I ended up spending a significant period of time yesterday cleaning out upper closet shelves. I never know what I'm going to find when I start cleaning out/organizing the depths. This time, the shelf where I keep my purses or handbags or pocketbooks or whatever you call them.
First of all, there are too many of them. How many of these things does any one person need? And why on earth do I have two clutches? And two different straw bags? Time to sort through these and get rid of a few. Maybe you can help me think this through.
The big white one of the left with the colourful squares? Yeah, I didn't buy that one. It was a freebie giveaway that came with.....something.....I don't recall what. I don't actually use that bag very often but when I need it, I'm glad I have it. It's more of a tote bag. So it's good for a quick trip to the beach, something like that. AND it's washable, bonus points. So that one I keep.
The red and black one? That was given to me. A very nice gift. And again, I don't often use it. It's very fancy, schmancy, dressy-uppy and I just do not often have occasion to use it. But when the occasion arises, I'm all set. I have this black dress, you see and normally I would wear black heels with that dress. This purse just looks so good, almost like jewelry with it. Ok, I guess I'll keep that one too. At least as long as I still have the black dress. I promise I'll get rid of the red and black bag when the black dress finally dies a natural death (I've had it for more at least 15 years, but y'know, Little Black Dress and all. It's a classic).
One of those straw bags is a backpack. That occasionally comes in handy. There are times when I prefer to be hands-free. Actually, most of the time. I'm not even really a purse carrying kind of girl. Anytime I can get away with not carrying one at all, I do. But there are times when I need to carry a stupid purse and when I must, well, a backpack purse is a nice alternative. I've had this purse probably as long as the black dress and it's still in really good shape. No if I get rid of this one, then I have to buy a different backpack purse. I may as well keep this one.
The black and brown one. It's the newest purse I have. Tim bought it for me a couple of years ago. It was a great purse for work. It has two different compartments, both zippys, it's not too big, not too small, and looks kind of business dress sharp. I'm not working right now. But I do occasionally look at Indeed.com and if a job pops up that I really want and I get it, I still have to dress the part. No, for now I should keep this one, the same way I'm keeping my work clothes for now. Should the day come when I am positive that I'm not going to be seeking employment again, then this purse, all the blazers and dress trousers and most of the heels will go. For now, they stay. Just in case.
The butterysoft brown leather one is the one I actually use the most on a day to day basis. I originally bought it to be a purse that I used when I traveled. I can wear it either over one shoulder or cross-bodied, it has endless little compartments, it has a huge capacity for stuff and is just so softysoft. When we travel not only can I put all my normal purse things in it (which is actually very little) but also a sweater, a kindle, a regular book, snacks, a bottle of water, and anything Tim needs me to carry for him. Why I'm now using it on a regular basis? That part I don't know. I probably should switch over to the other straw bag. But even then, I'll need the big brown leather one for travelling so I need to keep this one.
Which is probably why I keep the other strawbag. I don't always want to carry a backpack purse. Sometimes, just a regular purse will do. And it's spring now, probably time to put away such a winter looking leather bag. So I guess I need to keep the other strawbag too. And to switch over to it. It's not my favourite purse, but it works and certainly looks more springy and summery.
Now to consider the clutches. Well the silvery one I bought specifically for youngest child's wedding. I probably won't be wearing that dress again, which means I probably don't need those shoes or that purse. Although come to think of it, I have worn the dress, the shoes and carried the purse at a supernice Christmas party, so the possibility does exist that I might use it again. And the little black clutch? Yeah that is really are more for evening wear. We very rarely go out fancy in the evening. Just doesn't come up much in our lives. Florida is a very casual place. Even when we go out some place nice for dinner, it's not THAT kind of fancy. On the other hand, if something super fancy shows up on the calendar, I would have nothing that I could use. And black goes with everything so no matter what I wear, it would still work. Maybe I should hold on to it all, a bit longer, just in case. One never knows! If a super fancy situation showed up and I had gotten rid of the dress, the shoes and purse, well, I'd just have to go out and buy new. See, I'm saving money this way.
So ratz, I got rid of exactly none of them.
But you know what I'm noticing here? It's how boringly neutral most of these purses are. I was with my sister not long ago when she bought a new purse. It's a gorgeous turquoise colour, a bright pop of Wow. And then she got a new wallet with white, yellow, pink and turquoise colours to go with it and I just loved what she chose. It's just so perfect for her.
I didn't always have such boring coloured bags. When we lived in Colorado, the very first winter, I was underwhelmed with how dull winter looks when there is no snow on the ground. No leaves on the trees, the grass is dormant and looks dead and well there is not a great lot of colour on most of the buildings either. Let me just say that the colour beige is greatly over represented where we lived in Colorado. And I guess my eyes were starved for colour because in the time we lived there I had purses that were orange, fuchsia and a coral and white one. Colour! In college I owned one purse. It was a hobo bag that looked like a quilt made of many colours of suede squares. I loved that bag.
I think what I've learned here is that instead of getting rid of any of these bags, I need an new one. With colour!
Ok that task went well. Thanks for all your help!
No water again today. My faucets are all very sad. They sit idle and unfulfilled.
We did have advance notice. When I got home from another City Council meeting on Tuesday, there was a tag on the door, "Boil Water Advisory" it said. Sigh. Here we go again.
Because we knew in advance that the city would be shutting off our water for the day today (and then the 72 -hour boil water thing - so much fun) I washed the cars, did laundry and made certain that all the dishes were caught up, everything was clean yesterday. We woke extra early so that we could both get our showers before shut off. See? Organization and planning.
As I understand it, the town workers are replacing a valve? Some valves? There are valves involved. And meanwhile, bottled water, no flushing, no washing, no doing anything with water involvement today. And it's really astonishing how much of what I do every day involves water! Just the sheer number of times I wash my hands in a twenty-four hour period is crazy. Dang, I should have bought some of that hand sanitizer stuff. Well, I guess I could go get some. It does not require water for me to walk to the store and buy hand sanitizer.
Good, now I have my mission in place. When I get back, I could dust and vaccum. Neither of those require water. And after that, ummm, well, I could, ummmm read?
I guess if I really feel water deprived, I can just take a little walk to the beach. I can frolic in the water all I like and then come home and.........not wash off the salt. Ok, maybe not that. But I'm sure I'll think of something. I think today is going to feel extra long.
But I hope yours is a great one!
We finally made it to Epcot! We have now lived in Florida for nearly a year and it was time that we did what Florida residents do, take advantage of the Florida Resident Disney Discount!
You may recall that when Hurley and Jessie visited, we all went to the Disney Hollywood Studios park and had a great time. That's when we bought our annual pass. We have the offical little wristbands now and everything. Tim's is blue, mine is orange. Cool!
The last time Tim and I were at Epcot was at least 15 years ago. Probably longer. We were tickled to go again and to see visit our old Epcot memories. As soon as we walked in, there was the big old geodesic dome that we both remembered. Just as cool looking as it ever was. And as it turns out, that was about the only thing that was familiar to us. Either Epcot has changed a lot, or both of us are developing memory issues. I am choosing to believe that Epcot has grown and changed.
For starters, there was some special event garden thing going on that was gorgeous! Everywhere we looked were the loveliest gardens. There was even a butterfly pavilion !!
It really was a perfect Disney Day. It was a dab overcast with a prediction of rain, which seemed to have kept some of the crowds away. But the usual relentless sun was not beating down on us and in fact there was a bit of a breeze. All very nice. And while, as I said, there weren't the maddening hordes of people that we feared, there were still a lot of people, all in lines for the rides that Epcot offers. Some of those lines were quite long. We were able to do a few of the rides but we made a note for the next visit, to think ahead and do that Fastpass thing.
I always am a little overwhelmed at first when I'm at Disney or a Disney-like place. So many people, so many buildings, so much to see and hear and smell and so very much to do. I prefer to walk around a little a first and kind of get my bearings. There was a big aquarium there that was pretty awesome, we spent a good deal of time in there. That building did have one ride, something about Nemo. I don't recall the exact name but what the heck, we stood in line for that ride. The line moved fairly quickly and there were interesting things to look at while waiting so that part wasn't too bad.
And now I am going to sound like an old grump. I was rather annoyed to note that once we climbed into our little clamshells (yes clamshells, what a hoot!) and the ride commenced, people did not, for one second, throughout the entire ride stop talking! And not quiet conversation In fact, the conversations around us were so loud and so continual that we couldn't understand all of what the narration was. Some of the conversation was on cell phones. And much of the incessant talking had absolutely NOTHING to do with the ride, Epcot or even Disney! Seriously? Very frustrating. I realize that I'm being petty and I know that the Ride Narration probably wasn't very important, but it's part of the experience, and well I wanted to experience it. All of it. In fact, the overriding noise to chatter was so pervasive that any instructions that the Disney Staff gave was also unheard. I saw lips moving but only heard all the yakyakyakyakyak!! Initially I thought it was just me. After all, I know that my hearing is less than ideal. But Tim, who has better than perfect hearing had the same issues.
As I said, we only went on a few rides (all of them with the constant loud conversations.....crazy!) before we moved on to the countries. That part had a few things that were a little more familiar to us but even then, lots of new stuff to enjoy. Which is awesome. I don't think we had one favourite country there, we enjoyed them all equally! I marveled over the buildings, the food, the shops, the decorations and the entertainment offered for each country. It's like a whirlwind trip around the world.
Here is one photo from (I think) each country. I leave it to you to decide which country each photo represents!
So two Disney parks down and two to go! Actually there were a lot of things we didn't see or do at Epcot on this trip, so I wouldn't mind doing there again too. Other than that one complaint, I have only good things to say about Disney. It's an opportunity for adults to be kids again and kids to be themselves. Easily half of the people we saw wearing some version of "Mickey" ears were adults and it looked perfectly normal. All reality is suspended for a little while. We didn't just travel the globe, we were also under the sea and up in the sky!
The only place we weren't for those few hours, was living our ordinary, boring, normal lives. And that is what makes Disney a place worth going.
What does Sam see at the sea? I mean, what is the big deal anyway? Why do I go there? The sun is hot, I will probably get a sunburn, sand in my shoes and in my shorts and too many people sometimes and the complaints I hear from some people who believe that it smells "funny".
I cannot speak to the smell. It's singular, yes, very specific to the ocean, but it's one of those things that you either like or you don't. I do. It smells of salt and summer and low tide sea creatures. I just love it. If it came in a jar I would have it for breakfast on toast!
But the other reasons, well they are legion! We can start with the size of things. At the ocean, everything seems so big. Soooo much water. Soooo much sky. Soooo much sand. To say nothing of over sized tricycles and the large economy sized lizards. Come on now, that's kind of cool.
Then there is the feeling of welcome at the ocean. The beach and the sea do not care who you are, what kind of car you drive, or what size you wear. It's just glad are you there. The attitude is kind of have a seat, here's an umbrella, relax sort of thing.
And there at so many options of things to do. You can swim, dive, snorkel, fish, sleep, boogie board, surf, parasail, take a walk, look for shells, read or play volleyball. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Oh yeah! The wildlife. Birds mostly, but other critters too. All you have to do is sit and relax and watch it happen all 'round you!
And then of course, the big show. Forget the circus, really it's the sunsets that at the greatest show on earth here. There is a legitimate reason that so many people make their way to the seaside each and every evening. They walk, they drive, they bicycle, they boat west to watch the sun sink into the sea. And every single night, it looks different than the night before. Astounding how many variations there are considering that it's the same place, the same sun, the same water!
I guess in short, I go to the sea, to find me. It's a crazy world. Always noisy and busy and rushing, with too much to do and not enough time. Always being pulled in twelve directions at once, lots of stress and lots of pressure and we are all just trying to make our way through it as best we can.
One of the best ways I can is having a daily dose of the ocean. Vitamin Sea :)
I always have an urge to talk like a pirate when I am at a boat show. Wait, doesn't everyone? It's hard to resist an opportunity for pirate speak but we went to the Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota anyway. Great fun.
It was a gorgeous day, all blue skies, sunshine and just enough breeze that you don't realize that you are getting sunburnt. Perfect boat show weather. And my goodness they had a lot of boats to see. From these very funky paddle boards that have handlebars and are sort of like elipticals in that they have pedals (?) to jet skis to one of the biggest boats in attendance, the seven million dollar yacht Miss B Haven the 6 person crew of which can tend 10 guests at a time. Mercy!
One of my boat requirements is that it have a bathroom, or in "boat-speak" head. Doesn't have to be fancy, but does need to exist. One of Tim's preferences is a catamaran. Neither of us is into fishing so any boat that is specifically designed for catching fish can be eliminated too. And I'm too uncoordinated to properly keep a sailboat upright. So keeping those things in mind, we checked out a lot of different crafts.
One of the things that just tickles me about a boat is how terribly clever the designers are about finding places to put things. There is absolutely zero wasted space. I'm like a little kid prowling around, peeking into spaces, opening everything openable, looking out the various windows, marveling over the charts and all the doo-dads on the console of the pilots chair, pretending we are at sea. One of the questions I always ask myself is, can I walk from the bow to the stern while on the water without falling overboard. If the answer is no, or even probably not, wrong boat.
And it was great fun, but none of them were the right one. It's not like we are ready to buy a boat, understand, but when that day comes we want to already know. We don't want to start our search then, we want to be ready to go buy it then. A word to the wise people, always do your research whether it's a house, a car or a boat!
And then we found this one:
The Endeavour. It's a Trawler Cat. We both love this boat. It has such a lovely spacious, roomy, comfortable, okay you are home now feeling. Okay it's not sleek and sexy. But it's perfect for us. The rooms actually felt like rooms. And so much light! The top deck can be accessed from inside and there is a lot of outside space. (the front and back porch so to speak) Two bathrooms (!) There was absolutely nothing that we would change about this vessel. We were toured by the company owner and his wife, both lovely people that we quite enjoyed.
In fact, we liked it so much, that before we left the show, we came back and walked through it again. We are not yet ready to buy (and have no place to dock it even if we were so there you go, more research!) But when the day comes, we know who we are going to call. I've already been on the web page since we have come home watching the video's and saying, "Yup, that's it". Exciting to think about. We are both hoping the boat buying day comes soon!
Do you want to know a secret about me? Sometimes, when I go to the beach, especially in the evenings when it's quieter and there are fewer people, and if it's a low tide where the soft darker wet sand is exposed, I write notes to my Mother. She grew up by the sea. She was born in the house her father built overlooking the ocean on Water Street in Castine, Maine. He made his living on the sea and they spent their lives in that tiny little postage stamp sized town where the Penobscot River and the Atlantic ocean meet. Needless to say, the ocean was important to my mom.
When my mom passed away, she was cremated as was her wish. We gathered as a family and sprinkled her ashes in the ocean just south of where we live now. It did not occur to me then that in abiding by her choice, there would later be no place to "visit" her. I have stopped by the place where my Dad is interred many times to "visit" him and leave flowers. Afterwards there is always a feeling of connection. Connection and peace. But I did not have a place to find that with my mother.
Honestly, until the first time I went to Patriots Plaza to "see" my Dad about a year after we lost him, I didn't even realize that I needed to find that with my parents. I had no idea how important it was until I could stop by for a chat with him but not with her. It's not as though I believe that my parents at actually present. I realize this is an inner dialogue. But having a specific place designated for that inner dialogue has somehow become important. I had it for my father but not my mother and it was, somehow, another kind of loss.
Until one day, on a whim, when Tim and I had walked to the beach to watch the sunset, as we often do. For some bizarre reason and with absolutely no thought behind it, I drew a heart in the sand, facing the water. I have no idea why I did it, but there it was. Almost immediately the water came up to cover the picture I had drawn and then it was gone. It was as if the tide took the message. And I felt it. That connectedness and peace. There it was.
I know, it's whimsical and silly and nonsensical. And yet, there it is. I cannot deny that it's there. That feeling that I was missing. So now, sometimes, when I walk to the beach in the evening or the very early morning and I have that space to myself, I write a note in the cool, wet sand and wait for the water to come back up and grab the note to deliver it to her.
Oh I fully realize how ridiculous I sound. It's not reasonable or rational, it's not scientific or logical but the thing is, I don't care. It's like wishing on a star or throwing a penny in a fountain or blowing out birthday candles so that your wish will come true. You know, sensibly that there is absolutely no real connection between any of those activities and something that you wish for coming to be, and yet we still blow out those candles.
And so, I will occasionally write those little messages in the sand to my Mother. Nothing earth shattering, just little notes. "Hi Mother", "Thinking of You Today", "I Miss You". It only takes a few moments time to write the note although upside down and backwards writing takes a moment at first and then another moment's wait for the water to retrieve the message.
And then I feel better. Now I will not for one second say that my mother responds. That would be ridiculous. She has been gone for some time. I know for a fact that all of this is my own head stuff. Well and my own heart stuff. But I will tell you that one time, for no particular reason, immediately after writing the note and watching it wash away, I took a picture of myself at the beach. When I saw the photo later, after I had walked back home, I immediately noticed a sparkle over my heart in the picture. Now I'm not saying that was my mother responding. I'm sure it was a reflection of the sun off the camera. It's logical, it's rational and I'm certain that is the fact of the matter. Still, this is one of the few photos of me that makes me smile. And now it makes me think of my Mother too.
Nearly Every Day I walk or bike my way to my favourite beach entrance which happens to be the Chauncey Howard Park Beach Access. Which means I pass the same houses. Oh, there are small differences each day of course. Different flowers blooming, someone painted their house, different car in the driveway, dog outside sniffing things, cat in the window peering out, people to chat with along the way. But I was truly surprised to see this.
805 Ormond St. used to be a very cute little grey house with white trim. It was for sale the very first time we came house hunting in Venice. I guess I was so accustomed to seeing the "For Sale' sign in front of it that I didn't notice when it was gone. Tim and I actually saw the inside of the house once. There was an open house. It was advertised as being two bed/two bath and just over 1000 square feet. It was a dollhouse! Each room was perfect but miniature. I could stand in the middle of the kitchen and touch everything in it. The second bathroom was in the carport so literally, outside. But the house, built in 1953 so the exact same age as I, was adorable though too small for us. The only reason we checked it out at all was the location. 3 houses from the beach. Wow. We tried really hard to figure out a way to make it work for us before deciding against it.
This is how it works on the island. There is limited space and very few lots that aren't businesses, parks or houses already. So people buy houses, tear them down and build anew. You have to bear in mind that even a teensy little older house like this one still had a price tag commensurate with it's proximity to the water. And houses on the island are not cheap, merely by virtue of being "on the island". But it still surprises me every time another house is purchased, torn down and then a new house springs up in it's place.
I did look the original house up on line and was surprised to see that the last time the house was sold was in 1987. So the first owner lived there for 34 years. The second owner had the house for 29 years. And now the third owner had it torn down. Don't misunderstand, please. I'm not saying the new owner should not have torn the house down. Not at all. Remember I saw the inside. It was very circa 1953 and had very few updates since then. And it was so very teensy. Hey, the first thing we did in our house we completely tear out and redo the kitchen. I get it. But it's a little bit sad too.
Maybe it was the little red and white checkered curtains still remaining on the window of the ruined wall that made me sad. Once upon a time, that was the kitchen window. Someone either purchased or made that silly little curtain which doesn't really fit the window anyway, but when they put it up it brightened that ittybitty room and helped to make it feel like home. It still looks pristine, doesn't it. Oddly appears to be freshly washed and ironed which is so out of place in the midst of all the destruction. The other thing that I was curious about:
Someone went out of their way too remove this one door and move it out of harms way when the entire rest of the house has been taken apart, willy nilly. Isn't that odd? I mean it's a great door. Rather handsome in a solid, traditional wood door sort of way. Do you suppose it was saved to be used again in the new house? I would be surprised if that were to be the case. In the vast majority of these "tear it down and rebuild" situations, the houses that go up are very similar to each other in appearance. New, to be sure, up to date, yes indeedy, shiny and sparkling with contemporary do-dads and thing-a-ma-jigs.
Once again, I am not against new homes either. You will note that we had the opportunity to buy this house and passed. It was too small and needed far too much updating inside even for us. What I'm saying is that 95% of the new construction looks exactly the same. Each house is a clone of the other. Right down to the colour of the exterior. And this left behind door does not suit those houses at all. Most new houses here look a lot like this:
This unfinished house is also on a lot where the existing house was torn down. The older houses, while "old" at least have some character. They look different from each other. They are unique, they have character and personality and quirky charm. And they are different colours too. While initially the rainbow of house colours made my eyebrows raise a bit, I'm accustomed to it now and I find it appealing. Instead of tan. Lots and lots of tan on the new houses. Occasionally some rebel paints theirs a pretty ocean-y blue but that's it. 80% tan 20% ocean blue. Two choices, apparently.
I'm happy for the new owners. I'm sure they are very excited about the progress. But I'm also a little sad for the old house. It's been there for 63 years. And now I'm anthropomorphizing a building. Maybe it's the memories that I just know were locked into that structure. In all those years there had to have been a lot of laughter and probably a few tears there. I think about the meals made in that kitchen, the sand swept out the door and picture a family playing Scrabble around the table on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I get silly and romantic notions about a house. Probably because we moved so much when I was growing up. We rented houses, usually, so I grew up comfortable with a house that already has it's own history. I like seeing those little indicators of previous owners, the charm bracelet I found on the top shelf in the back corner of a close, the pencil marks of a child's growth chart on the inside of a closet door, the slightly faded photograph of an unknown couple smiling into the camera..... These are the things you cannot find in a brand new home. Those are the things you end up leaving behind.
I know new memories will be made there in the new house that will be built. But I sincerely hope someone is still cherishing the old ones. Because the house is no longer there to remember.
Happy Easter Yesterday! I hope all ya'll had a lovely holiday and ate at least one Easter Treat that you really enjoyed. Clearly the Easter Bunny stopped by our house. All sorts of yummy choices. And it is a testament to how lousy both of us feel that today that basket is still on the table looking exactly the same as it did yesterday. Nothing in there looks appealing in the slightest.
When I am not feeling well, my first thought is, "Good, maybe I'll loose a couple of pounds". A pretty twisted thing when illness is perceived as a weight loss program, right? I say, illness. It's nothing serious. Just either a cold, or allergies. Probably. Or something along that line. And oddly enough Tim and I both seem to have the exact same thing. I say it's odd, because he just returned from a week in San Diego. I've been here the whole time. So..... if it some contagious germ we both contracted, it had to have been at the same time, either before he left or a weird coincidence where he was exposed to the same germ in California as me here in Florida.
I don't know. Probably just allergies. Still. Only more so. Don't care much either at this moment. That apathy is a symptom. Normally I would care. I know that. Then the usual stuff, congestion, sneezing, coughing, sleepiness..... That's a small section of Snow White's dwarves that we are talking here. Tim is back at his desk working, or at least trying his damnedest to work. And I'll drag my sorry butt through my usual chores. But the odds of me taking a sprightly walk to the beach or a happy bike ride lies somewhere between slim and none.
The coughing is annoying and the sneezing is tissue-worthy and I know that the "I don't care"-itis will pass and the headache is becoming just another way of life that accompanies the fogginess of congestion. Don't ask me anything tricky, like my name. Fighting to stay awake is probably the hardest part. I could, just fall asleep with no problem if I gave myself permission. Of course, immediately thereafter I would wake myself back up coughing, but, I digress.
Suffice it to say, we both feel yucky. We will get better. The blog will be better too. Funny how that works.
Hope all of you are hale and hearty and enjoying your Monday after a 3-day weekend (hope you got one of those too!). Maybe I need to wear a gas mask during the spring months? Now there is a risky fashion choice.
My plan is to feel a whole lot better by tomorrow.
Jams and jellies. Potions and lotions. Whatever you chose to call them, this is the shelf where I keep the stuff that I use to help to keep the ravages of time away. Well, to be fair, time, life, weather, stress and years of M&M consumption. I'm aware that I'm only, at best, slowing down the inevitable. But I'm not ready to throw my hands in the air, say "to hell with it" and throw these products away. Not yet.
I'm grateful that these products are available to me. And like brushing my teeth, I'm in the habit of using them twice every day. Still, using them is, apparently not without risk. Well, not if you are me.
Before you read the rest of this tale, remember that I have an entire lifetime of clumsiness behind me. I am the girl who, as a child, walked smack into a cast iron post at Knotts Berry Farm and knocked myself cold because, I just didn't see it. I've broken so many toes that some of them are now just bone crumbs. I, somehow, am incapable to walking down a hallway without ricocheting off of at least one wall and although I'm rather small I bounce off of every doorframe I walk through. So nobody will be surprised at what happened to me yesterday.
You may have noticed (or maybe not) that I didn't do a blogpost yesterday. Here is that story. I do not look good in this story. Feel free to laugh. To tell the tale properly, I have to back up a little bit. Tim occasionally has to travel for work. This whole week he has been in San Diego. I understand that he has to travel. I support him doing whatever is necessary for his work. But, regardless of all logic, I cannot sleep when he is not home.
The house is too big, it's too empty, it just feels weird and wrong and on top of my usual insomnia, I struggle to sleep even more when he is not here. So, if you do the math, by Thursday (yesterday) I was in major sleep deprivation mode. Totally functional, but silly and clumsier than usual. Now keeping those facts in mind, it's not hard to imagine how I, accidentally, while applying my moisturizer, I somehow managed to stick a finger into my eye. Not just a finger, mind you, but a finger with moisturizer cream all over it. ARGH!
Searing pain. I cannot even describe it properly, but immediately all I could do was sit on the bathroom floor gasping for air. Once I got hold of myself and could think, I stood back up and blindly made my way to the sink to begin flushing my eye with water. After a bit, the pain subsided down to a tolerable level but of course the eye has it's own protection system. It began watering uncontrollably, which is a good thing.
Now I cannot see out of that eye at all at this point and I have a tear flavoured waterfall on my face. There is nothing else really to do so I groped my way back to my bedroom, dressed and then peeped back into the mirror with the one functioning eye. The left eye was swollen shut, the right eye was squinting with, I suppose, sympathy pain. Oh well, I'm sure it will pass. I left the bedroom and went to my computer to begin my day, as per usual, with my blog.
As soon as the computer light came on, the pain intensified again. OK, got it, light sensitive. No lights on, not even the computer light. I left blinds closed, lights off for a few hours and wandered around the house, not able to see on that side. It was an interesting experience.
My depth perception is already poor. Without that left eye it was nearly non-existent. Very Interesting. I found that I actually was able to maneuver around the house better with both eyes closed rather than with just one open, albeit very slowly. I did use my hands to find my way a little but not as much as I thought I would. It was more to orient myself. I'd think to myself, "I'm in the living room" then raise my hand the slightest bit and meet a piece of furniture and think, "Yes that's the sofa on my left so it should be only two or three steps before turning left" . It was fascinating.
As the day went by, my eye got better and by afternoon, although it was still a little tender and light sensitive, I could see again. Today it feels fine. Hurrah! And Tim gets home tonight. Bigger Hurrah!
And that eye has no wrinkles whatsoever!
Deepak Choprah famously said, "There are no accidents, there is only some purpose that we haven't yet understood". Sigmund Freud would have indicated that there was some deep, underlying, subconscious intent to the old finger-in-the-eye trick. Napoleon Bonaparte suggested that, "There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed." But then, in King Fu Panda, Oogway said, "There at no accidents" to which Shifu responded, "Yes I know. You've already said that twice."
All of which teaches me, what? I can find my way around my own house without looking. Ok that's kind of cool. Also, the world will continue to spin without me posting my blog. Good to know. But more importantly, be realllllly careful while applying moisturizer!
Keep that in mind, people. Be smarter than me please! AND, have a wonderful weekend
Shel Silverstein was wrong. THIS is where the sidewalk ends. This is a photo of Harbor Dr just before it becomes Bayshore, the road we live on. Harbor is a very long street. It starts on the southest part of the island, Caspersen Beach and runs, first, North then gently turns West to the sea and then turns once again south and ends at Venice Avenue. Along the way, it changes names multiple times: Habor, Bayshore, Laguna and The Esplanade. But it's all the same street. Half of those different names are, apparently, sidewalk-worthy, half are not. Bayshore is not. See, if I turn and take a photo in the other direction at this intersection......
NO sidewalk. I'm sure you saw the intersecting street sign. Tarpon (which is a kind of fish by the way) is the line of demarcation. On the south side, sidewalk, on the north side, no sidewalk. We noticed this shortly after we bought the house, (and isn't it funny what a person doesn't notice?) and wondered about why the sidewalk ended, but we had other things on our minds at the time.
When we first moved it, in June, it was during the sleepy part of the year. Very few tourists and almost no snowbirds. The population is noticeably smaller during the summer which means less traffic. Well, and, it's hotter outside, way more humid too, so fewer people are out walking or biking during the day. We really did not consider the lack of sidewalk as anything more than another quirky island curiosity.
Until a couple of months passed and we went out in the early morning air to bring in our newspaper only to find our brand new mailbox smashed to smithereens. The bits and pieces of were strewn up and down the road in front of our house. I wondered what on earth happened until I also found somebody's sideview mirror in the midst of the rubble. It was disheartening. Obviously someone, driving much too fast somehow swerved into our mailbox. All we could think was, at least it happened at night. If it had been during the day...well..what if someone had been walking past our house at that time. What a shame that there is no sidewalk.
Well, Tim replaced the mailbox (again) and a few more months went by. The weather cooled down a bit, the humidity settled down a lot and the traffic, or all sorts, picked up. Suddnly, there were a lot more people on our road. Some on bikes, some on foot, other in golf carts, on skateboards, in delivery or work trucks and of course, cars. It's a narrow road, with little to no shoulder and all of those various sorts of traffic are having to share the same space. As long as everyone is considerate about it, there should be no problem, right?
The fact of the matter is, that not everyone is considerate. There are the cars and trucks that completely ignore the 25 MPH signs and come flying through our little island rods. There are the vehicles of all sorts who cannot seem to decide which lane they want to be in. Honestly folks, there are only two lanes. Pick one. Preferably the one you are supposed to be in, please.
Of course then there are the trucks of all sorts, delivery trucks, work trucks, city trucks that have no option other than to park in front of people's houses, which in this case, completely block one lane. And I musn't forget the bicyclers! The novices who wobbly all over the road, or the ones who travel in packs and pedal sometimes 3 across, again completely filling a lane, but I suppose at least are moving. And the variety of bikes! Regular bikes, tandem bikes, recumbent bikes, giant tricycles; they take up space on the roads (and bear in mind I ride my bike here too, so I'm just as guilty) And those absolutely silent street legal golf carts that sneak up on a person! Yikes! Then there is the occasional adrenal junkie skateboarder whizzing along down the freakin' middle of the road drives me crazy!
Now add to this mix, the people on foot. And I'm one of them! I'm either biking or walking 99% of the time if I'm on the road. Pedestrian traffic is huge here. It's a gorgeous place to walk but when there is no side walk, people are walking in the street. Sometimes good sized groups of people who, due to their groupo size are primarily in the road, or the families with those giant baby carriages, definitely in the road, people walking their dogs or their kids, or both! On the rare occasion when I'm driving somewhere on island, it has occurred to me more than once that it's like driving a slalom course.
I think it's awesome that there is such a wide variety of ways to get wherever people want or need to be here on our adorable little island. Honestly I do. But, especially during "the season", that's a lot of traffic of all sorts. And particularly when there are no sidewalks to remove at least one element, that is to say, pedestrians, from the road congestion equation.
And all of the preceding blahdeblahblah was to explain that yesterday, a good sized group of people from my neighborhood, including me, went to town hall to speak about our need for a sidewalk. Many of us, once again including me, got to speak, present our case, as it were. All of the stories were a little different, personal. But we were all united on one thing. It's not safe to walk on our own road. People have sadly been injured, one poor soul tragically had her pet run over while on it's leash! It's not just a matter of "loss of mailbox" as in my case. We were listened to very intently. The town council has promised to take our concerns to heart. We shall see what happens, I suppose.
I am happy that we live in a place where the citizens can go before the people in charge and explain how we feel, tell them what we want and why and even happier that they listened respectfully to what we each had to say. I want to be hopeful but I have an inherent distrust of politicians, sorry to say. So I don't know if their encouraging words were just the typical quackquackquack of any governing body or is this something they will actually consider? I am dubious.
But I sincerely hope that they prove me wrong.
Today is going to be an interesting day. For several reasons. First, I need to be at town hall this morning before 8:45 because I'm attending a town council meeting and I plan to speak at said meeting. Secondly, because I was very concerned about being sure I would wake in time I actually set my tablet alarm clock for 6 am. Plenty of time, no rushing. And lastly, today will be interesting because while I clearly set the alarm for 6 am, it went off at 4 am. I have no idea why that happened. The alarm went off. I got up, showered, dressed, did my hair, walked past a clock and went......"what? it's only 5 o'clock?"
Well, in and of itself, this it not a big, fat hairy deal. I woke up extra early., so what. Well, the thing is, you see, I didn't fall asleep until some time after 2:00am. So I am operating on about 2 hours sleep here. Which, is also not that big of a deal. But the same thing happened the night before that. And the night before that. You see a pattern emerging here.
If you know me well, you might already know that I have never been a good sleeper. Even as a little kid, I can remember laying awake, but pretending to be asleep for hours. It did not get better as I got older and in fact, has probably only gotten worse. I try to not make a big thing about it because, well, that certainly won't help the situation. And I know that, eventually, I will sleep. One night, hopefully soon, I will crash hard and sleep through the entire night and in the morning I will feel like a new woman. One who is actually fully awake. It is a glorious thing when it happens.
I'm not one of those people who is cranky when they don't get enough sleep. I'm fine. Fortunately, I seem to operate pretty well on less snooze time than most people. And when I get really tired, I just get silly. Odd things make me laugh and sometimes once I start giggling, I have a hard time stopping. Which makes everyone around me start laughing too. It's not a bad thing at all. But, you know, I would like to be taken seriously at this meeting, so nobody make me laugh, okay?
So, I reckon we shall see how the day goes. As long as I don't trip over my big feet walking to the microphone this morning, I think I'll be okay. And the rest of the week, I'll just wake up, when I happen to wake up and not rely on an obviously flawed system with my tablet alarm clock (that was so weird). And maybe tonight will be the night that I sleep. Meanwhile, it will be an interesting day. I've read that there is an ancient curse, "May you live in interesting times." Not sure I agree with that being a curse. Living in boring times would be worse, I think. Then, good. If nothing else, today will not be boring.
I hope your day is not boring!
So, all of this is in our pantry now. And apparently I have to remember to keep it this way. I'm not a big fan of bottled water which is probably why it wasn't on my radar. There are things I buy fairly regularly at the grocery store. Water isn't one of them. Our new town does recycle, which is awesome, but I really try to keep our plastic consumption to a minimum. Save the planet and all that. Hey, it's important!
But having potable water is also important. Water is one of the things humans have to have to survive. And the fact that I never really gave having good water reliably available just proves that I truly am a product of this modern age. Of course I have good water. We have a terrific filtration system in our refridgerator and it's accessible from the door. Ice, both cubes and crushed and water, cold and yummy right there.
Until Saturday evening. We had just finished dinner and I was cleaning up. Tim was outside getting ready to take his new bike out for a spin (no pun intended) when both of our phones and the house phone went off at the same time. I have learned that here when that happens it is an alert of some sort. It was a gorgeous evening, mid-70's and sunny so I was pretty sure it wasn't a weather related thing. Turns out a primary water main had broken so all water to the island had been shut off until it was repaired.
Ok. No worries. Tim always has some bottled water in his car and there was a full pitcher of iced tea in the fridge. We won't die of thirst. Still, Tim jumped in the car and off he went to the grocery store for a little more water. He said the place was a madhouse but he was able to buy some and head back home. Meanwhile, I did a little more reading and learned that once the line was repaired, we still couldn't use to water, without boiling it, for 72 hours. So 3 days without using the water in the tap. Hmmmm
Initially, it doesn't sound like a big deal. Then I got to thinking, what about using the dishwasher. We eat off those plates, drink out of those glasses so does the water in the dishwasher get hot enough to cancel out whatever germs or microbes or whatever it is that we are boiling water because of? Once the line was repaired, which happened in the wee hours of the morning, we were allowed, once again to flush toilets, use washing machines and take showers but before ingesting we are supposed to boil the water.
Sounds simple enough doesn't it. But boil for how long? Had to look that up. And then of course it has to cool down and can't use the ice cubes, it's made with the same water. Dang! So I emptied the cubes in the ice maker which I will have to continue doing for the next three days. What else? Well, what about making Tim's coffee? That water boils in the process of making the coffee. Do I have to boil it first and then put it in the machine? Or is what the machine does sufficient. And forget making pasta. Do I boil it before bringing it to a boil to make pasta? Don't forget teeth brushing! Can't use tap water for that either!
It's all very confusing. But I do now know, that we should always have bottled water on hand in case of hurricanes or tornadoes or floods that could prevent us from having clean water. And now I've added possible water main breakage to the list of potential calamaties. Geez.
Well it's been real fun. Not a major deal, more a minor inconvenience. And a learning experience. Keep bottled water on hand despite my aversion to the entire concept of bottled water. Got it!
Oh, and recycle the empties too.
We all see the world differently. We have different likes and dislikes. We have different opinions, different ideas and different favourite flavours of ice cream. And this is a good thing. What a boring world it would be if we all exactly alike.
But I sometimes have to laugh at myself and how differently I am seeing the world than even I realize. Last Sunday, Tim and I went to Historic Spanish Point which is a living history museum near us. I dig museums in a really big way, any museum, but living history museums in particular so I was excited to go. I read all of the signs, listened to all of the tour information and enjoyed every minute of our time there. But days later, when I looked at the photographs, I was surprised at what I chose to capture.
The above photo is probably the most traditional photo I took. This is the pergola in the restored formal sunken garden on the site of what, at one time, was the winter home of Mrs. Potter Palmer. It really is lovely there. Apparently Mrs. Potter Palmer was seriously into gardening because before her death in 1918, she created or caused to be created (I can't imagine that she was actually out there digging in the dirt herself) quite a number of gardens on the estate.
Bertha, that is, Mrs. Potter Palmer, was a very wealthy woman with vision. So much so that in 1910 she recognized an undeveloped paradise in Florida and before her death she had acquired more than 80,000 acres of land which ultimately became Sarasota County.
Fortunately she was also a fan of preserving history because there were a number of other charming even older buildings on the museum site. As lovely as Mary's chapel is, these are the only photos I took:
Before Mrs. P Palmer "discovered" the area, a homesteader named John Webb brought his wife Eliza and their 5 children to the area. He named the area Spanish Point and then settled onto ten acres and worked the land. They shipped their citrus and other crops from their packing house from their dock which I've managed to capture in photographs as:
I'm certain that those two photographs really illustrates who they were and how they lived. NOT! I have no idea what runs through my mind sometimes. How did those two photographs end up being the only two I took there?
There were other buildings. For instance, the Guptill House. Frank and Lizzie Guptill built boats and took in boarders in their lovely home which looked out over the water, until Mrs. Palmer bought their land as well. She did keep the house and renamed it Hill Cottage. This is the photo I took of that historic home:
Of course, as is the usual way, most history books neglect to mention the people that lived here before the Webbs, Guptill's and Potter Palmer's arrived. But not Spanish Point. They are quick to tell of the prehistoric past. There is evidence of ancient people living in the area dating from 3000 BC to 1000 AD! Very cool stuff! Oh yeah, great photo from then too. Here you go:
Oh that's perfectly clear. No it's not. The photo was taken on top of a Shell Midden, that is an ancient rubbish pile that is so tall it actually looks like a hill. It's the layers within the Midden that reveals to the archaeologists the lives of the people who lived before. Which makes me wonder who future archaeologists will think of us. Hmmmmmm.
Interestingly, to me anyway, is that ancient era ended at about 1000 AD and then it seems that no one else lived in the area until the mid-1800's. So for a very long time, the area was pristine, untouched and unsullied. And then homesteaders grew fruit trees, families took in boarders and Potter Palmers planted gardens. I took a few other garden photos:
There was also a butterfly garden that was breathtaking; the colour, the fragrance, the many, many birds and butterflies were just amazing. And I actually took a lot of photos there. Not one damned butterfly appears in a single photograph. So I'm over it.
Well I surprised myself I guess. And I had a good laugh. I think the next time we go somewhere, I should be more deliberate in my photo subject choices as opposed to the instinctual and random method I clearly am now employing.
Surprise yourself this weekend! I hope you give you a chuckle. And then tell me all about it.
'Til next week then, have fun and be safe!
Tim got a new bicycle. This is it above. A handsome devil indeed. It came in the cardboard box behind it and had to be put together. The tools he used are in the turquoise kit on the floor behind the back wheel. A couple of thoughts have run through my head since then.
First of all, can I properly express how impressed I am that Tim can construct a bike from pieces without instructions? Seriously, wow! I had trouble "constructing" our Christmas tree which actually had instructions and only 4 pieces - the base and 3 tree sections.
Second, when it was delivered the other day, my first thought was, "How cool is that? You can order a bicycle online!" Then I laughed at myself realizing that seriously, almost anything can be purchased online nowadays.
Third was to chastise myself about the second thought. Purchased items arriving through the mail (or in this case UPS) is not a new concept. The only thing new about it is the "online" element. Mail order itself is a very old idea.
I don't even remember where I found these, but I've had them for a long time. They aren't originals, they are reproductions, but still very cool. I don't know if you can read it or not but the Sears catalogue is an exact copy of a standard 1908 mail order catalogue, the Montgomery Ward catalogue is from 1894-95.
I have spent many a rainy or snowy afternoon wandering through it's pages, marveling, chuckling, and wondering about the items available for purchase that would delivered directly to the buyers door. Quite an amazing concept at that time. Especially for farmers and other people who lived in rural areas.
If a person decided to buy a bicycle from Montgomery Ward in 1894, the most expensive one they carried cost $49.50 which was a little pricey back then. And there were all sorts of things that might be necessary to go along with that bicycle, like proper bicycle shoes and clothing, tire heaters and bicycle whistles that you might want to buy too. Just like now, except now it might be bike helmets, special bicycle water bottles and cell phone holders. People still do buy bicycle attire. I don't. But I know that other people do.
If we ordered the bike from Sears back then, it would arrive in Tampa, the nearest shipping point to us here, by train and the shipping cost would have been be five dollars and twenty-five cents. We would have had to make arrangements with a "shipping agent" in the trainyard in Tampa to help the bike continue it's journey. It might continue on by a different train (there was a train to Venice at that time) but here it also might have been by water.
I can only imagine the anticipation and excitement of the recipients in those days. It would have been a very big deal to order something through the mail. In this house, it is an unusual week to not receive something that has been ordered online. We grow impatient while we wait and watch the progress of our packages online as they move across the country. Back then, I guess it was more a matter of trust. And the waiting of course, but waiting in those days was just a fact of life.
I'm honestly not sure how much progress has been made. Yes, we have the convenience of on-line ordering and tracking our order and we certainly receive our purchases more quickly. But maybe the trade-off is that we have lost the ability to wait. We don't need to be patient anymore. People start honking within about 5 seconds of a light turning green. I've seen toes tapping impatiently while waiting for a microwave to make popcorn which is less than 3 minutes. Real life conversations are interrupted by cell phone texting because that funny video of the puppy playing with the garden hose has to be viewed and commented upon immediately. It simply cannot wait.
I fear that we are missing something by losing our ability to wait. By always doing 12 things at once are forgetting how to focus. We are losing quality time spent with our nearest and dearest by not prioritizing properly. We are missing out on the delicousness of anticipation and how that heightens the occasion when it finally arrives.
It's just my opinion, but I suspect that we would all benefit by just slowing down our lives down a little bit and paying a little more attention to this. Moment. Right. Now.
Missing: The Text from Yesterday's Blog
Last seen in the presence of Piggy. Full face and profile photos above.
I have no proof that Piggy is responsible for the disappearance but the circumstances are awfully suspicious. And pigs are known to be greedy and rather indiscriminate eaters....that's all I'm saying.
A totally unfair accusation. Piggy has been keeping my spare change safe since 2002. Before Piggy was in my life, I used an old Cool Whip container with a slit cut into the top. Yup, I am a saver. I have no problem admitting that I am cheap. Tim would prefer that I say that I am frugal.
It's a family trait. My parents were raised during the Great Depression so they lived it: saving up, fixing it and doing without. They passed it on to us. My dad in particular was known for his prudent ways. One of the phrases I associate with him is, "It was such a deal." By way of example: When we lived in Connecticut, not far from our house was a huge railroad salvage store, it was one of his favourite places to shop. He once bought a black leather jacket there. It was a lovely piece marred only by a big slash. It appeared as if maybe it was on the top of a package that was opened with a box cutter? Anyway, he repaired the cut with black electrical tape and wore it proudly.
Even as a small child, I was a saver. Our parents believed in giving kids an allowance. Not for doing chores, those were expected regardless. As members of the family, there were certain obligations and expectations. Completion of chores was one of those. The allowance given was to teach us how to manage our money. My weekly allowance was a quarter. Imagine! Twenty-five cents to do with as I please. Every week, I spent ten cents on a comic book (usually The Adventures of Superman or another super hero) and then five cents on a lime popsicle and put the remaining ten cents in my little bank that looked like a small globe. Then one day the price of comics went up to twelve cents and popsicles to a dime and it all went to hell. Yes I realize that I could still put the three cents change in my bank, but it just wasn't the savings that I wanted. It was hard to give up that popsicles, but it had to be done. (sigh)
Raised by my parents I could do nothing else. I think it is typed right on my DNA to be tight with a buck. I'm not cheapcheap. I mean, I recognize quality and value and I understand that generally you get what you pay for. But nothing tickles me quite like shopping on a clearance rack with a coupon.
Right now, one of my favourite shopping destinations is my local Bealls Outlet, on the clearance rack of course. I'm still a big fan of the dollar store but only for certain things. I don't grocery shop there, for instance. But a plastic bin? Sure. Napkins? Absolutely. Candles? Of course. Feeding my current jigsaw puzzle addition? Without a doubt. Why would I pay more than necessary for any of those things? Trick question, I would not. And all of my change goes directly into Piggy.
Piggy banks, by the way, are named so because of their origin. Way back in the Middle Ages, metal was so prohibitively expensive that most people didn't own much. Dishes, pots and pans and so for the were made from an orange coloured clay called Pygg. When people had any extra coins, they would drop them in a jar made of Pygg or a Pygg Pot. Eventually someone with a sense of humour made a pygg pot that looked like a pig and thus the piggy bank was born.
When Piggy gets full, off we go to a coin counting machine and depending on the penny to quarter ratio within, I return with an amount of moolah that surprise and pleases me. Usually it's a once a year event. If I time it right, Christmas bonus money, yay! Never hurts to have a financial windfall then, right? Do I feel silly walking into my bank with Piggy tucked under my arm? Well the first few times, perhaps a little. But since the return trip is lucrative, it does take the sting out.
Meanwhile, I find as I get older, those things bother me less and less. I have become impervious to embarrassment. It's all about my goal. Saving money. My sister, who is very sweet, recently complimented what I was wearing. "You always look so nice" she said. "Well thank you" I responded. I mentally tallied the cost of what I was wearing, "I think the entire thing was less then twenty-bucks" I finished, "Including my shoes". And this is how you know we grew up in the same household, "Nice!" she finished, nodding. "Nicely done". And then we went shopping. With coupons. During a sale.
I'm sure it won't surprise you a bit to learn that I bought Piggy at Target. On a clearance rack. With a coupon. Such a deal! My dad would be so proud.
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.