Sooooo what are you doing for the long Labour Day Holiday Weekend? Having a cookout with family and friends? Maybe go camping? Or just chillin' and catching up on some TV shows? Perhaps you have a good book you've been waiting to have the time to read? Nice! I'm sure that whatever you end up doing it will be great fun!
Regardless of what else anyone here has on their holiday agenda, apparently we are having a hurricane for the holiday weekend. Yupyup. That's what they are saying. Well dang. That kind of messes up plans. But too what extent?
No idea yet what it actually means for us. It's supposedly making landfall on the other side of the state. But she's a comin' in amidship captain! Which means the carryover will bring at least some of the effect over to our side too. How much? Well that's kind of the question.
And then there is the other question that we always ask when we know there is a hurricane pointed toward our state......where will it make landfall? As Dorian gets closer we will have a better idea of the general vicinity but these buggers have a mind of their own and sometimes, even at the very last possible second, they change their minds and make a little twisty turn that makes all the difference.
Well, the thing to remember here is, this is Florida. This is hurricane season. And in fact we are near the peak of hurricane season (the actual peak being September but as that is only 2 days away...close enough). So the fact that there is an actual active hurricane out there with an appetite for key lime pie is no big surprise.
So the local media is having a fine time scaring everyone to bits at the same time as they are also providing good solid information. People are preparing. The grocery and hardware stores have gone mad already and airports are making alternate plans. Locally? Things at least seem to be quiet. There was supposed to be an Arts & Crafts Fair on the Avenue this weekend......I wonder if it's been cancelled? Hmmmm.
We are ready for whatever Dorian brings. My best guess is that, at least on this side of the state, it will be more like a tropical storm. Lots of rain, lots of wind and that's about it. I suppose it's possible that will could lose power for a short time. There will be lots of deadfall and palm fronds to pick up when it's over for sure. That's a guarantee!
As of this moment in time, I'm hearing that Dorian is a slow mover. She is taking her jolly time getting here and will, most likely, take her time leaving as well. So we are thinking that the rain will begin on Sunday and, rumour has it, will continue through Wednesday. That's a long slow storm.
Oh well, it'll be whatever it is. There are times when you just have to let someone else drive the car. In this case, Mother Nature. Hope she is a good driver! Meanwhile, everyone here is getting ready.
Our favourite local donut shop is prepared:
Yupyup. They have made donuts in the shape of the little weather guy hurricane symbol! Clever eh? May as well have a sense of humour about it, right?
We are ready. We have the suggested 7 days worth of food and water, the generator, flashlights....Yup I think we are ready to go here.
Oh! And I bought a new umbrella, so I'm good.
Soooooo everyone please have a fun and safe holiday weekend! If I'm not back on Tuesday, it's power outtages preventing me and I'll return as soon as possible!
Happy Holiday Weekend ya'll!
Hugs all 'round
We checked out a new-to-us restaurant here in Venice over the weekend. Peach's is the name.
It's off island in an area that we just are not often near and it's in a shopping plaza to boot. We probably never noticed it becuse on the rare occasion that we actually do drive by it was just one large entity, "shopping plaza", not individual stores. Although, I think the only other store front we ever visited in that plaza was Big Olaf's Ice Cream (which was excellent!). I've blogged about yummy Big Olaf's before. But on that occasion it was a specific trip to visit that one store. We did not investigate the rest of the plaza. Clearly an error on our part.
One day of almost every weekend is a breakfast out day. Weekday breakfasts seem to be very quick and efficient at our house. Tim tends to eat at his desk while he is working. Coffee (always!) and usually some yogurt. Not very interesting but it's enough to fill an empty belly and it's not too messy to eat while working. He claims to not be tired of it yet. Occasionally I will toss a few blueberries or strawberries into the yogurt bowl, but otherwise, just plain boring vanilla yogurt.
I'm usually doing 25 things at once in the morning so if I eat breakfast at all, it's on the run. If I'm really lucky and it's a leftover pizza day, the pizza sits on the kitchen counter and I'll grab a bite as I walk by it throughout the morning as I'm getting other things done. Or perhaps it's breakfast literally as I'm walking or driving to the library to teach (that would be Belvita crackers. Only dry crumbs to contend with) If it's a Pilates morning then breakfast is usually cottage cheese after class and I eat it while I read the newspaper or as I'm returning emails. I read somewhere once that a person should eat protein within a half hour of a work out, hence the cottage cheese.
The point being, breakfast is a sorry affair during the week. Which is why we treat ourselves on the weekend. We kind of have a rotation of various area restaurants that serve breakfast but it's always fun to find a new one to add to the list. As it turns out, Peach's was a delight.
It was larger than I expected, so being seated was not a problem. There was plenty of staff on hand too. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and fun and the place was very clean. Huge points for being clean.
The menu was surprisingly large and there were some specials on the chalkboard right up front. Apparently, they offer a small and different variety of baked goods each day. The muffin choices this weekend were: chocolate chip, blueberry and cinnamon. Tough decisions. They also have one fun and interesting special. That day is was Almond Joy Pancakes! We didn't try it this time 'round but I love that they are creative with their specialty menu!
As it turns out, Peach's is a small local chain now with several stores up and down part of the west coast. The first store opened it's doors in 1985 with the idea to have a homey atmosphere with a freshly made breakfast and lunch menu and that is still the case. The goal was met. From the staff to the food to the menu to the price tag, Peach's hit high marks all the way across. Oddly we had never heard of it before, but now that we have, we will make sure others hear about it too.
Peach's is definitely now part of our weekend breakfast rotation. We will absolutely be back.
As we were walking out of the house Sunday morning to go out to breakfast, Tim pointed to my right. I glanced to my right fully expecting to see a bunny or a squirrel or even a lizard doing something cute. But all I saw were my many pots of flowers, our patio chairs and the grill.
"What is it that I'm supposed to be seeing?" I asked, squinting a little bit.
I was told to look further to my right. Well further to my right is the house. So I looked at the house. Yup that's a house all right. In fact, it's our house. Still unsure of what it is that I am clearly not seeing, I looked at Tim and shrugged with a look of confusion on my face.
"The window screen" Tim said softly, "Look at the window screen" So I looked at the window screen. Or screens. The front window of the house is a bay window so there are several windows to check out. All screened of course.
Finally I spied it. And may I just say, "Holy Cats! It was a bug. Not just any bug actually but a Big doggone Bug. In fact I believe it is the biggest bug I've ever seen! What the heck is this thing?
To get the proportion right here is a photo of the bug next to a car key.
How did I not notice this myself? I mean a bug that size is not exactly subtle. But it was quiet and well behaved. And sometimes I am absolutely oblivious to my surroundings. Sad but true.
I was both fascinated and totally creeped out. As you well know, I have a kind of a "thing" about bugs. And the sheer size of this one just took it to a whole new level. On the one hand, I couldn't stop marveling over it. On the other hand, Ewwwww. Although I will admit that it's wings were very pretty. From the looking through the screen from the inside so that the bug was mostly in sillhouette, the wings were especially pretty.
I could have alternately gagged and goggled over this fly for a lot longer, but poor Tim was hungry and moving toward Hangry and so we continued on our way to our Sunday breakfast out. When we got home, the bug was gone. I was both disappointed and relieved. Yes, I know, I am an excercise in contradiction.
But I did have my photographs so I started researching. Of course I did. I wanted to know what this enormous bug is! So I googled large flying Florida insects and honestly I have never been so grossed out in my life and still so fascinated at the same time.
There are so many of them! In my desire to identify this one particular bug, I was particular in my search. It was easy to eliminate some of them quickly because just from the body shape, I knew they were in the wasp family and this one absolutely is not. I don't know much, but I do know that.
So in narrowing down the search further, there were too many that simply were not big enough. Tim's car key is 2 3/4 inches long (I know because I measured it) And the bug, from the top of it's head to the tip of it's wings was about the same length. And then there were those really long wings. Not very many bugs had wings that same shape and size. Hmmmmm, And then there is it's kind of blocky, squatty shaped body. It appears to be amoured like a beetle, so some sort of winged beetle maybe?
I get very science-ish when I'm in reseach mode and the grossosity of the bugness of it all stopped bothering me after a bit. I kept thinking that it looked like the dinosaur of all bugs. Hopefully a brontosaurus and not a tyrannosaurus. Yikes! After all was said and done though, it was still a bug and once I stopped being research Sam and was back to just being regular Sam, bugs were ick to me once again.
In short, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to identify this particular bug to no avail. I still have no idea what it is, why it was here or what it wants. Perhaps our front window screen was just a rest stop on it's journey elsewhere. I am kind of hoping that is the case.
I have never in seen a bug like this before and with any luck at all, I never will again. It's probably completely benign. Just some sort of extremely large but harmless plant eating bug that was on it's way to a vacation in Miami or something and took a little break on it's way. On the other hand, it might be a zombified human eating bug that was on it's way to meet up with it's brethren to make their plans to take over the world. Who knows?
Either way both, wow and ick.
My life is never dull.
This past Saturday was Minock day August and you know what that means, right? SuperFun!!!!
It was Minocks choice this month and very wisely, they choose something air conditioned. A movie! Genius! Why didn't we think of this before? This time 'round we met in St Petersburg. (Florida not Russia). Tim and I have been to the beach several times in St Pete's and therefore have driven through the madly insanely busybusybusy retail areas where it is just shop after store after restaurant after car dealership after tax office after...well you get the idea.
Multiple lanes of traffic in both directions and the road sides are simply chockablock with one store front after another. It's almost overwhelming. I had no idea that there were that many stores in existence! I swear it seemed like every single chain store and dhain restaurant and chain business that I have ever heard of in my entire life is somewhere in St Pete's in that area and then the rest of it is stuff I've never heard of. There is a lot.
Frankly, based on that little bit that I knew about St. Pete's, it did not appeal to me at all. Fortunately, this visit has completely turned my opinion around.
We were not in that area. Thank goodness! We were in an area I've never been before with lovely green spaces, and beautiful architecture and interesting restaurants and other very appealing buildings. It was a lovely place to walk around. Absolutely charming!
We met at the theatre which was in yet another beautiful building. We saw the film, "Angel has Fallen". It was very exciting. I guess it could be categorized as an action/adventure film. It was a constant bang, pow, wham! One thing after another thing after another thing. No down time to recover from any of it until the movie was over (though there was some surprising bits of humour in it).
Once we staggered out of the dark cool theatre into the bright sunshine we made our way about four blocks down to a restaurant called, Red Mesa Cantina. It was Excellent. Kind of uptown Mexican food. Same yummy flavour but elevated both in quality and presentation. And I loved the decor (as you can see from my photos). As usual I forgot to take pictures of the food because we were too busy scarfing it down!
Afterward, reluctant to call it a day, we walked around a little more until we found a lovely place to sit in comfy chair, in the shade, under a large ceiling fan, by a fountain. What? Just random chairs waiting for us to plop our butts down so we could keep talking? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. How cool was that?
So the four of us sat and yakked for a few more hours and before we knew it, it was late evening and time to head to our respective homes, them to the north and us pointed south.
It was an awesome day. It felt like old times. Almost like all of the many many Sundayevenings that we spent sitting on their patio in Colorado just chatting and relaxing and laughing and enjoying each other's company.
We already have the September day tentatively planned YAY! And bonus points, we even talked over some ideas for unspecified but agreed upon future Minock days! YAY again!
Minock day continues to be my favourite day of the month! Cannot imagine that will ever change ;)
If you know me at all by now, you are certain of a couple of things. One, that I am tidy and Two, that once I am dressed for the day, I really hate to change my clothes. That Second thing is completely at odds with Third thing about me which is that I have a real fixation about dressing appropriate to the occasion. Lastly, I take very good care of everything I own.
You mix those things all together and well, it's just a mess sometimes. Here is how it kind of works. First thing in the morning, I check my calendar just to remind me what the heck is going on that day. Whatever is the Most Important Thing in my day, is what I dress for and then I try to work everything else around that so that, I only have to get dressed one time.
For example, if it's a Museum day, I dress appropriately to working in a museum and that is what I wear all day. I plan to do nothing that will mess up those clothes. If I am museum dressed, I do not, for example, change in the oil in the car or prune shrubs or scrub grout. Instead, I choose to do clean non-sweaty things until it's time to go to the museum. When I get home, it's time to fix dinner but I wear a full apron over my clothes so that, once again, I don't ruin my clothes but also so I do not have to change my clothes. Tidy is after all number 1 on my hit parade and not having to change clothes ranks a very close second place.
I have relaxed my standards a teensy bit for very rare situations. I have been seen at the grocery store in my workout clothes a few times when I was really pressed for time. It felt strange to be out in "public" (actually Publix) in clothes that I normally only wear at the gym or in the Pilates studio where everyone else is dressed similarly. Not pretty picture by the way. Gym garb, no make-up, no jewelry, messy hair and probably kind of sweaty. FYI, nobody but me cared about that one bit. But most of the time, I stick to my own personal rules (which by the way, only apply to me, nobody else. I'm not going to be all judgey on you if you are mowing your lawn in a cocktail gown or tuxedo and in fact, I will probably admire you for it)
But every once in awhile, my rules go right out the window. I had a day like that not long ago.
It was a teaching day so as soon as I was up and showered, I dressed in my "teacher clothes". Yes my clothes are THAT specific to what I am doing. So there I am, all looking teachery, hair looks good, make-up is fine, small but nice jewelry, I am ready to roll. I did a few clean things around the house and had gathered my purse and my teachery gear and I was just about the leave when I got a phone call from my student that her son was sick and she couldn't come to class. I thanked her for calling and then reconsidered my day.
I now had a large block of unexpected free time. Well dang it all, the thing that was needing to be done the most was to clean the bathrooms. Bathroom cleaning requires a lot of cleaning products and bleach. I am not going to risk ruining my nice teachery clothes with bleach and I am a klutz so the probability is high so I am going to have to change clothes. Drat. Oh well. Off I went to change into grub clothes. Grub clothes are garments that I have already fairly well ruined with grass stains, paint drips and bleach blotches. Ok.
So I scrubbed bathrooms and then moved on to kitchen scrubbing at which point Tim was ready to do the noonwalk. I glanced into a mirror. Holy cats, I looked like a homeless urchin! I quickquick changed into real clothes and we zoomed out the door. We do the noonwalk on Tim's schedule between meetings and phone calls so there was no time to waste. An unexpected rain shower drenched us both before we returned (I did remember to bring the small zippy bag so the hearing aides were perfectly fine). As soon as we walked in the door, first order of business was to put on dry clothes.
I knew that I needed to run a few errands that afternoon so I chose new dry clothes that were presentable, fixed my hair again, make-up one more time and set out on my mission. By the time I got back from my errands the temperature had dropped probably ten degrees. I was so chilly in the house that I put on a sweater. Not really an entire outfit change, but an addition so it counts. After a few minutes, it was clear to me that the sweater was too warm. But without it was too cool. Sigh. Only one option. Take off the sweater AND my lightweight sleeveless summer top and replace it with a lightweight pullover sweatshirt. Ok That works. But it was definitely at least a half an outfit change.
As the day neared dinner time Tim appeared from his hidey-hole (home office) and said, "let's go out to eat tonight) and told me what restaurant he was in the mood for. I know that one. It's always freezing cold in there. So I changed again, into long pants, long sleeved shirt and closed toe shoes.
By bedtime I realized that I had changed clothes 5 1/2 time by my count. 6 if you include the change into my PJ's at the end of the day. I had accumulated quite the pile of clothes that while not really dirty, were not really clean either and I was more tired than usual.
I think maybe it was all the ch ch ch changes of clothing that wore me out! Sometimes I am absolutely ridiculous. I can only stand here and shake my head at myself. Crazygirl.
It's nearly the weekend now and all I can say is, bring on the pizza. I love pizza. I really do. In fact, I cannot think of anyone I've ever met that doesn't like pizza. We both are big fans. At least one day (or night) of the weekend Tim will offer to take us out to eat and he kindly asks me what I am in the mood for. I struggle with that question because I almost always want to say, "Pizza!"
Once upon I time I knew how to make a decent pizza. I don't know what happened to my pizza making mojo but my last few attempts have, hmmm what's the word for it? Sucked? Yup that's the word. They were bad. Very bad. I am not sure what I'm doing differently but obviously something. When I announce to the household that I am making pizza for dinner, instead of the yumyum face now I see the polite face that is not so secretly hiding the cringing face. With most other foods, I am a pretty good cook so it really annoys me that I am so very horrible at making pizza.
But you know what? Since there are so very many pizza places around here, why bother anyway? We can buy pizza from any number of places and most of them even deliver! Woohoo! Well here is the thing. Tim and I both love pizza but we both love completely different pizza. It's a problem.
Tim prefers a thin crust. Thin and crispy. Artinsanal if possible. Hand tossed, right out of the oven, wonky shaped and hothothot. He also wants meat on his pizza. Lots and lots of meat. It's ok if there is other stuff on there as long as it is mostly, meat. Pepperoni, sausage, meatball, ham, bacon...basically if it ever made a noise in it's real life, Tim wants it on his pizza. Which means no mushrooms. Mushrooms are silent and therefore do not belong on pizza. Also they are a fungus. Tim wants no fungus on his pizza. EVER! Sure sure, cheese is nice, a little sauce to hold it all together but it's all about the meat. He is the carnivores carnivore.
On the other hand, I like a chewier crust. Not a big honking thick bread-like crust, but a little thicker, a little chewier. I don't care what shape a pizza is either, round, square, rectangular or heart shaped, it don't matter to me. What matters is that there is a lot of cheese, the ooey gooey kind. And vegetables, loads of vegetables. And when I say vegetables, I do not mean broccoli or eggplant or zucchini! I once ordered a veggie pizza and that is what showed up. No. Let me explain. When I say, Veggie pizza, I mean, mushrooms (bring on the fungus!), green peppers, olives, onions...stuff like that. I am far more careful about that now.
Tim favours a place here on the island called Made in Italy. Everything on their extensive menu is amazing. It's all fresh (even the pasta!) and tasty and yummy and amazing. And their pizza is exactly what Tim loves. Thin thin hand tossed lots of meat and he loves it. I do not love it. And one of the reasons I do not love it is that it doesn't hold up to overnight refrigeration. Yup, it totally fails as one of my all time favourite breakfast treats - cold leftover pizza right out of the fridge. The thin crust doesn't hold up. Not a fan of soggy pizza. So it's either eat the entire thing at dinner the night before, or throw away any leftovers.
My favourite pizza places (there are a lot of them) are just ordinary regular I don't even care if they are chains most of the time pizza places with chewy crusts and normal vegetables and lots of cheese. A chewy crust definitely stands the tests of time, tide and refrigeration. So I fall asleep happyhappy for several nights in a row knowing that I will be eating leftover pizza cold right out of the fridge for breakfast the next morning. Pizza Bliss!
Obviously what ends up happening is that I don't really like the pizza from the places Tim leans toward and he doesn't really like the pizza from that places I like. What to do, what to do? Well sometimes we go to his favourite and sometimes we go to mine. And in between we try other pizza restaurants. Always hoping that the next place will have pizza that we both like.
We won't give up. I'm sure it's out there, somewhere. We keep searching for a place that we both like. That means we have to do a LOT of research. Constantly trying out new pizza places, forever seeking that perfect pizza place that will suit us both. It takes time, research and absolute dedication to the task. It's a sacrifice but someone has to do it. I nominate us. We will do it. We will step up. Our mission, and we have chosen to accept it, is to find the perfect pizza place that will be the answer to both of our pizza palates! It may take time, it will definitely take effort, but eventually, we will succeed.
As it is nearly the weekend, wish us well as we bravely step back out into the fray, once again, seeking the perfect pizza place. Wish us godspeed and good pizza. Roger, over and out.
In the event that it's been a really long time since you had to take high school anatomy & physiology class, (as it has been for me) here is a picture of what is going on inside the human ear. Wow! That is all sorts of complicated! No wonder things can go awry!
I had my semi-annual audiology appointment last week. It's twice a year, partly to just to keep an eye (or ear I suppose) on things but mostly it's for maintenance on my hearing aids. It's like a car. Now and again it needs a tune up. Hearing aides are machines, they are teensy tiny itty bitty machines. Very complex little machines.
I take super duper good care of them, but I do not have, at home, the equipment that exists in an audiology office. Of course not! I can do simple things and take proper care but the doc office is the place I go, twice every year, just to make sure everything is A-OK. It's what you do.
So my devices checked out fine. Gold Star! Woohoo! But in just a general discussion with my doctor, I mentioned something that I was wondering about.
I have noticed, for the past few months, that the quality of sound has changed for me. Hmmmm this is hard to describe. Okay, how about this. I know exactly what Tim's voice sounds like. I have been listening to his voice for 26 married years and another 3 years before that. So nearly thirty years now! (wait a minute..holy cats!) Anyway, suddenly, a few months ago, his voice began to sound a little different to me. A little...adenoidal. You know? The way a person's voice sounds when their tonsils are bothering them, or they have a really sore throat. It changed the "shape" of the sound.
When I first noticed it, Tim was getting over a bad cold. It made sense to me that his voice would have that quality so I didn't really give it much more thought. But then, the sound of his voice never changed back. And then I began to notice that same change of sound quality in other people's voices, even on television. Totally weird.
I assumed that my hearing aides needed to be cleaned so I cleaned them. It so happened that while I was cleaning them, I was in the bedroom and Tim had the TV on. And then I realized that even with my hearing aids off, even though the sound was much softer, hard to comprehend and seemed much farther away, the speech that I could understand had that same weird glottal quality to it. Dang. It's not my hearing aids, it's me. Ratz ratz ratz.
So I mentioned it to my hearing doc and she said, "hmmmm let's do another quick test". The results of which showed another deficit, this time in the lower registers. Double Dang.
Okay, a little background here. If you don't already know this stuff, it'll be new information, if you do already know it, it'll either be a refresher course, or you can just skip this next paragraph.
You see here a blank audiogram chart. If you have ever seen a completed audiogram, it's filled with a line of x's and o's. Those are not hugs and kisses. When a person has their hearing tested, the doctor makes little x's and o's (the x representing the left ear, the o representing the right) at the point on the chart that corresponds to where the tone the doctor is playing in your ear registers with you. Some tones are high, some are mid-range and some are low. The doctor starts the tones very softly and continues to increase volume until the patient can hear the sound. For a person whose hearing is in the "normal" range, all of the little x's and o's are up across the top part of the page.
Mine never ever touches the top of the page. And as time is going by the line comes further and further down the page. It's like dancing the limbo...how low can you go! My hearing loss began a VERY long time ago (age 12 after a bout with Scarlett Fever) and started with high frequency loss. So very high pitched sounds were what I didn't hear. Squeaky doors, kitten meow's and the top flute notes. But as time went by it began to include sounds like a zipper opening or closing, softly running water and eventually a lot of consonants.
Note here: Consonants are high frequency sounds, vowels are low frequency sounds. So it becomes a matter of trying to determine the difference between the words: top, pop, stop, crop and mop. If I'm not wearing my hearing aids and I'm not looking at you, those words all sounds the same to me unless I can figure it out from context. C'es t la vie.
Along came the advent of hearing aides in my life and suddenly, woohoo! I was part of the hearing once world again. Did I Celebrate that? You are damned right I did! (and so did everyone around me!) Yay!
But my hearing continues to deteriorate. Luckily for me, the doctor continues to adjust my hearing aids to make up for continued loss. Six months ago, we learned that my hearing had decreased about 10%. Now, just six months later there is an additional deficit but in the lower tones. That's new. Once again, fortunately for me, she was able to make some changes to help me out. Hurrah! I adore technology ;)
She also gave me a paper on Listening Exercises. Okay, that's interesting. Working the hearing center of my brain as if it were a muscle (even though it is most definitely not a muscle) is not a new concept for me. When I worked in audiology, we encouraged it to all of our patients. But I never thought about the concept applying to me. Back then I was almost always in noisy environments. At work, in restaurants, in shops, at gatherings, parties, even at home. Noise noise everywhere I went. Plenty of listening exercise.
But now things have changed. I'm in quiet most of the time. It's very quiet at home. Even the museum is quiet. When I am teaching it's just my student and I in a quiet tutoring room at the library which is a quiet place. I walk on the quiet beach, I walk around a quiet little town. I even hike quietly. Photography doesn't require any sounds at all. And when I'm writing the only noise is the clickity click of my fingers on the keyboard. Silence may be golden but it does not stimulate the auditory center of the brain!
So I'm making the effort. I am exercising my listening skills. Let's see if I can perk up the hearing center of my brain and slow down the disintegration of my hearing, forestall the inevitable for as long as possible! Yup that sounds like a doggone good idea.
And if any of you have some great idea to stimulate the hearing part of my brain, I'd love to HEAR about it. (Get it? Hear about it? heh) Sometimes I just crack me up ;)
They are known in our house as zippybags. I try to remember to not refer to items by the trademark name just for accuracy sake, like bandages instead of bandaids and gelatin instead of jello. I'm not always successful, but I try. Whatever you choose to call it, I am a fan.
And I do not care to have another lecture about the evils of plastic from the environmental police, please. Yes I already know, thank you. Which is why I re-use them as much as possible. They can be washed, turned insideout to dry and used again several times. As long as the actual closure still maintains it's integrity, it's all good.
Generally we have two sizes in this house; a larger gallon size and the much smaller sandwich size. In all honesty, I use the larger ones far more than the smaller. One box of the small zippybags can get me through a year or longer. The gallon sized bags are useful for so many things. Freezing baked goods for one thing. A batch of cookies, a loaf of bread, brownies, muffins, and etc, all fit just perfectly in a gallon bag. When I make a batch of chili or gumbo (I don't seem to know how to make a small batch of either of those) the leftovers pour beautifully into the gallon bag and then pop right into the freezer for another day. The food is preserved exactly as I anticipate it to be. Perfect!
If we are going to be away for more than a couple of days when we travel, I put full sized bottles of shampoo into gallon bags to protect everything else in my suitcase! A wet swimsuit also will squish right into one for the trip back home. Nothing leaks! Yay! The inside stuff says on the inside. Quite honestly, nothing else works as well. I know because I have tried. So as I said at the start, yes we use zippybags in this house.
Generally I buy the brand name ones. That blue and green box up above. I believe they are made by Johnson & Johnson. Because I re-use bags, one box can last me quite awhile and because they really do their job so well, it feels, to me, as if buying the brand name zippybags are worth the price.
But just after Thanksgiving last year, I bought a different brand thinking that I was being smart, saving a few bucks. Big Mistake! All zippybags are not equal.
When I start gathering the product necessary for my cookie baking marathon every year, one of the many items on the list is zippybags. Lots of them. I try to make, at minimum, 13 different kinds of cookies (usually more). Each of those kinds of cookies needs to be broken down again into separate zippybags for each of the boxes of cookies I'm shipping to the kids plus whatever is leftover for neighbors, my sister and us. Lots of bags.
I buy cookie baking marathon product where ever I can find it. Some of it comes from my local Publix, some from Costco but there are somethings I can only find at Walmart, of all places. It was while we were at Walmart last year that I spied the enormous box of no-name brand zippybags for cheapcheapcheap. Hey, a zippybag is a zippybag, I sez to myself and threw it into the cart tickled at the idea of a little savings.
As it turned out, I hated them. First of all the plastic bag itself wasn't a substantial enough. They had a tendency to tear and needed to be handled with great care. When I am in the midst of my 3-day cookie-a-thon, I'm like a machine. I am cranking out batches of cookies like a madwoman. I do not have time to be delicate with a zippybag. So every time we spied a tear or a pucker, we had to rebag and throw away the original. No savings there! Wasteful!
Then too, each bag had two separate layers of zippies. Annoying as all get-out. And the zip need to be started from one particular direction or it didn't work at all. ARGH! Even more annoying! When I'm deep in cookie-mode, having to slow down to re-zip a bag closed and start from the other side and two zip TWO zippies per bag closed made me crazy.
And worst of all? There were so dang many zippybags in that box that I just last week finally used the last one thank goodness! I will NEVER EVER buy walmart zippybags again. EVER!
But I will still buy zippy bags. I remember, in my childhood, the sandwiches in my lunch box were placed in small sandwich sized waxed paper bags. The waxed paper bags did keep the sandwich in one piece, I mean, it wasn't as if I was finding the bread on one side of my lunch box and the innards spread around. But without that definitive closure that a zippybag offers, there wasn't much by way of actual perservation. By lunch the bread was starting to show signs of staleness for sure.
By highschool, they created a sandwich sized plastic bag with a fold-over top that "locked in freshness" as the commercial went. It was an amazing thing! It really was a boon to lunchbag sandwiches but you absolutely couldn't put anything wet in there because they leaked. They leaked a lot, in fact, which was discovered the first time I tried packing an egg salad sandwich. What a mess! And if you put in, for instance, grapes that had been rinsed, you had better be certain that alllllll of the grapes were dry before you packed them or the water would be all over the inside of your lunch bag. Wet paper bag are seriously compromised. Just sayin'.
By the time my kids were in school, the zippybag was a real thing. I could put almost anything in their lunchsacks and not worry about leaks or staleness or anything else. It was glorious!
But when I look back to before my childhood, I realized that things were a lot worse. Sandwiches were wrapped in butcher paper, in newspaper, or re-useable cloth. My dad carried a lunch pail to school. It was literally a small bucket with a metal handle and a clean rag or newspaper tucked into the top of it. Anything could be in that bucket. But whatever it was had no way of staying fresh. Of course he ate it anyway. Food is food, especially for a young growing boy or girl. And back then, that's just what you did.
I happen to know that plastic bags became fairly common in the late 1950's. I remember one kid that I went to school with when we lived in California who didn't have a lunchbox or paper lunch sack. She brought her lunches in a used Wonderbread plastic bag. It was colourful and I suppose it worked. One does what one must.
I know that they make little plastic containers for sandwiches now that are re-useable. I'm guessing that a lot of folks use those. I suppose it makes sense. Kids will just throw away a zippybag but the plastic containers they might remember to bring back home to be washed and re-used.
I wonder what the next generation will use? What will be the next development for convenience, freshness, tidiness and food preservation? Maybe they will find a way to make a really good container that will bio-degrade? Or even better..one that can be eaten! No waste at all! Great idea. Hey somebody invent that will you please?
Behold! A veritable rainbow of polo shirts!
The wedding that we attended over the weekend necessitated a perusal of our closets. The dress code (if you read yesterday's blog post) was "beachy". And in fact, it specified, shorts, flipflops and sundresses. Well that is beachy indeed! How fun!
Personally I cannot bring myself to wear shorts to church. I know that it's okay to do nowadays, but I just cannot do it. Tim felt the same way. But he felt that he would be perfectly okay with khaki's and a polo shirt. Being well aware of the contents of his closet (I am after all the house laundress) I asked him which shirt he had in mind. I was not at all surprised when he told me which shirt he was thinking of wearing. It's his favourite polo shirt. And for a very good reason too!
It is a great colour on him, it fits very well and has great drape and best of all it's comfortable. Whatever the magic fabric is, it seems to breathe better than most. The collar never curls, and nothing is ever stretched out weirdly. In short, it is a Good shirt. The problem is, it's also an old shirt. And it's starting to show it's age. Since the local Beall's was having a 50% off sale, what would it hurt to just look and see if they have other polo shirts like his favourite only newer. Tim agreed.
Off we went and the instant we stepped into the men's section of the store, the search began. See here is the thing I have learned. Not all Polo shirts are created equally and it isn't always about the price tag. That was the part the fooled me. I assumed (though one should never) that a better quality shirt would naturally be more expensive. Well, it ain't necessarily so. Some of the most expensive shirts there just did not suit at all. Of course the cheapest ones weren't going to cut it either. So it lands mostly in the middle.
It turns out that the most comfortable shirts, the ones that breathe a bit, the shirts whose collars do not requiring ironing, threats and duct tape to lay flat, the ones that sit so nicely on the shoulders are not polo shirts at all but, rather, golf shirts. Who knew? Not me. Obviously Tim knew because that's where he headed.
Luckily a lot of people play golf here so there were loads to choose from . It really was just a matter of picking size and colour and that is exactly what we did. Once Tim had an armload, I pointed to the nearest fitting rooms and he looked at me as if I had lost my mind. "I know what size I wear" he said with a smile, shook his head and I followed him to the checkout line. And that is the biggest difference between men's clothes and women's clothes. Apparently men do not need to try them on. As long as it's the correct size, it fits. The end. I'm so jealous.
So Tim was all set for the wedding. He had a cornucopia of new lovely golf shirts just awaiting his decision. Any of them would look great with his khaki pants. Done!
Me on the other hand? More of an issue. I took myself earlier in the day to the outlet store hoping to find some cute little sundress to wear to this beachy wedding. I usually have very good luck there. They have racks and racks and RACKS of clothes after all.
Imagine my surprise to find that while yes, they still have an amazing array of clothes they had exactly one very short rack of dresses. One. And in my size there were 4 options. 1,2,3,4. But I'm game. I tried them. It was not good:
As bad as these three photos are, I opted to not show you the 4th photo. It truly was THAT much worse. Because I was apparently built out of spare parts, dresses in particular are difficult for me. I am especially short through the body, but long of arm and leg and I am, hmmmm, how shall I say this? I am not dainty. In truth, my body kind of looks like a box balanced on sticks. Hey it's a fact. I try to not blame me when I don't look good in clothes but it really kind of is my fault. Oh well. Gotta dress the body ya got.
The floral dress is a terrible colour for me, the pink thing was just hideous and the animal print was laughable. I looked ridiculous. So obviously I bought none of them and assumed that I would just manage to find something in my closet that would "do". When I got home and Tim asked what I bought I showed him these photos and he agreed. Bad, very bad. And then offered to take me to Beall's that evening after work. (which is how we ended up there in the first place)
What a difference. First of all that had a lot of dresses to choose from. Tim selected some, I grabbed a few and I headed off to the dressing room. A few of them had me laughing out loud. Some of them were gigantic and ridiculous. A couple were perfectly fine but kind of meh. And two were contenders.
The first thing I was looking for was something that suited the theme. The second was comfort. I refuse to wear anything that isn't comfortable and I have felt that way for years! It's not a new thing. Third was the price of course. And lastly, I was hoping to find a cute little sundress that I could also wear other times, to work at the museum in summer, out to dinner, to the theatre. Multi-purpose clothes rock!
Anything that I thought was a possibility I showed Tim who had found a comfy place to sit while he waited. A few of them garnered wrinkled noses and a shake of the head. But the two I already liked the best got smiles.
I narrowed it down to these two. Tim asked which was my favourite. Obviously I said the flowered one with the asymetrical hem. It is just so fun! Then he asked which was my second favourite. I pointed to the stripey one and he picked them both up and said, "let's go"! I got to get two dresses Woohoo! The 50% thing applied to my dresses also basically the price of the two together was the same as the original price of just one. I love when that happens.
So lucky me, I now have two adorable sundresses. I did indeed wear the floral one to the wedding with red sandals and a sheer white wrap (air conditioning makes me cold!) with hoop earrings, a long necklace and silver bangle bracelets. Tim wore his khaki pants and one of his new golf shirts. We looked awesome and appropriate to the occasion.
I am still surprised that my usual outlet store let me down but I am delighted with what we both bought! We are now all set for just about anything. Bring on the occasion. We are ready!
I just love weddings! Every single wedding I've ever attended I have enjoyed immensely. And I've never seen two that were exactly the same.
Tim and I attended a wedding this past Saturday. It was lovely. The groom beamed and the bride glowed and everyone had a wonderful time.
This one was a beach themed wedding and we were encourage to were beach attire: sundresses, shorts and flipflops! How fun! The bride managed to find a dress that was unmistakably bridal and still beachy. Genius. There was music and happiness and lots of photographs taken. One of the most unique parts of this particular wedding was that the bride and groom sang a song together! Adorable!~
It occurred to me on the drive home that the last wedding we went to was quite some time ago, youngest son's wedding. That is quite a dry spell! There was a time when I felt like I was going to wedding every month. And another strange summer when either Tim or I were part of the wedding party for months on end. Just before we moved to Colorado I donated my MANY bridesmaids gowns to one of those organizations that provides "prom" gowns for girls who cannot otherwise afford them. They were thrilled to have them.
The very first wedding I attended was as a young child but I remember it. It was in a very large church with enormous, colourful stained glass windows that were mesmerizing to me. Because I was so little (and therefore small) all I saw of the bride was the top of her head which, of course, was covered by a veil. While I was quiet and well behaved, the service felt as if it took eternity and I thought weddings were the most boring thing ever. We didn't spend long at the reception, just long enough for my mother to walk through the receiving line (remember those?) and then we left. But my eyes spied a table piled high with pretty gifts and another table with a towering cake and I saw people drinking punch out of little glass cups. I was really bummed that I didn't get any cake.
I've attended weddings in small chapels and huge cathedrals, in stunning gardens and under huge white tents, on the beach and in backyards. One of the most unique weddings I ever attended was in a church that did not allow music. It was the first and only time that I heard every single step of the bride's high heels on the wooden floors as she walked down the aisle. The church was so quiet that every step echoed. It was rather dramatic.
My dad was a Justice of the Peace at one time in his life and he performed wedding ceremonies in all sorts of places like on boats and in parks, and, if the bride and groom had no other place for the service, occasionally in my mother's rose garden in their backyard. He really loved conducting wedding services. I think way deep down, he really was a romantic soul.
I've seen enormous wedding with so many attendants on both sides that they barely fit on the dais and weddings so small that it was only the bride, groom, officiant, me and one other person as witnesses. From sit-down multi-course dinners to buffet dinners to potluck luncheons to appetizers and cake or just cake and punch receptions. I've seen brides maids carrying enormous trailing bouquets, to small posey's, to single roses, to bibles. Dress codes from formal gowns to cocktail length dresses to jeans and boots to beachwear. Services from High Mass to traditional services to the bride and groom writing and speaking their own vows. And all of them were beautiful.
I am a big fan of the TV show, "Say Yes to the Dress". I think it's mostly because I love seeing those beautiful gowns. I also watch the food channel shows where they make amazing wedding cakes. If they had a show about the floral arrangements for weddings, I'd probably watch that too. I do love pretty things. And weddings are among the prettiest of things.
At one time, my sister and I talked about how fun it would be if the two of us own a wedding salon. We had grand plans. It wasn't just about the gowns, it would be full service. The gowns, the venue, the flowers, the food, everything arranged all in one place. It was a great idea and, when we were young and foolish, fun to imagine. Of course none of it happened. But I still adore weddings.
We wish Saturday's bride and groom, Greg and Beth, every happiness!
(and secretly hope that somebody else has a wedding that we get also get invited to one day soon!)
I think we both knew what sort of day it was going to be yesterday when we realized that neither of us had really slept the night before. It was an ugly combination of eating a restaurant dinner that did not sit well and was also eaten far too late and a wicked thunder/lightening/rain storm that would not shut up! The storm would seem to fade away, the sound growing softer and more distant and slowly, slowly our little eyelids would begin to droop closed and just as we began to drift off to sleep.....KaBoom! It would crash over head again. Over and Over and Over.
You just know that a day that begins that way is just going to be one of those days. And in all of my very many years on this planet, I have learned that when you are going to have a day like that, you just gotta embrace it. It's going to happen anyway, so just sit back and let it happen. It's not like fighting it is going to change anything, after all, it'll just wear you out.
I wasn't being fatalistic, but rather realistic.
So when I got shampoo in my eyes during my shower, I was not at all surprised. And when I broke the clasp on the necklace I had planned to wear I just sighed and said, "Yup". When I dropped and therefore spilled an entire glass of water I merely eyeballed it a second and then cleaned it up. When I dropped my mascara wand while putting on make-up leaving an, apparently indelible, black mark on an otherwise pristine white towel I didn't bat an eye. The fact that I woke with a splitting headache that laughed in the face of alleve was totally expected. When I found our daily newspaper completely soaked in an enormous puddle I just threw it away. I didn't even try to rescue it, because I knew it was going to be that sort of day.
Thursday is a teaching morning for me so I always try to zoom around in the morning getting a few things done before I head out the door. Usually I time it very well so that I am completely ready and fully prepared to leave at the exact right time. But yesterday, naturally, I did not. And I found myself racing out the door, purse and carrybag of teaching gear thrown over my shoulder, a little later than usual. I frowned at the sky that appeared to be ready to drop another bucketload of rain on us and jumped into the car. No time to walk today even if I wasn't worried about the rain, I was running behind.
So of course, yesterday was also the day I could not get my car to start. Because it's such a perfectly normal thing for a car to start when you put the key in and turn, it didn't make sense to me at first. I slowed way down. First I removed the key then put it back in again and turned it one more time. Because, in my stupid head, I must have just not turned the key correctly or something. (?) I even tried a third time because, well I don't know why. Because "3 is the charm"? Well it wasn't the charm or anything else because the car still didn't start. Dang.
I grabbed my stuff and ran back into the house and begged Tim to completely interrupt his own train of thought and his own work schedule to drive me to the library, pretty please. There was no way I would get there in time on foot. Even if I put some hustle in my bustle, and the rain held off, it is, at minimum a 20 minute walk and I had less than 10 minutes to get there.
Because Tim is a very nice man and he loves me, he grabbed his keys, we jumped in his car and off we went. I offered to "tuck and roll" as he cruised by the library but he very kindly and came to an actual full stop for me. Made it just in the nick of time.
Teaching itself went fine. I'm not sure how it could have gone badly unless the tutoring room had been booby-trapped in some way and thank goodness that was not the case. But throughout the class the notifications on my new phone kept going off. And that was when I realized that I do not yet know how to turn those off or down or well anything helpful. So I chose to try to ignore it throughout the class and my student, following my lead, pretended to ignore it as well. Mental note: learn how to turn down or off notifications.
I did manage to walk home ahead of the next rainstorm thank goodness. But the humidity was so thick that it was one of those days where it feels like you are trying to breathe underwater. I was sweating buckets, my purse and carrybag felt like they were loaded with anvils and my hair had gone absolutely mad by the time I arrived safely at home. I am not a fan of the month of August.
I decided to stay home for the rest of the day where I had at least the illusion of safety. There was quite a list of things I wanted to get done yesterday so I approached each chore, with special care and consideration. Everything I did for the remainder of Thursday I did Very Carefully, Very Tentatively. Chopping vegetables for a salad went in slow-motion so that I wouldn't lop off any fingers because if it was going to happen, it would be on That sort of day. I considered kicking off my shoes to go barefoot and then quickly rethought that idea. If ever there was going to be a day to break a toe or two, it would certainly be today. I did manage to dribble salad dressing on my front of my shirt necessitating a quick change and a pre-soak but comparatively, that's small potatoes.
So that's how it went all. day. long.
Yup, we have all had Those Kind of Days, but fortunately they pass. And then a whole new better day comes along. Yay!
I have this absolutely ridiculous theory that at birth, we are each of us assigned a certain number of bad days. So every time I have one, instead of being annoyed I am encouraged because I have now checked one more bad day off of my list. Makes perfect sense to me.
Yeah, I know, I'm a weirdo.
Hope Your Weekend doesn't have any of Those Days in it.
We went to a comedy show on Saturday night with some friends of ours. Tim and I love comedy. We just adore funny stuff.
Of course Humour is very subjective. Different things tickle different funny bones. And there in lies the potential problem. There are some things that are supposedly funny that don't make me even break into a smile. Like the movie, "Bridesmaids". And other things that have me laughing so hard, my face hurts, my sides hurt, and every time I think about for days afterwards, I laugh again. Like almost anything that Brian Regan says.
So anytime we go to a comedy show, it's kind of a crap shoot. Are we really going to perceive this as funny or not?
We used to go to a local Denver comedy club a few times a year. Sometimes the headliner was somebody we had at least heard of before, sometimes not. There were always the warm-up acts that preceded the big guns though. And sometimes, they were really good. (sometimes not to be fair)
As I see it, the biggest difference between the landed comedians, the ones everybody already knows and loves and the guys who haven't hit the big time yet is just practice. The really good professional guys are smooth. They are confident. They own that stage. In fact, they own the audience. The play us like the proverbial fiddle. Their timing is superb. They can read the room. They can handle a heckler with aplomb. The other guys, no matter how good they eventually will be, aren't quite there yet. Almost. You can feel it coming. You know they have great potential. It will happen. It just hasn't happened yet.
And we saw evidence of that once again at the show we saw this weekend.
The show was called Sandy-Toes Stand Up (I don't really know why...because Venice is a beach town maybe?) and the show was at the Venice Performing Arts Center. It was our first time at that particular venue. It was right here on the island, which was handy, and it was a lovely place, very comfy seats with great views of the stage and a decent sound system with good accoustics, We have zero complaints about where the show was performed.
As it turns out there were 5 comedians, 1 magicians and the MC. The MC wasn't especially amusing but she was pleasant. Good enough for me.
The first comic introduced was Tara Zimmerman. She was definitely not a headliner, but she has great potential. She was funny, she was relate-able and her timing was spot on. We laughed a lot. If I had one criticism, it was that she held the mic too close to her face. I want to hear what you have to say; I do not want to hear you breathe. A few hundred thousand more performances and she will be smooth as silk. Thumbs up to Tara Zimmerman.
The next guy was mostly funny. My guess is that this younger fellow looked out into a sea of mostly older people, and he panicked a little bit and did a quick shuffle in his head trying to accommodate his audience. Points for reading the room. I could tell that he was holding himself back a tiny bit, trying to reach us. But comedy isn't about holding back! It's about being right there, in the now, with a little bravado, hoping that we catch up. JJ Curry was his name. A nice kid.
The act that followed his, I won't bother to give you his name. Not amusing. He had a cheat sheet with him that he kept consulting and he kept waiting for us to laugh. Joke, big pause, joke, big pause, something that passes for a joke, big pause. Nope. Sorry, nope.
The magician came next. Now I like magic. I really enjoy it. And I think I would have enjoyed this act tremendously except for one thing. The ladies he brought up out the audience to "assist" him were spotlight grabbers. One of them in particular was the assistant from heck. She interrupted him, talked over him, made it a point to NOT do as instructed, and anything else she could think of to make sure that she, and not he, was the center of attention. To his credit, he handled it as well as probably anyone could without ordering her off the stage. But it was a shame.
The second to last act was a real disappointment. Again I will not mention her name. I think maybe it was a generational thing. She was young and from a large city. Perhaps her brand of humour would be more of a hit with younger more metropolitan people. But for the group she was given, nope.
The last fellow was the big cheese. He was smooth, he was funny, he was relaxed and commanding both at the same time. His name was Gid Pool and he was a riot. It was the perfect way to end the evening. We laughed until our sides hurt, laughed until our faces hurt and in my case, I laughed until my Mascara was a mess. THAT is what I want out of a comedy show. And we got it.
Few things better than an evening of laughing until you are just a husk of your former self. Only way to improve on it would be to enjoy with it with like-minded friends. And that is exactly what we did :) You know how they say that misery loves company? Well Humour does too :)
One of the superfun things that Tim and I did over the weekend was go to Little Manatee River State Park. We hiked around on the trails and, obviously, took some photos and had a very nice time. I had never heard of either Wilmauma Florida (where this park is) or this park for that matter. But it was absolutely lovely. In addition to some very nice hiking, it had several covered picnic areas, a campground and remarkably clean bathrooms. That last part always makes huge points with me.
This isn't where we started out intending to go, by the way, it's just where we ended up. Tim and I know how to shift gears.
Originally, Tim's plan was to surprise me by taking me to the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. To be honest I had never heard of that place either, but doesn't it sounds awesome? Tampa Electric built a huge power station in Apollo Beach back in 1986 and shortly thereafter loads of reports about record numbers of manatees in the clean warm waters of the discharge station started pouring in. Manatees adore warm water y'see.
So they built a place to view the manatees (without troubling the animals) and a lovely hiking path to get there. It was a wonderful idea! So off we went, excited over the prospects of seeing manatees in great numbers and a nice hike along the way. Who knows what else we would see along the way?
It was a nice drive although at one point the sky starting getting awfully dark. Uhoh. And then thundery. And then lighteningish. And then sprinkley. And then the downpour began! Which kind of made us doubt the wisdom of our destination choice. This is the way it happens here in Florida in the rainy season. Driving along minding our own business and suddenly...Whoosh!
However, we drove out of the storm in short order. Whew! Ok! Manatees here we come! And then, and then, and then....... we arrived only to see that the road was closed due to construction. Dang. So Tim found another way there kind of around a few corners. And that's when we saw the "Closed" sign. Ratz. Turns out it's only open November through April. No big deal. We mentally put that on our calendar for perhaps a November excursion and that is when we headed to the Park instead.
There were questionable clouds and it was still thunder rumbley the entire time we were at the park, but that didn't stop us! We set out on the trails anyway. And I am so glad that we did. For loads of reasons. First, as I said, it was so fun to discover a new park for hiking. Second, Tim and I always have fun on our adventures. Third, I got a lot of great new photos. But the best of the best? The Most Awesome part of it all - for me anyway...
I finally got dragonfly photos! Not just the sillohouetted one I told you about before. No. Real photos! And not just one dragonfly either. Lots of them! And Damsel Flies too! I was so excited! I'll just show you a few of the best ones :)
I don't think I can accurately convey exactly how exciting this is for me. I have been trying to get photos like this for so very long! And here they are. Finally! I don't know why it happened on Sunday. Maybe it was National take a dragonfly photo day. Or Be Nice to Sam day. Or maybe the extreme heat and humidity was making the insects a little lazy and sleepy. But I also do not care one single bit why it happened. I only care THAT it happened.
Funny how things turn out. If Tim hadn't attempted to take me to the manatee place, and if it hadn't been closed, and if we weren't so easy going about our end-game and if Tim didn't stop to think..well where else could we go today? And if it wasn't such questionable weather that there was almost nobody else out there.........
I wouldn't have gotten these shots!
Everything happens exactly the way it's supposed to. That's what I was taught. I'm thinking maybe it's true.
You know, when I was growing up, a tan was a desirable thing. It was an "obvious" indicator of good health first of all and then of course, the fashion industry dug in and decided that a golden tan was the perfect thing to set off summer whites!
Back then, kids played outside all day long with no sunscreen because nobody knew that we needed it yet. Teens slathered up with baby oil and intentionally lay out in the sun so that by the end of summer. Moms and Dads congregated out on the patio with friends and neighbors, drinks in hand over the weekend enjoying a BBQ. People played tennis and golf for exercise. Or they had jobs that necessitated being outdoors all day long. Nobody protected themselves and consequently most everyone was very tan.
Quite a change from the Victorian era where women, in particular, were covered from their necks to their fingertips to their toes. If they were outside, of course, they were also further protected from the elements by way of both a large hat AND a parasol. They wore gloves to protect the delicate skin of their hands and multiple layers of clothing at all times. I do not understand how they did not all perish from heat stroke, but I'm certain that they all had skin like alabaster.
Nowadays, most of us have reached for the middle ground. We understand the dangers of too much sun but we also know the health benefits of exposure to Vitamin D. So Sun Screen and weather appropriate clothing it is!
We have all seen those funny photos of people with amusing tans. The photos above show a few of them. The so-called farmers tan, which is practically iconic at this point. The contrast between the tanned arms, neck and face and the practically glow in the dark white torso is blinding. Then of course the sunglasses tan. Unless you are well slathered with sunscreen over the entire face so as to avoid any tan at all, the sunglasses tan is nearly unavoidable. But my favourite in this series is that poor devil who was obviously wearing a tank top and didn't get the memo about sunscreen. I bet that hurts. Ouch!
I do use sunscreen. Nearly every day I faithfully put it on. I'm not very good about re-applying though. And shame on me. I do know better. Consequently, I do have a bit of a tan. When we moved to Colorado I started wearing sunscreen daily. Colorado is not only a very sunny place (more than 300 sunny days each year!) it's also much closer to the sun. Mile High City. Think about it! So anyway, when we moved to Florida, getting accustomed to wearing sunscreen was not something new to me. The thing that was a surprise was my own funny tans. Yup there are two of them. Here's the first:
I present you with, the sandal tan. I wear sandals almost every day. And while they are not the same pair, their are the same brand and so, other than being different colours, they are very VERY similar. Leaving me with these ridiculous looking stripes on my feet! It's not really noticeable most of the time. Unless, for some reason, I choose to wear a different pair of shoes. Like say, a cute pair of flats! And then it looks like this:
That is hilarious! It almost looks like I"m wearing some weird MaryJane type shoes doesn't it! LOL !!! Excuse me a moment while I pull myself together. HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ok. I'm fine now ;)
I recently discovered an even funnier funny tan of my own. I call them my tiger stripes. Are you ready for this? Are you sure? Ok, here goes. See if you can guess what this is:
That's the back of my elbow when it's bent. How funny is that? See the stripes? The first time I noticed it I was in front a mirror putting sunscreen on the back of my neck because I had my hair up in a ponytail. And I saw those stripes and said to myself, "Yuck! How did your elbows get so dirty?" So I scrubbed and scrubbed and then checked and it was still there! Not dirt!
It took me a few minutes to realize...ohhhhh, when my arm is just down and relaxed, the elbows get all wrinkley and the inside of the wrinkles aren't exposed to the sun to they do not tan! Of course! Is that the funniest thing you've seen so far today?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Oh my stars and garters as my Nana used to say. I have tiger stripes! HAHAHAHAHAHA :)
Elbows aren't pretty anyway. They just are not. Probably one of the least pretty parts of the human body. They serve a great purpose but as far as attractiveness goes...nope. I have never read a poets, "Ode to an elbow". I've never seen a sad story about someone missing another's persons elbow or heard of them first being attracted to the another person's elbow. Face yes, eyes, smile, legs....but never elbow. And there is a reason for that.
Elbow and Uggo rhyme. Coincidence? I think not.
So anyway there it is. Sam Funny Tans.
I suspect that the reason I didn't have funny tans in Colorado was because I was at work all day during the week and then on the weekend we were always playing catch up with chores and errands so my only time in the sun was late in the day. No danger there. And now, I am outside in the sunshine a great portion of every day, walking here and there, getting stuff done and also, obviously, acquiring a funny tan.
Wear your sunscreen people or you too, could develop the dreaded Funny Tan!
Today's blog is going to sound a little like a commercial. I apologize for that. But I know that Tim is not the only person on the planet with this issue so try to think of it more as a Public Service Announcement. :)
One of the oldest comedic "bits" I remember hearing was about a couple who were mismatched temperature-wise. She was always too cold and he was always too hot. They referred to it as "The battle of the thermostat".
Tim and I live that joke every day of our lives together. Well except for the part about fighting over the thermostat. We don't do that. And honestly, when it's happening to you, it's not all that funny.
I am almost always too chilly. Uncomfortably cool I call it. Even on the hottest days of summer, in air conditioning, I am too cold. I always bring a sweater with me when shopping or eating at a restaurant. I am more grateful than words can express that we have separate temp zones in the car so that I can do as I like on my side. And frequently at the end of the day when we are watching TV, even in the dog days of summer, I am snuggled under a sofa blanket. Crazy right?
On Tim's side of things, regardless of the temperature, in spite of the time of year and no matter the weather, Tim is always too warm. He is absolutely lovely to stand next to when it's cold out because he radiates heat. He wears shorts year 'round. He can sweat while showering! For the most part he has found ways to adapt to having a higher than normal internal temperature. He manages fine all year long, but in summer it can be a bit of a struggle. He never complains, so I suppose he has just gotten accustomed to always being too warm the same way I am used to always being too cool. But there are times when it is just too much. And that is generally when he is trying to sleep.
We keep the house fairly cool between the ceiling fans in every room, the air conditioning and keeping the blinds down on the sunniest windows. The tile floors help too. But all that fabric on a bed, the mattress, the sheets, the pillows, still made him miserable even with an extra box fan blowing right on him at night. It had gotten to the point where he wasn't really sleeping very much and I felt so awful for him. Poor baby! So we began looking for other options.
If this sounds like anything at all familiar to you take heart because I think we may have found a solution!
It's called an Ooler and it's made by a company called chili. And, so far, it is amazing. Tim did his research first of course. We talked about it at length. I urged him to give it a try. So finally he ordered it. There was a bit of a wait between order and arrival but I think it was worth the wait.
The Ooler itself is thin. It is sort of like a two sheets sewn together and quilted with very thin tubing inside. Although they come in every bed size a person might like, Tim ordered just a twin size and we put it only on his side of the bed because I'm perfectly comfortable already on my side.
See? There it is right down one side of the bed. It sits under the fitted sheet and therefore it is completely invisible (as if that mattered). Cooled water circulates through that thin tubing throughout the night keeping Tim's side of the bed comfortable for him (I would be freezing). There is obviously a unit that powers and cools the circulating water but that is small and fits right under Tim's side of the bed.
It does make a humming noise while it's working. Yes it does. But since Tim always has that box fan blowing all night anyway, it absolutely drowns out any additional noise made by this Ooler unit. It's just a "white noise" kind of sound. Easily ignored.
I was more concerned about the tubing. Would that be uncomfortable to sleep on? Reports from Tim indicate that he doesn't even notice it. Hurrah!
Tim has it programmed to turn on at 9 pm so that the bed is already cooled off when we finally turn in. And then he also has it programmed to turn off in the morning about a half hour before he has to get up. The gradually warming of the bed kind of gently wakes him up before the alarm goes off. Bonus!
But of course, the most important part was, Does It Work?
The answer is, Yes It Does! Instead of waking up a thousand times in the night to toss and turn and flip his pillow, feeling as if he was drowning in a pool of his own sweat in the night, he is comfortable and cool and, most importantly, sleeping ever so much better!
And if appearances matter... well, they don't, but if they do, here are before and after photos. The photo on the left is our bed before the Ooler. The photo on the right is after the Ooler. No difference visually at all.
One of the reasons we were comfortable investing in this product is that we could return it if it didn't work. That definitely made us feel better about making the jump. But mostly I think it was a matter of we have to do something! This was something we could do.
Honestly there are few things more important than a good nights sleep.
My final word on this? The Ooler is cooler. Literally!
Was it a week ago that I posted about the bobcat we have seen in our backyard? I know it was recently. It made me think about all of the wildlife around us here.
We have had bobkitty sightings a few more times since then. We are now aware of the time of day he (or she) is most likely to be seen and so we open the blinds on the back of the house around then. Sometimes we get a quick peekie, sometimes we don't. We keep trying to get a good photo but this is one sneaky cat! Here's one attempt. Hint: Look for the glowing eyes in the picture:
That's as good as we've managed to get so far and Tim got that shot (thank goodness)
But it has been an eye opener for us. It's amazing the things we do not see that are all around us! I mean we have lived here for more than three years now and we have only just now learned about the bobcat! What else didn't we know? What other animals are out here?
We knew about the lizards of course. Those guys are everywhere! They come in all sorts of earthy colours, browns and greys and greens and they aren't a problem at all. They seem to be terrified of us and as soon as we step into a lizard heavy area, they scatter in all directions.
The bunnies are slowly becoming more accustomed to sharing space with us. They eye me carefully when we occupy the same general area, but no longer race away at top speed at the first glimpse of me. Which pleases me to no end. I keep trying to explain that I am not going to hurt them but, I suppose, words are cheap. I need to continue to show them through my actions that I am no threat.
The birds are everywhere! The pelican convention in the photo above was at the jetty which is one of our favourite places. We love watching them. They are so graceful when they fly but whenever they hit the water it's more like a bellyflop. Makes me grin each time. There are so many different kinds of birds that I wouldn't even know where to begin making a list. I will just say.....We have a lot of birds of all sorts, a lotta lot. And since they aren't pet birds, they count as wildlife.
Ok the funniest photo might be the one of the manatee. We saw it in the channel down by the jetty just last weekend. In the photo it just looks like something dark grey sticking up out of the water. They are massively huge but the only part that is usually seen is their little snout poking up which is exactly what that photo is. We actually could see the shadow of it's huge body in the water, it just didn't come through in the picture. We have, of course, seen them at area aquariums too but it's so much more exciting to find one in the wild. They are kind of adorable for a creature so enormous. I'm told they are very gentle and adore romaine lettuce. How could we not love an animal like that?
And then there is the tortoise. I'm not sure why it's called so, but this is a Gopher Tortoise and they are a protected animal. Tim and I were at the beach at the town just north of us so I could take photos and as we were walking around, I spied this guy out of the corner of my eye deep in the bushes. I got closer, not to disturb or bother him in any way, just to get a decent picture. I was very quiet and moved slowly, grabbed a couple of quick shots and crept just as silently away. I don't think he ever knew I was there because he did not stop eating. Sort of like me when I'm eating pizza. Or cookies. Or M&M's. Or Ice Cream. :)
Squirrels, well technically they are wildlife, but probably the most tame of all of them. And, like the lizards and the bunnies, they are everywhere. They are goofy and silly and funny and I really enjoy watching them, but since they are wildlife, I have never attempted to get close to one. They have, however, gotten uncomfortably close to me, but that's a different story entirely.
The deer? Well I adore the deer. They are hard to find because they really do not want to be found. But every once in awhile, when we are out hiking around the trails, we are quiet enough that they do not know we are there, and one of them will unwittingly step into our view. We always stop immediately so that they no we are no danger to them and wait for them to keep walking back into the cover of trees where they feel more protected. (after I've snuck of picture or two naturally)
And then of course there is this guy:
I am wary of this fellow. I assume that any body of water (that is not the ocean) holds the possibility of one of these guys being around. I am both fascinated and frightened by them. But I also think that is darned smart of me. All of the rest of the creatures I've listed here, really hold no danger to people. Even the bobcat is unlikely to hurt me. But the alligator? I have no trust in any promise an alligator makes. Still I respect his existence in my world and we share an uneasy truce.
Of course there are also the dolphins that I love and STILL have not managed to get a decent photograph of, dang it! I will keep trying.
I know there are other creatures here too. Probably a lot of them. I look forward to finding and photographing them some day too.
It's good to have a goal.
Way back in the 1800's somewhere, poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
"All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses"
Nicely said, Mr. Longfellow. And by the way, I love your name.
Now this is going to sound a little grumpy. So I apologize in advance if I do not sound like my usual happy smiley self. I'm wearing my Mom-Hat right now.
That Longfellow poem came to mind recently when I read an article about a couple who bought a haunted house. Now let me make that absolutely clear. They specifically bought a house that was already known to be haunted. So there was no surprise here. They KNEW that the house had the reputation of being haunted before they purchased it. And in fact, they said that the house's reputation was definitely an incentive to the purchase.
Apparently this couple had an long time interest in the paranormal already so yeah, it makes sense. This house sounds as if it were custom made for them. A match made, if not in heaven, then perhaps made somewhere in the supernatural realm right?
(Even if you pooh-pooh the idea, there are a lot of people who believe in haunted houses. In a quick check on Amazon I found over one thousand entries for books about haunted houses listed in Non-Fiction alone! )
Anyway, they lived in the house for less than ten years before they felt that they were forced to move out. Somewhere along the line while they still lived in the house, they even enlisted the help of paranormal investigators to try to evict their non-paying non-corporeal guests to no avail. Turns out that the house really was haunted. Or so the family reports. And - and here was the part that kind of made me say, "what?" - They were not at all happy about the fact that their house was haunted.
I guess imaging living in a haunted house is nothing like actually living in a haunted house. Still, this so-called haunting was no surprise to them. So why were they surprised?
It's like ordering a cup of hot coffee and then complaining because the coffee is hot. Or ordering a cheeseburger and then getting upset because the burger has cheese on it. And I'm not even joking a little bit about that. It really does happen. Ask anyone who works in a restaurant.
Sometimes people just make me shake my head in disbelief. I want to ask them, "Are you listening to yourself? Do you hear what you are saying?". I have to assume that they are not because nothing else makes any sense.
It's why warning labels are put on every single product that we buy. "Keep arms and legs clear of the woodchipper while it's working." Really? Someone has to tell you that? It doesn't already just make sense? Or, on my sunscreen bottle, "External use only". Why is it necessary to instruct us about that? Would you drink sunscreen to prevent a burn?
My laundry detergent, in all caps, warns me to keep the soap out of my eyes. Because naturally if they had not told me to, I would be applying it like eyedrops so that I could blink my clothes clean. I read on the my Spray & Wash bottle to not apply it to my clothes while I am wearing them. Why would I do that? I have to be told to not do that?
The mascara I use has a reminder to not use it anymore if it develops an unpleasant odor. That is kind of a given. If I uncap it and a stink floats out, it's going right into the waste basket and then probably directly into the outside garbage can. You don't have to tell me! The packaging on my foundation make-up says very sternly that if I develop a skin irritation after using it, I should (gasp!) discontinue use! Shocking idea!
Every time I hear those medication commercials on television where they say, "if you are allergic to (name of medication) do not take (name of medication)". What? If I'm allergic to something I am definitely not exposing myself to it. I don't need to be told not to. That should just be a given.
I know, I know, the warning labels are on there to protect the companies from litigation. Well that is just sad too. Are we really so stupid? Or are we just not bothering to use our brains? It's common sense people. If something is hot, don't touch it. If it's sharp, be careful with it. If it's poison, do not ingest it. If something is not meant to be eaten, do not eat it.
If we keep demanding that other people do our thinking for us, we will forget completely how to think for ourselves (if we haven't already)!!
And if you buy a haunted house because it is a house that is haunted, do not later complain to me that you have a haunted house. That is just ridiculous. And by the way 1 + 1 = 2 or is that a shocker to you also? Sorry that was a little snarky. But I stand behind my original point.
Oh and by the way, I found a list of 5 things that indicate that you have a haunted house, in case you were wondering about your own:
If it turns out that you do live in a haunted house and you already knew that it was when you bought it, don't come whining to me about it. No sympathy here. Grump grump grump.
This, my friends, is a molasses cookie. And if you have never had one, you are really missing out.
It is a well established fact that I adore cookies. Nearly all cookies. I was going to say, "all cookies" and then I remembered oatmeal raisin. Not a fan of raisins. And those funny licorice ones. They are so pretty but I cannot even stand the way that they smell. But other than those two (I think) I love cookies in general. It's a serious problem.
I used to say that I did not have a favourite anything. Favourite people yes, favourite stuff no. For instance sometimes people ask you what is your favourite colour? I do not have one. Honest! It's true that I tend to wear a lot of blue, but blue it not my favourite colour. It's just a colour that looks good on me. I genuinely love all colours equally.
Favourite song? Not really. There are a ton of songs that I really love (and quite a few that I do not). And some days just feel more like one song than another (which is why that song will play on an endless loop in my head that day!) But there is no One Favourite Song. And in fact, Tim and I do not even have an "our song'. Is that weird?
I have several cities that I call my favourites, but there isn't one that I hold above all of the others as the best of the best. No favourite flower. No favourite movie. Not even one single top of the top of the list favourite book. And so forth and so on.
But I do have a favourite cookie. The humble molasses cookie.
I know, I know. It's kind of an odd favourite cookie to have. It's a rather old fashioned cookie. In fact, I am quite certain that there is an enormous swath of the population who have never eaten one. What a shame.
If it's a proper molasses cookie, it's thick and chewy. It's sweet, but not in the way that most things are sweet. There is an almost tangy flavour underneath the sweet. And it's substantial. If I eat a molasses cookie (or two) I feel as if I've eaten an entire meal. And furthermore because of the molasses, there is iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium in this cookie. And lest you think that I am exaggerating, as it so happens, blackstrap molasses is touted as a superfood! So you see, for a change, I'm not making this up.
I grew up eating molasses cookies (among others of course). My Nana, was an astounding baker. She baked something every single day as long as she was able. I can remember my sister and I stuffing our pockets with molasses cookies and then heading down to the shore for a day of seaside adventures. Of course that was when children were allowed to just run amuck. She didn't worry about us. But then how could anyone possibly go wrong with a long stretch of Maine beach right outside your backdoor and a pocket full of molasses cookies?
So I suppose this particular cookie is part of my happy childhood memories. Memories are like that. Foods are often inextricably connected to moments in our past. Perhaps that's why foods become favourite foods, the childhood associations. Hmmmmm
My kids grew up eating molasses cookies too. Along with a lot of other sorts of course. Like my Nana, I became a baker. And when the kids were small I baked every nearly every day. I made all of our breads back then and of course 3 active growing boys needed snacks and desserts each day too. Cookies, being portable, were great snacks and excellent lunch bag foods too. The boys and their friends didn't turn down any type of cookie I presented them with: chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar and they certainly never snubbed a molasses cookie.
Gradually the molasses cookies became one that I only made at Christmas time because it is the recipe I use as a "gingerbread" cookie. I'm not quite sure how that happened. How did this awesome cookie become demoted to just a once a year treat? Honestly, I do not recall the why of that. But it's kind of sad.
Our favourite local farm market, Detweillers has an in house Amish bakery there that is so dang good. Well, in the spirit of absolute honesty, most of it is good. I actually do not like their cakes. But the pies, the breads and the cookies are fheavnly. Oh yeah, we've tried them all. Of course we have! Don't be silly. All of their cookies are amazing and I was so tickled to find that they make molasses cookies.
The first time we spotted the molasses cookies was during our maiden farm market voyage. I was so excited. Look! Molasses cookies! The question was, are they any good? Some so-called molasses cookies are as hard as rocks. Some are thin and tasteless. Others are just ruined by that awful metallic processed nasty aftertaste yucky something ....blech. But not these. These are easily as good as Nana's were. Cookie Nirvana.
Somehow a box of those molasses cookies came home with us this past weekend. There were 9 cookies in the box when we bought them on Saturday. Today there are zero cookies in the box. From Saturday to Wednesday. That's it. That's as long as those cookies lasted. I try to not buy them very often for that very reason.
I ate at least one as a breakfast meal. Several became an after salad lunch treat. One was gobbled down while I wrote out my lesson plan for this week (it was" thinking food" you see) and the last one was savoured to the last crumb last night.
If you have never tried a molasses cookie, you are missing out. If you haven't had one in a long time, you are over due. If you don't like them, well, that's fine. You are allowed to not like them. But I will never understand it.
I thought I ought to do an update on the hair experiment. Perhaps you recall that 4 months ago, back in May, I wrote about how I had made the decision to stop colouring my hair. And that I was very curious to find out what my hair actually looks like. What is it's real colour? It had been so long since I had seen my real hair colour that I no longer remembered. And then I was even more curious to find out how grey I really am. So here we go.
As you all well know by now, this is me.
I took this photo on July 4th, so roughly a month ago. We can call that a fairly recent picture, right? I think it qualifies. Please note the hair. This seems to be my real actual hair colour. Kind of a reddish brownish.......I have no idea what to actually call this colour, but I don't hate it. It's fine.
The interesting part is that after all of that angst and firm decision making and committment to the hair experiment, my hair is a perfectly nice colour. Nothing in the world wrong with it. But do you note the absence of grey? I was frankly a little disappointed. Once I choose a direction, my bags are packed and I'm ready to go. But my hair apparently, isn't as ready as I am.
I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I want grey hair? It's honestly not that I desire it, but that I know it is inevitable. And if something is going to happen anyway, I try to wrap my brain around and around it until I completely accept it. Once I embraced the idea, once I decided to stop colouring it, I think that I assumed (wrongly as it turns out) that under all that fake colour was a real grey/silver/white colour that I kind of got excited about. I was ready for the next step. But it seems that is not the case because I saw no grey. Dang.
Or so it seemed.
Just recently I realized that the grey is there. In the morning when I'm getting ready, I'm in a rush. I don't pay attention to anything except moving forward. Getting stuff done. And then I also don't see my hair really in photographs because as it turns out, I tend to tilt my head up when I take selfies. If I look straight into the mirror, the grey is definitely noticeable. So I took a photo at the end of the day over the weekend. There seems to be a more obvious greying at the end of the day when my hair isn't as fluffy. Here I am, end of day Sunday:
Do you see the sparkly bits? Here and there in all that reddish/brownish hair are definite sparkly pieces. It encouraged me to look closer. I started playing around with my hair. I for sure saw more sparkle at the temples. While playing with my hair, putting it up and and pulling it back, I realized that in the layers underneath, was definitely more grey stuff. I experimentally parted my hair on the side and yup there it is. It was just hiding:
Apologies for the blurry photo, but you get the idea. I wonder why it's more grey on the layers that aren't exposed to the sun? I find that curious. That seems so contrary to me. I should think that the hair that is constantly beaten on by the sun would be more damaged and therefore more inclined to give up and turn grey than the more protected hair underneath. Hmm. Interesting.
It just occurred to me that this is like a shingled house. In New England, there are a lot of very traditional wood shingled homes. They start out a lovely golden brown colour, but over time, that beautiful warm gold weathers to a silvery grey colour. That's kind of what I assumed was happening with my hair, I guess. It is "weathering" to a silver/grey/white colour. I kind of like that ;)
So that was interesting to me. And then I thought I would take a photo of the top of my head. I never ever see that part of me but since nearly everyone on the planet is taller than me, they all do see it. So I was curious to see what others see. It was revealing for sure:
There it is! I knew it was around here somewhere. Now I can see it.
I have to say that I'm relieved that it's not just a skunk stripe down my center part. That would have be hard to live with. My grey appears to be more threaded throughout just kind of here and there as if it was slowly and sneakily taking over. I'm good with this.
I'm still not positive what colour it's going to be.......Grey? Silver? White? But I predict that it won't be much longer before there is no doubt of the colour.
When I was a young student, my hair was very very long. And I remember a boy who sat behind me in one of my classes told me that my hair was like a "waterfall of spun honey gold". Oh my! How poetic!
Well my hair is not a "waterfall" anymore. Nor is it "spun honey gold" and it hasn't been in a very long time. But what it is, is oddly absolutely fine with me. And I am eager to continue to watch the transformation (I'm a transformer! Wow!)
My hairdress is very supportive but I know she thinks I'm crazy. I still go see her to get it cut every 7 weeks just like always and she is sweet and charming and lovely as she always is. But at the end of every appointment she reminds me that if I change my mind, they have plenty of colour there. Makes me smile every time.
My plan is, that once my hair has completely morphed into it's next incarnation, once it's all silver or white, that then I will do one stripe of a really fun colour. Blue maybe or pink or purple or...well who knows. Then we will both be happy.
Stay tuned for further updates. Bulletins as they happen!
Well now, ain't that purty.
I have a brand new fancy phone! It was a surprise from Tim.
I actually knew that my previous phone was on it's last circuits, but I was reluctant to mention it since we just dropped a lot of cash on the bathroom reno and let's face it, technology isn't cheap! But because Tim is an observant man and because he loves me, he bought this one for me anyway. And I'm not stupid enough to say, "I don't need it, send it back". I was brought up to believe that when someone gives you a gift, you smile and say, " Thank you very much!"
We bought my previous phone when we still lived in Colorado. And we are now in our fourth year of living in Florida so I suppose it was time. Some of the buttons on the old phone no longer worked and it ran out of battery power alarmingly quickly and I found that I had to completely shut it down and re-start it all too often. So I suppose it was time.
But still, that phone and I were comfortable with one another. It fit perfectly in my back pocket. I didn't even have to look at it to turn it on or access the camera. It was second nature. I knew how to do everything I needed or wanted to do with it. Which is not to say that I ever fully utilized it functions. I did not. That phone was capable of so much more than I ever asked it to do. Occasionally Tim would remind me of some capability or another that I could use it for and I would smile and nod, smile and nod and then not do it. It is, after all, ultimately, my choice.
For instance, I never ever used the day-calender options. Nope. I have a perfectly good calendar on my desk, (which I got for free by the way). It has nice big squares for each day that I can write in. With an actual pen. (a very sparkly one that I got at the dollar store!). my desk calendar has appointments, due dates for library books, my museum shifts, Pilates classes and the days and times that I teach ESL classes on it. It also has birthdays, anniversaries and any other reminders that I might need.
"But Sam," you might be thinking," the calendar is on your desk at home. What if you need to know what's on it when you are not home? If those things were on your phone you would always have that information with you!" And my answer to you is that because I wrote it down, I already remember it. There is something about the act of writing information down that lodges it in my memory banks. And that isn't specific to me, by the way. More and more studies have shown that our memories are keyed by the physical act of writing, creating the shapes that form letters and numbers, with a pen or pencil in our hands. That same memory trigger (if you will allow a positive use of the word) is not keyed through the act of typing! Interesting eh?
That was just by way of example of one of the MANY things I do not use my phone for.
I do text with it, not that I text a lot but now and again it comes up. I do occasionally, while waiting at, let's say a doctor's appointment, check emails with my cellphone. Or if I'm bored standing in line at the grocery store I might take a quick peekie at facebook or instagram.
Oddly I do not use my cellphone for phone calls. I do not hear very well on a cellphone. Part of it, I'm quite certain, is environment. If somebody calls my cell, it's probably because I'm not at home. Which means I'm out in the world. And the world is a noisy place. I prefer to have a conversation when I'm home where it's quiet AND the call is private. Nobody else needs to be privy to what I am saying. BUT In an emergency situation? Yes I am very pleased to have that option available to me via cellphone.
So what do I use a cellphone for? Primarily for the camera. And this new phone has a GREAT camera. The old one was good. I was very pleased with it. But I am absolutely delighted with the camera on the new cellphone. And that was part of how Tim chose this phone for me. The reviews for the camera option were excellent. The man knows me very well :)
Here are a couple of the pictures I took this weekend while getting the "hang" of using this new cellphone camera:
Pretty good camera eh?
It'll take me a little while to really get the hang of using it. While I use computers and laptops and tablets and cellphones on a regular basis, none of it comes naturally to me. I keep hearing about how "intuitive" today's technology is and how very "user friendly" it is. I'm not sure who they are talking about but I know it's not me. None of it is "intuitive" to me nor particularly "user-friendly." But I am not stupid, I can be taught.
While clearly, I am not one of those people who always needs the latest and greatest version of any new thing, be it, television, car or cellphone, I do love my new camera, er, ah, I mean Cellphone!
Thank you honey! (XXOO)
It's August! Brand new month. Brand new Surprises!
To tell this story properly, I have to back up a few weeks.
A short time ago, Tim and I had just pulled into the driveway and just as we were getting out of the car, this beat up old pickup comes zooming up and then pulls across the end of the driveway coming to a gravel rattling halt. The driver waves Tim over and starts talking to him with lots of arm waving and, I can tell from the volume of his voice, great excitement. After a few minutes, the guy leaves and Tim walks back toward me with a grin on his face, kind of shaking his head.
It seems as if this fellow told Tim that he was tracking a big wildcat and he saw it slip down our side yard toward the back. He was very excited about it. Tim finished up by saying that the guy had obviously been drinking a bit so we assumed that what he actually saw was a dog or a coyote or maybe a fat raccoon. Everyone who lives here has seen a coyote a time or two. But just to be sure, we went into the backyard and....nothin'.
So we shrugged, laughed and went on our merry way.
Now then, I have to mention here that while our family room, which runs the entire width of the back of the house, has loads of windows, this time of year, the blinds are down most of the time to help keep the room cooler. There are blinds, very nice ones, on every window EXCEPT the door. The back door, which has those big glass panels, has no blinds. Ok. Stage is set.
Just after dinner a few nights ago, I was in the family room doing...something...and out of the corner of my eye I saw, through the backdoor windows, motion in the yard. I assumed it was a bunny (they like our yard) but on the off chance that it was a neighborhood dog who has run away from home, I pulled up a blind to check. It. Was. Not. A. Dog.
I think I said, "Holy Crap!" with enough emphasis in my voice that Tim came arunnin'. He echoed my holy crap and raised me one Damn!
This big old cat was casually walking across our backyard from right to left and while we watched, it disappeared into the huge line of tall, dense trees along the left side. Behind the trees is a big old six foot fence but no fence ever stopped a cat.
Tim and I looked at each other. What the heck was that?
I was pretty sure I knew what it was but wanted to be certain so I googled it and yes indeedy. Florida Bobcat! Wow!
Naturally we had to read more about it. I mean if it is spending time in our yard we ought to be a little more familiar don't' you think?
According to what we read, the bobkitty weighs around 30 pounds, is 50 inches long and 21 inches high. The female's territory is about 6 square miles and the male's is 30 !! I have no idea if this cat was male or female. I did not inquire and it did not offer the information. But just from the size that we saw, we are guessing male.
It is not an endangered species, thank goodness, and poses no danger to humans (the vast majority of the time. There could always be some rebel bobcat man-killer I suppose) but small pets are fair game to a wild animal. We have no pets so it's a non-issue for us. But I did make sure our neighbors were aware since most of them do have dogs. Bobcats do have an appetite for rodents including rabbits and squirrels, lizards and birds and since there are plenty of all of that here, I suppose it's good eatin'. Like a wildcat buffet.
It seems that they are solitary creatures so there probably is just the one.
It was thrilling to see a wild animal right there. I mean right there on the other side of the window! The cat didn't seem to either notice us or perhaps it just didn't care that we were watching. But now that I know this cat is around, I will keep my eyes peeled for another sighting.
Our backyard is like a wild preserve anyway. As of this moment, we have no patio, no pool, no reason to be in the backyard. To be honest, I only go out there to pick up fallen palm fronds, to prune trees and shrubs now and again, or sweep the window screens and wash windows.. Yes now and again, I find it necessary to sweep the window screens. The lawn guys, once every week, come here and just about fly through with their lawnmowers. That is it. Currently that is the extent of backyard activity at our house. Once we build a patio and pool, it will be a different story.
I will perhaps be a wee bit more cautious when I'm back there cleaning or pruning now but I honestly don't think I have anything to worry about. I think that bobkitty is smart enough that if he sees that I am there, he will just stay in his little hiding place until I leave before he comes out. He doesn't want to come furry face to naked face with me anymore than I really want to with him.
You see, while I am certainly not a genius, I am smart enough to know that wild animals are not pets, they are not animatronic Disney creations, and although it was a beautiful creature with fur that looked very soft, I should never ever be close enough to it to be tempted to touch it. See, I am smarter than some folks visiting National Parks lately (have you read about that in the news?)
So let's see, by my count now, since we've lived here we've seen in our yard raccoons, an opossum in the garbage can (ick), deer, countless birds both large and small, endless bunnies, several coyotes, lizards of all sorts and now a Bobcat!
I will be content with occasional viewings through our back windows and just the knowledge that the wilds of Florida are right here in our yard. It's almost like living in a Zoo! Florida is a crazy place but kind of awesome too.
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.