May 31st, 2021
How was your Memorial Day weekend? Hope however you spent it, the weather behaved, the food was great, the company was even better and that you got a little "down" time too. Important to have the occasional day of nothing at all.
We had a great weekend! Went to THREE different restaurants! I suppose it was the weekend of no cooking? If nothing else, we are helping to re-charge the restaurant industry! Two of the places we went to were small local places. One was a delightful repeat, the other was our first visit ever, which is ridiculous because we drive past it frequently. It's called Pelican Alley. It's a small place, right next to (and I mean RIGHT next to) a marina and almost under a drawbridge. It absolutely makes the case for, "Do Not Judge A Book By It's Cover" because it's a little rough around the edges and a little shabby maybe but both the food and the service were terrific.
What else did we do? Hmmm. Well we spent some time at the beach. Of course we did. It's right there. There were times when the beach was massively crowded and actually so was the water. So Many Boats! But we saw dolphins and manatees and so many birds! And of course pretty sunsets. (and of course I didn't get any dolphin photos, sorry)
Another day we just blobbed around the house watching movies on TV. Saw several Harry Potters and some Ryan Reynolds film we had never seen before...The Hitman's Body guard I think was the name. We ate too much and napped a lot and totally zoned out. Sometimes we just need to totally relax and recharge. That was the day for it for us.
We did do a few useful things throughout the weekend though. We ran some errands, did some housey chores, things of that nature. Well not on Blob day of course. That is completely against all of the rules. On Blob day one must wear very comfy clothes, do nothing useful, nap a lot, read, watch TV, and eat things that are very bad for you. I'm pretty sure it's a law.
But Monday, the last day, we headed up to Parrish Florida. Why? Well, because we had never been there before. So we jumped in the car and pointed it toward the North East and ended up in cow country. Or perhaps Horse Country. There were a lot of farms and farm animals, tractors, pastures, trees, open spaces and creeks. An inordinate number of creeks. The only ones I can remember are Gamblers Creek, Cross Creek and Canoe Creek. And there was a lake. We never actually saw the lake because it was behind a giant berm. But we know it was there. The town of Parrish, once we found it, was cute, small, and like a step back in time. But there was a whole lot of building going on. Great Big House Developments. So sadly, the town of Parrish will change and instead of cute old-timey shops and stores and restaurants it will be strip malls filled with chain stores in no time at all. Those things are very convenient but not nearly as adorable.
Bear in mind that these photos were taken from a moving vehicle. I managed to miss every single horse photo I tried to get. Also the windmill, the tractor and countless other things. Dang. Oh well, it is what it is. And what it is, is here:
On the way home we stopped at two different water front parks that we like. One is in a residential neighborhood near the Ringling Museum. The other is downtown Sarasota. Both are beautiful.
And since it was Memorial Day weekend after all, we went to visit my dad at the National Cemetery. The volunteers had little American flags everywhere, making sure each veteran was honoured. We added the flowers that we brought along to the mix. Have to think My dad would have been pleased.
Oh I nearly forgot to show you one of my favourite random moments this weekend. There we were, walking along, enjoying the day and I spied out of the corner of my eye, something pink where it should be browns and greens. So I got closer and closer and then realized what it was a burst out laughing. It was awesome! Whimsical and wonderful! I love little moments like that.
So there you have it, an entire weekend compacted into one blog post! Hope your weekend was even better!
May 27th, 2021
Before I wish everyone a Happy Memorial Weekend and remind you that, probably much like you, I will be enjoying a Lovely Monday Memorial Day instead of writing my blog post, I thought that I would write up the most recent Photo Safari Report for today. And I'm calling this one, the Two Surprises Hike.
Thanks to my new AllTrails App, Joy and I headed back to Carlton Preserve ready to hike with impunity, unafraid of getting turned around or even flat out lost ever again! Hurrah! We started out on a primary trail and quickly skewed off onto a secondary trail. Not quite sure how that seems to always happen but it does. It's sort of like the talking dog in the movie "Up". We start out with great intentions but then something down another cross trail strikes our fancy and.....squirrel! And in fact, literally, squirrel:
I suppose I could get right to the two surprises, right? (I have no idea why the font suddenly changed. I'm sorry but it refuses to correct)
It's always fascinating, in a creepy crawly way, to see the aftermath of a fire, even if it's an intended and well monitored fire. Hence all of the photos. But no, this was not the first surprise.
We were well past the burn area which, by the way, while it appeared to be a recent inferno, actually was beginning to heal and no longer had that smokey fragrance, when I started sniffing the air like a dog. "Do you smell that?" I asked Joy. She stopped and sniffed, "The smoke? Probably from the burn area" I shook my head, "Nope this is more recent, like, really really recent." She agreed and we continued to hike and take photos and chitchat as we do, and suddenly we see on the side of the trail:
A fire. Not the sort of thing you usually see while hiking. There was nobody else around, that we could see anyway, and no signs warning of a controlled burn going on. So it was odd. There were originally actually two small fires but one was extinguishing itself as we stood there. The other one was mostly smoke with only a little flame, but we still kept an eye on it (all the while snapping away with our cameras). It got smaller and less significant in very short order and eventually went out but still a wow.
Our second surprise was a bird. In all of our many MANY hikes we have heard this bird many MANY times but only saw it once. It's a Bobwhite, sometimes called a quail or a grouse. It's call is loud and actually sounds exactly as if the bird is saying, Bob White. (hence the name) but they are so hard to find because they are expert hiders. Not up in the sprills or leaves or fronds of a tree usually but in the undergrowth on the ground. Sneaky buggers. This one, however, was right there in a tree in front of us, just waiting to be imortalized:
After all of the hikes where we searched and searched in vain to find the bird we could hear but not see, this was a wonderful surprise!
Otherwise, let's see what did we see. Other birds:
Various insects and such things:
There were some beautiful flowers too. There always are :
We passed a large pond that had the most beautiful water lilies. It was like admiring a Monet Painting! Really!
We also walked along the Myakka River for just a short while. There were no alligators to be seen. We know because we really looked:
And the trees along the trails were as stunning as always, no matter if it's forest or plains or water or burned out areas:
Joy won't be available for the next few weeks so the photo safari's will be a wee bit different for awhile. But never fear, eventually we will be back out there, together, like we do.
In the meantime, you guys get out there and have a wonderful holiday weekend! See you next Tuesday!
Hugs all 'round.
May 27th, 2021
Ok, just so you know that I am not making things up, officially "wordsmithery" is an actual word. It is not however, in common useage. Which is a shame.
"The term wordsmith is an actual English language word that was created in late 1800s to describe a person who works with words and is especially a skillful writer. The only variation on wordsmith is wordsmithery; both of these words are nouns, not verbs."
That said, I believe, we should not only bring the word "wordsmithery" into our everyday language but we should strive to be wordsmiths. Let's face it, we have gotten lazy. I blame texting. And trust me, I do text. Not well, but I do it. Texting for most people (again not me) uses extreme and never before recognized abbreviations and symbols instead of words. We've sort of gone back to using pictographs like the ancient Egyptians. They do say that in fashion, everything eventually becomes stylish again.
Texting is an entirely different language and one in which I am not fluent. But then, I suppose I can be forgiven, considering my age. It seems that the older I get, the younger generations automatically assumes that I don't know what I'm doing (especially with regard to technology) and they are either amused by my clumsy attempts or they are irritated by my inability to quickly grasp some of these new concepts.
I admit that I was forcibly dragged, kicking and screaming, into the world of computers and cell phones and so forth. But once I got there, once I accepted that this was the fate of, not just me, but everyone, I dug in and eventually sort of figured it out. Let's just say that I manage to get by.
I actually, begrudgingly, see tremendous value in using computers. I marvel at the technology of micro processing and all of the many gains it affords us. Not just in cell phones, which really are barely phones any more but pocket computers, but in medicine. If not for engineering and technical wizardry that created such ittybitty computers that exist now in hearing aides, my world would be largely silent.
But I also am bearing witness to diminished vocabularies and appalling spelling at the same time. And this time I am not referring to texting. Texting is what it is and the idea seems to be to convey your thoughts with as few keystrokes as possible. Ok it's good to have a goal. But this time I am speaking of the actual printed word.
Have you noticed how terrible editing is in print lately? Holy Cats! Magazines, newspapers and even (or perhaps especially) online news. The errors abound! I find myself loosing interest in the articles because I have serious doubts regarding the veracity of any so-called journalist who A) does such poor self-editing and B) has such poor command of the language! (and C Do these magazines, newspapers and online 'zines even employ editors anymore?)
I was shocked and sad when, many years ago, one of my boys turned in a paper they had written that the teacher gave a very high grade. When he flourished that paper at me with a big smile over that bright and shiny "A" grade, I was excited to read his assignment. And was dismayed to find many mistakes. Sometimes spelling, occasionally grammar or punctuation. The content was fine, it was the presentation that needed work. At least in my opinion. At the next parent/teacher conference I brought up my concerns and the teacher waved me off. "I knew what he meant", she said. What? What? What?
That was quite a few years ago and I see a continued downward spiral when it comes to wordsmithery. And it's sad. Mr. Webster took tremendous time and effort compiling a very large book filled with all the words of the English language. Why are we limiting ourselves to just a handful? And then using them poorly?
With just a tiny bit of effort, reading, writing and speaking can be so much more interesting, so much more beautiful, so much more colourful and CLEAR. Communication is absolutely essential for success. If we aren't communicating clearly, honestly, and often, there is no progress.
Wouldn't it be glorious to start a wordsmithery movement?
May 25th, 2021
Recently I was overcome with a day of high energy and the inexplicable desire to clean the house. Not just clean but super clean. I had the urge to give the house a real scrubadub dubbing. Cannot explain why but there it is.
Now I would like to say here that our house is clean. Unless there is some very unusual circustance, this house is always tidy, the bed is made and there are no dishes in the sink. The clothes are either in the laundry basket waiting to be washed or hanging neatly in the closets. Towels are draped over towel rods in the bathrooms and the floors are not sticky or gritty.
That said, I will not vouch for the level of cleanliness of baseboards or the tops of things that I cannot see or reach. The windows generally need a wipe or two and dusting is well, not something I do every day, we will leave it at that. Clearly there are some areas in need of improvement. So I took advantage of the rare cleaning mode day to get it all done.
And I did. I spent the day, scrubbing floors, polishing furniture and making shiny things glisten. I employed every cleaning machine that we own, nearly every cleaning product that we own and an outrageous amount of paper towels. When I was done, at the end of the day, I stood back and admired my work. It felt good. The house nearly beamed with cleanliness. Right up until I started fixing dinner.
Suddenly there were, once again, dishes in the sink, drips of this and that on the stove top, and fingerprints on the refrigerator. Crumbs were dropped onto perfectly swept, vacuumed and washed floors, sticky spots suddenly appeared on beautifully washed and polished counter tops and the garbage needed to be taken out once again.
Initially the feeling is a little discouraging. Until I started really thinking about it. A house is only clean until it's used. And our house is used all of the time. We actually live in our house. It's not a museum, or a model home or showpiece. It's a real actually home that people eat in, live in, spill in, dribble in, drop crumbs in and more. As the saying goes, "Stuff Happens".
And it's not just house cleaning, the same thing happens with laundry. I do laundry twice a week. Monday and Thursday. By the time I have washed, dried, folded, ironed and put away everything on Monday afternoon, I can absolutely guarantee you, there is already at least one thing in the laundry basket. It's never completely done.
A bathroom is only perfectly clean until someone uses it. The grocery shopping is only totally done, until you make one meal, As soon as you start using up products, it needs to go back on the shopping list. Cooking is finished just in time to start at least thinking about what needs to be done to make the next meal. It is never really done.
That resulting feeling or discouragement could go one of three ways: 1) I could become completely obsessed about housey chores and dedicate my entire life to just cleaning. I could scold anyone who ever dropped so much as a muffin crumb on the floor. I could hire a serve to clean in between my own cleanings. I would smell of furniture polish and Mr. Clean on a regular basis. Or 2) I could give up entirely and never make the bed (hey, in 18 or so hours I'm just going to get back in the bed, right?) wear the cleanest dirty clothes picked up off the floor, use paper plates and eat mostly fastfood so I don'thave to cook and paint everything brown so that the dirt blends in better. Or 3) Do a super cleaning when I'm in the mood and just a regular cleaning/laundry/cooking as I'm already doing now and not worry about it otherwise.
Whenever we are expecting company and I said, "I guess I need to clean the house" Tim looks around and says, "The house is already clean". Bless him :) Now that I am retired, I feel like my "job" is cooking, cleaning, laundry and other housey chores. Well those were kind of always one of my jobs, but instead of doing the short cut half-assed job that I did back when I worked full time, my plan was to do a Great job! Where the house sparkled, the meals were gourmet and the laundry was professional grade. Instead, the house is tidy and mostly clean, the meals are good and the laundry is done. And every once in a blue moon, I am overcome with a crazy desire to really dig in and scrub the house from top to bottom. Which is totally negated as soon as we actually live in our home, which is all of the time.
And that's fine too. Because we are real people who live in a real house who have all sorts of interests other than constantly cleaning. Honestly I do not want the first thing people say when they think of me to be, "She had a really clean house". There is so much more to me than that.
So forgive the cookie crumbs and the scuff marks and the funky spot on the window that I cannot seem to get rid of. Real People Live Here.
May 24th, 2021
These are oatmeal muffins. Home made, but not Sam made and so very yummy I cannot even begin to describe. There were originally also some double chocolate cookies but those are LONG gone. They were also home made and not Sam made. Not Sam made? What the actual heck?
Nope, these were Minock made! Yup, this past Saturday was a Minock Saturday! Woohoo!
Back in the olden days, BP (Before Pandemic) the Humphreys and the Minocks always made it a point to get together once a month. Either they would make the trek down here or we would drive there OR we chose somewhere else, sort of in between and we would have an adventure. But no matter which direction someone drove for these get-togethers, there were two absolute guarantees. 1) we would have loads of fun and 2) we always did a goodie exchange. Even if the goodies required bringing along a cooler so they could remain safely in the car while we adventured.
Neither of those things were ever planned but both of them always happen which is kind of awesome all on it's own. During the Pandemic our visits were few and far between and very carefully curated. But now that the Covid Crazy Train is slowing down we are trying to bring back the monthly get together. Yay!
It was a wonderful Minock Saturday. And we didn't do anything much really. We just sat and talked and caught up and told jokes and giggled a lot. Then we went to the beach so that Marsha and I could walk in the water and talk even more and Marsha could find shark teeth. She has some sort of special shark tooth finding voodoo that I marvel at. There we were walking at the water's edge, hum dilly hum, chatting and laughing and suddenly she bends down and picks up a sharks tooth, barely breaking stride to do so. I believe in total she picked up four of them that day, one fairly good sized too! Wow!
As tummy rumblies began to set in we went back to the house and had a very simple meal. Burgers on the grill, baked beans, corn on the cob and chips. Doesn't get much easier than that! After dinner we continued to sit at the table talking and talking and laughing and laughing. Eventually we cleaned up from dinner and then sat in the living room for awhile, talking and laughing more!
It was very late when they set off for the long drive home. But it was a great day. A simple day, but great. Simple food, simple goodie exchange, simple walk on the beach, simple time spent talking and laughing. And I couldn't even tell you right now what on earth we talked about either. But somehow we never run out of conversation. Or goodies to exchange.
And that's how it is with friends.
Hope you had a great weekend too!
May 21st, 2021
Donuts and fried chicken and onion rings, oh my! So yummy! Almost everybody loves fried food of some sort. I can make all of these things and yet I rarely do. And I wish the reason was that I know it's not very healthy food. I wish that was the reason, but it's not.
I do try to cook and eat healthy most of the time. But man oh my do I crave foods that are not good for me. And I'm not one of those super disciplined folks who can take one bite of one cookie, set it down and walk away forever. Nope. I commit. And I refuse to eat some so called "healthy version" of bad foods either. Nope. If I'm eating unhealthy, it's going to be full fat, real sugar, real butter, total complete delicious, bad for you yummy food.
However, I do pump the brakes on fried foods. For several reasons:
First of all, it's messy. No matter how hard I try, there ends up being oil everywhere afterwards. It's on the stove top, the back splash, the floor and the counter top. And it's hard to clean, partly because it's clear and therefore essentially invisible. Just when I think I've cleaned everything, I find another spot. Aggravating. And it's not easy cleaning either. None of that lickandapromise cleaning that I am so fond of. Nope, it's real, serious, down and dirty scrubbing. That's the only way to clean after frying.
Then there is the oil itself! What do I do with it when I'm done? I know my Nana used lard or shortening to fry things. I'm sure it tasted better and honestly it's easier to dispose of because it solidifies. Just let it cool then scoop it out of the pan and into the garbage. Nana would, of course, save the solid fat in an old coffee can and then re-use it. Which, while efficient, grosses me out. Soooo nope. I use a heart-healthy vegetable oil. It's supposed to be better for you, but it's harder to get rid of. I know that I'm not supposed to pour it down the sink and yet that's what I do because I don't know what else to do! If ever we have a giant plumber bill, it's probably my fault and following a terrific fried chicken dinner.
Also there is the safety issue. To properly fry foods the fat must be hot. And as soon as you add something to that hot fat, it bubbles up. Sometimes it bubbles up a lot (watch any video about deep frying a turkey it you want to be terrified). Even if it's a mild bubbling fat, at some point that sneaky fat is going to pop and leap out of the pan. Of course it does! How else do you think that oil gets all over the stove top? And since you are standing right there, and you had better be front and center when frying because it can go wrong in an instant, the person cooking is the one who had the fat bubbles jumping up and burning them. I have a couple of really good scars on my hands resulting from frying foods. No matter how hard to try to be safe, there is no escaping the fat bubbles.
And it's flammable. If you aren't smart and careful, frying can absolutely cause fires. Just consider that a PSA.
And of course there is the original issue, fried foods is not particularly healthy food. So it should be eaten in moderation.
But none of those things are the primary reason that I am reluctant to make fried foods. It's because of the smell. Not the smell while cooking. It smells delectable while it's cooking. It's afterwards. That oily, fried food smelly lingers. It clings to fabric like clothes and unholstery and carpet. It loiters in the miniscule droplets that fell to the floor or popped up onto the backsplash while you were cooking. The smell lurks in your trash can and down the sink drain. And I hate that smell. It's kind of gagifying.
Now I will confess that I have a very strong sense of smell. My olfactory system is always working overtime. But anyone with any sense of smell at all can pick up at least some of that after fragrance of fried food. So I resort to using the exhaust fan on full blast and have windows open all over the house despite the weather AND put an box fan in the closest window pulling the inside air outside while I'm cooking. It is so loud in the kitchen while I'm frying that conversation is frankly impossible. And despite those precautions, despite the fans and open windows, irregardless of my mad cleaning sesssion the following day, no matter than I've cleaned the sink drain the dishes and taken out the garbage, after frying I can still detect that smell in the house for several days. I use copious amounts of air freshner and kick my cleaning into high gear for 2 or 3 days runnings. Clean and re-clean and re-re-clean. All in an effort to eliminate, once and for all, that godawful smell.
So be prepared. Anytime I am overcome with a desire to fry anything, I am ready. I know that I will be cleaning the heck out of the house afterwards, I have bandaids and a fire extinguisher on standby. I already have windows open and the box fan in place. I am ready to fullfill that craving for yummy fried foods.
Or we order take out.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend whatever you end up eating. Hugs all 'round.
May 20th, 2021
Well there is Joy and I with cameras in our hands so yesterday must have been Photo Safari Day! Which means today is the Photo Safari Report! I am calling this one A Series of Mini-Hikes because instead of doing one long hike, we did four shorter ones! Two of them we had been to a long time ago, but the remaining two were new to us! FUN!
We started at the one furthest away (which wasn't all that far). A hike called the Catfish Trail at Potter Park. It's a shady little trail that runs behind a large fitness complex. It's a huge place with a giant multi-laned lap pool, a soccer field, several different playgrounds, and multiple other buildings that have who knows what inside. We weren't concerned with that. We just wanted to hit the trail. It was very a very pretty trail, all narrow and winding. We started very early in the day so the morning light was beautiful. There was a bunny and a lily pond and a heart painted onto a bench. That's graffiti that I can appreciate.
Our second stop was the trail behind the local Presbytarian church. Turns out the trail has a name! (I never knew that) Bayonne Preserve. I learn something new every day! Usually most of the trail in Bayonne Preserve are closed due to nesting Eagles. But we visited 5 days after the official season so we got to hike trails we have never seen! Awesome!
Third stop was one we have driven by a zillion times but never stopped at. It's in a strange place with highways on both sides and a big pond in the middle. It was called the Scherer/Thaxton Preserve. It's kind of new. New enough that the trails do not pop up on my new AllTrails App. Just from our various drives past, we assumed (though one should never) that the "trail" was a path around the pond, which was true. What we didn't know is that about 3/4 of the way around the pond, suddenly there was another trail that shot off into a deeply wooded area! Interesting! We opted to tuck that information away for another hike. Especially since there were no trail maps so we had no idea how long it was.
Last stop was a tiny Preserve just over the bridge called Pocono Trail. It was charming but very small and does not need to be revisited. Happy to do it once though :)
Two of the hikes we've voted to not bother to repeat, the first and last. The other two though, oh yeah, we will definitely be back to check them out again, more thoroughly another time!
Thanks for coming along! Hope you had a good time :)
May 18th, 2021
What an odd collection of photographs! But they all have something in common. What could that be? Hmmmmm. Well, yes, I am the one who took the pictures. But something else. Oh! That's right. All of these things make sounds!
May is Better Hearing Month! By way of tribute, I did my annual hearing test. And for the very first time ever, (1st Time!) my hearing had not changed from the previous test! Hurrah! And by changed, I mean that it had not gotten worse. Like most things, it never gets better. At least not on it's own. With my hearing aids on, I have nearly normal hearing.
I was late to the party on taking care of my hearing health. Shame on me. Very late. But in the beginning I can be excused because I was just a kid. I had no idea that after a terrible bout of Scarlett Fever, I had lost some of my hearing. Nobody knew. And as I got older, the hearing loss slowly worsened, but I, very cleverly, had made concessions to my weakness. Without even realizing it, I adapted. And made excuses. Lots of excuses. And I started avoiding social situations because they were so difficult for me. Everyone, including me, just thought that I was shy and socially awkward (well that awkward part is true).
I was in my early 50's by the time that I became aware that I was struggling with my hearing. It took a really unfortunate social situation for me to finally get my hearing tested. After which came the realization that my hearing was , well it was not good. Like most people I started out with a high frequency loss. That's consonants. And the English language being what it is, we have lots of rhyming words. Face, place, trace, ace, mace, lace for example. If you remove the consonants, those words sound exactly the same.
So, also like most people with unaddressed hearing loss, without even realizing it, I was making up for the missing parts of the words by reading lips, reading body language and using context. Very clever, eh? But what happens when it's a word that is not apparent by lip reading or context? For instance, what if I close friend or family member came up to you and asked, "Hey if you aren't busy on Friday could you watch/wash my dog?" Watch or wash? Did you just ask me to puppy sit? Or did you ask me to bathe the dog? Watch and wash look exactly the same if I'm reading lips. Tricky.
Or what if the person speaking has an elegant fancy mustache. Hard to read through a mustache. Or the speaker has an accent. Or the speaker is also enjoying a meal. Or turned away from you. Or, currently, is wearing a mask. What happens is that the lip reader is out. of. luck.
When the audiologist first put hearing aids on me, I was shocked. What was all that sound? It was, frankly, kind of shocking. The world is a noisy place. And I had, very slowly over a long time, adjusted to quiet. But on the upside, once I adapted to hearing again, once the auditory portion of my brain learned how to properly translate noise into sound that made sense again, I was overjoyed. I began to hear things that I had forgotten made noise.
One of the first, funniest things, was me at work walking down the hall at a brisk pace. I heard a zummzumm noise. I stopped and the noise stopped. "What on earth was that?" I walked again and there was the noise. I stopped and the noise stopped. It took me a few seconds to realize it was my corduroy pants! HAHAHAHHA! I laughed for a very long time over that one.
Over the years, my unaided hearing has declined more and more but the programming on my hearing aids is adjustable so the doc keeps tweaking it to accommodate my loss and life is good.
Occasionally I think about what would have happened if I had never bothered to get my hearing tested all those years ago. If I had not been brave enough and smart enough to go ahead and address the problem. What sounds would I be missing now? Bird song for sure, music, the pleasure of conversation with a loved one, those are all beautiful things. Other things may not be pretty but it could be an actual safety issue like a car horn or a siren. Background sounds that most people just automatically filter out, for me is a delight: a scolding blue jay, the whomping noise of a helicopter passing overhead, the neighbors dog barking or the ratatatat of a woodpecker. Without assistance I would miss all of those sounds.
Even if you don't believe you have hearing loss you should be tested just for a base line. In the future there is a problem, once tested you have something to compare future tests against. If you do have a hearing problem it will only get worse. Address it as early as possible so you do not miss out on the wonderful sounds of the world around us.
The test is not painful, most insurances cover it, and it doesn't take very long. The doc will check your ears for general health and tidiness, you will sit in a soundproof room with very soft things in your ears and/or headphones on them. The doctor will play tones at different pitches and volumes. You will click a little button when you hear the sound. That's it. That's all there is to it. At the end the doctor will review the "map" made of the hearing in both of your ears.
Do it. Don't wait. Don't put it off. Don't make your hearing health one of those things that one of these days you are going to "get around to doing." Like the nice people at Nike used to say, "just do it".
And PS wearing hearing aids doesn't make you look old. Saying "huh? what?" every other sentence however, does.
Happy Better Hearing Health Month!
May 17th, 2021
I had such a very nice weekend!
I started with being gifted some beautiful blueberries by my neighbor Joanie. Wow! That's a lovely present. Thank you! As soon as I got home, I hauled out my trusty family recipes book and took a little wander through. What to make, what to make? The answer, as it turns out, was blueberry cake.
It's an old family recipe. And for a change, not one of Nana's. This one was from my Aunt Lydia. Another wonderful old Mainer. The only issue I ever had with this cake is that it's hard to get out of the pan. No matter how much I grease and flour, those darned (yummmy) blueberries make the cake want to cling instead of coming out of the pan smoothly. I got the Brainiac idea this time around to use a springform pan instead of a regular one. Genius! Anyway, the cake came out terrific! Tastes like Maine ;)
I have these wonderful childhood memories of picking blueberries with my sister in this marvelous wild patch of berries on the other side of the cemetery. We would bring them back to Nana's house (or Aunt Lydia's - she lived next door) and later enjoy the rewards of our labour with blueberry cake hot out of the oven. The only thing better than a great recipe is a great recipe that holds a great memory too.
Also ended up getting some new shoes this weekend. Oooooo fancy! New Shoes! As you all know and are, I'm sure tired of hearing about, I walk a lot. Since I had only one pair of sneakers and I use those for Photo Safari day, between the hard hiking and the immediate and very necessary washing of the sneakers after hiking, they were getting used up fast. So I was trying to help my sneakers last longer by only wearing them for Photo Safari day. The rest of the time I was walking in either sandals or Vans-type shoes. They weren't real Vans, but Van knock-offs y'know what I mean? And as it turns out, while those type shoes are fine for normal daily wear - hanging around the house, going to the grocery store....not so good for the feet when you are walking miles. And I do, walk miles I mean.
On an average day, I end up walking somewhere between 4 and 5 miles. Mostly on tile, concrete or asphalt (I'm speaking of non hiking days). Anyway my feet were beginning to object to that many miles done wearing such poor quality shoes . So it seems that what I really needed was a good pair of walking shoes. So we headed to Peltz! It is a semi-local (in the same county we live in) shoe store with a wide variety of shoes. Tim strongly suggested that, for a change, I don't choose a pair of shoes based on the lowest price I can find, but instead a shoe with good support that is well made instead. What a concept! And for a change, I listened to him. I ended up with Skechers. Never wore that brand before. Turns out I like them very much! I tried roughly a zillion different kinds of shoes, ended up trying to decide between two so Tim just bought them both for me :):) :) He's that kind of guy :)
My existing sneakers which are already pretty beat up will remain my official Hiking Sneakers. But now I have the grey sneakers for walking around town and those funky white (and pink!) bootie looking sneakers for anything else. Both are machine washable! Yay! I am happy happy!
And we did manage to get our butts over to the beach to admire the sunset over the weekend too. We walked over early enough to get some non-sunset shots and then stayed to watch the show. Always a pleasure.
So that's how I spent my weekend. How about you?
May 14th, 2021
Wednesday was hiking day which means I am one day late with the photo safari report. But before I get started on that, I wanted to take a minute to say something I often think, but never take the time to say.
Every week I look forward to Wednesday. Partly because I love hiking and I love taking photographs, but mostly because I get to spend time with my sister. The one person on this planet who I have known the longest. Although our interests are mostly very different, we have always been very close. I supported her years of dance, she supported me writing music. I was happy for her outgoing, extroverted, high energy and she stood behind me preferring to "waste" an entire day sitting alone with my nose in a book. And still we were always there for each other.
As adults, we rarely lived geographically near each other, and in fact usually we were many states apart. And busy with our own lives. So it was a wonderful surprise to find that once we lived in the same state again, all of the years apart fell away, and we could reconnect and still be those two goobers who understand each other in a way that nobody else does because we shared a childhood and a room even though we never so much as shared the same favourite colour or popstar.
So Thank you Joy for Sisters Wednesday. I look forward to it every week - with or without ice cream.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program. The Photo Safari Report!
We decided to revisit Deer Prairie Preserve. We hadn't been back there in a long time and in fact, had never successfully traversed the entire loop due to high wild hog traffic. Each time we attempted, at some point we would spy wild hogs and turn around to leave. Eventually it just dropped out of rotation. But I'm happy to say that we not only gave it another try, but we did the entire loop and not a single piggie was seen.
I also need to take a moment to thank Tim for installing the AllTrails App on my phone. This thing is so cool. All I had to do was type in the name of the preserve and up popped not only a trail map (both primary and secondary trails) but also a little blue dot that indicated exactly where we were on the trail. It saved us for sure !
There we were walking beside a beautiful river and according to the trail map the primary trail turned left. But, but, but, there was no left turn. We consulted the map multiple times, we walked up and down the river and saw no left turn. We saw lilypad flowers, a soft shelled tortoise, a red-winged black bird and some cattails but no left turn. Dang!
At that point we had already been hiking for about 4 hours and we were 3/4 of the way around a 5+ miles loop. We were filthy and sweaty and hot and tired. The idea of retracing our steps did not appeal. In consulting the AllTrail app it appeared that there was a secondary trail nearby. It took some searching through the underbrush but we found it! It was narrow and very faint, but it was there. AND it did take us back to our starting point! Huzzah Huzzah!
You would think that a preserve called, Deer Prairie, would be an actual prairie right? You would be wrong. It was all sorts of things. Wide open, marshy, heavily wooded, and more. Mostly it was beautiful.
We saw things we expected of course like flowers and butterflies
But also things we didn't expect:
So there you have it. In summary, another great hike. We will call this one the Deer Prairie Revisited Hike. Totally worth it.
Thanks for coming along and y'all have a great weekend!
May 11th, 2021
Behold! Two different summery colours of nail polish. On the left is a pale minty green and on the right is a very light blue. Pretty ;)
I can very clearly tell the different between them in this picture. Clear and unmistakable distinction, pale green and light blue, right? You do see it don't you? Coz I do.
I already had the light blue polish but I saw the green in the grocery store a few weeks ago and it kind of called to me. I ignored the call for a few weeks but last week, I gave in and treated myself. And over the weekend, for the very first time, I gave myself a pedicure and put the new minty green cool fresh polish on.
And it looks blue to me. What? It's a very bizarre and recent phenomenon. In the bottle it appears to be distinctly mint green. On my toes however, blue. Very blue. At first I thought I had had a "moment" and accidentally put the blue on instead. But nope. It's the green. Except to me it looks blue. And I am completely baffled.
I have always known that I have tiny bit of difficulty with colours. Navy blue and black look exactly the same to me. Whenever I buy something that is Navy or Black I have to check with someone else to see what colour is actually is. When I am all dressed and ready to be seen in public I don't want other folks thinking I am incapable of dressing myself, y'know? Which is why I have my closet organized by the colour that I am told things are, not what colours they appear to be to me. All the black things are together, and the blue things are together.....this way on a sleepy morning no mistakes (of that sort anyway) are made. It works for me.
But I honestly believed that was really the only colour problem I had. Silly me. As I've gotten older the colour issue has only gotten worse. First it was with iffy colours like shades of those pinks that lean into coral. Is it pink? Is it orange? Then it was those borderline shades of lavender that could almost be a blue. And the yellowy green shades that Tim insists are yellow and I see them as green. (by the way Tim is totally correct) Those borderline colours are a pain in the ass. at least for me.
We were at someone else's home recently and for some inane reason I remarked on the beige colour of the wall in the kitchen. Turns out it's a very light grey. Damnit! I was wrong again! I need to stop discussing colours with people I think.
Still it's completely bizarre to know - to absolutely positively without a single glimmer of doubt perceive a colour is one thing only to learn that it is something else entirely. It is kind of turning my world upside down.
So to make it ever stranger, the new pale minty green polish on my toes, which looks so very BLUE to me in person, I see as green in this photo:
How Weird Is That? When I took the photo I expected to also see the polish as blue but instead I definitely see it as the colour it actually is, green. I am looking at my toes right now, this very minute - the exact same toes in the exact same green polish in the exact same sandals - the colour looks blue! I'm so confuzled! So the score thus far is: Green in the bottle, green in the photo, blue in person. Strange and inexplicable!
And I am now seriously doubting all of my colour perceptions. All of them!
I already knew that as we get older our vision changes (that already happened) hearing changes (yup that happened too) and that eventually our sense of smell and taste would change (that has NOT happened). BUT nobody prepared me for the colours looks wierd thing.
Or maybe it's only happening to me. Maybe it's not an age thing. Perhaps I've always been right on the edge of some sort of colour blindness my entire life only now it's getting worse? It's not full on colour blindness. It's not even a type of official colour blindness that I've ever heard of. I even took several of those online colour blindness tests and scored sort of normal. Not perfect but within the very wide realm of normal. So what the actual heck?
I've no idea. Meanwhile I still like my green or blue or whatever the heck colour polish that I'm currently wearing. But forgive me if I never discuss colour with you again as it appears that odds are good I will be wrong.
May 11th, 2021
Recently Tim and I have noticed that our weekends are either mostly chores and errands and projects or being so tired out from all of that after a crazybusy workweek that we were sitting around like lumps. Neither of those options is ideal. So for the past few weekends Tim and I have made it a point to step away from our endless of of gotta-do's and and have taken the time to do at least one fun thing, like taking at least a short walk each day. And not the usual noonwalk circuit either!
As you probably already recall, nearly every Monday through Friday, Tim tries to take a break part way through his day, generally around noon (hence the name) and we take a walk. Usually it's the same circle. It takes us down pretty streets, past some historic and lovely homes and past the beach. The intent was to have the beach and ocean in sight for as much of the walk as possible y'see. It's a measured distance, so we know exactly how far we've walked AND more importantly for Tim's work, exactly how long it will take. It's a very pleasant not quite 3 mile stroll and we look forward to it every day.
But on the weekends, we wanted to do something different. So the weekend before last (yes I'm that far behind on this post) I took Tim to Sleeping Turtle, a preserve he had never hiked. Because we didn't get around to this walk until later in the afternoon, it was a bit warmer and more humid than is really ideal so it wasn't on of our longer hikes, but it was still lovely. And unlike my hikes with Joy, we actually followed the trail makers with no deviation! Or at least that was the intention, Everytime there was a trail intersection that happened to have a marker, it never indicates which way is the real correct way to go. Dang. I never noticed that before. So there was a little by guess and by gosh.
It was beautiful as it always is, quiet, green and lush. The most memorable thing we saw was the biggest, thickest spider web either of us had ever seen. We just stood there and goggled at it! Initially it looked like a clothes line, but in the middle of a preserve? That made no sense at all! Coincidentally on our way out, we came across a person who works there and he told us about a spider called a golden orb spider he has recently seen which is Very Large for a spider. The female's body is 3 inches across. 3 inches doesn't sound like much until it's the body of a spider. Then it's downright HUGE!
That is a stock photo, not Tim or me by the way. We never actually saw the spider. But we did see that web. I took a few photos. Not sure you can really get the full impact of it but here they are anyway:
I did take a few other photos, I didn't just take the web.
This past weekend we did two walks, one on the beach, one at Phillip Estates park. The beach was packed. I mean, holy cats! People People People! I searched in vain for something taller to stand on so I could get a photo of the sea of umbrellas. Well here, you can get an idea of it.
Oh we completely understand why all of these folks are at our beach. It's one of the reasons why we moved here too. But wow! This was more people than we have EVER seen. Ever! Still, we walked along the water's edge, getting our feet and legs wet, carrying our shoes (and my camera of course) for a ways. The trick was walking back across the Very Hot sand barefoot. I cheated and just shoved my sandy wet feet back into my sandals.
Across the street from this beach is a parking lot that has a little pocket park with a dolphin statue fountain. And I never before noticed this funny sign. You wouldn't think you have have to officially tell people this would ya? The fact that the city felt compelled to put up this sign suggests that at some point this was a problem.
On Sunday, we drove up to Sarasota, at my request, to do a short little walk in Phillippi Estate Park. I don't know much about the park except that it's on the Historic Registry. It's on Phillippi Creek and there are a couple of historic homes still on it, which can be rented out for events. And it has a short little hiking trail. That's all I really needed to know I suppose. And for whatever reason, that was where I voted to take a little walk so that's where we went!
There was no one thing that really stood out on this walk. It was just a very pleasant way to spend some time outside.
So there you have it. We have been enjoying some lovely walks in a variety of different places and hopefully we will continue this trend. It's important to get "stuff" done but it's also important to have a some breathing time too.
One more photo for the road. Just happened to see this in a pond behind a house that we drove by. Tim was kind enough to circle the block so I could take this picture.
Make sure you take some time to breathe.
May 10th, 2021
Happy Day After Mother's Day! I will celebrate here with a throwback photo of me with my mother from eons ago. Joy found this photo over the weekend as she was going through some old stuff and sent this to me, which was so thoughtful of her (awwww!)
I hope there was lots of mom-related celebrating going on for all of you, even if it was the mom of memory, like mine. Personally I felt very much the Queen for the Day except it wasn't just the day, it was all weekend! Wow!
I got lots of phone calls and texts (and loved every single one). There were cinnamon rolls and M&M's and dinners I didn't have to make myself. I got a new book to read (!!) And cards and flowers!
On Saturday I even got taken out for breakfast. To a restaurants! Our first meal in a restaurant in over a year! Wow! And it was the restaurant of my choice. I have always enjoyed breakfast out in particular. I think because back in the day, when we were both working full time with kids in the house and housey&yard chores yet to do on the weekend to say nothing of grocery shopping and other such errands all weekend, having that quiet leisurely relaxed breakfast - that someone else not only makes but cleans up after - was such a treat. A lovely, sane moment in an otherwise insane schedule. Even now, when things aren't quite as crazy as they used to be in our lives, it is great way to start a busy weekend day.
I chose a local place that we used to frequent called Skillets. We sat in a booth and had a terrific waiter and we enjoyed Ham & cheese omelets with some absolutely gorgeous and delicious fruit. We talked and laughed and reveled in the novelty of, once again, sitting in a restaurant after all these long months.
It was a good meal and still a treat but it's funny how after more than a year of waiting to eat out again, I wasn't more excited about it. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but there was no fanfare, no heavenly choir singing, no zinging heart strings, just Tim and I sitting in a booth, enjoying a good meal as if the interim 15 or 16 months never happened. Kind of weird.
We spent time on the beach (there were so many people!) , at the farm market, on a small hike (more on that another day) and even made it a point to watch a sunset. It was a wonderful weekend. Let's see if I can make Father's Day just as special for Tim next month. It's good to have a goal!
May 07th, 2021
What you see here is that first thing that comes up when I turn my computer on. I think it's called a screen saver, right? There are actually two photos, one of Tim (above) and another of me doing the same thing. Taking an "eternity" photo so instead of just one Tim (or Sam) there are zillions! We took the pictures at a model home up in Sarasota years ago. We discovered that when standing just past the beautiful foyer of the home there was a seemingly endless hallway that stretched both to our right and our left and both sides ending with a very large full length mirror. Because the mirror caught both the object (us) AND our reflection in the other mirror, the effect is what is called an "eternity shot" We thought it was kind of cool so we each, in turn photographed ourselves. And for some reason, which I honestly do not remember, I used those pictures for my screen saver. It alternates between the two photos.
It's been that way for a Very Long Time and since I rarely pay attention to things that are working just fine, I saw no reason to change it. And then yesterday happened.
I had an experience that I am going to share with you. You can believe me or not as you wish, it doesn't change the facts of what happened. The first thing you need to know is that while I am an open minded person, I am not so open minded that my brains have fallen out. I am a person who questions things. Not because I want to ruin them (do NOT tell me how magic tricks work because I do not want to know and ps yes, I know that it's not actually "magic") but because I'm curious. I almost always want to know the why of things. Generally speaking I do not take things at face value. No matter what I read or hear, I always am compelled to do my own research to make my own decisions. So when I tell my story, know that I am starting from that point.
The second thing you should probably know, regarding the upcoming topic anyway, is that I am the descendant of a long line of men who went to sea. Sailors, fishermen, (probably pirates too, I don't know) traditionally were very superstitious folks and I know for fact, that my own uncles, (my mother's brothers) had some very interesting tales to tell of supposedly supernatural experiences. They were excellent story tellers, my uncles, and I'm not always certain where the line stood between embellishment and a great recounting of truth.
Personally I am not superstitious at all. I have no issue opening an umbrella inside - should the occasion call for it, black cats are adorable and I've owned one before, spilling salt only means that I have to clean it up and I only say "bless you" if someone sneezes out of politeness and not to scare away evil. So with that ground work before us, here goes the story of what happened yesterday.
It was in the late afternoon and I was waiting for a load of towels to finish drying so I could fold and put them away. It would only be 2 or 3 minutes and so I didn't want to start another whole project for such a short period of time before turning my attention back to laundry, so I sat down at my computer to check emails. But the dang thing had seized up. Nothing would open, I couldn't move to another screen, I couldn't even shut it down properly. Ratz.
But that's ok, I know how to deal with this sort of technological nonsense. I hit the big blue button and turned the whole dang thing off. Yup, I just shut her down. I let it rest while I attended the towels, got them all taken care of before returning to the computer and turning it back on again. It boots back up fairly quickly, so I just stood there and waited expecting to see the screen saver eternity shots of either Tim or myself pop on the screen as per usual.
Instead this popped onto my screen:
It took me a second to wrap my brain around what I was seeing. This is an extreme close up of my late Mother. She passed away in 2012. I do not recognize the photograph, by the way. I mean I know it's her, but I do not recall taking this picture. Maybe I did and I just don't remember it. The picture would obviously have been a long time, and several different computers, ago. Maybe closer to 15 years ago? Where ever this photo originated, I know that this is not my screen saver photo.
I sat down and starred at the image on the screen and thought to myself, "huh, timely since it's nearly Mother's Day". I cleared my throat and said, "Hello Mother, It's nice to see you again". And then I realized that if the photo went away, nobody would ever believe me so I took the photo of the screen.
And I'm glad that I did because when I left the room and returned, Mother's picture was gone and the usual screen savers photos were in place once again. Seriously wow!
I texted the photo of the computer screen to Joy with a nutshell version of what happened and she Wowed me right back. Her theory is that Mother wanted to be sure we didn't forget her. As if that were possible. When Tim had a break I went in to show him and told him what happened. He looked at the photo and then at me, I looked at him and the we both broke into the Twilight Zone theme song. hah!
So well I'm not sure what to think. I suppose the computer just, for some reason, pulled a very old photo out of archives (I have thousands of photos in my computer by the way) and coincidentally, it happened to be this photo of my mother which again, I do not recall ever taking. Every question leads to other questions such as: Why would I have taken such an extreme close up? Why in black & white? I now do a lot of B&W photography, but back then I would have had to have purchased special black & white film instead of colour. I've only had my current camera for a couple of years.
Well I don't suppose I'm going to get any actual answers. But my first instinct was the true one. When I said, "it's nice to see you" I really meant it. And this weekend, being Mother's Day, it was a very nice surprise.
I suppose it was just a bit of computer serendipity. Or perhaps, it wasn't.......
Have a great weekend and if you are a Mother, Happy Mother's Day to you. If you have a Mother, don't forget to make sure she knows she is in my thoughts and in your heart. If you lost your Mother, make sure she knows that she is remembered.
May 06th, 2021
Any hike that starts like this is obviously going to be a good one! And it was!
Well howdy do! It's Thursday and therefore it's time for the Photo Safari Report! This one will be called the "Bits of This and That Hike" because there was no one central theme. We did smaller hikes in two different (but nearby) preserves. We started at one only because it had a bathroom. The place we planned to hike (Sleeping Turtle Preserve) doesn't have one. (gasp!) But since they are so close to one another, it was no big deal to stop at Carlton Reserve first. And as I said, the intention was to just use the potty at Carlton and then move on to Sleeping Turtle. But as we drove in and saw that gorgeous light, well, it was like nature was speaking to us. "Start Here" it said. And so we did.
One of the things that we hoped to find (and did) in that gorgeous morning light was spider webs. They are most easily seen AND at their most beautiful either first thing in the day, or late afternoon. And this place did not disappoint. They were everywhere. And in one place there was a single tree that hosted dozens of them!
And then of course, there was just the pleasure of hiking such gorgeous trails and on such a beautiful day!
We went off trail cautiously here and there and we were happy that we did because we saw a few things we had never seen before. Like a dried up swamp area. Right now here in Florida we are still in our dry season but soon enough it will be the rainy season again and some of these trails will be inaccessible. We needed to take advantage while we could. Being able to walk around in a place that is usually under water was fascinating!
There were loads of dragonflies. More than we've seen in awhile. A few butterflies (that I was not able to capture) at least one moth, one other bug - not sure what sort a kind of fly I think- and a ladybug! I adore ladybugs.
There were a few especially interesting trees that caught my eye as well. I guess I was feeling a bit whimsical because these truly made me smile. I will caption them for you.
Flowers? Of course! Mostly in pink and yellow. I wonder why that is? Hmmmmm
A few birds. I'm thinking Joy got a lot more bird photos that I did. She has so much more patience and frankly is a far better photographer. We heard them the entire time we were out in both places. But finding them, that's a whole other story. I did get a tortouise and a few squirrels too. It's not birds, but they hold still longer when it comes to photos
As always I will finish up with the rando shots
So that's it. That's yesterdays hike. We had a great time, as we always do. Hope you enjoyed it too!
May 04th, 2021
Tim got himself a new desk recently. It is pretty nifty! It can be a regular sitting at it to work desk or, at the push of a button, a standing desk so he can work standing up for awhile. And then to make it even more interesting, there is a balance board to stand on (if you wish) that came with it. Tim likes the balance board and uses it often.
I think it's a brilliant idea, the convertible desk. Each of Tim's work days tend to be very long which means he spends hour upon hour upon hour, trapped in one room, hunched over a desk or on the phone, starring at various monitors, essentially in the same position all day long. That cannot be good for anybody. Having the option to, whenever he chooses, change it up and stand for a few hours instead of sitting, is genius. I do not share the same opinion about the balance board, but that's only because I tried to stand on it myself and, well lets just say it did not go well. But Tim, who at one time was an excellent gymnast, must have a great sense of balance (makes sense right?) because he took to it right away.
When the desk arrived, it came in multiple boxes, as such things do. And he spent some very happy time putting it all together. Like a kid with an new toy, he seemed to be genuinely having fun as he got it all set up and organized and ready to go for his next work day. However, that still left his old desk to deal with.
The old desk was massive! It practically needed it's own zip code. But it allowed plenty of room to work, plenty of room for his multiple computer monitors (it looked a little like a rocket launch control room), plenty of room to eat at his desk while he worked (happens A LOT) and plenty of room for his various piles of stuff. And those are all some of the reasons he choose that desk to begin with I'm sure.
But after 5 years of working at that old football field of a desk, he was ready for a change. So out with the old and in with the new. Yay! But now what exactly do you do with the old? One step at a time, first it had to be taken out of the home office which meant, it had to be taken apart. Yes it was so big it had to be disassembled to get it out of the room. But Tim took it apart very carefully and taped all of the various bits and pieces to the back of each piece. He is a very organized sort of person, y'see.
The plan was to drop it off a GoodWill. It seemed as if we were doing a good deed, offering it up as a donation, or so we thought. On Saturday, Tim folded all of the seats down in his car and re-arranged things such that the old desk would (only just barely) fit and we set out for our local GoodWill. Where they promptly turned it away. The Good Will worker just barely peeked into the open back of the car before he turned it down flat. Tim even offered to re-assemble it for them, but no, they did not want or need a desk. Dang.
So next we tried a nearby consignment store whose proceeds go to the Humane Society. Well that is a very worthy cause, we will just donate it to them instead. This time, Tim stayed with the car and I went inside to talk with them. Turns out the only people working there were behind the register so I had no choice but to stand in line. A very long line. Seems that consignment stores are a big deal for shoppers around here, at least during tourist season. Eventually I made my way to the front of the line and explained that we had a very nice desk to donate to them. Whereupon they asked if I had an appointment. An appointment? You need an appointment to make a donation? I could only assume that they thought I wanted them to pick it up. It makes perfect sense that would require an appointment so I clarified that the desk was in the car, and the car was right there - I pointed out the window. They sighed and one after the other fired questions at me, Could we trot the desk out to the sidewalk so they could see it through the window? How big was the desk? What colour was the desk? What was the desk made out of? Before I could answer any of the questions, one of the pair decided that no, they did not need or want a desk. They did offer me a 2021 calendar for my troubles though which I politely declined.
There was only one option left that we could think of, Salvation Army. There is one in town, off island but still in Venice, so off we went more than a little annoyed that nobody wanted this perfectly fine desk! Here we are trying to do a nice thing, donating an absolutely lovely desk and we cannot even give it away. Dang!
Once we arrived at Salvation Army, we followed the donation drop off arrows through the open gate of a chain link fence and past piles after groupings after stacks after collections of the most incredible variety of stuff before finally arriving at the end. There we found a large beat up and warped wooden table made of odds and ends nailed together. It was painfully obvious that the table had clearly been outside in every kinds of weather for years. And standing beside that table was a fellow examining an old mattress. Tim got out and talked to him for a few minutes. First I thought was going to be a flat rejection once again. But eventually Tim sweet talked him into at least checking with his boss. And so we waited. And while we waited we couldn't help but see, broken dishes, dolls missing body parts, wonky floor lamps, a stack of old mattresses that would be suitable for "The Princess and The Pea" and an impressive assortment of knickknacks and, and, and...well from what we saw, surely they would have no problem accepting a pristine and beautiful desk, right?
We decided that if Salvation Army didn't want it, we would just take it back home and figure out something else later. It could live in the utility room until then. If necessary, we could chop it up into garbage can sized pieces and dispose of it slowly over many, many, MANY weeks if we had to. We felt pretty discouraged.
We continued to wait. Hum dilly hum. And eventually the guy came back and gave us a thumbs up. He pointed at the beat up old knocked together table. So we unloaded the desk from the car and carefully stacked all of the bits and pieces where the fellow had indicated. It looked strange to see that beautiful desk, even in it's disassembled state laying atop that mouldy, warped, discoloured table. I wondered if they were just going to leave the desk outside in the elements too and the thought kind of made me sad. But on the other hand, the task was done, completed, checked off the list.
I guess the lesson here is that sometimes it is surprisingly difficult to do a nice thing. Oh well.
May 03rd, 2021
Oops! In an apparent effort to end last week dramatically, I slipped and fell this past Friday. And because I was clearly going for some kind of special award, I did it in such a way that was downright graceful. Unusual for me.
Thinking back it must have looked like a fancy ice skating move gone a little awry. Here's what happened.
It was getting toward dinner time and I was doing my usual race around the kitchen trick starting to prep. Part of setting up for dinner on that particular day involved emptying the dishwasher. The dishwasher had only just finished which meant that there was a little bit of water still on some of the dishes. Anything even remotely concave, say the underside of some coffee mugs or pot lids, needs to be briefly wiped down before being put away. I say briefly because I am impatient. Those things probably actually require a more thorough toweling since putting them away improperly wiped sometimes leaves a few drips of water on the floor.
I don't concern myself much with a few water drips. I won't hurt anything. We have tile floors. In fact we have old tile floors which were beaten into submission long ago. It's one of the things I really love about tile. It's rugged, it's durable and, as it turns out, also slippery. Turns out I'm not a fan of that particular tile quality.
At any rate, the original plan was to wipe up any errant drips as soon as I was finished with the task. Clean it all up in one fell swoop, which turned out to be a prediction rather than a plan.
The last dish that I put away was at the farthest end of the kitchen from the towels. So as soon as it was safely tucked into it's proper place in the cabinet, I turned and walked, quickly as is my usual way, to get the towel to wipe up the drippy floor. About 3/4 of the way, my left foot hit an especially wet spot and instead of completing a step in a normal fashion, my foot slid forward. The slide forward was so unexpected and extreme - it wasn't just forward it was really really really forward as if I were going to do the splits - that the rest of my body just went straight down. Excellent posture I must say. And I landed, full body weight, on my right knee. Really, as I picture it in my mind it looks a look like a figure skating move except with contact.
As soon as all motion stopped, I tried to stand back up but nope. That wasn't happening. So I rolled over and sat up, back against the utility room door. While I was examining my knee for possible damage, Tim came flying into the kitchen.
I was unaware that I made any noise but clearly I had said ouch or ow or something, really loud. Which makes sense because it hurt. It really really really hurt. Very ouchie indeed.
I explained what happened and Dr. Tim was ON IT! First things first, he told me to stay put and then he did what he always does and grabbed the nearest ice pack then gingerly applied it to my knee. As he crouched nearby to make sure I stayed put, I told him that initially it hurt soI fe much that it made me feel kind of pukey. Have you ever done that? Injured yourself in with such force that it make you feel a little nauseous? It's kind of a gross feeling. Well as soon as I confessed to the pukey feeling, Tim brought me another, much larger, ice pack and was instructed to hold it up against my chest. I did so.
After a few more minutes of just sitting there hugging an ice pack, the feeling passed and I was ready to try to get up. Tim gently helped me to my feet and guided me to the family room sofa so I could sit with my leg up. He brought in yet another ice pack that covered much of my entire leg. He was being thorough. It should be obvious to everyone by now that Tim strongly believes in the power of the ice pack.
It's almost like.....let's see what is it like? Did you see the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? In that film, the bride's father used Windex for everything, including minor injuries. It's sort of like that. Except that in Tim's case, he is almost always right. The ice pack therapies he so strongly believes in actually work.
I continued to alternate ice packs with my leg up throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. We were curious to see what my knee would be like the next day. And well, the ice pack magic did the trick. Other than a little stiffness and tenderness, it was absolutely fine. I walked cautiously for a few days, but I did walk. And today, there is only a small knot that nobody but me would ever notice, which is obviously the point of impact. No Big Deal At All.
So there you have it. When in doubt, slap an ice pack on it. It's is truly amazing.
I feel as if this is the point where I should say, taadaa, and so I shall,
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.