I'm sure you recognize the above symbol by now. Recycle! In theory, Americans have been urged to recycle since the mid 1970's. It's an extra step or two, sure, but I like the idea. Save the planet and all that. I don't know how successful our country actually has been with the experiment, I've read reports saying both that it's been great and that it's been disappointing. Not sure which is accurate. Perhaps it differs state to state or even county to county. But on the off chance that it actually is working, I try to do my part.
Our city actually gives each home a giant blue recycle bin that has a hinged lid and on Sunday night, every week without fail, I wheel the filled bin to the curb. On Monday morning, now emptied, I wheel it back to the side of the house where it lives just outside of the utility room door. Very handy.
For the most part, it's no big deal once you get into the rhythm of it. I know that most cans and bottles are easily washed and tossed into the bin. Newspaper goes in without question, envelopes, junk mail, cereal boxes, and things of that nature take just a moment or two to prepare for recycle. There are a few things that are tricky to get the lid off of - shampoo bottle manufacturers, I'm talking to you! But for the most part, I don't even think about it anymore, I just do it. And whenever I am in doubt as to whether or not something is ok to recycle, I look for that little triangular recycle symbol. For the most part, easy peasy.
Cardboard boxes however, take a little more time, energy and thought. First of all, I cannot just put them, intact, into the bin. Nope, they must be cut down. There are very specific rules y'see. Dang. That takes a wee bit more effort. Some days I simply do not have the energy to tackle anything bigger than a shoe box. So I stack cardboard boxes at the back of the utility room where they are totally in the way of everything. There they remain until the day that I have either more energy than usual or I'm annoyed enough to finally do something about it.
Once I force myself to do the dang job, usually it's easy enough. A good box cutter will, normally, allow me to cut the boxes in question to the proper size so I can stuff them into the bin (and then vaccuum up all of the little leftover bits that remain....................grrrrrrr). But occasionally there is a superbox to contend with.
A superbox is a cardboard box of superior strength. It has bulk, it has heft, it has thicker than normal cardboard and the corners are reinforced. A superbox laughs at boxcutters. It chuckles in the face of utility knives. It guffaws at at the sight of a hacksaw. (yes I've considered it) I really hate it when there is a superbox waiting to be broken down in the utility room because I know there is going to be a battle.
I faced this yesterday. The superbox in question originally held some giantshopvac that Tim bought. It had to be a superbox to contain this oversized piece of equipment, so I understand the why of it. But that doesn't make me like it any more than a normal cardboard box. And it was such a big box that it was even more in the way than usual. I was just PO'd enough yesterday to finally be prepared to take it on.
I began, as I always do, moving it to the middle of the space. I need room to do battle. I pulled out my trusty box cutter. The box cutter is so named because it is specifically designed for one thing - cutting boxes. The superbox is merely another box, I told both myself And the superbox. The superbox giggled a little bit.
I reached into the box set the blade against the base of one of the sides, right ahead of the reinforced corner, I pressed it hard enough to feel the pop of the knife cutting through that first layer and then, continually applying pressure, I pulled the blade up toward the top. I checked the results. It appeared that I had successfully cut half way through the thickness of the box. Logic holds that if I now do the exact same thing on the outside of the box, ultimately I will have cut all the way through, right?
Except that isn't what happened. First of all, it's hard to duplicate the exact same line on both the inside and outside of the box. The outside has some shiny, slicker matter with pictures and words and do-dah all over it and even though I have pierced that skin, the blade skitters and slides on that slippery coating. ARGH! Ok Perhaps the third pass will do the trick. It did not. I glared at the superbox. I have no successfully cut through one single line of the box yet. The fourth pass did it. It was a sloppy job, but it was done. The problem was, I was already tired out. My hands, which are always uncooperative, are beginning to object to the job.
I couldn't stop though. I had committed to cutting down the superbox so by god, I was going to finish the job. I stood back up a minute to unkink my back and as I felt my vertebrae snap back into their proper places, my eye fell on a different tool. Hmmmmmm. I wonder.............
It was the chonker. I don't know what the actual name of the tool is but I refer to it as the chonker. I use to to trim shrubs and sometimes trees. It has really long handles and actually can cut through some pretty good sized limbs. Logic holds that if it can cut through a tree limb, surely it can cut through the reinforced, double thick cardboard of a superbox, right? It looks like this:
I approached the superbox with a gleam in my eye and the chonker in my hands. Oh it worked. It worked so good. I cut that superbox down to size in no time at all. Just chop chop chop right down the sides. I think I heard the superbox whimper a little. But I didn't feel sorry for it, not one bit! I just kept going. The chonker is awesome.
When I was done and the cardboard was loaded into the big blue recycle bin and the chonker was put back into it's proper place, I found myself smiling as I vacuumed up all the leftover cardboard bits. I have met the enemy And I have conquered!
And that my friends, is what we call creative problem solving! I'm going to go ahead and give myself a little pat on the back as I pass this tip along to you. Taadaa!
Just a really quick post today to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend! I hope for you it really is a full 3-day weekend. Keep in that not everyone gets the time off. Be appreciative if you do have that lovely three day stretch of time!
Of course I have no idea what your plans are (though I'd love to hear about it!). Maybe your town has an annual parade that has been resurrected now, post pandemic. Or perhaps you like to do a little getaway, a mini-vacation for the long holiday weekend. It could be that you are the one who hosts the barbeque that all of your friends and relative get to enjoy. Or are you a person who is looking forward camping and enjoying nature for 3 days in a row?
Whatever you do and however you spend it, try to spend a few minutes keeping in mind the original intent of the holiday. At least spare a moment of reflection. Remember the origin of this Memorial Day and acknowledge your gratitude for all of the men and women who have served and were willing to put their lives at risk protecting each of us and our country.
Then go out and thoroughly enjoy your weekend. Throw that frisbee, smoke that brisket, watch that movie marathon, read that book hike that trail or whatever else is on your list of fun things to do this weekend!
As always, have fun and be safe. See you on Tuesday.
Hugs all 'round.
This way to see a blue bird? Nah, I'm teasing. It's one of the markers for a trail called the Scrub Jay trail at Oscar Scherer State Park. And if you hike that trail you MIGHT see a blue bird. But then again, you might not. There are never any guarantees on what a person might find on any of the hiking paths. And birds are notorious for ignoring any and all signage. Regardless of any bird appearances, obviously, this means that Joy and I were out on yet another Photo Safari. And since we actually did see Scrub Jays (though not necessarily on that particularly named trail) I think I will call this one the Scrub Jay hike. Why not? I gotta call it something.
It's starting to feel very summery outside here, which means higher temps, higher humidity and a higher chance of precipitation. And in fact there had been some bodacious storms the night before. So we were beyond grateful that throughout the hike there was a lovely breeze, sporadic cloud cover and only leftover drops of rain. It was a nice long hike too, a little over 4 miles, with lots to see! If you care to find out what we saw, that's coming up next.
First of all, there were far more cooperative bugs than usual. Normally they are always on the move, and fast! Zipzipzip! which makes it really hard to capture something so dang tiny. This time, however, I was a little more successful than usual:
Birds, naturally. There were a LOT of birds. And not just the ones we HEARD. This time there were birds that we laid eyes on. I will try to select just some of my favourites. And you know what? I think I will give the Jays their own section. Just too many good ones to combine with the rest. So the section following this will be the Jays:
As promised (or perhaps threatened?), I hope you like the colour blue because, here come the Jays:
There were a couple of other critters:
Lovely Botannicals of all sorts:
There are always beautiful trails and cool random things seen along the trails:
So I guess that's pretty much it. Hope you enjoyed the Scrub Jay Hike. I'm excited to see what we find on our next foray into the wilds.
Guess what I did yesterday? I went shopping! For Clothes! AND (even better) I found some :) YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!
I love the fun prints, the happy colours and the light weight fabrics. All of them are summery, loose, airy, comfy and, the biggest surprise of all. Every dang one of them has buttons down the front! WHAT?
If you recall, it was not at all long ago that I wrote a piece on how I only owned two button up shirts, one long sleeved and one itchy. That, for whatever reason, I could never find any that fit properly. There was always a gap between the buttons. Or they were miles too big and it looked like I was wearing someone else's clothes. complain complain complain...whine whine whine. Geez.
As it turns out, I was shopping in the wrong stores.
The initial shopping attempt was at Beall's. (similar to Kohl's) There were two tops that were close...but not really close enough.... to a proper fit. Dang. That was disappointing. Next try was looking in a few shops on the Avenue. Excuse me, Venice Avenue, which is the core of our downtown shopping area. It's filled with adorable boutique's and restaurants and other wonderful shops of the cutest and usually rather unique things. It's a great place for Gift shopping but I've only ever once purchased anything for myself on that street. It was a tie-dyed hoodie and I still have it and wear it and it was only ten bucks. Sooo awesome job there, Sam.
Anyway, one day as I was checking out the shops via their windows displays, I saw in one window a very cute top that happened to be button front so I strolled on inside to check it out. It was cotton, which is perfect for hot summers; it was machine washable, which is an absolute requisite; and it was my size! huzzah! I took it off the rack and scanned the store for the dressing room. Then I happened to catch a glimpse of the price tag. I took a second look. One Hundred and Twenty-Five dollars. For a shirt. Cotton, thread and buttons. $125.00. Seriously? I laughed and laughed, hung it back on the rack and walked out of the store. Geez!
Now let's keep in mind here that other than some desperately needed underwear, I haven't shopping for clothes in more than 3 years. I do laundry twice a week. On really hot, sweaty, dirty days (like yard work days or hiking days) I even change clothes after a mid-day shower. Between hard wearing and lots of laundering, our clothes really get a workout. I need clothes that will stand up to abuse. There is no point in spending money on flimsily made garments that will be consigned to the rag pile or thrown out after only a few months. Nope. I expect my clothes to last. But even the best made stuff only lasts so long and some of mine were starting to look a little worse for the wear. Especially my favourites. Of course! Those things get worn the most!
BUT I am absolutely not spending $125 on one shirt. That is laughable. (which is why I did) So on Saturday we went to the mall in Sarasota. The UTC Mall to be specific. The one that used to be referred to as the "fancy" mall. Probably I called it that because it's new and shiny and maintained beautifully. Also it does have some higher end stores in it. Since I delight in shopping on sale and clearance racks, the higher end sales price didn't worry me. I have found many amazing deals in really nice stores at sales. Not this time.
I did find a few things that I would have tried on except that even at the sale price, things were kind of stupid expensive. How does a cotton top, at 40% off, still be $60 ? I mean it is a vast improvement on the $125 I saw on the avenue but really? Sixty dollars? Sorry I just cannot do it. Not for everyday wear. These are not clothes that I will be wearing as I have tea with the Queen. These are the things I will be wearing as I scrub toilets and grocery shop and do the noonwalk and make cookies. These are clothes that will be at some point covered with flour, smell like furniture polish (just from proximity) and salt encrusted from walking the beach. $60 tops are saved for special occasions.
I was a little discouraged. Tim tried to boost my spirits by reminding me that there are other shops, off-island, but still local that we had not yet checked out. I nodded and said, "Well I suppose I can look at Walmart". Now, that said, let me now clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Walmart clothes. I have been buying Walmart tee-shirts for myself for years. BUT the cheaper price (and they are cheaper for sure) also means more cheaply made. They just don't hold up well. Generally anything I have purchased at Walmart lasts one season. I was hoping for something that falls between Walmart and Nordstroms. Usually Beall's fits that slot nicely. Just not this time.
However, yesterday Tim took me to a different shopping plaza in Venice. Off-island but still officially in our town. Right in a line in the same plaza there was Beall's outlet, Marshalls and Burlington. Ok now we are talking!
My methodology is to go through the racks in my size and pull everything that fits my criteria. I don't care what colour it is or what the print is or anything else, just my basic criteria. My size (of course), reasonably priced, loose, soft fabric, cotton or cotton blend and machine washable. Once I retreated to a dressing room, I zoomed through trying it all on. I can tell in very short order what is or isn't going to work. Is it comfortable, is it massively too big or small and is it hideous. Quick easy questions to answer. We left the outlet store with one top and I honestly, I felt like it was a massive success. I was so very encouraged by that one selection!
I was ready to go. We found one top, why push our luck? It was enough for me. But not for Tim. "Keep going!" was his command so next we went to Marshalls. I think I was in a Marshalls one other time ever, life time total. And that was back in Connecticut! I left there empty handed and unimpressed. This time however, I found LOTS of things to try and it was a unicorn moment because every single solitary thing I tried on fit and looked good. Dang! With Tim's input I settled on five tops. FIVE! And now I feel like I have an entire new summer wardrobe. AND all of it together cost considerably less than the one really expensive top from the boutique on the avenue. Wow! Didn't even bother to check out Burlington. Perhaps another time.
Everything is in the wash today so by tomorrow, if I want to, I can start wearing my awesome new summery clothes! Funny how a little thing like a new top can really perk a person up! I am fully perked.
"Though April Showers
May come your way
They bring the flowers
That bloom in May....."
That's from a song by Al Jolson called "April Shower". He wrote that more than one hundred years ago and most people still are at least a little bit familiar with it, (even if they do not know it's origin). Somehow, I even still know the tune to sing it by :)
Mr. Jolson, as it happens, was born in Lithuania. His family immigrated to the US via New York City where he spent his childhood. He died in San Francisco. Perhaps in those places - Lithuania, NY and California - the adage is true. Rain in April = Flowers in May. But it's not the case everywhere.
I happen to know that Colorado is running a little light on rain this so far this year and actually so are we here in Florida. Our "rainy season' has not yet begun. Oh we have had a bit of rain here and there, but here we are in May and our April was noticeably dry. So we know for sure that, at least for some folks, the first part of that song is not exactly accurate.
Oddly, the second part, for us at least, holds true. Right now, in the third week of May, we are still enjoying flowers galore! My camera and I took a walk yesterday afternoon and I was delighted with what I found. Flowers in nearly every colour you could possibly imagine.
Pinks and purples and blues:
Yellow's, Red's and Oranges:
There are even a few perfect white flowers here and there:
While I was strolling around, I couldn't help but also take photos of some gorgeous homes and other buildings. I know it has nothing to do with the song, but I couldn't help myself. Oh and a few fountains. I do love the fountains:
Somehow, I managed to get a couple of birds:
So I'm not sure what exactly I learned from all this. Hmmm. May is dang pretty here abouts is perhaps the best I can do. Ain't nothin' wrong with that.
This is my annual PSA. Yes, I write something about this every year. No, I don't get tired of talking about it. Yes, I still believe that it's a very important conversation to have, at least once every year. Yes, I try to find either a new way of presenting the old message and/or new information to share. (That was in anticipation of the question you may be thinking while you read this)
If you've been reading my blog for at least a year then you kind of know what to expect. So here we go:
Not only are there a lot of people in the world with some degree of hearing loss, the number is increasing all of the time. In 1985 roughly 42 million people around the world, which is about 1% of the population, had moderate to profound hearing loss. By 2011, that number grew to 360 million (about 6.1% of the population). By 2018 it was 466 million and it is projected that by 2030 there will be 650 million. Even more shocking, by 2050, projections indicate that more than 900 million people around the globe will have significant hearing loss. Wow! That is just staggering.
Even more surprising is that the age of people indicating some degree of hearing loss is dropping. Growing up, I always associated hearing loss with extreme old age. (which is funny because I began losing my own hearing at age 12, I just didn't realize it) According to the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) 14 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have some degree of hearing loss. Twenty years old! Wow!
Every May, in honour of Better Hearing Month, I have my annual hearing test. It's painless, most insurances cover it and some audiology offices even occasionally offer free screenings. This year my test revealed that, for now anyway, my hearing has plateaued. Nice! While my hearing isn't good, unaided, it is no worse right now. And that is exciting. No adjustments needed to be made to my hearing aids, I was good to go for another year. Yay!
This is just an aside. When I visit a new medical professionals office, I always make it a point to tell them that I am hearing impaired, that I wear hearing aids but that I will understand them best if they look at me while they are talking. Most of them do their best to comply which is nice. But I ALWAYS hear back in response, "My goodness, I had no idea that you have difficulty hearing. I would never have guessed". Which is flattering :) But it also points to part of the problem.
If you have a broken leg, people notice. The cast and the crutch are a giveaway immediately. Most nice people (and quite honestly, most people are nice) will automatically accommodate you without you having to ask. They do so with a smile. Your life is a little easier and they feel good about having helped. But hearing loss in essentially invisible. If it seems that you don't understand what is being said assumptions are made. A) you do not speak English B) you weren't paying attention C) you aren't interested or D) you are stupid. It almost never occurs to the other person that the reason you didn't understand is that you cannot hear properly.
It is important to educate the world around us. I have learned to speak up. To, very kindly, tell people what I need. Be honest. The more upfront I have learned to be about my own hearing loss, the more other people feel at ease telling me of their own hearing concerns whether it's their parent, their spouse, their sibling, their friend or themselves. I am not certain why, but it seems as though while it's perfectly acceptable to need to wear glasses or contact lenses or get Lasix surgery, somehow people are embarrassed to admit that they have difficulty hearing. Maybe they have problem only in certain environments. Perhaps it's only certain voices or just when watching television. But people, lots of people, are struggling with their hearing and then not doing anything about it. Heck, they won't even talk about it! What a terrible shame.
If you want to protect your hearing here are 12 tips from ASHA (American Speech Hearing Association):
1. Avoid loud noises
2. Keep your ears clean and dry - excessive moisture can lead to infections
3. Don't smoke. Smoking can more than double your risk as it impairs blood circulation and therefore oxygen which maintain healthy cells
4. Be cautious with medications. Some prescription medications can have side effects related to hearing loss
5. Be aware of excessive wax build up
6. Avoid putting cotton swabs or any other object in your ear canals
7. Take supplements and vitamins for better hearing health. Such as Vitamin B, Magnesium and Zinc
8. Protect your ears in cold weather and noisy environments, think ear muffs and noise cancelling headphones
9. See your regular General Practitioner regularly and be honest with them about any difficulties you may be having. Some other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure can also contribute to hearing loss
10. Get regular hearing screens from your local audiologist
11. Go for a walk in the woods (listen to the quiet for awhile)
12. Self-test. Have a friend or family member read to you then you repeat back to them what you heard, or thought you heard.
Ok I'm done with this year's lecture. And if only one person reads this and and says, "Yes, this is the year that I am actually going to call and make that appointment for a hearing test", then my mission was successful. But there is still a lot of work to be done so expect another lecture about your hearing health next May.
These are two shirts right out of my closet. The one of the left is, obviously, a button front. The one on the right is a pullover. 99.9999999% of the shirts I own are pullovers. I own exactly two button front shirts. One long sleeved (the above) and one short sleeved which I rarely actually wear because it itches. Even the really nice dressy uppy tops that I have are of the pullover variety. Winter, summer, spring, fall, doesn't matter. With the exception of two, all of my shirts are of the over the head variety. Nowadays, they make such pretty pull over tops out of all sorts of fabrics that pullovers - which used to be strictly for "tomfoolery" - honestly work just fine for dressy occasions, office wear, casual and any other situation you can think of.
Just to clarify, it's not as if I dislike button front shirts. It's more that they dislike me. Of course there is a reason that I only own two button front shirts. A very valid reason. Gaposis. Yup. Almost every button up shirt I've ever tried on leaves me with a severe case of gaposis. You know what gaposis is, right? It looks like this:
Only on me it is often even worse. Even standing perfectly still with my hands at my sides, there is, sadly, a gap between the buttons. Sometimes such an emphatic gap that if I wore the shirt despite the obviously problem, it wouldn't just be a little stretching and pulling. I would absolutely also be putting on a lingerie show. It 's very sad.
It's not as if I am side-show huge for heaven's sakes. But apparently I am bustier than my frame would normally suggest. And I suspect that some men and/or smaller busted women do not fully comprehend the difficulty in buying clothes in my situation. Obviously clothing manufacturers do NOT get it.
This came up yesterday because we stopped by Beall's - a Kolhs-sized clothing store - so I could look at some shirts. I saw several button front ones that were Very cute. Cute enough to ignore the warning bells going off in my head that said, "Button! Beware the Buttons!" I scoffed at myself, "Pshaw", I said, "I'm not afraid of any buttons. What could it hurt to try?" Silly me.
The first was a sky blue, cap sleeved, v-neck top that had a row of over sized buttons down the front. Very Very Cute. The fabric was soft and light weight and the best part was the proportion. It came right to my waist and stopped. For short people like me, a shirt that is stops where it's supposed to and not 8 inches lower, is like finding a unicorn sitting at your kitchen table enjoying a bowl of cornflakes.
The second shirt was a pinky-blush colour with slightly puffed short sleeves. The neckline was more rounded and even though it had buttons all down the front, it tied at the waist and lightly bloused out. The fabric, once again was very soft, and had a small pink on pink print. Once again, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Even though, in regular people clothes I generally buy a size small, I selected mediums to try with the dreaded gaposis in mind. My thought was, perhaps if it was a wee bit over sized, the gap would be gone. It was not. The shirts fit fine - though a little bit roomy - every where else but the buttons pulled at the fabric and that is never a good look. I sighed and debated with myself. How much do I like these two shirts? Enough to try a size large?
The answer was yes. Tim found both shirts for me in the larger size. I was swimming in them. Swimming! The shoulder seams were half way down my arms, the length was far too long, there were gobs of extra fabric at the sides and the neckline dipped dangerously. And yet. And yet! Gaposis. How is this freakin' possible?
It was very frustrating. Out of sheer stupid stubbornness, I then went through the entire store choosing one of every single (summer type) button front shirt that they had. I took them all into the dressing room and ended up having the exact same problem with every single shirt. Apparently button front shirts and I are sworn enemies. Like oil and water or north and south poled magnets, it seems that button front shirts and Sam are mutually exclusive. Dang.
Now it is a mission. I am determined. I do not like limitations in the same way that I do not like being told what to do. And I sometimes I feel the need to push back. There are other stores here. I have a mission now.
It's me or the button front shirt. The show down will be epic. We will see who wins.
Happy Friday to ya! And I have to ask, how much do you, personally, care that today is Friday the 13th? Hmm? Are you superstitious about such things? And if you are superstitious, which wins out; the fact that it's Friday - which everyone knows is the best day of the work week - or the fact that a 13th happens to have landed on a Friday? Ooooo decisions, decisions, decisions.
Personally, I am not superstitious. I know that some people are and I respect that. You feel what you feel and you believe what you believe. But fearing a black cat crossing my path? Nope, doesn't concern me at all. I might stop to pet the black cat, but I'm not afraid of it. The only concern I have about walking under an open ladder is that I could get hit with whatever the people on the ladder might drop. It 's not so much superstition as it is common sense.
If I spill salt (which means I have to clean it up) I'm certainly not going to throw more salt over my shoulder (which I will also have to clean up). That makes zero sense to me. A broken mirror means, once again, I'm cleaning it up, but it also means be careful that A) I must be careful to get ALL of the pieces, even those microscopic tiny ones that lurk and wait for bare feet to come along and B) be careful that I don't cut yourself while cleaning it up. But that's all that it means to me Oh, and I now must replace the mirror.
The idea of bad things coming in three's is funny. Why 3's specifically? Why not 4's or 2's or 328's? To my way to thinking, bad things do not come in threes any more than good things do. Things just happen. If you focus on the bad, all you will see is that bad. If you focus on the good, you will definitely see an uptick in good stuff all around you.
Here is another group of 3's that I will never understand the fear of: 666. Honestly, it's is only a powerful satanic number if you believe that it is. Otherwise, it's just 3 of the same numbers in a row, like perhaps an address. 666 North St. You could pick any other 3 letters or numbers and give that imaginary power too. 333! Nope nothing scary happened. Sounds like the area code to a telephone exchange. ZZZ! Nada. Zip. Sounds like a mosquito buzzing around when you say it out loud. It is neither scary nor mysterious. No powers at all. Oops, Wait a minute. I misspoke. What about AAA? Triple A, the people who come and rescue you when you have a flat tire or need a tow truck! Now there is some power!
The idea that having one particular part of a specific animal in your pocket brings you good luck is strange to me. A rabbits foot did not bring the rabbit luck, why would it bring you luck? And why the foot? Why not the tail or the ear or that cute little wiggly nose? Nope, not buying it. Literally.
I truly thought that the belief in superstition belonged to generations from long ago. I honestly supposed that our most recent generations were far less superstitious than previous ones. It seemed logical to me that younger people, who are far more technologically savvy than I, young people with the scientific world at their fingertips, would not fall for superstitious, silly, very very unscientific beliefs. But as it turns out I was dead wrong on that.
According to what I've been reading, my generation is far less superstitious than our parents and grandparents (and backwards from there) and also less superstitious than the generations that have come after us! WHAT? That's kind of crazy.
According to an article in "Medical News Today", "Billions of people in the United States and across the world are superstitious. A quarter of adults in the U.S. consider themselves to be so, and recent trends reveal that younger people are more superstitious than older adults. In fact, 70% of U.S. students rely on good luck charms for better academic performance."
I was so surprised to learn that. But now that I think about it for a minute, most airlines still do not have a 13th row. 80% of buildings around the world do not have a 13th floor. Hotels and hospitals rarely have a room 13. It's just a number folks. It doesn't have any more magical power than another other number. Really! I am shocked.
The Medical New article went on to say that beliefs in superstition, even when you are aware, that it cannot possibly be true, tend to relieve anxiety. That's odd but interesting.
A quote within the article suggests one possibility:
“I think life is a series of random coincidences and can’t be shaped by these strange little habits, but I guess it’s reassuring to believe you have some control over it — especially when there’s so much about our lives and society that we can’t change.”
Ok I will buy that. It's a control thing. Or the illusion of control at least. I do understand that desire for control. It's a crazy old world out there and sometimes I feel like a seashell or a bit of driftwood that is being tossed around by a giant wave. So yeah, a need to find a little bit of control, something to steer a better course, some bit of magic that will help me out would be awesome.
So whatever you believe, I believe that today, Friday the 13th 2022, is going to be an awesome day. And because I believe that it will be a great day, it really will be. It's the belief that gives it the power.
You go ahead and have whatever sort of Friday the 13th you prefer. I respect that.
Did you know that studies have concluded that the average American spend 5 years of their lives, waiting in line? Wow. I was surprised to read that, though I probably shouldn't have been.
I was thinking about this yesterday as I waited for the light to change on my way to the grocery store. It's kind of a funny thing that while I am not an especially patient person overall, I don't seem to have a problem waiting in line. Most of us have been queuing in one sort of line or another since primary school where we lined up to get on and off the bus, to leave the classroom for recess and, then very very quickly for fire drills.
Of course as a child, waiting patiently is a learned skill but we had plenty of practice learning it because it seemed that we were always waiting for something. The wait for Christmas Morning was eternal. Waiting for permission to leave the table after dinner wasn't quite as bad but waiting for a boring class to end really was interminable. We would fidget at our desks, eyes on that enormous class at the front of the room watching that stubborn second hand take it's jolly time (unintended pun) to move from one numeral to the next with a decisive "Click". We waited to take our turns during games, we waited for the weekend and we waited for summer break. We waved our hands in the air trying to get the teacher's attention when we wanted permission to speak and did the pee-pee dance waiting our turn for the bathroom.
And of course children wait with such anticipation be adults so that they can do as they please only to then be both shocked and disappointed to learn that that is not entirely the case. As adults, we are still always waiting. Biding our time is just another part of the human condition I suppose.
Gardeners wait for the perfect time of year to plant and then to harvest. Workers eagerly await their payday. Performers wait for their cue to go onstage. Teenagers wait for someone to call (or text nowadays I suppose) to ask them out. Interviewees wait to hear if they got the job. Worried parents of young drivers wait to hear that their kids got home safely each night.
We wait in traffic of course, at the gas station pump and in lines at the grocery store. You wait for someone to pull out in a busy parking lot and you wait your turn at the hot dog stand. A photographer patiently waits for the perfect shot and we wait for the return elevator. And lord knows we wait at the airport.
Clearly it's true. We spend a lot of time in lives, waiting for something or someone. There is a famous French play, by Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot". I don't know if you've ever seen it. I have. I guess I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate it because it was one of the most boring plays I've ever seen. The worst of it being that "Godot" never actually shows up. At least not during the play. Maybe he is one of those people who are always late to everything.
You would think with all the waiting we do, that we would be better at it. You've seen the people in cars on the road that are determined to not have to wait. They zoom up in the breakdown lane to be closer to the front when faced with a line of cars. They incessantly beep at you while you are waiting for the old lady with a walker to cross in front of you. They pull out with anger and roar around you if you are going the actual speed limit on a narrow, winding, country road. Geez people, calm down!
Standing in line at the movies or the hardware ware store full grown adults wiggle and squirm like a 3 year old who needs to go potty. They jingle the change in their pockets, sigh very loudly and repeatedly, mutter and mumble under their breathe, hop from lane to lane hoping that a different lane might go faster, and they stand FAR too closely to the person in front of them.
To all of them I say, "Chill". You have been waiting for things your entire life. You should be a champion at it by now. Consider it a skill, an art form. In fact, "waiting" is expressed in all sorts of art.
In music: The Beach Boys, "Waiting for You"; Tom Petty, "The Waiting"; The Kinks, "Tired of Waiting for You" and The Flaming Lips, "Waiting for Superman" just to mention a few.
In paintings: "Waiting for His Return" by William Ladd Taylor; "Two Women at a Window" by Bartholome Murillo and "Awaiting the Suitor" by Gustave Leonard de Jonghe are several examples.
The theme shows up in dance, in theatre, in sculpture, in literature and real life, every single day of our lives. It seems that we are destined to always be waiting. It would serve us well to learn to be better at it.
For me it's kind of Zen. I'm nosy, I look in other people's carts to see what they are buying, I check out the ceiling, the floors and the contents of the impulse goods rack by the register. I read the covers of all of the magazines and check out what everybody around me is wearing. I day dream a little bit and make mental lists of other things, people and places. I might check my phone for messages or see if my shoe laces are still properly tied (often they are not).
Back in the day when I was standing in line with small children and/or babies, I was absolutely not bored. Children are never boring. Their behavior can fall anywhere from delightful to aggravating but they are never ever boring. So if there are little kids near me, I am definitely going to be entertained. I might strike up a conversation with the person behind me or in front of me. If there is musak going that I can actually hear (rare occasion to be fair) I might sing along quietly. Yeah, I confess, I'm that lady.
I guess the point here is that if you are going to spend as much as five years of your life waiting, you may as well embrace it. Find a way to not be the guy behind me in the grocery store yesterday jamming his cart into the backs of my legs in his impatience. Try to not be the girl who beepitybeepbeeped me while I waited for people to cross the street in front of me at the green light. Yes it was our green light. That does not mean I am allowed to run over people. The same girl also flipped me off as she squealed the car around me to get by nearly clipping the pedestrians as she zoomed past by the way. Do not be the cranky lady yelling at the cashier about the line being slow. I promise you, the cashier is already well aware of the long line and there is nothing she can do about it.
Learn to wait with patience, good humour and grace. And if you are feeling it, a little bit of silliness wouldn't go amiss.
How did you spend Mother's Day? Mine was just about perfect! Do you want to hear about it?
In our house, we celebrate people. And when it's your day to be celebrated, it usually takes more than one day to fit it all in. Mother's Day was no exception. It began on Saturday with a mystery trip. I was told to grab my camera as we set out, bright and early, but I had no idea where we were headed. I did notice that we were driving south. Interesting.
We headed down a highway that was sparsely populated, which is a nice change after the months of massive traffic that we've been having. As is our way, Tim and I chatted about this'n'that as we cruised along which usually keeps me fairly distracted. Still I couldn't help but notice that the sky was getting darker as we went. Since I had no idea where our destination was or what we were going to be doing, I wasn't especially concerned. And it also needs to be pointed out that here in Florida, a cloudy sky does not automatically mean rain just as a sunny sky does not automatically guarantee no rain. Yeah, it's a strange place. So anyway, the sky was looking like this:
Again, neither of us was especially concerned about the grey ominous looking sky. Even as we pulled in to the parking lot of our destination we were not worried. Our Destination? Deep Creek Preserve! Knowing my love of a great hike and an even better photo safari, Tim found a hiking spot that I had never heard of so that I could spend part of the day doing something I dearly love! Awwwww! That's perfect.
Except for the fact that pretty much as soon as we arrived, the sky opened up and it absolutely poured rain. Dang! It really looked like a terrific hiking/photography spot too. We just sat in the car for a little bit waiting to see if this was going to be one of Florida's famous 15 minutes of torrential rain and then nothing kind of rainstorms. It was not.
We sat watching the rain come down for a bit and then I asked, "Was there a Plan B?" Tim put the car into gear and said, "Plan B coming up!" Off we went. Another thing about Florida rain is that it is often very geographically specific. There have been days when it rains on the south end of the island but not the north (or vice versa) or on one side of the bridge and not the other. So the thought was that perhaps, this particular rain storm was here at Plan A, Deep Creek Park, but not at Plan B which was hiking the Pennington Audubon Trails a few miles away. Great idea!
Except that if anything, it was raining even harder there. Drat! Tim was ready, he had a Plan C as well! Awesome! So next we headed toward the Port Charlotte Beach Park another place I had never been. We were very excited we we arrived as, at last, it wasn't raining! Hurrah!
There were puddles, so had there had recently been some precipitation but there were peeks of blue sky here and there and we were encouraged. So this time, we got out, walked around a bit and enjoyed that lovely recent fresh rain fragrance. I grabbed my camera and got a few shots. There were some fishermen, a lovely long pier and board walk and a few birds! I began snapping away as we wandered around. We were having a lovely time while Tim kept an eye to the sky which still had a bit of that heavy dark look that might (or might not) mean something.
Just as I was saying that I thought the storm was moving off, I mean literally as the words were leaving my mouth, there was a terrific clap of thunder just above us and lightening strikes in several directions. We starred at each other for a second, then began laughing like lunatics as we ran for the car just before the rain started up again! LOLOLOL
Hiking idea shelved, we headed off to enjoy lunch in a place we both enjoy but rarely go. I can never remember the actual name so I refer to it as,' Wings and Rings and Things and Stuff ' but Tim knows what I mean. It's not a fancy place but the food is good. Kind of basic but consistently good. Tim loves their wings in particular. I am a fan of their burgers. On the rare occasion that I am in the mood for a burger, that's the one I'm usually thinking of. They never disappoint.
All in all, Saturday was a terrific adventure!
Sunday, Tim insisted that everything was about me. I had to make the choices of what to do. Really? Well hmmmm, the choices are endless. Let me think. So while I thought, Tim made a wonderful breakfast and then, at my choice, we went outside and power washed the exterior of the house and the courtyard. It looks so good now! Afterwards we were both very wet and a little dirty so my next thought was that I wanted to walk on the beach. I mean, what the heck, we were already wet and dirty.
Luckily it was a gorgeous day for beach walking. Sunny and breezing and perfect. We walked along the water's edge getting wetter with splash and covered in sand from the beach. It was awesome.
Eventually we went back home. Once we were cleaned up my next decision was that I wanted to find some dopey, girlie movie on TV and watch that. So we looked. And looked. And Looked! And honestly couldn't find one silly girlie romcom kind of film. I was thinking some old Audrey Hepburn or even Katherine Hepburn black and white film. Or maybe something a little newer (though still awhile back) a Meg Ryan or Kate Hudson kind of movie. Nope. I was about to give up as Tim scrolled through the possibilities when the X-Files suddenly appeared. What? Seriously, the Xfiles? I perked up. Dang I haven't seen an X-Files re-run in a Very Long Time.
Yeah that'll do. So we ordered pizza and watched X-files re-runs and talked to each of the kids ,which is always one of the best parts of the day. All in all, had an absolutely perfect Mother's Day Weekend Celebration!
Honestly, I cannot imagine it being much better than that.
Super Quick post today! Tim and I walked around Celery Fields this past weekend for a short time. We were on our way elsewhere and happened to drive past the beautiful preserve. Whcih means that stopping there was a rather quick and spontaneous decision. To be completely honest, we stopped because I needed a restroom and that one is always clean. Luckily I almost never travel without my camera and a tube of sunscreen anymore! I lubed up quickly, grabbed my camera and just about jumped out of the car.
I could hear the birds even through the closed car windows! So yeah, birds is mostly what I got. I didn't take a zillion photos (and I know you are thinking, "Thank Goodness" - heh) but I got a few. And here they are, birds first. Hope you enjoy!
We didn't walk very far (it's a good sized place and we only covered a small fraction of it) and we didn't stay long. Just long enough to stretch our legs a bit and some some things that felt photo worthy. Things like flowers and other botanicals:
And a few other critters but not one single butterfly or dragonfly. Oh there were plenty of them. In all the colours of the insect rainbow. But did I manage to get a photo of even one? Nope. Dang. However, I did get these guys:
Not too bad for a quick stop, eh?
I won't be posting tomorrow, so I will wish you a terrific weekend today! Hugs all 'round
Any idea what this is a photo of? It's my spiffy new phone! Woohoo!
I certainly had no intention of buying a new phone. Honest! But I was starting to have problems with the old one. It was little things at first like working very very VERY slowly. And of course, I blamed it on laggy internet service. Isn't that usually the culprit? Or, if I was hiking or we were in the car I would assume that we were just in a bad connective area. It was merely a minor inconvenience.
Then my phone began changing my mind on my behalf of what I was trying to do. For instance I might be looking up the address of a restaurant and my phone would say, "nope, you need the weather" and change over to the weather app. Wha??? Other times it would pop from whatever app I was using back to the main page at it's own whim. In other words, not normal cell phone behaviour.
But I didn't say anything about it to Tim (my in-house electronics and technology guru) for several reasons: #1 he's a busy guy and I hate to bother him with piddly things, #2 I was certain that whatever was wrong with the phone was my fault because I always assume that things are, #3 in the grander scheme of things it was not a big deal and #4 repair and replacement is expensive and I am always very financially anxious.
But finally one day I must have expressed some frustration where Tim could hear me so he decided to take a look. The first thing he did was to take the phone out of it's protective case.
Side bar: The protective case is ESSENTIAL. I drop things. About two minutes after getting my last phone I dropped it twice, one of the times face down, thereby cracking the screen. Thank goodness there was that clear plastic covering on it that held it together!
ANYWAY, as soon as the phone was out of that protective case I heard Tim say, "uhoh". That is never a good thing to hear. He showed me the problem:
Do you see how the back of the phone is lifting? That's because there is a bulge. There should be no bulge. The bulge is bad. Ok this is not something he can fix.
So because Tim is a very nice man, he immediately ordered a new one for me. It's basically the same as my old phone, just a newer model. It's slimmer and longer. The slimmer is nice because it's not quite as heavy but the longer is a bit of an issue because it doesn't fit quite so well in my pocket. That is when I'm wearing clothes that actually have pockets.
Another side bar: Why is it that girl-clothes have lousy pockets? And worse, sometimes no pockets at all? Who do I speak to about this? Who is in charge of deciding who gets pockets and who doesn't?
I'm certainly not going to quibble about whether or not my phone fits into the pockets that may or may not exist in whatever I'm wearing. I was exciting about having a new phone! Woohoo! But very concerned about having no protective cover. I was honestly afraid to even pick it up for fear that I would do what I often do and, unintentionally, drop it.
The few times I used it at all over those first couple of days, I mostly used the phone while it was laying safely on the counter. If I absolutely felt it necessary to bring it with me, I lifted it ever so carefully and slipped it into the purse pocket made especially for that purpose. And then of course reversed the process once we got back home.
Meanwhile, Tim also ordered a new protective cover for me. But this one is different. It's like a little book! Probably because of what happened last time (protective cover on back and sides so of course I dropped it face down!) the new cover truly encases it completely! And as a bonus it has little slots for whatever I choose to put in there. Cool! It looks like this:
I don't know if you can tell in the photos but it's navy blue so it goes with my purse which is awesome. Makes it look very intentional. I feel kind of fancy now. It's about the size of a small clutch purse so I can carry it easily and if I do ooops and drop it, the entire thing is completely covered and it's unlikely that I will do real damage. Whew!
On the other hand, it's now definitely too big for my pocket. The old phone "just" fit in the pocket of my hiking shorts. Dang! What options do I have now? Does that mean I have to take my purse with me when I hike? Coz that's not going to work for me at all. First of all it would probably ruin my purse (and I REALLY love my purse). Secondly, a purse would be seriously in the way, one more dang thing hanging from my shoulder and kind of stupid looking. Who hikes carrying a purse! Or do I have to just hold my phone in my hand?
What it probably meant was that I would be hiking without a phone even though I have already added the 'All Trails App' to it because this app has been a mile saver for Joy and I more than once while we are out on Photo Safari! BUT frankly it's more important for me to bring my camera and water bottle in a holder which has a long strap.
I find that I need at least one free hand while hiking. One to carry the camera and one free hand for moving vines and fronds out of the way, or grabbing onto trees as I slip/slide down a slope or for balance while crossing a stream on a log or slapping at mosquitos or ....... well you see what I mean. I definitely need one free hand. I cannot be carrying my phone even in it's new cutiecute case.
So when Tim saw that the new case does not fit in my pocket OR even in the zippy pocket of my water bottle carrier he ordered another case for me. It is similar to the blue one but a different colour with a design on it and has a long strap. I cannot show you a photo of that yet because it hasn't arrived. BUT it will be here this week and I am very excited! And I feel very spoiled. And Excited. I cannot wait for this new hiking phone holder to arrive!
Hard to believe I'm this excited waiting for something that is not a book. Usually I only get this kind of excited about something new to read. Although, in truth, it does kind of look like a little book so I guess it counts :)
Anyway, that's the newest thing going on here. How about at your house?
There are currently 50 states comprising the United States of America. And while I have seen many of those states, and lived in quite a few, somehow, we never lived in a state that housed the larger part of either side of my family. My mother's family were mostly in Maine and my father's family mostly in Michigan. While we spent time visiting both of those states, we never actually lived in either of them.
We did, however, live in a lot of other places. And of course since our copious travels were exclusively by car, we saw a great deal of this vast country. During those trips I learned that every state has something to offer, something worth seeing, something that makes it special. And I kept in mind at all time, that any of those places could be called to be our next home. Especially since, as a kid, I had zero input in what our next address was going to be. Instead, we just accepted the news and made the choice to find the good in the places we landed.
By the time I went to college, my immediate family was living in Connecticut and since it's cheaper to go to college in the same state that you live in, obviously I attended a Connecticut college. And so it naturally followed that I married there, had my children there and watched them grow up there. While there were many different actual addresses involved, all of them were in Connecticut, the Nutmeg State. (seriously, that's what it's called!) As far as I knew, I would be there for the rest of my life.
My sister, however, married a man in the Coast Guard and as any military family knows, there will be moving involved. I'm trying to think of all the different places she lived: Washington (state), Texas, Ohio.......is that it? All of them were far away and from the time she married (until now) the only time we saw each other was during her visits home.
And, I want to make this very clear, while we were always very close and I missed her, it felt perfectly normal in our weirdo family, to be far away from the people we loved. We had already had a lifetime of practice! Our relationship was primarily on the phone. We called each other often. If we had today's technology back then, we probably would have been Skyping and texting daily. We had No expectations that at some point in our lives we would be living in the same state again.
All of this comes up because word came down to me (via my sister) that one of my lovely readers, Maryellen you know who you are, wanted to know how on earth so much of our family ended up living here in the same general vicinity in Florida. Especially since we all came from somewhere else. Dang good question.
To date my sister and her beau live about a half hour away, both of her daughters live about an hour from me and then, of course, Tim and I are here as well. At one time, our parents lived here too. And none of us arrived at the same time. It's just crazy.
Joy and I were talking about it and she put together a little time line to help me out. It seems that her beau, Bob, already had a few rental houses down here in central Florida. He had purchased a very pretty lot on the beach in Englewood and built a house for himself also. It was just a winter home at that time. That was back in the early 1990's.
In 1999, Joy's oldest daughter, who was graduating college in Pennsylvania, accepted a job in Arcadia, Florida. So there you have it, the first full time resident in our family. Bob and Joy came down occasionally and for different lengths of time each visit.
Then in 2001, Joy's other daughter, who finished about a year and a half of college in Connecticut, decided that she needed a change of scenery and she also moved to Florida to live with her sister while she decided what to do with the rest of her life.
Coincidentally, later that same year, Joy and Bob decided to make Florida their home base and officially made the move down as well. They lived in a different town but within an hour of her kiddos.
Later that same year, I guess our parents decided that, well if you guys are going to go to Florida, we will too! It was a very spontaneous decision. So you see by 2001 most of my family was suddenly living in the same state as each other! It was a wild concept. The funniest part of it is that while flying home from another visit to Florida Family, I remember saying to Tim, I mean actually, literally saying these words "It's a great place to visit, but I would never want to live in Florida". HAHAHAHAHA That's so funny.
Tim and I, at that time were still in Connecticut. We flew down to visit now and again but our feet were firmly planted in New England's rocky soil. Our kids, on the other hand, were branching out. One at a time, they began to leave the nest and move, not just out of our home, but out of our state. Yikes! Still it's a normal, natural thing for your kids to create their own lives and we all adapted, we visited when we could and talked on the phone when we could not.
Then came the day when Tim accepted a job in Colorado and suddenly we were on the move again. And we found ourselves much farther away from my parents, my sister, my nieces and my kids. While they were all living in different states, they were at least all on the same coast. Quick and easy travel up and down the east coast. Going out to Colorado however was a slog. It was on nobody's way anywhere ever. And it was back to life as it was when I was a kid, only seeing family now and again on vacation. The biggest differences were that when we travelled to see them, we would fly (so much faster) and technology allowed us to be in even better contact on a regular basis.
But that was our life for ten or so years. We accepted it as our newest version of normal and life went on as life does. Until Tim's company did some major restructuring and WAY ahead of the pandemic, most of his people began working from home. His company has employees all over this big country of ours, except the South East part. Guess where we moved to next. Yup Florida. And here we still are.
Tim and I had long discussions about it actually. If we could live anywhere at all, and since he works from home, that is the case, we would probably choose the East Coast anyway. We love being close to the ocean. We already lived in Connecticut. Maine is beautiful but too cold. The mid-Atlantic is lovely and wow they really get hit with some bad storms year 'round. One of the worst ice storms I ever saw was in North Carolina in fact. We never really explored Georgia's coastline so I cannot speak to that. But here we are in Florida which is obviously where we are meant to be despite my earlier proclamation.
Maryellen, I hope that answers your question! ;)
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.