January 31st, 2020
Most of you know what this is. The game 'Candy Crush'. I have it both on my computer and my phone. I didn't request it, the game was already there. I don't play obsessively, but I do play it. Usually when I'm not sleeping in the middle of the night, or when I'm waiting for something. And for the most part, it's kind of fun.
The graphics are adorable and it appears to be silly and funny and cutecutecute. The description says that it is loads of fun and easy peasy to play, which is true enough. What it doesn't tell you is that it is also maddening!
When I tap the tile on my phone to make it come up, the first thing I see is the cartoonish background and the following words: "Swipe, Match, Relax" That's what it says.
The swipe part is true. That how it works. Match, yup also true. I swipe to make matches. But relax? I am anything but relaxed! I want to win this doggone level which means I have to be thinking, planning, plotting at all times. In fact, I am anything but relaxed when I am playing this game.
And to make is more insidious, some of the levels of this game are time sensitive. So it's not only thinking, planning and plotting but making split second decisions. QuickQuickQuick! Do it! Make the match. Find a way to get that piece over by this piece and make the match before it times out, hurryhurryhurry........awww dang it. I was so close.
That is the most ridiculous statement a game every made. Relaxing indeed.
On the other hand, it's not as if the fate of the world hinges on whether or not I pass another level. I can take weeks to move on to the next level if I have to. I can. It's ok. Nobody cares. Nobody cares except me!! I want to move on. I want to win this dratted level. I want to win the prize that moves me forward and.....
Calm down Sam. Geez. It's not like I am being graded after all. Nobody sees my scores but me. Nobody else knows of my successes and my failures except me.........and the bot that monitors the game. Oh dang! The bot knows how bad I am at this. And who does the bot tell? Oh my goodness. Is this somewhere deep in their data banks? Are folks who make this game sitting and giggling about how long it took me to move from level 510 to level 511?
Oh for heaven's sakes. How self-centered can one person be? Zillions of people play this game every day. Nobody is paying attention to how bad I am at it. Nobody is paying attention. Nobody cares.
Well I care. Sometimes I get really annoyed with how bad I am at strategy. And how totally NOT relaxed I am while I am playing this game. But who cares? It's not important at all.
Family? That's important. Health. Also important. Friends...important. A silly game? Not important. Not important at all.
The thing is, I'm cheap. We all already know this about me. I refuse to pay to play. So I am playing at a distinct disadvantage. I'm playing with skill alone. None of the extras. The little pieces that will wipe out an entire block of candies or blow up the whole game so that all the bad pieces are gone and only the good ones remain. Nope I refuse, flatly refuse to do that.
So I keep playing the free game and sometimes I can knock out 8 or 10 levels in one sitting. Other times, weeks go by and I'm stuck playing the same level over and over AND OVER and then I swear that I'm giving up, that I'm not going to play anymore Ever Again!
And sometimes I really do stop playing for along time. Days, weeks even months can pass. And then one night, when I simply cannot sleep, and there is nothing on TV and I've read all the books in the house already, I'll pick it up and tap the tile and up pops the jolly, happy, adorable little Candy Crush characters and I've forgotten how annoying it can be.
I play that level that I was stuck on for so long and Bingo..I win it right off the bat. Yay! How much fun was that! Woohoo! And I'll play level after level until I get stuck again and then Grrrrrrr. Not relaxed. Sooooo very not relaxed.
In spite of that, Have a Great Weekend! And unlike me playing Candy Crush, relax!
January 30th, 2020
Short girl woes.
I've written about this before. The things that people of normal (or better) height don't realize.
I talked about only being able to reach the first two shelves in my own kitchen and the second one only on tiptoe. To use the rest of the shelves requires a step stool and/or standing on the countertop.
I shared how silly it feels, as an grown adult woman, to sit on a chair or sofa where my feet do not touch the floor. They just dangle uselessly.
I believe I mentioned only being able to see the top of my head in some mirrors and having to wait in some stores for someone tall to come along to get the thing I need to buy down from the top shelf for me. And if nobody happens to come along, scaling the shelves like a mountain climber to reach it for myself.
If I recall correctly I think I even shared memories of trying to dance with someone much taller than I (which is most people) where my dance partner ended up just grabbing me around the waist, lifting me and continuing the dance as if I were a ragdoll, once again, feet dangling.
And I know I mentioned getting a crick in my neck trying to carry on a conversation with taller people unless they are sitting down.
I've pretty much got it all worked out by now.
I have my handy dandy step stool for those pesky high up shelves at home. I scooch to the edge of the oversized chair or sofa so that my feet are at least NEAR the floor and I'm pretty good at leaping to see in those high up mirrors whatever it is I thought I needed to see. I have no problem asking a tall person to please have a seat for a long conversation and I have definitely developed a terrific sense of humour about it all.
It's all about the adjustments we make and learning to adapt to any given situation. I've had years of practice. 66 of them in fact.
But the one thing I have yet to resolve is ....The Gap.
In this particular instance I am speaking of bathrobes.
Now here in Florida I do not often actually need to wear a bathrobe so I had forgotten about this. Until this morning.
Usually, if I drew second shower, I have no problem doing my early morning stuff - making the bed, starting Tim's coffee, watering plants and so forth in my PJ's which are for the most part not really pajamas anyway. Well usually they are pajama shorts and an old tee shirt. So they are closer to super casual clothes I guess. Most of my nightgowns are actually Tim's discarded teeshirts. Re-cycling at it's best ;)
Anyway, In the summer with the AC on, regardless of how hot and humid it is outside, I'm perfectly comfortable inside. The rest of the year, with windows flung wide open there might be a wee bit of chill in the earliest part of the day so I might pull on a sweater or sweatshirt just to keep my arms warmer. Silly I know but usually that's the part of me that notices the little bit of brisk.
But occasionally there is a morning that is more than chilly. And in that case out comes the fuzzy socks and my actual bathrobe. I bought the robe in Colorado to replace my much older one from Connecticut. But it was the same exact issue. The Gap.
Because I am short, a full length bathrobe is much too long. It would puddle at my feet presenting a serious falling hazard and trail behind me like a very ugly bridal train. So my next option is a knee length robe. Which, as you can see, comes nowhere near my actual knees. It is, instead, a midi-length which is the stupidest length ever for a bathrobe. Because apparently, for me, bathrobes only come in two sizes. Too long and stupid length.
It leaves a gap between the top of my socks and the bottom of the robe so that the cold wraps itself around my legs, sadistically, until I fully expect them to turn blue. I know they won't. It's not quite THAT cold. Just those damp breezy 50 degree fingers that creep over the windowsill on some mornings. I suspect that it's the sea air and the night darkness that makes it feel colder than it actually is. Once the sun comes out, it's all good.
But still, there is the issue of The Gap. That early morning discomfort that has me flummoxed. How to resolve, how to resolve. I'm thinking knee socks maybe?
Like I don't look funny enough first thing in the morning. Hah!
I was in primary school when we lived in California, another land of sunshine. And I distinctly remember standing on the in-floor heat register to warm up in the morning before school for the same doggone reason. The gap between the top of the socks and the bottom of the bathrobe. Clearly no great strides forward have been made in the past sixty years on the issue.
Am I the only person with this issue?
January 29th, 2020
Joy and I did our photo safari this week on a Tuesday instead of our usual Thursday due to our crazy schedules. So after her early morning doc appointment and my killer Pilates class off we went.
We headed south this time to the town of Englewood to a place I have never been and Joy hadn't visited in quite a while. The Manasota Scrub Preserve. It was really nice.
The entrance was via a boardwalk and the greeter at the boardwalk was an incredibly noisy bird that took us forever to find. We could hear it but not see it. From the sound of the bird it should have been the size of a pterodactyl. Joy is the one who finally spied the little bugger who was not nearly as large as it's voice. Looked like some sort of quail. It's name should be Really Loud Bird. Who knows, maybe that's what quail means. I did not manage to get a decent shot of the bird but I did get the pretty boardwalk entrance
Shortly thereafter the boardwalk ended and the path became a series of very pretty and well marked trails with zero sign of feral hogs (to our great relief!)
It was primarily a foliage photo shoot this time. We saw a lot of birds and bees and dragonflies but I didn't capture a single dang one. They just move too fast for me to get the lens focused. I really need to work on that.
It was a pretty day, sunshiney and the middle place between warm and cool. We both wore shorts but also sweatshirts and were perfectly comfortable for most of the hike. Eventually we both took the sweatshirts off to tie 'round our waists. Which is one of the great things about sweatshirts. The tie around the waist thing always works perfectly. It might look funny, but it works great. By the time we finished the hike, I had my sweatshirt back on.
It was an interesting place to wander. There were bodies of water, some clear, some swampy, endless varieties of foliage, some shady bits some sunny parts and all in all an absolutely beautiful place to walk. There were quite a number of plants/shrubs/trees that were on the verge of blooming. So in short order it will be wild with colour and fragrance. For now there were only just a few already open.
There were a surprising number of benches inviting anyone to have a seat and enjoy the view and while we did not partake, it's always nice to see. There were also remarkably few people. In fact, we passed two groups on our way in and that was it. The end. So we never felt crowded or pressured to "move along". We like to go at our own pace and since we stop constantly to take photos (or at least consider taking photos) our pace is mostly rather slow.
Eventually we found ourselves back at the beginning and set out to run a few errands followed by lunch. Joy chose pizza and because she is a sweetie, she always orders a large enough pizza for us to share AND for me to have leftovers for breakfast the next day.
It was an excellent breakfast :)
It was also a great hike, some good pictures and, as always, just fun spending time with my sister. It really is the little things in life that mean the most.
January 28th, 2020
oWhat a sad, sad sign.
Especially sad to me (and others like me) because this sign is hanging in front of my very favourite clothing store. Beall's Outlet. I like the clothes, sure. But I like the prices even better. Whenever I need (or more importantly just want) to buy a new shirt, or a new pair of shorts, or even a purse, this is the place I go.
It's right on the island which makes it so very handy. And an outlet store? Are you kidding me? Of course I love the prices~!
It's actually not moving far, but it is moving off-island which means harder for me to get to. And in fact, unless I start getting REALLY brave very soon, makes it impossible for me to get to. I'm thinking that once they move, that will be the end of clothing shopping for me that isn't absolutely necessary. And every woman on the planet knows that the unessential clothing shopping is always the absolute best clothing shopping. When I HAVE to buy something, I'm always under pressure - usually of time - and often just settle for something that will do, as opposed to something that I really love.
To be fair, I actually knew that they were moving. The last time I shopped there (before The Season started so it was much quieter in the store) the check out lady and I were chatting and she cue'd me in. Sometime next year, she said. Well sure enough. Today I found out that sometime next year would be March. Which is not that far away.
So of course today I stopped in. I mean, if they are moving, the prices are probably a little lower than usual. Which is funny to say because it's an outlet store. The prices are already lower. Still, if I can get something even cheaper, I absolutely will. I mean without being a noodge about it of course. I never ask for more of a discount. It's either, I am comfortable with the price on the tag or I'm not. If I'm not, I quietly walk away.
Well apparently every other woman in Venice, and probably the surrounding areas, had the same idea because the place was packed! Usually there is just one lady at check out because that's all that's needed. Today there were 4 and the string of people waiting snaked around and around like a Conga Line!
There were so very many people in fact, that I almost turned right around and went back out. But, once I stopped and looked around I could see some areas that weren't quite as crowded and naturally, that's where I headed. There really wasn't anything that I absolutely positively needed, but it never hurts to have one or two things that you never knew you always wanted, right?
I tried on a lot of stuff. And had a long wait until my turn at the changing rooms so I made sure I was loaded up with every possibility. I was only going to stand in that line one time! I'm kind of a quick changer so I didn't feel bad about the load of stuff I took in. It's try on and it works so it goes in the yes pile or try on and then immediately off because it doesn't work.. One or the other. No waffling. And I always know right away. Nearly instantaneously. Yes or No. I was in and out with my huge pile faster than people who walked in with 2 or 3 things. I mean I am really quick.
I ended up with a pair of pants and two tops for about $30 bucks. Not bad at all. Then it was time to stand in the check out line which was another eternity. And part of the lengthiness of the line involved the people who didn't seem to notice that there was a line and just walked right up to the register. Where they were told to get in the line. And then, of course, they had to have a fit. Another sigh. Adult Tantrums are not pretty. Just sayin.
But eventually I had my turn, got my stuff paid for and out the door. I did well.
I'm still really bummed that they are moving off-island but hey, I'll take a good store closing sale for now. Kind of one of those good news/bad news things.
In fact, I may need to go back one more time before they are gone for good. Just in case I missed something.
January 27th, 2020
Look at those mischievous faces. There is a reason of course. We played hooky on Friday. Gasp! Yes we did!
Playing hooky is a time honoured tradition. I'm sure it has happened since the dawn of man. In my parent's era, a child might play hooky to watch the circus set up in town. An opportunity to experience that much excitement was simply too much to miss. School be damned! When I was in high school in Texas it was the Ft Worth Stock Show and Rodeo that had many kids being absent. And in fact, so many kids played hooky to attend that ultimately, we were all "given" a skip day to go. Kind of dings some of the fun out of playing hooky when you are given permission. Good Times, Good Times.
Sadly, being an adult, most of the time, means we are all far too busy being responsible to even think about skipping work - the grown up version of playing hooky. But every once in awhile, it's great idea to indulge, to have fun, to play hooky again. And what do you do when you play hooky? Go to the dentist? Heaven's no. Clean the house? Not even close. Go to the DMV? If that's how you play hooky you need a serious talking to. No No and No. When you play hooky you go somewhere to have fun. And around here when it comes to fun, the first place people think of is:
But no that isn't where we went. We have absolutely nothing against the Mouse. But as it so happens, our annual passes (which ended up being 18 months long! ) are for the other one. Yup we went to:
It's a 2 1/2 hour drive as long as you don't run into traffic and honestly the closer you get to the theme park areas, the crazier the traffic gets. To Tim got smart and found an alternate route. It sounds completely nuts but it worked. We went farther north - effectively passed Orlando - and then came around and down. It worked. Smooth as silk. 2 1/2 hours door to door with no stop & go traffic congestion. Not bad.
I hadn't had breakfast before we left so I was seriously hungry when we arrived. So the very first thing we did was head to VooDoo donuts. Totally worth the wait.
One of the things I noticed right away was how much construction was going on. Yup they are changing things up at Universal. First of all there is an entirely new Universal park being created. I have no idea what it's going to be all about so I am intrigued. Then too, I understand that big changes are afoot in the existing parks. Can't wait to see what that's all about. But in the meantime we saw a lot of this:
That's ok. There was plenty of other stuff to see and do!
There were two rides that Tim especially wanted to go that he has somehow missed at every other visit. Both of them are rides that I simply cannot do (at least not without embarrassing myself publicly, so that's ain't happening) Both of these rides were in the Harry Potter section of the park which is still so massively popular that the wait is rather long, even as a single rider. But sometimes it's worth the wait. And this time, it absolutely was.
It's fine with me. While Tim is in line for and the enjoying his ride, I get to poke around the little nearby shops and take lots of photos.
I took photos of flowers (Yes it's early spring here)
Sometimes it's architectural details that catch my eye:
I never realized how many archways there are at Universal. They are everywhere!
Oh yeah, and waterfalls. They just love waterfalls there. I confess that I do too.
Of course I snapped a few photos of some of the rides. (and Tim as he set out on his adventures!)
Naturally there were a few famous faces around:
And other random things that just appealed to me
Keep in mind that all the while I'm roaming around being a shutterbug, I am the official keeper of stuff. It's really handy when you go to these parks to have a person, such as myself, who doesn't go on many rides, because we are the holders of all the things you cannot take on the rides. So here was me, wearing both hats, carrying camera bag, camera and water bottle while being the papparazzi girl. I think I probably looked like one of the crazy park characters :)
So anyway, we had a great day, lots of fun and perfect - absolutely perfect - weather. Hooky Day was awesome. But all good things must come to an end and eventually it was time to start the long drive home.
We may not be experts in everything, but we know how to play hooky for sure :)
January 24th, 2020
We are sheet snobs. There I said it. Freely admitted and confessed with no outside pressure whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that Tim and I only buy really good sheets.
We both grew up with percale bed linens. And while it is servicable and at the time, extremely affordable, that's what was in our childhood homes. In the houses where I grew up the sheets were sometimes a solid colour like pink or blue. Other times the sheets had tiny little flowers on them or occasionally colourful stripes. Very sweet for sure. But when it came time for me, as an adult, to buy my own sheets, I bought white. Just plain white.
I don't know why, but I just really like white sheets and white towels. And since usually I am the one buying them, I buy what I like. And for a very long time, I did the same thing that my parents did. I bought ordinary regular run of the mill percale sheets, Itchy, scratchy, stiff as a board percale. It lasts a very long time, so I will give percale sheets longevity as a positive attribute. I will also award it points for affordability. Lots of affordability points. But comfort? Not so much.
Of course at the time, I had no idea what any other sheets were like. I bought what I knew and honestly, at that time in my life, what I could afford. I could afford percale. It worked. I did the job. And nobody was complaining.
And then somewhere along the line, somebody gave me, as a gift (I think it was supposed to be one of those funny gifts) a set of "satin" sheets. And I use the word satin very loosely. It was not satin. Probably more along the line of some sort of polyester. Still they were very soft. Much softer than percale.
And that got me wondering what else was out there. What other options were there really. I mean for regular people like me. Not fancy people like movie stars and politicians.
So off we went to the linens section of ...I don't even remember..some big store with lots of different departments in it...and we checked out the bed linens. There were samples to touch. And some of them were down right yummy. But then there was the price tag and it was kind of yikes. So we compromised and found some sheets that had the highest thread count at the lowest price that we (read we as me) could tolerate and bought those. It was the beginning of a new sleeping era.
Although the real yumminess of the new sheets took multiple washing and usings to truly come forward, it was worth the wait. So the next set we bought were higher thread count (which means more expensive) and the wait was even shorter to get to the best feel. Heaven!
And we were all set. Until a few weeks ago when I did the laundry and pulled the bottom sheet out of the wash with a few teensy holes in it. Dang. Time to buy new sheets. So off we went.
Naturally there are even more options now and of course the price tags are even higher. It's kind of crazy. Of course, as Tim pointed out to me, we sleep (or at least attempt to sleep) for about 30% of our lives. We should make an effort to be as comfortable as possible while doing so. Valid point.
Still I just couldn't bring myself to pay upwards of two hundred dollars for sheets. Just cannot make myself do it. So I settled on some 625 thread count Wamsutta sheets for around $80 bucks (on sale). Still hurts my heart to do it but I cannot go back to percale.
Unbeknownst to me, Tim had already purchased two sets online. I didn't even bother to ask how much they cost because honestly, I do not want to know. So now we had three new sets of sheets to rotate through which would make my Nana very happy.
Nana believed in the rule of three. She felt that everyone should have 3 pair of underwear, 3 socks, 3 towels, 3 shirts, etc. Her reasoning? One for the closet, one for the laundry and one to be in current use. Now we have 3 sets of sheets. Three completely different sets I would like to point out.
Now we have a set of 625 Thread Count Wamsuttas, a 1000 thread count bamboo and a 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton. So is there a different between them and if so what is it? All righty here you go. The breakdown.
First the 625. They are fine. It will take a few washings and usings to get them to their perfect level of softness but once we get there, they will be lovely. There is enough structural integrity that they are easy to fold and they are generously porportioned. (i.e. enough sheet all the way around). They came with instructions to wash them on gentle cycle in warm water which was interesting to me because I've always done normal cycle on linens and hot water. Ok. Correction made.
Secondly, the 1000 tc bamboo. We knew next to nothing about bamboo sheets. Tim did some research before ordering them and read only good things. So we were curious what they were really like. They are like whipped cream. Oh My Goodness. So soft, so ethereal, so incredible right away. The feel is just short of a liquid. Which means delightful for sleeping in but a pain in the arse for folding. It's like trying to fold something made of mercury. Let it be known that I can fold sheets. Even fitted sheets behave for me. Not these. I finally gave up and just kind of gobbed them into a heap in the drawer. Second issue, they are NOT generously porpotioned. While they are plenty long...I can tuck the top sheet in at the bottom with Zero issue, but on both sides...it's rather lacking. Still...sleeping in whipped cream is pretty dang nice.
Last set, the 1200 tc Eygptian cotton. Well certainly easier to fold. Softer than the 625's but not as soft as the bamboo. A nice middle ground. We won't have to wait for the ultimate softness to finally give way, it's already there. Still, while they are plenty long, this set is also rather short on the sides of the bed. It works but I predict future battles of the sheet for us. The suggestion for washing these is to wash only two pieces at a time - for instance a top sheet and a pillow case together and then the bottom sheet and a pillow case together. Okay. I hear you but it probably will not happen in this house.
There you have it. The sheets comparison. Three different types, three different results and honestly we will use them all. In fact, I'm tempted too use the 625's a lot right away to hurry up and get the supersoft so that they can be in the regular rotation comfortably. But I won't. I will play fair and each set will get it's turn, one week at a time.
but ps I am looking forward to the bamboo sheets week again.
January 23rd, 2020
The heat has been turned on in our house. And that's just crazy. We live in Florida for heaven's sakes. The land of sunshine and oranges and eternal summer, right? That's what everyone believes anyway.
Doesn't matter. It's still January which is winter and occasionally winter even comes to Florida. Albeit a much gentler version than other places.
Our winter began on Tuesday. Yup up until the 21st of January it will still perpetual summer (or at least Spring) here. Then Monday night the temperatures took a nosedive and we woke up to some serious chill.
Of course all of the windows in the house were open because this time of year, that's what we do. After three months (July, August and September) of windows slammed shut and the AC blasting to fight against Florida summer, we are desperate for fresh air and the windows are creaked back open and - for the most part- left that way. A teensy bit of early morning or night time briskness is no big deal. I'll put on a sweater and socks or cuddle under the sofa blanket for that little bit of time.
I think we sleep better with the windows open and that lovely fresh air coming in. I know the house smells better; newer, nicer, fresher! When the house is sealed up, even though I know for a fact that the house is clean, the air smells and feels old and stale. Yuck.
But here you go, most Florida houses have tile floors. I makes sense. Tile floors are almost impervious to the damage of sand and salt water and they are cooler on hot days. Florida has a lot of hot days. On cooler days however, those floors are chilly. On cold days they are downright icey!!
So waking up Tuesday morning to all that chilly (45 degrees) air in the room made it hard to crawl out of my nice warm nest of a bed. But stepping barefoot onto those icey cold tile floors was an act of great courage. I had Pilates Class first thing that day so trying to decide what on earth I could wear to class that would allow me freedom of movement and yet keep me from freezing to death was tricky. I finally cobbled something ridiculous looking together, put on a sweatjacket over it all and stepped out into the unusually low temps and a brisk sea-damp wind to walk to class. The sun was out but she was in a mood. Clearly I survived but I tell ya, nothing will encourage a quick pace like chilly temperatures.
Tuesday night, we were smarter and closed the windows. We were forewarned that the thermometer was going to drop even lower. And it did. Before the sun rose on Wednesday morning, the mercury bottomed out at 32. Officially Freezing. Before we went to bed that night I hauled out our down comforter.
When we lived in Colorado a down comforter made perfect sense. Even though the air is dry (which means the temperature almost always feels warmer than it actually is and especially on a sunny winter day) below zero is still freakin' cold. And Colorado has actual winter. The season. With sun and ice and stuff like that. So owning a down comforter is just a logical sensible normal thing to do. Not so much in Florida.
BUT since we already owned it, I brought it with us. Why? I think mostly because they are expensive and I just couldn't bear to throw it away. (*who would want someone else's previously used bedding?) So in spite of other people's pooh-poohing my decision, and even though we sold almost every other thing that we owned before moving here, the comforter came with us.
I packed it up in the giant plastic zippy container that it originally came in. And there it stays, in the utility room on a high shelf, until needed. And Tuesday night, it was needed. I was so glad that we had it. We snuggied down into that lovely poofy warm down comforter and slept like innocent puppies. It was glorious.
Until it was time to get up. By the time we draggged our sorry butts out of bed the temperature had risen to 36. Heat Wave. The wind was still blowing winter at us and the windows (mostly) stayed closed. The bedroom window was still cracked open a little bit. And it was so hard to make myself step out onto that cold floor.
Yesterday was a working at the museum day for me so I have to look at least halfway nice so I layered. Long pants, long sleeved shirt, pull-over sweater, my pea-coat, scarf and (I seriously did this) gloves. At least I didn't put on a hat. Tim walked with me and even he had on long pants and a fleece jacket which is practically unheard of.
I actually kind of enjoyed the cooler temperatures for a short time. The sun was still shining, there was absolutely no snow or ice or anything that might remotely require shoveling, and it was a nice change of pace frankly. Perhaps it's because I do have some winter-ish clothes that it's no big deal to me. I felt badly for any tourists visiting who - logically assuming that Florida equals beaches equals shorts and bathing suits - might not have packed appropriate to the temps this week. But we have lots of shops so I suppose they can always buy a sweatshirt or a pair of socks?
Today it has warmed up a bit more so I think our "winter" is on it's way out. It was only in the 40s again last night and should warm up to high 50's today. Tomorrow, we will all be in shorts again.
A 3-day winter. Yup that's Florida for you. Not bad.
Today I will somehow manage to wrestle that comforter back into it's giant zippy bag and haul, drag, push and shove it back onto that shelf in the utility room. The windows will be opened again and the heat turned off once more.
It was just a little intermission in our gorgeous weather. Kind of like a reminder to appreciate what we have because it could be So. Much. Worse!
At the museum I meet a lot of people. I mean a LOT ! And most of them are visiting here from somewhere else. Some places with serious winter. And they are so incredibly grateful for our sunshine and mild weather in the winter. It's why there are so many snowbirds in this state. And it's also one of the reasons why Florida is one of the states currently receiving new residents. People are moving here in DROVES!
Can't say that I blame them one single bit.
There it is. The story of the 3-day winter. Florida the state where the only skiing going on is water skiing. Nice :)
January 22nd, 2020
This was the only wildlife we saw when Joy, Bob and I set out on a photo safari last Thursday. His name is Peanut. He was wildly friendly, but very sweet. He greeted us at the entrance to Jelk's Preserve. Peanut's owner was on the picnic table seat. Peanut however, was perched on the table itself. Clearly Peanut is a Top Dog.
Hmmm what shall I say about Jelk's. The paths were nice and wide and well kept. That's a positive. However, there was a lot of feral hog sign which causes us a little trepidation after the multiple sightings incident a few hikes back.
It was a pretty day, not too hot, not too cold. And there weren't crowds of other people. Those are both good things. It was a nice enough walk but honestly, there just wasn't all that much that was photo worthy.
Now I suppose that a really good photographer can find something worth capturing anywhere. And a superbly good photographer can make anything look really good in a photograph. I am neither of those things. But I surely do wish I was.
And I think that's partly why we do this. I mean, our weekly photo hikes. We keep taking pictures so that we can get better at it. Because that is how you get better at anything. By doing it. And reading about it. And talking to other photographers about it. And by experimenting.
And so we do. Joy, of course, is a far better photographer than I am. But I keep trying. And I listen to her suggestions. And I read all of the tutorials made available to me on the photo website that I belong to (Photo Bug). I talk with other photograhers. I watch them and see what the are doing. And I take a lot of pictures and experiment as I go.
I usually come back from any photo excursion with a few hundred pictures. Once I load them onto my computer, I set about going through them. The first go-round is just deleting terrible shots. The accidental picture of my foot, blurry shots, crooked shots, my famous finger over the lens shots, things of that sort.
The next time through is to find the best of a series. If I have taken several shots of the same thing, I try to find the best one photo and I save that one. Just that one. It takes time and patience and sometimes I have to do it over a couple of days. It can get tedious. (And it's not like this is the only thing I have to do y'know?)
By this point I have usually deleted 1/2 to 3/4 of the pictures I took which leaves a far more manageable pile to work with. The last go through is for adjusting pictures, editing. Sometimes just by rotating a crooked picture a teensy bit, it becomes a far better shot. Or cropping it just a mite. In rare cases, I might want to brighten a shot or use some sort of filter. I don't do a lot of editing (mostly because I'm not very good at it) but I am not such a purest photo snob that I would never do any.
This time, I mean the Jelk's hike, I took so few pictures, that there weren't many to go through, even fewer to eliminate and only a little bit of editing. I believe what you see below is literally every picture I took that day.
There are so many great places to hike around here, I think we can probably just cross this one off the list for future hikes. Unless we want to stop and say howdy do to Peanut the picnic table dog.
At any rate, here you go. I will share with you the few shots I did take. Hope you enjoy!
January 21st, 2020
In our ongoing search for a perfect pizza place (i.e. a pizza restaurant that has pizzas that both Tim and I like as our tastes differ on this particular issue), we happened across a strong contender this past weekend.
Actually we noticed the sign for this place a week or so ago. We were driving down Tamiami, which, for those of you who do not know, is a rather busy road. It is especially busy right now because we are deep in the throes of "The Season". And it's not just busy with traffic. Both sides of Tamiami are packed with all sorts of businesses: restaurants of all stripes, car washes, furniture stores of many different varieties, retail shops of every kind you can imagine and then a few more. There are grocery stores, exotic car facilities, gun ranges, churches and of course, a lot of road construction because well, I don't think there has been a time since we lived here when at least part of Tamiami wasn't being worked on.
Tamiami, by the way is a very long road. It is so named because it is the road that runs from Tampa to Miami. Just a little trivia for you today :)
Anyway, on that day roughly a week ago, as we were driving along, we noticed one of those sandwich board signs on the side of the road in front of a small plaza. I saw the word pizza (of course I did) We passed so quickly and in such busy traffic in each direction that we thought for sure the sign said, "Big Mama's Pizza". An intriguing name.
I looked it up on my phone and there was no lising for Big Mama's Pizza. But there was one for Mama Maria's pizza which was also somewhere on Tamiami. But like I said, it's a LONG road. So we assumed that either we read the name wrong and it really was Mama Maria's Pizza OR it was so very new that they did not yet have a web presence. Ok.
Fast forward to this past weekend. On Friday evening, we passed the sign again. This time we read it more carefully. Big Mike's Pizza!! Big Mike's Pizza does have a web presence despite how very new they are to the area. And according to the reviews I read online, their score was 5 out of 5. 5 out of 5...holy cats!
Very encouraging. So Saturday evening, we checked it out.
Tim called in the order. He ordered a small pepperoni pizza for himself, a small Margarita Pizza for me and an order of wings. When we went to pick it up we accidentally passed it and had to circle back. As I said, it's a busy road.
The people were incredibly nice, the place was clean and smelled great. They did have a decent sized onsite dining option that we weren't aware of. It was not fancy but serviecable for sure. Oh my, it smelled so good I couldn't wait to get home and dig in.
SO GOOD! Tim liked his wings but next time would order a spicier one. He enjoyed his pizza absolutely and proclaimed it (so far) his second favourite here. Wow~ I Loved mine. I loved every part of it. The cheese, the sauce, the crust me oh my. And on Sunday I had the rest of my pizza leftover straight from the fridge and it passed that test as well. Note: not every pizza can stand up to overnight in the fridge and still be edible. It's important.
So here it is. If you live locally, Big Mike's has great pizza, if you like spicy wings don't be afraid to order spicy instead of medium, and there were lots of other things on the menu. If you don't live locally but already have a favourite Pizza place..hurrah! If you don't have a favourite pizza place, don't give up! It's out there somewhere.
January 20th, 2020
Yesterday was a spectacularly gorgeous day outside so naturally Tim and I wanted to spend as much time out in it as possible. And me being me, of course I brought along my camera.
Initially it started out with me asking Tim if he had any thoughts of how he wanted to spend the day. He responded that he had no particular thoughts in mind and was there something that I wanted to do. I told him that I had nothing special in mind, but I thought I might grab my camera and head to the beach. He was welcome to come along if he liked (of course!) So off we went.
Instead of going to one of our usual beach access points we decided to go to the southest part of the island, Caspersen Beach. We don't usually go there for a couple of reasons. First, there are beach access points much closer to our house, the closest being less than a mile away. It's all the same beach, why would I walk so much farther to get to what is effectively the same place? Secondly, this is tourist/snowbird season which means people. Lots and lots of people. Mostly they are all very nice and I completely understand why they want to be here. After all, we want to be here too. But I generally avoid crowds.
But yesterday I felt kind of why the heck about it and we braved the crowds. My thought being that if it felt like just too many people for me to deal with it, we could always leave and go elsewhere.
We drove down. Kind of silly I know, it's only 3.4 miles away. (I checked) but that is what we did. Don't get judgey.
As we neared and I saw the line of cars all heading to the same place I began to doubt the wisdom of this decision. As we passed the first parking lot, which was nearly full to capacity, I was almost ready to just say," let's turn around and go somewhere else". But when we turned into the 2nd parking lot , we found ourselves parked next to this and I suddenly, I knew it was all going to be just fine.
Why there was a pickup truck with both a life sized giraffe and a sea turtle figure in it is beyond my imagining, but there it was. My sense of the absurd was tickled for sure.
We headed for the boardwalk first. Easy walking, nice and flat, not too crowded with people and in fact, there were moments when we were the only people on the boardwalk. Nice!
The beach, however, was pretty packed. People people everywhere. Some frolicking in the water, others looking for shells. There were people fishing, playing frisbee, building sand castles or just walking. Not a lot of people were swimming, oddly enough, but that's okay too.
The water was particularly pretty with blues, greys and greens and only small waves so only little splashes. The temperature of the water was nearly identical to the air so just about perfect.
But, I was ready to go. I had a few photos, I was ready to move on to greener pastures. Or bluer water or at least different scenery. So we started to leave but our way back to the car, we noticed what seemed to be a path. "Any idea what's down that way?" "Nope" "Let's find out" . Decision made, we trekked on down the path which seemed to go on forever!
The intercoastal was on one side, but the views of it were peek-a-boo with only occasional sightings through the foliage. Obviously the ocean was on the other side and here and there were paths to reach it through the undergrowth.
We saw boats, and fisher people and far less crowded beach areas. There were interesting rocks and shells and some strikingly lovely and unexpected flowers. We walked for nearly an hour and didn't see anything that looked remotely like the end. I will definitely need to return another day to go farther! Here is some of what we saw:
Because it never crossed our minds that we might be hiking, I wasn't wearing proper footwear and my sandals, while very comfortable in most circumstances, were not ideal for trekking along a very sandy trail for miles. Mental note; Next time wear sneakers.
We went home via the jetty, one of our favourite beach access points. It was fairly busy with other folks who also love it there and we didn't stay for a hugely long time, but long enough to smell that lovely oceany, briney, salty fragrance, watch some net fishermen cast and haul their nets, admire some pelicans, smile at dolphin antics, climb around on the rocks and feel that wet breeze refresh us.
And then we just went home and relaxed for the rest of the day.
A perfectly lovely way to spend a Sunday! Don't you wish you had been there with us?
January 17th, 2020
After a recent trip to the grocery store which was terrifying - and not just because of the prices - it occurs to me that it might be time for a parking lot etiquette refresher. Some of this might sound harsh but sometimes, things just need to be said.
For The Drivers:
1. First of all, parking lots are not race tracks, slow the heck down.
2. Parking lots are also not Demolition Derby's. Do not crash your carriage, your walker, your wheelchair, your baby stroller, your kids backpack or your keys into other people's cars!
3. Speaking of which, park between the doggone lines! If your depth perception is so poor that you cannot manage to maneuver between the lines, you probably shouldn't be driving at all.
4. Which reminds me, if your car is so doggone precious and valuable that you require 6-8 spaces to keep a protective bubble of no other cars around it, your car is probably also too valuable to be driven to the grocery store. Keep it in the garage (with armed guards, barbed wire and trained dogs walking the perimeter). Especially in a very busy, high traffic parking lot.
5. Hey driver pulling out of your space, you are not the only person in the parking lot. Look behind you, to the right AND the left before you pull out. Make use of your rearview and side mirrors for heaven's sakes!
6. For the people who drive cross-lots, if you are so lazy or in such a rush that you cannot drive the full length of the parking aisle but instead cut over, STOP and look before zooming across. The cars that are politely driving full length up and down are not expecting a crazed maniac to fly cross ways in front of them!
7. Those little arrows in the driving aisles of the parking lot are there for a reason. Ours point either east or west. Follow freakin' directions! It's Just Not That Hard.
8. If you, like me, live in a pedestrian right of way state, calm the heck down. There's nothing you can do about it. Honking, yelling or gesturing rudely absolutely does not make people cross the road ahead of you any faster. And in fact, it could encourage them to slow down a bit. Just because they can.
9. It should go without saying, but sadly apparently I have to say it: if you do not belong in a handicap parking space, don't. Just don't be that jerk.
For The Pedestrians:
You walkers aren't without flaw either y'know. It's not just the drivers.
1. Walk on the sides of the driving aisles. Not down the center. I will repeat that because clearly I need to. Do Not Walk Down the Middle of the Driving Aisles! No matter how fast you believe you are walking, it's still slower than a car drives. Get the heck out of the way.
2. When you cross the road in front of cars and they stop for you, because the law says that they have to, don't dawdle. Move it! Tie your shoe, tuck in your shirt, finish your phone conversation or yell at your kid on the other side, not in the middle of the road!
3. When you cross the road in front of cars and they stop for you, again because the law insists that they do, thank them. Be gracious. Just a smile, a wave, a nod, anything that lets them know that you appreciate it. Sometimes the little things really do mean a lot.
4. For heaven's sakes, after unloading your shopping carriage into your car, walk your carriage back to the carriage return. It's just not that far. You managed to walk it into the store, all around the store and to your car. It's probably the shortest distance you will ever push the carriage. Do not abandon it in the parking space next to yours, or give it a nice little push which ultimately rolls it into a car, or pull it up on the median under a tree. It goes in the carriage return. That's why they exist.
5. The parking lot is not a playground. Do not allow your children to run amuck through the traffic. I have a small heart attack nearly every time I go to the grocery store with little people popping out from around parked cars or running in the driving aisles. I live in absolute terror that I might possibly, entirely by accident, injure or worse one of those free range kiddos. I recently saw two little boys playing tag in the parking lot and one of them ran smack into an older gentleman walking with a cane nearly toppling him over. CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN!
6. Oh and by the way, get the heck off the phone while you are walking through the parking lot. Almost as bad as the kids. Taller and more easily spotted and therefore less likely to get run over but still, Get Off The Phone While Walking! Pay attention to your surroundings!
For The Bicyclers:
1. I really have only one thing to say to bicyclers. Maybe you don't know this, but you are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as cars. Which means, Stop at the damned stop signs, signal before turning and wait your turn at the intersection! If you are on wheels you are not a pedestrian.
Ok I think that is quite enough. You may disagree with me. That is fine. I welcome your thoughts. You may have more things to add to this list. Great! I'd like to hear those ideas too.
I know what I've written here won't change a thing. But I feel better for having said it.
Have a Great weekend!
January 16th, 2020
Oh My Gosh!
Have you seen this? It should be required viewing for all women - at least women of a certain age. Hilarious doesn't even begin to describe it!
I admit that I had my doubts. Taking something medical that, while it is perfectly normal, is also frankly rather ugly and unpleasant (to put it mildly) and making it into a musical? A musical comedy? I just couldn't picture it. But I went. And holy cats, I laughed. I laughed a lot!
The entire audience did. In fact, they didn't just laugh, they roared with laughter.
I've always heard that laughter is the best medicine. And this was the best sort of medicine. Instead of whining and complaining, the hot flashes, the sleeplessness, the brain fog and irritability were hysterically funny. And everyone in the audience (95% women of that certain age) understood it in a very personal way. We identified. And then we laughed even more.
I have always admired performers. Those people who are willing to stand on a stage, in a spotlight, in front of a large group of people and risk looking foolish. What if the line that's supposed to be funny doens't get a laugh? What if, when the music stills and you throw your head back to reach for that high note and project your entire heart and soul into it, what comes out isn't the note you were hoping for? What if you forget your lines, your cue, your mark?
Actors, comedians, musicians, singers, they are all such risk takers. You never know how your audience will respond but they are still brave enough to get out there. I admire that. Perhaps it's because I am not a risk taker myself, but regardless of the reason, I have always thought that performers were courageous souls. And these four ladies put it all out there and every note, every word, every swing of the hips and silly face that they pulled was a bullseye. Direct Hit.
It was a single set show that was augmented by frequent prop changes. Just one set design but wowiewow what a great design. The sets at Venice Theatre always knock me out and this one did not disappoint either.
And then there was the music. We all already knew the music. It was the words that were changed to suit the storyline. Here are a few of the musical numbers just by way of example:
The audience actually got a little rauccous now and again. They did identified with the music, the story, the characters, and occasionally someone would yell something from the audience a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. That part I didn't appreciate, but I guess it's also an indicator of how dang good the play was!
I will say this, while the vast majority of the audience was women, the few men that were sprinkled through, laughed right along with the rest of us. Now that I think about it, I guess they've been through the Menopause wars too, just once removed. Still Counts!
Don't just take my word for it. There was a write-up in today's paper that completely agreed with me. There was a whole lot of talent on that stage last night and if you have not yet seen this play, if you aren't lucky enough to live near us here in Venice...run, don't walk, to your nearest performing arts center and BEG them, if you have to, to put this play on.
This one is definitely a Don't Miss.
January 15th, 2020
The city of Venice, where we live, recycles. In fact they are really big on recycling. The local grocery store even has separate bins for egg cartons, plastic bags and styrofoam plates! Area parks have separate trash containers for regular garbage, paper, cans, bottles and plastic. It's kind of a thing here.
As soon as we moved in to this house we were issued two small red recycle bins. These above. One was for paper and lightweight cardboard like cereal boxes broken down flat. The other was for bottles and cans, rinsed out of course. I kept them in the utility room. There they sat, out of the way, right around the corner from the kitchen, easy to access. Once a week I would schlep them out to the curb for pick up and then lug them back in to be refilled. The paper bin I took out every week. The bottle and can bin perhaps once every two weeks. I have never completely filled it.
Fine and Dandy. We had a system and it worked.
But today a new bin arrived in our driveway. We have now been issued a new much larger Blue bin. It looks remarkably like the garbage bin, just a different colour. It has an attached lid and wheels. I can wheel it to the end of the driveway instead of lift and carry it as I did with the red bins. The lazybutt part of me digs this in a big sort of way.
At 65 gallons, the new bin is just too large to keep in the utility room so it shall be consigned to the great outdoors, lurking near the side door hunkered against the house like the big garbage bin. One to the right of the door, the other to the left. Not quite as convenient but not completely unreasonable either. Just a matter of adapting to a new way of doing things.
Along with the new blue wheeled recycle bin came some instructions. In fact we got the instructions twice, once in a little plastic zippy bag and the second time imprinted on the top of the bin. I am not joking. This is not a sticky or something that can be peeled off. It's permanently imprinted on the lid. I guess they want to be SURE that we know how to do this.
,Some of these instructions are actually good solid information. Like what we can and cannot recycle. Like empty and rinsed aluminum cans (yes) pizza boxes (no), empty, and rinsed milk jugs (yes) and diapers (no) - I cannot believe that they had tell us that. It means that somebody tried leaving nasty old dirty/wet diapers in the recycle bin at least once. Yuck.
It also instructs us set it at the curb facing the road and to leave a 3 foot perimeter around the recyle bin. Seriously. Nothing around it...no other can (like the garbage can) no low hanging branches or utility poles or cars, large dogs, small children or well anything within 3 feet when it's set out at the curb. This is because it's an automated pick up. The trucks have this thingamabog that lifts, dumps and resets the bins without any human being injuring themselves lifting some of the stuff people put in their garbage bins. okey dokey. No worries. I can manage this.
In the plastic zippybag was a FAQ sheet and I was amused to see that if we want to get rid of our old recycle bins, we cannot just put it in the new recycle bin for..well..recycling. We would have to take it to a specific place at a specific time on a specific day to drop it off. Sigh. You know what? I think I can probably find another use for it here at home instead. Re purposing it instead of recycling it.
I actually like the fact that this new recycle bin has a lidded top. The old red open topped bins had bottles, cans and newspapers flying around town on a windy day. And if it rained during the night, I bet those newspaper bins were hernia-heavy!
So anyway that's what's new around here. From now on, or at least until the rules change again, on garbage day in our city in front of all of our homes there will now be two nearly identical bins, one blue, one black, standing sentry, three carefully measured feet apart of course, waiting for the truck with the snazzy fancy robot arm to come.
It's still the same garbage and recycle really. Nothing new there. Only the bin has been changed. I keep wanting to follow that with, "to protect the innocent" but I will resist the urge) I'm sure it will be just fine.
My life is so exciting ............
January 14th, 2020
Fun, Fun, Fun. The three words that come to mind whenever we spend time with these two.
This past Saturday was Minock Day! And not just Minock Day but Minock Christmas! Woohoo! Our 3rd Christmas this season!!! Wow! We hit the jackpot!
It was such a great day! We headed up their way around 9:30 and arrived before noon so we made really good time. It was a really pretty day out too. Sunny but not hot, a little breeze, humidity was very mild (Marsha would argue that one). In short, it was absolutely gorgeous. And I still marvel over that sort of weather in January!
One of the first things we did was to head over to see the model of the home that they are building. We enjoyed that so much. First of all, as you all know, Tim and I love visiting model homes. But this one, in particular, was awesome. First of all, it's like having a sneak peek at their future home. But also because it really is the perfect home for them. As we sat in, first the family room and then the living room to chat with them, it really felt as if we were just sitting in their actual home. I didn't get that vague displacement vibe that I normally get in a model home. It just felt like...their home. That's very cool.
Then we went to see the lot that it's going to built upon. The last time we saw the lot it was like visiting a forest. A great place to hike if only I could find a trail :) This time..it was a building lot that a house where a house will exist in short order. They - and by they I mean the Minocks themselves - have done a fine job of clearing the lot. And I love that while they took out dead trees and scrub, they have left as many of the lovely mature and interesting trees as possible. They didn't clear-cut as so many builder do.
We headed back to their temporary digs so that Marsha and I could yakyakyak and the guys went out into the forest behind the rental house to safely practice shooting Tim's crossbow and throw Paul's Hatchets. Marsha and I got to witness a little of the hatchet throwing...pretty doggone impressive gentlemen! Eventually we settled in to enjoy a fine meal and an exceptionally yummy chocolate cake. Which - since it also has oatmeal and walnuts in it - wen declared a healthy food. (I had a piece for breakfast this morning. Hey it has oatmeal in it therefore it is, obviously, also a breakfast food)
Then it was time to open presents! Woohoo!~ We laughed, we giggled, we chortled, we guffawed. We smelled lovely fragrances and tasted delicious goodies (and re-experienced poprocks) and played with our new toys. It was a Great belated Christmas!!!
All too soon, the day was nearly done and it was time to head home. Tim and I talked about what a good time we had all the way back.
I'm not sure when we will be able to get together in February and I have no idea what we will be doing, but whatever it is I know it will be a blast!
With them, it always is ;)
January 13th, 2020
Joy and I loaded up our cameras and we are back out there! Woohoo!
Somewhere along the line and it's been so long now I honestly do not remember the details, one or the other of us came into possession of a compilation of all of the parks, preserves and trails in this general area. It was like finding a treasure map!
Some of them are literally parks...the sort of swingsets and monkey bars...and while those are very fun and adorable and I find it hard to resist the siren call of a good swingset, that's not what we are looking for. So those we found, checked out and then checked off the list.
Others were actual places to hike but so small that even if you went slowly and circled three times, you would still have not spent more than an hour. So while those are perfectly fine, those are reserved for days when we don't have a lot of time, or combine them with other, better, longer hikes.
Most of them we have now been to and really enjoy and go back over and over again. And each visit feels like the first visit because there are different trails to hike, new things to see, a variety of things in bloom and certainly there is no predicting what sort of wildlife will be wandering by each and every time.
But there are been a few that we have simply never found. The directions, in a rather broad and ambiguous way, is right there on our literature. And yet...still a mystery. One of them, as it turns out you need a boat to get to. Yup that one was a surprise. Unless you have a boat of your own (we do not) or know somebody willing to take you out there (important) and them pick you back up (even more important) we may never get to that one.
But while Joy and Bob were away in California I stumbled across one of them recently. I'm not even sure why we were on that road. But there we were driving along, me passengering of course, and suddenly I see the sign. Curry Creek Park! Now Joy and I have hiked Curry Creek many times and it isn't where this sign was. So what the actual heck? Then I remembered that in that literature there actually are two separate Curry Creek Parks. It's actually one park but due to the high water table, unless you are wearing hip waders or brought along a raft, there is no hiking directly from one part of the park to the other.
So there it was. The mysterious other side of Curry Creek Park! I took note of where it was and how to get there. And when we set out, last Thursday for our first hike of 2020, I told Joy about it. "Let's go!" was her response and so we did.
It wasn't huge but it was confusing. We speculated that whoever put out the trailmarkers was blindfolded because they made no sense at all. 8 followed by 14 followed by 11...it was really very funny. And the trails all loop-de-looped so we found ourselves saying, "Weren't we just here?" a lot. Kind of like the Mad Hatters hiking trails.
I suspect that we aren't the only people who had difficulty finding this preserve because the trails were rather overgrown and littered with tree debris, sadly some garbage - (an old gold bag, a patio chair with only one leg, a few rusty cans, things of that sort).
But we were still very glad that we went. While Joy's pictures are absolutely breath taking, you will have to settle for seeing some of mine:
I wonder where we will go next?
January 10th, 2020
I don't know if you've read the same articles that I have. So just in case you didn't, it seems that popcorn is now considered a snack that is Not Altogether Bad for you. Apparently, unless something tastes nasty and you don't like it, a snack isn't considered completely good for you. So all things considered "Not Altogether Bad" is high praise indeed.
I do know that popcorn is a high fiber food and that gives it good marks right away. I suppose that the more you fiddle with it, adding yummy flavours and spices, the more quickly it slips down that slope from 'not altogether unhealthy" to bad, bad, bad. I don't care. I saw it on the Not Altogether Bad snack list and there it shall forever stay.
And bonus points, Popcorn is yummy ;)
And Tim and I both happen to be popcorn fans. If we go to the movies, that is often Tim's go-to movie snack. Oddly that is not what I opt for. The perfect going out to the movie theater treat for me is Milk Duds. don't know why, Just know that it is. While I am usually the person who questions everything, there are some things that I just accept as true. This is one of them. If I'm watching a movie at home though? Popcorn, totally.
I almost always have a box of microwave popcorn in the pantry. And in fact, it's not unusual for me to have some piping hot out of the microwave popcorn as a meal! There is something about the fragrance of it that is very satisfying. And then the crunch! Oh my, that crunch is all things wonderful. And popcorn filling without being heavy. Relatively low on calories. So yes to popcorn.
When we lived in Colorado, someone once gave us an old fashioned popcorn maker. It looked almost like a stock pot but with a lid that had a turning handle in it. The handle turned a.....I don't know what to call it....a curved piece inside to keep the kernels moving as they cooked. It wasn't that difficult to add some oil and some popcorn, some flavouring if we wished, turned the burner on and turn, baby turn until we were rewarded with an entire vat of fluffy white yummy kernels.
We sold at it our moving to Florida yard sale. It went quickly and we included all of the jars of popcorn and popcorn flavourings. It was a bargain.
As a kid, I recall the rare occasion when my mother bought Jiffy Pop! Shake shake shaking it over the stove burner as the container grew larger and larger still until we were certain it was going to explode! I don't recall the flavour so I'm not sure if it actually tasted good. I think perhaps it was more of a fun activity. Hmmmm.
My friend Marsha occasionally makes caramel corn. And it is, without question the best, most amazing caramel corn I have ever had. Ever! and the best part is that she shares :) She even shared the recipe with me so that - if I chose to - I could make it my own damned self. I even did....once.
But anyway there you go. Clearly, we are clearly a popcorn loving family. So it was with absolute delight that we opened our gift from Middle son and his wife. (Thank you Corbin and Julie!!!) It was an large canvas bag filled with various flavours of popcorn, each in it's own separate bag. I wish I had thought to take a picture of all of the many varieties before we fell on it like starving hyenas. What you see above is all that is left.
Some of the flavours were the good old standards but some were positively creative! Let's see there was cheddar, caramel and a lovely combination of the two. There was a salt & pepper popcorn which was very interesting and actually once I got used it I quite liked it. And then there was the cinnamon sugar which might have been my favourite. I also remember the S'mores popcorn which was so good it ought to be against the law. There were also a few others whose names escape me at the moment, in addition to the ones shown above. Oh my gosh! We have been pigging out on popcorn in a big sort of way. It's only been a few weeks since Christmas right? And these three bags are all that are left. Oh dear.
Go get some popcorn, whether it's creatively flavoured or one of the classic standards, and watch a good movie this weekend! It's fine, remember? Popcorn is a Not Altogether Bad snack, so it's okay ;)
January 09th, 2020
Kind of a strange combo eh? A Christmasy flower arrangements and an old wooden bowl. However could they possibly be connected? Well this story is kind of two stories but they are come together in the end, I promise.
I'll start with the flowers.
Tim buys me flowers. What a sweetie that man is! Usually it's cut flowers they I get to play with and group them together in pretty ways in my own vases. But every once in awhile, it's a per-made arrangement. For Christmas this year I actually got two arrangements that were similar but different. Which is kind of how I like things. I like when things "go-together" as opposed to match. See?
Various carnations, roses and chrysanthemums, a little greenery, some berries, some pine cones and there you go. Done. One has a candle and is in a silver bowl. The other has no candle and is in a green ceramic container. I adored them both. The fragrance was divine. A bonus is that Mums and carnations last a long time too so these flower arrangements looked mighty fine for about three weeks! Not bad!
Now moving on to the wooden bowl. Well originally it was my Nana's. It was a chopping bowl. There was a wooden handled, curved knife that was shaped exactly to the curve of the bowl. The idea was that you cut (whatever you were cutting) as you rocked the knife back and forth. Clever. I have no idea where the knife part went. Long gone. I actually never had possession of the knife. Which now that I think about it is probably a good thing considering my tendency to accidentally injure myself.
Somewhere along the line, Nana gave the bowl to me. I love the history of it, the simplicity and even the dings, marks and stains. A reminder of the little bowl:
Usually it sits on the kitchen counter top and is filled with various fruits or vegetables that prefer to not be refrigerated. Usually it was just the right size for a weeks worth of fresh produce. Yummy! If for some reason I had more produce than room in the bowl then I would have to bring out a big old serving bowl to use instead but it didn't happen very often.
It worked beautifully most of the time. But I had noticed that no matter how green the bananas were when I bought them, they were over ripe and had to be baked into Banana muffins within a day or two. They were ripening too quickly and I wondered why. But I happened across an article explaining why bananas last longer when hung up rather than laying down (say in a cute little wooden bowl) Dang. It's my fault! I hate when that happens.
I was in the car with Tim when I found the article and read it aloud to him. Poor man is a captive audience in the car with me and often finds himself on the listening end of many articles that he probably isn't all that interested in.
But he does like bananas so he bought me a new produce holder. This one has a hook for bananas and a bowl for whatever else we want to put in there! How awesome is that?
The bananas are hung by the chimney with care...no wait, that's not right. But they are hung up and looking darned good there. And the bowl is much larger so right now it's holding apples, nectarines and a loaf of lovely artisan bread with room to spare.
I really do love my new produce bowl and I know it will serve us well for many many years to come! Hurrah!
But what about my cute little wooden bowl? What do I do with it now? I walked it around the house trying to just set it out here or there. But it never looked quite right.
It ended up on the kitchen table. Mostly because I had nothing else sitting on the kitchen table and it was looking kind of naked. But the small, humble wooden bowl on it's own was a little too minimalist for me. It needed something more. Hmmmm.
I considered filling it with shells. Shells are easy. I know where they keep 'em and it's only a 10 minute walk away. Free for the taking. Beaches are nice that way. And our beach has LOADS of them!
Experimentally I put a few shells in the bowl but I didn't really like how it looked. I considered filling it with interesting rocks. Oddly I have some of those too. But that wasn't the right look either. Kind of heavy and clunky (as rocks tend to be). I have some beach glass but it's already in apothecary jars and looks great there.
Well the bowl just sat on the table empty, looking very small and insignificant and a little sad.
Awww poor little bowl.
At some point during the day, I also noticed that the flower arrangements were also looking rather sad. The flowers were drooping and fading and the petals falling off. Their time had come and gone. So I started to throw away the entire arrangement and suddenly it occurred to me that, while the posies were past their prime, the pine cones still looked pristine.
Interesting. Maybe the pine cones would look good in the little wooden bowl? Hmmmm. Well there is only one way to find out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
So I threw out the dead/dying flowers but kept the pine cones. Which of course had been glued onto sticks for the arrangements. I tried pulling the sticks off. Nope. I tried breaking the sticks off, Also no. Dang! What kind of glue do they use? Do they weld them on?
So I walked around thinking about it for a bit while I did other things. I knew that I didn't want to ruin my scissors and honestly there was no guarantee that a regular scissor would work anyway. And then it hit me.
Pruning shears! Taadaa! Worked like a champ! Hurrah!
Quickly and carefully I chopped the pinecones off the various sticks (some wooden, some plastic covered wire) and experimentally put them in the bowl. Ok. Better. But not quite enough yet. I found some additional pine cones and now voila! The little wooden bowl looks perfect ;)
I suppose in the spring I can think of something else to put in the bowl. And then change it out again in another season. Why not? I will find ways to fill the little wooden bowl throughout the year, every year! It looks so very nice. Even better than when it was filled with fruits and veggies. Perhaps this was it's intended destiny?
So there you have it. A coming together of two completely different, unrelated things in a perfect way.
Life has the most beautiful way of surprising us ;)
January 08th, 2020
Eighty-seven cents. If my addition is correct that's what we have here.
I found it in the dryer after doing the laundry on Monday. Monday seems to have elected itself as the big laundry day. Multiple loads. Delicates, colours, whites, towels, sheets, they all get washed, dried, hung up, folded or stacked for future ironing on Monday. And, not always, but occasionally, after I remove the clothes from the dryer I also find coins left behind. Obviously they fell out of a pocket.
I'm sure the same thing has happened to you at least once or twice. What do you do with it when you find it? Do you try to track down the owner? Do you leave it somewhere for someone else to later claim? I keep it. Yup. I don't say a word to anybody and just pocket it. It's mine now. From the Finders Keepers rule of doing the laundry.
And it's a little bit funny because if anyone asked me if I was an honest person, I would immediately say yes. No hesitation, no feelings of guilt or shame, just a simple, sincere yes. All the while knowing that I am the person who filches the coins left behind in the dyer after I do the laundry being completely aware that those coins did not come from my pocket.
In this house it's pretty easy. If the coins weren't mine, they were Tim's. There are no other pockets in this house. But I will be totally candid here, even when the boys still lived at home so there were multiple pockets possible, I still kept the coins if I was the one who did the laundry. And without feeling guilty about it which is completely weird because in general I always feel guilty.
I am the person who says I'm sorry when the person walking beside me trips over a crack in the sidewalk. I had nothing to do with them tripping but I automatically take responsibility. The words, "I'm sorry" probably come out of my mouth more than "I'm hungry". And I am hungry a lot. Someone once pointed out to me that not everything bad that happens is my fault. "Au Contraire!" I responded. It feels as if it is although I quantify it carefully. I only take responsibility for everything that happened from 1953 forward. Anything prior to July 9th 1953 is on someone else but 'til the day I shuffle off this mortal coil, everything, apparently, is my fault. So I get guilt.
And yet, I do not feel even a little bit bad for confiscating the change found in the dryer. I guess that's kind of weird, but then so I am.
Now to be fair, the boys occasionally did the laundry when they lived at home. Yes I was the sort of mom who taught my boys to clean, to cook and to do laundry. To be independent productive self-sufficient adults. And when they did the laundry, they didn't just do theirs they did everyone's. It seemed fair. When I did the laundry, I did all of it, not just mine. The rule was, if you noticed that the laundry basket was full, and you had the time, you did the laundry.
It was that kind of house. Uncomplicated, logical, sensible, commonsense kind of rules. If you mess it up, clean it up. If you drop it, pick it up. It you take it out, put it away. If something needs doing, you do it. Rules like that.
And now that I think of it, I do not remember any of the boys ever coming to me after doing the laundry and saying, "I found this money in the dryer". Hmmmm. Maybe it's just a normal response. Like finding a nickel on the sidewalk. I always pick it up, don't you? If I actually saw someone drop money, I would absolutely positively give it to them. Not even a question. But if I'm the only person standing there? Oh that money is mine.
it goes right into my change jar. Which is the slowest filling change jar on the planet. Primarily because we don't often use actual money anymore. Almost everything is plastic or online payment. And usually if I'm out and about and buying something even if it's a meal, Tim is with me, so he pays. I hate carrying my purse if I don't have to. So if he pays in cash, he puts the change in his pocket so I damned well know that it's his money in the dryer. Unless of course we are going through some sort of drive-thru. Then the change goes into that little tray in his car. He has quite a bit of jingle in there.
Now that I think about it most of my clothes don't even have pockets. Or they are such poor excuses for pockets that I really cannot use them for much. Girl clothes may be pretty but functionally fairly useless. The right back pocket of most (but not all) of my jeans fits my cellphone and I sometimes can tuck a chapstick into a front jean pocket but that's about it. Shorts? Almost never a pocket. And if there is one, it's good for about nothing. Skirts? Same deal. Capri's? I have one pair with a fake pocket. And by the way, what is the point of having that phony pocket? The rest of my capri's have no pocket at all.
So, anyway, laundry coin thief that I obviously am, I immediately added the eighty-seven cents to my change jar which is about 1/3 full. And it has taken more than a year to get it to that level. Even if Tim wanted to prosecute me for laundry coin thievery, it's not exactly the crime of the century.
I'm not certain why I feel no remorse over commandeering laundry change. But I don't. Never did. Probably never will. I don't even feel guilty about not feeling guilty and that is totally out of character. I am shameless. At least in this one instance.
What a rebel.
January 07th, 2020
I meant to write about this a few weeks ago but forgot. Sometimes I forget stuff. Which is why I write down my blogpost ideas in a little notebook that I keep right here by the computer, but occasionally I forget to write an idea down. And then of course, I would have to write it legibly enough so that later on, I could actually read it. Regardless. I did finally remember so here we go.
So what happened was, back about a month ago, when I was still sick with that nasty cold/virus/whatever it was, I had a dental appointment. It was for just a regular six month check up but since I was snotty and coughing and kind of gross, I thought it would more considerate for me to reschedule the appointment for another time.
I snuffled and sneezed, coughed and croaked through the phone call so it was apparent to even the most obtuse individual what sort of sick I was. To my surprise, they had no problem with me still coming to my appointment. Interesting. And when I showed up, I actually told them how surprised I was.
In return they told me that with all of their shields and gloves and masks, they felt confident that they were protected. Additionally it's the sort of office where they space appointments out beautifully. There is almost never anyone else in the waiting room when I show up and I never have to wait more than a minute or two to go in. They run on time.
Okey dokey then. Let's do this thing. I took every sort of cold medicine that I had on hand before I showed up, something for the cough, something for the congestion and something for the drippy nose. I was as ready as I possibly could be.
The six month check up is usually a pretty quick appointment, especially if you have no particular problems and I did not. I expected to be in and out, quickquick. It turned out that I was due for x-rays. I absolutely hate having the x-rays done. I know they are important, so I endure it. but I despise the process.
Those little hard carboardy things they put in your mouth for each shot? Yeah, well I don't know about you, but they do NOT fit properly in my mouth. No matter how carefully placed, no matter how hard the hygienist tries, no matter how helpful and obedient I am, the damned things cut up the inside of my mouth. They also move around because while I understand that I am supposed to bite down on them to hold them in place, they are too big for my mouth so there is nothing for me to bite down on! We all, the dentist, the hygienist and me, we all understand the issues and we take a deep breath and we work it through as best we can.
But on this particular day, we had an extra degree of difficulty. There was something about this cold/virus/whatever that upped my gag reflex from "level strong but manageable if I concentrate" to "trigger happy and out of control". Every time that bit of x-ray origami came anywhere near my back teeth I gagged. Severely. Intensely. Dangerously. And she would stop and withdraw it and wait. And I would calm myself, take another breath and say, "ok let's try again" and she would try again and it would happen again, and again, and again. It took forever to finally get those xrays done. I was exhausted. Well I was sick so I started out tired. Therefore, it was not a long drive to get from sick and tired to really and truly exhausted.
Eventually the cleaning was done and the dentist came in to review my x-rays and give me her own once over. Well it turns out there was an old cracked filling that showed up on those doggone x-rays. She showed me the picture and yupyup there it was clear as a bell. She strongly suggested that we take care of that ASAP. You know, before the pieces started falling out. She was right. It did need to be taken care of before it was an emergency. And we all know that if it happened, it was going to happen either on a weekend, at night or on Christmas Day. Because that is how that works.
I told her that as soon as I was over my illness, I would book the appointment. She said she had no problem taking care of it immediately. As in two days later. Really? You aren't afraid to contract this....whatever it is? She was not worried about it. Well I guess if you aren't worried, I am not worried. Ok. Let's get this done!
So two days later, still coughing and sneezing and raspy of voice and juicy with all sort of gross snotty stuff, I resumed my spot in her chair and they went to work. She is an excellent dentist and her assistant is equally awesome. Professional, thorough and kind. All the sorts of things you want your dentist to be. But it took longer than I anticipated. Again.
And while the cough medicine was fairly effective initially, about thirty minutes in, I could feel it. That urge to cough. It sat there in my chest, swelling, clogging up my throat, tickling the back of my tongue.
The dentist and her assistant had both hands, many tools and at least half a bale of cotton in my mouth. I was lying nearly flat on my back with that bright light in my eyes and a bib clipped around my neck. There was no way that I could cough.
But my body wanted to. It wanted to cough so badly that my chest hurt, I was back to gagging a little bit and I fought it. I fought it hard. I tried to think about other things. To distract myself, I listed the states in alphabetical order. I tried (and failed) to remember the periodic table of elements. I concentrated on my toes. I did the math times tables from way back in what, fourth grade? I tried to remember all of the verses to "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly". I thought about oceans and rivers and capital cities. But finally the moment came when it was cough or strangle. I had no choice. I could no longer resist.
I raised my left hand, like a kid asking permission to leave the classroom to pee. Immediately both the dentist and her assistant leaned back. I struggled to try to sit up. "Do you need to cough?" she asked me as tears were running down my face in my effort to Not Cough. I nodded. She removed the half bale of cotton from my mouth and said, "go ahead". Oh my! I didn't just cough. I COUGHED and coughed and coughed. It was a coughing spasm that seemed as if it would never end.
I attempted to do what we are taught. I tried to cough into my elbow. But the doc and doc assist both gently moved my arm back down. They really didn't want me to mess with the work already done. And honestly, half way through, the last thing you want is to have to start over! But it felt downright rude to just be coughing out into the air of the room without at least attempted to keep the germs to myself.
At long last it was done. I gasped for air and slumped back into the chair. The doc asked? "you ok?" I nodded unable to speak. "Read to finish up?" I nodded again and they both went back to work.
In the end, the doc apologized for a teensy almost invisible bruise on my lower lip where I somehow got pinched by a piece of equipment. And I apologized in return for coughing all over them both. We agreed that it was an even trade.
We all survived, thank goodness. But I think if ever again I should have a cold/virus/whatever on the same day that I have a dental appointment I will simply reschedule regardless of their laissez faire attitude about germs.
As is most of life, it was a lesson learned.
January 06th, 2020
I doubt if it's still part of current vernacular, but in the olden days, when I was young and dinosaurs still walked the earth, if one person was being annoying, another person might tell them to "take a hike".
Because I was a clumsy kid and was forever crashing into things and hurting myself, rather than cry about whatever minor injury I had, I "walked it off". When the boys were young and in sports I heard their coaches tell them the same thing in the same circumstances, "walk it off kid".
I remember a cave tour that we were on where every single time the group was moved from "room" to "room" within the cave the guide would preface the beginning of a change with "...and we are walking." If you want a word with your very busy boss, they might tell you to "walk with me".
I recall some popular British lady who taught people how to properly train their dogs. She referred to walking your dog as "walkies" said in a high pitched, two toned, almost baby-talk way. Made me giggle every time I heard it.
Something very simple is considered to be a "walk in the park". Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee introduced the rest of the world to the concept of going "walkabout" and Dustin Hoffman famously ad-libbed, "I'm walking here!" in the movie Midnight Cowboy.
So the idea of walking is pretty firmly ensconced in our lives. But there was a time when there was a strong belief that Humans were becoming so lazy that they would stop walking entirely. At the beginning of the industrial evolution things were changing very fast and life was becoming physically easier and it was just too must for a lot of people to wrap their brains around. And then when the automobile was not only introduced to the world but embraced, especially by the American culture, older generations feared that moving forward people would simply stop walking and eventually forget how. Some science Fiction authors grabbed that idea and had people evolving into limbless creatures that were solely cerebral in nature, developing telekinesis and perhaps even teleportation instead.
And of course that has not happened.
People still walk. Some as a means of exercise, others as their primary mode of transportation, especially in big cities.
I've always been a walker. I think better when I'm moving and I love being outside. Tim is becoming more of a walker these days too. Nearly every day, around noon, instead of taking a lunch break, we take a walk break. If I'm not home, he walks it by himself (and probably appreciates a little peace and quiet while doing so).
So on New Years Day, when I said, "It's too pretty of a day too stay inside. Let's take a walk" Tim immediately put on his shoes and off we went.
We had no particular destination, but rather than head to the beach, as we usually do, for absolutely no reason, we found ourselves pointed toward the intercoastal waterway instead.
Venice island is an island instead of a peninsula only by virtue of this body of water. On one side of Venice Island we are bordered by the gulf of Mexico but to our east is a portion of the intercoastal waterway. That's it. One side and the other. There are three bridges that arch from Venice island to the rest of the city, a North Bridge, also known as the KMI Bridge. The Center Bridge also called the Venice Avenue Bridge and the south bridge A.K.A. the Circus Bridge. The Intercoastal is flanked on both sides by a paved trail called the Venetian Waterway Trail. That became the path for the beginning of our adventure.
Because we live on the north end of the island, the KMI Bridge is the closest one. Once we got to the north bridge, we crossed and began walking along the off-island side.
It was an absolutely gorgeous weather day. Not too hot or too cold with a nice breeze and perfect, absolutely perfect temperatures. So naturally we weren't the only people out there. Lots of bicyclers and other walkers also thought it was a gorgeous day to be out in. And the boaters, oh my, they were out in force! Boats of every size, shape and kind. From kayaks to speed boats to fishing boats to sail boats..... they were legion.
We waved to the people in the boats as we walked along, pointed out interesting things to each other and talking about whatever crossed our minds. We exchanged wishes of Happy New Year with almost everyone we passed. and eventually reached the south bridge.
Because neither of us thought to bring our phones, we had no idea what time it was. And since we had no idea how long we would be walking we didn't think to bring water either so the decision was made to cross back over to the island and stopped at one of the many parks along the way to make good use of the water fountain before continuing our little journey.
The entire walk was such a pleasure that we were shocked when we got home to find out how much time had passed. We pretty much killed the entire afternoon! Tim later told me that he mapped it out and we had walked about 7 and a half miles. Awesome!
Suffice it to say that I do not think the human race is in danger of forgetting how to walk. The naysayers of the past were so very wrong. At least about this.
Here are some of the things that we saw on our New Year's Day Walk
How did you spend your New Years Day?
January 03rd, 2020
There are all sorts of accomplishments. Big 'A' Accomplishments like getting a promotion or buying a house. And little 'a' accomplishments like managing to eat a spaghetti dinner without getting any sauce on your white shirt. Some folks might strut a bit over a big 'A'... hey, if you win a gold at the Olympics you have earned some serious strutting rights. The small 'a' stuff is more a thing of personal recognition. Both are genuine positives, just one is a much bigger deal than the other. I don't think anyone would really argue with me about this.
But I think that there should be a mid-level of accomplishment. Not the sort of thing that you quietly notice to yourself but also not the sort of thing that people brag about either. Further, I believe that most of our accomplishments lay quietly in the middle, unrecognized for their significance. And I think that is a shame.
I thought about this recently.
The above photo is my kitchen sink. I have this awesome porcelain farm house sink that is massive! I just adore it. From the very beginning of the reno, I knew that was the sink I wanted. It was, in fact, the very first thing I chose. The faucet, however, I didn't put nearly as much thought into. I knew I wanted that brushed nickel, non-shiny surface and something easy to clean that had a sprayer. Left the field wide open there. Tim suggested that particular faucet and I said, "sure fine". Because that is exactly how I felt about it. There wasn't another faucet that I was lusting after. I felt very Meh about faucets in general. As long as it had a sprayer, was non-shiney and wasn't elaborate in design making it hard to clean, I honestly didn't care what it looked like.
To my surprise I also ended up with something I had given even less thought about - a soap dispenser. I just never considered one. But Tim was certain that I would end up really loving it and since it seemed to be important to him and I honestly didn't care, I now have a kitchen soap dispenser. And it turns out, Tim was right. I really do appreciate the ease of use with it. And the fact that I don't have a bottle of Dawn sitting on my kitchen counter all of the time ever at the ready.
However, the dispenser is not a bottomless well of dishsoap. Nope. Eventually comes the time when it must be refilled and that, my friends, is major pain in the arse. First I have to take off the pump . And it will want to drip everywhere because of course there is still some soap in it. So I must think ahead and have a place to set it down that is OK to then have completely saturated with dishsoap. I chose the sink itself.
Next I had to take everything out from under the sink. Fortunately, I already was smart enough to keep everything in a plastic bin. Well everything except the fire extinguisher.
Ok, so I removed the bin on the right side and then I crawled underneath the sink to lay on my back unscrew the dispenser. And by the way, , it's not at all comfortable to lay underneath the sink. It's about six inches off the floor so my back is arched the entire time in a very unnatural, awkward and exceedingly uncomfortable manner. It is absolutely a task that your body encourages you to finish quickly. But it also requires a delicate touch that means going slower than you really want to.
Next up is actually unscrewing the bottom of the dispenser. Because my sink is ENORMOUS, there is a rather smallish space where the dispenser fits. And because I am lying down at this point, it is also above my head.
Okey dokey. At this point I must unscrewed it and then crawl out from under the sink making sure to keep the bottle level. I do not want to have to clean up spilled dishsoap after all. Cleaning up dishsoap is a battle that feels as if it will never end.
Now then, normally I actually do realize that the remaining dishsoap in the tube is now going to dripdripdrip unless I remember to put something down to catch it. And on this particular occasion of course I forgot. Dang!
But before I discovered that I forgot to do that, I refilled the dispenser and poised myself to crawl back under the sink to screw it back in and found the puddle of dishsoap. Ratz! Stopped to clean it up. Then once again, I must crawl back underneath being very careful to not spill.
Now comes the trickiest part. Threading the bottle part back into place without being able to see what I'm doing. I am absolutely flying blind this entire time. The first couple of dozen times, it took so long to find the sweet spot that my arm went to sleep and I had to take a break before achieving success. This time, however, and for the very First Time, I nailed on the first try. Woohoo!
I crawled back out with the biggest smile on my face! I put the bin-o-stuff back under the sink, closed the door, replaced the pump and did a victory lap around the kitchen! I just felt so very, well, accomplished is the word. For me it was quite the achievement.
Now I fully recognize that for some people, successfully refilling and replacing the dishsoap dispenser in their kitchen is cake. No big deal. A breeze! But for me, it was akin to getting an A in 4th semester Algebra (which never happened by the way).
In celebration I had a dish of ice cream. It was, afterall, a mid-level achievement and deserved some sort of recognition. After I polished off my ice cream, I squirted dishsoap into the bowl to wash it and basked in the glow of my success.
January 02nd, 2020
Isn't this the coolest thing? Eternity photos. That is kind of how I imagine eternity to be. Just the same thing over and over, on and on.... oh wait, that's kind of creepy actually. Give me a minute to shake that off.
Last weekend Tim and I went to some model homes, (as we sometimes do) and in one of the houses, just past the entry hall (or foyer if you prefer) was a wide intersecting hallway - a gallery (ahem) - that ran the entire width of a very wide house. If you looked to the right or to the left the terminus had a wall bearing an enormous mirror.
Tim was the one who pointed it out to me. I was doing my transitional thing. Any time I step into a new-to-me environment, I have to just stop a moment to adapt to a new space. It's only just a few seconds but it's essential to my being. I seek out the biggest immediate room and just stand there for a few seconds, getting accustomed to a new space. Tim, on the other hand, adapts as he goes. He is always completely aware of his surroundings whether they are new to him or not.
He stopped me just as I was about to move forward into the living room and pointed to my right....Hey look there are a zillion of me! Then he pointed to my left...Hey look there are a zillion more of me! Oh wait, that's way to many of me! The world is NOT ready for that!
This particular development had 6 or 7 houses to visit which is kind of like hitting the motherlode. Lately, if lucky, there might be one or two and those two are virtually identical. Bah. That's not what we are looking for! I don't want to see the same thing I've already seen over and over! Give me something new and interesting and....wow! I'm kind of demanding considering that visiting model homes is really just free entertainment for us.
We aren't looking for a new house. At least not at the moment. With us, one never knows. But even though this model home perusing is strictly for entertainment purposes, we treat it seriously. We ask questions, we read the information, and we discuss what we do and do not like about each model. I guess we are like restaurant critics in a way. Except we are nicer about it than most of them.
So this particular neighborhood of models homes was interesting. We liked the neighborhood (at a 15 minutes drive from the nearest beach it was too far from the water for our liking but otherwise, it was nice). The house designs and floor plans were a little different than most of what we see, so we liked that as well. We have an appreciation for unique design even when it wouldn't suit us personally.
But, as we assumed, none of the houses was exactly right for us. I mean, even if we were in the market for a new home. Which we are not. For example, one of them, which was otherwise very nice, had an office so small I'm not sure Tim's desk would have fit. When a person works from home, their work space absolutely must suit their needs. No way around it.
And that's how it went as we walked in and out of each home, looking at every room, every closet, each bathroom and all of the cabinetry. I admire unique backsplashes and diss ugly countertops. We came up with ideas to "improve" various designs here and there. Sometimes I didn't care of the decor but other times I greatly admired it. We went out onto back patios and sat around beautiful model home pools for a few moments to discuss each house before moving on to the next. Oh yeah, we have a system.
And all was well. We were having a really good time doing what we do. And then we got to the last house. My Oh My! It was visually a stunner with a side load 3-car garage and a huge front porch. I do love a nice big porch.
There was a lovely entry with that crazy gallery and two living spaces - both a living room and a family room- which is something we adore. The kitchen was amazing. It even had my all time favourite oven doors (the ones that open like two french doors instead of the one big door that comes forward). The master bedroom was generously proportioned with great light, two nice big closets and near-perfect master bath.
The guest bedrooms each had their own bathroom - and that is a lovely thing to be able to offer your guests and the office space was about as good as it ever gets.
And then I did it. I said the words that jinxed everything. I said, 'Oh my Goodness! This house is us! It's perfect! It's amazing! I could see us in this house!" (except the part where it's too far from the beach). I kept walking around the house. I stood in the kitchen looking out to the stunning pool & patio and the lake beyond it. I imagined myself baking at the enormous island. We sat on the various sofas in the living and family rooms. I mentally walked through an ordinary day using closets and cabinets and drawers. I was imagining our taste in furniture in each of the rooms, our artwork on the walls, our selections of paint colours, flooring and countertops. It was so very "us"! It was kind of exciting.
And then it happened. Hey wait a minute. Where is the laundry room? I don't remember seeing one, did you? There must be one here somewhere.
We found it and it was awful. It was an afterthought. As if the designer, at the very end realized, "Oh crap! I forgot to put in a laundry. What do I do? Oh wait, I know, I'll shove a washer and dryer into the hallway that goes to the garage. Done".
It was so narrow that there was no way anyone could get past the appliances with a laundry basket without turning sideways. There was no place to fold clothes. Two hastily installed (really that is exactly what it looks like - the work of Last Minute Louie) neither of which I could reach, and a washer and dryer squeeeeeeeeezed into a narrow hall that I suspect was supposed to have an inglenook instead. Ooops.
And although we kept trying to work out a way to fix the problem.....nope. Dang. So Close! Turns out what I thought might be our perfect house, wasn't. I'm not asking for much here people, just a useable, functional laundry room! Yeesh! Oh well. Close but no cigar.
Then the day was done and we came back to our adorable teensy little cottage of a house and we were happy once again ;)
Hope 2020 has been awesome for you so far! Hugs all 'round.
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.