October 31st, 2018
Kind of weird to have a "holiday" (and I use the term loosely) in the middle of week anymore. I thought all of them had been moved to the far more convenient Friday or Monday. Well except Christmas and New Years Day oh! and Thanksgiving. Hmmm I guess it's just the lesser holidays that have been moved now that I actually think about it. Easter always moves around on it's own anyway so that doesn't count.
Still, I confess that when I was much younger and they started moving holidays around I was a little ticked. How dare you move that day! And only for the purpose of giving people 3-day weekends? And then they started combining holidays. Instead of Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's birthday being separate, now they are celebrated by car salesmen everywhere as Presidents Day! "Come in for the huge Presidents Day Sale" Because somehow buying a car is a form of celebration. Well, I guess the car salespeople will celebrate having made a sale. And the president's faces are on money. Maybe that's the connection?
It was great, as a kid, to have an unexpected day off from school in the middle of the week. Always a nice surprise. A Tuesday/Saturday celebration. That is a Tuesday that felt more like a Saturday. And I really loved school. Yes, I was one of those bizarro kids who really loved school. But even I appreciated the novelty of a mid-week day off once in a while. I never really knew what to do with myself on a middle of the week day that wasn't a regular school day. And how do you celebrate that day properly? I mean, it's the reason we have the day off. Shouldn't we be doing something special? Especially as a kid. As a child you are tied to whatever decision your parent makes. If they weren't into celebrating arbor day, nothing was getting planted, right?
And Columbus Day, seriously? We are still celebrating that? Why? He never actually made it to America. So all that stuff I was taught in primary school was wrongwrongwrong and I'll still never get the little rhyme out of my head "In 14 hundred and 92 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and discovered America. NOT! We all understand now that is not the case. Though plenty of other explorers actually were here...Ponce de Leon, Amerigo Vespucci, Leif Erickson, Sir Francis Drake... and we aren't celebrating them! I know, instead of calling it Columbus Day, we could call it Explorers day! Or something like that. Just a thought. I mean if they can change the Washington's Birthday to Presidents Day, surely it wouldn't be a big deal to change a day that is just flat out wrong .
Attentioin who ever is in charge of Holiday decision on a federal level: we are talking about the fellow who was Our First President and therefore the beginning of a trend and kind of an important guy, to say nothing of his accomplishments as a Revolutionary War General and one of the creators of this country and we don't celebrate his birthday anymore? But we still are holding on to Columbus day? I find that weird.
When I became a working adult, I was all over a 3-day weekend for any reason at all. Don't care. Call it National Clean up Your Dog Poo Day, give me an extra day for my precious weekend and I'll celebrate with you. And I don't even own a dog!
But actually, I hardly ever got any of those lesser holidays off anyway. Almost every job I ever had was at least peripherally medical and we didn't take time off for President's Day or Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Day or any of those. And honestly I don't know of any job that closes for Halloween. Halloween. The one Holiday that SHOULD have been moved to the weekend, and it wasn't. Little kids, all dressed up, excited, racing around the neighborhood with a rapidly heavier bag of loot, amped up on sugar and now they have to hurry up and go home, take off the costume and make-up and go to bed because tomorrow is a school day? Are you insane? It'll take them an extra hour just to cheer down enough to stop talking about how cool it all was and sort through those goodies.
Didn't you do that? Sort through the candy? Count to see how many of each thing you got. Trade with someone else the stuff you didn't like as well. When we were kids, my sister and I put at least a few pieces in the freezer and most of the rest in the fridge.a To this day I love cold chocolate. We were generous children and shared our ill-gotten gains with our parents and grandmother. There was plenty to go around.
And here it is again. I have no idea what sort of turnout we will get. Could be a lot. Could be just a little. But we are prepared regardless. I won't be in costume. But I will be passing out the goodies. Generously.
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!
October 30th, 2018
It is absofreakinlutely gorgeous outside now! Finally! At Long Last! After the longest summer in the history of Florida, finally we are having the weather that people move here for.
Sunday the high was 78 and so I opened windows all over the house. The Official Opening of the Windows has arrived!! Some of our windows open and close the standard up and down way. Some open side to side and a couple of them have to be cranked open. I do not care how they open. What matters is, the windows are open.
It's a big deal. And usually, once the windows are open, they do not close again until July when the AC comes back on. And I just love it. That lovely fresh air sweeping the old stale air conditioned air out of the house and bringing in clean sea air and the fragrance of flowers and earth and green things. Yummy!
Of course, it's also letting in sound. I had forgotten about that part. Apparently, even those our windows are not the most up to date, latest and greatest in window innovation, they are pretty darned soundproof. And I know this because Monday morning, I woke up like I was shot out of a cannon. Mostly because for the first time in many months, I heard, through the open windows, the sounds of a garbage truck being loaded in front of the house which kind of sounds like a cannon. Me Oh My that is loud. And Early!
We can now also hear, the horn on the north bridge blasting warning that the bridge is about to go up, the lawn care guys from all over the neighborhood working, every doggone bird on the island chirping it's fool heard off, the radios blasting in every car that drives by and more sirens that I would have thought for a small town. There is a new house being built, where an old house used to be, just around the corner from us. I know because every single solitary construction truck they use drives by our house, their brakes squeal like piggies at the stop sign on the corner and then there is the sound of hammers and pnuematic nail guns ringing through the air. Oh yeah, there is a lot going on here. It's a happenin' place.
But I will adjust. Having open windows is worth dealing with the transition from suddenly hearing all this noise to it becoming just background white noise. And then I won't notice it at all.
It's kind of silly what a big deal open windows are to me. I mean, it's not like I'm trapped in a windowless space. This house has LOADS of windows. I can see out. And when I wash the windows I can see out even better :) But like a cat who is never happy with a closed door, I am never totally happy with a closed window.
I do the same thing in the car. Car AC is on when it's super hot of course, but when it's nice like this, oh baby, those windows are wide open as I'm driving down the road and I am gulping in that fresh air as if it were water and I was dehydrated.
I've worked in those big 'climate controlled" buildings before. Lots of windows, none of them open. They remain closed at all times. The temperature is never right for everyone of course. No matter how carefully they they try, there is always someone who is too hot and someone who is too cold. Dress accordingly! And that's fine. But I keep thinking about how we are just breathing effectively the same recirculated air over and over. How healthy can that be? And the smell is always a little stale, even when it's been newly cleaned.
Same thing happens every time I fly. Regardless of the weather outside, I cannot wait to get off the plane, out of the terminal and OUTSIDE to breath real air, even if it's just for a few minutes until we get in the car. It's almost a feeling of claustrophobia. Yeah, I know, I'm weird.
Other than the noise issue, to which I will soon adapt, there are other downsides of course to having open windows. It could rain in if there was a sudden, unexpected shower and I wasn't home. On a really windy day, there could be an extra layer of dust in the house. On a super windy day, if the window blows hard enough the curtains try to fly and get tangled up a bit. All minor inconveniences as far as I'm concerned. I do not care. The windows are open and I'm happyhappy. When the Florida version of winter rolls around it will be downright cold and I will put on a sweater but those windows will stay open!
Now that the windows are open again and fresh air fills the house, I am happier, I am sleeping better and oh my the house smells so good without even baking.
Yeah, this is good.
October 29th, 2018
There was an insert in our Sunday paper that was all about music. Specifically, "The 25 Greatest Live Albums of the 1970's"!!
Hey! The 70's. I graduated high school in 1971 so that was a prime music listening era for me. All right! I was all sorts of excited to read this insert!
And it was interesting. I was particularly interested to learn that I never owned a single one of the albums they listed. Not only that, but I never owned any albums by any of the artists listed! Yikes! I was never ever cool was I?
I was at least familiar with all of the artists listed in the article. Whew! I'm not a total freak. Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Peter Frampton, The Who, The Grateful Dead, oh yeah, I knew who they were. I just never, ever, EVER bought a single one of their albums. I'm not absolutely certain why that is so, but it absolutely is the truth.
I grew up in a house of filled with music. Most of it Classical or popular music of my mom's era. So I was very familiar with Rachmaninoff, Bach and Hayden. I could sing along with the scores of any number of musicals and knew all the words to 'Moon River" and "Danke schoen". And of course I was good friends with loads of Christmas Music. but as far as I knew, music began and ended there.
Shortly after we moved to St Louis, however, my knowledge based increased exponentially.
The next door neighbors at our new home there were the nicest folks. A couple with three daughter. One nearly grown, one teenager and one my younger sisters age. My sister and the youngest became best friends instantly. The neighbors middle daughter was just enough older than me that we weren't really friends. Friendly, but not friends y'know? And while it was just a matter of a year or so difference in our chronological ages, in was light years in sophistication ages.
On one of the days that she did ask me over to her house (a rare occasion), the invitation was specifically to listen to her new record. Wow! Okay! I was so tickled to be invited over, a little shy and uncomfortable so very quiet, not much of a conversationalist on my part. But as soon as I went into her room, she said, 'Listen to this!" and the needle lowered onto the record. I was totally unprepared for the sound that came out. Holy Cats! What was this stuff I heard? I had not only never heard anything like that, I never imagined anything like it either!
It was The Beatles! One of the early albums. I fell in love straight away with this new music that I was hearing. Wow! But it was a few years before I heard it again. Not until we moved to Texas. Then I got a clock radio for a birthday gift one year and tuned it in to KFJZ (King Z) and listened to the Mark E. Baby show after school every day. (The E stood for Walter) and suddenly the world of Rock'n'Roll opened it's doors to me and MY world was never the same again.
I became familiar with all sorts of popular music, Janis Joplin, 3 Dog Night, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Wow! Awesome on top of Fantastic on top of Amazing!
But I wondered about how the radical change could have taken place. To go directly from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones seemed like an impossible leap. There had to have been something in the middle. So I looked backwards a little bit and discovered all that amazing 50's and 60's music that I never knew about. Elvis Presley (how on earth did I miss Elvis?) Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. There it was.
Back a little rather I found the stunning Billie Holiday, Buddy Holly and Ella Fitzgerald. Okay, the transition was making more and more sense to me and I looked backwards. And I loved it. I loved it all. Blues, Jazz, country and gospel music was the platform that built rock'n'roll . It was perfectly logical and absolutely wonderful. And I loved it all.
I listened faithfully to the radio and on very rare occasions bought records. I was always tight with a buck so I made careful decisions what albums I would buy, only choosing the ones I really loved. It was Rock-lite I confess. But that's what spoke to me the most. Oh I had a few Beatles Albums, I mean, I had to. For me it all started there and let's face it, they are the icons. But my collection was mostly the Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Dr. Hook and Harry Nilsson. Lots and lots of Harry Nilsson. There was a Marshall Crenshaw album in there somewhere and Bette Midler, The Pointer Sisters and Billy Joel that went off the college with me.
And then people were buying 8-track tapes. Yikes! I couldn't afford to replace all of my favourite albums with 8-tracks! So I didn't even try. Nope, I skipped that entirely. But the day finally came when I couldn't even buy a Record Album. I had to move on the cassettes. Yuck. I hated cassettes. I hated how they got stuck in the cassette player in the car. I hated the way the film inside the cassette would "break" and have to be spliced together so that that particular track would forever have a skip in it. And especially I hated having to replace my favourite music. So I hardly did. Oh I did buy a couple of cassette, but not many. And it's a good thing too.
Because the next trend was CD's. I do not believe that I ever bought a single music CD for myself. I definitely got a few for the kids (they fit in Christmas Stockings) and for Tim. And I received some as gifts. I have them in my car right now as a matter of fact. But now technology has moved on again and now apparently music is all about downloading it on your cell phone. It's an App. Of course it is. Everything is now. I do not listen to music on my phone. I did have an MP-player that was loaded with my favourite stuff and I listened to that with ear buds sometimes. But I had to crank it up pretty high to hear it well enough (pre-hearing aides) which, no doubt, contributed to my already existing hearing loss. I don't do that anymore.
I love the quality of recorded music nowadays. No skips, no pops, no scratchy sounds. It's absolutely streamlined perfection. But there was an earthy, hardcore charm to those old 45's and 33's and even the older 78's. They are more real, more authentic, less produced and processed. Hey, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the new technology. I'm just saying the old stuff was more real. Even I could be made to sound good with production tech nowadays.
Currently, I mostly listen to music by memory. I can bring to mind, any music I've ever heard and it's right there between my ears anytime I want to hear it. When Tim is traveling I can listen to anything I want on my computer and so I do. All day long. It's right there at my fingers tips and I do love having the entire library of existing music available to me.
I stayed fairly familiar with current music trends through the kids when they still lived at home and most of it, I liked. I'm far more out of touch with popular tunes now and that's okay with me. I don't actively dislike what little bit I have heard, but I don't feel connected to it the way I have other forms of music. And that's probably okay too. I honestly don't feel as if I'm missing out.
So this all started with an article on the 25 best albums article. And that is somebody's opinion. It's not My list though. Maybe I need to put some thought to that. I wonder what my list of the 25 best albums would be. I'll have to put some thought into that.
What albums would be on your list?
October 26th, 2018
When I went out early this morning to bring in the newspaper, look what I found at the end of the driveway (in addition to the newspaper I mean). Autumn Leaves!! Real, honest to goodness, autumn leaves ones! Wow!
You have no idea what a big deal this is to me!
First of all, this is Florida. We don't really have autumn. We have summer lite. After a few months of high heat and even higher humidity, we are over the moon delighted to just have simply warm and sea-breezed, sunny days. YAYAYAYAY! In fact, occasionally, in the evening, I may have to .......put on a sweater! Gasp! Yes! Shocking! Not Tim. He's still too hot. But low 80's with much lower humidity feels absolutely lovely to the rest of us. And if it dips below 75 at sunset, I start to feel chilly, hence the sweater. Still, it wasn't really feeling like fall to me.
No nip in the air. No frost on the pumpkins. No trees afire with colour. Not cold enough for chili's or stews or roasts or casseroles or the baking of pies. Not cool enough to wear jeans or socks or long sleeves during the day. No jolly jack-o-lanterns decorating front steps (too hot, they will decompose too quickly here) And it's not dreary or gloomy or cloudy at all. No bare branches or whistling winds, no freezing rain or snow or event the threat of it. No chipping ice off the windshields of the car.
But a handful of mysterious brightly coloured autumn looking leaves did the trick for me. Now it feels like autumn. At least a little bit. In the mist of all this green, a few dried red leaves turned the seasonal tide.
It's a bit of a mystery where these leaves came from. When I looked around the yard, I saw lots of palm trees, jasmine and hibiscus, live oak, jacarandas and other stuff I do not know what is, but I know what it isn't. And what it isn't is something deciduous. Live oaks do produce acorns. So there are loads of them on the ground. But they stay green year 'round. So no pretty coloured leaves there. As I walked to Pilates class this morning, I checked out the neighborhood, sneakily, expecting to see something with either bare nekkid branches or a few colourful leaves still clinging. Nope. Nothing. Just green green green as far as the eye can see. A few blossoms of one sort or another and some oranges just ripening.
It's a mystery! So mysterious in fact, that I took one of the leaves to class with me. We all crowded 'round that leaf as if it were some valuable ancient relic dug up in my backyard. Everyone had theories on where these leaves came from. The most amusing was that some visitors from New England picked a bunch of leaves before they came to Florida, and drove by, tossing leaves willy nilly from their car windows as they passed, snickering to themselves all the while, fully aware of the questions that would ensue. That's an awesome theory.
It may not be what actually happened, but that's my favourite idea (so far) and so I'm sticking to that one, until and unless a better one happens along. If you have another theory, please do share.
Meanwhile, the timing could not have been better. Halloween is next week, it's nearly November and it's high time I felt Autumn-ish. And now I do. Maybe I'll bake a pie!
October 25th, 2018
Have you ever done one of the "Tour of Homes" things? They go by other names too. I know I've heard it called the "Parade of Homes". There are probably other names too. They are all the same thing regardless of what they are called.
Tim and I went to the above one last Saturday. We always enjoy touring model homes and these were very newly built. So new in fact, that one model didn't even have time to get any of their interior doors in place. No worries, I know what doors look like. I can imagine them.
Now when you think about it, every house is pretty much the same. Floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors. Kitchen, living/family room, bedroom, bathroom. That's a house. A Box with dividers in it. And maybe that's why I am constantly amazed at the enormous number of different ways to put those boxes together. It seems to be infinite variations.
Despite those zillion or different ways of creating what is effectively the same thing, there are some things that never change. For instance, brand newly built homes always have the same smell. It's all the New everything. Saw dust and wallboard, paint and grout, Polyurethane and PVC adhesive.....it's unpleasant. And it's the first thing that smacks me in the face as soon as we walk through the door. But unavoidable I suppose. It's just an observation, not a criticism.
The vast majority of the time, everything always looks lovely though. These homes are decorated so beautifully that each room is like an art installation. Each piece of furniture, every fabric selection, the colours and even the tchotchkes are perfectly suited to each room and to each home. I marvel at the talent of the decorators of these houses; their creativity, their vision. To be able to walk into an blank, empty space and immediately see the finished product in their minds is incredible to me. And then to bring that vision to life is a whole giant step further down a mystery road to me.
I will admit that occasionally, when I don't care for the decorators taste, it's hard for me to see past it. I'm not saying that the decorator had bad taste. Not at all. I'm just saying that it just doens't appeal to me. I just don't share their vision.
I like rooms to be light and bright and happy places. And occasionally we walk into a house that is darker and more closed and somber and so sleek and minimalist that it feels cold to me. It does not say, "Welcome Sam!"
I know that some people really like that style. I am just not any of those people. And that's fine. It's just decor. It's not the bones of the house. And Tim urges me to see past the stark greys and blank surfaces, to admire the lines of the room, the flow of the house. I find myself distracted by how the decor makes me feel instead.
Or the decorator has gone the other way and it's just too much. Too frou-frou. Too Girlie. Just too much! Then I feel like I"m suffocating, I'm crowded by the sheer amount of stuff in the room. Yikes! Bows and lace and pink coming at me from every direction!!! We once walked into a master suite that was so ridiculously over cute that even Tim burst out laughing. And once again, it's distracting.
But most of the time, the decor is perfect and each home is different and interesting and it's about how the home will work for you, the individual. Does it speak to you? Would it serve the purposes of your family, your needs, your taste?
Tim and I find that, a lot of the time, we like the kitchen of one house, the master suite of this other house, the patio of yet another and the laundry room of a different one. And even when it's a room we really like, there are usually things we would want to change. Yes we do that. We have those conversations while walking through the home. We are shameless. But honest! We say things like: "It's a nice room. I like the workspace, it has plenty of storage, but there are no windows! I always prefer to have natural light in every room" And then Tim points out that the room is on an outside wall and a window can be put in. Like that. Yes we do that sort of thing. Throughout the entire walkthrough of each model. In every room. Often.
If we had endless buckets of money, at this point, we probably know exactly what we want and could tell an architect exactly, precisely what we want in a custom built house, right down to the placement of windows and arrangement of shelves in a pantry. Ahh it's fun to dream.
I'm not certain how many more possible variations on the theme of box with dividers there are left for us to see but we will probably keep going for the ideas, the entertainment and to admire other people's creations. It's sort of like an art gallery. Kind of.
And when there is another Tour of Homes or Parade of Homes, I'm sure we will go to that one too. And some of them we will like, and some we won't, and we will talk about it all the way home.
Clearly we are easily amused.
October 24th, 2018
Well dang, I've made the classic Halloween mistake. Again. But I'm not alone. I'm reasonably certain that the only people who have never done this, are the people who leave their porch light off on Halloween night and opt out entirely.
I speak of course of buying Halloween candy too early.
The problem is, the stores have the candy on sale too early. Sale! Is there any sign in a grocery store more appealing? On Sale! Buy One Get One! Woohoo! To take advantage of the sale, we have to buy early. They are always a "limited time offer". In my case it was a BOGO sale. Awesome! I knew it was too early but was certain that I could control myself. That I would be disciplined enough to just leave those bags safely in the pantry, untouched, until Halloween night. I have no idea why I thought that would be true. It never was before.
Actually I am not the one who broke into the candy bags early.........this year. Nopem this time it was Tim! And once the bags are open, they are fair game. Apparently this is the rule.
Fortunately this happens to be extremely small candy. Not 'Snack Sized', not 'Fun Sized, but 'Bite Sized'. Yes each goody is a single, individually wrapped bite of Milky Way or Snickers or whatever else is in there. One Single Bite. Which allows us to eat multiple candies with impunity right? How many bites do you suppose there are in a regular sized Milky Way?
Actually, I can make that one bite last if I put my mind to it. I can just nibble away at it like a tiny mousie. Or put the entire thing in my mouth and let it slowly melt. It is very satisfying. But it doesn't keep me from doing it again. And possibly again. Sigh. It's very sad.
I think this is a clever merchandising ploy and I tip my hat to the brilliance of it all.
The stores put Halloween candy on BOGO sale early and like the fool I am, I buy it, confident that this year will be different. "This year", I delude myself, "This year, I will not eat any of it before Halloween." But of course I do and then suddenly it's the day before Halloween and I don't have enough goodies to hand out. Mercy! How did that happen? So I rush out to buy full-priced candy for the actual night that I need it. So they sell more candy ultimately. Clever, Very Very Clever.
And knowing this will probably not stop me from making the exact same mistake again next year. But I'm getting smarter. Now I'm just calling it part of the Halloween Tradition! Which somehow, makes it okay.
October 23rd, 2018
This could be me in a hundred or so years, or so I'm told.
Transhumanism. Quote, "An international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to grealy enhance human intellect and physiology"
Have you ever heard of it? I actually had not until last night. Tim and I were watching one of my favourite TV shows, "Expedition Unknown". Because we all already know I'm a nerd, this shouldn't surprise you. For the past 3 weeks the show has been devoted to exploring the various different concepts of, "The Afterlife", throughout the world. The host, Josh Gates, (who also hosts other exploration type shows) travels all over the world meeting people from not just other countries, but also other cultures and sub-cultures and introducing us, the audience, to new ideas. I totally dig it.
The entire show was fascinating and a lot of it was brand new interesting information but the one that was a real thinker for me was this Transhumanism idea. If you have never heard of it before, as my Dad what have said, What it all boils down to, is the desire to live forever in whatever form that might require. Live forever eh? I dunno.
A very long time ago I read a book called, "My First Ten Thousand Years", which was the autobiography of the man condemned by Jesus to live forever. I will snapshot it for you. He lived for ten thousand years and he was depressed a lot.
Transhumanists are cool with the idea of Cyrogenically preserving their brains so that, when technology is advanced enough, the person can be, for lack of a better word, uploaded into a robot body and continue forward in their life. Not in a different human body understand, because the biological body is fragile and tends to not stand the test of time. Specifically, they are interesting in moving the human experience forward technologically. Interesting.
I suppose the essence of the concept wasn't completely new to me. I've been a science fiction fan from the moment I discovered Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein which was before I was ten. Sci-Fi authors have played with that theme for a long time. It usually ends with robots taking over the world which is not so good for the remaining humans.
But Transhumanism as a real movement is something unfamiliar in my life until now. I had no idea these people have been active, and growing in number for a few decades now. Which makes it more real and therefore worthy of some real thought. Some of these folks have little chips already embedded under their skin. Computer ships that can be swiped with a phone to transfer information or can unlock the house door or even start the car just by proximity.
I suppose, in one sense, I am a little bit bionic. I wear computerized (and way cool) hearing aids to allow me to function in a near-normal fashion in the world. When I had my cataract surgery they implanted corrective lenses in my eyes to that I can see long distance. Both of these things vastly improved my life. So. Okay. I am on board that far anyway. Cocholear Implants, Totally Yes. Computerized replacement limbs for amputees, Completely with you on that too. In so many ways we have slowly adapted to the intrusion of technology in a way that has improved us, our lives and that of those around us.
But when it comes to being "uploaded" into a robot body 100 years after I'm dead? That was gives me pause.
First, at what point do I stop being me? I mean even if it were possible to cryogenically freeze and unfreeze without damage, my brain many years later, am I just a collection of ones and zeros and electronic transmissions? Theoretically I understand that my mental abilities should be intact, but would my personality and my memories also move forward? Would Robot Sam still get the heebie jeebies listening to Clair de Lune (and I have no idea why it happens but it does every single time). Would Robot Sam love white tulips? Would Robert Sam still be nervous driving? Those are very small, very specific things, but they are part of the Sam-ness of who I am as opposed to generic female # 3450 y'know?
Second, if I am brought back 100 years from now in robot form and my Sam-ness is intact, I will have missed 100 years. That's one hell of a gap. Oh sure, I can read about the highlights of what went on in the interim, but that's not the same thing as experiencing it. I would be out of sync with everyone else around me, except the other robot-people from my era. Which brings me to the third thing.
I won't know anyone except other robot people from my era. I won't have anything in common with anyone alive - robot or human- who I would have to interact with in the future. No one who shares my memories and my experiences. I think it would be very lonely.
Sooooo I'm voting no. If it's what you want to do, go for it. But I think I'm opting out. It's fascinating to hear about new ideas, new philosophies, new technologies and contemplate what the future will bring, but I think I will stick to my own lifetime, thanks anyway.
October 22nd, 2018
Sooooo on Sunday, Tim made the mistake of asking me what I wanted to do. And what I wanted to do, what I reallly really wanted to do more than anything that day, was go to Myakka River State Park to hike.
Because my husband loves me and because it was the first truly beautiful day after an exceptionally long summer, that is exactly what we did. It isn't that Tim doesn't like being outside, he really does. But he feels that he hiked enough in the Marine Corps to last a lifetime. Heh. Cannot blame him for that!
But we both really did have a great time and spent almost all day hiking various trails, admiring the quiet, slightly mysterious, wildlife abundant surrounding of Myakka. It is one of the oldest parks in Florida having been designated so in the 1930's and one of the largest too with over 37,000 acres! Even though we hiked for hours, we barely made a dent!
We didn't realize until we had been hiking for awhile, but Tim hadn't been to Myakka in about 15-20 years! In fact, I think the last time we visited, we still lived in Connecticut! Two moves ago! Wow! It hasn't changed very much to tell the truth or at least as much as we remember. There were still wonderful views of the river, and the river still floods during the rainy season making sure that everything is very very well watered. The photo above is where the water is finally receding after flooding explaining the non-green parts. Normally that just plain dirt part is verdantly green but since it's been underwater, not so much. It'll green up now that the sun is touching it again.
When we were at Myakka the previous time, all those years ago, we went canoeing. It was my first time in a canoe and I was so taken by the stillness of it all. Gliding through the water silently, not even disturbing the birds or the alligators....Alligators??? Yup, at one point, Tim very quietly leaned forward as we paddled along and whispered to me, "Don't freak out, but slowly look off to your right". I did with a little trepidation and there it was moving quietly alongside our canoe, a big freakin' alligator. I froze, because that is my go-to move when I don't know what else to do and the gator kept swimming and went off to wherever it is that gator's go when they aren't terrorizing innocent canoe paddlers. It was an amazing and slightly scary moment. I suppose I don't have to say that we did not canoe this time, only hiked.
There is just so much variety of everything in Myakka, even the waterways! As we hiked along different parts of the river we saw clear beautiful wide river, murky bogs and swamps, narrow creeks with wooden bridges crossing it and loads of wildlife. See water-related wildlife in the slideshow below:
We saw so many different kinds of wildlife in the waters there. This is just a sample. Water birds of course, so very many different kinds of birds, water bugs (they were so funny), a water moccasin snake (creepy!) which we kept our distance from and an alligator (the thing that looks like a log in the water is in all actuality a gator). Kept our distance from that too.
Then we changed gears and hiked in the more foresty area. We hike quietly. It feels wrong to be raucous in the forest. It's such a beautiful pristine place that even the sound of our footsteps was too much noise. It's the most reverent church on the planet really and we treat it that way. We took a lot of photos and gorgeous things but the most beautiful moment for me was coming around a corner and seeing a deer crossing the trail just ahead of us. We stopped moving and tried to stop breathing because we didn't want to frighten her. She looked up and saw us then must have realized that we weren't going to harm her because she just continued quietly on her way. It was amazing. I cannot begin to tell you how it feels to have a wild creature have some degree of trust in you. Even if it's just for that one brief moment.
Before we left for the day, we lost our minds and decided that we should climb the fire tower. It's way high. Really tall. Lots and lots of climbing. We are crazy. In the wise words of Tim Humphreys, Up Sucks. But the view is completely worth the trip.
I wish I had asked Tim to take a photo of me at the top of the tower because after we got back home I realized that the last time we made that climb, those 15-20 years ago, I was wearing the Exact Same Outfit, including the hat! LOLOL here's the photo from all those years ago. Same thing. Just imagine a some more wrinkles.
We started the day with donuts...a real treat....and ended it with Mexican food from our favourite local Mexican place and then had those terrific hikes in between.
What a perfect way to spend a day!
October 19th, 2018
I actually have a subscription to this magazine. It was a gift from Tim but he got it for me because he knows how much I enjoy reading it. And this is not a recent pleasure. Not just an, "ok, I accept that I'm old now" kind of thing. Nope. I started reading this magazine a long time ago.
I think it was my mother's mother, who originally received a subscription to this magazine as a gift. I don't know for certain what year it was, but since she died in 1990, it was quite some time before that. And since I come from a family of readers, we share the wealth. Anything readable gets passed around. Eventually, it would cross my path as well. And of all the many and sundry magazines that everyone in my family received, this one, Reminisce, was my favourite.
It's photographs, memories about those photographs and articles about times gone by. I like history, I like people, and I like people's stories. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.
This most recent Halloween issue also had stories about: actor, Gregory Peck; the building of the Gateway to the West St. Louis Arch; Garage Bands of the 60's; John Deere Tractors; unusual pets; the 1946 Fords and much, much more. It's different every single time and every time it arrives in my mailbox I get so excited. I wait until I have the time to fully relax and enjoy it before I curl up to read an issue, front to back. Every single page. Magazine Bliss!
It's not the first magazine subscription I ever had. I think maybe Tiger Beat was the first. Way back in the mid 60's probably. Oh I did love that one too. The photos and articles about the coolest and grooviest of bands. Gradually I outgrew that one, thank goodness. Prior to Tiger Beat, I read MAD magazine religiously, although I did not have a subscription it. And before MAD was comic books. Lots and lots of comic books. Mostly Superman and the rest of the Super-family but there were some Archies and Richie Rich's in there too.
As a young working mother, of course I didn't have a lot of time to read so magazines were far more likely reading prospects than a novel for any free time I might have. (Free time as a young mother to 3 boys on a working farm and a job as well? HAH! that's a laugh) But here and there was a delicious moment or two to read something short and sweet. Magazines to the rescue! I would save all those magazines my family passed along to me until I had a moment now and again to read. Maybe just an article, maybe several. On rare occasions, I might make my way through an entire magazine in one sitting. Oh me oh my!
And what a variety of magazines too! From Good Housekeeping to Readers' Digest to National Geographic to People Magazine and everything imaginable in between, I just never knew what treasure was going to pop up in those batches of magazines that arrived.
My mother subscribed to more magazines than anyone I've ever known. And she really enjoyed them all too. I don't know if it's because she could never turn away any kid who came to her door selling magazines for school or how it happened. But it was perfect for her. Outside of Harlequin romance novels, which, let's face it, are pretty much all the same, she never had the patience to sit down and read an entire book, but she could pick up and put down a magazine as many times as she liked and eventually get through an article. She could read it in the bathtub, at the kitchen table, out in the yard or in the car! Eventually, she didn't even really read them anymore, but she absolutely loved looking at the photographs.
But my Dad got magazines too. Completely different ones. As did my Grandmother (who lived with them) and my sister too. It was a veritable cornucopia of magazine selections! What fun!
At some point when the boys were older, I treated myself with a subscription to a brand new magazines called, "Victoria". It's still around but I haven't read one in years. It was just so girly and pretty and ridiculously lovely. I think I was drawn to that particular magazines from all those years of being the only female in a house full of men. The husband, the boys and their friends just filled the house beyond capacity sometimes. I was happy to have them there. Happy to cook for them. Happy to hear them laughing and talking and throwing around sports names and listening to really loud music. Honestly I did love it. BUT sometimes it just felt like there were so many males in that house that testosterone fairly flowed down the walls. I needed some balance! Victoria was it, I suppose. I saved every issue for the two or three years that I kept the subscription. I read and re-read them. And then we moved to Colorado and nobody wanted them so I tossed them out and didn't renew it. I enjoyed it so much at the time, but I haven't missed it.
Before Tim and I got married, just for fun, I bought a few Bridal magazines. Every photograph was drop dead gorgeous! But of course I didn't do anything suggested in any of the magazines. Our wedding was very small, at home and on a seriously tight budget and absolutely perfect for us. But I surely did enjoy having an excuse to read those magazines.
Occasionally when we travel, I will pick up a fashion magazine at one of the little shops at the airport. They are huge and heavy and glossy with lots of ads and clothes I could never afford which is fine because I would look ridiculous in them. But I surely do the treat of reading one on a flight now and again. I always leave it in the back of the seatback in front of me for the next traveler. Or the flight attendants. Whoever wants it.
Tim got me a subscription to Food & Wine one year. Those magazines were chockablock with kitchen gadgets, fascinating recipes and information about various wines (about which I know almost nothing) and all sorts of restuarants that I never heard of. Sometimes and issue focused on specific foods or spices I had no familiarity with. It was fascinating! Tim and I often tuck into one another's stockings a magazine subscription. Always something new and different. I might give Tim one on Sailboats one year, another year could be RV's or Popular Mechanics. He might give me one about photography or writing or decorating. It's different every time.
For awhile we did that for the kids stockings too. A new and different magazine subscription for each kid every year. It was so much fun to choose each time and a magazine fits beautifully into a Christmas stocking. Then the stocking filling responsibility got turned over to the boys and their wives. It was time for them to have that fun :)
So now it's just Tim and I. Occasionally I'll still pick up a Readers Digest at the grocery store check out. It's a perfect read for taking a bath. And we each have our Christmas Stocking Magazine Subscription for this year. I'm so tickled with Reminisce that it would be absolutely fine if Santa renewed it for me again this year. But I wouldn't mind something new either.
One of the best parts about magazines is that seem to be an infinite number and variety of them. I suppose, eventually, I want to check them all out!
October 18th, 2018
This is the charm bracelet I had as a young girl. Sadly, I do not remember what age I was when this bracelet was started for me but I'm going to guess maybe 12 or so? Somewhere in that neighborhood. It came to me, I believe, as a birthday gift from my parents with one charm. Then over the next half dozen years-ish, I was given more charms, each signifying an important event.
The black cat was for my my cat Posh. The dog stood in for my mother's various Dachshund dogs that she had over the years. I do not remember the reason behind the "tree of life" charm though I'm sure it had significance.
I'm pretty sure the lobster and the boat represented various summers in Maine while the piano, musical note and violin were most probably due to performances. It's safe to assume that the birthday card, candle and American Flag were all about my July Birthday. I'm not sure what the clown was all for because I am not a big fan of clowns (although I'm told that at one time I collected them. I'm pretty sure that collection was not my idea). The Coo-Coo clock is cute but unless it's there because I'm a little "Kookoo", I'm not sure what that is about either. But the sewing machine I remember vividly. It dangles from that bracelet as a memorial to the fact that I got kicked out of Home EC do to a tragic sewing machine accident that was totally NOT my fault by the way. Ahem.
The bracelet was very in fashion at that time which was rare for me. It fell perfectly, just enough, over my hand and jingled just a little bit when I walked. When the light caught it, it seemed to twinkle in reflection. Just a pretty little thing. And fun to play with too. The piano lid lifted up and down, the wheel on the sewing machine turned and the pendulums of the clock kind of danced around when I moved my hand even the littlest bit.
While I loved the idea of the charm bracelet, and it was a very sweet thing for my family to do for me and clearly they put a great deal of thought into the selection of each of those charms, I actually didn't wear it often. Wearing it posed grave danger to my clothes.
All those picky edges and moving parts tended to snag on my outfits. Obviously delicate things like sweaters were in immediate danger of destruction at all times, but even blouses and things as unlikely as tee-shirts could be torn or caught by my bracelet. And once there was damage, there is no turning back. It's impossible to hide. The only thing I could wear it with safely would be a sweatshirt and well, that looked stupid so I never did.
Consequently, I still have that bracelet in pristine condition by the way, in the bottom of my jewelry case. I hadn't really given it much thought until maybe ten years (or so) ago when my sister gifted me with the beginnings of a new charm bracelet.
A completely different entity this new one. The charms had no picky edges. The sparkles and twinkles on this bracelet were from the facets of "jewels" and, the very best part, the charms were all removable. Joy gave me the bracelet with just a few charms to start and gave herself one too with the idea that we could, for gift giving occasions, give each other charms. What a great idea!
Over the years the number of charms have grown enough that we each have pretty little boxes
to keep the charms all together in one place. There are a lot of charms necessary to customize the bracelets to the occasion, our moods and our outfits! There are even multiple different bracelets at this point!
We have started bracelets for our daughters and in my case, daughters-in-law, and for very good friends who feel like sisters and have continued to help the charm and bracelet gallery continue to grow for every gift giving occasion for each other for years.
Oh we branch out occasionally. We have even made grand and sweeping statements to each other that we aren't doing charms anymore. Then Christmas tide or Birthdays rolls around and we find ourselves wandering around the Brighton store again, drawn in by new sparkle and new shapes and new bracelet options.
Oh we might deviate a little bit and buy each other earrings or a necklace now and again. And they are lovely and beautiful and we love them. But occasionally, we have to go back to the beginnings and add a new charm to someone's collection. And I love it.
This is a little different for many reasons. None of these charms has ever damaged any of my clothes for one thing. And I love that we can take off and put on new charms with ease, each combination creating an entirely new bracelet. It's so much fun to play "bead" now and again. I admit that I do not remember what each bead symbolizes although I do remember who gave me which ones. One of the best parts is that these bracelets do not sit idling in the bottom of my jewelry case, I actually wear them. Often. They are colourful, fun and super important to me, sparkly. And one of the biggest surprises is that if something should befall one of these beads, I can take it back to the Brighton store and they will either fix it or replace it. Holy Cats!
I had heard that rumour about fixing/replacing but honestly I didn't believe it until...... One of my beads was missing a stone. While probably nobody but me would notice, to me it was like a glaring neon sign was pointing at the bead blinking, "missing stone, flawed bead" for all and sundry to see. So I didn't use that bead which is dumb. Yup I completely took it out of circulation and when I built whatever bracelet I was wearing that day, the missing stone bead wasn't a consideration. It was rediculous. Finally I got brave. I walked into the Brighton store, fished the bead out of my pocket and asked them if it would be possible to replace the missing stone. Without a moments hesitation and a smile on her face the saleslady assured me that it would be taken care of, got my information and promised to contact me. A few weeks later, I receive word that they couldn't fix it, so they replaced it! Free of charge! Holy Cats Again!!
True to their word! Astonishing! How often does that happen anymore?
So now that the Christmas season is fast approaching, soon I will be off once again to the Brighton store to see what treasures lay awaiting. I do not know for fact if this will be a Bead Christmas or not until I explore the possibilities. But it's likely.
From childhood to adulthood I've gone sort of full circle with Charm bracelets. Bracelets, Circles. Hah! I like that ;)
October 17th, 2018
First of all, my Mama raised me right. I write thank you notes. I return phone calls. And I respond to everyone who writes to me be it snail mail, email, instagram, facebook etc, and also via my website.
There is spot built in for people to write to me. See? It's right there at the bottom of the page. photo above)
And some people do. Other folks write to me directly on the Facebook page, or they email me or IM me or talk to me on the phone, through Skype or in person. In short, there are many many different ways to contact me. AND I always respond. Every. Single. Time.
I have only just recently learned that people who write to me via the Readthybook.com website never, ever, ever receive my response to them. ARGH!
I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying it is, that I sometimes touch people with what I write. Sometimes it's just to tell me that they "get" me and have often experienced something similar. Other times it's to answer a questions I have asked or to correct an error I have made. It seems that once in awhile I've made someone laugh or at least smile. What I've written might evoke a memory that people want to share with me. One in a great while, the writer is someone who disagrees with what I've said. Sometimes that person disagrees vehemently. And that's fine too. I'm open to discussion. But usually the words that people write to me are kind and I love that it happens.
So I am beyond frustrated to learn that someone has taken the time and effort necessary to first, read what I've written and then, totally wow for me, they take even more time to write back! That is so wonderful! I read their words, formulate a response in my head and then - of course - I write back! I WRITE BACK! I do! And usually within 24-hours of having read what they wrote to me!
But, sadly, if you wrote to me directly on Readthybook, you didn't get to read my response to you. And I am so sorry. I had no idea.
This actually has happened on this website before. As soon as I found out, I contacted the website and they swore to me that it was fixed. I was operating under the assumption that was true. One should never assume. Shame on me.
I will contact them again. See if they can fix it for real this time. But in the meantime, please know that I am just tickled to bits and pieces when people contact me in any way when they've read this blog. I honestly do respond every single solitary time. And if that response hasn't doesn't get to you, my very sincere apologies.
In the meantime, if anyone wants to comment to me in a way that I CAN respond, please know that you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on my facebook page of course, in the meantime until this is sorted out (assuming that it ever is!)
October 16th, 2018
Snake. Quite literally, a snake in the grass.
I was out picking up deadfall in the backyard which is a fairly normal thing to be doing here. Especially after a windy day. I had an armload of palm fronds, twigs, seed pods and other bits of this'n'that when I caught a bit of movement just ahead of me. It slithered forward a bit then stopped, raised it's head and looked back at me.
I did what I always do when I don't know what to do, I froze.
We starred at each other just long enough for me to fish my phone out of my back pocket and with one hand, snap this quick shot before the snake continued on it's snakey way. First time I've seen a snake in our yard.
That does not mean that there never have been snakes in our yard before, mind you. It just means that I caught this one unaware and it was seen. I suspect that most snakes are smart enough to just not be seen.
I don't know much about snakes. I do know that the rattley ones are to be avoided. I recall when we first moved to Colorado and went for our first hike up in the foothills. There was a sign on the path that clearly warned, "Rattlesnakes on Trail". Yikes! Where? We looked around, saw nothing remotely snake-like and carefully continued our trek, eyes open and searching the entire time. Probably the most stressful hike I've ever been on. But that's only because it was new to me. After that, we hiked all the time. Never saw a snake while hiking in Colorado.
I did however see a few snakes in Colorado while just taking a walk. I define differently taking a walk and hiking. Hiking involves hiking boots, and rough trails and occasionally climbing over rocks or fallen trees and, at least in Colorado, often traveling either very UP or very DOWN. Walking is sneakers and relatively level ground and usually, sidewalks or paved roads.
I actually saw more snakes in Colorado while walking. We saw one in our own neighborhood and it was a rattley one too. Tim and I were just doing an evening stroll and as we were coming around a corner in and area that had not yet been built upon (but there were sidewalks), Tim suddenly stopped and said, "Do you hear that?" I stopped too and, yes, there it was. A sound like someone shaking dried beans in a jar. We both looked toward the overgrown grassy area and there it was, all curled up and looking cranky, tail rattling for all it was worth. Since I was in my usual I-dont-know-what-it-is-I'm-supposed-to-do-in-this-circumstance frozen state, Tim grabbed my arm and pulled me backwards very quickly and we kind of double-timed our trot away from the creature.
The snake incident ...snakcident?... prior to that one, I was walking in the equestrian community that was behind our Colorado house and taking photos. At one point there was a long line of fence posts and each post had a bird perched on top of it. What an Adorable picture that would be, I thought to myself! I stopped walking to capture the shot and while bringing the picture into perfect focus, I felt something bump against my sneaker. I looked down and there was a snake, crossing the road right..well..over my feet. It bumped into my foot and then, as if my foot were a fallen branch, up and over my shoes and then finished crossing the road. I think I held my breath the entire time. Once the snake was safely on the other side of the road, I had to do that heebie-jeebie dance. I think you know the one. It looks as if I have no control over any of my arms or legs and I make silly faces while saying things like, 'Ewwww' and "Yucky".
I'm not really afraid of snakes. I know they are important critters and do good things like eat mice and rats, I wouldn't want one as a pet. I don't think of them as being particularly cuddly (those would be the boa constrictors - no thank you) or friendly or pet-like. But while I do not actively dislike them, I have to admit, I find them a little creepy. They move but they have no limbs. I find that creepy. I think it's mostly the surprise of them that startles me more than frightens me. They always kind of sneak up. Or is that Snake up on me.
When we visited South Dakota there was a reptile center that we visited. There were snakes and gators and lizards of all sorts to kind of marvel over (though I always feel sad that they are stuck in a glass box no matter how nicely outfitted that box is) and then we saw a reptile show. It was kind of a snake-lesson. The handler knew her stuff. She was smart and very knowledgeable and confident, efficient in her actions and it was interesting to attend. And I don't remember a single thing she said. I never once took my eyes off the snakes, just in case I had to move quickly.
As I think further back, I believe the very first time I saw an actual real snake in it's own environment, might have been in Texas. Out horseback riding. Horses are not fans of snakes as it turns out. It was a surprising way to learn about the existence of the snake. I spent more time trying to get the horse back under control than I did worrying about the snake frankly. But I did notice, after the fact, that there was indeed a snake, right there where we were riding.And honestly, knowing that a gigantic horse gets freaked out about a snake, makes me feel so much better about myself when I do.
So there it is. Today's snakey little story. And as I say, while I cannot honestly say that I'm afraid of snakes, I do have a healthy respect for them, as I would any living creature and as long as they do not touch me, we will get along fine.
I will however, keep a sharper eye out while doing yard chores from here on out.
October 15th, 2018
Late yesterday afternoon, I learned that Sunday, October 14th was National Dessert Day! Wow! If ever there was a day created specifically for me, this was it.
There are a lot of days of note on the calendar. Most of which I do nothing whatsoever to acknowledge such as: National Grouch Day (Today! October 15th) Where I am not one bit grouchy because I prefer to not be. Or perhaps, National Bubble Bath day (January 8th) whereupon I did not take a bubble bath. Not because I don't enjoy them, I do! But our bathtub is a little too shallow to properly enjoy one. Or National No Dirty Dishes Day, May 18th, which only works in my house if we eat out or use paper plates because I am the chief cook and bottle washer. And then there is November 19th which is World Toilet Day! I'm not sure if someone is suggesting that the world IS a toilet? Or the world should celebrate toilets. I'm totally in favour of celebrating indoor plumbing! Woohoo! But I'm not quite sure how one should celebrate that day.
But there are other special days that I not only celebrate but look forward to every year. National Dessert Day would absolutely be on that list if I had known about it. But somehow, I had completely missed this one. And because I didn't know about this ahead of time, I was not prepared. I had not made any cookies or a pie or a cake or, well, anything remotely dessert-ish.
And in fact, since I came into the information late in the day, I decided to ignore it. Pretend I didn't know. I fought the urge. Fought it, I tell you! In fact, we ate out last night and at the end of a perfectly lovely meal, Tim asked me if I wanted dessert. I considered it and politely declined. Shocking, I know!
But then later, I regretted turning down the opportunity. That end-of-day desire for somethign sweet was screaming for attention. I prowled through the pantry. I wanted something sweet. I needed it! Just a little something. I considered digging into the Halloween candy but courageously said no. Once those bags are open, they are empty. As long as I don't start, the halloween candy is safe. There were a few grapes and an apple left in the fruit dish but that just sounded so ordinary. Not celebratory enough. I shrugged and walked out of the kitchen, resumed my seat on the sofa and tried to get intersted in whatever show it was that Tim was watching. It didn't last long. I popped back up and walked back into the kitchen. I checked out the freezer drawer. Maybe I had forgotten about some baked good stashed in there. Nope. Just healthy stuff. Boring.
I made my decision. Back in the family room I stood in front of Tim and said, "I made a mistake. I should have ordered a dessert to go." "I know" he said. So just before sunset, we headed to Dairy Queen, Yes the vertitable Queen of Dairies, to properly celebrate this ever so important day of note. Even Tim who generally eschews DQ bought a blizzard. In his case, it probably had more to do with him being miserable with a sore throat and what feels better on a sore throat than soup and/or ice cream, right? In my case, I have a sweet tooth that just screams to be satisfied 24/7. There is never a time that I don't want something sweet. But the end of the day is the always the strongest urge. I chose an oreo blizzard, Tim got a brownie one. They were both delicious and perfectly satisfying.
I'm not sure why I always crave sweet thing. I have read multiple times and heard from many different people that I can eliminate those sweets cravings simply by not eating anything sweet for a few weeks and then, magically, the craving will go away. I have tried that. It does not work. At least it doesn't work for me. AND it was a horrible few weeks. Horrible.
The sweet doesn't have to be something huge and horrible for me. In fact, generally my end of day sweet is fruit. If it's the day before Grocery Shopping Day and there is no fruit to be had, I could also satisfy my craving with just one butterscotch candy or maybe a peppermint one. A cookie is good too. Or a graham cracker. Jam on a saltine cracker. Dry Cereal if I'm really desperate. And I hate to admit it, but I have broken into a bag of chocolate chips at least once in my life trying to satisfy that sweet itch.
Apparently it's typed right on my DNA that sweets are not just yummy, but an essential part of my genetic make up. So I don't fight it anymore. At the end of every day, I eat something sweet. Just one thing. And then I'm happy happy and my cravings are happy and life is good once again.
So there you have it. We celebrated National Desserts Day with a trip to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. And on the way back, as we came over the Venice Avenue Bridge, we saw this and we celebrated all over again. A sweet sight while eating a yummy sweet. Perfect end to the day :)
October 12th, 2018
This is my sister, Joy. She and Bob have returned from their Ranger Adventures in Yellowstone! Woohoo! They've been gone about six months and my goodness, it is so good to have them back here again.
A lot of people that I love live in other places, but most of them I can still text, email, Skype and telephone with on a regular basis. But Yellowstone, is so wonderfully deep into the wilderness that most of the time, we have no contact. Joy is very good about calling at least once a month when she goes into town (about an hour away) to run errands, but of course, she is busy then, you know, trying to play, beat the clock by getting done everything on her gotta-do list in a very short period of time. So naturally the calls are brief. Just enough to let us know that neither she nor Bob have been eaten by a bear.
But now they are back again !!!!!!!!!!!!! They stopped by to see me live and in person on Tuesday. I think I may have hugged all of the stuffings out of both of them :) They didn't seem to mind. It was so nice to be able to just sit down, face to face, and catch up a little bit on everything that has happened in both of our lives over the past six months.
And just that alone would have been more than enough. But Joy brought me a gift. She confessed that originally it was going to be my Christmas present, but she just couldn't wait that long to give it to me ;) Here it is:
I did a terrible job of photographing it, dang. Well it's very pretty and very unusual with little raw gemstones encased in that clear disk. The stones are lose and move around within the disk so the pattern is always changing. It's a nice length. Longer than my short necklaces, shorter than my long ones so I can do that 'layering' things once in awhile.
Joy had it specially made for me. There are five stones, each one symbolizing my immediate family (Tim, me, and each of the boys). And that is significant on it's own. But even more personal and touching is where Joy got the gems.
Quite a while ago now, when our Mother was still alive and doing fairly well, Joy bought Mother an unusual kit as a Christmas gift. It was a box of dirt, basically, from Montana I believe, and the kit people promised that in the box of dirt were any number of raw gemstones just waiting to be discovered. Our Mother adored this gift! She could spend hours combing through and finding these tiny prizes. We were all delighted at how much she enjoyed it but frankly surprised that the same woman who didn't have the patience to properly make Jell-o could focus for extended periods of time on these boxes and also found, gem after gem after gem! The gift was such a hit, in fact, that it was a repeat idea gift with new boxes of dirt holding new hidden treasures.
After our Mother passed away, I honestly didn't give a thought to what happened to all of her little raw gems. While we often spoke fondly of her and our memories of her including her penchant for jewelry, I never once thought again of those boxes of mystery dirt.
Well thankfully, Joy did. She took those little raw stones and had different necklaces made for herself, me and both of her daughters. It's a lovely piece of jewelry that is also very personal because it evokes a great memory and is link to someone we both loved who is no longer here.
What a wonderful idea Joy! Thank you for the necklace. Thank you for the memory. Thank you for not waiting until Christmas to give it to me. And mostly, Thank you for not getting eaten by a bear once again.
October 11th, 2018
Sorry there was no blogpost yesterday. You can blame Michael for that. While we are only getting some wind, rain and terrific wave action, as opposed to those poor people that got hammered in the panhandle, apparently it was enough to interrupt internet service. Which, yesterday, meant no computers, no phones and no TV.
It was..........frustrating. I felt completely cut off from the rest of the world. We have all become so very dependent upon computers anymore. I'm not certain this is 100% a good thing.
And speaking of Hurricane Michael, for all of you lovely, sweet, dear people who have tried to contact me and ask if we are okay. Yes thank you, We are absolutely fine :) This Hurricane made landfall up in the panhandle of Florida. Here is a quick geography lesson:
We live about halfway down the left side of Florida. The panhandle, obviously is that part of Florida (the blue bit on the map) that runs horizontally right up there underneath Georgia (in red) and Alabama (in green). And from where we live to let's say, the capital of Florida, Tallahassee which is in that area, is 225 miles away from Venice Island and about a 5 hour drive. We were well out of the danger zone.
Still, it's very rainy and windy today , and while I do have internet once again, thank goodness, and I am ever so grateful that the hurricane didn't land here, I am so sympathetic to those in Michael's path. Hurricanes are amazingly powerful and destructive. As everyone in the panhandle knows for sure.
Panhandle is a funny term isn't it? I've heard of the panhandle of Texas, that bit that sticks straight up at the top and of course the panhandle of Florida but there are other states with odd bits that stick out and I don't recall those referred to as "panhandles". Oklahoma comes immediately to mind. That literally does look like a pan's handle! (and frankly it's the only one that looks like it's name) but I've never heard the term, 'The Oklahoma panhandle' But maybe I've just never been around anyone who said it. Utah has that little pokeyuppy part on it's top left side. Missouri has a sort of hook on it's bottom right part. I actually lived in St. Louis Missouri for a short time and I never heard that part referred to as a panhandle. Or a hook come to think of it.
The Cape Cod part of Massachusetts could be thought of as a panhandle sort of area, but no, it's just "the Cape". Although it doens't look one bit like an actual cape to me. Louisiana has a part on the bottom right that shoves out horizontally but it's more like the toe of a boot than a handle. And you know, when I look at Texas on the map, it's sticking out in all sorts of directions! But only one part is the 'panhandle'. Interesting. New Mexico also has a little downward jog on it's lower left part which is also not called a pan handle. So what do you suppose the qualification must be to be considered such? Just an idle curiosity on my part. Does anyone know the answer though?
Soooo. At least for the moment, I'm back up and functioning again Hurrah! It's wet and yucky out but not destructive. And we all had a geography lesson. All in all, not a bad day!
Hope yours is a good one!
Hugs all 'round! And everyone who was worried about us? Thank you so much for caring!
October 09th, 2018
The past Thursday morning found me packing for the little trip we took that I mentioned in yesterday's blog. Because we weren't leaving until Thursday evening, I had plenty of time to decide what to take. We were only going to be gone for two days really, well three if you count what was left of Thursday I suppose, but it still requires a change of clothes and some toiletries flung in a bag, right?
So as I'm hmmming to myself while considering outfits Tim popped his head in the bedroom just long enough to say one innocent sentence that made my blood run cold. "Honey, don't forget to pack a bathing suit". Yikes! My head came up with a snap and I must have had my angry-face on because he immediately stepped back and followed it up with, "or not, your choice, of course".
Poor thing. I didn't mean to give him the angry face. I wasn't angry at him at all. It's just defensive posturing. Those two words, "Bathing" and "Suit" just strike terror deep in my heart. So I apologized to Tim. Then I sternly told me to just get over myself. Bravely I opened the drawer that holds, not one, not two but the three bathing suits that I own. I laid them out on the bed and considered them. "Nothing to be afraid of here". I said to myself, "Stop being ridiculous". And I undressed so that I could try them each on to see which one was the least hideous.
Now there is a standard. The Least Hideous. Sigh. The first one, a navy blue two piece with a halter apron top was just plain stupid looking and the knot at the back of my neck from tying the halter is very uncomfortable. The second which was a long red top with black shorts looked equally stupid and more than a little frayed which makes sense because it is the most elderly of my bathing suits. Probably 15 to 20 years old. That should be thrown out based on that fact alone! The last is a one piece coral suit, the newest of the lot, probably 5 or 6 years old. And while it's a nice suit, it no longer looks nice on me. Unless I am wearing something over it that completely covers me which kind of negates the entire bathing suit enterprise here.
So simply said, they all fit. None of them looked good. Tim bravely peeked in as I glared at myself in the mirror while wearing the coral suit. He caught a glimpse of the look on my face and suggested that I just go buy a new bathing suit. Simple solution right? You'd think so, but no.
I'm not sure what my issue is with bathing suits. I gave it a lot of thought on my way to the store and actually it's not the actual bathing suit itself that is the problem. It's being seen wearing the bathing suit in public that is the issue. Clearly a phobia because it's just absurd. I checked (of course I did) and there actually is no official phobia for "being afraid to be seen wearing a bathing suit in public". The closest I got was:
Vestiphobia which is a fear of clothing
Ablutophobia which is a fear of bathing
Scopophobia which is a fear of being seen or looked at
So it's some combination of those. Vestablutoscopophobia?
So I talked myself into going to the outlet store the entire time giving myself a peptalk. Things like "What makes you think anyone is looking at you anyway? How vain can one person be? and" For heaven's sakes! You live by the ocean. Of course you should own a bathing suit!" and "Just get in that store and buy something! Stop being such a big baby!" Very helpful (not)
Bathing suit shopping is just so disheartening. First of all no matter what size you wear, your bathing suit size is bigger. And women who fight gravity require some serious infrastructure in bathing suit! It's not like young, firm slim women who can put on anything and every part of their body stays put. Nope. Our body parts wander around now. Gotta find something that will keep stuff in place. Hey, it's true! We won't even discuss the fun house lighting and mirrors in the changing rooms either. Just too depressing to think about.
I was surprised, thought I shouldn't have, to find that most of the summer clothes were on clearance (yay!) because the autumn and winter clothes were already out. However because it was a clearance sale, there wasn't much left to choose from (boo!) There were exactly 3 bathing suits in my size to choose from. Three. One more than two, one less than four. Three.
Well, I suppose if nothing else, it makes the decision making easier. Determined now to buy something, I took the three bathing suits into the changing room and tried them all on. The first didn't cover nearly enough of me. I'm not Amish but trust me, nobody wants to see that. Nobody. The second must have been sized incorrectly because no matter how I shifted the fabric around, it was just too big. I was rattling around inside of it like a marble in a cigar box. Which left the third one. Clearly I was going to choose it by default anyway, but I did go through the motions of trying it on anyway.
Yup the least awful for sure. Which is not to say that it looks good. But it does fit better than my other suits and being brand new is not frayed or getting thin anywhere yet so I reckon, this must be it. I bought it, went home and washed it, dried it and threw it in the suitcase without another thought. (that's the suit I bought in the photo above)
It wasn't until Friday night when it was decided that we would all meet at the hotel pool/hot tub area that I put it on again. I slipped into it and stood in front of the mirror. "I look like an oompa loompla" I said out loud to the mirror. But I wore it anyway. And you know what, nobody laughed, nobody made fun of me and we had a great time.
Maybe this is the first step in getting over Vestablutoscopophobia. Desensitizing myself to seeing myself in a bathing suit. Maybe I need to wear it more often to get used to it. And then some day, when I'm feeling really confident, I might actually wear it to the beach in front of other people - strangers! Or maybe not.
Either way, I now own a new damned bathing suit and hopefully that is the end of that. I am paraphrasing Scarlet O'Hara here: "God as my witness, I'll never go bathing suit shopping again!" heh.
October 08th, 2018
Dragon On! Dragon Off!
We had such a great weekend! First of all, our best friends from Colorado were in Florida for a visit (woohoo!) AND they wanted to go to Universal which we haven't been to in at least 15 years! (woohoo again!) Which means, of course, we get to spend time with some of our very favourite people in a very fum place (woohoo for a 3rd time!)
We drove up Thursday evening after Tim finished work. Normally it would be a 2 1/2 hour drive, door to door, from our house to the hotel. But traffic was a bear. By the time we finally arrived we were tired and starving. So once we checked in we headed out on foot to find food. We found it at Miller Ale House. Decent food and very good service, what else could we ask for? Well a nice after dinner walk. The humidity is backing off now and the temperatures are slowly lowering a bit so it was an absolutely lovely evening constitutional.
Tim and I marveled over how much the area has changed since we last visited. The hotel we stayed in the last time we went to Universal didn't even exist anymore. And there wasn't much except that hotel in the area. Oh may be Burger King and a gas station, but not much else. Now it's hotel upon hotel, restaurant upon restaurant, gas station and shops galore and of course traffic commensurate with such tremendous growth.
We were up and ready to roll early, met our friends and took the shuttle over to Universal which in and of itself was another big surprise. As I recall, and it is certainly possible that I am not recalling correctly, 15 years ago, Universal was a severely abbreviated version of City Walk and one park. One. Now it's an enormous City Walk and Two Huge Parks! Our friends decided to focus on just Universal Studios since they were only going to be able to visit just the one day. Tim bought us annual passes (with the resident discount of course) so we can come back any time we like ;)
I'm always a little overwhelmed when we go to a big state fair, or an amusement park or any event that has a lot of immediate stimulus. I'm trying to look everywhere at one time so I depend upon others to shove me in the proper direction. The first direction I was pointed toward was the Fast and Furious Ride. There was no wait at all. We walked right in. The lead in was great. Amazingly detailed to look like warehouses and garages and, as far as Tim was concerned, the best part was it was air conditioned wait space! Just before getting on the actual ride, I noticed this posted on the wall:
Just missing that final "S". Love it ;)
The second thing we did was Harry Potter World. Now I will admit that oddly, I have not read any of the books. Not a single solitary one. Which is strange and I'm not sure why that is so. BUT Tim and I did see the movies. All of them. And enjoyed them tremendously. So we were tickled to finally visit this part of the park. AND we were not disappointed one bit. There was so much to see and do. Butterbeer, magic shops, marionette shows, dragons and of course, wizard robes and magic wands everywhere.
One of the things about Universal and Disney that I always admire is their attention to detail when they create their alternate realities. For visitors it's a total immersion experience. You really can forget, for just a little while, the real world outside.
There were a lot of roller-coaster type rides and virtual reality sorts of things. Since I am already a "dizzy chick", avoid 'round and 'round rides like the plague. Also not good with whoopsadaisy rides which would be roller coastery type things. Soooo I was the designated holder of people's stuff. Which is absoluely fine with me. They go on their crazyrides and I get to meander through the little shops and people watch which is always the very best show in town. There were a lot of the adrenaline rides actually. I think I got photos of maybe three?
We got to see a parade too. It wasn't on purpose. They were on another exciting ride and I was patiently waiting and this time I decided to just sit and relax. Our friends son Kane waited with me and we passed the time just chatting and enjoying ourselves. While we were talking, some Universal people came by and started setting up a barrier and requesting that people stand back, please. By the time the rest of our party joined us, the parade started and we had perfect seats for it! YAY! Let's see there were dancing Minions and Sponge Bob and gosh, I don't even remember who else. But they surely could shake their booties :)
Eventually we took time out to eat and wandered into the nearby, Monster Cafe for some pretty good food. Which is a big difference from Disney. We have learned that nowadays at Disney, it is so madly crowded and busy that you absolutely have to make reservations, and well ahead of time, at a restaurant if you want to eat something other than kiosk food. And believe me, you DO want to eat something other than kiosk food. It was such a nice treat to just walk in and sit down and eat when we were hungry instead of having to decide where we will be at a certain time and make reservations, on line, and hope that the system is working correctly this time. (But that's another story)
I don't know if perhaps it was just the time of year that we visited or maybe Universal is just less well attended than Disney but I have to tell you, while I have no grumble with "The Mouse" it was such a pleasure to have fun without being shoulder to shoulder with strangers every moment of the visit. The longest line wait was 25 minutes and most were less than 15. That alone was a treat. The shops were not so madly crushed that I couldn't move around which does happen at Disney. Universal was a hit with us, across the board.
Of course, all good things eventually must come to an end and so the time came when we headed back to the hotel to sit around the pool eating cookies (of course I brought cookies! that should not even be a question) and talking and laughing and just enjoying each other's company.
Here you go: Tim being goofy and me looking kind of tired, here, probably just from having so darned much fun!
We really did have a wonderful time. And of course part of the credit goes to Universal because it was a wonderful place. But mostly it's because we got to spend time, once again, with Paul, Marsha and Kane. We just love these guys:
October 04th, 2018
Yup, I've been hanging out at the dollar store again.
Felt the urge to do a little seasonal decorating and naturally that led me directly to my favourite shop for that sort of thing. I had no problem at all coming up with this little combo platter of Autumn and while it may not be fine design or top notch decorating, I'm am just as pleased as I can be with the results.
It's sits smack in the middle of the kitchen table and just gives a little hint to the season. Nothing elaborate, nothing big or obvious but just enough. This together with that little bit that I did in the courtyard and I am completely set until it's time to decorate for Christmas and we know what a crazyperson I become then!
One of the purple flowers has vanished, mysteriously, I notice. Originally that bottom basket was full to overflowing with purple flowers. Hmmmm. I'm not sure if a lizard kicked it out of the basket and then dragged it off somewhere or the wind took hold, wafted it far away and then dropped it in the ocean as a comment on my decorating style. Everyone's a critic.
Regardless there it is. I'm done. For awhile anyway. Less than ten bucks and I'm good to go.
I've said before how much I really like the dollar store, particularly for this sort of thing, but there is one element that baffles me. Why, oh my, please do tell me why, do they bother putting price tags on anything that is sold in the dollar store???????
I already know the price on everything. It's a dollar. Coz it's the Dollar Store.
This dawned on me while I was struggling to cut the tags off of these itty bitty decorations. I'm trying to cut the doggone things close enough to the decoration that I can no longer see that damned ugly little plastic tag, but not so close that I damage any of it. Oh and I have damaged plenty of things trying to cut them realllllllly close. It's So Freakin' Annoying!
Every time the seasons change, or the creative spirit moves me off I go, happyhappy, to the dollar store to find whatever it is I seek, and forgetting that one thing that irritates me so much and will eventually happen when I shop there! ARGH!
I am normally such a patience, loving, forgiving person. But there is just something about trying to remove a plastic tag from something that doesn't want to cooperate that just makes me completely lose my cool.
Same thing happens when I buy clothes. Of course they have to have price tags because those things are so totally not a dollar. So Okay, I am resigned to the necessity of cutting a zillion or so tags off of clothes every time we go clothing shopping. Fine.
And lots of store make it a point to affix the plastic tag through that manufactures tag at the back of the neck. The one that has the size on it and sometimes washing instructions. That one is relatively easy to cut off as long as I pay a modicum of attention to what I'm doing. But sometimes, for no reason that I can think of unless it's just to drive me crazy, they put the tag in a side seam. In The Seam. No matter how close to the seam I dare cut the tag, part of that tag is forever embedded in the seam and I can feel it there.
Of course I have issue with that manufacturers tag in the back of the neck too. What sort of material is that tag made out of anyway? It feels like some sort of sandpaper/thistle/cactus blend. It itches, it scratches, it annoys and irritates, it leaves red marks on my skin and I dislike it intensely. And so I cut them out.
Well as best I can. Some of them are loosely kind of basted in place making it a very simple task to snip out the stitches and voila, the entire tag is removed and the fabric is no worse for it. Other times the tag appears to have been either permanently attached with crazyglue or perhaps it was just born there because there is no way it is coming out whole. So I must snip, ever closer to the fabric or the garment, carefully, slowly and with my tiniest scissors leaving only the ittiest bittiest bit of the tag behind. Naturally that tiny bit of remaining tag continues to itch, scratch and irritate my skin.
Or I cut it a wee bit too close and now I have a teensy little hole in my brand new whatever it is that I just bought. Which naturally doesn't stay a teensy little hole for long. Nope, as soon as it's worn, it grows. When it's washed it grows even more. In no time at all there is a big honkin' unable to be disguised hole and now I have a dust rag instead of a shirt. Dang.
Maybe it's just me. A Princess and the Pea sort of situation. But I don't think so. Otherwise, why would those brilliant tee-shirt people get the idea to just print their tags right on the inside of the fabric instead of affixing a tag, eh?
There has got to be a better way. Oh and dollar store people...No Tags Necessary on your products. We already know the price. It's a dollar!
October 04th, 2018
Can you believe it? Two years today, I sat down for the first time, right here in this very spot, to write my first blogpost. Wow! And nearly every single Monday through Friday since then, (with occasion time-outs for vacations, visitors, holidays and computer issues) I have come up with something new to write about every day. And you brave souls, have actually taken the time out of your days to read it! And sometimes even to like or comment upon what I wrote! Bigger Wow!!
I'm sure you realize that when I started this thing, I had zero idea what I was doing. I really couldn't navigate the website very well yet, I had no idea if anyone was remotely interested in my thoughts, and in fact, now that I think about it, I'm not absolutely certain what exactly my thoughts were!
I was aware that most blogs have a topic. Blogs about parenting, blogs about surviving divorce, blogs about dealing with illnesses of one sort or another. There are political blogs, religious blogs, gender specific blogs. Blogs discussing hobbies, interests, vocations, vacations, staycations and train stations. This is not any of those.
The very first question people ask me when they learn that I write a blog is, "What is it about?". I never really have a good answer. I usually say that it's not about one specific thing; that I just write about whatever is on my mind that day. And I get this very polite, "Oh" as a response. Sometimes an even more excruciatingly polite, "Oh that's nice" and then a quick change of topic which makes me chuckle a little bit. It's not their fault at all. Perhaps if I could explain it better it would help.
Maybe it's a little like a Seinfield episode. It's about nothing at all. Thought, in point of fact, even nothing is something ;)
I've gotten far more comfortable writing this blog over time. More relaxed with myself, with your invisible readers out there and the process itself. Every single time I sit down to write now, even if I don't think I have anything to say, it turns out that I do. I surprise myself. Occasionally I know ahead of time what I'm going to write about and I will even take specific photos to support what I'm going to say. But more often, the idea pops into my head the night before, or even as I'm turning on the computer for the day. Sometimes it's the recent photos that I've taken that inspire the topic-of-the-day, or a conversation I've had, a questions I was asked or even something that I read. I never know from where the source will spring.
And now that I'm thinking about it, writing the blog has helped me reach a personal goal. Yes it has!
Years ago, I realized that I was missing out on the "now" of my life. Okay that sounded kind of weird. Let me try that again. I've always been the sort of person who is doing at least a dozen things at once. My mind is going a million or so miles an hour and I'm thinking of hundreds of things all at the same time and always looking 10 miles down the road. Instead of just relaxing and enjoying Thanksgiving, while I'm basting my turkey I'm planning Christmas. While sending my kids off to Kindergarten I was mentally enrolling them in college.
Like most of us, I was wearing too many hats. I don't regret any of them, please understand that, but I forgot one of the most important hats. Now. This moment. It got lost in working full time while raising children, keeping a household and all of the chores that entails, maintaining and nurturing a marriage, keeping family and friend relationships healthy and forever thinking ahead to the next thing on the list.
It occurred to me, maybe 5 years ago, that I needed to learn how to live in the moment. To slow down a little bit, to relax and enjoy my life more. But I couldn't figure out how to do it and get everything on my gotta do list done as well. And so I continued to race through my days, mentally checking things off the gotta-do list and always, always looking head to tomorrow, next week, next month, next year......
Since I've been writing this blog, I have definitely learned how to slow down some My pace is not quite as frenetic as it used to be. I stop and looking around now and again. I take the time to breathe, to enjoy each moment. I had to slow down to really see the world around me certainly to take photographs and I couldn't really write about something I'm not truly experiencing. And what's more, I have learned to really appreciate this different pace, living in the moment, the "now" of my life.
So for me at least, writing this blog has been an surprise gift to me.
Well thank you, to all of you for once in awhile, taking the time to read what I write. It pleases me to no end, tickles me to bits and pieces, that once in awhile, I write something that you enjoy reading ;)
Happy Blogiversary To Us!
October 03rd, 2018
This past Sunday we decided to head on down to Sanibel Island. No particular reason, just felt like a good day to check it out. We had heard much of it's shell strewn beaches and that it had more than a few fun museums. As there was nothing else on our Sunday agenda, off we went.
It was a pretty day for a drive anyway and not too much traffic so we filled the roughly two hour trip by admiring things out the window, giggling at funny and clever license plates, and searching wet areas for 'gators. Apparently that is a car game in Florida, 'Seek-a-gator'. I read the interesting parts of the Sunday newspaper out loud to us both which then diverted us into other conversations and by now it should be obvious to you that we are both easily amused. The time and the miles passed quickly.
Eventually, we followed the signs up and over a big bridge to Sanibel. Once arrived, we followed the signs to the 'Historic Village and Museum'. The signage was great! We found it with no problem. And if it wasn't closed for the season, I'm sure we would have enjoyed it tremendously. Dang. Closed for the season. That didn't even dawn on me as a possibility. I mean here on Venice Island, nothing is closed for the season. Well okay, wait. That isn't true. There is one jewelry store on Venice Avenue that hangs a 'Gone Fishin' sign up at the beginning of every summer and doesn't take it down again until October. But otherwise, we are open for business.
Well Ratz. That was one of the things we really wanted to visit. Oh well, change of plans. Be Flexible. Off we go then to one of the other things we really wanted to see, the Shell Museum! Set GPS and head out. AAANNNDDD.....Also closed. Dang again. So now what? Well as is our way, it slowed us down but it didn't stop us. We just drove around the island and checked it out. Lots of restaurants and shops. Lots of houses. Lots of beach access points although most of them had parking specific to residents and required some sort of sticker. Lots of parks and preserves and honestly if it hadn't been so very hot and humid out, we would have hiked some trails. But alas, we did not come prepared for that. We were museum dressed, not hiking dressed.
And then we found the lighthouse! Awesome! I do love me a lighthouse! Of course this lighthouse looking nothing like traditional New England lighthouses with which I am far more familiar, but it is still, no question about it a lighthouse. And that is always a treat. We checked out the pier first and then the beach. There were indeed a lots of shell on the beach but none of them were particularly remarkable although I found a beautiful piece of driftwood and managed to restrain myself and not bring it home. I am so proud of me ;)
Once we had our fill of walking on the beach, we drove the island loop once more just for fun and headed home. Over all we determined that Sanibel Island was lovely. Very pretty, very nicely appointed, great signage, loads of eating options, clean beaches, and some interesting things to do (when they are open). Here are some of the things we saw ;)
We had a great time. But then, we always do :) And you know what, we have checked out a lot of beach towns since we lived here. And every single time, no matter how cute or charming the the other towns are, no matter how much fun we have and how much we enjoyed ourselves, we are still glad that we chose Venice Island as our new home. Isn't that nice :)
Here you go, Tim and I enjoying our visit to Sanibel Island. Byebye Sanibel, we had a good time
October 02nd, 2018
What's all this about? In a word? Wasps. Lots of them.
Way back in, I believe, April, I had written about this bizarre wasp issue that was on a constant repeat here. Just outside of our backdoor, which we honestly don't use all that often anyway, there was a wasp nest. We would wait for a cool evening and when they were a little less active, knock down the nest and spray the bejeebers out of both the nest and the area they had selected to build it. And it would work. For a few weeks. And then the winged fiends would return to rebuild in EXACTLY the same spot. Over and Over and Over! Sigh.
So we kept doing the same thing to rid ourselves of them. And it kept not working. I honestly don't need them to be killed or even wounded. I just need them relocated. Choose a nice tree or even a fence post, I don't care. " Go on and live your little wasp-lives elsewhere", I explained to them in exasperation, "I just don't want to walk into a swarm of wasps every time I dare step a pinky toe out our backdoor!" I mean come on! This is our yard, not their yard. I'm all for sharing. For live and let live, but geez. Perhaps if they were kicking in on the mortgage I'd cut them some slack but since they aren't, they are in fact, moochers! So it's time to be evicted.
The spray apparently didn't do much to deter them. In fact, I think these particular wasps like it. In fact I suspect that, for them, it's like ice cream for dessert. Or perhaps it's like a vitamin laden juice and instead of repelling them, we are making them stronger! And still we kept doing the same thing. (Probably because we didn't know what else to do!) But you know what they say about a person who continues to do the same thing but expects a different outcome, right?
So, since we probably aren't crazy, on we moved to another idea. Friends of ours back in Colorado, had been plagued by the same issue. They recommended the above yellow jacket trap. It worked great for them. Awesome! Off we went to our local Lowe's to find some. Ratz. None. Okay, we traveled a little farther down the road to Home Depot. They had one. One! Okay, one is better than none. We will buy that one. It was also strongly recommended that we wear gloves while "arming' the trap as it has a wasp/bee attractant in it and you absolutely do NOT want that on your hands. RIGHT you are! So, we purchased the trap, the gloves and zipties to attach it to whatever it ends up being attached to outside.
The directions say to hang it 20 feet from the nest. Trying to determine where that might be, I walked around the entirety of the house, looking up and found, to my dismay, at least 5 different nests. Great. Now their friends and family are moving in too.
Most of the nests were very cleverly hidden behind drains, up under the hurricane curtain (which was permanently afixed to the house by the previous owner), behind shutters and so forth. Sneaky little barstids. In fact, one of the nests I found by accident while cleaning windows. As I began working on that particular window, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I had several wasps buzzing around me, not angry yet really, more in curiosity. I held absolutely still while trying to remember what to do when faced with multiple flying stinging things. I could remember what to do if attacked by bears or sharks but for the life of me, went absolutely blank about wasps. After a few moments of flying ever slower around me, several of them landed....IN MY HAIR! I held my breath and tried to not scream, run or shake which I SO wanted to do. But I equally didn't want to be stung and so I waited.
After what felt like an eternity, they flew away. I'm sure it was seconds but they were the longest seconds in the history of mankind. Or womankind. Or waspkind. Any kind. Long seconds were had regardless. As soon as I could, I escaped back into the safety of the house, and no more windows were cleaned that day. Whew! Later that night, I went out and found then knocked that particular nest down. Retribution was mine!
Tim ultimately hung the trap about half way between two of the most problematic areas.
As of this writing, it has trapped nary a wasp. Not a single one. Dang. Either our wasps are very very smart and refuse to be outwitted by a wasptrap. OR they are very very stupid and cannot figure out how to get inside to the attractant. Or because these are vitamin charged super wasps, they are strong enough resist the attraction or the attractant? Or even stronger and scarier, they have figured out a way to get inside to the yummy ice cream and then back out? Or perhaps they just aren't attracted to the attractant?
I mean, there are people who don't like pizza (which absolutely baffles me) so I suppose it's possible that there are wasps that don't like whatever fragrance other wasps like. Maybe?
Regardless, hope springs eternal that this will work. Something has to be done. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!
October 01st, 2018
I bought a new pair of sandals over the weekend. Woohoo! Long overdue purchase. Especially when you consider that I wear sandals nearly every day. I think I owned two pair of sandals when we moved here. Both of those have been thrown out already. So they were both replaced. I admit that part of the reason is because I have a penchant for buying cheap stuff but the other part is because I just plain old wore them out. I walk a lot. And it appears that I do not tread lightly. I recently realized that another pair needed to be tossed so it was time.
This time I opted to buy better quality shoes to Tim's delight. (He is ALWAYS nudging me about purchasing better quality shoes and he's not wrong. I'm just so cheap!) So off we went to Peltz. It's up the road in Sarasota and a much larger shoe store than locally so there was a stronger possibility of my actually finding something that fit, that I like, that is comfortable and at a price I am almost willing to pay. Tough criteria.
Obviously they did have a shoe I liked - yay! And on sale - Yay!! But they didn't have the colour I wanted which was red - boo. Oh well. Black goes with almost everything so hurrah new sandals!
When we left, we wandered down a road we've never been down before. Simply because we've never driven that way before and we are the curious types. To our surprise and delight, we did learn something new:
An entire village of Tiny Homes! We had no idea this was here! Wow!
One after the other after the other! Some of them appeared to be privately owned but others were vacation rentals. And each one was at least a little bit different from the others. It was charming and adorable. Like a long line of children's playhouses. As a vacation rental, it might be fun to do. Like it might be fun to stay in a houseboat while on a trip or a Yurt or a Teepee. They same way, when we went to South Dakota instead of staying in a hotel, we stayed in a cabin. Just for the sake of new experiences. Short term fun experience.
Living in one however? Big Nope. It was hard enough downsizing from our Colorado House (over 3200 Sq Ft) to our current Florida House (roughly 1600 Sq Ft). Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we did it. Smaller house, less to clean, I'm all in favour of that! But I just know that I am not a tiny home full-time living person. And it's good to know yourself.
I've seen the TV shows. I know that it's kind of a "thing' right now to simplify your life and go much smaller, like tiny home smaller. And I marvel at how brilliantly the builders use the space, how personalized these homes can be. How unique they are, how doggone adorable they are, really. They look like toys.
But the first thought that always crosses my mind is, privacy. Or rather the lack of it. I adore my husband. I love spending time with him, I truly do. BUT I also occasionally need to spend time by myself. And where do you go in a house that small to be alone? Outside?
I have also noticed that the bedroom in these itty bitty structures is almost always in a "loft". And the loft is so low that even I would not be able to stand up in it. How do you get dressed? How do you get undressed? And speaking of clothes, where do you keep them? I don't have a ton of clothes, but I do have some. And as I enjoy both variety and dressing appropriate to various different sorts of occasions and weather conditions, this requires quite a variety. Where does a person keep these things? How do you set up an ironing board? Where do you put your laundry, your groceries, those cooking implements that you perhaps don't use every day but still occasionally use. My books? My piano?
And then there's Tim's stuff. He has less stuff than I do probably. Well he does have a lot of tools and those absolutely wouldn't all fit, but he does work from home and they requires a lot of computers (he has three monitors plus his laptop on his desk right now) and printers and all sorts of other techie stuff which would pretty much take up the entire tiny home. So Nope. Still doens't work.
I suppose I understand how a solo person might enjoy the novelty of tiny home living or an adventurous couple that REALLLLLLY like each other a lot. But I've seen Tiny Home shows where whole families with multiple kiddos and pets (sometimes rather large dogs too) opt for full time tiny home living. And home schooling the kids! Nobody is every not with everyone else! ARGH! My hat is off to them because I have no idea how they manage it and still stay sane.
Same goes for RV living. As an occasional thing, for traveling and adventuring, I could maybe do it. But full time living? Nope. I know me pretty well at this point in my life and I know that I would go full on squirrelly forced to live in such a small space full time.
My sister and her beau, as you may remember, work as Rangers in Yellowstone for about six months every year. During that time they primarily live in their RV. And wow I cannot begint o tell you how impressed I am that they manage it The thing that I think helps them a lot, is that they are in the great outdoors when they are working during the day, and not stuck in an office somewhere. AND that about an hour or so away they have a house up on a mountain in Montana that they often retreat to on their days off. Ahhhh. Space :)
But you know, different strokes for different folks. And if someone is perfectly content with living in a tiny home or an RV or on a boat for that matter I suppose, then that is what works for them and that is awesome. I'm old enough at this point that I no longer delude myself about me. And I know as tiny as I may be, that tiny home living is not for me. Hey, I rhymed!
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.