Hope you guys had a great weekend! We surely did.
Remember that long list of events that we could choose from? I posted it on Friday in case you missed it you can always go back (readthybook.com). We Chose The Chocolate Fest! Of Course We Did! Silly. How could there possibly be any doubt.
Tim and I have been to other a couple of other food festivals in other states, but never here and never before a chocolate festival. So we walked in with no preconceived ideas. Just the plan to enjoy ourselves. Always a good place to start.
The first surprise was that it was held inside. Makes sense here in Florida. While it's no longer the extreme heat and humidity that held us captive during the summer, it's still warm out. Shorts and sandals warm. Not a good idea with chocolate. So inside with air conditioning makes Perfect Sense!
It was held at a mall. Why not. Plenty of parking, air conditioning and lots of room in the middle part. We found a good spot for the car and entered hoping we could find where we were supposed to go.
As it turns out, it was not an issue. Follow the massive crowd. Holy Cats! It turns out that there were signs but we couldn't see them because of the masses of humanity that were completely blocking them! Its ok. We figured it out.
Second surprise was that everyone was very well behaved even though there were lines and lines and then lines of lines. We got in the longest (and therefore most likely line) and I held our place while Tim scoped the situation out. Turns out there was a second line elsewhere to buy the tickets. Tim bought the tickets and then joined me once again. And we waited. And we waited some more.
While we waited, a highschool marching band performed so at least we had music to wait by.
At long last, the line began Very Slowly moving forward. When we, eventually reached the front, Tim gave his name to the nice lady at the desk and she smiled and handed us each a large take-away box with a Dove brand chocolate at the bottom of it. I smiled back but had no idea what to do next. She said something that I couldn't hear as the band broke into another rousing song and pointed behind herself.
My eyes followed her pointing finger and I saw a line of other people also holding take-away boxes and so we wandered over and queued up behind them. That when we realized how it worked.
Situated in a very large loop were tables loaded with various different sorts of goodies behind which were the people who gave them to us. It felt a little familiar but I couldn't quite place it at first. Then I realized, it's like Halloween! All we had to do was walk in a giant circle holding our take-away boxes in front of us and people filled them up with yummy stuff! Awesome!
Confectioners, bakeries, restaurants and caterers offered their chocolately goodnesses to us and all we had to do was listen to their little spiel and accept what they gave us. Not bad. Sometimes there were things we had to choose from. Oh So Hard To Choose! Other times there was no choice. Doens't matter. It was still chocolate. And that is always a good thing!
Actually some booths weren't even chocolate. Two different places had coffee and one had iced tea. Which, after all that chocoate was a nice thought.
Shockingly, we didn't eat ANY of it while going through the line. None. That takes restraint! But we did breathe it in. Yum. Who knew that there were that many different ways to present the goodness that is chocolate. There is dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate to begin with. Cakes, puddings, pies, cookies, donuts, candies and ice cream. Yes I said ice cream. Actually that was the one booth that we, sadly, didn't take advantage of. How could we eat ice cream while holding those boxes of goodies? Just couldn't figure out that one. So we opted out.
By the time we finished the loop we each had a box filled so full of chocolate stuff we could barely close them, loads of coupons for future chocolate stuff, reuseable market bags, soaps (??) and pens. Wow!
Tim, who is a real smarty britches, thought to bring an insulated bag loaded with ice packs for the trip home so nothing melted! YAY!
We have very slowly begun the tasting. I had a couple of the cookies, one adorable teensy little brownie and the best one which was a cheesecake/brownie yummy combo. So the fridge is still loaded with yummy things to tempt us.
In fact, I think I really like these tiny bites of things. I still get to satisfy my sweet tooth which is a HUGE fan of chocolate, but with one little teensy thing. I think each is intended to be one bite but if I'm really disciplined (and I can be at times) I can make each one be multiple itty bitty bites. And then I smile coz I'm so very happy!
The proceeds of the event, by the way, all went to helping people who cannot afford treatment get the necessary care they need for Cancer. Sooooo in short, a very good cause, some really awesome chocolate and a fun time!
What did you do this weekend?
Hurrah Hurrah! It's almost the weekend. Even though I'm not working anymore, I still so look forward to every weekend. Maybe it's just habit. Or maybe it's because that's when Tim and I get out and about and have fun. Or maybe I'm on to something. Possibly there really are scads of fun things happening during the weekend.
I've said it so many times now and to so many different people, "There is always so much going on around here, if you cannot find something to do, you aren't trying" . And it's true. It's not even 'The Season' yet when the droves of snowbirds return to swell the population of our area, and hordes of vacationers swoop in for a long weekend or more, and there is already a heavy duty calendar of activities. This list will only grow longer as the hot summer turns into cooler autumn and winter days.
This coming weekend for example has an impressive list of special events that are happening within a 30 minute drive of our house. You ready? Here goes:
1. Fabulous Independent Film Festival
2. Summer Movie Night at the CoolToday Park
3. Giants, Dragons and Unicorns at Bishop Museum
4. Solozano's Gulf Gate Grand Opening (featuring Comedian Fred Rubino)
5. The Friday Night Concert Series (blues night)
6. Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge
7. Venice Beach Party
8. Kiltober at Grove (kind of an Octoberfest with a Scottish lean)
9. South Gate Fest (combination flea market and festival)
10. Exotic Car Festival
11. Battle of the Bridges (a rowing regatta)
12. Chocolate Fest
13. Sunrise Yard Sale (a gigantic multi-vendor yard sale)
14. Sarasota Laps for Life (5K)
15. National Public Lands Day Event (volunteers cleaning up public parks)
16. $7 day for Florida Residents at Mote Aquarium!!!
17. Mystical Bazaar
18. Ski-A-Rees (A water ski team show)
19. National Night Out (Hosted by the Police Department, this is a family event that includes monster trucks, K-9 demonstrations, bomb squad robots etc.)
Okay that is 19 different things going on just here in Sarasota County. Some of these events are happening right here in Venice (# 5, 7 ,11 and 15) so we could literally walk there and back and the rest are just not that far away. How on earth does anyone decide what they what to do? It seems to me as if there is something for everyone somewhere on that list. And even better, a lot of these events are absolutely free! (obviously not all of them)
I don't know yet what we will choose, though obviously I'm leaning toward the Chocolate Festival. Come on! That's not even a question. But Tim and I will mull it over and come to some sort of decision that will make us both happyhappy.
What would you choose?
Whatever you end up doing this weekend make it a point to enjoy it! Meet you back here on Monday :)
You know something I really miss? Regional accents. What a funny thing to notice eh?
There are a couple of reasons that I even notice this. First is that almost everyone who lives in this area, moved here from somewhere else. In fact, when people meet here, it's one of the first questions that they are asked, "Where are you from?" (the other questions is, "are you full time or part time" Here in Venice, it's a fair question) To date, I have met remarkably few people who are actually from Florida and only one who has always lived here in the Venice area.
The other reason I am aware of this phenomenon is from working at the museum. We get visitors every day from all over the world which is kind of exciting. As I engage our guests in conversation of course, we learn about each other. And since I find people endlessly fascinating that really works for me.
Naturally people from other countries bring with them their language, their charming accents and colloquialisms and I learn so much which is very fun. But when my guests are from this country, most of the time I could not begin to guess where they are visiting from by the way they speak. I am almost always surprised when they tell me that they are visiting from, Georgia or California or Texas or Vermont or Missouri. And I remember a time when there was a difference, in speech patterns, word choices, sentence structure and yes, accents. And I loved it.
This observation struck me at the museum the other day, when we had a lovely guest from North Carolina. She did have a loveliest accent. It was soft and gentle and absolutely delightful. I could have listened to her talk to me all day long. And I realized that it was the uniqueness of hearing an accent at all that was so especially endearing. And it made me stop and think how long it had been since I had heard a regional accent despite the fact that I talk to people from all over the US nearly every day.
When I was a kid, and we traveled all over the country back and forth , up and down, over and over, I heard all sorts of accents and curious expressions and ate regionally specific foods and well, it's just not like that anymore. Chicago looks a lot like Denver which looks a lot like Tampa which looks a lot like....well you get the idea. You can order Oysters at any nice restaurant. You can buy cellophane wrapped Whoppie Pies at the gas station grocery store in every corner of this huge country. There is some version of a Submarine sandwich from coast to coast (although it may go by a different name). McDonalds has a Stroop Waffel McFlurry for heaven's sakes. Things have certainly changed.
In just two generations we've gone from the uniqueness of eating Lobstah in Maine and the impossibility of a one syllable word in Texas (Sam became Say-yum) to nearly everyone speaking like television newscasters. That is to say, with no accents at all.
I know that there are still small pockets of regionalisms but by and large, nope. They are gone. I do remember when I first moved to Texas being teased for my lack of accent. i.e. They thought I talked funny. Which was fair, I thought they talked funny. And I remember having to tweak my hearing a bit whenever we went back to Maine so that I could understand what the folks around me were saying, "Ayuh". It always came back to me quickly but there were a few moments of shifting gears in my brain required. I vividly remember trying to create the same broad vowel sounds as my Michigan cousins because I loved how it sounded. And I did the same thing when I heard the flatter sounds and surfer-speak in California.
It wasn't about me trying to fit in. I never fit in. That was a hopeless task. But I loved the uniqueness of the sounds and the picturesque speech that came from regional phrases. A person who was a little depressed might be said to be, "Lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut" , for example. I actually heard that one in Texas. People in Maine back when I was a kid didn't go to the beach. Nope, they went, "downshore". In the midwest people drank Pop, in rural Florida every single flavour of soda was called a "ca-cola".
Even the rather subtle but still definitive differences in the different southern accents stood apart from each other. And there were many! Texas, by the way isn't southern, it's southwestern. Louisiana and Mississippi, yeah, those were southern. But now, it is unusual to hear any difference at all.
Maybe it's because people move so much now. Almost nobody lives in the same town where they grew up. In fact, it's unusual for someone to live in the same original state! In fact, the average number of times a person moves in their life is now 11.7 times. Holy Cats! No wonder people don't have a down-home accent anymore. They don't spend that much time down home! It's not at all surprising that, over time, with all that moving around, regional accents and phrases have just kind of slowly disappeared.
I also blame television. Actually I suppose it began with radio. Suddenly instead of people spending their entire lives hearing only one accent, they began to hear the speech patterns of people who lived in, perhaps a larger nearby city of their state. And then other surrounding states. And then other parts of this country! And it snowballed from there.
Oh for the most part it wasn't intentional, it was very subliminal. But I do know that in the early days of movies, all of the young aspiring actors and actresses were forced to work with speech specialists to remove their home grown accents so that they would seem more worldly, more sophisticated and appeal to a larger audience. To have an accent began to be something to be embarrassed by, it was considered low-brow and uneducated. And that attitude raged across the country. What a shame.
The goal seemed to be to have everyone across the country be exactly the same. Cookie Cutter people. If one person did something "unique" - remember the Farrah Hairstyle and Rachel from the TV show Friends? - it was immediately adopted by all of the girls. Everyone wanted to be different in exactly the same way. When long hair was the style for boys, if you had short hair you were strange.. Being who you actually were was frowned upon. I saw it over and over when my kids were in school. The school system didn't allow for anyone to think differently or see the world uniquely. I went 'round and 'round with teachers on my kids behalf throughout their school years.
Sorry. I get off track. This all started with me talking about regional accents didn't it. And it kind of grew from there.
My original thought still stands. I still miss regional accents. I know it doesn't matter. I know it won't change back. And I think it's so funny that of all the things that have changed in my lifetime, the one thing that I really miss is hearing the delightful, colourful, unique different accents.
What can I tell you. I've always been a wierdo.
Yikes! I hate to admit it but yeah, that's me. Not pretty. But I earned that awfulness. I spent a significant amount of time in the backyard fighting the good fight against those bizarre vines. Those ones that are trying to take over the world, one backyard at a time. (I wrote about it last week)
My friend Marsha looked it up (I was too lazy) and it turns that this mystery vine is something called Bitter Melon. It has somehow migrated here from both Asia and Africa (or perhaps it's one or the other) and it is a Class II invasive. I could have told them about the invasive part. What a pain in the butt this thing is.
The article went on to say that scientists believe that this plant has properties that could, eventually cure some pretty awful diseases like Diabetes and/or Leukemia. But it's absolutely poisonous if you eat it. Not to worry. I had no intention of eating it. The Bitter Melon is driving citrus growers slowly mad here because it attaches itself to the fruit trees that is never a good thing.
It's also not a good thing in my yard doggone it! So I put on some grubby clothes, sun screen and gloves and went to work. I attacked it with vigor. I attacked it with prejudice. I attacked it with no mercy. Tugging and pulling and digging and hauling and yanking and twisting and swearing more than I would really care to admit and eventually I had an impressive pile of vines.
I was panting and sweaty and really really tired and had a strange taste in my mouth but I felt accomplished! The entire width of the back of the yard had been brutalized by me. I sat next to the pile for a minute to catch my breath.
Yup that's the pile next to me. As you can see, it's taller than I am (when I'm sitting down). Looks like a green haystack.
Breath caught, I hauled my arse back to a standing position and looked at the back of the yard and dang, it looks like I barely touched it. So discouraging. I decided that no matter what, I was done for the day and came inside to clean up. Which necessitated a shower and washing everything I took off, including gloves and shoes. Hey if it's poisonous to eat, who knows what else can do? I do tend to be very prone to rashes from exposure to grasses and plants and trees which is why I always wear gloves and am fully covered when I do yard work.
Still, erring on the side of caution, the shower, the load of laundry (in hot water!) may not be enough and so, being extra cautious, I took a Benadryl too. (the antihistamine properties can stave off allergic reactions to topical exposure too!)
Of course Benadryl makes me very very sleepy so I'm guessing that a nap is next up on my agenda!
Originally I was thinking that I would tackle the vine problem again later this week but then I thought, hey, we have a lawn service. I think I will ask those guys to just mow all the way back to the fence from now on.
And come to think of it, when we first bought the house, that "wildflower" patch was only about 2 feet deep. Now it's more like 5 or 6 feet deep which means that every time those guys mow, they are doing less and less of the yard. AHA! I may be on to something here!
I think that is the answer. I'll talk to the lawn guys. Problem, if not solved, than at least better managed. The End.
Do you know what these are? I mean other than windows that are cracked open. It's the first sign of Autumn! YAYAYAYAYAYAY! After what felt like an extraordinarily long summer, we are feeling the first indicators that the season has changed. And it is glorious.
And it's especially funny because, for a change, it actually happened on the first day of Autumn! September 21st! Usually it's not until sometime mid-October. We are both surprised and delighted! It was so nice outside on Sunday, that we walked around the house early in the day opening every single window that is open-able and let some of that outside, in. Ahhhhhh.
The coolness, the dryness, the freshness of new air swooping into the house and poking into all of the corners and under the sofa with the dust bunnies and through the closets was exactly what we needed. Of course by early afternoon we then walked through the house again closing all of those same windows and turning the AC back on, but that's ok. Baby steps people, baby steps. It was several hours of open windows and it does make a difference.
Oh, I don't want to lead you astray, please know that it's not cool out. It's not chilly or brisk or any other cool weather adjectives. We are still wearing shorts and sandals, but we are not sweating and miserable while we are outside. Sunny, yes, warm, yes but ever so much nicer.
And this wasn't the only sign of autumn. Oh no. Not at all! Sign two of Autumn was that we spent most of the day on one beach or another without sweating!!!! Shocking I know! It was wonderful. It was very breezy out and while the sun was warm, the wind had just the tiniest hint of coolness that woke up everything. After being nearly somnolent in the summer heat and humidity for the past three months, the world around us came back to life. There were more people on the beach, in the water, playing volleyball, boating, jet skiing, sea shell collecting, rather than dozing on the sand, sweat pooling beneath them on their beach towel as they fry. It is marvelous!
We are seeing more manatees, more dolphins (I still haven't managed to get a picture but I'm always working on it, so stay tuned) and even more birds now that the seasons are beginning to shift. The sunsets are getting more vibrant, the sand isn't burning my feet, the citrus fruits are ripening and people are more relaxed and easy going. When it's very hot and humid, people get cranky. I am so ready to not listen to cranky people! (which is kind of cranky of me isn't it)
And then of course, the last sure sign of autumn having arrived. We visited :
That's right, it's Dairy Queen Blizzard season once again. This is going to sound counter-intuitive but in absolute honesty, I never ever visit DQ during the summer here because it's just too damned hot. What's that? I know it sounds crazy. But it's true. If I order anything from Dairy Queen from July through September, unless I sit in the shop and eat it there (which is not fun - just trust me on that), instead of ice cream, my Blizzard will be soup within a block. DQ Blizzard soup is not good. And what's more it doesn't re-freeze very nicely. Trust me, I have tried. So even though any normal person would assume that summer time is DQ Blizzard time, that does not apply to Florida.
Sunday afternoon, we did a DQ drive through and I happily, slowly, savoured every bite of my Blizzard. It was ambrosia! (For which I suffered greatly later but since I knew that would happen, it's all good. And what's more, totally worth it!)
So there you have it. For a change the calendar AND Florida weather (and DQ) agree that Autumn has arrived. And not a moment too soon.
Okay everybody, PopQuiz! What is Sam's favourite day of the month? That's right! Minock Day! That was this past Saturday! YAYAYAYAY!
Usually we do something completely different each time. But, if you recall, last month the Minock half of the contingent had the genius idea to stop fighting the summer heat and humidity and see a movie. We thought that was such a great idea that we did it again. Not only did we see a movie again, but at the same theatre.
We met, as we did the previous time, in a very pretty plaza in St Pete's, just in time to get our tickets and select our seats and watch nearly 30 minutes of previews (!!) I honestly do not mind watching previews but a half hour seems a wee bit excessive. Maybe all theatres do that now, I don't know, we don't often go to the movies. Regardless, there we were settled in to watch our movie. This time, Rambo: Last Blood. I know I know, I don't seem like a Rambo watching kind of girl. But somehow I have seen all of the previous ones, so it just makes sense to come full circle and finish the series.
Afterwards we walked a few blocks to Fords Garage for a late lunch. Or perhaps it was an early dinner. We could call it dunch. Or linner. Tim and I had not been to Ford's Garage restaurant before. It was adorable! As one might expect from the name, the decor is very "Model T". The sinks in the bathrooms are made out of tires, the menu's have leather covers, the photos are black'n'white pictures of wonderful old Tin Lizzies and and and...okay, I'll just say this....the decor is consistent with the theme throughout. I appreciate that kind of dedication :) The menu is primarily a wide variety of different kinds of burgers although the burger itself can be replaced with; Portobella mushrooms, chicken, veggie burgers, Kobe beef and so forth. That's nice. I appreciate having options. We each ordered something different and all of it was good.
After lunch, we walked down to the waterfront. It turns out to be only about a couple of blocks away. As we ambled along, we passed intriguing shops and interesting restaurants. Once we arrived at the end, we saw a Museum of Fine Arts, a marina, a lovely park and some gorgeous water front condos that were available for just under $2 million dollars each. I'm sure that was a tremendous bargain.
After a nice leisurely stroll around that area, we saw that the sun had started to set so we headed back to our usual comfy outside seats to talk. We are always reluctant to end our MInock days. And by the way, I am still so wowed that we found a place with big comfy chairs, under a fan, by a fountain to just sit and talk. And talk we do. All of us. Yakkity yakkers. But we are also listeners. So we take turns talking and listening and laughing a lot.
One of the more interesting topics of conversations was the house that our friends are going to build. We talked about finishes and paint colours and looked at lighting options and fans. The absolute tonnage of decisions that have to be made before a single spoonful of dirt needs to come out of the ground is mind boggling. And hopefully that all begins soon. The sooner begun, the sooner done. And it's so important to be in your own home. Tim and I really understand that!!
The other thing we talked about a lot was the movie. We talked about it as we left the theatre. We talked it as we walked to Ford's Garage. We talked about it while we ate. We talked about it while walking around that lovely park and while we were sitting in what are obviously "our chairs" in the plaza!! I mean it wasn't the only thing we chatted about, but somehow we kept circling back to it!
As always we had a GREAT time! (we always do) but eventually it was time to do the great baked good exchange and head our separate ways.
About half way home, I texted Marsha to say that Tim and I were still talking about the movie. She texted me back to say that they were too! Hah! Great minds think alike :) I will say this about this last Rambo movie. It was certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, but it absolutely was worth a lot of discussion!
This is our backyard. Well most of it anyway, try as I may I cannot get it all in one photo but for illustrative purposes, this will suffice.
As you can see, other than a few spots that I need to re-seed, it's not bad. It's flat, it's green, it is of decent size and has green stuff (i.e. various trees and shrubs) growing around the entire perimeter. We were very fortunate because this was all done by the previous owners. Other than making sure it is mowed each week (landscape service) and the shrubs periodically trimmed (us) and the shed palm fronds collected (also us), we have done exactly nothing with it. And I mean nothing.
Other than the time necessary to trim shrubs and pick up deadfall/palm fronds, and my taking photos now and again, we simply do not use the backyard. It survives merely as a buffer between us and the single row of houses behind us. (beyond the houses behind us is water FYI, which is why it's merely a single row). We like that bufferzone though. A little elbow room between neighbors is always a good thing.
Why do we not use it, you ask? Well, we have no dog that needs to run around outside. We have no small children in our lives who might wish to play outside. We haven't put any thought (or more importantly money, yet) into a real garden or a patio or a pool or any of the many other reasons a person might want to hang around their own backyard because we have been concentrating on reno-ing the inside. I suppose we could put up a volleyball net or a croquet court, after all it's nice and flat which makes it about perfect But a two person game of anything remotely athletic, especially when one of the persons is me, just isn't all that much fun.
Consequently, I wasn't really up to date on any of the goings on in our yard other than to occasionally note a passing bobcat or raccoon.
Now for whatever reason, I cannot imagine what it would be, the previous owners had grass/groundcover/clover serving as lawn over all of the yard except the trees and shrubs along both sides and a section of........let's call it wildflowers.....across the back. Just in front of the backfence is patch about two feet deep. Most of it is filled with some crazy prolific purple flowers and the beginnings of a couple of palm trees of one sort of another, a little bit of this'n'that white, yellow, pink and orange blooming things that I do not recognize. So I refer to it as "the garden". It seemed to be intentional so I just rolled with it.
And mostly, until this morning anyway, ignored it. It seemed to be doing just fine on it's own, as do most green and growing things in this land of tropical botanical generosity. But as I was walking the perimeter today, picking up anything that fell down, I realized that there is some vine that seems to have taken over the entire "garden" at the back of the yard. When the heck did this happen?
It's not just growing like a lacy blanket over the top of the flowers (you can see the heads of some of them poking through) but also up and over the back fence. And now it's trying to wind it's way around the trees and shrubs! For Heaven's Sakes!
I am going to have to put on long pants, long sleeves, closed toe shoes with socks and start pulling all of that mysterious vine out. Dang.
It actually seems a shame because it's really kind of pretty. If it just wasn't so aggressive I would allow it to co-exist! It has these adorable little twirling tendrils and teensy flowers and every once in awhile an orange gourd looking thing growing on it.
It seems to have grown up overnight, much like Jack's magic beans. I swear to you that last week when I was prowling around out there taking some photos and there were no vines. At least not that I could see. Maybe they were lurking underneath other stuff, I don't know. Sneaky buggers. Or maybe it's just some crazy agressive thing that grows super fast.
Whatever it is, it's gotta go! It's going to choke out the "garden" and then the trees and shrubs. It will rot the fence and eventually fill up the entire back yard and the house! Ok ok. It's not that dramatic. At least I hope it's not! Holycats! I was just exaggerating for effect but I suppose it's not out of the realm of possible if I don't take care of it! This could turn out to be the Vine that Ate Venice Florida! Some sort of Alien Spores! ARGH! I would hate to end up being a B Horror flick, really. Soooooo obviously that is on my agenda. Great. Just what I wanted to do in 90 degrees heat and humidity.
More joys of home ownership!
Our next lovely model is Tim, sporting the latest in fashion accessories. Yes, his water bottle carrier has a padded, adjustable strap, an insulated holder and not one but two pockets. He has chosen the classic, always fashionable, basic black which, as we all know, goes with everything.
As I've mentioned in countless other posts (ad naseum by now I'm sure) almost every work day, roughly half way through Tim closes up shop and goes for a walk. It's important to get some exercise of course, but also to have that break in the day. If I am home, I go with him. Usually we take the same 3 ish mile loop.
And because we still have at least two active brain cells between us, we are smart enough to hydrate, especially in the summer time. However, because I am so lazy I would rather be thirsty than carry something, Tim, up 'til now, has been kind enough to carry his water bottle and share it with me. Ok, it's not actually laziness, it's just a weird thing I have about carrying things. I absolutely hate carrying anything when I'm walking. Not just dislike it, I hate it. So Tim, who refers to himself as "the packmule" usually does any carrying necessary. But the thing of it is, sometimes I walk by myself, sometimes I hike with Joy and I still dislike carrying things so much that I don't bring water. This is not a new thing, by the way, I've always been this way. So while it is entirely my own fault, the truth of the matter is, that I always end up dehydrated and that's not good for anybody.
I suspect that it's partly because I am so clumsy, I know that I need both hands just in case I need to steady myself after stumbling or protect myself if I fall (which can go wrong. One particular broken wrist comes to mind). Then too, whenever I'm out and about, I'm also taking pictures. I need both hands for that. And if I have to take time out to set down whatever I'm carrying, the photo I wanted to take could be long gone. Sometimes you have to be quickquick to capture the shot. The rest of the reason why I hate it so much? I honestly don't know. I just know it's true.
Back when we lived in Colorado, I also walked and hiked all over the place with no water bottle. Drove people crazy. Also was not a good idea. With the altitude and the dry air that Colorado is famous for, staying hydrated is even more important. So eventually I found a water bottle carrier and it was a sort of compromise. It somehow snugged around the top of the water and then looped up over my shoulder. It was a very simple affair meant to be used specifically with plastic water bottles.
Somehow that water bottle carrier was lost in the move. No great loss. We have moved away from plastic water bottles anyway. Now we have some very nice washable water bottles.
They work really well, they are easy to wash out and keep the water incredibly cold. But they are heavier and kind of a pain in the butt to carry around. Especially with my very uncooperative hands to say nothing of my bad attitude about carrying things in general.
So we decided that we would see about finding new water bottle carriers. And what's more, we would buy local because we really believe in supporting our local businesses. It's what we ALWAYS try to do. Shop Local. Win/win. Great Idea, right? Well as it turns out, easier said than done.
We looked in every shop in Venice that we thought might possibly have such a thing. All of them, each and every one of them, had water bottles. But not one single store had water bottle carriers of any sort. What the actual heck?
So we traveled a little father afield. Sarasota isn't our town, but it's still in our county and it's a larger town with more shopping options so off we went. I looked on line and it appeared that places like Dick's Sporting Goods and oddly, Bed, Bath and Beyond (and a few other stores) carried quite the variety of water bottle carriers. Hurrah! We battled terrible drivers, odd traffic patterns, road construction and insufficient parking but finally arrived at a plaza that had these stores! Bigger Yay!
We walked through all of the stores, which meant schlepping up and down the entire length of the enormous shopping plaza in absolute killer heat to no avail. Once again, loads of water bottles but not one water bottle carrier. Doesn't that seem odd? Does everyone who buys these myriad water bottles just carry them around in their hands all of the time? I haven't really noticed that happening. What I have seen however, are so very many people with a Starbucks cup of some kind in one hand and their phone in the other. So the population in general is currently not actually hands-free. If they trip or stumble it's gonna hurt. But no matter. That was just an observation on my part and not pertinent to this story.
Back to the point.
So we killed an entire afternoon and came home empty-handed. Kind of ironic. That is the point here. We are trying to be empty-handed while hiking, walking, trekking, whatever it is that we are doing out and about. So once again, we resorted to shopping online. Dang. Tim placed the order and the very next day the water bottle carriers arrived.
Tim's is black and mine is blue but otherwise they are identical. Our water bottles fit perfectly in them and I love that there are little zipper pockets so I can also carry a chapstick or tissues, a few bucks and house key without having to deal with my purse. A purse is NOT something I want to carry when hiking or taking a walk. The carriers aren't bulky, they aren't heavy and I love that I can wear mine cross body if I want so it doesn't keep trying to slide off my shoulder.
My only regret is that we could not buy them locally. Otherwise, Mission Accomplished!
Is there anyone out there who does not know what this photo depicts? Anyone? Anyone?
In case you have spent your entire life under a rock or in a cave or on a distant planet, it's Star Wars of course. Even I know that and I do NOT keep up with what's going on with regard to movies, music, famous people etc. Because clearly I do live under a rock or in a cave or on a distant planet. (much like Tatooine!)
And the reason I bring this up is because way back in May of this year, (May the Fourth be with you) one of our local TV stations did a marathon of Star Wars movies. I wasn't actually looking for it, but as Tim was cruising through the televised guide at lightspeed, I noticed it and asked (probably more like begged) him to please please please record it for me. I honestly only expected one of the movies to be recorded. I didn't care which one. Just one of them. For old time's sake. I guess I was feeling nostalgic.
And then we proceeded to completely ignore the fact that we had something Star Wars related in the queue and got on with our busy lives. That is until six weeks ago. It was a Saturday night when there just wasn't anything to watch on regular TV and it was kind of miserable to be outside. So I suggested that, rather than watch yet another rerun or JAG or NCIS, we watch the Star Wars movie that he recorded. "Which one?" he asked and scrolled down to that section. It was quite a way down by then. Mercy! There were six different Star Wars movies! My cup runneth over.
Ok now I have to backtrack a little bit. When the Star Wars franchise began it's reign over America, it was 1977. In 1977 I had 1 toddler and, unbeknownst to me, another baby on the way. I was working, taking care of a baby, an apartment, a relatively new marriage and well, the fact that this blockbuster movie came out, barely even touched the outskirts of my radar. When the second movie hit the screen, it was 1980. At that point I had 3 children, ages 3,2,1 and had moved to a farm outside of town even though I still worked in town, and on the farm and of course was a busy Mama too. Star Wars meant nothing to me that year. In 1983, when the 3rd film was released the boys were just starting to be old enough to be interested in these movies. Wait, they were not just interested, they were beguiled by them. So it was at that point I became aware of the mystique of Star Wars. I was, as they say, late to the party.
But once I became aware, we were all over it. Star Wars rocked. We, the boys and I , absolutely loved it and we watched VHS versions of it over and over and over again.
By 1999 when the next trilogy began to be released, while I was plenty familiar with the original Star Wars, and I didn't have time to care about, learn about, or see the new films. They were not even peripherally in my life. I couldn't be bothered to learn all this new Star Wars stuff. I was relatively newly married for a second time, with a house, a full time job and mostly grown kiddo's. So life went on, with no more Star Wars information for me.
Until now. And I am looking at the queue and there are six movies. How are there six movies? The last time I knew about Star Wars, there were three films. Three awesome films. How on earth did this happen? I had to look it up to see what the proper viewing order was. And it sounded something like this:
Movies 1,2 and 3 are actually movies 4,5 and 6. Movies 4,5, and 6 are now movies 1 ,2 and 3. Except that between the new 3 (not the old 3) and the new 4 (which is the old 1) there are two other movies. Chronologically. And then after the old 1,2,3 which is the new 4,5,6 there are three more movies so far, one of which hasn't even been released yet. What's that again?
It's very confusing. Tim found the two missing movies (between the new 3 - which is the old 4 - and the new 4 which is the old 1). Yay! We decided that, to understand what the heck was going on in the story, our best course of action was to watch them in chronological order. One movie a weekend for, apparently the rest of our lives or the end of the Star Wars movies, whichever comes first. Which means we started with "Phantom Menace" (1999) which is the fourth movie made but the first movie in the story. With me so far?
Ok. We settled in and watched, We found ourselves spending a lot of time saying, "who is that?" and "the lady with the red spot on her lips...why doesn't someone tell her she has a spot on her lip so she can wipe it off?" and "what the heck is the deal with JarJar Binks?' Eventually we figured out the little blonde boy was Baby Anakin, the lady with the spot on her lips was making a fashion statement and we still do not understand why they created the JarJar Binks character because he brought NOTHING to the table. But over all we were mostly entertained (JarJar aside). Didn't care much for Darth Maul (majorly creepy) but mostly it's was okey dokey.
in fact, it was okey dokey enough so that with no prompting from me at all, the following Saturday we saw the second film, which is the 5th one made. "Attack of the Clones" (2002). This time, we followed the story better and were happy to see some of the faces from the previous episode. The lady with the spot on her lips no longer has the spot, JarJar has settled down some and that one guy in the senate bugs me. I just don't trust him. Anakin is still a hothead but Obi Wan Kenobi is a Good Guy. It was nice to start to see some foreshadowing but the CGI was downright stupid. Sorry but it was just ridiculous.
Still bad CGI was was not enough to deter us and the third Saturday found us watching, "The Revenge of the Sith" (2005) The senate guy IS a bad guy...I KNEW IT! And Anakin is an idiot. I expected there to be a lot more psychology about him being lured to the dark side. I really did. It was more, "oh well, dark side here I come." And there was that one part where Anakin is supposed to be frustrated with the Jedi's not promoting him and even though his words expressed his frustration, his face did not, his body language did not, his tone did not. There was not one single bit of heat. That was disappointing. But still, there is enough going on that we kept watching. Watching. Watching.
So the next two weekends found us getting exciting about, "Rogue One" 2016 and "Solo" 2018. I was so tickled to finally get Han Solo's backstory. He was always my favourite character and yay! Han Solo! Also more gaps were filled and more foreshadowing. I will say that the writers did a wonderful job at both of those things. They may have dropped a few balls here and there, but filling story gaps, answering questions and leading us forward...awesome job!
Then finally we began re-watching the ones we had seen before a Very Very long time ago. We enjoyed both "A New Hope" (1977) and "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) just as much now - so very many years later, as we did something like 35 years ago! Holy Cats! That is a long time ago. Not only did we still enjoy the story, there were parts I had completely forgotten about so that was fun :)
Next weekend we will watch "The Return of the Jedi" (1983) and if we can find them, the following weekends will watch "The Force Awakens" (2015) and "The Last Jedi" (2017). The Last Jedi is apparently a misnomer because that would lead you to believe that it is the last film of the series. You would be wrong. It is my understanding that sometime later this year another Star Wars film, "The Rise of Skywalker" will be coming out.
And it is my best guess that as long as people love them, Hollywood will keep making them. And we will keep watching them.
Soon we will be all caught up and then maybe when the new films are released we might see them in the theatre instead of far after the fact on TV. We are no longer the only two people in American who hadn't seen all of the Star Wars movies. Woohoo!
May the Force Be With You!
Like the smarties that we are, Tim and I got our flu shots yesterday. Couldn't be easier. Just stopped into the pharmacy of our local Publix, filled out the necessary paperwork. Bam and Bandaid. Done. And in theory, we are protected once again, from the evil scourge called influenza. It's sort of like a super-villain.
The flu shot didn't even hurt. I mean, I wasn't even certain that he had given me the shot until he said, 'All set". Wow! That's nice. However, this year I also got an additional shot called, Prevnar 13 at the recommendation of my physician. It's supposed to protect me from bacterial infections, which includes pnuemonia. Ok. I am good with that. I do not like being sick one single solitary bit so if I can do this one little thing to prevent it, it's all good.
The Prevnar 13 shot hurt. In fact, it hurt a lot. Today it still hurts. Ouchie. I don't care. Still better than getting sick. This too shall pass.
In actual fact, as we enter this season of many germs, I am much more likely to be exposed to the flu or any other nasty germie out there than Tim is. Most of his life nowadays is spent in solitary. Kind of like a prison sentence. Since he works from home, he is holed up in his office from about 7 or so in the morning until he is done at night, usually around 6. In the middle there, we usually take a walk together, a nice 3-ish mile loop. But even though he is out of the house at that point, it's not as if he was being exposed to someone's sickness. We walk around the island, not through the ward of a Tuberculosis center. We are almost always out and about on the weekends so two days out of seven, Tim gets sprung for good behaviour. But odds are good that unless I am sick, Tim has far less chance of exposure.
I am out and about all day every day: the grocery store, the outlet shops, the hair dressers, the library, the museum, Pilates class, teaching, talking to the neighbors as I wander through town. But that also means that I have built up more of an immunity to germs because I'm exposed to them all of the time. Sort of like elementary school teachers and medical personnel.
So while I am more apt to be exposed to illness, I'm more protected against it. Tim is less apt to be exposed but has less natural protection. Ironic isn't it.
So the flu shot in short, is to protect us. I'd like to be a bigger person and say that the reason I get it every year is protect everyone I come in contact with but that would be a lie. I might be selfish but I'm not a liar. My first reason to get the shot is to protect me, which in turn protects Tim AND everyone else I come across as I am out and about. So it's not as if global kindness is completely off my list, it's just not number one.
And that's how I feel about any other vaccine available to us. If you aren't going to do it to protect other innocent lives, how about doing it to protect yourself.
According to an article I read just this morning, more than 200,000 kindergartners started their scholastic careers in 2017 without any vaccines. The numbers have skyrocketed up from there. In quite a few states, amoung them: Colorado, Idaho, Washington and New Hampshire, one in ten children have had no vaccines. None. One in Ten!
When I was in elementary school, the polio vaccine was a brand new idea. It wasn't even a shot. It was a nasty-sweet pink liquid given to us on a sugar cube. We lined up with the school lunch room/gym and one by one were told to open our mouth, the sugar cube placed on our tongues where it quickly melted and we went on our merry way. Nobody I went to that school with contracted Polio. Thank goodness.
As a kid, my sister and I had every single childhood disease out there because at the time, there was no MMR, nothing to protect us against chicken pox or whooping cough. So of course, we got it all. And we were sick. Really really sick. In fact, my hearing loss is a result of a childhood illness that there was no vaccine for.
By the time my kids were born, there were a few more possibilities for protection. My boys all got the shots for measles, mumps, whooping cough and every thing else that existed at that time. But they all got chicken pox. No vaccine. One boy had a mild case, one had a moderate case and one had the worst case the doctor had ever seen. EVER! And before it was over, he ended up with Mono. Poor baby. It was a long awful winter that year. One kid after another sick, home from school, and feeling so awful and there is not all that much a mom can do to make them feel better.
We were lucky and survived our various childhood illnesses of course Lucky because sadly, there are some people who do not.
Of course I'm not in charge of the world. (Terrifying thought!) It's not up to me to make decisions for everyone else. But I can suggest, I can inform, I can hope that everyone out there values their own lives and those of their loved ones enough to make the right decision now that we are entering the dreaded season of many germs!
I bet you recognize this for what it is. Sunglasses surgery. What a major Pain in the Arse.
Yesterday we were driving along........ Well, ok, to be fair, Tim was driving along, I was merely passengering. At any rate, we were having a fine old time, doing this and that and chatting and laughing as we do, and suddenly, the left lens popped out of Tim's sunglasses. For no apparent reason. In the frame and then Out of the frame. That's not helpful at all while driving, just FYI.
Fortunately, we were headed toward home anyway because squinting into the bright sunshine here will not only give a person a permanent Clint Eastwood Squint, but also a headache. I gently cradled the pieces of broken sunglasses in my hands the entire drive back.
Once we arrived home, Tim patted down both himself, the seat and the floor around his car seat looking for the missing piece. Nope. If it's there, we cannot find it. So, I deposited the pieces on the kitchen countertop and went off to rummage in various drawers looking for one of those eyeglass repair kits. I knew that once upon a time I had at least one. The only question was, what the heck did I do with it? I was concerned that in one of my cleaning jags I had thrown it out as something old that I rarely use anyway.
Thankfully I found not one, not two but three of them tucked away in here and there around the house. Hurrah! Problem solved! Or so we thought.
Tim was the first of us to tackle this project. He is a very patient man. Think about it, he lives with me. Obviously, he is a very patient man. So I busied myself with myriad other things to give him space and peace while he worked. Quite some time later, he emerged. I questioned how it went with just a quirk of my eyebrow. He shook his head and held up his hands. "My hands are just too big for those teeny tiny things" he said.
Well as person with much smaller hands, perhaps I am the right person for the job! Yay! I was actually kind of eager to start, certain that I could do this. I could be the Hero Of the Day! Who wouldn't want to be the hero, eh?
I decided to ignore the fact that my stupid arthritic hands do not work very well. I was going to overcome that little bump in the road. I was determined. I was going to DO THIS! Sometimes, it just takes the right attitude to be a winner, right?
And so I began. With a shocking (for me) amount of patience, over and over, I tried to thread one of several miniscule screws into the proper place using tweezer (no joke) in one hand, while my other hand was squeezing the frame just hard enough to hold the lends in place. Over and over and OVER to no avail. I tried every single teensy tiny screw from the teensy tiny container and I couldn't seem to line it up . I could feel myself getting annoyed so I set it all down and stepped away for a bit to give my poor hands a rest.
I had a few restorative M&M's and returned. This time I perused each itty bitty piece with a magnifying glass first. Perhaps that way I would notice something I wasn't seeing before? Nope. Ok. Deep breathe, I selected the thinnest screw, so small it was nearly invisible, with my tweezers, lined it up and.....oh my gosh...it set! Woohoo! I'm nearly there, I'm nearly done, I'm nearly the hero of the day!
I picked up the equally miniscule screwdriver aaaaaannnnnndddddd, knocked the damned screw out of the hole whereupon it bounced off the countertop and onto the floor. ARGH!
I spent quite some time hunting for that screw on the lfoor. I even swept the floor and then examined the content of the dustpan (not that there was much in it) but no. No sign of the missing screw. I have no idea where that thing went, but it's gone now forever. Once again, I could feel my temper rising so I walked away.
After dinner I attempted it one more time. Not sure why I thought it might be a good idea, but I tried putting the screw in from the bottom instead of the top. And did so. Successfully, easily, quickly and stupidly, because while it appeared as if the job were done of course it wasn't. Screws are meant to go in from one and only one direction. Naturally, the instant I handed them off to Tim, the entire thing fell apart once more. Dang.
Needless to say, today, the glasses are still in pieces. In all honesty, probably they will ultimately just be thrown out which is a shame because they are rather expensive, very nice looking, very comfortable and it's hard to argue with that.
Perhaps later today, if I'm still feeling calm and patient and if my hands are feeling agreeable, I will take one more crack at it.
I find myself thinking of my friend Aaron who I worked with in Audiology all those years. Not only did he work on teensy tiny hearing aids on a regular basis, he was also reknowned for getting Gordian knots out of necklaces, finding the tiniest little bitty parts of audiology lab bits that got dropped, and in general solving problems. Why did I learn nothing of the secrets of his success when I worked side by side with them?
Hindsight. 20/20. In sunglasses that are all in one piece.
Florida. The Sunshine State. Endless days of basking in the sunshine and never ever a single flake of snow to shovel nor icey patch to slip upon. Right? Well, except for the rainy season of course. And honestly even in the rainy season we get a lot of sun. I have seen, more times than I can count, times when the sun is shining brightly WHILE it's raining. Yes I have. And recently an afternoon when it was raining in the front yard but not in the backyard. Yupyup. In short we have a crazy lot of weather here. Most of it involving sunshine.
It's not unexpected, Look at Florida on a map. If I remember correctly, the southern part of Florida is tropical but the part of Florida where we live is considered Sub-tropical. And if that is true we are seriously teetering on the very brink of being tropical. Which means lots of green growing lushiousness, lots of sunshine and warm balmy days most of the year. With the incredibly rude intrusion of the summer where instead of balm there is humid. Instead of warm there is beastly hot. And instead of days on end of sunshine, there is sun interspersed with torrential rain and the occasional tropical storm/hurricane drive-by. Summer here is not for sissies.
But it is what it is and we have adapted. We still spend time outside and we still go for walks but instead of open windows we have some serious air-conditioning going on and sometimes we require several showers a day just to be able to stand ourselves. We drink copious amounts of water, eat lighter meals and rest often while exerting. It's what ya gotta do.
Summer is just summer. It is now a known quantity. July through September for sure...and sometimes the very end of June...occasionally a few days at the beginning of October, being outside can be a misery. We know this, we are prepared for this, we fully expect this.
Which is why, last week, I was flabbergasted to look at the weather app on my phone and see that we had 0% chance of rain. 0% chance of rain? In September? I was certain that my phone was on the fritz. So I checked the weather report in the newspaper....0% chance of rain. Holy Cats ! Just to be absolutely certain, I listened to the TV weather report. 0% chance of rain! They all agreed.
And not just one day, multiple days. In a row! To say the least, this was unusual! Then, curious, I checked a little further. The humidity was 51%. 51%!!!!!!! In September!!!!! That's just crazy! I couldn't wait to get outside! We have never experienced this the entire time we've lived here or even visited here (before we moved)!
It was glorious. The air felt soft. I didn't feel as if I were trying to breathe underwater. And I didn't break into a sweat walking to the mailbox and back! I found myself driving with the windows down. I spent as much time as possible outside. Oh yes, it was hot, of course it was hot. It's still summer here. But heat with so much less humidity is just the most lovely thing.
Four days in a row we had 0% chance of rain and humidity in the 50% range or lower! And I dared to think, perhaps we were going to be blessed with an early autumn. A shorter summer than usual wouldn't go amiss. Obviously, I am an idiot.
Because, of course, then it changed. At the end of the four days, the humidity began creeping back up, the possibility of rain increased every day and now we are once again back to the moment where there is a really good chance of rain again, every single day from now through.....well October anyway. Things have returned to normal.
And while you would think that I would just appreciate that lovely break in the weather, instead I'm going to be a big whiny baby and say that instead, it made returning to the normal humid/hot/rainy/sunny worse. Grumble, grouse, complain, whine, repeat.
In New England, March was my least favourite month because winter had been going on so long and spring was so close, so close, but not quite there yet. In Colorado it was April because spring is both one of the prettiest, springiest and also one of the snowiest, most wintery parts of of the year at the same time. One day things are blooming, the next day...blizzard! April in Colorado is not to be trusted. You know that true spring is on it's way .......eventually.
And here in Florida my least favourite month is definitely September. Hurricane Season is almost over. The Rainy season is almost over. Humidity is almost over. But not quite. So close I can nearly taste it, but not quite.
Turns out Mother Nature is kind of a tease. She has a wicked sense of humour.
Have a great weekend regardless of your weather!
So yeah, we all already know that I am an unabashed, indiscriminate reader. Basically anything with words on it, I will check out. Oddly, I read very few magazines. Generally speaking, if I have the choice between reading a book or reading a magazine, I will pick the book. I guess I'm in it for the long haul.
There was a time when magazines were my top choice. Back the, I was a super busy full-time working mama and had almost no time to read anyway (except at night when I read story books to the boys at bedtime). But occasionally there would be those 5 minutes of waiting for the water to boil or the timer on the washer to buzz or the even more rare and luxurious moment when I was able to indulge in a lovely hot bath all by myself. Then a magazine was perfect. One article and the water had boiled, read one recipe and the buzzer went off. And in the case of the bath, if I accidentally dropped the magazine, the world didn't come to an end. Really back then, magazines were my lifeline to the rest of the universe.
And I didn't personally subscribe to any of those magazines that I read. I received a few gift subscriptions from family members but mostly they were pre-read magazines. I come from an entire family of readers and we are generous with our reading material. We pass it around, we share. And it was fun to read something with notes in the margin, crumbs in the fold, tea stains on the cover and once in awhile, a recipe already snipped out. It connected me to the other women in the family in a way that an unsullied magazine did not.
Now, however, I'm back to books. I have time to immerse myself in the story, to become committed to the characters, to curl up in my favourite corner of the sofa and read a book in one sitting. A perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. So I'm back to visiting the library on a regular basis.
It's not like I have nothing else to do of course. I'm still the chief cook and bottle washer around here and that fills a goodly part of my days. And then there are my teaching days and therefore the time spent writing up lesson plans, Pilates classes, my photo excursions (which will expand once Joy returns from Yellowstone) and my days at the museum.
And it was at the museum that I learned that one of the other ladies there is also a big reader, exclusively a reader of magazines. She and her friends trade magazines around the same way my family used to, and she seemed to be the final magazines repository. I noticed that she always left magazines behind when she finished her shift. I asked her about it one day and she said that she left it for whoever might want to read it after her. I volunteered ME! When she learned that I too was a big reader she began bringing magazines in by the stackful! Holy Moly!
To be absolutely honest, there was no way I was ever going to find the time to read everything in these piles. And frankly, a lot of it was of little interest to me. I mean, if I had NOTHING else to read, I absolutely would devour them, but given such a lovely wide choice, I could read as I liked and pass along the rest, unread by me.
There were quite a few Vanity Fair magazines in the pile. I don't believe I had ever picked one up before. I assumed (although one should never) that it was one of those glossy fancyschmancy style magazines that had absolutely no bearing on anything in my life and initially, I put it in the to be dismissed pile. But for some reason, before final discard, I finally pulled one out and thumbed through it.
Initially yes, it was a lot of glossy high end fashion stuff as I thought. Pretty but totally, completely and utterly out of the sphere of my real life. One of the ads was an absolute mystery to me. What on earth was this selling? High end knitted head covers? This is a Calvin Klein ad by the way. Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Hermes, Stella McCartney,Oscar De La Renta, Movado, Kate Spade, Ferragamo, Valentino...... page after page after page!
So there it was, so many advertisements showing amazing clothing and jewelery on very pretty people who do not ever smile, exactly as I suspected. I was about to just give it up and return the Vanity Fair magazine to the byebye pile when I ran across an article that struck me as interesting.
As it turns out there were a lot of very interesting articles. And not only interesting, but pertinent. And not only pertinent but damned fine writing. I was delighted and surprised. I set aside all of the Vanity Fair magazines, cruised through the shiny ads and gobbled up all of the fascinating articles eagerly. Shame on me for dismissing these magazines out of hand without checking them out first.
Inside the shiny pages of Vanity Fair I read about: actress Michelle Williams - not as an actress but as an outspoken fighter at the forefront of the Hollywood paygap battle; A behind the scenes look at the Trumps re-election campaign; the South Korean laboratory that clones people's pets for them; Steve Job's daughter Lisa; Elda Neyis Mosquera who was one of the most feared commanders of Columbia's guerilla army, and model/actress Maria Lani who, in the 1920's arrived in Paris, quickly became a popular artists muse and then, just as quickly, disappeared without a trace. And this is just a sampling from ONE issue of the magazine!
Oh my ! What I would have missed out on! Vanity Fair has gone from being completely dismissed by me to becoming one of my favourite reading materials.
Shame on me. I grew up being instructed to not judge a book by it's cover. Apparently that applies to magazines as well.
Learn something every day!
Eighteen years ago today, we lived in Connecticut.
It felt like an ordinary day. Absolutely ordinary. Until it wasn't. For some reason, I was home that day which is unusual. Someone called and told me to turn on the television. And what I saw, what we all saw, changed the lives of everyone in this country forever.
As I stood there in the living room, motionless, watching that first tower, unable to fully comprehend what I was seeing, youngest son came in the room. I pointed at the television, silently. He stood beside me, his ready smile, turning to confusion in an instant. Together, we watched in disbelief as another plane crashed into the second tower. Very slowly, youngest soon, sat down. Eyes never leaving the screen, he whispered to me, "Are we at war?"
I will never forget that. Ever.
The aftermath was chaos. I tried so hard to remain calm even though I was frantic to touch base with everyone I loved. I tried to call the other boys, Tim (who was at work), my parents, my sister but the phone lines were a mess. I felt so helpless. Like everyone else, I needed clarity, What was going on? What was happening? What can I do to help? And then, what happens next?
And now it's 18 years later and we have recovered but the scars remain and they are deep. And they probably should be. I am willing to bet that everyone who was old enough to remember that time, has it indelibly carved into their memory of exactly where they were that day. Some things need to be remembered.
Not just the horror of it, all those innocent lives lost. But also what came afterward. The the courage and bravery of those First Responders who, while everyone else was either frozen in place or running away from the tragedy, ran toward it without a second's thought for their own safety. We need to remember not just the event, not just the martyrs but also the heroes.
And the resilience and strength of the people of this country who didn't let this unspeakable tragedy define us. Once the clouds of confusion passed, once the shock and disbelief cleared away, we stood firm, we got angry, we stepped up and decided that we would not let this break us. We decided to keep moving forward.
Eighteen years is a long time I suppose, but I was surprised to learn very recently, that to the youngest generation, the kids who were either too young to remember or not yet born at the time, 9/11 means no more to them than reading about the Civil War in their history books. In my mind, my heart, my soul, it is a moment that is frozen in time forever. But they don't share that history. They didn't have that moment. They can respect it, but they cannot fully appreciate the significance of it because they didn't live through it.
Thank goodness for that. I hope they never do. I hope no other generation in this country ever has to experience anything remotely like 9/11 and they remain blissfully ignorant of those raw emotions forever. And I understand the desire to protect them from the ugly truth of it. And to protect ourselves by pushing that memory to the back and not forcing ourselves to relive it.
But it's so dang important that the next generations know about 9/11. We need to talk about it. We need to help them know about it from a personal point of view, not just what is written in their history books. If you recall your public school history lessons, you will remember that it's merely a matter of memorizing an endless stream of names, dates and places to pass a test. It's all very academic, very dry, very- dare I say it - boring. And 9/11 was anything but that.
I've always loved history. To me it's not just that name/date/place thing that most people associate with it, but it's about people. Real people who lived real lives. And still I never fully appreciated the time in history that we now refer to as the holocaust until I had the opportunity to be a guest at several talks by people who were alive in that time, people who were prisoners in those camps, people who lived in those countries and experienced it first hand. Hearing their personal stories touched me, impacted me, in a way that all of the history books and movies in the world never could. But there are fewer and fewer of those folks still around to tell their stories and that makes it easier to forget.
And that's how I know the importance of sharing our stories with each other, yes, because we get it. But also with the younger generations who are blissfully ignorant of that terrible time.so It is vitally important that they know how personal that time was. They need to hear the real stories by the real people who experienced the real tragedies in real life. It wasn't a movie or a TV show or a paragraph in a history book. It was real life.
Not to frighten them, not to bore them with "old" stories, not to make them feel guilty for being fortunate enough to have escaped it, but so that it truly will never be forgotten. Never Forget.
I know I have mentioned before about how I take a Pilates class twice a week. I enjoy the class and I honestly find that I have gotten tremendous benefit from it, I really like our instructor and I look forward to classes each Tuesday and Friday morning.
One of the things I like about it is that our instructor is always pushing us to be better than we think we are. And I really like how she has us doing different things every time. It's not the same old, same old. She mixes it up to keep us interested and probably to keep herself interested as well.
As it turns out, one of my favourite things is when it's a smallish class because then we get to use bands. Sometimes they are called Resistance Bands, other times they are referred to as exercise bands. This particular set above is called, Flat Bands. Okay. whatever you call them. I like 'em. And I decided to get a set for myself so that I could workout with them on non-Pilates days. Yup that's how much I like them. I was willing to spend money on them! Shocking I know.
I found this set at Walmart. They were marked $14.99 which is honestly more than I wanted to pay but it was the only set they had and I reallllllly wanted them so I went ahead and bought them anyway. Imagine my delight when the register rang them up at $9.98!! Yay!!
There was an instruction sheet in the box of course and I tried doing everything on the sheet in addition to the stuff I remembered from class. Most of what was on the instruction sheet I was fine with. Either it was similar enough to what I'd already learned or an interesting twist of something almost familiar.
But there was one exercise that involved standing on one foot, with the band anchored at the instep of the other raised foot, then leaning forward and pulling out on the band at the same time that the raised foot lifted behind and...then you put your elbow in your ear and your nose on your ankle or something crazy like that. It did not go well. It felt a lot like playing Twister only worse because in the game Twister I'm closer to the ground and if I fall, it's not so far down.
So I decided to stick to what I know. And that went much better. So I've got workout with bands on my gotta-do list nearly every day now and I seem to be good with that. I can work out with the bands while watching TV. Or early in the morning in my PJ's coz "bands don't care". Or in the middle of the day between doing other things. Or when we travel (in the hotel room!). Or any other dang time I want to. It's awesome!
It doesn't take up a lot of space in the house to do this workout. In fact, it takes exactly a Sam-sized space because the equipment is me and bands. That's it. And because they are so small, unlike other exercise equipment they take up exactly no space. I keep them in a drawer of the sideboard in the family room. Handy eh?
I hear you saying, but it's not exactly an aerobic workout is it and you would be right. I agree. It's not. But it's not the only exercise I get. It's just some additional exercise, y'see? It's not instead of, it's in addition to. I still attend Pilates Class which is a good strong core workout. I still walk all over the dang place, which is not just good cardio it's also good for my bones. I'm kind of at the age where I'm paying a lot of attention to my long muscles. I am not looking for bulk, but for tone. Nice toned long muscles to help me keep my balance and stand straight and tall (well as tall as a short person can stand anyway). It's a good goal.
There is one downside however.
Have you ever watched an exercise video? Those pretty girls in full make up and fancy workout clothes and their perfect hair who never sweat? They move so gracefully and perfectly and smoothly shift from this move to that move. I look nothing like that when I'm working out. In fact, I feel like a completely different species. I am not graceful one single solitary bit. I thump and bump and make weird faces. I sweat, a lot. I make strange noises. And, you know what? None of that is important at all. What does matter is that I am taking the necessary steps to be the best version of myself that I possibly can be. And if I look funny doing it, then so be it.
Maybe I should make my own you-tube work out video. We could call it the Real Life Work Out Video. What do you think?
I've already written before about how much we enjoy shopping at our local farm market, Detweilers. But some things bear repeating. The food is local, it's fresh and it's far more reasonably priced than most of what is in the local grocery store. The fruits and vegetables are ripe and they have fragrance and flavour, two things that grocery store produce often lack. We even buy most of our meats at Detweilers and for the same reasons: better price, better quality and locally grown.
Which is not the same thing as saying that I never shop at my local Publix. I absolutely do! And I really like Publix too. It's clean, it's tidy, the people there are very nice, and it's right here on the island. In fact, I buy just about everything else that we require at Publix. Not produce or meat, but just about everything that is prepackaged and non-fresh. Which, when I think about it is a lot.
Toiletries, cleaning products, canned goods, frozen items, boxed and bagged items like cereal, crackers, granola bars. And of course pantry items, like foil and parchment paper and flour and various vinegars and spices and well, it's a long list usually. I'm usually there once a week.
I say, I am usually there once a week because 9 times out of 10, I am the ones who does the shopping. Tim doesn't actually mind shopping but it just works out best for our schedule if grocery shopping is something that ends up on my gotta-do list rather than Tim's. But every once in a very long while, we shop together at Publix. And that is always the most fun trip ever at a grocery store. And here is why:
When I shop, I have my list in my hand and a plan in my mind. I already have an idea what I will be cooking throughout the week and what is in the fridge and the pantry so I know what I need. I rarely deviate from the list and the plan. My goal is to get in and get out as quickly as possible. I already know where everything is in the store so I can skip entire aisles. For instance, I know that the shampoo I use is on the third shelf down from the top about 3/4 of the way down the toiletries aisle. And since there is nothing else I need in that particular area, I don't even look at anything else. I scoot quickly down the row, nip that bottle off the shelf and continue on my way. I don't even stop and just barely slow down. When it comes to a trip to Publix I am In and Out. It is a rare occasion indeed when I stroll through a grocery shopping trip and peruse the shelves.
Tim, on the other hand, likes to look around. Perhaps since he doesn't often shop, it's the novelty of the occasion that makes him see things that I don't. Or maybe it's just his nature to see things differently. But whatever the reason, we end up spending a lot more time in the store than when I go alone. We go up and down every row far more slowly. We look around in sections I usually just breeze past. And ultimately things end up in our grocery cart that I never even heard of before. And that is exactly what happened the last time Tim shopped with me.
This is what typically happens: we mosey down a row together, he pushing the cart, me consulting the list in my hand. At some point I ask him a question without looking up. There is no answer so I come to a full stop and looked up. No Tim. I turn around. He is still at the top of the aisle. So I traipes back up and see him put, whatever he was looking at in the cart. Repeat. Repeat. This happens over and again throughout the store. Eventually I learn to slow my roll.
Sometimes it was because he saw a really good deal. A buy one get two kind of thing. And as long as it's something with a long shelf life that we will actually use, yes! That is a great idea. I almost never notice those signs. Sometimes it was because it was something he never had tried before that sounded good to him. Which is how he found the Doritos brand multi-grain roasted red pepper tortilla chips which, as it turned out, became a new favourite. Sometimes it's an item that I especially l enjoy but never buy because I am the only one who likes it, like Peach Jam (I adore Peach jam!) I tend to buy strawberry because we both like it instead. Suddenly there is a jar of peach jam in our pantry too because Tim put it in the cart. How sweet is that?
And because Tim shops completely differently than I do and is far more adventurous with food than I am, he found his new favourite salsa. (photo above) It is locally made in Ybor City and is called, "Cigar City Smoked Salsa." He absolutely loves it! Yes of course, I could make a good fresh salsa myself but this one has a unique smokiness in addition to the snap of various sorts of peppers that make is special. What a delight! And it's Local! Wow! But we bought it at - not the farm market - but at the local Publix! Wow! (It was not, by the way, in the chips aisle with every other typical jarred salsas but in the international foods section on the complete other end of the store. I would NEVER have thought to look there)
That same grocery trip, Tim also picked up a container of guacamole (also photo above) because he knows that is one of my most favourite things in the world. I actually didn't know it was in the cart until we got home and we were putting groceries away. In my head I was not excited at the idea of, pre-made guac. And in fact, while I, of course, thanked him for buying it for me, in my head I was expecting it to be very "meh". I was wrong. I was wrongity wrong and happily so. It was wonderful! And again, locally made with fresh local ingredients. But right there on my Publix shelves!
I learned a valuable lesson. I need to slow down my grocery shopping more and see what other locally made treasures there are in my local Chain Grocery store that I have been missing out on! And instead of automatically reaching for the same brand of the same items every time I shop, I need to take a few more chances, be a little more adventurous and try something new now and again.
It will be an interesting experiment to see my contents of my local Publix differently. What else have I been missing out on????? We shall see!
Looks what I found!
I've been looking for a purse. I mean I have really and truly be looking. For months! And nothin'. I'm picky, I know, I know. But a purse is, somehow a very personal item. Like shoes. Nobody else can choose my shoes for me. It's not just about the way they look, it's also about how they feel. Same kind of thing. Sort of. Only I can choose my purse.
And this one, at long last, was the one. After months of searching (and searching and searching!) and being frustrated and dismayed by each trip. And worrying every day that one of my previous bags, which was nearly as old as time, and beginning to thin out where the straps met the purse, was going to give up the ghost, finally, I was bringing home my new purse! I know it sounds silly but really, I was so happy I smiled for the rest of the day!
Here are my two previous purses which I kind of alternated between:
These are the ones I was replacing. So I knew what I didn't want. The questions was, what kind of purse did I want this time 'round? How did I know that the one I ultimately chose was "The One" ?
Oh let me count the ways: To begin with, it is the right shape. Kind of a long triangle. I have found that is the most comfortable shape for me to carry. I have tried lots of other shapes and I find that I am always fussing with my purse when I carry those. Moving it around, trying to find a comfortable way to hold it. The long triangle shape (if you look at it sideways) works for me.
And it's not too big, not too small. I tried "down-sizing" with my last purse and while I enjoyed that it was not as heavy, even though I didn't have much in it, I always had to take nearly everything out to find something. Ridiculous and inconvenient. The purse prior to that was so large it was nearly like luggage. I always alikened it to Mary Poppins carpet bag. I could fit almost anything in it. Which is very handy when travelling but not necessary for a trip to the grocery store. For a day-to -day purse, it was like spelunking to find whatever I was looking for.
The new purse has a zippy pocket on the inside. Absolutely essential and to be fair both of my old purses had that too, which is why I knew I needed it. Small things like a chapstick, a nail file, a pen or a bandaid drift to the bottom of any other purse and then it is a scramble to find it. Nope, the interior zippy pocket is an absolute must!
The new purse has a pocket on the outside. Now this pocket only has a flap that snaps shut, so I wouldn't put much in it, but an envelope, a grocery list or, as it turns out, my phone, fit in it beautifully. My old Mary Poppins purse had so very many pockets and zippy places that in addition to it cavernous interior, when I was looking for something, I also had to go through multiple snap and zippered pockets! This is so much easier. Fewer places to put things means fewer places to hunt through.
The strap is the right size and there is only one of them. It is a shoulder bag. And that is where it sits, perfectly, on my shoulder. My previous colourful small bag had a very long strap that made it a great cross body bag. I thought that sounded like a great idea. Turns out it wasn't. My giant Mary Poppins bag had two sets of straps, one short so it could be hand held (although it was so huge that it looked silly that way) and a double strap that made it a shoulder bag. The shoulder bag part worked but the double strap part meant that I was forever losing one of the straps. I also looked like a woman wearing a ill-fitting bra constantly slipping the strap back up on her shoulder. Annoying.
I love the dark blue colour. It's not a boring beige or black nor a beautiful white (that let's face it will immediately get dirty). It's also not a pattern. I actually found several other purses that I liked a lot but they all were a colourful fabric pattern. And I found with my small colourful previous bag that it really bugs me when my purse clashes with my clothes. I know, I know, it's ridiculous. But then I am ridiculous soooo there we go. I saw one that I considered that was a great fuschia pink. I mean smack you upside the head pink. And I liked it. But I hesitated. And
the hesitation was enough for me to say, nope. Not doin' it. It was the right choice.
Then there was the price. We all know what cheapskate I am. And that extends to purses too. I probably should replace my purse pretty much every year because I am so hard on them. I use them constantly. I generally have just one and I use it nearly every day. If I have to replace it yearly, why would I spend a lot of money on it? This was was on the discount rack. At an Outlet store. On senior day. You know that makes me happy. It cost a whopping $11.24. And I'm not even kidding a little bit about that.
And the best part...did you notice the giant SH on the front? That's my initials! It appears to be literally made for me! HAHAHAHAH Actually it stands for Sag Harbour which is the brand. But I don't' care. As far as I'm concerned it stands for Sam Humphreys!
So there it is. My new purse. I am a happy girl.
And you, please, have a happy Weekend!
It takes so little to amuse me. Really. I always heard the saying, "simple pleasures for simple minds" and I suppose I am a case in point.
Recently, even though it was a traditional work day, Tim was not working from home! He was away for the day! Wow! I'm not used to be home alone anymore. I decided to use that day to my best advantage which means, at the very least, washing/polishing floors in general and cleaning Tim's office (without disturbing any of his myriad piles of stuff) in specific. This includes cleaning his leather desk chair. Leather furniture requires special care if it's going to last and since his fanny wasn't in his chair that day, it was the perfect day to do it.
Usually when Tim is home I try my best to be quiet. Not tippytoe mousie quiet, but I try to be courteous. If he is video conferencing it would not be cool to have me vacuuming behind his chair. If he is trying to concentrate on a thorny problem, it would not be helpful for me to have music blaring in the next room. See? Not anything crazy, just consideration on my part. It's not a hardship on me. I have music "playing" in my head all of the time anyway so I am not without tunes and for the rest, it's just a matter of scheduling my own chores around what he is doing. Not a big deal.
Still, with Tim gone for the day, I had the entire work-a-day to do what I hoped to accomplish. And sometimes what I wish to accomplish requires music. A lot of music. Really LOUD music. And singing along. Singing along at great volume. And dancing. Lots and lots of very very bad dancing. It felt to me as if it would be those sorts of chores and therefore, that sort of day.
I selected my work-along music with great care. It had to be the music A) I want to hear and B) high energy music suitable for high energy work. So lively and loud were both required. On these rare days. I use my computer to provide the noise. It's centrally located so I can hear it from anywhere in the house and it has really good speakers that I, otherwise, rarely use. So there we go.
Initially I wasn't certain whose music I wanted to hear. So I spent a little time piddling around first pulling up one musician then discarding it for another. I don't know why the Beatles came to mind really but I'm so glad they did. Once I got started on them, my chores, and therefore, my day, flew by.
I danced around the house as I swept and vacuumed and polished and cleaned and sang my heart out. I sang until my voice gave out and then I sang some more in a raspy, hoarse growly voice that would have scared small children. I'm sure I looked as if I were having some sort of strange attack while I was dancing (because I am not good at it and I know it) AND what's more, I didn't care one bit. It was glorious.
And the thing that surprised me the most was that I remembered all of the words. Every word to every song was spot on. That is kind of crazy. How is it that we have had the same home number for more than 3 years now but I cannot for the life of me remember my home phone number, but I know every word to every Beatles song ever written. And by the way, that is 213 songs written as "The Beatles". This number doesn't take into account the other songs that they wrote and performed on their own after the big break up. And yup, I know those songs too.
My best guess is, my demented brain has chosen to use selective memory. For whatever reason, my brain discards any information that it seems useful and will instead hold on fiercely to anything non-essential.
For instance, I learned, way back in the 6th grade, that the Amazon River was about 4,000 miles long. I have never forgotten it. I also never needed to know it. Never once has there been a circumstance where I was called upon to provide that information.
I also know that a sneeze travels at about 100 MPH and that it is impossible to lick your own elbow and that there are 336 dimples on a regulation golfball. Why do I know these things? Because I do not need to know these things. It 's just stuff that I read somewhere, once upon a time, and now that information is permanently stuck in my head leaving no room for far more important things like, again, my home phone number and the year that Tim and I got married. (I remember the date just fine - Dec 18th - it's the year that trips me up)
I know that Antares (the star) is 60,000 times larger than our own sun and that Leonardo DaVinci invented Scissors. I recall that polar bears are all left handed and a goldfish's memory is only 3 seconds long. Abraham Lincoln had a dog named Fido and the longest word that can be typed using just one row of the keyboard is 'typewriter'.
And yet, a few days ago I couldn't think of the word, toaster.
This getting older stuff is tricky. Perhaps even made a bit harder because my brain has always worked a little differently than other people's.
On the other hand, I take comfort in knowing that, apparently, until the day I die, I will still know all of the words to all of the Beatles songs. I may not know who I am by then, but I will still know who the walrus was.
For Labour Day this year, we decided that we were tired of waiting to see if we were going to get any hits by the outer bans of Hurricane Dorian. So despite dire predictions of wind and rain and in absolute defiance of common sense, we determined that a beach day was in order. And not just a beach day but a multi-beach day. Sometimes, you just gotta.
We started here in our own little island town of Venice. We walked around the jetty for awhile, admiring the beautiful water, watching boats go by and dodging the occasional low-flying pelican. There were no dolphins that day, or manatees but we did watch someone on a little round floaty-thing being towed by a boat and occasionally flipped into the air followed by splashing back into the water and then being fished out by the people on the boat over and over again. They seemed to be having a fine time. There weren't a lot of people out but enough that we weren't there alone.
Then some dark clouds started to roll in and we got back in the car.
As the rain began hammering down we headed north to Lido Beach in Sarasota. We are very familiar with Lido. Years ago when we just visited Florida with great frequency, we generally stayed in Saraosta at a hotel right across the street from Lido Beach. The hotel was fine, nothing exciting but perfectly fine. The draw was a great view and the convenience of just strolling across the road and boom there you are on the sand. It's a beautiful beach of course and bonus points, very near St. Armand's Circle which is a very fun shopping district and a wonderfully diverse restaurant area. Well it's fun as long as you don't have to drive it. It's an awful place to drive, mostly do to its popularity. What do they call that? Being a victim of your own success? Yeah, I think that's it. I mean, if you are visiting and you are staying close enough to walk to St. Aramand's then it's great, but driving in for the day? Horrible. And good luck finding a place to park.
The rain had just ended so we jumped out of the car and splashed through a lot of puddles to walk around Lido Beach for a bit. As soon as we heard thunder rumbles, we beat feet back to the car and off we went to check out other beaches.
A lot of the beaches we saw were small and had little no no actual beach showing due to high tide and the storm bands but we still checked them out. I don't remember all of their names but one was Turtle beach. There is a restaurant right across the street from it called Turtle Beach Grill. Never ate there but we probably should.
So we continued to explore, driving on and off keys via one bridge of another and the sky kept changing. Sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy but always pretty. In fact, at one point, I don't remember which key it was, but as we were driving over the bridge, I looked off to the right and it was so beautiful. Vivid blue skies with big puffy clouds and sun sparkles on the water. Then I looked to the left and there was a grey wall of rain just hammering the heck out of the water, the wind blowing white caps into the sea and lightening flashing just for the heck of it. Literally...right side sunny, left side stormy. Florida is a crazy place.
Our final beach stop was at Siesta Key which is technically part of Sarasota. But it's only about 15 minutes from home and therefore closer to us then Sarasota proper. Siesta Key's claim to fame is that year after year it is voted Best Beach in America. I'm not sure who is voting but I have read that phrase over and over again so it must be true. During high season it is a nightmare to drive. Soooo Much Traffic! I cannot imagine living there but people do.
It is a very nice beach. Very deep and very long. Lots and lots of sand so loads of places to claim as yours with blanket and umbrella. They boast very clean bathrooms, a decent amount of parking and again, the beautiful gulf waters. In fact the beach is so big and so deep that it felt as if it took forever to get to the water! I'm not complaining, just stating fact. It's a long ways from parking to walking in the water. There were probably more people on the Siesta Key beach than all of the other beaches we visited Monday combined. And still there was plenty of room. That's very nice. It had just finished raining (again) so there were lots of puddles for the birds to bathe in and that's adorable to watch.
It's funny when I break it down. A beach should be a beach should be a beach. Sand and sea right? Those are the only real ingredients necessary for a beach. And yet they are all different. Some are rocky. Some are sandy. Even the sand can be different from beach to beach, pink, gold, white or black. Some have awesome shells. Others are great for snorkeling, or volleyball, or frisbee or letting your dogs frolic or beach-combing.
Some beaches have great dunes, others have a fun boardwalk. Some are more suited for kayak and canoe launching or picnics. Some are close to fun towns to explore others are far away from everyone and everything.
Naturally we lean toward the beaches of Venice. I mean it's obviously one of the reasons that we chose this town to live in, right? And silly me, I say beaches of Venice. It's obviously just one big beach with numerous different access points. But in spite of my obvious bias for my own town's beaches, I can honestly say that I never met a beach I didn't like.
So that was our Labour Day. It was Beach Day!
Dorian, meanwhile, has absolutely decimated the Bahamas and has now set her sights on the east coast of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Our thoughts, best wishes and prayers go to friends, family and total strangers who live in it's path. Please find a safe place and stay there until it's over!!!! Hugs
Before we begin, I need to tell you that I actually wrote this blogpost yesterday, Monday. I often write one day ahead because I almost always have things going on first thing in the day and I don't want to get so busy that I forget to write a blogpost at all during the course of a crazy day. So the way it works best for me is that I often write a day (or sometimes two) ahead and then schedule it to post on the day of my choice. It's not a big deal most of the time but what I'm writing about today is more time sensitive. The point here is that, things may have changed between when I actually wrote this post and when it posted. If that is the case, I will update as the week goes by ;)
Now back to our regularly scheduled program:
Soooo Hurricane Dorian. Yeah. Well. For the good people of the Bahamas it has been an absolute nightmare. My heart breaks for them. And, as of this writing, it seems that the storm is going to apply itself strictly to the east coast of Florida, Georgia and both of the Carolinas. My deepest concerns, thoughts, prayers and wishes go out to all of them. But here, things are absolutely fine. The photo above I took from one of my favourite spots here on the island on Saturday. No sign of anything except a lovely day.
Please understand that I am not even a little bit disappointed. I am grateful and thankful beyond words that the original reports on this hurricane Dorian, completely changed for us. To say that we are relieved is an understatement.
The initial reports, toward the middle of last week were that this hurricane was going to eat the entire state of Florida for lunch. People freaked out. It was only two years ago that Hurricane Irma stopped in for a visit and made a big mess of things. So it was still fairly fresh in our memories. Within 24 hours of the first report the grocery stores looked like this:
That would be batteries, crackers, bread and water. Of course it would. And I would have said, fine. That's fine. If you need it, you should definitely buy it. That's why the stores carry it. Except that we saw people fill carriages fully with loaves of bread and then another carriage with bottles of water topped with 10 packages of flashlight sized batteries. Full Carriages of one product. Kind of ridiculous. Yes, buy what you need, but only what you need. There is no need to corner the market on one sort of item!
We were fine. Tim and I know how to make do and work around things. Tortillas work as well as loaves of bread and in fact, amusingly, nobody thought to buy the bread in the store bakery. There was Plenty of that! Water? We always have water on hand anyway AND we are smart enough to fill water bottles and pitchers from our own tap when we know there is a storm coming. Costs nothin'. So honestly we were set anyway. Before we set out for the grocery store I said to Tim, "Y'know, there is enough food here. If it were absolutely necessary we could survive for a week on what's already in the pantry. We might eat kind of funny, but we would eat". Tim agreed but there is something about the possibility of losing power that makes us crave stupid stuff like cheese crackers and M&M's. It's an unusual combo, yes, but we like it.
We passed so many gas stations and we saw people not just filling their cars up and maybe one extra gas cans but multiple gas cans. As in, a dozen gas cans! What? Why on earth do you need that much gasoline? There was even a fellow filling up multiple home depot buckets. Yup those enormous orange buckets emblazoned with the name of the home improvement store on the side. I hope he also had lids because otherwise, as he drives, the gas is going to be sloshing all over the inside of his vehicle. Nasty!
Consequently, in very short order, there was no gas. Zero. None. Not a drop to be found anywhere.
Lots of folks here abouts hit the road the instant they hear that a hurricane is even possible. One whisper of the word Hurricane and they are gone! I don't know for sure where they all went, but I have a friend in Tennessee and she reports a lot of "refugees" from Florida in her area right now. So I guess we know one place they headed. Hope they had enough gas for the trip!
Tim and I are more the calm types. Let's wait and see.
Our more relaxed attitude served us well. This storm has been such a slow mover, I mean here it is, a whole new week and it hasn't touched Florida yet, we suspected that it's track would not only change (which it did) but also we could tell that we had plenty of time to make decisions. Nothing had to be done or decided immediately. By Friday, the storm track had changed significantly and the west side of the state breathed a collective sigh of relief. And we didn't have to leave home to do it.
We will, no doubt, still get wind and rain thanks to the outer bands of the storm, but nothing like people in it's direct path will suffer. In theory, the rain will begin for us at some point today. I'm looking out the front window right now at an absolutely cloudless blue sky and sunshine. So no rain yet. Maybe it will be sometime this afternoon. Or even this evening. Who know?
Bulletins as they happen!
Hope all of you had a great holiday weekend :)
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.