Those look like hiking shoes to me! Which means yes! It's time for another Photo Safari Report! Yayay! And this time, you lucky devils, it's a two-fer. Kind of a Buy One, Get One situation. Which means I am calling this one, the BOGO Hikes.
Each hike has both similarities and differences to every other hike. These two are a good example of that. For the similarity column let's see, well, it was Joy and I both times, the weather was absolutely lovely both times, we took pictures and we hiked (duh), we had a great time, as we always do and oddly both times we started out trying to go to one set of trails only to find the park or preserve unexpectedly closed and had to come up with a Plan B on the fly. But that's pretty much where the "alikeness" ends.
The differences were legion. The first hiking day, Friday, we starting out trying to go to Myakka State Park only to arrive to a big sign across the closed gates stating that the park was closed. Drat. So we ended up at Celery Fields instead. It's not a wild preserve with forested and wild acres but rather a series of ponds with paths that go around them. The paths are lined with trees and shrubs and fences (mostly to prevent people from doing anything foolish). It is a beautiful place. There were loads of birds......loads! Birds of all kinds. And since the water was so still, I got an unprecedented number of water reflection shots. Here is a small sampling:
But there were also non-reflective birds. And no I don't mean that they were vampire birds. I mean they just weren't in a place that allowed for reflections. Sometimes you guys are so silly :) Here are some of those non-reflective (and non vampire) birdies:
Even though it's December (!) there still were a few pretty flowers as well:
bI'm going to save the rando files for the end and post them all lumped together. Just FYI.
Now then, on Monday, we set out intending to land at Carlton Reserve. This time we did check on line first and according to their website, they were indeed open for business. Hurrah. Only to arrive and learn that, nope, Big old closed sign across a firmly locked gate. Our best guess is that both Myakka and Carlton are still doing clean up from the hurricane and/or parts of it were still flooded. Which means, of course, that we understand why. But still, dang. Pivot once again and this time to Oscar Scherer State Park which we absolutely knew was open because we drove past it on Friday.
It turned out that while the park was indeed open, some of the trails were inaccessible which we learned by walking down the trails and finding, two miles in, huge mucky/watery areas followed by so much deadfall across the path that the only way through would be with a chain saw. Since we do not pack one, we doubled back and followed other trails. No biggie. At least we were out, hiking, talking and spending time together.
And taking remarkably few photos. While we could hear birds all around us, we saw only a select few. They were just not in the mood to be posing for portraits that day. Okay. We just worked with what we had! Here is all I have:
I did, however, get some nice shots of the park and the trails. It is a beautiful and wild looking spot:
And that was pretty much it. We managed to hike about 4 miles so if nothing else, it was decent exercise in good company.
And that means it must be time for my personal favourite, the randos. Here goes:
Every Photo Safari is unique, every single one is a surprise and these two did not disappoint in either category for sure! No idea when we will be getting out there again, or where we will go when we do. The one thing you can for sure count on, is that, afterwards, I will share the experience with you.
Thanks for coming along ;)
Heh. That Tim. He is a funny guy :)
Ok today, my friends, I am going to tell you the story about how we got, got. It suppose we could be embarrassed about it, but that won't solve anything. As the old saying goes, "If I can't be a good example, at the very least I can serve as a hideous warning."
I'm sure, if you think back far enough, you will remember that at one point, we had a major reno project going on. And it honestly started just fine. We aren't stupid people. We did our research and met with multiple different contractors, read their reviews, made sure they were licensed and so forth before making our decision. The contractor we chose had actually gotten a "builder of the year" award from a nearby town. Sounds good right?
Things went, as things always do in construction. Which is to say, more slowly than preferred. But while things were progressing at a snail's pace, they were indeed progressing and we tried to be patient.
Initially, we were looped in on pretty much everything, including when the workers would be on site and when the plans had changed and what to expect next. We saw the main guy fairly often and he was pretty good about responding to emails, calls and/or texts if we had questions.
But as time went by, we seemed to be cruising past the estimated dates of certain markers. When we questioned it, it was explained plausibly. There were delays in shipping. Difficulty in finding skilled workers. Manufacturing shortages. All things that were showing up in the daily news. Absolutely Believable and just our dumb luck to have been caught up in it.
The estimated finish date came and went with us very unfinished and as time went on, communication became more sporadic and the excuses became less likely. Flat tires, car accidents, sick workers, family dramas, family emergencies and sometimes just no shows were the explanations. We became less patient and more aggravated as time went on.
And then came the day at the beginning of the new year where we realized it had not been mere days without any sign of workers and no response to any of our attempts to reach out but more like weeks. Not Good. After continued and more rigorous attempts at contact, we finally had to face the facts. They weren't coming back. We got, got. They took the money and ran. And left us with quite a mess to take care of. Dang.
As it turns out unscrewing this is a bigger thing than we ever could have imagined. It wasn't just an unfinished project, there were building materials left behind, a half full dumpster, even a portapotty! After having a lawyer look into this a bit, it turns out that we weren't the only people that got, got by these guys. We were one of many. And now, the construction guys were gone. I mean well and truly gone. Disappeared into the cosmos. Our lawyer advised us that not only would it cost a great deal of money and time to try to pursue them legally, but there was no money to get back from this fellow, even if he could be found. The well had run dry.
What to do, what to do. We had already poured a great deal of money into an unfinished project and now we were a little gun shy about even attempting to hire someone to finish it. And that would be assuming that someone else would be willing to try. So Tim contacted the town to find out how to take over the project on our own. Ambitious, yes. Good decision? Definitely.
First an inspector had to come out and check see where we stood. As it turns out there was a whole lot of stuff that had to be re-done. The inspector was very kind and went into great detail explaining how certain things should have been done. Which meant that instead of starting where we were and moving forward, first we had to go many steps backwards.
As with all construction projects, none of it was cheap. And it is beyond frustrating to have to pay for something twice (to say nothing of the financial ouchie of it). Especially when those things are not inexpensive to begin with. But one does what one must. Over the past 9 months or so, Tim has spent many a weekend first learning how to do these things (on-line tutorials!) and then the next part - learning by doing. I have been not very helpful at all as through most of it I have been healing and recovering from various stages of surgeries. But I do what I can, where I can, when I can. Even if it's just keeping him supplied with cold water and cleaning up afterwards.
Slowly, Very Slowly, progress is being made and there is the satisfaction of the work being done by Tim. I am certain that when it is completed, at long last, it will be gratifying for Tim to look around knowing, "I did that myself" and all of the bruises and cuts, the sore back and sun burns, the falls off the ladder and that one time he accident bonked himself in the head with a hammer (ouch), the permanently stained clothes and the sheer exhaustion will be worth while.
And on the day when we are completely finished and have put all of the furniture back where it belongs, all of the construction dust and dirt is really and truly gone and the house is fully livable once again, I will take photos of the finished project and proudly share them with you.
I think the message here is that it can happen to anyone. I mean, we did the work. We didn't walk in blindly, we stayed on top of things and still, it happened. But it's not what happens to you in your life that defines you, it's how you deal with it. This is how we dealt with it.
Many thanks to Paul and Marsha Minock who loaned us their tile saw and even delivered it with a smile :)
Could it be? Is it true? Yuppers! Time for a Photo Safari Report! Yayayayay! It had been awhile so we thought the first time back out ought to be a smaller hike, therefore we hit Curry Creek Preserve yesterday. So I reckon I will call this one the Curry Creek Hike. (not very imaginative or creative I know but hey...)
I honestly don't know what the square miles of this preserve is or how many miles of trail it contains and it doesn't matter anyway. I do know that there are two parts and you have to cross a creek to get from one side to the other. There is no bridge so either you are going to get wet, are an Olympic level long jumper or you wait until the creek is lower or dried up to cross. We opted for the third option which means, we only explored one side. And that was just fine for the first hike in awhile.
The last time we were in this preserve was before the big Hurricane. Which is a fact we realized very shortly after arriving. So Many Trees Down! Wow! And I'm talking BIG trees. Huge Trees! In some places, there were entire sections "roped" off for safety reasons. It was sad to see the amount of damage that occurred, but as Joy wisely pointed out, nature adapts. All sorts of woodland creatures will make homes in those felled giants.
And speaking of woodland creatures, we saw all sorts! Some we even managed to get pictures of. It was very overcast when we started the hike and the sun only came out as we neared the exit (of course) so most of the pictures I got were not quite as bright and shiny as usual. Just something to keep in mind.
We saw many others like cardinals, hawks and those tiny songbirds that don't stand still long enough to get there picture taken drat it all. Also saw a Raccoon! Also didn't get a photo of him. Oh well. I think I'm still a little rusty. BUT I did get a few other critters:
And for some reason, for a change, I captured quite a number of fungi. Not usually what draws me but I don't question a muse. Here are a few of the cutest ones.
And of course, flowers . Keeping in mind that this is November and that is not our most prolific blooming month. Still, I was impressed with the variety.
All of the other photos I took are rather rando. But we all know that is my favourite category so here goes:
I think for the first Photo Safari in awhile, it was not at all bad. Hopefully we will be able to head out again soon, Somewhere else. Who knows what we will see?
Hope you enjoyed coming along for the Curry Creek Hike!
I know you are madly busy today, getting ready for Turkey Day, finalizing plans or perhaps even travelling! So I will only take a quick moment.
For a day that really began only as a rather humble Harvest Celebration, Thanksgiving as a holiday has grown to be so much more. For some people it's all about the food. Well, that makes sense, harvest is literally connected to food so there ya go! For other's, Thanksgiving is mostly about family and friends coming together. Sometimes family and/or friends that rarely gets to spend time with one another, which makes it extra special. Other people focus on the football games or the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special. You will hear no argument from me. You feel the way you feel and I support that completely. Personally one of my favourite parts is the pie. I'm all about the pie.
Usually, amidst all of the eating and talking and general merriment, somewhere along the line during the day, the literal name of the Holiday strikes most people and they take a moment to, at least quietly to themselves, make a mental list of the things for which they are most grateful.
My list is a long one. And the longer I am on this planet, the longer the list is. And it goes from the expected things like: good health and beloved family to perhaps less expected things such as the sound of a cat's purr and the magnificence of sunsets to absolutely ridiculous things like being thankful for the existence of ice cream and the invention of lip balm.
I guess the point of the holiday is yes, to enjoy the gathering of family and friends, to savour all of the wonderful food, to have fun watching football and having a great conversations but most of all, to be appreciative for all of the good in our lives.
And one of those things in my life is all of you. I am grateful for you!
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
Forsooth! Behold, yon Medieval Faire.
So yeah, that's what we did on Saturday. Spent a little time at Renaissance Festival. I don't know how you feel about them, but we had a great time. It's like stepping through a portal to an alternate reality. And sometimes, that's exactly what we need.
Our Local (ish - it's in Sarasota so not too far away) Ren Fair is unique because it's a permanent encampment. Or town. Or collection of structures. Or, well, I don't know exactly what to call it. It's only been in place for two years so it's still just a baby town but it has that feeling of permanence that helps to "sell" the story. The buildings are a actual buildings, the fences built to last, and while there are loads of tents for the retail portion of the fair there is still a feeling of 'forever' about the place. As the years go by, I'm sure it will only get even better.
As an unabashed people watching, I was in my glory. When I got a little tired, I could find a comfy spot to sit and just watch the cast of characters go by. For some people it was very low key costuming. Maybe a little girl wearing fairy wings or a woman sporting a circlet of flowers in her hair. It could be a man wearing a kilt or a leather vest, or it could be that massive sword at the waist of his jeans. (?) But some people get full on into the role, just as a visitor, not one of the paid characters I would like to add. And I am here for it!
There were animals of course. Not just the native birds and butterflies and squirrels, silly, I mean Ren Fair critters! That was fun too! There were also baby pigs and a donkey. No photos, sorry.
And of course, the actual paid performers. They were awesome! Easily the best part of the entire experience. Mostly because these guys are so into what the are doing! This is not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Love it. Ready?
I'm trying to decide what my favourite part was and I am just not sure. Was it the human chess game where the king arbitrarily pitted Danes against Brits, clergy against soldier, man vs woman in a sometimes amusing, but always beautifully choreographed battle?
Or perhaps it was the traditional jousting? Well it began with the tradition of armoured men atop massive horse thundering down a track toward one another, each hoping to spear the other with their lance. But at some point it devolved into sword fight on the ground. Terribly exciting. Please note some of the attendees, just as beautifully and fancifully attired as the players.
Or maybe it was the music. The drummers and the bagpipes played both traditional and non-traditional tunes, occasionally accompanied by a saucy dance. Or maybe the Hokey Pokey really is from Medieval times? At one point flames shot out of one of the bagpipes. Seriously it did! I didn't expect it so I missed the shot but whoa! Cool! Even if you weren't standing right next to the performance stage watching the musicians, it was an awesome backdrop whatever you were doing because you could hear it all over the Faire. Perfect.
It could have been just walking around seeing the people show before me and checking out all of the amazing little shops where they sold pretty much everything. Corsets and swords and flower crowns and armour and fairy wings and elf ears and bird whistles and all manner of clothing and jewelry and well, the list just goes on and on and ON! I could not possibly list it all.
The last one we attended was here in Florida five or six years ago. And the one before that was in Colorado probably ten before that, so it's not as if we go regularly. But every single time we've been, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. There is a little something for everybody. You don't have to dress up and you don't have to be very participatory. I didn't take them up on their offer to teach me archery, or how to throw axes or spears. We did not ride the horses or the camels nor did we attempt to eat giant turkey legs. But what we did do, was have one heck of a great day.
If you have the chance to attend one, and have not yet done it, go. It's a good time.
I enjoy cooking, as I've mentioned a time or two, but I rarely turn my nose up at an opportunity to eat out either. We generally eat out once a week, usually (though not always) on the weekend. Partly because it's a nice change of pace, and to give me a break from cooking but also to support the (usually) small businesses in our community. In fact, even during the Pandemic, we made it a point to order take out from one of the local restaurants when we could.
I've had a number of magazine subscriptions over the years, "Highlights for Children" when I was very young, "Mad Magazine" when I was a little older and then "Tiger Beat" in my teen years. But I wasn't the only one in our family to subscribe to a magazine. I think everybody had at least one, sometimes more than one. The house was littered with reading material.
I know that "National Geographic" and "Life" magazines were always on our coffee tables no matter what our address was along with "Time" and "Readers Digest." There were others of course. Some fell out of favour along the way and others were experiments that only lasted the length of one subscription and were not followed by renewals. But there were always new ones coming along. Didn't matter to me, I read them all.
When the boys were younger I would try to find a new and different magazine every Chrismtas for each of them to subscribe to them and the first issue went right into their stockings. There are a LOT of magazines out there so there was never an issue finding a new one. Needless to say, I am a fan of magazines. However, somehow, I never buy any for myself. I guess I never needed to.
Once Joy and I were out on our own, our Mother succumbed to the siren call of every single child who came to her door selling subscriptions and suddenly at least one magazine was arriving in nearly every post. Everything from magazines about birds, to decorating to 'ladies magazines' such as Redbook and Ladies Home Journal. Eventually Mother discovered People magazine and other similar publications were everywhere in the house. I don't know that she actually read any of them, but she definitely flipped through at the very least and looked at all of the pictures. And then when she was ready, the best part happened. She passed the magazines on. First to Joy and her girls because they were local. And then eventually via the mail to me. I loved mail day!
At some point, Mother began getting a magazine called, Reminisce and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was about history and people's stories and I love both of those things. Old photographs and the paragraphs that describe them comprised the bulk of the periodical and I am all about that. There was always a section devoted to a particular year, let's say, 1942, and it highlighted all sorts of things that happened that year. From historic events, to most popular entertainer to slang words that came into being that year. There might be personal stories about childhood memories (and accompanying photos) or a collection of "how we met" stories from long married folks or tales of camping adventures. Every issue had different stories and different photographs and I loved them all. I cannot say really, why this magazine in particular spoke to me above all of the others, but it did.
I looked forward to the arrival of these pre-read magazines in the mail with great eagerness. Sometimes Mother would put little stickers on certain articles with notes on them. I could rarely actually read the notes, but I loved that she bothered to try to point something out to me. (her handwriting was worse than mine and that is saying something!). There were usually crumbs from whatever she was eating as she flipped through in the creases of the pages and sometimes a tea stain here and there. Didn't matter to me one bit. I poured over every word on every page and nearly memorized each photograph.
Eventually the monthly manila envelope stuffed to over flowing with magazines and notes and stickies stopped coming. Mother had reached that point in her life where just making it through each day was an accomplishment and when she was gone, I certainly wasn't thinking about magazines!
But eventually, maybe a year later, in a grocery store of all places, I saw an issue of Reminisce and of course, immediately it reminded of my mom. So I treated myself to one issue. Which lead Tim to buying me a subscription (my one and only subscription) and I've been reading my own copy with no notes, or crumbs or illegible stickies in it. I always save each issue and pass it along to Joy and Bob who also enjoy it.
I guess I assumed that as long as Tim continued to renew the subscription, that it would continue forever. Turns out, not so much. In yesterdays mail, I got a postcard from Readers Digest saying that Reminisce magazine is no longer being published. Dang. There was no opportunity to linger longingly over the last issue - knowing that it was the final one. No warning, no goodbye, no nothing. Just, "it is no longer being published". Not even an explanation as to the why of it.
I am unaccountably sad. Oh the post card went on to say that for the remainder of my subscription they will be sending me Readers Digest. And thank you that's very nice. But it's not the same. Readers Digest in no way resembles Reminisce. And there isn't that connection, the reminder of generations past. The history lessons, the photographs, the personal stories are gone forever. And never again will I open the mailbox to find an issue and immediately link it to memories of my mother.
I know that more and more magazines are disappearing. Most people would rather read it on line, they say. Well, I don't want to read it on line. I want to read it in the bathtub. I want to literally turn the pages and fold it backwards, not click the mouse. I want to write my own illegible sticky notes before passing it on to someone else. But that's not happening.
I am usually pretty adaptable. I ride with the tide and go with the flow. I learned how to use a computer and a cell phone. I love having a dishwasher and a Ring doorbell. I applaud many of the modern conveniences and inventions and especially medical advances! But some small part of me longs for a connection to the past and the 'olden days'. And now it's gone.
RIP Reminisce Magazine. I will miss you.
So this is what's going on at our house today. Tropical Storm Nicole, which we are told arrived on the East Coast of Florida as a Category 1 Hurricane. Delightful. By the time it got over to our side of the state it's a mere Tropical Storm. Which means wind and rain. You know, like a heavy duty rain storm. I see some palm fronds down (they are such divas) and our sail shade tried to take flight but otherwise, it's all good here. Not a great day for a walk but otherwise, fine.
For some reason, while I was starring out the window watching the rain a little bit ago, in my head popped the old Julie Andrews song from the movie Sound of Music, "My Favourite Things". Oh you remember it,
"Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens
Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens
Brown Paper Packages tied up with String
These are a few of my Favourite Things"
I haven't thought of that song is a VERY long time. So long ago in fact, that I couldn't tell you when it was that I last sang it. But most likely I sang it to my children when they were small. That kind of long ago.
Anyway, as the lyrics were rumbling around in my head it occurred to me that while I do not dislike any of the things Julie sang about, it is not necessarily My list of favourite things. So I thought perhaps I would take a crack at creating my own list. FYI you will not be able to sing it to the tune of the actual song and it will not rhyme unless it's by accident.
Some of Sam's Favourite Things:
Baking. I like cooking but I love baking. Somehow Friday's have become my official baking day here which now makes Friday's my favourite day of the week. So I guess that's two favourite things in one go.
Having someone reach out to me that I haven't heard from in a while. I recently got a post card from an old friend, out of the blue, while she was on vacation! What an absolute delight. Lifted my spirits for days! But it might be an unexpected howdy do phone call, an email, a text, a letter or just crossing paths in the grocery store. Makes me happy.
Flowers. Any kind, anywhere, anytime, I love 'em. They could be fancy flower in a formal garden or wildflowers or anything in between. Fields of flowers or one singleton in a pot. Botanic gardens or a daisy growing in a crack in a sidewalk. I don't need to own them or grow them or even know there names. Just seeing them makes me smile.
The sound of children laughing. Always makes me smile. Well, anyone laughing is delightful but children laughing is, somehow, pure.
Photography. I am not an especially accomplished photographer but I am an enthusiastic amateur. One of my favourite ways to spend time is tramping around somewhere, camera in hand, snapping away as the spirit moves me. But I also like those unexpected moments here at home where the light is just right and I grab my camera to preserve that moment. One shot. Just the one. Fills my soul a bit.
Music. Well of course music. Playing it, listening to it, writing it, singing it! Most kinds of music reach me on a level that is so elemental and basic that I think it may be printed right on my DNA.
That moment of satisfaction when the jar I'm struggling to open finally pops! I feel like Hercules in that moment!
The first bite of a long awaited food especially if I'm Very hungry. All of the bites are good of course and I enjoy them all, but that first bite, is the best. That one, the one I longed for and eat slowly to savour, that one is my favourite.
Organization and Tidiness. It's not quite a compulsion. Probably because I'm rather lazy. But I do love how it looks when things are sparkling clean and lined up just so.
A particularly good hair day. It doesn't happen often so when it does, I do the happy dance.
The written word: Having a stack of unread books on hand. Discovering a New wonderful author. The books that I love so much that I read them once every year. Reading along and then having to pause and re-read and marvel over one perfectly constructed sentence. A quiet, probably rainy, afternoon curled up with a book and a cookie to spend some serious time........
Learning. I adore learning something new. And since there is always more to learn, I will never run out. It is a bottomless well and that is delicious!
My family. It goes without saying. Sidenote here: Some friends are really unrelated family. I include them. Our hearts are magical and expand enough, always, to make enough room to fit them all in.
Old movies. I like some of the new ones too, but my favourites are the old ones. Black'n'white. Glamorous ladies with dramatic eyes and nattily dressed men in fedoras. I love the old cars, the clothes, the vocabulary. It transports me to another time. Speaking of which:
Time Travel. I am fascinated with the concept. It started when I was a youngster, around 8 or 9 years oldand I read H.G. Wells, "The Time Machine" and that was it, I was hooked and it never left. Movies, TV shows, books, anything that smacks of time travel and I am there for it. Never mind that science declares it improbably except in theory, it's still one of my favourite things.
Contrasts. Like........blue walls with white trim, or wearing an all black and white outfit but with bright red shoes. Eating snappy apples with gingersnaps or wheat thin crackers with grapes and chocolate cake with white icing or hot apple pie with a big spoonful for cold vanilla ice cream on top. Being bundled up toasty warm on a very cold day. I like things that contrast.
Home made gifts. I have very limted talents so the only home made gift you could possibly ever receive from me would be edible but I so admire clever, talented artistic people who can create things with their own hands. It's magic to me! Alchemy! Wonderous!
The Seasons. While frankly I'm delighted to never have to shovel snow again, I am so happy that I have lived in places with snow...lots and lots of snow! I'm happy that I have experienced all of the seasons, Sunny Summers and crisp colourful autumn and crystalline winters and the joys of blooming spring. It is forever in my memory even if I don't live it anymore.
Hmmmmm I'm not anywhere near done and this list is getting long. Perhaps I will continue it another time. Meanwhile, what are some of your favourite things?
Ready for my annual rant?
So the time changed again over the weekend. I'm sure you noticed. And like most people, I am not happy about it. To be fair, this is the change that gives us an extra hour of sleep (in theory) which I suppose, makes it marginally better than the one the leaves us one snoozy hour short. I didn't actually get the "extra" hour becoz my own personal body clock woke up at the same time it always does. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Like any good little humans who have absolutely no choice, we did what we are supposed to do and adjusted any clocks that do not automatically adjust themselves and now we will spend the next few weeks trying adjust ourselves to match. Grrrrrr. I noticed how dang dark it was last night when I finished cleaning up from dinner . It was 6:14 exactly, full dark outside and I am NOT happy!
In the past week the news feed on my computer has posted many articles and commentaries regarding the issue of Daylight Savings time, both pro and con. I actually read a few. Here are the top three pros and cons:
Let's address these one at a time:
PRO 1: Daylight Savings Time promotes safety. Hmmm. I would like to see the stats from Arizona and Hawaii - the two US states that do not observe DST to see if that is honestly true. If it is true, it's only true in the morning because since it's darker earlier at the end of the day, wouldn't it be less safe out then? What about places that have months of darkness, like say...Alaska. Do they notice a lot less safety going on in their darker months? I am dubious of this claim.
PRO 2: DST is good for the economy. In what way? Because we are using less power when it's light out? Well, once again, that only applies to the morning. I see only a shift in the time of day when the extra power is being used.
PRO 3: DST promotes active lifestyles. Once again, if you go running or biking, outside, early in the day then I suppose yes, you would be more likely to do it in the lighted part of the day. But if you generally get your aerobic exercise at the end of the day and it's darker earlier, then perhaps not. Or maybe you do your workouts at the gym in which case, it makes no difference at all. OR you don't run or bike at all in which case....moot!
CON 1: DST is bad for your health. A Resounding YES!~ When people go to work in the dark, work inside all day and then come home in the dark, that just cannot be healthy. Same for kids going to school. Most of us appreciate the light. And all of us need the natural Vitamin D that comes from exposure to the light. So there! To say nothing of the fact that the loss of sleep from adjusting to the time change is never a good thing. Ever.
CON 2: DST drops productivity. What? The exact opposite of the Pro claim? Interesting. You mean to say that people who are sleep deprived and lacking natural exposure to light are less productive? Well that is shocking, simply shocking (not). That is certainly not promoting a healthy lifestyle either is it!
CON 3: DST is expensive. Once again, the exact opposite of the Pro claim.
What does this tell us? Well mostly that a smart person can take the number collected by any poll and tweak them to suit their own purposes.
The fact is that reports state that at least 70% of Americans do not want a time change anymore. And yet we still have one. It isn't as if it were a simple matter of just everybody in each state getting together in one place, raising their hands to indicate that the no longer wish to observe DST and then somebody counting those hands and the majority wins. Nope. It's much much much more complicated. Why? Because it has to go to congress. Sigh.
The state of Florida actually did petition to stop observing DST way back in 2018. And the bill languishes, waiting for someone to actually move it forward while we wait, bleary eyed and cranky.
We aren't the only ones either. Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are also patiently, or perhaps not so patiently, waiting.
And if it actually (eventually) happens that the law is finally in place (hurrah!), it will be another full year before we can stop changing the clocks twice a year. But it will be a huge step forward.
And you know what? I'm not even certain which is the real time? Was the the real time before this weekend when we "fell back"? Or is it the real time now? Either way, I don't care. Just fix it, for heaven's sakes. Pick one and stick with it!!!!!
The above photo is of some nice lady in....perhaps Italy?.... wearing a rain poncho. One of those nifty little disposable things that they sell in touristy places such a Disney. They are fairly inexpensive, very one size fits most and most importantly, they work. They keep the wet out.
And what on earth does that have to do with the price of potatoes? Well, nothing to do with potatoes, I assure you! But it does figure as a main character in an amusing tale of achievement. So here goes:
This morning, I took my first full shower after this most recent surgery. And only people who have had to forego their daily shower for awhile will appreciate how glorious it is when the day finally comes. Up until now, due to all of the surgical wrapping and strapping, I was warned, quite strongly to NOT GET IT WET! I felt like either the Wicked Witch of the West, who as you may recall melted when she got wet, or that little Gremlin Creature, Gizmo. Nobody needs more than one Sam, seriously.
So in my effort to NOT GET IT WET, I've been cat bathing for ten days. Ten Long Days of not feeling truly clean. Oh I know that I was clean. I was Very clean. But it's just not the same thing. And of course, the worst part was dealing with my hair. Tim, because he is the nicest husband on the planet, has been washing my hair for me so as to NOT GET IT WET.
During all three of these dang surgeries there have been segments of time when I had to NOT GET IT WET! And all three times we were given different advice on how to make sure that happened. Things like "Use dry shampoo". Humph. Dry Shampoo indeed. I will say this, the concept has improved a little over the years. It's not as bad as I recall from childhood when 'dry shampoo' was just baby powder sprinkled on your head and worked in with your fingers, combed through and..........you overwhelmingly smelled by baby powder all day and honestly it did little good. The hair still didn't look or feel (to me the most important part) clean. Now it's in a spray can and the instructions say to spray at the root of the hair and work it through. The Fragrance isn't bad at all but the results are much the same.
Other suggestions that we actually tried, included wrapping my torso thoroughly with cling wrap, which sort of worked. Sort of. The human body is not a surface that cling wrap sticks to very well. It does, however, stick to itself Incredibly well, which was the most frustrating part of this experiment. Also because the human plane....the surface of our body.... curves and dips, there is always a little teensy gap somewhere, no matter how hard to try...where water trickles in. Yup, I got wet. Not soaked, but still wet. And because of that, the hair washing sessions were spaced out as far as I could stand and when they happened were Very Brief. The faster hair washing in the South!
Another methodology we tried involved contortions. Me, basically doing a near backbend to keep the water as far away as possible. I am flexible but it's still a difficult position to maintain, even while sitting on a plastic chair (which I was) and in a slippery shower, potentially dangerous. And, as it turned out, water bounces off any surfaces it touches, including walls and shower curtains and, because it's the same sort of geometry that is involved in playing pool, I still got a little wet.
So this time around, Tim came up with an idea on his own that was nothing short of brilliant. He found a rain poncho and put that on me and then using several chip clips, fastened a towel around me over it. Now I could sit on that little plastic chair facing away from the shower and he, so very gently, washed my hair for me. We have are lucky enough to have a shower wand. It has a clever little button that turns the water on and off as the hair washer ( in this case, Tim) wishes. The result was Brilliant! My hair was clean and nothing under the poncho got wet at all!
Well after a few days of being waited upon like a Queen and having someone else wash my hair for me, I decided that I am an independent woman. I can take care of this my own dang self. I would take a page from Tim's book and put on the poncho and clip on the towel of course, but all by my own self. I eyed the plastic chair in the tub. Hmmmm. I wasn't sure how this would actually work in the tub since the shower is behind me now. How could I hold it behind me? And then I realized, yes! The kitchen sink!
It's a nice big farm sink with plenty of room and the faucet has one of those clever sprayer thingies. That'll work! I got all excited :) I was ready for my mission. I brought out my shampoo, a couple of big towels, the chip clips and the poncho! I was ready to roll. I put on the poncho, clipped the towel in place, turn on the water to let it get warm and dived right in.
Almost immediately I realized that I had done something terrible wrong. For convenience sake, I clipped the towel in front of me, not behind as Tim had done which meant that as soon as I leaned forward over the sink, I nearly impaled myself on the chip clip! Bright red spot under the chin. I readjusted the chip clip to the side and gave it another whirl. I leaned forward, grabbed the faucet sprayer and totally soaked myself because the poncho hood, (without me realizing it) was standing right up like a basketball backboard just waiting for that first spray of water which pooled in the hood and then trickled down the inside of the poncho.
Naturally, in shock, I stood straight up which sent the pool of water in a gush straight down in the inside. Dang! Clearly, without me realizing it, Tim had been tucking that hood down inside the poncho. Okay. First I took off the poncho and the totally soaking wet clothes underneath, dried off everything as best I could, and put on a dry shirt. Using one of the big towels I mopped up the pond of water on the floor so it wasn't a slip hazard. Then I put the poncho back on making it a point to be absolutely certain that the hood was tucked inside. I clipped a fresh dry towel back on with the clips to the side and thought, "Three's the charm" and ducked back under the faucet.
This time worked much better, or so I thought. My hair was washed and rinsed and after I turned the water off and stood up and opened my eyes I saw that the counter top, the backsplash and everything in it's vicinity was also wet. Dang. Apparantly, I wasn't aiming that sprayer nearly as well as I thought. Ooops.
Took awhile to mop everything up but eventually it was done, my hair was clean as was the entire kitchen. BUT the most important things was that I did it. And with each hair washing session after that, there was less damage than the time before. By the time I was able to go back to a full solo, near normal shower/hair washing today, I had it down cold.
I feel very accomplished and proud of myself. And today I also feel exceptionally clean. And I have the strongest urge to take a bow and say. "Taadaa!" And so I shall.
I can hear you thinking....".a Jury Summons and a Hospital Bracelet. Hmmmm, strange combo" And I completely agree. I will explain the connection momentarily. Bear with me, it will be long and confusing.
First I wanted to thank everyone for all of their positive thoughts and good wishes. Made it through the third and hopefully final surgery just fine. Right now it's just a matter of time and healing which requires patience on my part. And unfortunately patience is not something I have in the great volumes necessary. (which further translates to, Poor Tim!)
Now to the story.
My most recent surgery date was sort of Sprung on me unexpectedly. I mean I knew that would be coming, just not as quickly as it did. Oh I was glad to have it over and done with, no question there, but what literally happened was I went to my regular follow up doc appointment with my surgeon as I'd been doing since surgery #2 on Thursday the 13th. At the end of this appointment we were told that I was ready for the last surgery and it would be on one of the following dates: October 24, November 10 or December 12. Apparently, there is a lot of competition for the operating rooms! Then we were told that we would hear which of those dates would be assigned to me by telephone the next day.
The next day, a Friday, passed with no phone call so the following Monday, I called the doctor office. I learned, as of that phone call, that my surgical date would be October 24th which was one week from that day. Short notice. One very short week away. Ok. I took a deep breathe and said, ok I can do that. Then I was told that I also needed to come BACK to the doc office for my pre-op appointment on Tuesday which was the very next day. What? Wasn't I just there? Couldn't we have called the visit 4 days ago the pre-op visit? Apparently not. Tim scrambled to rearrange his work schedule to get me there but he made it happen. Ok, all set. We felt that we were good to go. Managed to attend the Pre-op visit on Tuesday. Now I'm ready to go. Done and done, right? Well except for the necessary paperwork and phone calls from the hospital which would happen on Wednesday, the next day.
On Wednesday, I did, indeed get a phone call from the hospital very bright and early. In fact it was 8:00am. Luckily we are early risers. It was a long and involved phone call which mostly revolved around my pre-registration wherein I was asked everything from my height and weight (which are normally state secrets) to a very thorough medical history, my religious affiliation, insurance, significant other's information and the query as to with which gender I prefer to identify. Ok. It took awhile, but It was done. Or so I thought. Nope. At the end of the call I learn that I will be getting yet another call the next day, Thursday, from another department at the hospital. And I'm thinking, "More questions? You already know more about me than most people!"
Ok fine. But at this point, I realize that there are a lot of other things on my calendar that I need to now rearrange. Two different doctor appointments, a visit to my hairdresser and, oh yeah, jury duty. Dang!. How does a person do that? First I dealt with the things I felt confident about: two docs and a hairdresser. Ok. Done. Now the Jury Duty Notification.
I was booked to appear in Sarasota for Jury Duty on the 25th of October which is one day AFTER surgery. Nope, that isn't going to happen. How do I do this? Well I read very carefully through the Jury Summons and learned that there is a part that can be filled out, torn off and mailed back for people that wish to be excused or deferred. I definitely wish to be excused, thank you very much and filled out the form. Then I notice that the bottom of the form indicates that this form must be received 5 working days before the required date of attendance. I looked at my calendar. This was Wednesday the 19th and it will only be collected and perhaps sorted on this day. So I cannot count that day. I was supposed to be there on Tuesday the 25th. In the middle there is a Friday and Saturday. Leaving only 4 working days. This is not going to arrive in time. Ratz.
There must be another way. I popped the form in the mailbox anyway with fingers crossed but there HAD to be an alternate route. I was certain that I wasn't the first person on the planet to come across a situation like this. In carefully re-re-reading the summons, I realized that there was an email address provided. YES! I will try that. I carefully crafted a succinct but polite explanation of why I would be unable to accept their kind invitation to participate as a member of the jury, crossed my fingers and hit send. Thought that was the end of that particular story but nope.
Thursday I did yet another phone call via the hospital whereupon I learned that I had to run out that very day to have blood work done AND that there are prescriptions that have been called in for me that must be picked up prior to surgery as well as recommended post-surgical supplies. Managed to zoom out and get those chores done as well. So far, I'm thinking, I am kind of impressed that in such a short period of time, we are ON this. We Rock!
Friday, to my great surprise, I got an email response from the Court regarding my email requesting an excused absence. It was equally polite and succinct telling me that they received my request and that it would be put before the judge for the judge's decisions AND that they would let me know what the judge decided. What?
Sorry, no. Unless the judge is also my surgeon, the judge does not get to decide this. I do not have time for this nonsense. I cannot worry about this. I have things to do! Joy came up to keep me glued together and distracted on Friday for a bit and she completely agreed with me.
Saturday and Sunday were spent Cleaning with a capital C, doing laundry, sterilizing the bathroom, cooking ahead, shopping ahead and making sure everything that could possibly be ready, was ready. We had a surprise and absolutely lovely Minock Visit on Sunday which further helped to glue me together emotionally and distract me from surgery.
Monday, Surgery Day, I did everything I was supposed to do and nothing I wasn't supposed to do, before we left the house. Jury Duty was the Furthest Thing from My Mind! The hospital by the way, Sarasota Memorial, was lovely. Very New and Modern And Contemporary. I felt as if I was on a movie set. Every single person I met was pleasant and professional and exactly what you want them to be. After surgery, is a blur. The next day, also a blur. The rest of the week slowly settled into focus and by, I think, Wednesday or Thursday, I started catching up on things, returning phone calls and texts and emails.
Which is when I discovered another email from the Court. It seems that all Jurors were dismissed. (Perhaps the case was settled out of court?) So I guess I won't be arrested for not showing up to court. Actually I have no idea what happens to a person who doesn't show up to jury duty. Do you? I'm kind of afraid to google it for fear that anyone tracking my activity will flag it as suspicious.
ANYWAY, it's been a busy and crazy couple of weeks and now things have finally settled down a bit. Yes there are more post-op appointments to come (the first one Wednesday after which perhaps I can take a normal shower again...yay!). And healing is happening, little by little, step by step, Very SLOWLY. Dang.
Shockingly Slowly. I cannot believe how quickly I tire out! But as Joy pointed out to me because I was so dumb I couldn't figure this out by myself, Before the 1st surgery in March, I was 100% me. After that first one, I had time to bounce back to maybe 90%. And then there was the 2nd surgery in July, a very big, traumatic, huge, eventful surgery. And between July and October I healed and returned to perhaps 70-75% of my normal self. So here we are following this last surgery and I'm maybe 50% of my normal? Which troubled me until it was pointed out that I didn't start at 100. I started at 70. It's going to take some time and a lot a patience to get back to my normal. BUT get there I will! Little by little, day by day, tiny progress by tiny progress I will be me once again.
My goal is New Years Day. I would really like to start 2023 as fully me once again! I think that's reasonable, don't you?
Anyway, so that's the connection between Jury Duty and A Surgery Date and how that works. It was interesting and I learned a thing or two. Both good things. And of course the best part which is that I'm on my way to finally FINALLY putting this entire chapter in my rear view mirror. And that is a VERY good thing!
So you are now all caught up on what's been happening here. How about you guys? What's new with you? I'm all ears, eager to hear what's been going on with you!
And I just realized...Happy Halloween!
Yup. Once again, I will be taking a short "medical leave of absence" here. I have another surgery scheduled for this coming Monday. Ho Hum. Same sort of thing. Another surgery, another recovery with limited stuff going on and therefore limited photos and therefore limited experiences and limited things to say. You've heard me say it all before. So Boring!
But I will write when there is something worth writing about!
And meanwhile, please all of you stay safe, be well and Have Fun! And then be sure to tell me all about it. During the boring times I tend to live vicariously!
Hugs all 'round
Let it be known throughout the land that this day, October 19th, 2022, shall forever more be known as Florida Autumn! (Just this one particular day. I have no idea what season it will feel like here tomorrow.)
Yes, my friends, for the first time in, well I don't even known how long, I am wearing long pants. I woke up today to temps in the low 50's and here we are at a quarter after 9 am and the thermometer has not yet reached 60. Since it's cloudy and gloomy and grey outside, I do not anticipate that it will get a lot higher.
I know, I know, 50 degrees is nothin'. A perfectly comfortable temperature, is what I am told. But this is sunny Florida and we have now lived here for more than six years. I have acclimated. Which means I am accustomed to much warmer weather. Which also means, I am officially chilly.
Please do not misunderstand, I'm not complaining. I'm just stating a fact. When the mercury dips into the 50's, it's a wee bit brisk outside. Well actually, since every openable window in the house is currently wide open, it's a bit brisk inside too. Which, of course, does not stop me from having the windows open. It 's way past time to let some of the outside in and freshen up the house. I love giving the house a good airing out. As long as the cooler weather continues, the windows will stay open. And I will be wearing a sweatshirt. And long pants.
Not Tim. Nope. He is finally not hot. I won't go so far as to say that he is comfortable because I cannot speak for him, but I know he is enjoying this Autumn day. In fact, he is the one who was flinging open windows bright and early this morning! Okay, I will ask him. Hang on. Ok, the answer is, officially, yes, he is enjoying the weather today. Nice!
So we are both enjoying this little change of pace, weather-wise :) The difference is that I am enjoying it while drinking endless cups of hot water and wearing long pants, a long sleeved shirts, a sweat jacket and closed toed shoes with socks. Tim, on the other hand, is still in shorts and a polo shirt and is barefoot. Ah well, different strokes for different folks as they used to say.
How long will this Florida Autumn last? No idea. Not a single clue. It could be a day, several days, a week or tomorrow it could be very summery again. It's tricky. We don't have the pretty coloured leaves or naked tree branches that clearly indicate the fall season here. Ok that's not fair. Our trees have coloured leaves. And that colour is green. Year 'round. Green leaves. Nor remotely autumnish. Honestly the pumpkin spice everything and Halloween stuff in the stores is the only real indicator of the season here. I mean other than looking at a calendar. The calendar is pretty clear on it.
On the other hand, if we judged what the season one strictly based on what we find in stores, right now could be Halloween, Thanksgiving OR Christmas! So that's not real helpful. And I think it honestly makes a difference where you are. Geographically I mean. Everybody and their Uncle Fred knows what the four seasons are. But I think simply knowing that on September 22 we officially moved from the summer season to the fall season because science says so (and quite honestly, it actually does say so) doesn't mean that the seasons change like flipping a wall switch.
When we lived in New England, I remember people from far away saying that they wanted to come and see the beautiful autumn colour where we lived and then asking us, which day that was. Doesn't happen like that, sorry. When we lived in Colorado, despite what the calendar indicated, if you went high enough up into the mountains you would find signs along the road warning you that snow was possible every single day of the year. Here in Florida, the actual real feel summer - the worst of the hot, humid, rainshowery part of the year is actually July through September even though every kid in the US thinks of summer as being June, July and August.
It's a funny thing. Sort of like Daylight Savings Time. Oh I will go head and move our clocks forward or backwards as the government has instructed, but the sun doesn't stop being directly overhead at the noon of IT'S determination and not a bureaucracy's. And also my tummy knows when dinner time is no matter what the clock says.
It's the same thing with seasons. Today is definitely autumn. The calendar and Mother Nature are in complete agreement today. But I would just like to point out that yesterday, even I was wearing shorts and enjoying the air conditioning. Again, regardless of what season the calendar displays.
Talk about making a big deal out of nothing. I must be feeling extra spicy today!
Happy Long Pants Day!
Yeah, it's allergy season. And oh my gracious what a terrible 'round we are experiencing this year! I just absolutely hate it. I dispise every single thing about having seasonal allergies. And to date, there has not yet been a medication - prescription or over the counter - that really works for me. And so we are reduced to treating symptoms.
It's not just the constant sneezing and coughing, it's really not. Even though, if I dare step a toe out into public, when I sneeze (no matter that I sneeze into a tissue or my elbow pit) people stare daggers at me and stay far away. I find myself apologizing and saying, "seriously, it's allergies people!" a lot.
And it's not the inevitable sore throat that goes along with all of the coughing and nasal drip (what a gross mental image that is!), I mean that's what soup, popsicles and ice cream were practically invented for, right? Well those and a steady diet of cough drops. I favour the Ricola Brand honey and lemon cough drops myself. I don't know if they actually work any better than others, but I can tolerate the flavour more and that counts.
There is the muzzy-headed-ness naturally. I hate that part. It feels as if my head were stuffed with cotton instead of brains, so don't ask me anything tricky, like my name. I'm even slower on the uptake than usual lately. I need real time and effort to sort out unexpected statements and questions. Heck, even expected questions such as, "is dinner nearly ready?" take some serious mulling over to answer and that's while I'm standing at the stove cooking dinner! Kind of scary.
Itchy eyes! Yes, we have those too. Of course we do. Itchy, sore, tired eyes. For someone who loves to read as much as I do, that's a real issue. I recently discovered antihistamine eye drops though, and honestly, they are like a miracle. Stings a little bit when I first put them in, but aftewards...ahhhhh. So Much Better. The itchiness isn't completely gone you understand, but I not longer want to pluck my eyeballs from their sockets, give them a good scratch and put them back.
And then there is the problem with my voice. What voice? If any sound at all comes out when I try to speak it kind of alternates between an adolescent boy's voice with all of the cracks and breaks and Gravel Gertie who smokes a box of stogies every day before lunch. It would be funny if it wasn't so annoying. AND, at the moment it is nigh on to impossible to talk on the telephone. The person on the other end just thinks we have a bad connection. I don't generally do a lot of phone talking anyway, but right now, I am doing exactly none. Which is, naturally, why the phone has been ringing off the hook lately. Murphy's Law. Murphy must have thought allergies were highly amusing. He's wrong. They are not.
This year the allergies have been so much worse than the past few. I'm not absolutely certain why this year is worse but I'm going to blame the hurricane. I have no idea if it's true or not, but that's the stand I'm taking. Actually the truth is that science is behind me on this one. It's not just the mold and mildew and spores (yucky) that are stirred up, and the piles upon piles upon piles of foliage lining the roads and rotting where it sits creating yet more mold and mildew. Part of the problem is the rain. And boy oh boy did we have rain galore in that Hurricane. This is a quote from some medical journal:
"Why are my allergies worse after a storm?
Despite what you might think, the rain actually makes allergy symptoms worse for most people, instead of better. That's because the rain bursts the pollen particles prior to washing them away, putting higher concentrations of particles into the air."
And then there was the wind blowing all of those particles around and around and around....... sigh. And of course we generally have a nice little sea breeze wafting through on a regular basis. Usually it feels refreshing and smells wonderful. Right now it feels sneezy and stuffy and, frankly, I am ready for it to be over.
They say that once we have a good frost most of the allergens will be gone. Well, that could take awhile. We don't generally get those sorts of low's until January. Drat. This could be a longer haul than usual. Sigh.
In the meantime, I have cough drops and tissues on my grocery list AGAIN this week. And I think I will have tee shirts made up that say, "It's Allergies, people, calm down!"
As I was walking through the kitchen just a few days ago, I glimpsed this over the courtyard wall. I got very excited! "This is it!" They've come for the brush pile! Huzzah Huzzah! I took this one photo quickly from the kitchen window (with the zoom on obviously) then ran outside to watch. Honestly, sometimes I'm like a 5 year old. I do not know any 5 year old, boy or girl, who would be able to resist watching a big truck do pretty much anything!
I sat in the courtyard and patiently waited while they worked on the large pile next door. Eventually though, it was our turn. Yay! Slowly, slowly the truck inched forward.
As it turns out it was a very Very Big truck. Kind of like two giant bins mashed together with a crane in between. Well to a lay person such as myself, that's what it appeared to be. Decide for yourself if I am mistaken.
To get an idea of how very large this contraption is let me tell you that our driveway is of the horseshow variety. It's a half circle with a bit of grass and trees and shrubs in the center of it. Our brush pile was stacked up, higher than the house on the grassy bit in the middle. The truck covered the entire area completely blocking both sides of the horseshoe driveway! Like I said, BIG!
I snapped away as the crane chomped away at our large pile reminding more of Cookie Monster (or me!) going through a batch of cookies. It was a marvel and fascinating to me, almost mesmerizing as it lowered, chomped, lifted (carefully avoiding the powerlines overhead) and then swung around to drop into one of the two bins:
Over and again this little dance continued, whittling our enormous pile of rubbish down until. Suddenly. It. Stopped.
What? The crane operator had the exact expression on his face that I did. What happened? I've no idea of course, but I watched as the operator climbed down and then crawled underneath this behemoth. He tinkered and fiddled for quite some time. Then he crawled back out and someone else came 'round and they two of them talked, first to each other, and then to someone else on the phone.
There were a few more fiddles and tinks, discussions and calls and then, I guess, he gave up. He climbed into the cab of the truck, slowly limped into the turn of the next street (which has a nice big circle at the end for turning around). It heaved to a stop as it approached the corner and then turned back the way it came and was gone. Drat. We broke it.
Well that was my first thought. It's always my first thought. I always assume everything is my fault. At least from July 9th 1953 forward. Before I was born it was someone else's fault. And then I remember that is not the case (at least this time) We did nothing wrong. We did exactly as we were told. The machine apparently has some sort of issue.
After I watched them go, I walked up what remained. While the hard working but problematic truck and crane did a good job, there was some leftover. I cannot complain because it was a big old pile. I raked the leftover into a much smaller pile in the hopes that perhaps once the truck was feeling better it would return to finish the job? Hope springs eternal. Here is the original pile and the leftover for comparison.
Honestly, I cannot complain. Or rather, I won't. They did a good job. If they never return, I can probably find a way to get rid of this little remaining bit myself. Still it was an adventure and fun to watch the big old machine at work.
Every day I see fewer brush piles, repairs being at least started and in the meantime, while we no longer have any street signs (it turns out that hurricanes have quite the appetite for street signs), everyone here on the island has power back now, most stores and restaurants are open again - even if the hours are shorter - and recovery moves forward. Nice to see.
Hurricane Ian. Yeah, so that happened. Wow.
We are absolutely fine. Well perhaps a little greyer from the experience but otherwise, good. The house lost one shutter, some gutter guards and had a wee bit of shingle damage but is still dry and intact. Which is some kind of miracle I think.
The last hurricane we went through was Irma back in 2017, also in September in fact. It was both fascinating (as a new experience) and scary. Even though it made landfall on Marco Island as a Category Three (sustained winds between 111 and 129 mph). It was so huge that the 113 mile difference between Venice and Marco Island didn't matter much.
This time, Hurricane Ian arrived less than 60 miles away and as a Category Four (sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph). You will just have to trust me when I say that the distinction is noticeable.
Because this was a bigger storm and we are on an island which means surrounded by water, when the evacuation notice went out, we paid attention. After some debate, we opted to do as offered and hunkered down with friends who live in a new house farther from the water - meaning a house built to current hurricane safety codes including steel hurricane shutters. (as opposed to our own house built in 1962 with no hurricane shutters) While the wind and rain started much earlier, the biggest part of the storm began around noon and didn't finish banging and howling until midnight. Without question, it was the 12 most harrowing hours of my entire life, no exaggeration. But we were safe, dry and perfectly housed. Thank you, friends!
Once the storm was over, we headed home, more than a little afraid of what we would find. While we saw devastation all along the way home, as it turns out we were much luckier than a lot of people. We are not flooded, our home is mostly intact, we have power and water and each other. Not everybody can say these things right now.
I can tell you what it looked like around here as we came home shortly after the sun rose that next day. There was a lot of this:
There was quite a bit of this sort of thing too:
And even more of these sorts of things:
And in our town, the worst of the worst, our historic Theatre (not movie theatre, live theatre) now looks like this:
On the bright side, these are the situations that bring out the best in people. Neighbors helping neighbors helping family helping strangers everywhere. Supposedly 95% of power should be restored by this Friday and Tim and I remember how amazing it feels when the lights come back on! Woohoo!
Although most people are waiting very patiently in very long lines, gas stations are beginning to be resupplied. Grocery stores and other retail shops are opening and the shelves slowly being restocked. Yesterday we got mail for the first time since the storm on September 28th. Those small returns to normalcy mean everything.
We've been kept busy mostly hauling trees, branches, fronds and so forth to the front of the house. Tomorrow the town will start making rounds to pick up all of that deadfall. As of yesterday we have internet back so Tim was able to get back to work.
So there you have it, the tale of surviving Hurricane Ian.
Here is a photo of the rubbish pile in front of our house with me (looking my absolute best) in front of it for comparison. That was the pile on Saturday. We have added to it since then. Just FYI.
That's a photo of last night's sunset by the way. We have observed since living here that the night(s) before a big storm, the sunsets are especially beautiful! Last night proved, once again, that our assumption is, in fact, true. The air was cool, the breeze was refreshing and the water was just as calm as could be. In fact, it was so calm that we saw not one but two manatees! (they usually spend their time under water so the most you will ever see is there cute little snooties as they come up for air.)
I only mention this because of the coming storm. In case you hadn't heard, there is a storm heading our way. Right now it's south of us prepared to wreak havoc on Cuba. When it's finished, it will come into the gulf. Where in the gulf remains to be seen. It's all a guessing game right now. I mean, right now the map below is what the meteorologists are predicting but even they are saying, "we don't know anything for sure yet" . This is the current map of what they anticipate with Tropical Storm/Hurricane Ian:
At the moment it seems that where we live is not going to be a direct hit which is a relief for us, but at the same time, someone else is living where they storm plans to make landfall and that is very very bad. And even if it does arrive elsewhere, there will be residual storm effects from the outer bands here, there and, according to the map, in lots of places including Georgia and South Carolina!
That said, I think we are pretty much ready for................whatever. We have food, water and gas for the generator. Mostly I wanted to touch base and let you know that you don't hear from me again this week, it just means that internet is down. That's all it means. We will be fine, I am absolutely positive about that!
If nothing else, once the storm has safely passed us by, I will try to post an all clear on facebook. Hope all of you had a great weekend and I will post again as soon as I can!
Hugs all 'round
"Good Fences make Good Neighbors". So said Robert Frost. And while we do have a fence around our backyard, that is not why we have good neighbors. And we do. Honestly, we really got lucky when we bought this house because it came with the best neighbors ever. The are friendly without being intrusive, helpful without being pushy and delightful to spend time with.
And this was especially apparent during the past few months as I've been recovering from surgery. While the surgery certainly wasn't a secret, I mean I blog posted about it after the fact for heaven's sakes, I also didn't advertise it before hand.
Oh of course immediate family knew, but otherwise, I just wasn't ready to talk about it. I guess I was coming to terms with it on my own. And I am, in an odd way for a person with a blog, kind of a private person. There are the things I am comfortable writing about on my blog, but there are also things I only tell family and maybe those few very close friends. There are other things that I only tell Tim and then there are those few tiny things that I only discuss with myself. This one, at first, fell into the only family category.
But one day, as I was coming home from a walk and passed my neighbors house, I saw that she was outside so we stopped to talk for a short time. As we caught up, I was surprised to find myself telling her, candidly, about my upcoming surgery. She was surprised and concerned and very kind. But it was a brief discussion and I changed the subject very quickly. Apparently that was all I needed to do.
Post surgery there were almost daily, cards, flowers, notes, avocados and lemons from almost everyone around us wishing me well and asking what they could do to help. I was surprised but in the best possible way. The care and concern has continued even though I'm out and about and doing very well thank you. I've been taken to lunch, received book recommendations and had other books loaned to me. Puzzles have been dropped off to help me pass the time and there have been many sincere offers to drive me anywhere I need to go.
Well Tim is happy to drive me and he handled being the chief cook and bottle washer just fine, (he is an excellent caregiver) so we really didn't need to call upon anyone for their assistance but it was wonderful to know that so many people were ready to jump in and help. I greatly appreciated the many offers.
I'm doing so well now that my entire journey is pretty much something in the past as far as I'm concerned. I am back up and running. Okay not running, but I'm walking at a sprightly clip. There are no more cards, notes, books or flowers left (or needing to be left) on the doorstep. Things are back to what passes for normal around here.
Which is why it was such a surprise to look out the window on Sunday and see activity in the front yard. What? I stepped outside to find two of my neighbors working in our front yard. They were, first of all, cleaning up an area under one of the remaining palm trees that has some wildly growing things that usually, during the cooler months, once a year, I trim back hard. I have no idea what I am doing of course.
She on the other hand, is a Master Gardener and knows precisely what she is doing. She brushed off my surprised thanks and pointed to a different spot. And to my surprise, suddenly, we have a new shrub!
Do you remember when I wrote about how we had a couple of ginormous palm trees cut down and that there was an empty spot in front of the courtyard wall? The naked spot between the two large bougainvillea's bothered me. I was debating what to do with it.
Well it is empty no longer! We now are the very pleased owners of a pink Plumeria!
Okay it looks like a baby now but eventually, once it's used to it's new home (perhaps the next blooming season?) it will have the most gorgeous pink blossoms! They look like this:
I thanked both of them repeatedly and promised to pay them back in baked goods and was told to not be ridiculous. It made them happy to do this! They insisted that no repayment of any kind was necessary. My Goodness! How did we get so lucky??
I was instructed on the care and feeding of my Plumeria and have been faithfully following instructions. It's been four days now and so far, so good. I haven't managed to kill it off yet, thank heavens!!
So how exactly do you thank a neighbor for such kindnesses over and over and over? Well of course, by being kind and a good neighbor in return. But I do believe a lot of baked goods are in order here. That is absolutely something I can (and will) do.
So, like I said, the best neighbors ever!
I finally FINALLY got my arse to my hairdresser so that I could become transformed from a sheepdog to a human. Geez! It was more than three months between haircuts this time around and wow, that is just too long.
I am always astonished at how transformative a haircut can be. And obviously, the longer between trims, the bigger the difference. Once again, I wish I had thought to take a before photo but I did not. The closest I could come was about two weeks post surgery, which means the end of July. At that time I looked like this:
The hair was not great at that time, but it was also not horrible. That was probably the point where, normally, I would have been heading out for a trim. Instead I waited. I was trying to wait until I felt up to at least pretending to be a normal human being and then I waited a bit longer. And then a bit longer than that. In fact, I waited until September. Whoa!
I'm not sure why I waited so long. I suspect that, at that point in my recovery process, my hair just wasn't a priority. Too many other, more important things on my mind. But eventually I knew that I just couldn't put it off any longer. If for no other reason than to get my bangs under control.
Growing out bangs is one of the most awkward of all hair related moments. I've written about it before here. I've tried clips, barrettes, braiding, hair bands, pretty much everything you can think of and honestly, none of it is a good answer for me. Usually. This time, it didn't bother me much. Again, other priorities. I was, shall we say, distracted, from the hair issue.
And then all of a sudden one ordinary morning I woke up, showered, attempted to do something (anything!) with my hair and realized that it looked horrible. Not merely bad, no it had gone all the way to truly horrible. And this wasn't just my opinion. When I arrived at the salon, my lovely hairdresser came around to corner to greet me, came to a complete stop and her eyes opened VERY wide in shock.
Oh she is a professional. She caught herself, smiled warmly and said, "don't worry, I can fix this". HAHAHAHAHA! She did a great job and when she was done the floor was littered with bits of hair that were about 3 to 4 inches long. And I once again looked human.
A little different wouldn't you say?
The one good thing I could say about my hair before the appointment was that for the first time in a long time, I could whip it up into a ponytail. On a really hot and humid day, that felt good. But this looks better. More kempt. Tidier. More intentional.
Have you ever known a person, man or woman, who always looked the same to you? I mean no matter the hair length or style, regardless of the combination of beard, mustache, once they have radically changed something, nobody notices? Not only have I known people like that, I always thought I was one of them. Until the day, a VERY long time ago, when I came home from getting a perm so instead of long straight hair I had long big loopy curls and while my older two children ran up to me with no problem, the youngest one burst into tears and demanded his "real" Mama. I guess I did look a little different after all.
A change in hair colour is a whole different thing. A horse of a different colour, as it were. It's really hard to miss a different hair colour than usual. Especially if it's wildly different. When I used to have a standing appointment for hair colour, every 7 weeks, faithfully, I would show up and let my hairdresser do her magic. And sometimes the colour was in the blonde family, sometimes red and occasionally different browns. We both had fun with it. Until one day it stopped being fun and started being a chore and then I stopped.
It felt like forever waiting for the artificial colour to completely be gone so that I could find out what the real colour of my hair was. Frankly, I expected a lot more grey/white/silver and I was more than a little disappointed to learn that the actual colour of my hair is kind of mouse brown with bits of grey/white/silver here and there. I can only assume that will change as time goes by.
It was just another change in a lifetime of changes. When we were very small, our mother used to do Toni Home Perms on Joy and I. They were supposedly especially made for children and called "tonettes". The smell was ghastly, I vividly remember the smell. Eye watering! And the results were never good. We always ended up looking like sheep. Fuzzheads. When the perm would start to grow out, Mother would trot us off to the hairdresser who would cut the remaining fuzz off and then trim what was left into a "pixie" cut. Not everyone looks good in a pixie cut. Joy does. She looks adorable, like an actual pixie :) I look like a boy. It's not good.
As I grew up and began to take more control over what my hair looked like, I opted to grow it quite long. Drove my poor Mother mad. She really hated it. Sometimes I just wore it the way it grows, long and straight. Other times I would braid or ponytail it.
Once I had children, long hair was a bit more inconvenient and I began having it cut to somewhere between chin and shoulder length, depending on the mood of the hairdresser that day. As the boys got older, my hair once again, got longer. Until I started working in medical offices. Oddly enough, they preferred that their professionals actually look professional and back in those days, it meant returning to the somewhere between chin and shoulder length again. Sometimes I had bangs, sometimes I did not.
I actually do care what my hair looks like, just not enough to spend a lot of time or money on it. Additionally, I don't have a lot of skill in that realm either. When I meet a new hairdresser for the first time I always tell them the same thing: "I need something super easy that does not look like a hat, a wig or a helmet" That's it. Those are the parameters. I'd say the guidelines were met.
I just do not have the patience or the talent for fussing with my hair. Once upon a time I owned a set of "hot rollers" and if I wanted to change up my look, I would slap those babies in my hair in no particular order or pattern, rather willy nilly, and for a few hours anyway (my hair is stubbornly straight) I would absolutely look different. Better? Probably not but definitely different. Nowadays, the only time I look different is when I'm overdue for a haircut.
I will try to be better now about going regularly again. I loved that big transformational moment, but I think just attending to it regularly so it's not so monumental a change would be a good idea.
The three hero's of this story! I am so wowed by this. Probably, it's something that everyone on the entire planet knew except for me, but on the off chance that I'm not the only one, I will share with you this awesome tip that I just recently learned.
It was something that popped into my facebook feed. Occasionally odd things just show up. Usually it's things that I don't give two hoots and a crap about, but every once in awhile a recipe or an interesting story or a helpful household tip appears that I am forever grateful for.
According to the little video that I saw, the above combination of salt, dish soap and white vinegar can remove stains from pots and pans. Even those ugly little bits that have been on the cookware so long that it seems to be ingrained into the metal. I don't know where that icky stuff comes from. Rumour has it that these discoloured areas have something to do with the city water that so heavily treated in certain areas around the country. But of course I have no idea if that is true or not. All I knew for sure was that I really didn't care for the way it looked.
I swear to you that I clean my pots and pans. In fact I am one of those ridiculous people who literally clean my dishes before I put them into the dishwasher. I don't know why I insist upon doing so, but I do. So they are very clean. Cleaned twice in fact. But still those blemishes persist. I would scrub and scrub to no avail. I've even used Brillo with very poor results. I dislike brillo and any other brillo-like products. I don't like the smell, I don't care for those little metal filaments that imbed themselves into your fingertips, and it seems as if the effort to result ratio is WAY off.
So I was resigned to simply living with the marks on my pots and chose to believe that they were just something that comes from age and use. Much like the wrinkles around my eyes? So anyway, I saw this little video and I was surprised and honestly in disbelief that it could be true. I mean really, is anything on media today true? Could it really get rid of those marks? I was dubious to say the least.
But yesterday, I got a wild hair and decided, what the heck. I already have all of the ingredients necessary. I have a little time on my hands, I will try it on one small cooking pot. First I poured a bit of the vinegar into the pan, then I added a handful of the salt and then topped it off with a healthy squeeze of dishsoap. I spread it around the pan and let it sit for a few minutes and then used a sponge to wash the pan, especially the bottom (which is always where most of the stains seem to be) To my absolute amazement, with very little effort on my part, it actually worked! I was so excited I did another pan and another and another and another until my sink was full of all sizes and shapes of pristine cookware!
Obviously when I was finished with the " treatment" I needed to do a regular wash up just to make sure all of the salt/vinegar/dish soap was gone. Not a problem. I didn't mind one single bit. Especially since my pots and pans looked like new once again. I am very excited! Probably more excited than I should be. The oddest things get me charged up. Hah!
But there you have it, just in case you ever wanted to know this and those discoloured bits on your cookware bothers you, here is a very simple solution. I use my pots and pans hard. I love to cook and do so nearly every day and they looked it. They definitely showed that they have been worked ruthlessly. And now, they are beautiful once more.
So I guess, thank you to Facebook and the mystery video that materialized in my feed. I seem to pay less and less attention to social media as the years go by, but this one time, I am so glad I looked!
If this was great new information for you...Hurrah! If it wasn't, I shall endeavor to be more entertaining next week. Regardless, I wish you a wonderful weekend!
Joy is away for a few weeks so there are no actual photo safari's going on. Not really. BUT I did manage to find a non-rainy part of one day recently to at least go on an extended walk here on the island to see what I could see.
I starting out headed toward the beach because, well, it's the beach. Of course I would start there! Rain was, once again, in the forecast, so it wasn't quite as bright and shiny and sunny as it usually is, but no matter, it's always beautiful. I was surprised (and pleased) at how few other people were there. Which makes it sound as if I don't like people. I do like people. Just I prefer my beaches a little less people-y. Wish Granted!
There were a few beach flowers and some interesting beach art to admire along the way as I strolled down the sand for awhile:
Eventually, I sat a moment to empty the sand out of my shoes and then continued my walk through town. I was lucky enough to find a few critters out and about that that early morning hour too:
There were a few buildings that caught my eye as well. No particular reason, they just appealed to me in that moment:
I love the natural canopy's that grow over many of the streets and also the sidewalks:
The final stop in my trek was the Venice Avenue Bridge. I could see the sky growing ever darker to the west and could hear thunder rumbling in the distance so after this one last shot, I headed for home with no more stops. Made it just in the nick of time too!
So I managed to cover roughly a third of the island in this little walkabout. Perhaps I will do this two more times to, eventually, photo document the entire thing. What do you think? Sound like a good plan?
Why are donuts so wonderful? Is it the fact that they are seriously non-healthy food and therefore taboo which, as everyone knows, ups the desirability factor of pretty much everything. Or is it some associated delightful childhood memory? Is it the fragrance of all of that sugar and fat and more sugar that calls to you? Is it that sweetness melting on your tongue which, ultimately if you eat enough of them, practically puts you in a sugar coma?
I honestly do not know what is it, but it's something and that something is awesome.
Because of the "bad for you" element involved, we do not often eat donuts. In this house, we honestly try to eat with nutrition in mind most of the time. But every once in awhile, as a special treat, we absolutely do indulge. It's usually centered around a special occasion but recently we dropped by our semi-local Five-Oh Donut shop to satisfy my cravings.
It was after a particularly miserable and very early morning doctor appointment which was way up in Sarasota. After we left the doctor office, Tim asked if I wanted to go out for breakfast. It was a very kindly intended offer. But quite honestly, at that moment, the idea of sitting in restaurant having eggs and fruit and other healthy things just didn't sound at all appealing so I declined, with apology and asked if we could just go on back home.
As we were leaving though, and I was feeling completely sorry for myself, suddenly what I wanted most in the world was a donut. Yes, I was comforting myself with food. One of the things that every nutritionist in the world will tell you to never do. That very thing. Yup. I do it all the time.
Because Tim is a nice man, he did not point out the foolishness of my request and we made the quick stop. Five-Oh Donuts is a wonderful place with "Arrestingly Good Donuts". That is their own descriptor by the way. They have the standard stuff, of course: glazed, frosted and filled, but they also constantly come up with new and interesting ideas. The hardest part of visiting there is making a choice because what I always want to say is, "Yes, I will take one of everything please". But of course I do not. We each selected two donuts and we waited until we got home to eat them.
The anticipation just about killed me. I could smell that yeasty sugary wonderfulness wafting through the car the entire drive home. By the time Tim's coffee was ready, I was prepared to devour everything in the box. But I resisted. I only ate my own. I considered (for about 30 seconds) saving my second donuts until the next day. And then I laughed and laughed and gobbled up the second one too. Heaven.
I have known people who do not care for chocolate. I have met people who don't really enjoy pizza. I have even heard that there are folks who dislike ice cream. I do not understand any of that but I accept it as true. However, I have never EVER heard of one single person who dislikes donuts.
I'm sure there are lots of folks who opt to not eat donuts. Probably very health conscious people with far more self-discipline than I. But choosing to not eat them is not the same thing as disliking them. I'm sure everyone has a favourite flavour that they prefer above all others but really, is there anybody out there who actively hates donuts? Really? Is it true or are they just saying it? Sometimes people say things just for effect or they are trying to convince themselves. Because frankly if you tell me that you despise donuts, I'm not sure that I will believe you.
In the words of an old friend of mine, (you know who you are!) "I never met a half dozen donuts that I didn't like". I'm with you, kiddo!
And in case you are wondering, it worked. Afterwards, I felt much better. The healing power of a donut cannot be denied.
You see that note? I wrote it. I put it on my keyboard. And the directive popped into my head throughout the entire day yesterday. And in fact, I remember considering, as I was about to start dinner last night, "should I take it out now while I'm thinking about it or wait until after dinner?" Ultimately I decided to wait. It was a decision made in the name of efficiency. The assumption was that I would, most likely, creative at least a little bit more refuse to add to the bin while in the process of making dinner. It was not a good choice though as this morning the garbage cans remain at the side of the house instead of at the curb where they would already have been picked up, dang it all!
We are lucky enough where we live that year 'round, we have two garbage pick up days each week, Monday and Thursday am. Which means that, if we want our trash taken away, most people around here wheel the bins to the curb on the night before. Generally,Tim and I do not generate enough waste to need to use both days 99% of the time, we only use the Monday pick up. In fact it is a Very Rare Occasion that we take advantage of that second day. This week however, since the Monday pick up day was a holiday, Thursday was the plan.
For a change we had a rather full bin and it being the end of summer with hothothot days, it was, ummmmmm, shall we say, getting a bit fragrant. Let's face it, that garbage was ripe and ready to go. But Thursday pick up being outside the norm for me, I was concerned that I would forget. So I wrote notes. I left them in obvious places (like my keyboard). AND I asked Tim to please remind me, if I forgot. And still, guess what. I forgot. Ratz.
Why do we do things like this to ourselves? Why?
Then there was the duck sauce incident. Sigh. We always have duck sauce in the house because I put it on my fried rice. And I don't want any comments on what a travesty that is. I'm the one eating it and that's how I like it so hush. My order at our favourite take away Chinese food place is veggie fried rice. AND I've learned to just buy my own duck sauce and keep it in the fridge rather than use those teensy little plastic wrapped packets that they provide. (I dont' care very much for theirs)
The duck sauce resides in one of the racks in the fridge doors. You know, along with all of the other condiments and odd ball things. We have the usual mustard, mayo and ketchup in the door rack on the right side along with salad dressings, tubes of garlic and tomato paste, horseradish (ick) and a couple of thermoses of water. On the left side, however, are the less frequently used things such as chicken broth, soy sauce, aloe vera (for sunburns) and, obviously, duck sauce. Just a little tip, unless those racks are completely totally and entirely filled, the jars and bottles rattle around a bit every time the door is opened and closed. Usually it's no big deal.
Well apparently the last time we ordered Chinese food, I did not properly twist the cap on the duck sauce closed. At some point, the jar tipped over in the closing and/or opening of the door. Which means, eventually the top came off and the duck sauce came out. With each opening/closing of the door, more came out but nobody noticed because, well, who looks at the condiment racks in the refrigerator unless they are looking specifically for a condiment?? Not I, certainly. And on that particular side, since it's more odd ball stuff, I probably look even less frequently.
It came to my attention while I was making a grocery list . Prowling through the pantry, freezer and fridge, looking to see if there was anything we were out of or nearly so, I saw the tipped over jar and automatically righted it. My fingers came away a bit sticky. What? So I looked closer, put down the pen and paper and removed the jar entirely. DANG IT! Big Old Pile of refrigerated duck sauce. Turns out that while it was a very tasty spill, it was not an easy clean up. And now duck sauce is back on the grocery list.
I have nobody to blame but myself. I am the only one in the house who uses duck sauce and since I am chief cook and bottle washer, there is a 99.999999% chance that I am the one who put it away without tightening the cap. Turns out I boobytrapped myself. Big dummy.
Oh yes and then there was the time, (over this past weekend in fact) when Tim was working on a project. While he was busy with that I decided it would be the perfect time to dust, vacuum and wash the floors. Once that was all done, I offered to help him out with his project and he was happy to have an extra set of hands. I became sort of the 'runner' trotting back and forth to garbage bins, fetching things as needed and refilling his water glass. Which means I was..what was I doing class?...That's right! I was walking through the dirty project area and across my newly cleaned floors over and over and over.
You can actually see my dirty footsteps! Yes I did that to myself once again! Sabotage is one thing, but sabotaging yourself? It's kind of crazy. Dang it, I say! Rasenfratz! Kreplach! Iggysnatz! And all of the other made up substitute swear words that I thought up when the boys were little.
I cannot be the only person who trips themselves up. In fact, I am positive that I am not. I hear stories all of the time of similar sorts of things going on in other households. But do we learn from these mistakes? Well, speaking solely for myself, yes, sometimes I do. But then I go on to make brand new exciting other mistakes instead.
(insert much shaking of head here)
The human animal continues to be one of the oddest creatures in existence. I mystify myself on a daily basis.
Well hello hello! Hope everyone had a terrific nice long holiday weekend! Tim and I spent most of it getting stuff done around here, but we did take a few breaks. And one of them was to spend a little time, one afternoon at Myakka State Park.
It wasn't so much a hike as a combination of short drives and short walks, but my camera was in my hand and therefore, it counts! Myakka State Park is a different sort of place to visit. There is a long, beautiful winding road that goes completely through it with periodic places to park, get out and hike. Often we ended up just pulling over on the side of the road because that's where the picture needed to be taken.
This wasn't something we planned ahead, it was more a random, "hey, we finished what we intended to do today, what do you wanna do now?" moment one afternoon. I have found that mornings and evenings are generally the best times to do a photo safari. Partly for the quality of the light and partly because the cooler parts of the day usually provide the best critter activity. BUT afternoon was when we had a little unexpected free time so that's when we went.
Obviously, for the above reason, we had very low photo expectations. To our surprise, those expectations were a little surpassed. I was pretty sure I would be able to get some photos of the river and I was correct. The Myakka River is always photo worthy:
If we had come away with just these river photos, I would have been happy and considered it worth the time. But, for some reason, I got a ton of photos of various sorts of white birds. It could be just that in the heavily forested and sun bleached afternoon, the white birds were the only ones that stood out against the dark forest enough for us to really notice them. Or perhaps white birds don't mind the hottest part of the day? Regardless, here is a sampling:
To our surprised, we did find a few other birds and some other creatures venturing out into the heat of the day. What is that old saying about Mad Dogs and Englishman venturing into the noonday sun? Apparently it applies to a few other animals as well. Including Tim and I, now that I think about it. Who is crazier, the wildlife who have nowhere else to be or people who do have nice air conditioned places to hang out on a very hot day? Don't bother to answer that one.
I guess that's the most of it. I believe I shall call this particular photos safari, the Afternoon at Myakka Hike. Not very creative, but accurate.
I will leave you with a couple of rando photos. Hope you enjoyed this little abbreviated photo safari report :)
Last week, instead of doing another photo safari, Joy and I walked the avenue. We mostly window shopped but we did pick up a few things that she needed and some stores are just so enticing you have to go inside and admire their wares.
Venice Avenue or "the avenue" is one of two truly wonderful and charming retail streets in our town. Venice is one, the other is Miami. Yeah, named after the Florida cities. Not especially imaginative but I wasn't in charge so there it is. No matter the names, they provide delightful restaurants and shops that are small and unique and, for me, perfect for gift shopping mostly. I almost never buy anything for us or our home there.
It was a gloomy, muggy, misery of a day with rain threatening at every turn, which is why we didn't attempt another mini-hike. Still, I suppose, we were walking up and down the streets so that should count as exercise, right? Joy and I both had our umbrellas at hand, just in case, but we tried to not think about the weather and just enjoy ourselves. And so we did.
Now I am one of those people who can admire something greatly and them move on. I can talk about how pretty or clever or well-made a thing is, put it back on the shelf or rack and continue on never giving it another thought. I walk the avenue fairly often and love checking out the window displays and even, when they on occasion exist, thumbing through the sale racks out in front of the stores. I just enjoy looking at pretty things. Looking being the key word.
This particular day, even though we saw so very many things, as usual, I was looking just to look, enjoying the stroll, sort of like walking through an art museum, admiring pretty things. When we paused in front of one of the stores that had a sale rack and I happened across this particular blouse. (photo at the top of the page). It may not be your cuppa tea but it is absolutely mine. I loved the fabric (sooooo soft), the loose-ness of it, the colours, the "patchwork" sort of style and I loved the sleeves. I did something I almost never do. I picked it up off the rack and looked at it closer. I checked out the seams and I admired the craftmanship. I noticed that there are gathers at the cuff of the sleeve and that the back is a longer than the front. I wondered if the v-neck was too low for me or if it were too long for my short self. And then, with firm determination, I put it back on the rack.
Meanwhile, Joy was furtively watching me out of the corner of her eye. She knew this was unusual for me. She pretendly admired a pair of wide legged gauzy fabric pants so that I could continue to admire the blouse without feeling rushed to continue. Then I did something I do not often do, I took the blouse back off the rack. I held it up to the front of me to me to see how long it was and I looked at my reflection in the window glass of the store front.
"That really looks like you" Joy said to me. I nodded. "It's perfect for you" she continued. I nodded again. Then I looked at the price tag, sighed, hung it back up and said, "Nope, can't do it". Even on sale it cost more than I would normally spend on one item of clothing. (I'm pretty frugal as you may recall) Never one to be too pushy, Joy said nothing more about it and we continued on down the avenue. Normally that is enough. Usually just walking away from it would be enough to put it out of my mind. But for some reason this time, it was now stuck in my head.
"Very Odd", I said to myself. "Why am I still thinking about that stupid blouse?" It was a little annoying really. I continued thinking about it for a week to my aggravation. Then I realized that I should have at least tried it on. Then I would know that it's either not my size, not my style, not my age or something else that would have proved to me that walking away was the right decision. At last I was resolved. That's what I needed to do to exorcise the blouse from my stupid head. I made up my mind that one day this week, I would do exactly that. If the blouse was still on the rack in front of that store, I would go over, try it on, it would look dumb on me and I would hang it back up and never think about it again! If it wasn't on the rack, even better.
So yesterday, since it was yet another do not dare hike becoz of the grey and threatening skies day, instead Joy and I ran a few errands, mostly off island. I mentioned my thought about the blouse to Joy and she was totally on board. At the end of our errands, we came back on island, parked the car and walked to the store in question. The rack was still in front. The blouse was still on the rack. I wasn't sure, was that a good thing or a bad thing? I picked it up again and asked myself, "do I still feel the same way about it?" Dang it, yes I did.
The we heard a familiar voice greeting us. A lot of shop people on the avenue have kind of gotten to know us over the years, or at least recognize us and feel comfortable enough chatting, outside of their place of business when we cross paths. This was a lady who works at a shoe store that we frequent. She happened to be walking down the street when she saw us. She saw the blouse I was holding and gasped. She had been admiring it as well. I offered it to her, she laughed and declined, it was not her size. She and Joy together urged me to try it on.
I agreed, let's get this over with. I will put it on and laugh at myself, show everybody (Joy, the shoe shop lady, the shop lady for the store we were in and every customer in there), we can all have a good giggle, and then I can hang it back up, walk away, and I'll be done with it.
It was a great plan, except, I liked it. I liked it a lot. Dang it all.
I stepped out of the change room to oooo's and aahhh's and words of encouragement. Ratz. This was not the plan at all!
I went back into the dressing room and put my own real top back on and gave it all a minutes thought. How do I justify this? I ended up with: this is my reward to myself for getting this far through this particular, rather unpleasant, chapter in my life and doing it pretty darned well. Yeah, that works.
Honestly, it wasn't that expensive, $36 with tax, but becoz I'm such a cheapo, it's still more than I would normally spend. I get a little panicky when I spend money so I could feel my heart rate go up immediately at the thought of buying something I don't actually need. I have blouses, I have tops of all sorts. This is not a requirement. I went back and forth and back and forth.
Finally, I made my decision.
I am so tickled with my new blouse! I love it, love it, love it!
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.