadays as we do this. We learn more every time. Eventually we will be Disney visit rockstars.
Taking an unexpected three-day weekend, my friends. So I leave you with a pretty sunset picture and wishes for a wonderful weekend! We can all catch up again next week.
Hugs all 'round
Here is something you may not know about me. Once I'm dressed for the day I'm done. I do not want to change clothes again. Which is in direct conflict with another thing about me, I have a "thing" about being dressed appropriately for whatever the current occasion. Which means that sometimes, I do have to change clothes. I do not go hiking in party clothes. I do not do yard work in the same clothes that I wear teaching. I do not go out to dinner in the same kind of clothes that I wear scrubbing the floor and cleaning grout. Just by way of example
Despite what you think, this desire to not change clothes, is actually not due to laziness. It's more a question of what to do with the clothes I have just taken off. They aren't dirty yet. But they aren't clean either. They are some weird transitional stage in between and I honestly don't know what to do with them. Do I just hang them back in the closet in "general population" thus tainting the other cleaner clothes? Do I create some new section of my already crazy closet organization system? Do I wash clothes that aren't dirty? I know, it's a weird thing to fuss about and yet I do.
This information is the back story to what happened yesterday. When I woke up Wednesday morning, Tim was already up and in the shower. I staggered around the house as I usually do first thing in the morning, bumping into walls, my hair going in a dozen different directions wearing disreputable looking mismatched pj's. When I say disreputable, I don't mean that they came from Fredericks of Hollywood. I mean the pajama shorts are faded, sleep-rumpled and there may or may not be a hole or two around the elastic waistband. The shorts at one time were red with what I think is supposed to be a blue and white flower here and there. The tee-shirt I wore with it was tan with a pink flowered thing. I wore them together because I do not have matching anything to go with either.
Anyway, By the time I got to the window over the kitchen sink to peek out at the day, my eyes were focused and therefore I could see that the great outdoors was thick with a glorious fog. I got excited! It doesn't happen very often here and I've been wanting to take more fog photographs. When Tim finally emerged from his shower I ran into the bathroom to brush my teeth and ran back out to throw on anything that remotely looked like clothing.
When I told Tim (who was wondering about my uncharacteristic morning haste) about my intentions, he offered to drop me off wherever I wanted on his way to pick up his once a week treat of Dunkin Donuts coffee. He goes for the coffee but if a sausage and egg sandwich happens to find it's way into the sack, he wont' turn it down...teehee. I nearly jumped for joy at the offer. The fog never lasts long. As soon as the sun comes out it burns off so speed is key here.
But now I have another quandary. I'm not clean yet, I haven't showered and I cannot take the time just now if I want those photos. I don't like putting clean clothes on a dirty body. But I also don't like putting on dirty clothes. Dang. After a moments hesitation, I grabbed a pair of yoga pants that I "hemmed" by cutting off the excess length (a little unevenly as it turns out) and therefore rarely wear in public and an old teeshirt. I shoved my feet into my loafer/sneakers (I don't know what they are actually called. They are like sneakers but there are no laces to tie?) and flew out the door. Once in the car, I realized that I was chilly and grabbed Tim's sweatjacket which is miles to big for me. I finger combed my hair as he drove to the jetty.
In short, I looked like I live in a dumpster. But of course at that moment the thought didn't even cross my mind. As he drove, I was looking out the car window seeing things I wanted to capture and making mental notes. He dropped me off where I wished and went on his merry way. And I walked back, taking photos here and there never once giving a thought to how I looked or wondering what anyone passing by thought. Of course, in retrospect, I understand the looks on people's faces as they biked by. Heh. It was all worth it to me though. I got some great shots. See if you agree:
Once I got all the photos I wanted I was glad to get home and shower. Now, while those yoga pants and that tee shirt weren't actually dirty, I proclaimed them dirty enough to wash because I personally had not yet showered when I put them on. No question there. Once I was nice and clean, I dressed for the day. A pair of black shorts and cute little black and white striped top that happens to have a sparkly design on it. I'm ready for my day.
I wore it for about an hour and then I got a text from my sister inviting me to go hiking with her. Heck yeah! But wait a minute, I'm dressed for the day and in clothes far too nice to go hiking (we tend to get dirty). Now I have to change clothes AGAIN and I've only been up for about three hours! Sigh. I changed. I put on old denim shorts that have seen better days but have no holes yet and an old Marine Corps tee shirt that I purloined from Tim's side of the closet and my sneakers. Ready to hike. But, now I have perfectly good shorts and a shirt that while not dirty, are also not pristinely clean. What to do, what to do? I ended up kind of creating a new area of my closet for these sorts of situations. And then I went hiking. Took some more decent photographs and had a heck of a good time as I always do when Joy and I hang out together:
Once back home, I flatly refused to change clothes again. I did change shoes however and of course washed up a bit before going about my housey chores. Though in retrospect, I should have probably put the black shorts and striped shirt back on. By the end of the day I think I could have justified washing them.
Oh well, live and learn.
Yes indeedy, that is one of my Colorado plates hanging from a nail in our utility room. I just can't bring myself to throw it away. I remember when we first moved here, that plate on the car was the signal to everyone in the area that we were Florida visitors or snowbirds. We had to explain over and over that no, we are not tourists or seasonal dwellers but that have moved here to live year 'round. It was such a relief to get the Florida plates on the cars.
It was a perfectly understandable mistake. This is a vacation destination, this town we have chosen and this time of year, in particular, we see license plates from all over the US. In fact, when I was driving around the parking lot seeking a spot earlier this week the thought occurred to me that I could tell what the weather was in other parts of this country just by looking at the license plates in town. The most prevalent one right now is Ontario. Ok that makes perfect sense to me. But Ontario was quickly followed by Michigan. Also logical. There were quite a number of Wisconsin and Minnesota's too. And then Pennsylvania and Ohio. But it is my understanding that they are having one heck of a winter there this year so, given the option, yeah, I'd come here too!
The biggest surprise to me are all the plates from California. Hey, don't you guys have your own beaches? We almost never see Arizona or Nevada or even New Mexico. Occasionally maybe Texas. Lots of New York and New Jersey. In fact, Most of New England is well represented.
Actually the first surprise for me here was that when you register your car in Florida, you only get one license plate. It goes on the back. Why only one? What if the bad guy is behind the police? They look in the review mirror and see....nothing. That's not helpful. And worse, now there is this naked spot on the front of the car. That blank place was kind of bothering me until I realized that a person can buy a fakeyfake plate for that front spot. It can say all sorts of things, "I heart my dog", " I heart my kids'" .... Oddly enough I didn't see an "I heart my spouse". Interesting. But I did see "I'd rather be fishing" and "Pirate girl" complete with skull and crossbones. I finally found one that was in the, "well it's better than nothing" category and Tim found it in his Christmas stocking this year.
Looks spiffy on his car I think. And he seems to like it just fine too. I mean, it's on the car afterall and not in the trashcan so I must have chosen well.
I wonder how this one license plate trend is impacting kids playing the license plate game on road trips? Did you play that one as a kid (or an adult?) If not, the goal is to spy at least one plate for all 48 contiguous states as you drive (or in my case, as someone else drives". Maybe it's just a family rule that it's just the lower 48. I have on very rare occasions seen Alaska plates which garners extra points. But the only place I've ever seen Hawaii plates was when we were actually in Hawaii.
I will say that now that they have these fancy license plates, it's gotten harder to play that game. Cars go so fast on the road that it's hard to read the part that says the state. It used to be - long ago and far away - that I could tell the state from the colours on the plate. Yes, we travelled so much by car when we were kiddos that we knew most of the states just from the colours. Crazy.
Of course there is that other game, which Tim excels at. Taking the letters on a license plate and making a phrase out of it. Oh I described that badly. Okay. For example, on my old Colorado plate, the letters were LWP. To remember that plate I came up with the phrase, "Lions With Pride". It doesn't have to make sense to you, it made sense to me and that's how I remembered it. So when Tim and I play this word/license plate game while driving, it will be no surprise to you that all of the phrases I come up with are equally lame. His are awesome. Sometimes a little naughty to be fair, but still awesome. We laugh a lot when we travel.
I don't know what's it's like where you live, but I kind of enjoy strolling through parking lots reading license plates. But then I am easily amused. :)
Have a spectacular Day!
This is my purse. The one I use on a daily basis. It's super soft and has loads of little zippy sections and pockets. It is very well made and will probably last me the rest of my life. Looks a little like a saddle bag doesn't it?
Originally I bought it for travelling. It is a great bag for hauling things around because it has the magical capacity of Mary Poppins carpet bag. No matter how much stuff I already have in there, I somehow seem to always be able to fit in just a wee bit more. When we travel, especially when we fly, Tim loads up his backpack to use as his carryon luggage. Not just his usual wallet and keys and his various sorts of electronics (and they are legion) but also the noise cancelling headphones, any medications he might need, books, pens, paper, work-related stuff, boarding passes, gum, snacks, bottle of water and usually one change of clothes. Clearly we are seasoned travelers. Ready for anything.
I manage to get the same amount of stuff (and his sunglasses for some reason) in my purse along with a pair of socks (sometimes my ankles get cold!) and one of my pashmina scarves (which can double as a blanket if necessary - like I said, I get cold) hair brush, lipgloss, a book and other essentials. I don't like wearing a backpack and I never have even when hiking. And while it's a lot to haul through airports, once we arrive at our destination, I can unpack most of it and just use the bag as a purse. That purse is a workhorse! But it was exactly perfect for travelling and originally it was only used when we travelled.
Last year, you may or may not recall, I thinned my herd of purses. I donated the majority of what I owned and kept the work horse (for travelling), a straw bag (Very Florida looking) and a clutch for the rare dressy uppy occasion.
Turns out, not my best decision ever. The straw bag for all that it is cute is all get out, is not water proof. It rains here. Not every day of the year, but a significant proportion of the year. Bad Plan. The clutch will work in a pinch but has several flaws. First of all, hardly anything fits in it. It is created to hold only The Most Essential things for an evening out. Secondly it's ridiculously dressy for daily use. And Lastly, no handle. It's called a clutch because you clutch it to carry it. For daily use I need something I can throw over my shoulder, or at worse, my forearm.
I noticed while doing local Christmas shopping that my travel bag/purse is just a lot of purse to be carrying around. It's sort of like carrying a newsboy bag. Do you remember when there was an actual paperboy who delivered the newspaper? Not an adult in a car tossing papers out the window of their Chevy, but a real kid on a bike (usually) wearing that enormous canvas bag across their body. The bag itself was huge. The strap fit diagonally across the body and rested on the shoulder. The pouch started up under the kids arm and often hung to mid-thigh. The kids on bikes had it a little easier because the bag sorts of rested in their laps. The walking kids had that thing slapping against their bodies the entire trip. That's sort of what wearing this bag feels like.
Yesterday, I decided that enough was enough. I had to make a trip to my local grocery store anyway. The kind of shopping I have to drive a car for, not walk or bike. and in that plaza is one of my current favourite clothing and accessory stores. Bealls Outlet. I always head straight for the clearance section. They carry purses but in visits past, I have walked straight past them and right to the clothing section. This time I stopped.
I knew I wanted to try to downsize my purse. So I considered what I realistically would need to carry around on a regular basis. Wallet, keys, sunglasses, hairbrush, lipgloss, mints, nailfile, cellphone and extra hearing aid batteries. Ok. I know what size I need. I tried them all on. I checked them for sturdiness, for obvious flaws and considered their practicality, including the colour. I know it really and truly in the real world doesn't matter what colour it is, but I'm so weird, that it really bugs me if my clothes clash with my purse. What am I saying? I don't even like it when my clothes clash with my cocoa mug! I'm a wierdo, so sue me.
I considered several shades of beige, a grey, a black and a brown one. All the sorts of colours that I would usually chose. Those would all be good safe decisions. I checked to see if they had inside zippy pockets and how they latched. I disgarded the white one for fear that it would get dirty too easily. The yellow was cheery and bright . There was a blue one that was interesting too. There was a fancy schmancy purple one but not the black - too wintery. There was a sparkley one that looked happy too. In short, they were all fine which made it very hard to decide. Any of them would suffice. So which one did I end up with?
Naturally I ended up with the most outrageous, crazy, brightly coloured one of them all that goes with nothing I own but I absolutely love it. It may clash with my clothes, heck this purse may clash with my hair. I don't care. This is my new purse. Everything fits just fine.
I love my new purse. I am going to clash wildly every single day and I think "Clash is going to be my favourite new colour. Yup, for now at least, I'm good with this. Those red hat ladies have nothing on me.
I have a theory. If something "goes" with nothing, then it also "goes" with everything. Colour me happy.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" That's what we were taught when I was a kid. I suppose they didn't actually mean pineapples, but close enough. And I also don't suppose they meant literally a person needed to eat one apple every day but rather to eat healthfully. And in this house, we try to. (mostly) We really do. And to exercise. And do all the other things a person is supposed to do to take care of themselves.
And I suppose, for the most part, it has worked. I mean, both of us are in pretty darned good shape, at least health-wise. (round is a legitimate shape after all) So I guess, even though I absolutely hate admitting this, that we seem to have reached THAT age. That annoying, horrible, expensive age, when every time we turn around there seems to be another doctor, or doctor related appointment on the calendar. I just despise this.
To be fair, somehow the idea of finding doctors down here in our new state seemed to have been put on the back burner and neither of us did anything about it for nearly a year. Yeah, I know, shame on us. But finally we got things started with a dentist. We really like our new dentist and everyone at the office. And Tim's teeth were fine. He went in, got x-rayed and all checked out and polished up with no issues. But I however, needed 3 crowns (two of which have been successfully done since) Time, money, comfort levels, all things I am not in favour of spending, were involved.
Then we found a regular doc. Great guy. We are big fans of him. But in his thoroughness and zeal, he sent us both off for tests. The results of those sent us both off further to other doctors, specialists this time (nothing scary, everything requires specialists nowadays - left foot specialist, right elbow specialist) which requires more testing and expenditure of more time, money and comfort levels.
The new docs leaned out from their own windows a bit to remind us to take care of other things like getting our eyes checked. Another doctor appointment..yeesh! And I really started getting annoyed.
It's not the doctor's fault. It's not even our faults. We have been very fortunate in our selection of physician/dentists/etc medical personnel down here. All of them are awesome. It's that age-reminder that irritates me, "Hey, Sam, you aren't as young as you used to be" Damnit! I remember a time when literally years went by without a doctor visit. (dentist was a different story - I've always been good about regular dental checkups). I wasn't sick so I didn't need to go!
The things that really bugs me though is that now I have reached that ugly age threshold that says, even though you feel fine, there are things you need to stay on top of on a regular basis. I hate this threshold.
Last week, I thought that we were finally done. The last appointment had finally been completed and I was happy that we wouldn't see any doc name pop up as a gotta-do on my calendar for awhile and then... and then...and then..... in Saturday's mail I got a reminder notice from my new Florida GYN doc that is was time to schedule my annual check up. Dang!
I do not want to be that older person whose life and therefore conversation revolves around doctor appointments and prescription refills and all sorts of special this and that's that are medically related. I won't. I refuse to. I'm putting my foot down! I will go to my dratted appointments, but I won't like it. I will keep eating right and exercising, but I absolutely will NOT allow this nonsense to be the center of my existence.
Give me another second here, my tantrum is nearly over.
The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, wrote, "Do not go gentle into that good night.' No worries, Dylan, I'm going kicking and screaming all the way.
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Hugs all 'round
Knowing that I like thought provoking questions, this one was recently offered to me. "If a window is painted over, is it still a window?"
My immediate response was, yes of course it's still a window. If my eyes are closed they are still my eyes. The same goes if I am wearing sunglasses; you cannot see them, but they are still my eyes.
The person who originally posed the query countered with an actual doggone dictionary definition. Fighting me with fact! Not Fair at all! The dictionary says that a window is: " An opening in the wall or roof of a building or vehicle that is fitted with glass or other transparent material in a frame to admit light or air and allow people to see out."
So I thought about it awhile. If the curtains are drawn or the shutters are closed you cannot see out, but it's still a window. If it is boarded up, you obviously cannot see through it but it is referred to as a "boarded up window". A window that is painted or nailed shut cannot be opened but it is still a window. Some windows have frosted or etched glass so you cannot see out or in but they are still called windows. What about windows with the glass removed whether by time or an errant baseball? Still Windows!
I stubbornly maintain that a window retains it windowness regardless of paint, boards, shutters, drapery, etching or damaging hail. I am turning a blind eye to the definition. Don't confuse me with facts I have made up my mind. In my world, the only way a window stops being a window is if you remove it altogether and brick it up so that it is transformed into a wall OR if the wall is removed altogether. Then it simply no longer exists.
Who writes these definitions? Who is the one designated person who determines what everything means? What are their credentials? Who appointed them?
The informal definition of the word "cool" in the dictionary is: "fashionably attractive or impressive". Really? If someone says that they saw a certain movie the other night and enjoyed it and the response is "cool" are they suggesting that the speaker is fashionably attractive? or impressive?
I remain firmly convinced that a window does not lose it's inherent "windowness" by the mere introduction of paint, Mr. Webster be damned.
Clearly I have issues with authority. And I question everything!. But I do love a thought tickling question or idea. And clearly I'm still pondering this window thing. So I offer it to you to ponder over the weekend, "is a window that has been painted over still a window?". What do you think? Let me know.
And have a good weekend. Stay warm and stay safe!
This is it. Today is the day. I dread this day all season and postpone it as long as is reasonably possible. But today is the day that I will Undecorate the House. The UnChristmassing, if you will. And it's not because it's a lot of work. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not shy away from a task due to it's difficulty factor. It's that Christmas decorations are just so darned pretty!
There is a magic inherent in the lights and baubles, the bright colours and sparkle that is absent otherwise. At least in our house. Not to say that I think our normal everyday household is blah. It's not "Meh" in the least and in fact, I absolutely am in favour of every decorating decision that we have made here. But it reeks of ordinariness. Christmas decorations elevate it a zillion or so levels. It's hard to not smile looking at a house all lit up after dark. Even a tiny little house like ours looks extra special outlined in twinkling lights.
,The lights draw you in, makes it look like a place you might want to visit. The wreath on the door, all lit up itself, changes the entry from a regular, rather old and beatup door (which eventually we plan to replace by the way) to a cheery portal. The courtyard itself glows. Even if the houselights are off inside, the Christmas lights surrounding it make it a cozy place to sit and watch the stars at night. I can spot Orion without hesitation every single time.
I know people who cannot wait to get their decorations down. Perhaps to them, the magic ends on Christmas Day. Once the gifts are open and the wrappings and ribbons and bits of this'n'that cleaned away, it's done. I understand that intellectually. I do. Christmas decorations take up space on table tops and mantels, doors and floors, furniture perhaps has been moved to accommodate the tree and doggone it, I want my house back, is the thought. My Mother called it clutter. To her, the house looked messy and cluttered with all the Christmas tchotchkes spread around. And looking through her eyes, I can see that.
Then there is the time factor. Who has the time to decorate the house only to, a few short weeks later, undecorated it? It seems so inefficient. If you tried to explain it to someone who never celebrated Christmas before, they might think you were crazy. And perhaps we are, a little bit. But in a wonderful way. The best kind of koo-koo. The kind that still believes in the magic of Christmas. I find it so hard to let go of that magic.
But on the other hand, I don't want to be that person who still has their Christmas lights up in June. That looks just lazy. As if I couldn't be bothered to take it down because it doesn't matter. Which cheapens the holiday. If I can't go out of my way a little bit to take the decorations down, (or put them up for that matter) the specialness of the decorations and the holiday is lessened. Part of the wonderfulness of the Christmas tradition, is the transformation of a home from ordinary to extraordinary and then back again.
And since it's that last part, that "back again' part that I have yet to do, I'd best get started. I won't have the joy of creating the Christmas Magic in the house next holiday if I leave it out all year. So all of the ornaments will be tucked away, each in their own little box or bag, carefully and lovingly wrapped in tissue. The step stool will be called back into action. The tulle garland will be painstakingly folded and saved for next year. The new little glass tree that I indulgently treated myself to will be undecorated and put back in it's packaging. The snowmen, my Santa, the sleigh and the hot pink reindeer, the Nativity, the wreath and the lights will all be put into Rubbermaid bins and stacked back in the utility room. The cards will come down, the tree taken apart, and the house will once again be as it was before. As if Christmas had never been.
Good thing I have my memories :)
Let the UnChristmassing Begin!
This is the thermometer that sits outside the window that is over the kitchen sink. The most important thing to know about this thermometer is that, It Lies! It said the exact same thing yesterday and on my walk to Pilates class yesterday my phone reported 43 degrees but the "feel like" was 36. Yesterday in addition to the cooler than normal temperatures it was also very windy and cloudy. Today it's a tiny bit less windy but raining. And while I'm willing to conceded that it may be a little warmer than yesterday, it ain't no 50 degrees out! In Northern Florida today they are expecting some snow, freezing rain and ice!! Crazy!
And while our current weather is nothing compared to what other parts of the country are experiencing right now, Yes, I'm talking about you, Eastern Seaboard, it's unusual for us. Personally, I'm enjoying the change of pace. I have little concern about snow or even ice here on the Island. But I feel badly for any tourists who came here on vacation this week expecting to be frolicking on the beach in swimwear. I'll wander over to the beach later and see if there are any die-hards in the water, well other than surfers of course. I already know they are a little crazy.
Maybe the thermometer is on strike or it's acting out in a rebellious sort of way. Or maybe 50 is as low as it is prepared to go. Whatever the case, I've learned to ignore that particular thermometer. As a measuring tool goes, it is less than stellar. It came with the house, we didn't buy it. Perhaps we should replace it. But most likely, it will continue to sit there, inaccurately reporting the temperature until the end of time. And I will periodically look at it and then shake my head in disgust at it's poor performance.
And I will enjoy our unusually cold, wet, windy, gloomy day. I will do fussy housey things and drink my endless cups of hot water from my bright yellow mug and eat too many cinnamon rolls and probably have soup at some point during the day.
Oh! Cinnamon Rolls, that reminds me. Funny thing. After all that blah de blah that I did about making cinnamon rolls for New Year's Day and thereby christening my new pastry board...guess what the first thing I made was? Hint: Not cinnamon rolls. Biscuits! I made ordinary baking powder biscuits. I just crack myself up. Sometimes I am just ridiculous. Why I felt it was so important to take my new pastry board on it's maiden voyage with something special like cinnamon rolls is beyond me. Ordinary baking powder biscuits is more who I am anyway. Not fancy schmancy cinnamon rolls. Silly girl.
I actually did make the cinnamon rolls. However it was ON New Year's Day instead of FOR New Year's Day. Best intentions and all that. They came out great though. (At least as good as the biscuits!) Cinnamon rolls are so pretty all the way through the process. Before they are baked. When they first come out of the oven and then when I pour that caramel pecan topping over them...prettiest of all. Oh you don't have to take my word for it. Decide for yourself:
The house smelled so good all day! Nothing quite like the fragrance of yeast dough rising and baking. The scent of vanilla and cinnamon filled the air as I bustled around rolling and kneading and in general making one heck of a mess. It was a sweet beginning to a new year. Not a bad thing at all.
Now, if you don't mind, on this chilly wet day, I'm going to read the newspaper and relax a few minutes over my hot cuppa and a cinnamon roll. I wish you each an equally lovely beginning to your day. Everyone stay warm and dry today please, wherever you are!
Say Hello to 2018! And while you are in a greeting frame of mind, say Hello to our niece, Carrie ("Hi Carrie!") She stayed with us this past weekend. (She's the young one with hair for days)
Carrie is a teacher. She teaches all things music. Y'know, chorus, band, musical drama performance, individual instruments, other stuff like that. Pretty awesome. Her school kids have won all sorts of competitions and a few extra specially talented ones have actually gone on to start careers because of her influence in their lives. Which makes her one of those teachers that you remember your entire life. One of the ones who makes a difference.
She also does musically related things in her other-life. The ones kids never realize that teachers have. The one where they are not in the class room or the performance hall. She also does the music program at her church and another program at Carnegie Hall. Yup THAT Carnegie Hall. Wow! And if that wasn't enough, she just finished getting her second masters degree and is ready to embark on her PhD. My goodness!
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. We caught up with each other's lives, laughed a lot and ate some good food. We played Remember for awhile. you never heard of Remember? All of your sentences start out with "Remember the time..." Or "Do you Remember...?" and "I don't Remember...?" Oh we all play it when we see someone we have known a long time but don't get to see too often. And then talked about hopes and dreams. That's always one of my favourite conversations.
Oh dear, the entire reason Carrie spent the time with us was because of this:
The unfortunate side effect of the kind of dedication she has to her music is carpal tunnel. She had to have surgery on it to be able to continue with her craft, her art, her career! Poor baby. She soldiered through but it was uncomfortable, I know. She lives about an hour away and there is no way she should be that far from her doctor so soon after that sort of trauma to the body. And we were delighted to be her home away from home.
Nowadays Carpal Tunnel surgery is considered a "day surgery". On the one hand, I'm glad of that. Personally, I hate spending time in hospitals, so the less time there the better. Butm on the other hand, (no pun intended) it feels kind of factory-like when a person is in, surgeried and then back out in less than three hours. Like a deli-line, "Next!" But we were the lucky ones since her operation was done here in Venice. Tim and I were the perfect candidates to deliver, wait, pick up and then dote upon the patient. Yay!
I believe that she is back to school and teaching today but one-handed. Fortunately she is an adaptable individual and I am certain that she will manage. Her kids next performance is in just a few weeks. They are doing, "Grease". Tim and I will be right there to see it too.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.