So this is what we woke to this morning. Humph! Most people just say, "Good Morning".
This is Tropical Storm Emily. So far, just wind and rain, like a.....what's the word....rainstorm! We already knew it was going to rain today. But the Tropical Storm part was a surprise. Not sure what the difference is between an official "tropical storm" and an regular heavy duty rainstorm. Probably the official-ness of it. Actually I looked it up and as it turns out it was to do with two things, geographic location - the tropics - and it's potential to have winds of near "hurricane" force.
Calm down. Hurricanes are categorized by intensity, levels 1 - 5, the lowest being winds more than 74 miles perhour. So Tropical storms winds would be less than 74 miles perhour. Right now, the palm fronds are barely rustling. So I'm guessing a whole lot less than 74 mph. And in fact, it's not even raining right now just sprinkling a bit. Grey and gloomy yes, thunder rumbling off in the distance, yes, but no wind and no actual rain. And while I'm sure there is more wind and rain yet to come, I think we're good. I probably won't be going for a walk or a bike ride right away, but otherwise, same old Monday stuff, just grey and wet.
As I said, we knew that it was supposed to be a rainy day today. Therefore, when we dropped by the jetty late yesterday afternoon, we suspected there would be good wave activity. We were not disappointed.
The above photo was actually taken earlier in the day and farther up the coast but we had to stop and watch for a bit. Kite surfing just reminds me so much of a very watery ballet. It could be put to music. Obviously a very popular sport. And near perfect conditions for it yesterday too.
But the jetty here on the island did not disappoint either. There were regular board surfers in great number and Tim saw at least one dolphin who was sort of surfing with them. But the show-off leapt high up out of the water at one point, both startling and delighting the surfers around him. Very cool.
We watched the "show" from a safe distance for a bit and then, naturally, I had to walk out on the jetty to be closer to the action. We certainly got closer. And wetter.
Turns out you just cannot stand that close to the splash and not get wet. Go figger. I didn't mind a bit. It's kind of exhilarating. Today, maybe I'll be a bit more sensible, safer and not head down to the water. Maybe.
Don't count on it. I would never do anything too stupid. I value my own hide far too much to risk endangering it. But at the same time, I've never been a bubble living kind of girl. There is always a little risk in living. Sometimes the risk might be regarding your career, or maybe it's about your heart. And yes, you could be wrong. It could be that you weren't meant to be an accountant and maybe that boy will lie and break your heart. But if it turns out that you hate accounting then maybe you were meant to be a hair stylist. And now you know for sure what you don't want to be. And if that fellow broke your heart you learned that you can survive heartbreak and you know that there is someone else out there who won't. And as long as you learned something positive from the wrong choice, then it wasn't wrong. It's part of life. If you haven't risked, you haven't lived.
Yes, you have to be smart about it, of course. But some people get a little carried away protecting themselves or their loved ones. For example: Parents not allowing their children to cook because they might cut themselves or burn themselves. Then how are they going to feed themselves when they are grown? Better would be teaching them how to do it correctly.
Another example are the people who never change jobs because they might not like a different one, or because they might have to move to a different place and not like it there. Allowing maybe and might to run their life prevents people from moving forward. Sure they might not like it, but it's not carved in stone. If a person doesn't like a new job, then they can change jobs. If they don't like where they live, move! Fear of change holds a lot of people back. Well, things change. They change all the time whether you change with it or not. Can't stop it. That's life. Might as well hop on for the ride.
So before it starts raining hard again, I think I will go out and risk bringing in the garbage cans so I don't have to chase them down all over town. Some risks are worth taking. But that one is simply not worth my time. The beach today on the other hand, may be worth the risk.
And so it begins. The age old battle between thermometer and thermostat. As we enter the dog days of summer the struggle starts anew.
First of all, disregard what our thermometer appears to be indicating. It's a bit of a drama queen and tends to exaggeration. Don't get me wrong. It is hot indeed. But it's Florida and it's the end of July. My expectation is for high temperatures. Of course the temperature alone doesn't tell the entire story. It's the combination of high humidity and high temperatures that'll get ya.
I was outside washing the cars yesterday. I tend to be thorough. If I'm going to do a job, I'm going to do it right. So it's takes awhile. I don't mind. I kind of like washing the cars. If I'm totally honest with myself, it's just an excuse to play in the water. The point is, that while I wasn't aware of it, I was getting overheated. By the time I finished Tim's car, I was gasping for air and felt oddly weak and I knew that I needed to stop. By the time I had everything picked up and put away and had gone back in the house, I definitely had to rest. I laid down on the nice cool tile floor for a bit, had a couple of glasses of cool water and then I was fine. But it can sneak up on a person.
I'm not usually bothered by the heat. I quite like it in fact. And I'm sure that is why I didn't notice. I'm one of those people who is always too cold. Being too hot for me just doesn't come up very often.
So naturally, I married a man who is always too hot. Isn't that just always the way? Dead of winter, that man is outside in shorts and a tee-shirt. Meanwhile, middle of summer and I'm so cold from the air conditioner that I'm wearing a sweater. We are just ridiculous.
But this is nothing new for us. I was aware of this gaping abyss in our comfort levels from the start. And actually this has been a lifelong issue, not just a marriage-long one. In the workplace for example, I was never the person in charge of the thermostat and the person who was, always needed the temperature to be much cooler than is comfortable for me. So I always had a sweater nearby just in case. Eventually, I came to realize that it's far easier for me to put on a sweater if I'm too cool than for the other person to shed more clothing if they are too hot. When you think about it, there is a limit to what you can take off.
Shel Silverstein wrote a wonderful poem about being too hot which ends with the person taking off their skin and sitting around in their bones. On really hot days, it probably wouldn't help anyway. I bet they would still be too hot.
When we had the new upgraded, larger, better air conditioner put in this house, shortly after moving in, the AC guy explained that you cannot lower the temperature below a certain point because it will just kill the machine. Tim was very disappointed. If he could, he would have the air in this house more like a meat locker. That's the kind of "cool" he likes. I, however, do not. So we have come to a kind of a compromise. It's always cooler than I'd like it to be in the house, but warmer than Tim would prefer.
Of course, we also have ceiling fans in nearly every room, which helps I believe. And during the day, I'm usually fine. In the evening, I'm apt to put on a sweater and snuggle under a throw blanket while relaxing and watching TV or reading. Tim meanwhile, is still too hot and, although he doesn't say so, I'm sure he thinks I'm just crazy when I emerge from the bedroom wearing socks and carrying my favourite blanket.
And don't even get me started on being in the car in summer with Tim driving. The poor man is just so uncomfortably warm that he has the AC cranked up about as high as it will go. I always bring a sweater or jacket with me for the car as well as over-air conditioned stores and restaurants. Everyone looks so oddly at me when I walk into a restaurant in August carrying a sweater. I don't care, think what you like, at least I'm comfortable. Pssst! I also have a blanket in the backseat of the car too. Just in case.
Actually, so far Arizona was the worst offender of the too cold air conditioning issue. We were in Scottsdale in August many years ago. Not the best time for showing off that beautiful state. While Tim was at his meetings, I would spend my time in the hotel, whose AC thermostat must have been set on "Arctic" until I thought I would become a peoplesicle and then I would go outside to thaw out and stay until I was afraid I would melt. No humidity true but 120 degrees is not just hot but freakin' hot.
So far, we have never seen those sorts of numbers on our thermometer here. Right now the highs are upper 80's or lower 90's every day, again coupled with humidity, some days more, some less. But our saving grace is, here on the island, there is almost always a lovely breeze. And the closer you are to the water, the more benefit you get from it. And it won't get a lot hotter. There may be an occasional high 90's day, but it's an aberration, not the average. And it's not like I cannot go outside, I just need to be smarter about it.
Once mid to late September rolls around things will start to ease back down and it will be the paradise everyone talks about once again until the next July. But don't tell anyone because it will be nice to have the island for just the full time year 'round residents for just a little while before we are discovered again.
Finally the POD arrived. Tim wisely hired 3 very strong young men to help with this task. It was a miserably hot and humid day but they cheerfully and quickly brought everything in. All I had to do was point where things needed to go and it was done. We sold most of our furniture and a lot of other items before we left Colorado so I was surprised at how much stuff we still had to move. We didn't bother to unpack much right away, some clothes and bare essentials.
But there was no place to sit other than our bed so we bought a table and chairs. The first furniture in our new home. Yay! Otherwise it was a house a boxes and suitcases. For months it was like camping in. I referred to us a squatters. Other than Tim's barebones office set up, it was just a maze of stuff everywhere. No point unpacking with no place to put anything.
And then the kitchen reno began. Right now it's all a blur of months of tarps and noise and daily cleaning and a lot of decisions. But it was totally worth it because I love the result. It sometimes felt as if it was going to go on forever, but of course eventually the day came when it was done and I almost cried. I remember nodding a lot because I couldn't even talk. Can't help it, kitchens make me emotional.
Since then we've done some painting, put up some expensive fancy-assed blinds, bought actual furniture, tore out the disgustingly filthy and gross built in desk and cabinets from the utility room, hung a few pictures, had the entire house replumbed, repaired the patio from that project, re-arranged furniture and a myriad of other projects. And of course I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.
But I've also cooked and baked with such joy and experimented with new recipes and had great fun rediscovering old recipes and then of course there was "the incident". I accidentally set a fire in my beautiful new kitchen. (melting shortening in a pan and it caught fire - that is a story for another day - suffice it to say that I cried a lot but everything is fine)
Next month the bathrooms both get actual floors. Right now it's just concrete and we are down to one functional bathroom. After the new floors are done, we will have two functional bathrooms again hurrah. Hopefully next year we will finish the full bathroom reno's. And of course we have plans that extend far beyond that.
See that's the thing about a house. It's never really done. We always have plans for something more, even if it's something small like hanging a picture or painting a room or buying new towels or throw pillows or just the usual maintenance. There is always something more to do to make a home more your own.
We have entertained guests and been through all of the seasons, all of the birthdays and all of the anniversaries. It is my belief that a person cannot really feel fully at home in a new place until one year has passed. I have to have a memory to stand a new memory against. This Christmas we can remember what we did last Christmas and it will have been here in this house.
Happy house-iversary to us!
Unlike former times in my life, our house is pretty quiet most of the time. People have said that they feel that they need to whisper in our house. Which is not the case at all. I'm not anti-noise. I don't tiptoe around the house all day long. But you see, it's usually just Tim and I in this house after all and during the day, Tim is working and I guess I'm just not a noisy person. So for comparison sake: if our home were a primary school, we are not the playground, we are not the library, but we are more the classroom. Yes I suppose it is a rather quiet house.
But exactly how quiet is a quiet house anyway? Right now I hear the clicking of the keys on the keyboard as I type, the phone ringing in Tim's office, the gentle whir of the overhead fan, the drone of the dehumidifier, a large truck just rumbled past the house and off somewhere in the distance is the hum of the air conditioner and a grumble of thunder. And that's just this moment. Oftentimes there is the chime of the washer or dryer, the musical beep of the dishwasher or the annoying dings of the timer when I'm cooking and ah, hear that? There is someone at the door.
On a nicer day when the windows are open I can hear the church bells from down the street, boat horns and the blast from the North bridge just before it goes up. The barking of someone's dog, people talking as they walk by and lord help us when the lawn guys start working. There could be the noise of my vacuuming or it might be the clatter of my cooking or baking with water running and tea kettles singing, and let's not even discuss my squeaky sandals. (hey! it's my favourite pair! Not my fault that they squeak when I walk).
On the other hand, there are no crying babies or screaming toddlers or howling dogs or hissing cats at this particular moment in time. There is no Television blaring in the background nor music playing. And right now, in this brief lovely window of time, there are no builders or contractors of any sort hammering, sawing, clatterbanging, or swearing under their breath. But it's still not silent. The fact of the matter is, even a quiet house is not quiet. And there was a time when that was news to me.
Way, way back, a million years ago, when I was in college, the professor in one of my writing courses assigned us to sit in a silent room for a half hour and then write about what we heard. A few of us wise-asses joked that we would be turning in blank pages. To my surprise, the longer I sat in that silent room, the noisier it got! By the end, I could have sworn that I could hear my heart beating. It was amazing what I could hear when I really bothered to stop and listen.
It's a noisy old world out there, my friends, and getting noisier all the time. I think that to protect ourselves from the constant onslaught, we subconsciously consign a lot of it to background sound and ignore it. But it's there and it's still assaulting us all the time. One of the things I love about being out in the woods, the forest, the mountains, the desert, the beach or on the water, is the silence. The peacefulness of it. I find myself relaxing in ways that indicate how tense I must have been before and I didn't even realize it. Of course the forest makes noise, so does the ocean, the mountains and the desert. But it's a different kind of noise. It's a lovely sound, it's gentle and rather than being a sound intruding into the environment, it's a sound that helps to create the environment.
Remember that wonderful old Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sounds of Silence"? Okay, I get it now.
This is not our cat. It's not our house either. This was one of my Mother's cats. I think this was Nellie. Regardless of her name, she was a very nice kitty. I grew up having pets in the house. I can recall dogs, cats, fish, birds and turtles. I may have left something out but those come immediately to mind. And it was never one pet at a time but multiples. Two dogs, three cats, 4 fish, 2 turtles, 1 bird all at the same time. And the cats and dogs always had the run of the house. On the bed? yes. On the sofa? yes. In the chair? yes. We were always covered with pet hair. My parents had an enormous bed, I think it's called a California King. It wasn't because they were large people who required that amount of room, quite the contrary. It was because of the animals. I vividly recall my mother muttering while climbing out of bed over and around various cats and dogs, saying under her breath, "It's like living with Wild Kingdom". heh
It was an ever changing cast of characters. And somehow, they always got along. Or if they didn't like each other, they opted to pretend that the other didn't exist. My mother would not put up with any pet attitude. One of the most memorable cats my parents had was one Maggie Ethel. She was a fat calico with a nasty streak. She adored my mother but hated everyone and everything else. In fact, she hated everyone else so much that she opted to live in the basement. All the other people and animals were upstairs having a fine old time, Maggie Ethel sulked in the basement. The door was open, she could have come up at any time but she preferred to sit at the top of the basement stairs hissing at anyone who passed by.
I remember the time period when my dad had his huge German Shepard, Max and my mother had a little daschund, Emily. They would play together all the time. Max would carefully take in consideration Emily's much smaller size but they were buddies! Anytime the FedEx or UPS guy was foolish enough to come to the door, he was met by a giant german shepard standing silently at the door and a tiny weiner dog barking her fool head off standing between the shepards front legs. Each intimidating in their own way I suppose.
The first pet I recall that was mine was a cat named Posh. He was a goodly sized, hefty, long haired, black and white tuxedo and was the laziest cat I've ever known. He would lay on the picnic table outside and watch the birds and never chased them. In fact, if the birds were within paws grasp, he still wouldn't flex enough to swat one. I don't honestly know if he was a pacifist or, as I suspect, just lazy but I knew he could be trusted to not hunt anything more than his own food dish. He had a very sweet nature. I could dress him up in doll clothes and carriage him around the neighborhood (and did). He not only didn't mind, he seemed to like the attention.
I was determined that my kids would grow up loving animals as I did. Consequently, we had a few dogs and quite a few cats over the years. I tried very hard to keep them off the sofas and chairs and absolutely off of tables and counters but I never minded if the kids wanted a pet in their bed with them. I don't think it affected them adversely although I read all sorts of terrible warnings about it nowadays. Pets should be in crates at night! That is what all the experts say now. Puppyjail. Perhaps it is the better way of doing things but I have to honestly say that if I had a dog, it would not be consigned to a crate. Ever. Period. It's probably my own phobia of being confined, but I just couldn't do it.
We do not currently have any pets at all. I am of two minds about it. First, I miss the companionship. Especially when Tim travels and I'm home alone. I miss how silly and fun a pet can be. I'm fairly self entertaining, so I don't require anyone or anything to tapdance for me but I do miss that unexpected fun of a pet. I miss their personalities, it's like having 4 legged, furry additional family members.
On the other hand, I don't miss cleaning up after them. I don't miss having to arrange for sitters or kenneling when we travel and then the worry while we are away. I do not miss the vet bills (I will never understand how crazy expensive pet care is).
At some point we will again be a house with a pet or two. I'm not certain when it will happen, but it will. I'm not even sure if it will be a cat, a dog or a mix of each. However it works out, it will be perfect and frankly, I look forward to that day. As messy and complicated and expensive as pets may be, what they give back more than outweighs any negatives.
Recently had a funny moment. I was taking photos, (this was one of them) as I tend to do, and a very nice young woman with a little girl walked by. They were obviously visitors to our town. The woman asked me directions. Of course I answered her and we chatted a moment. Then the mother asked the child who was hiding behind her mother, "Isn't the water pretty?" The youngster peeped around her mothers skirt at the water skeptically and after a moment said emphatically, "No". I assumed that maybe the girl was intimidated by the water and perhaps didn't know how to swim or feared what might be lurking in the water. The mother, clearly surprised, asked, " Why isn't it pretty?" The little one looked at her mother in surprise, big innocent eyes open wide and responded, "well it's all wrinkly, isn't it?". The mother looked so embarrassed but I could only chuckle. You never know what a child is thinking or what they are going to say.
And it took me back years to when my own children were very young. There were so many moments that had me agog. Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes enlightening, sometimes thought provoking, but always surprising.
One that I will never forget. I was shopping in a local store, similar to a Walmart. As always, I had all three boys with me, the youngest in the "baby-seat" up front near me and the other two in the basket. I was looking for birthday cards. I generally try to buy a months worth at a time to stay ahead of the game. When you have to shop with three little boys, generally you do it as infrequently as possible. They were behaving exceptionally well especially when you consider how boring this must have been for them. There weren't many people yet in that part of the store, the boys and I at one end of the card aisle, a group of older gentlemen at the other end. I was only vaguely aware of the group, they weren't looking for cards but were talking and laughing amongst themselves. I had several cards already in my hands and was considering another when I heard my oldest boy say accusingly, in his outside voice, "Hey which one of you guys farted?". Everything and everyone in the entire store froze for a millisecond, I swear. Then I moved. I shoved the cards back into the rack randomly, whipped that carriage around and nearly flew down the aisle toward the exit throwing apologies over my shoulder. The group of older men laughed so hard I was afraid they would need to sit down and my little accuser called out as we dashed away, "Well? Who was it?" I'm sure I was bright red with embarrassment.
Sometimes it isn't even what the children say, it's what they do. Tim and I were very amused to watch in an Italian restaurant a large group of adults with one lone child, around a year old..maybe a wee bit more. The adults were enjoying their meal and conversation and the child left to entertain himself. Entertain he did. Very quietly, without making a bit of fuss, one strand at a time, he draped his spaghetti, first over the arms of his highchair, carefully lining each side and then his own head and eventually his arms and legs. Clearly he was decorating. Finally his mother glanced over at him and shrieked. It was an awful sound. Like cats fighting in an alley. Honestly her screaming and fussing was far more disruptive than his decorating. And of course, it was all due to her embarrassment. She was the colour of the spaghetti sauce.
Other times it's what we find ourselves saying. In fact it happened so often that my sister and I, at one time, talked about writing a book we would have called, "Things I never thought I'd say". Things like the time that as we were checking out at a store, boys again in the carriage, as I'm trying to pay for the transaction but the clerk's eyes were focused on the carriage with a look or horror on her face instead of taking the money. I glanced briefly at the carriage and said, "Honey don't lick the counter", just as calmly as if I'd said it was a sunny day, paid the bill and we left.
Turns out there was already a Very Funny Book called, "Kids say the Darndest things" by Art Linkletter based on a television show that he hosted. I've read the book, it is hysterical.
Children force you to become nonchalant about their shenanigans at some point. After awhile, after you've washed a frog that was left in a pocket by accident, after you've walked into the kitchen to find the entire surface of the floor covered with flour, sugar, salt and corn meal and a little boy in the middle of it running his trucks through it, after you've rescued a cat from a "haircut', after washing gum or paint or pine sap or bird poop out of their hair, after stopping them from drinking bubble soap, after washing enough crayon marks off of enough walls, it becomes old hat, no big deal, just another ordinary day.
Now that enough time has passed that it's not quite so ordinary for me anymore (except in memory), now I can laugh. I can watch the interplay and chuckle, giggle, guffaw, and sometimes laugh until I cry.
Kids are just the absolute best things ever. They do things that would never occur to us, they say what they think and they think the most unusual things. It makes sense really. Everything we take as ordinary is brand new to them. And I do love seeing the world all over again for the first time, through their eyes.
I was taking a nice, long walk the other afternoon and as I passed this jasmine hedge, I happened to spot...something...out of the corner of my eye. I walk at a pretty good clip so when I decided to see what it was that I actually saw, I had to stop, turn around and go back. I'm glad I did because otherwise I would have missed this little caterpillar. He was just living his little caterpillar life, munching away on those leaves oblivious to my existence. But he made a great photo for me.
As I walked away, resuming my brisk walk, I remember thinking of all the things I knew caterpillars, wondering what sort of butterfly he would evolve into, remembering all of the many butterfly pavilions I've visited and then realizing that I had no photos of butterflies in my file. (yeah that's how my brain works. Thoughts are layered and sometimes even sort of related). Oddly that series of thoughts was immediately followed by the sighting and subsequent photograph of an actual butterfly at the other end of the same jasmine hedge. Perfect! Got that shot as well.
Butterflies, by the way, are not very good at holding still for photographs.
As I continued my walk I thought a lot about caterpillars turning into butterflies and human evolution and personal transformation. How I have matured as I've grown and, over time, turned into the person I am today. I was such a shy, awkward child that I would cry if the teacher called on me in class - and I usually knew the answer. More than anything in the world, when I was a child I wished for powers of invisibility. I was such a sad little wierdo. Gradually of course I turned into an equally weird teenager, still clumsy and awkward, no longer shy about giving the right answer in school but hideously shy outside of the classroom. Then evolving again into an adult, less clumsy, marginally less shy. To today, still clumsy but no longer shy, I have spoken confidently and effectively to large groups of people and even on camera. I guess I am finally the butterfly version of myself. Geez, took long enough.
The butterfly is also my mother's 'spirit animal' if you will. She was fascinated by butterflies and I'm not positive, but I suspect that part of her reason for having a flower garden was so that butterflies would come to visit her. She had prints of them on her clothing, pictures of them, books about them, jewelry of them and they were even represented in stained glass. Before she passed, she told my sister that if she could return to us, it would be as a butterfly. Now every butterfly that visits my garden or that lingers near me, I can't help but wonder.
Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. Around the world, people view the butterfly as presenting endurance, change, hope and life. Well those are lovely associations.
Did you know that there are 750 different species of butterflies in the US alone? There are 17,500 in the entire world. Wow! Did you also know that a group of butterflies is called a "flutter"? I think that is one of the best group names ever.
I'm not a butterfly expert by any means but I think the photo I have hear is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly. And so was the caterpillar. Which means that in a couple of weeks the fuzzy little caterpillar in the above photo is going to look a whole lot like the butterfly in the other photo. How cool is that. I guess there is hope for all of us.
Hope your weekend evolves into something wonderful.
I don't know about you but the daily contents of our mailbox rarely are surprising. Lots of ads, occasionally a bill (most of those are electronic these days), sometimes a magazine which is especially odd because I have not subscribed to any magazines, and charities looking for donations. That's pretty much it most of the time. But occasionally, there is a surprise.
One day this week, there was a padded, manila envelope much like this one. A Surprise! Woohoo! In was in the box upside down so I couldn't read who it was for right away. I took it and all the other mail in the house. Once inside, I put the rest of the mail on the kitchen table and concentrated solely on the mailing envelope. To keep the suspense going, I ever so slowly turned it over and read. It's for me! Woohoo again! A surprise package for me! Who is it from? My sister! Woohoo a third time! A surprise package for me from my sister!
I considered waiting to open it because sometimes I like to drag out the anticipation but this time I just couldn't wait. I opened it to find a pair of earrings and a pin. Awwwwww!~ So sweet. Clearly from Yellowstone where she is for the summer, I put on the earrings immediately.
Very delicate and lightweight for all the detail. I barely knew I had them on. So pretty! And by the way, those are the highest mountains here in Florida. (teehee) My shorter haircut works with them very well too. Perfect!
Now the questions was, what to do with the pin. I actually like pins. I inherited a handful from my Nana and have been gifted a few others. When I lived in cold weather places I wore them more. Usually on the lapels of blazers or heavy sweaters. Occasionally on the lapel of a winter coat, perhaps the wide waistband of a skirt and occasionally at the collar of the dress shirt. Here I wear a lot of tee shirts which really aren't sturdy enough to hold a pin well. And although there is a very brief time when it's cool enough for a sweater or a blazer it's never a temperature that will tolerate a winter coat. Consequently, I rarely wear any of my pins now. It's kind of sad.
I really wanted to wear this one. It's very special for several reasons. First of course, it's a gift from my sister! And if that wasn't special enough, it's a pin that a person cannot buy. It can only be given by a wildlife ranger (which she is). Then I realized I had the perfect vehicle for this pin.
When Tim and I did our birthday trip to Disney, the afternoon of the last day was filled with one rainstorm after another. We ran from doorway to doorway, we got wet, and finally we broke down and bought.....rain ponchos? No. That would have made sense. No we bought hats. I don't know why, but that was our solution to the rain. Hats. Which actually worked out. While our bodies got wet, the hats kept the rain out of our faces and off of our heads and later, protected us from the sun as well. Maybe it was the better choice after all. Tim and I are both hat people. We actually own and wear them. So now we both had new hats for our collections.
Tim's hat has no Disney design on it. Nothing at all which surprised me. I don't know how he managed that. I thought Everything at Disney was branded. My hat had only the tiniest little decal of Minnie Mouse on the hatband. Which I was fine with at the time. But I realized once I got home that while I'm okeydokey wearing Minnie Mouse at the park, not so much at home. I tried to see if I could snip the decal off the hatband but no, it would leave a hole. Dang. I would have to replace the hatband entirely. So okay. I decided that I would be wearing Minnie Mouse. The world will not come to an end. And that was that.
Until now! I carefully put the pin right over Minnie. (which also means, that if I want to sport a mouse on my hat, I can also remove the pin) It is perfection! Almost as if that was it's intended place to be worn all along.
Come on, be fair, if you didn't know that Minnie was underneath, would you notice it? I think not. Oh and the part with the two tiny stars? That is a second pin that I have...there was a teensy bit of Minnie showing at the bottom and that little two star pin, which I now see is a little crooked and I need to straighten it, looks good there. Almost looks like part of the actual pin. It says, Wolf Ambassador. Tell me that isn't the coolest thing ever. I won't believe you if you do.
Here am I sporting my entire new ensemble:
Thank you Joy for all my new stuff! Thank you for a surprise in my mailbox! I just love it! I was just tickled to bits all day long.
Wishing all of you, surprises in your mailbox, if not today, then one day soon. Mailbox surprises are just the absolute best.
I smile a lot. I am, for the most part, a happy person. And I have a big smile too. Of course, I want to take good care of it so I do as instructed. I brush my teeth at least twice a day, I floss and I go to the dentist twice a year. Which means two times every year I voluntarily terrify myself. I am one of those crazy weird dental-phobic people.
Most of the dentists I've had in my adult life were very nice, very gentle, very professional but unfortunately the first one was the worst one. I was young, probably 5 or 6 and my father was the one who took me to the appointment. I remember the hushed waiting room with it's hard wooden chairs and heavy dark green draperies at the window. The dentist found two tiny cavities in my baby teeth. and offered to fill them on the spot. My father agreed. The dentist offered novacaine hesitantly although he said he it would a very speedy procedure. "quick in, quick out" I think he said. My father declined as unnecessary. I didn't get a vote.
I wouldn't have known what to expect because back then children just did as they were told to do, things were not explained. I had no idea of the sound, the feel or the pain involved. I was not prepared. And I was an obedient child, "Sit" I sat. "Open" I opened. "Hold still" I swear I tried. The noise was terrifying, the pressure of the drill ached as it pushed against my tiny jaw and suddenly there was a flash of pain. I certainly was not expecting that! I'm sure it was instinct that made me reach out and try to push the dentists hand away. "Hold her down" he barked at his nurse. She held my arm against the chair. I thrashed harder, crying now. "Call her father in" the dentist called to someone over the sound of that drill. Suddenly my father was there and to my shock, he helped them to hold me down. All in all 3 people were holding me down, one on each arm and someone holding my legs still while I sobbed and the dentist worked. I'm certain that it was brief, but it felt as if it went on forever. I need to add here that my father was not a cruel man. He was as surprised as everyone else that I would react that way. He never needed anything for dental discomfort and it didn't occur to him that I might.
As an adult, I know darned well that nobody is going to do that to me again. The logical side of my brain is calm, rational and prepared and knows better. The illogical side of my brain becomes a terrified 5 year old again as soon as I make the appointment. The two sides battle it out. The results of which are that I make the appointments twice each year, I show up to the appointments but I'm petrified the entire time I am there. Heart pounding, palm sweating rigid with fear sitting in the chair trying hard to not cry. It's stupid.
It's especially stupid since most dentists that I've had as an adult were wonderful, gentle and understanding of my fear. I have learned that it is helpful to simply say, "by the way, I have a bit of a dental phobia" and they respond kindly. Although there was that one dentist who told me that he wished his patients could just mail in their teeth for him to work on so he wouldn't have to deal with actual people. That's the same guy who whistled a creepy tuneless song the entire time he worked on me. When I once mentioned the whistling, he snapped back, "I do not!" Ok. Not just a creepy whistler but one who is unaware of his creepy whistling.
Anyway, fast forward to a few months ago. I selected our new dentists blind. I mean, I did some online research but really until you meet them you don't really know. The first appointment went well. Teeth cleaning and x-rays. No cavities but looks like I need a crown. The dentist, a woman by the way, showed me where the problem lay and why she would encourage me to go ahead and schedule the procedure. I could not argue with her reasoning. It was sound. A few weeks later I called and made the appointment. When I made the appointment I mentioned my dental fears. I think what I said was, "Please mark my files with, Patient is a Big Baby". The office lady laughed but kindly. The lady in the office, who is exceptionally sweet, said that my feelings were not at all uncommon and that the doctor could write a prescription for me for something that would calm me down and make the appointment easier for me to endure. I was surprised but thanked her and said I would think about it.
I did think about it for quite some time. I felt as if I would be giving in to my fears if I did that. That there was somehow, something noble and courageous about being so utterly terrified and going through the appointment anyway. I finally talked it over with Tim who said, as he always does, that it's my decision, but honestly, who am I proving anything to? Myself? If so, I've already done that. His advice was to take them up on the offer and, for a change, go through a dental procedure with less stress. I thought about it awhile longer and then made the leap. I called and said "yes thank you, I will take you up on your offer".
As directed, yesterday, the day of the procedure, I took my one pill an hour prior to the appointment. I've always been a real lightweight when it comes to medication. And of course I was too nervous to eat. So I was fairly LaLa when I arrived. Tim helped me from the car and once entered steered me to a seat. They called me in very quickly and again, I was gently steered to a seat. I nearly nodded off, I was that relaxed. There was so heart pounding, no palm sweating and only once did I get panicky. But it resolved itself in short order.
Every step was explained as we went along. As most dentists in the past few years, they numbed the area prior to the shot. The difference was they moved the chair into a sitting position so that the topical anesthetic didn't roll on down my throat numbing it as well. Always makes it feel as though I cannot swallow. I did not feel the shot. Everything that could be done to make it a less horrible experience was done. I was in the chair for, as it turns out, a bit over two hours. It felt like maybe 30 minutes. Before I left I was surprised to be told that that I should eat and drink cold things to help keep the swelling down ."Like a Milkshake", the dentist said. Now there is a prescription I can get behind. Accommodatingly, Tim did get me an old fashioned real chocolate milkshake that tasted like ambrosia. Honestly, it was the best thing I ever ate.
I don't know if it was the sleeplessness of the preceding nights, the medication, the small trauma done to me or the grey rainy day but once home, I could not seem to stay awake. I forced myself to do a few small things and then went to just rest a minute. I sat down on the sofa in the family room. Woke up three hours later. But with absolutely no residual discomfort. None. Just amazing.
The good part is, this dentist gets me. Me and every other dental phobic person in the world. I cannot say for certain that I am over my fears forever now. But I do know that my new dentist and her staff will take good care of me. I am in very good hands.
I wish you all good dentistry and pretty smiles.
roOne of the many things I did not know about palm trees is that they shed. They shed a lot. They shed like a dark haired cat on a white sofa. These are a couple that I picked up over the weekend and dragged to the side of the house which is something I do nearly every day until I have a nice little pile to leave for the yard rubbish guys to pick up on Monday.
It's not a big deal. I don't mind doing it, it only takes a few minutes to 'walk the perimeter', find the deadfall of the day and drag it over to the side. The problem comes later when I try to stuff it into the proper yard rubbish container for pick up. They are a trifle large and not very bendy. It's probably hard to tell size from the above photo. Let's see if this helps for proportions sake. Here are the same fronds with the container they are supposed to be in.
If they would just break like other dead branches it wouldn't be much of an issue, but no. Maybe they have springs in them? Or they are made of some sort of rubber variation because they. do. not. break. I'm sure the trees are laughing watching me struggle. I stand on one end while holding the other and pulling it toward me. Pulling with all my tiny mite waiting in vain for the "snap" of a broken branch. Nothing. I've considered purchasing a chain saw to cut them up, but I'm not certain that would take care of the problem either. I end up dragging them up to the side of the road, one by one (they are heavy too) and leaving them in as neat a pile as possible, praying that the rubbish guys will take pity on me and pick them up even though they aren't in the appropriate bin. So far, that's working for me.
These are the palms that those particular fronds came from. One fell into the courtyard, the other onto the front lawn. It's just something I never knew. When people talk about moving to places where palm trees sway and the ocean waves and the sun shines down, they might mention the rainy season, they could possibly share concerns about hurricanes or flooding but I have never heard anyone (except me) whine about palm tree's shedding. I had no idea that it happened.
I suppose it makes sense. Pine trees shed those fragrant little needles until the forest floor is totally covered with a springy layer of it. Dogwood trees and other blossoming trees drop their little flowers to the ground once they turn brown but those deteriorate quickly and are absorbed by the soil. Fruit trees can drop their fruit to the ground but usually birds, insects and other animals eat it. What they don't immediately consume, again deteriorates quickly and goes back to the soil. Not palm frond and seed pods. They sit. And I suspect that like other things prehistoric they seem to become petrified in short order.
I wonder if they can damage a roof or a car or a bunny who is innocently munching grass in the lawn below? That's a long way up. Or perhaps it's a long way down. Regardless of the direction, those big heavy fronds definitely can squash a plant because I've dragged enough of them out of the shrubs and flowers to notice that. These palms also have these seed pods things that fall. They are even heavier and more stone like and pointy on their ends. They tend to fall point down and impale themselves into the ground. Could they also impale, say, a lizard basking itself in the sun?
I find myself making note of the trees with dead branches that are starting to come loose. Sometimes they dangle for weeks before finally falling to the ground. Every day I wonder, is this the day? It's a good thing I'm not a gambler because I'd be dead broke in a week. I guess wrong every single time. But I keep watching. Look how far above the roofline these trees are:
It's a long way down. That whole "throwing a penny off the Empire State Building" story keeps running through my mind. Oh I'm sure you've heard the myth. Something about a young boy, innocently throwing a penny off the observation deck of the Empire State Building and it killing someone on the ground when it's strikes them.
Apparently the Mythbusters checked that one out and it turns out the penny fell at 64.4 miles per hour which is enough to really hurt, but certainly not enough to be deadly force. For a penny. Not sure how it works with palm fronds.
Regardless, you now know something you might not have known before. Beware the palm fronds!! People you have been warned.
A little poem for you today:
It doesn't always happen with the thunder and fire
It doesn't always startle with a flood of desire
Love comes disguised in so many ways
And when it slides in easy,
well it usually stays
I just love this place and I am reminded every evening why
Have a wonderful weekend!
As you can see, I've worn my hair with bangs cut in for quite some time now. Years actually. But every once in awhile, it's time to change things up. Sometimes it's with intention, other times sheer laziness. This time I think it was inspired by laziness. Usually I trim my bangs myself between hair appointments. I had an appointment yesterday and realized as I sat in the chair that this time, I had not. On a whim I said to my long suffering but wonderful hairstylist, "Let's grow out the bangs".
Over my many years, I've worn my hair a thousand different ways (and colours) both with and without bangs. My hair is naturally very straight and babyfine so you would think that there wouldn't be too many different options. You would be wrong. In my lifetime, my hair has been so long that I could tuck it under my butt when I sat down and so short that I looked like a little boy. My hair has been short and spiky with the help of some product and it's been so curly I looked more like a little sheep than a little girl. I've had it permed though never successfully. I've slept in hair pins and plastic rollers and soup cans. I've used hot rollers and flat irons. I worn it pony-tailed, pig-tailed and braided. And remembered all of these different things vividly but somehow, I always manage to develop amnesia when it comes to remembering the aggravation of growing out bangs.
First of all, why is it that I can never make my hair look as good as my hairstylist does. Yes, okay, to be fair she is a professional and does this for a living. Fair enough. But after all these years, you would think that I would be at least a little better at it than I am. So, here I am immediately after leaving the salon yesterday.
She swept the bangs over to the side.....and they stayed there! Incredible! It's like magic. Then I get home and back to work. I did lots of my usual stuff, y'know, just normal housey things, laundry, dishes, cleaning, picking up deadfall in the yard (there were storms while we were away), and then came in to wash up and noticed in the mirror that already, my hair was in my eyes. Maybe this isn't going to work.
No I'm determined. I am going to grow out these bangs. So I played with it a little bit. What can I do to make this work? Well barrettes are always an option, clips, jeweled hair pins, hair bands and...and...and... there are no other options other than lots of hairspray I suppose. And I resist the hairspray/gel option. I just do not like the way it feels or looks. One of the rules I lay down for any new hairstylist is: no hair that looks like a hat, a wig or a helmet. In other words, no hairglue.
Yuck, not the hair band, that one is pretty awful.
There is always the, just let the hair fall in my eyes option I suppose, but it makes me blink a lot. Or the head twitch. Oh you know the one, the sudden slight shake of the head toward one side hoping the hair will move back where it belongs. I'm sure you have seen that one if you've never actually had to perform that move. It's not pretty.
Of course I wear glasses which actually helps. It creates a sort of perimeter barrier for the hair. Thou shalt not pass! Except, of course, some of it falls in my eyes anyway. And the hair gets caught in the hinge and breaks off so there will always be a few shorter pieces. Forever and ever, amen, amen.
I'm such a tidy person by nature, that this flies in the face of everything I am. This sort of disarray takes me completely out of my comfort zone. And unless I give in, I will have to live with it anyway, until it all grows out. ARGH! What was I thinking?
Well, I've made the decision to do this. Now I have to make the further decision to live with it. And I will. Right up until the day in the future when I tell my stylist, "Let's cut in some bangs". Some people never learn.
I'm back!~ We had a lovely extra long birthday weekend which is the perfect way to celebrate. And we spent it at Disney! Yupyup. Had fun too! We have the Florida Resident Annual Passes y'see so we had already pre-paid for the tickets into the park. Then there is the discount on hotels and restaurants and so forth and well, why not?
As you know from previous posts, we've been to Hollywood studios with Hurley and Jessie and then to Epcot on a whim one Sunday afternoon but there was so much we had not yet seen or done so.....Disney it is!
We stayed on the grounds in a Disney hotel, Port Orleans. And considering how much I love New Orleans, that was a great choice (thank you, Tim!) It was huge of course, seems like everything there is larger than life. Part of the fantasy I suppose. But our room was quite nice. I do love how Disney pays attention to details when planning a new part of the park, or the restaurants and hotels. This is where we stayed:
And like and proper plantation house, there was indeed, a river out front. In fact, we crossed one of the bridges multiple times a day and boated down the river as well. It was one of my favourite parts. Just relaxing on the water, floating away. And it was especially pretty at night:
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We started out at Epcot because there were specific things we wanted to do there that we couldn't that last time. Smarter this time, because eventually we figure things out, we used our "fast-pass" option for those things and cruised right on in. At my sister Joy's suggestion, we went on a ride called, "Soaring". Oh yeah, it was awesome! In fact, I think it might have been my favourite of everything we did this time 'round. And then we did "Spaceship Earth" because, well, it's the inside of the iconic Epcot giant silver golfball! Somethings, you just gotta do. This is one of them.
Trying to make the most of our time, we then headed over to the Magic Kingdom. We had reservations for dinner at the "Crystal Palace" and didn't want to be late for that! Pause for Disney Advice.
If you are staying in the park and relying on the Disney provided transportation to get from A to B, allow plenty of extra time. Disney is so HUGE now that it takes awhile for the busses to circle around back to your stop and sometimes you actually have to transfer from one bus or monorail or boat to another. Once you arrive at your destination, you will still have to walk to the gate, have your bags searched, walk through the metal detector doorway thingie and before you ever stand in yet another line to scan either your ticket card or band. Once you are inside, if you are not familiar (which we were not) it takes a few minutes to get oriented. We ended up always getting a map, and even so, sometimes, it can be a little tricky navigating.
Still, totally worth it. And speaking of iconic structures, one of the first things we saw upon arriving was:
Now I know where I am! We did have time to walk around a little bit looking at this and that and everything else then took a train ride around the park where the adorable little girl sitting in front of us sang, "It's a small world, after all" very quietly to herself the entire ride.
Finally, tummies rumbling with hunger, we headed back to our reservation. We got in pretty quickly and were seated. As soon as our drinks arrived we headed up to the buffet. Better than average food for a buffet restaurant especially considering the volume of people served by the way. I was surprised and charmed to find Disney characters frolicking through the restaurant.
We walked off dinner and considered waiting to see the fireworks but we were pretty tired by then having walked miles. So we headed back to our hotel. The next day, we headed to Animal Kingdom! Woohoo!
Animal Kingdom has an entirely new section called Pandora which is based on the film, Avatar. We did see the movie but it was so long ago, I don't really remember much about it, but we were wowed by that area. The entire Disney experience means suspending reality for a little while, anyway. But Pandora takes it to an entirely different level. The rides of course were crazyfull. We couldn't even 'fastpass' anything and didn't want to wait in line for the sometimes two hours reported. But just walking around was almost like going on a ride. They did have this thing out to sit on. Apparently it's what we sit on in the ride? We will find out another time. It reminds me of a Landspeeder from the 1st Star Wars movie:
Reluctantly, we left Pandora and checked out other parts of Animal Kingdom. We did a Safari ride and saw lots of animals in a more natural habitat. Even had to wait a few times for animals to cross the road. Saw a very shy tiger who, as soon as we knew he was being viewed, moved behind a large bush and refused to come back out and the most unusual bird show we've ever seen.
It began raining in the afternoon. We bought hats and dashed from doorway to doorway and tried to do indoor things for awhile, also very fun. To tell you the truth, I'm still in a Disney Haze today. I cannot even remember everything we did, everything we saw or everywhere we went! But I know it was a lot of fun!
The scenery was lovely. It's back to that thing about my admiration for Disney detail. I could have just taken scenery photos all day.
To tell you the truth, we returned Tuesday, but I'm still in a Disney Haze today and I cannot remember everything we saw, everything we did, or every place we went. I just know we had a birthday blast!
I'll finish up with two things. First, thank you to every one who sent me the zillion or so lovely Birthday Wishes. It really made me feel special all day long. Second, here are some random Disney shots to finish up the post.
These two people have the absolute nerve to have birthdays this weekend! Shocking! Actually my birthday is Sunday and Tim's is Tuesday, but traditionally, we celebrate on the day in between. This time, we are celebrating for an entire weekend and then dragging it into the next week too! Woohoo!
This year is my Beatles Song Birthday. (remember it? "When I'm 64") I'd say that is a significant enough number to make a big deal out of it. In all honesty, I think every birthday is a big deal and should be celebrated. Perhaps it's because when I was a kid it seemed that we were always on the road on my birthday, either moving or travelling on vacation to one relative or another, which is how we vacationed back then.
And of course, having a summer birthday, there was no school party. Back in the stone age, when I was a kid and dinosaurs walked the earth, on a kids birthday, the moms would bring in cookies, or cupcakes or something else really bad for us. Everyone would sing happy birthday, we would eat our treats and well, all of us summer kids never got to experience that. I think as a kid, at least subconsciously, I must have felt a little birthday party deprived. Clearly I've given it a lot of thought.
So I've kind of come up with a list of things that a really good birthday celebration must have:
1. Number one and most important on this hit parade: It's all about the birthday person. It really is. No exceptions. If it's your birthday, everything that day is about you. Period.
2. Of course, to be absolutely fair, I am not a person who really likes being the center of a big crowd of people. But a small, comfortable, familiar crowd is fine. In fact it's awesome. A small group of people that I really care about it absolutely perfect. If that group consists of me and one other person, sometimes that is the best group of all.
3. And there should be at least one treat that a person rarely has, like cake. Or ice cream. Or cake AND ice cream. And for heaven's sakes, if a person is going to indulge, it should be the good stuff. The real deal. No fake, crappy substitutes. And speaking as a person with Lactose Intolerance, if I'm going to suffer later, I want the suffering to be worthwhile, which means the ice cream must be primo.
4. There should be a few cards, some of them should have sparkles, some flowers, some funny, some touching or maybe thought provoking. I like cards. I set them up on top of the big display cabinet in the living room and admire them for far to long afterwards.
5. There should be some sort of contact from people far away, whether it's phone calls or emails or texts or facebook posts or telepathic thoughts, heaps of good wishes from folks far away makes a birthday extra special. To think that all of those people bothered to take the time to acknowledge your existence on your birthday shows that you matter in this life. That's important.
6. There should be no chores on your birthday. Not one single solitary gotta-do should be done by the birthday celebrant. Those things can either wait a day to be done, or someone else needs to do them. I'm immovable on this fact.
7. The birthday person gets to choose what or where to eat for dinner. And no matter what they choose, that's what dinner is. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It is the ONE day of the entire year where nobody else's likes/dislikes/or personal opinion should take precedence regarding food.
8. It should be a happy day. Only positive comments and thoughts please. It should be a day of smiles and laughter. If there is something negative or sad that needs to be said, keep it to yourself for one more day. Not even boredom is allowed.
That's it. Those are the required components for a perfect Birthday Celebration!
You will notice that "gifts" is not on the list. While gifts are lovely, they are not required. I think if I get all eight of the above items on my list, that is a pretty nice gift right there.
So that's our plan for the next four days. Once we are done celebrating each other, we will resume are regularly scheduled programming.
Meet you back here on Wednesday. Have a great 4 days!!
The refrigerator seems to be a little leftover heavy right now. It happens sometimes. People have different attitudes about leftovers, I know. Usually I don't mind. In fact there are some things that taste better after an overnight sit in the chiller. Soups and stews come to mind immediately. But I don't see any soup or stew here in these depths.
I see that there are three different salads in there right now. A green tossed salad, a fruit salad and a macaroni salad. That seems a excessive to me. I love salad but how much of it can I eat at one time? Tim likes salad too but we all like variety. Maybe that's why there are three of them in here?
There are little red-topped containers of this'n'that. One of them has olives in it. I suppose I could put the olives in one or the other of the salads. Another leftover container has a piece of already cooked chicken in it. Exceedingly Ho-Hum. I'm not certain what's in the other container. I'm afraid to look.
One of the bowls has boiled eggs in it ready to become egg salad sandwiches perhaps, or again, added to a salad or just eaten solo. I am not especially happy with these boiled eggs because my "sure-fire, never-fail, easy-to-peel cooking method" failed for the first time ever. Usually the shell just slides right off for me. This time, I have to laboriously chip away miniscule bit by miniscule bit and the egg ends up looking like it has been struck repeatedly by meteors. They taste fine but look awful. I happen to know that the other bowl has Hershey kisses in it. That's the best kind of leftover.
The saran covered plate has two sad leftover pieces of pizza on it. They are especially sad looking because someone who shall remain nameless but whose initials are Sam Humphreys already cut the crust off and ate it. A tragic end to a good pizza. I should probably just throw out the remainder. What is the point of pizza without crust?
I stood in front of the fridge this morning, thinking about what to fix for dinner tonight and kind of sighed. Tim is not a complainer. Whatever I set in front of him, he will eat without a single word of criticism as long as no mushrooms or artichokes are involved. I'm the pain in the arse about food, not him. So, for him, I try to get creative with leftovers. If it's meatballs with spaghetti one night, it might be meatball sandwiches another night. Roast a chicken and I have meals for a week, of all different sorts! Versatile thing, chicken.
Personally, if it's something I really like and rarely have, I could eat the same exact thing every day for a week without tiring of it. For instance, stuffed shells Florentine! Yum! I love that so much and almost never make it. But when I do, I can just savour it every single day until it's gone. Perfect as it is. Leftover pizza? Love it, in fact I love it cold right out of the fridge. But usually, I do make an effort to make a leftover NOT appear to be an actual leftover.
Today, just not feeling inspired. I will think of something. I always do. But it would be nice to feel that definitive, " Okay, that's what I'm going to make" , decision already in place. Then I can go about the rest of my day, doing all of the other things I need to do without that niggling question in the back of my mind.
I guess tonight's dinner will be a surprise not just to Tim but to me also. And that reminds me of when we first got married. Every morning I would ask Tim what he would like me to fix for dinner and every morning he would answer, "Surprise me". Then he would come home and ask, "What's for dinner?" and eat whatever I presented with appreciation and gusto. After months and months of that on repeat, one night he got home from work, walked in the door and said, "Hey what's for dinner" as he always did. I turned to him with a big smile and said, "Nothing. Surprise!" To his credit, he laughed. We ate out that night.
That is sounding more and more like an option.
Whatever you have for dinner tonight, enjoy.
.I suppose it's my own fault really. I was the one who jinxed it. I was the one who, earlier in the day, yesterday, said, "The weather guys are never right. They have been predicting rain every single evening all week and every single evening it does not rain." See? I poked the bear. And then I sealed our fate when I followed that with, "I guess I will have to break down and water the yard." I angered the weather gods.
But I wasn't lying. Everything I said was true. After weeks of daily rain, suddenly we hit the doldrums. It rained everywhere around us. There were flood warnings amighty for miles and miles around us. But here the sun shone brightly every day. Which is, of course, lovely, but the greenery requires water. Usually this time of year, at some point nearly every day there is about 15 minutes of downpour. Just enough to keep the green, green. So when that water ration is abruptly taken away for a period of time, everything starts to wilt a bit, brown a little around the edges, stop blooming. It's very sad. I was merely reporting fact.
The previous night, that would be July 3rd, according to all weather reports there would be sluices of rain pouring down, as they had reported each day. Instead we walked to the beach after dinner, as we do most nights. It was gorgeous. People were playing volleyball by the last orange glow of the sunset, still laughing and nibbling at remnants of their picnic dinners which by then were surely crunchy with sand, and children were still calling, "Hey mom, dad, look!" from the water where they played. Tim and I walked calf deep in the bath warm water and took photos of the sunset. In short, we had no reason to believe that the evening of July 4th would be any different.
So we ate our Independence Day traditional dinner of grilled hotdogs, macdaddy salad, various olives and pickles and deviled eggs. At about 7:30, we began gathering the things we felt necessary to watch and enjoy the fireworks. And it was while we were organizing our excursion that the sky opened up and the rain came down. In surprise, we watched and listened to the drumming on the roof for a full half hour. "Making up for lost time" was our thought. And then shortly after 8pm it stopped. Nice! Perfect even, the air was cooled a bit from the hot day for the schlep to the shore.
We loaded up carrying chairs in bags (one of my favourite inventions of late), bottles of water, my camera and, at the last moment, my big red umbrella. Off we went walking around puddles as we trekked. It's only a 12 minute walk. We enjoyed other people's home firework displays on the way over and watched the clouds before us lighten up. As we got closer to the water, joined by others on foot and on bicycle, we saw the sun nearing the horizon and beach filled with spectators eager for the show. We could see boats lined up in the water ready for their primo views. We carefully selected our spot and began to set up camp.
No sooner had we settled into our chairs when the thunder began rumbling from behind us. People got out of the water. The wind picked up. Children were wrapped in beach towels. The rain began gently pitpatting. We put up our umbrella, others on the beach gathered under their large beach umbrellas. The rain came down harder. Thunder began hitting really deep bass notes and holding them. And then the lightening started. That's the cue to leave. And leave they did. People began running for their cars and their condos and hotel rooms. The beach umbrellas served as rain umbrellas as families ran stumbling across the sand, children crying and dad's carrying coolers. People who had set up little tents struggled to take them down as the wind picked up. We sat and watched it all. Surely the rain will be over soon. We huddled close together under our umbrella growing increasingly wetter all the while enjoying Mother Nature's fireworks show.
Just shy of 9 o'clock, when the fireworks were a bout to begin we gave in. I huddled shivering under the umbrella while Tim folded the chairs back up and forced them into their wet bags and we slogged home fighting the wind, the rain and our wet clothes. As we walked through our door, the rain suddenly, completely, entirely stopped and we could hear the booms of fireworks instead of the booms of thunder. We no longer cared. Hot showers were the only thing we could think about at that point. though we were still laughing about it all the whole time.
So in short we fully expected this:
And instead we got this:
Life is an adventure. We've seen fireworks before. We have enjoyed fireworks on the beach before. But this is the first time we've been rained out of a fireworks show. The other fireworks displays, while awesome, kind of blend together. I bet we remember this one.
I don't know about you, but we are looking forward to seeing a whole lot more of this tomorrow night! Last year, of course, was our first Independence Day here in Florida. We were surprised and pleased to learn that we could see an awesome fireworks show right here on the island. They set it off on the jetty and it is visible from anywhere on the beach. It's an island so there is a whole lot of beach to choose from. We walked over around 8 o'clock and just pulled up a comfy piece of sand along with a zillion or so other celebrants and relaxed until the show started. It was awesome. And so, weather permitting, we anticipate doing it again this year.
Maybe because July 4th is so close to my own birthday, or maybe because I lived in New England for quite awhile, or maybe because I'm a history buff but Independence Day is on my short list of favourite holidays. And never have I so strongly connected with a specific holiday as I did with Independence Day while living in New England. You cannot escape the history there, the signs, the literal signs are around you all of the time!
There are all of the historic homes with the placque by their front door. The residents are very proud of their home having been built before or during the revolutionary war. Old school houses, office buildings, ship yards, cemeteries and Revolutionary battle fields surround you all the time there. Historic significance is a palpable thing.
Then there are cities like Boston where the history fairly screams at you. There are actually painted paths that you can take through Boston, walking tours with brochures to guide you. Names like: The Old North Church, Boston tea Party and Paul Revere which were just words on a history test in the 4th grade suddenly come to life. Even a small town like Castine Maine has historic signage all over the town revealing it's own important role in the era that led to the birth of our country.
Then there is history as entertainment in living history museums like Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts and Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. If you are lucky enough to be there anywhere near the month of July you cannot escape understanding the origin of the United States. Suddenly you cannot escape the knowledge that these were real people who lived through a war that changed our course forever.
And I think about these things every 4th of July. I also cook hotdogs and make Macaroni Salad and cookies and other foods that have become synonymous with the day (at least in our house) regardless of where we live. And now we also go to the beach and ooooo and aaaaaaah with the multitudes also gathered there.
Regardless of how you spend your 4th, I hope it's filled with fun and food and fellow revelers. Enjoy our Independence. And as always, have fun and be safe!
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.