A Lovely Walk in the (gator) Park
On Sunday, we took a drive, still learning about our new environs and we happened across a lovely little park. We parked the car and noted a pretty little paved path that weaved it's way through the trees. As we walked along, we saw a wide variety of birds, who paused to make sure we weren't going to do anything rash before resuming their birdie little lives. We saw the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen (seriously it was at least half the size of my foot!) and lots of pretty flowering shrubs and trees. Here and there we saw water through the trees that, I believe was the Myakka River. There was a small boat launch, perfect for a kayak or a canoe. Here and there were even little benches and occasionally a covered picnic table. It was peaceful and I had visions of picnic flitting through my imagination.
Then we came to the end of the walkway. At the end was a larger body of water, a bench with two older ladies fishing and this sign.
Clearly we are crazy because we walked up to the waters edge in search of said alligator. Silently, we stood there searching. Nothing. We looked in every direction and still, nothing. Oddly disappointed, we shrugged and were about to leave when one of the fisher ladies said, " He's over there"
We both turned to look at the speaker.
"Beg Pardon?" Tim asked
"The gator" she continued, "he's across the way, covered in mud". The ladies then packed up their fishing gear and left.
We strained our eyes looking across the water where she indicated. "Oh I see him now" Tim said.
I saw nothing other than what I had seen before. Pretty water, pretty trees, nothing remotely gatorish.
Tim pointed, he described, he indicated. Still nothing.
So we left. As we came around to the other side of the water by the boat launch, it occurs, that maybe we will get a better view here. So we walk down onto the floating dock, quietly. I still don't see it.
Finally Tim says," You see those two logs partly on the sand and partly in the water?"
"Well it's the second log. That's the alligator".
I squinted, blinked and suddenly realize that yes, by golly. That is an alligator! Can you see it in this photo?
So, I took the photograph and we left thinking, "Cool! Saw a gator today". And then I revised my original picnic plan. If I am that gator-blind, I am the prefect prey. Should he decide that I would make a fine main course, I would never see him coming. Perhaps I would prefer to not take a chance at being the lunch in question.
November 28th, 2016
This is what downtown Venice Island looks like now at night. In case you can't tell what that is it's Christmas Light wrapped palm tree trunks. All up and down Venice Avenue is a multi-coloured fairyland fantasy of Christmas happiness. Then they topped this by adding yet more lights to the lampposts. My inner child is singing and dancing with joy.
In the midst of all this Christmassy goodness, on Saturday evening there was a parade. According to the newspaper, there were over 3000 participants in this parade. There was something for everyone. There was even a ring of fire that kept reigniting to the delight of the pyromaniacs in the crowd too.
The parade started with Santa of course with his illuminated reindeer. But there were marchers with lighted hulahoops spinning and cars outlined with various colours. There was a beautiful float from the Circus contingent that garnered ooo's and aaah's. Big cat rescue pulled an 18 wheeler loaded up with really big cats who looked out at us with interest as we looked back at them. Tiny dancers delighted their costumed way down the street and one of my favourites was the high school marching band. Not only was the music a wonderful addition but I loved that their instruments were wrapped in lights. There was a float of singers too.
The streets were lined several rows deep with oglers. In fact, to my amusement, they "marked" their spots days earlier by leaving the chairs, coolers, Santa hats etc in their desired position. So walking along the streets we saw, what looked like, abandoned patio furniture for days. And the most astonishing thing, everyone respected those belongings and did not steal it, graffiti tag it or even touch it. Wow!
November 25th, 2016
I don't know what's happening at your house today, but we are recovering from yesterday. Three kinds of pie? What was I thinking? It was a good meal, if I do say so myself, but it was also good company too. For the first time in many years, my sister, her beau, her two daughters, one neice's hubby and Tim and I all crowded 'round the table for food and endless conversation and lots of laughter. There was also this monster jigsaw puzzle in the family room that now has the entire frame complete. It will probably take the rest of the year to finish, but it will be an ongoing project, and that's fun too. After turkey but before pie, most of us took a walk to the beach, because, well, we needed to make room for dessert and it was a beautiful day for a walk and, y'know beach. There were only a few other folks there, probably for the same reason. The niece's husband elected to stay home and make sure the football game continued as it should rather than walk, but the rest of us crowded the streets and chattered our way there and back.
I don't know if we were giddy with turkey, holiday happiness or just being together in a pretty place but I confess we got a little silly. And that's good too.
It always takes a full year to adapt to living in a new place. I have to go through all of the holidays, all of the birthdays, all of the anniversarys, all of the seasons once and then finally, it feels like home. Maybe it's because I need at least one memory for comparison sake. If that is the case, we have a great Thanksgiving under our belt to measure next years' against. Thanks guys
Talk of the Turkey
I think we all know what this is. It's the source of angst for anyone Turkey minded on this upcoming Holiday. Some people fear the Reaper. I fear the Turkey. Well, that's not entirely true. I not afraid of the turkey per se, I get anxious over how the turkey is, or is not, going to turn out is what it is. Afterall, it is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving Meal, traditionally. Not that I'm always so traditional. We have had turkey of course, but roast beef has been served at our house on this date. Also seafood, casual turkey sandwiches (which technically is still turkey), chicken (a close neighbor, perhaps a cousin) and once, spaghetti. So you see, I'm not a hardcore traditionalist.
Still, this year, I'm in the mood for turkey. Middle son convinced me to try brining this year. He talked me through the process and while on the phone, because he is a confident kind of guy, it sounded easypeasy. Once off the phone, I began to backslide into anxiousness. So I did what I do, I researched. I read lots of articles online , one in the newspaper and watched several episodes of Good Eats. That Alton Brown makes everything amusing :) Still the first time I undertake anything, there is an element of anxiety.
Tim, bless his heart, bought a brining kit for me. Everything I need, except the bird. Well, and an ice chest. Somehow when we moved here, we did not bring a cooler. In Colorado we had multiples of them and in our zeal, sold them all at a yard sale. Oh well, off we went to Walmart to purchase anew. It sits in the second bathroom shower waiting for it's new inhabitant as we speak.
I have now read the instructions on the brine kit multiple times. I have water ready to bring to a boil with the sugar and salt and spices. The brining bag is sitting idle on the countertop. And me? I'm eating Monkey Bread (recipe was a bonus from middle daughter in law) and typing and contemplating what I am about to embark upon. This could be epic. Not like walking on the moon. That's big E epic. This is little e epic. It could be that I will never make a turkey any other way because this is the most amazing thing ever. It could be that I screw it up royally and vow to never brine anything again. It could be that I just swear off turkey altogether! Who knows?
Kind of exciting!
Once this turkey is properly tucked into it's temporary briney home, I embark upon the making of pies, an undertaking that is far more in my comfort zone. So let us away to the brine and the fowl while I'm feeling courageous. Wish me luck and I will wish it right back to you.
However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, I hope it is exactly what you wish for and a wee bit better than that.
Iced Palm Trees, Anyone?
It was 46 degrees this morning when we got up! 46! Ten more degree south of that and we have hit freezing. If palm trees had toes, I bet they were chilly. I know the lizards have toes. Come to think of it, I saw no lizards this morning when I went out to get the newspaper. I wonder where they go when it gets this chilly here. Farther south? Maybe they have tiny little lizard airlines that we know nothing about and they all head to Cuba or Puerto Rico or Hawaii. Or maybe they have itty bitty electric blankets and they are all snuggied up back under the covers trying to stay warm, drinking hot cocoa and watching old movies on their TV's. Clearly I know woefully little about lizards.
But I confess to being surprised at how surprised I am by Florida right now. I mean, it's not Connecticut cold or even Colorado cold, but certainly chillier than I anticipated. The nice sea breeze that we feel most all of the time that is one of the bonus' to island living is making that 46 feel much cooler than it probably is. I'm wearing long pants and a sweater for heaven's sakes. In Florida!
You know, when we were looking at houses before we moved in, we noticed a few fireplaces and kind of laughed at that. What fools, we. I did a little research this morning. Sarasota, a town about a half hour from here, recorded a record low temperature, six years ago, of 27 degrees! Mercy. I don't believe they were in any danger of snowfall but frost certainly and I know that isn't good for citrus. Or me. The difference is, I know it's going to warm back up soon. No doubt tomorrow. It will probably not feel "Thanksgivingish" weatherwise on Thursday and I will probably remark on it.
Regardless of the temperature, it will still be Thanksgiving and for the first time in ten years, we will be sitting at a table on that day surrounded by people we are related to. And whether we are looking out the window at palm trees and beaches or snowbanks and snowplows, it's still a day of giving thanks and I will. I have much to be thankful for.
If your week is expected to be anything like most people's this Thanksgiving week, I offer this little moment of peace. Anytime things are feeling a bit overwhelming, feel free to come back, soak it up and breathe. It's all going to be fine. I promise :)
Lizard Tales and Tails
This handsome little guy below is everywhere here. Well maybe not him exactly, but his brothers, sisters, cousins and buddies. Everytime I step out of the front door they run away in all directions sort of like the old Keystone Cops routines except they don't crash into each other. I patiently wait until they have all hidden themselves before stepping forward, I would hate to accidentally crush one. They are just little lizards after all. They aren't doing any harm. And in fact they eat some of the bugs in the gardens so they are actually doing good. They don't bother me. I don't bother them. Most of the time, you barely notice them. They do not want to be seen. Tim refers to them as Izzy or Iggy, sometimes Lizzy. I don't know their actual names. I just know they are afraid of people or at least very shy. (continue below)
Well, mostly shy. Not this guy. This fellow tends to hang around the courtyard and he is especially fond of the Adirondack chairs in the courtyard. Recently he was brave enough to actually stay on one of the chairs when I sat on it. I moved very slowly and quietly and just sat without moving for a bit. He watched me. Did a few pushups to indicate how very strong he was. And then, to my surprise, allowed me to take this photograph. I'm not positive that he wasn't saying something about being ready for his closeup.
I don't know if he is a particularly bold type of lizard? Or perhaps just a singularly courageous one. Or maybe he's just old and tired and didn't want to move. I know they have been here at least as long as we have, (no doubt longer) and they've hopefully witnessed that, as long as they stay OUTSIDE we mean them no harm. We would like to share this space with no ugly incidents in either direction.
We enjoy wildlife. Encourage birds and butterflies to share our space, within reason. I have mentioned briefly before that we have squirrels in the yard, but I've also seen frogs when I'm watering in the evening and I think there is an armadillo hiding somewhere. Something bigger wanders by occasionally. I know this because periodically I have to clean up the mess of something that's been in the trashcans. Maybe a raccoon? Regardless, it's a minor inconvenience.
My thought on wildlife is that, in all honesty, they were here first. We are the ones who are taking over their space, not the other way around. I think it is courteous to find a way to share it that is safe for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, Lizard Captain Adirondack Chair and I have conferred and decided that anytime I wish to sit on that chair, I should probably check behind the cushions first to make sure no other lizards are hiding there. "Aye, Aye Captain."
Maybe I'll make a little sign.
(Lack of) Progress Report
I sincerely thought I would be much farther along by now. With the painting I mean. Clearly I was deluding myself. Painting is not something I'm very good at. It always seems so simple, so straight forward. I've seen those HGTV programs where people paint an entire room with no tape, and no errors while dressed in fancy clothes (and heels!) and taadaa! The room looks fabulous. Hmmm. TV magic? Maybe. I'd like to believe so.
So far, I have painted the guest room and it's trim and as of this morning the doors to the pantry. That's it. Roughly ten days worth of work.
Part of the problem is that it's a tedious chore. I'm not good with tedious. And it's inefficient! Think about how many times I have to "circle" a room. First clean. Then remove nails. Then spackle nail holes. Then sand. Then clean again. OK I've already circled the room 5 times and not a lick of paint has hit the walls! That's just inefficient! Then tape (absolutely essential as I'm not a tidy painter) then paint. Next up is second coat. Followed by painting the trim. The second coat on the trim. Let dry then pull off the tape. so now that's six more circles of the room. Total 11 circles. Even a dog only circles a spot 3 times before laying down.
Another part of the problem are my bifocals. Half the time that I'm painting I can't really see what I'm doing. Yeah that could be an issue. I either have to look over the top of my glasses which means everything is blurry, or constantly reposition my head so that I'm looking through the correct part of the glasses lens. Neither option is perfect. And then there are my woefully arthritic fingers. Now I now there are lots of people who have it worse and I'm just a big whiny hiney, but sometimes my fingers just don't do what they are supposed to do. I would say that 75% or more of the paint I end up having to clean up off the floor is because the brush or the roller leapt suicidally from my unreliable hands and dashed itself to the floor. Yes, this has been a challenge.
I'm learning a lot though. One really important thing that I've learned? Do NOT let me choose a colour. I simply can't be trusted with those little colour squares. I was positive, totally entirely, completely positive of the colour I selected for the guest room. It's a small room, so a light colour. It's a dark room so a happy colour. I selected yellow, a nice, soft buttery yellow. Sounds good doesn't it. Turns out to be a screaming lemon yellow. Yowtch! But I had to use it. After all, we paid for it. In fact, 2 gallons of it. Only used one. I wonder what other room needs to be screaming lemon yellow?
So any guests are forewarned to be prepared to wear sunglasses in your room if you are foolish enough to turn the lightswitch on. Fair warning.
Today I finished the 3rd and final coat of white on the pantry doors. 3 coats! Three! Doesn't that seem excessive? But the first coat didn't completely cover. The second coat left brush strokes marks. The third coat is less than perfect but I'll be damned if I'm going to paint those doors a 4th time. Right now I'm just waiting for everything to dry (takes a bit longer here than in Colorado) so I can remove the tape and start thinking about the next project. The next project will be bigger. The kitchen and living room. It's essentially all one room. First I need to select a colour. I think I'll go visit our neighbors. They have a very cute little dog named Barkley. I will consult with Barkley on the colour. I'll put the colour chips on the ground and whichever one he pees on will be the colour we select. Hey he can't do any worse of a job than I've already done.
The good thing about paint is that it's not permanent. Horrible screaming yellow aside, while I'm not in a rush to repaint the guest room, mostly because I am tired of circling that room I nice to know that some day, I can chose a different colour and repaint. I'd like to circle a different room for awhile now though. Circle of life, circling vultures, circling the block, circle the wagons! And moving on to the next room!!
Wish me luck :)
This past weekend was gorgeous weather, just superlative in every way. Nice little breeze, sunny but not hot, not too humid or too dry, couldn't be better for being outside. We checked our options and this weekend in the "things to do" pile were a Chalk Festival here on the island, a Sand Castle Competition on Siesta Key in Sarasota and and art show on St. Armand's Circle, also in Sarasota. Oh there were plenty of other options, these were just the ones we were considering. So this picture is us in front of a chalked "graffiti" background just to kick this off. We choose the Chalk Festival. Mostly because we have never been to one before.
It was incredible! It's a four day festival and we were there on the second day so most of the work was still in progress. But even that was amazing. It was an opportunity to watch artists at their work. In this case, most of the easel's were the tarmac beneath our feet, but still...art is art! And this truly was art! Some of it was intended to be three dimensional and to that end, there was often a specific place marked for viewers to stand for optimal viewing. Sometimes they provided a lense to help with the illusion.
The theme this year was Peace and Love.
For some artists it was literal, for others, an era represented the theme best.
Some artists were about whimsy and others hard reality.
But it was the faces that wowed me the most. Remember this is chalk and they were working on an uneven surface. I am truly in awe.
Still, I have a great appreciation for just plain fun.
Saw a lot of "famous" faces there. Perhaps you will recognize them too!
In truth, we had a great time ! There was an enormous attendance, wow! Next year, we will just bike over and not worry about finding a place to park. But if you have the chance to go to a Chalk Festival, definitely go! Tell them, the mermaid sent you.
November 14th, 2016
Well, I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed. Tim and I made it a point to be at the beach last night to get a photo of the "Supermoon". It was a little cloudy but still an interesting shot. Kind of a Van Gogh-ness to it. After getting this shot, we stayed awhile. Beckoned by the cocoon of the beach in the dark quiet, we walked to the end of the jetty. We heard, rather than saw, the water smacking hard up against the rocks, the occasional splash of a silly fish jumping out of the water and to our surprise, as we neared the end of the jetty, the sound of voices talking quietly in that stillness. Clearly we weren't the only ones lured out there. Feeling a little lackluster about this photograph, we vowed to come back in the early morning. Moonrise wasn't until about 6:30 am afterall. Perhaps we could capture a better photo of this annual sky event then.
So we rose early Monday morning. In itself, not unusual for us as we usually walk in the early morning anyway. But this was more purposeful. We threw off the covers and threw on our clothes, jumped in the car and drove to the jetty. It was still full dark. We drove under streetlights in that kind of quiet that only occurs before sunrise. It always feels a little "Twilight Zone" to be out in the world that time of day. Nothing seems exactly right. All senses are a little heightened.
Perhaps it was the darkness or maybe the stillness, but as we approached the jetty this time, I could already tell that this photo wasn't going to happen. Clouds. Lots and lots of clouds. No moon at all. Or at least none that we could see. This time I was very disappointed. We turned around and began the drive back. Then I spotted this.
The absence of moonlight and the quiet stillness of the water provided a perfect mirror for this sailboat's reflection. It depicts the silent mood of the early morning perfectly. This wasn't the photograph I was seeking today. But it's the one I have. And maybe, in the end, it was the better choice.
I believe that happens a lot in life. Sometimes we don't get what we thought we wanted. Instead, we get what we never knew we always wished for. Pretty awesome.
As if it needed further proof, part of the charm of Venice Island is it's circus history. At one time, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus wintered here on the island. They practiced, came up with new ideas and invited residents to enjoy their dress rehearsals. From 1960 to 1992, every year they packed up their elephants and tigers, their performers, musicians and equipment and boarded the train to Venice Island. There was a huge arena on the south end of the island and apparently, they paraded from the train station right down Tamiami Trail to their winter digs. It was a huge deal. The famous Clown College was even here. Of course, in 1992, the train stopped coming to the island and that was the end.
But there are reminders here and there. Bits and pieces of circus past to enjoy. The south bridge in fact is officially the Circus Bridge, there is even a sign on the bridge that says so. There is a Ringling Dr and an Ave del Circo. There is a fabulous mural on the west side of Tamiami Trail just past the hospital with scenes from that amazing time that I just love. There is a certain house here on the island that has, in it's side yard, a full on trapeze set. Awesome! In fact, there is a trapeze school here. It's open to the public and while no one will ever in a million years find me up there ready to learn to fly like the daring young man in the song, I'm delighted beyond words that others do. In the various shops on Venice Ave there are for sale, little nods to the circus history. And in our adorable little local museum are housed permanent bits of that time.
I'm sorry that I didn't live here then, or even visit then to witness the glorious spectacle that is a circus with my own eyes. But I delighted to know that others did.
Happy Marine Corps Birthday
See this guy? This is my guy. He is a lot of different things, I mean if I were to describe him it would take a long time! He is my husband, my boys stepdad, he is a son, a brother, an uncle, a good friend. He loves his family and his friends fiercely.. He likes to travel, to take photographs and most of the time, his job. Some of his leisure pleasures are boating, target shooting, sports and reading. He likes to find new restaurants for us to try. Sometimes he golfs, plays pool and snorkels. He is always interested in a new experience and isn't reluctant to take me to an art museum or a ballet.
He is also a former marine and proud of his service. He loves his country, warts and all. We zoomed through a breakfast drive-through this morning and then drove to the local Patriots Park. We walked around and read all of the signs, admired the memorials and the pond, then ate our breakfast quietly in that beautiful place.
Happy Marine Corps Birthday, Tim and all the other Marines.
This is what I call a positive thinker.
We saw this in a sidewalk on one of our excursions around our new state and it struck me so much that, obviously, I stopped to take a photograph of it. I've no idea who did this, but think about it. He had this plan. There was a girl he wanted to propose to and he wanted to make the proposal memorable. In this case, not merely memorable but in a way that is very public and very permanent. This was not a man afraid of rejection. This man was willing to take a chance that was literally etched in stone.
I imagine the day. He was probably very nervous. He took her for a walk. Maybe out to dinner. Had to park the car in such a way that she had to be positioned to see it. He would then need to, in some way, call her attention to this bit of sidewalk. Did he drop something so that she would look down in a natural way? Or did he just stop and point with a nervous smile? I'm sure she was surprised and flattered. There were probably other people around. I wonder if they stopped and smiled at the proceedings. I hope so.
I hope she said yes. I hope he was traditional enough to drop to one knee and offer her his heart, his life and a ring. Maybe a modest one, after all the money he spend on this proposal. She probably cried at least a little when he put the ring on her finger, they kissed and embraced. People around them should have applauded and wished them well. I hope they did. Maybe he even invited friends and family to be in the vicinity and they were some of the witnesses to this romantic moment. I hope they were there so she could show off her new ring and tell them that she was so surprised.
They probably did continue on to dinner where the restaurant also learned of the newly hatched relationship status. Maybe the waiter or waitress also congratulated them. Maybe the restaurant comped them a dessert in celebration too. I hope so.
And then they began planning their wedding. I'm sure it was beautiful. Oh I'm certain that there were a few moments that were less than ideal. Maybe a relative or two that caused some problems. Maybe his dad and her mom had wildly different ideas. But I hope in the end, everyone managed to work things out. After all there was a bigger picture. It was all about the new fiance's and their future. Maybe it was a small gathering, maybe a huge one, but I'm sure it was a beautiful, meaningful ceremony with a full on party to celebrate later. I surely do hope so.
And then they went on to live happily ever after. Well mostly. Life is not a fairytale after all. I'm sure there were moments where they were annoyed with each other or even angry with each other. But I hope that love won out in the end, and they forgave and remembered what they loved about each other and why they came together in the first place. They might have bought a cute little house and fixed it up. They probably didn't agree on every idea, but they worked it out. Odds are good that they had a couple of kids too. They probably had arguments about the name selection and how to raise the kids too. Parents usually do. But that got worked out. They learned how to compromise. I hope they did.
As the kids grew up, they had to learn how to be a couple who stayed together instead of one that fell apart. It's a full time job keeping a relationship successful and I hope that they were one of the successful ones. I'm sure they learned the meaning of those words that they said, "In sickness and in health, good times and bad, richer or poorer.." . And they used those hard time to bring them together even closer. At least I hope they did.
As I said, I have no idea who it was that had those words carved in a piece of sidewalk to propose to the woman he loved, but he was surely one of the most hopeful people I've ever been aware of.
Hope is something we all need sometimes. It's a very positive feeling, a little nerve wracking maybe, but positive. It's when you decide that no matter what happens, I'm choosing to believe in the best outcome possible.
I think we could all use a little Hope sometimes.
There is a fence you cannot see in the photo below. It's directly below the dangling fruit The fence is in our side yard. The tree? That's actually on the other side of the fence, our neighbors side yard. The fruit sort of hangs in between. So the question is, whose fruit is it? The other question is, what sort of fruit is it?
I'll address the second part first. Here in Florida I'm finding that oranges tend to be the size of grapefruit, grapefruit the size of volleyballs. Ok a slight exaggeration but only slight. The point being, it's hard for me to tell, just by looking, what sort of fruit this is. Could be an orange or grapefruit, but it's equally possible that it's something completely different. I have found in the local farm market varieties of produce I've only heard of such as Dragon Fruit and PearApples (or is it ApplePears?) and actually things I've never heard of like Bitter Melon (is it actually bitter? If so, why would anyone eat it?). Therefore it's entirely plausible that this is something exotic that I know nothing of. Or perhaps, it's not edible at all, like the tiny orange fruits from a couple of the palms in our yard that drop primarily in the courtyard and driveway, but nobody, not even the squirrels will eat. All that said, I'm desperately curious! What is it?
Now back to the first question, whose is it? The tree obviously belongs to the neighbor. It sits squarely on the other side of the fence. Some of the branches however, hang without question on our side of the fence. And the fruit in question hangs pretty much on the midline between the two. Maybe a teensy bit more toward our side. Now I'm not a thief. Anyone who knows me would agree that I am honest to a fault. I'm not just going to creep outside in the dark of night and steal that...whatever it is. I could just go over and ask the neighbors about it, but there is this gate. And not just a gate but a gatehouse. I have no idea if the people who own the house are actually there. Ever. Never met them. Never even seen them. But there are people who live in the gate house. Maybe they are employees of the bighouse people. Maybe they are just renters. Who knows? Perhaps I'll get my courage together and go knock on their door. And then what will I say to them, "Regarding the fruit that is practically on my property? What is it? May I try that one?" I don't know, it sounds .....odd.
And what am I to do about this mystery? I don't know. But if you hear of some lady in Florida arrested for fruit rustling, it's probably me.
I feel a new project coming on. We've nearly finished furnishing the new house, the kitchen reno is complete, the next big thing is paint. And lots of it. Every single room, including the trim, needs paint. Oh my oh my. Decisions, decisions decisions. It's no small thing choosing the right colour. Even if I decided to paint everything white, (which I won't) do you have any idea how many different shades of white there are? It's more than a little overwhelming. And once a colour is decided upon, what shade? What hue? Shade, hue and colour decided we next faced what sort of paint. Well what sorts are there, I naively asked? Multiple sorts as it turns out. Telling them that I want to be able to wash the wall if necessary without the paint coming off helped to decide that thank goodness. Other decisions: paint brushes type and sizes, roller nap (?), what type of painters tape did I want? blinkblink. what types are there? Mercy! I'm exhausted just from making decisions. I have the necessary paints (both walls and trim), brushes and painters tape for the first room. Now I must remove nails, spackle, sand and clean so that I can tape the room all before painting. The actual painting will be the easiest part.
Someone who lived here before us did a curious job of painting. Particularly on the trim. I can not only see all the brush marks but the colour of paint underneath. Not good. And all of the window sills in the house are tile. It's odd enough to have tiled window sills, but someone painted them. Poorly. They are all scratched up because flat paint doesn't stick very well to tile as it turns out so I'll do what I can to remove that paint too.
I'm counting my blessings first. At least most of the rooms are light colours so they do not need to be primed. Well Tim's office is purple. And not just purple but two different purples that look as if they were brushed on with a whisk broom. That one is going to be a challenge.
I think I'm too tired to start today. Maybe tomorrow. But it's going to look so good when it's done!
A Tale of Two Earrings
See these two little crystal earrings? They are nothing fancy but I am especially fond of them. I wear them a lot especially in the summer. They are lightweight, go with everything and, most importantly, they sparkle. (sometimes it's all about the sparkle). Shortly after we moved into this house, I went to put them on one morning and they were not in the jewelry box. I carefully went through the entire box (which means dumping the contents out and re-sorting them) and then the entire drawer where my jewelry lives. Nothing. I was so upset. I quietly mourned my loss. Awwwww. Everytime I was at a jewelry store, I looked for a replacement but sadly, couldn't find anything similar. Eventually I stopped looking. Life went on.
Yesterday, I decided to freshen up all my glass stuff. I love glass and have candlesticks, candy dishes, vases and prisms here and there all over the house. Freshening it up means washing it and then rinsing it in vinegar to make it sparkle! As I collected things I also brought in this crystal dish I keep on a window ledge near my piano that is filled with prisms from old chandeliers and broken crystal bits of this and that. Sparkly flotsam and jetsam. Carefully brought it in to the kitchen. Set it on the counter. Gently removed each piece for cleaning and found, almost immediately.......
the missing earrings! How they ended up in this dish is beyond my imagining. Tim suggests that perhaps I removed them while practicing piano and absentmindedly put them in the dish and then forgot about it. I suppose it's possible that I have grown that senile. We have no pets to blame it on right now (darn it) and I am positive that Tim didn't do it as he is not one to fuss with tidying. It was either me or a playfully spirited ghost. I'm going with ghost. At least I have my earrings back. For now anyway.
My Nana, who was a very wise woman, once told me that Life was a very simple thing. I was surprised by such a statement in the face of the craziness and complexity we all experience and told her so. She was adamant. When I asked for clarification, she went on to explain again, "Life is very simple. You are born. You live. You die. What could be simpler than that?" She further maintained that it was People who made life complicated and it was more or less complicated based on each individual and the choices that they make.
At the time, I probably just did the smile and patpatpat thing that young people do when they think their elders are not just wrong, but wrong and a little kooky. Now that I'm one of the elders I'm rethinking it.
I know that I'm happiest when my life is it's simplest. No drama. No extreme highs and lows. And I also now see that we are all the sum of the choices we have made in life. Additionally, I believe that it's not what happens to us in our lives that defines us, but how we deal with those things. I have come to realize over time that I do not operate well in chaos, that when my environment is tidy, I think better, my life is better. I believe that my Nana was on to something important. Therefore, I am on a mission for simplicity!!
Is it easy to keep your life simple? Actually, it's not that hard. Not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Once committed to is, once begun, it just kind of rolled forward of it's own volition. And as to what I'm thinking the result of all this is? It's a good thing.
I wish you all, simplicity.
Sort of like Flat Stanley
My bike gets around. It helps that we live in what they refer to as a very bicycle friendly community. There are real bike lanes on many of the streets and signs reminded people about bicylers on the roads, bike racks at nearly every destination and even bicycling groups!
My bike and I, however, are lone wolves. Well I guess I'm more of a lone kittycat. Not so "wolfy".
The other morning I headed out on the Venice Waterway Trail early in the day. The sun was barely awake, there was a little chill in the air, the water was cold and few other souls to be seen. (read on below)
In short, it was perfect. I pedaled the entire circuit along the Intercoastal spying one single fishing boat chugging hopefully out to open waters. I rode to Caspersen Beach which is the southest part of the Island. (we live on the northest part) Not a single person was there. It was awesome. Just the birds and I. It doesn't exactly echo with quiet, but the sound is, more. It's fuller, it's more detailed, and it's perfect. You would think it would be lonely but it's not. It's peaceful. (read on below)
I stood motionless, hypnotized by the tide for a time. Eventually, a few morning people began trickling in hauling their beach necessities, talking and laughing, eager for their adventures and the spell was broken.
What a wonderful way to start my day.
Boat Hair, Don't Care
Let's see, we have lived on the Island now for 5 months. And considering how much Tim and I both love the water, when I think about it I'm shocked at how long it took for us to finally get out there. Over the weekend, we had our opportunity. It was a sales thing of course. We went to a Consumer Expo a month or so ago and admired a few boats. The representative from the company, a very nice guy by the way, offered us the chance to get out on the water for a "sea demo". No obligation no pressure, no stress. Despite our dubiousness over the validity of that particular claim, we signed up. Our desire to be on the water outweighed the fear of high pressure sales. So this past Saturday, we were front and center, ready to request permission to come aboard.
Our captain was actually a friend of the salesguy and didn't work for the company. He owns one of the boats himself though and was therefore knowledgeable. It was a small group. The captain, Tim and I, and a family of three, mom, dad and teen girl. We clambered on with various degrees of grace, he started her up and we headed out. There were a lot of sailboats in Roberts Bay that afternoon so we moved slowly through the water until we were clear, our captain keeping up a steady stream of talk. Once he opened it up, we slapped at that water and over the roar of the engines, I could tell he was still talking but I couldn't understand a word he said and therefore could just enjoy the ride. I lounged in the bow, legs up on the seat, feet pointed forward, perfectly relaxed. A little salt water to the face never hurt anybody and the joy of being on the water, even for a short time outweighed everything else.
Sadly all things must end and we headed back. On the way, he offered to take us back out but on a different boat. Heck yeah! We hauled our butts off one craft and on to another. Back out! Let's go. Once again slowly maneuvering through the sailboats and then flying over the water, smoother ride this time, but still with salt water splashes and hair twisting like an octopus in the wind. It was awesome. A dolphin danced along side for a short time and that was probably the best chaperone ever. Just being away from the crowds on the jetty and on the beach, seeing only water, sky and horizon for a little bit was worth it all.
When it was all over, we looked at each other grinning like loons. Yup, somewhere down the line there is a boat in our future.
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.