So Sorry, I wasn't here yesterday. I was busy. Out on Photo Safari! Yes, That's right, Joy's Back! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!
It was a dicey proposition because the forecast was, as the forecast has been for days now, rain. But we decided to risk it because, A) What's life without risk and B) what the heck, why not? and C) We've both really missed this!
As we do in the summer months, we left early. Joy picked me up a little before 7 am. The sun was jjjjuuuussstttt coming up and the sky was beautiful.
In discussion the day before about precisely where to hike, we decided to forego our usual haunts, i.e. the local forests and preserves mostly because of the recent heavy rains. We don't mind getting a little wet. Heck, we've even gone on swamping hikes but the water level was so high that to hike in most places would have required a submarine. Or at least Hip Boots. Instead we chose to go back and do the Casperson Beach Hike instead. So merrily we rolled along to the south end of the island and came right up against a barrier and signs that the road was closed. Dang.
Now what to do? We fished in our memory banks and came up with Ollie's Pond. We were pretty sure that the pond hadn't flooded the surrounding area, probably, maybe, hopefully. So we headed to Port Charlotte instead. Roughly a half hour drive. And hurrah, it was a gamble that paid off! While the pond water level was pretty high and the greenery had clearly been running amuck with growth, we began our slow trek, circling the pond, eyes ever on alert for something photo worthy.
At first we thought there wasn't much to see, but we were wrong. Very Very Wrong. Happily wrong. First of all, the pond is gorgeous all by itself. When I say pond, I don't mean a little puddle, it's a good sized body in water. In Colorado they would probably consider it to be a lake. All of those little "islands" of reeds and water grasses are places for wildlife to hide and nest and hunt for food. Which also makes Ollie's a perfect place for wildlife photos!
Once we arrived at the end (or perhaps the beginning) we considered just circling again to see what else we could see, but instead choose to move on to a very new park (about a year old) that we passed on the way down. I cannot for the life of me remember the full name of this park, but we call it the Senator Bob park. It's actually the Senator Bob Johnson Park and he was obviously someone like us, who loves nature. I'm not sure if Senator Bob park is in North Port or Venice, but I do know that it was on the way back home which was perfect.
Because it's a very small park and it runs right along a river which means part of it was underwater, we didn't get a lot a photos, but enough to have made the stop worthwhile. And they have lovely modern clean bathrooms. Bonus!
We were now really revved (and awake) and more importantly, despite the grey skies, it had not yet begun to rain. So we decided to keep going and make one more stop. This one in Venice (off-island) at the Rookery. A place where, absolutely for sure, without a doubt, there will be birds to snap pictures of. (and yes I know, one should never end a sentence with a preposition)
The rookery is basically another pond with a big island filled with greenery at the center and a .....let's call it a path.....that goes around the outside. The trees and shrubs in that center island are always loaded with very large birds. I did not take one single photo of the birds in the center. Didn't need to. There were so many birds and other creatures in the outside area that I was snappity snapping my little fingers off. It was marvelous!
By the time we finished circling the Rookery Pond, the rain had finally begun. It was just a light sprinkle but we felt that we had pushed our luck just hard enough and called it a day!
So that was it. The First Photo Safari in quite a while. It wasn't at all what we planned but it was still awesome. We are going to try to do two hikes a week to make up for lost time, so if you like these photo safari reports, stay tuned!
Great to have you back, Jo. I've missed you!
It's not actually officially autumn yet. I think that doesn't happen until the 22nd of this month, but in most places school has started, Halloween candy is on the shelves, the temperatures are beginning to cool off and, lord help us, the Christmas Trees are already on display at Costco. So yeah, close enough.
And that also means football has resumed. I'm talking, bigboy football here. NFL type. Really big guys that garner really big salaries for, effectively playing a game. That's ok. It's their job. It's what they are good at, it's what they do and we watch it.
When I say we, I mean other people, not me. And by other people I mean almost everyone else. Apparently. I assume this to be true because throughout my life, during this time of year, it is not at all uncommon for football to be the topic of conversation. And nothing ends a conversation quite as quickly as this following exchange:
Almost everyone else: "So who do you think is going to win the SuperBowl this year?"
Me: "Actually I don't really follow football. Sorry"
Almost every one else: "?????" blank look and then slowly walk away.
I do not actively dislike football. I experience no sense of disdain or dismay when Tim is ensconced on his sofa-throne talking to the TV. I support his interest. I'm pleased that he enjoys it. I will bring him refills and serve lunch/dinner in the family room so he doesn't have to miss his show. And if he's watching with other people who also are enjoying the game, I will cook for and serve them all.
But I have Zero interest in it. Just doesn't captivate me. I'm not drawn in and excited about what is happening. Not on the screen and not in person. And yes, I have seen a few football games live and in person. Didn't help.
I'ts not as if I hated every moment of the experience of watching a live game. I didn't. I make it a point to enjoy every experience that I have. But if I have a choice between attending a football game and reading the latest Diana Gabaldon book, I would absolutely, no question, not a single moments hesitation choose the book.
And the funny part is that of all of the professional sports out there, the only one that I actually understand, is football! Y'see, I went to high school in Texas where living and breathing football is not just a religion, it's a requirement for residency. So I learned. Maybe against my will, but I learned.
And then of course, I had three sons, two of whom are also huge sports fans. Throughout their childhoods I not only heard names and stats (and unintentionally learned those things) the boys would actually quiz me about the teams. So I knew my stuff. I didn't care any more than before, but I knew it, by god. It was important to them and therefore, by extension, it was, to some degree, important to me.
I cannot honestly say that I remember sitting through an entire televised game though. In person there isn't much choice, but in my own home I have lots of options. And any of them is preferable to me.
Autumn to me has a lot of wonderful connotations. It's brand new pencils and notebooks, colourful autumn leaves, fuzzy sweaters, home made soups and amping up my baking. But for the men in my life, it's mostly football. They won't turn away the baked goods, they aren't fools after all but for them autumn is really mostly about "the game".
To me football seems to be a very brief action followed by a lot of milling around then quick shots of various people who are hiding their mouths behind clipboards then more very brief action followed by commercial breaks and......... repeat. It just feels like the game is dragging on forever!
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't it supposed to be 4 fifteen minutes quarters? That means the game should last, maybe 90 minutes tops if you add in time for commercials. So why oh why, please why, does it take HOURS to play one game?
There were games on our TV yesterday. I did watch a little of it. The rules have changed since I learned them so I didn't understand as much as I used to. And the players seem to wear a lot of jewelry which surprised me. Jewelry on the field? Really? But otherwise, it felt the same as it always did. Brief action followed by nothing followed by brief action followed by a commercial. The biggest difference was no cheerleaders and empty stadiums. That was definitely strange. I wonder if it feels weird to the players too?
I know that performers love the electric charge that comes from a live audience. I cannot imagine that it would be different for athletes. But things being what they are right now, it is a safer thing to have no live attendees. Just the players and coaches and (whoever else they require on site) and the folks behind the cameras. I wonder if there was an echo?
Meanwhile, in this house anyway, on Sundays there will be football playing on the TV in the family room. And I will bring drinks and food in if requested. And I might stand there and watch a play or two. But mostly I will be elsewhere doing other things during the game and not reading about it the next day in the newspaper. And that will be perfectly fine.
And when someone asks me who I like for the superbowl this year? I think I'll say, "The what?" and thoroughly confuse them.
Pelicans are such beautiful birds in flight. For a rather large creature they are amazingly graceful. They seem to float on the air as if they were mere flower blossoms. They ride the air currents as easily as we might go down a slide. Look at that beautiful form. Tens, all 'round.
But when they land, especially on water, it's not pretty. They crash into the water with a mighty Foosh! Water sprays everywhere. You can often actually hear the smack/splash sound and I wince thinking, "Man that's gotta hurt". I guess it doesn't because the pelican does his crash landing into the water over and over again. Probably hundreds of times a day and it never looks any prettier. In fact, I don't even have a really good photo of a pelican landing because mostly it kind of looks like this:
Ok that's a bit of an exaggeration. But in truth, really it's mostly splash and feathers everywhere.
I feel like I am a lot like a pelican. There are things I do pretty well. For example: I take some fairly decent photos. I make good cookies. And I can usually put together a grammatically correct sentence.
But there loads of things that no matter how hard I work at it. No matter how many times I try, I am never ever going to get any better at it:
Driving. From the day I got my drivers license, 50 years ago, I was anxious, uncomfortable and unenthusiastic about being behind the wheel. That has not gotten any better. And in fact, I think it was only gotten worse over time.
Sewing. I got kicked out of Home Ec in 7th grade for accidentally sewing my finger (along with the apron I was trying to make) and thereby accidentally breaking the sewing machine. My needle-work skill has not gotten any better. It can take me upwards of 15 minutes just to thread the dang needle and there is no guarantee that any button I sew on is going to stay put. And I will require at least one bandage before I'm done.
Any Sport. Pick one, Any of them. I suck equally at them all. I'm not coordinated. I have absolutely Zero competitive gene, very poor depth perception and more importantly, I have no interest in sports. Any of them.
Any Artistic pursuit. I actually am quite interested in art. Any sort. Sculptures, drawings, paintings of any kind. Oils, water colours, charcoals, pastels, palette knife.......it is all fascinating to me. So much so that at one time in my life I worked as a docent in an art museum. I loved it. It speaks to me, if you will. BUT I have no artistic ability myself. I cannot so much as draw a straight line with a ruler. Regardless of how many classes I took, regardless of how sincerely hard I tried, I never got any better at it. Ratz.
The difference between me and pelicans is that while they are not graceful in their landings and in fact are rather hilarious about it, they continue to do it every day over and over and over.
Most of the things I'm not good at, I just don't do. Or at least I do as little as possible.
I admire the pelicans attitude. But it's not going to change mine
Let the happy news ring forth across the land. My Dryer is Fixed, My Dryer is Fixed.
Oh yeah, I'm doing the happy dance today for sure. While, simultaneously, playing catch-up with an enormous pile of laundry of course.
As you may, or may not, recall, seventeen days ago I discovered that my dryer wasn't working. As one normally would, I contacted the repair people, described the problem and was told that A) it was still under extended warranty - hurrah and B) someone would call back within 42 hours. Well it turned out to be more like 72 hours, but still someone did call. Once again the issue was explained, the make and model number given and we were told that the part would have to be ordered. We were assured that once the part came in, we would be contacted once more to set up a day and time for the actual repair.
In the meantime, there were still dirty clothes, wet towels and regular sheet changes that needed to be dealt with. Bathmats still occasionally had to be washed and sofa blankets need freshening and well you know, just the stuff that we all do on a regular basis.
In a desperate effort to try to stay on top of things I did a mix of: a) visits to the laundromat (as few as possible; b) doing wash at home and hanging up the wet things on my rolling rack which I moved to the living room because it has better air circulation and therefore things dry faster; and, sadly, c) putting off washing some things much longer than usual. It worked. It wasn't ideal but it worked.
I know that I am spoiled rotten. I have become accustomed to all of the modern conveniences. But that is not to say that I always had these things. I vividly recall, as a child, very carefully using a wringer washer. And it wasn't until my kids were in middle school that I stopped pegging my wash on the clotheslines outside several times a week. And I've already done my time in laundromats as a weekly regular!!
Of course on the other hand I did not ever have to boil clothes outside over a fire in a big kettle or beat them on a rock or even use a washboard to do the family laundry so there is that.
Still, I was overjoyed to hear that the part had come in and the repair person would be here on Wednesday. That's all, just Wednesday. No time frame, just a day. I didn't even care. I was so happy to have the dryer repaired that fine, whatever, okay. Sometime Wednesday.
When the repairman arrived, I took him straight to the utility room and left him to his own devices. He was finished in a remarkably short time and I walked him back to the front door, thanked him profusely and he left.
It wasn't until later that I had a moment of clarity. It turned out that the problem with the dyer lay in a big of coggery that was made out of plastic and had partially melted. I find it very odd that a manufacturer would make an essential piece of a machine that is literally created with the intention of it being very hot out of a material that melts when it gets hot. Kind of strange don't you think?
And further I realized that when this whole thing started and I called and relayed the problem, the repair person did not have to come out and determine for himself exactly what part wasn't working. Which leads me to believe that I'm not the only person who had this problem. For all I know, everyone who bought this particular machine, at some point, had this melted plastic part issue.
Pretty smart from a business standpoint on the part of the manufacturer. Parts made of plastic are cheaper than parts made of metal. So they save money. And if at year four (in my case) all of these machines start having melted plastic parts, the owners have to either pay for repair (not cheap) or buy a new chaine (also not cheap) and they make more money. Insert another Hmmmm here.
Did you know that the average length of time any major appliances is expected to last is seven years? Yup, it's true. I'm sure that longer lasting machines can be made but the manufacturers aren't making any money on machines that last a long time. Perhaps I'm just jaded but I don't think so. What I do think is that it is a pretty dang smart move on their part but that it totally sucks for the consumer.
But today I'm not going to obsess over that. Today I'm going to finally, at long last, catch up on all of the household laundry and happydance the whole while. And hopefully, the plastic part will last at least another four years before I have to go through all of this again.
Yup, this is me. And Yes, I know I look kind of silly but I don't regret it one single bit. It was blisteringly hot out that day.
I needed to go to the grocery store for one thing. One lone, but absolutely essential item. I briefly considered driving, just for the AC in the car, but decided that I needed the exercise more and set out to walk. It's not unusual for me to walk an errand rather than drive, we already know that. And I've walked to the grocery store more times than I care to count. It's around a mile and a half, with no hills, not much traffic and sidewalks nearly the entire way. The streets are lined with trees for shade but the sun peeks through anyway so I lubed up with sunscreen, put my money and phone in one pocket and my mask in another and set out.
It was not my smartest move. Although I am, by now, accustomed to the heat, the end of summer is a special kind of miserable. It's not just the heat, it's not even just the humidity, it's the September in Florida phenomenon called, the "feels like". And that sunny day, mid afternoon, the "feels like" was 110 degrees. And that is just stupid.
The thing that was bothering me most was my hair. I had just gotten it cut so I couldn't really put it up until it grew out a bit more and that day it lay against my sweaty neck, adding an extra special layer of hot. Yuck.
By the time I got to the grocery store and began to bask in the glory of air conditioning, I thought to check out the hair notions section of the cosmetics aisle to see if there was something, anything, I could do about my hair.
There were hair bands and scrunchies and hair clips by the dozens. There were barrettes, large, small and painted with unicorns but I didn't really see anything that would help until, just before I was about to give up, I noticed a card of six tiny elastics that looked as if they were made out of ribbon but stretchy. My hair was certainly not long enough for a single ponytail but I was pretty sure that I could do two of them. I bought both the thing I originally went to the store to buy AND the card of tiny ponytail holders. (what are those actually called anyway?)
The instant I left the store I tore into the package. It turned out that the plastic covered cardboard holding the ponytail holders was harder to break into than expected. I had to pretty much destroy it. Only to then learn that the ponytail holders were also threaded onto a plastic circlet. Good Grief.
I tried pulling it apart. Nope. I tried standing on it while pulling to break it with zero results. I even tried biting it realllllly hard but nada. Dang! Then it dawned on me that the pillars in front of the building are covered in stucco which is a great rough surface! Aha! I rubbed the plastic against it over and over and over and finally Success! I had liberated the pontail holders!
Using my reflection in an empty store window as a guide, I haphazardly whipped my hair into two ridiculous looking little pony tails and continued my walk home feeling every so much cooler.
Part way home it occurred to me that I was breaking a rule. I was not "dressing my age". I'm not sure why that rule was such a big deal in my house growing up since most of rules were pooh-poohed, but it was. At various times there was a serious attempt to coerce me to cut my hair, lower my hemline, properly sew a hemline, not wear certain fabrics or shoe styles because I was not "dressing my age".
It wasn't just family who felt this way, it was teachers, occasional co-workers, a few friends and society as a whole. Even now I see articles about how women of a certain age should not wear certain hair styles, articles of clothing (like jeans! seriously), or they should either tone down (one article) or ramp up (a different article) their make-up solely based on which birthday had just been celebrated.
I say Balderdash!
Here is how I feel about it. This is my age. This is how I dress. Obviously, therefore, I am dressing my age. If you don't like it, don't look at me. It's very simple.
I think back to the days when Queen Victoria was the woman who dictated women's fashions. Women were covered from neck to wrist to feet in layer upon layer upon layer of clothing and those damned corsets that prevented proper breathing and misaligned internal organs. I am truly amazed that in those days with no electricity and therefore no fans or AC, any women survived summer.
Thank goodness I live in these times when I can wear shorts if I want to with my hair in two ponytails in public without fear of being arrested for public indecency. And while a few people may look askance at me, I will not be hauled before the magistrate. Not even by the fashion police.
Happy Day After Labour Day!
There are two things you can be absolutely assured of on Labor Day at our house. One is that the streets will be lined with Flags. The other is that there will be yummy things to eat. Yeah, we are pretty food-centric (as if you didn't already know)
But this labor day we had one added bonus special unexpected treat! It turned out to be MINOCK DAY! The best day of any month :)
It was a perfect way to enjoy the day, good food (chicken on the grill and potato salad for example), good company, a lot of talking and a ton of laughter. Hard to improve upon that!
This country has been celebrating Labour Day since 1894. The original intent of course was to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. An honourable intention at the very least. Although when I was a kid, the actual intent of labour day was lost on us.
I know it's changed now but way back when dinosaurs walked the earth and I was a kid, every single school that I heard about or attended (and I attended many) that Tuesday following Labor Day was when the new school year began. That was the only real meaning of labor day to us kids.
Nowadays of course, the date of the start of school is all over the place. Some kids have year 'round school for instance. Others started in August and a few have not yet begun. And then of course, this year being what it is and the pandemic throwing it's monkey wrench into things, more kids are being schooled alternatively. That is to say, home schooled or doing on-line classes. I have no idea what their school years look like. Kind of a shame. I enjoyed the consistency of KNOWING (or at least thinking I knew) exactly what Labor Day meant.
It meant that last blissful day of freedom before school commenced. Which made that final day extra important. I vividly recall the deliciousness of enjoying to the absolute maximum that final day before the new school year. In a way it was the best day of the entire summer because we were so focused on making the most of it.
I remember waking up extra early and being very aware of the different feel and smell of the early hour. I absolutely remember sitting on the porch steps in my pajamas watching the sun slowly creep up over the trees and seeing the light overtake the darkness in the shadowy garden. (No matter where we lived, my mother always had a garden) I could suddenly hear the birds begin their early morning song as I hugged myself in the early chill. The chill would burn off soon but my little barefeet on the concrete would be almost achey cold at that hour. And I remember that I didn't mind one bit too. It was just the tiniest of beginnings to one of the most important days of the year.
I don't think it was a conscious decision on our parts. I mean we were kids and not especially sophisticated ones at that, but there was something about that day that even we knew was important.
The sun felt warmer, the air felt fresher, food tasted better, laughter rang louder, and whatever goofy-arsed way we chose to spend the day was perfectly perfect. We probably spent the entire day outside getting sweaty and dirty and only went inside if our mother's insisted that we break for a meal and even then, we pleaded and begged to be allowed to have our sandwiches outside please! We stayed out after dinner playing games in the yard, chasing the fireflies, enjoying our last day of freedom and trying to make the joy last as long as possible.
That's kind of how it is enjoying a Minock Day. No matter what we do, it's extra special and we try to make it last as long as possible.
Hope your labour day was even half as good as ours!
This is a real house here on the island. It's kind of adorable. Like a little doll house, a cottage, a bungalow, I suppose. It was built in 1926 which means it was constructed in the original hey day of our little city of Venice. And currently it is sitting right in the plumb center of a controversy.
From what I gather, and since I don't actually personally know any of the people involved I am getting all of my information from the local newspaper and online so I cannot guarantee anything I say here is 100% fact ok? Let's start there.
I have to tell you a wee bit about the beginning of our town for this to make sense. In the 1880's there were a few people living here, but not many. It wasn't really a town, it was more just an area which was referred to as Horse and Chaise. As I understand it, it's because the shore line as seen from boats in the water, resembled a horse driven conveyance. Ok. Enter the force of nature otherwise known as Bertha Potter Palmer.
Mrs. Palmer was rather taken with the mostly undeveloped West Coast of Florida and was something of a visionary. A visionary with a LOT of money. She bought land here. Lots and lots of land. She then convinced the railroad to extend their rail service to what became our fair city. She decided that the name of this city would be Venice. All of that happened began in 1911 Shortly thereafter the US went land speculation crazy. It was a boom like no other.
Among the folks who bought land here was Dr. Fred Albee who bought just shy of 3,000 acres with the intent to build a town. He even hired his friend, the famous Mr. John Nolen to draw up plans for the town with a very specific idea. Even the style of the homes and buildings were dictated by Mr. Nolen's ultra comprehensive plan.
However, very shortly after the good Dr. Albee purchased the land, he was approached by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers who also liked the idea of creating a town and subsequently Dr. Albee sold the land to the BLE.
Up until October of 1929 the town grew in leaps and bounds, following the Nolen Plan. The population grew and grew and it seemed as if the good times would never end. Until the depression showed it's ugly face and everything changed forever.
Since then Venice has had it's ups and downs but once recovered from the Great depression, it's mostly been up. And that's a wonderful thing. There are still quite a few of the original wonderfully historic homes from the 1920's and often they exist side by side with newer more modern homes which creates it's own unique sort of charm.
Ok now back to The Situation.
Back in 2014 or 2015 (depending on your news source) a nice couple bought the house in question (at the top of the page) with the intent of fixing it up. Fast Forward to 2020 and they seem to have thrown their hands up in the air and said, "That's it, we quit. This house is a money pit. We would be better off tearing it down and starting over"
So far so good, right? It actually happens a lot here. It's not just that it's costly to reno an older home or that the layouts aren't up to modern esthetic standards, it's also that the electricity and plumbing are no longer to code. Odds are extremely good that the HVAC needs to be replaced as does the roof and the windows which need to be as hurricane proof as possible. The list goes on ad nauseum. So you see, it's not just cosmetics that need to be addressed in an older home. And the nice people who had such good intentions initially aren't wrong. It probably is cheaper to tear it down and rebuild.
HOWEVER, this house is in a specifically designated historic district. Part of the original John Nolen plan. Which means that to do something as dramatic as tearing it down, they had to petition the town first. When they petitioned the town for permission to tear the house down, they ran smack up against the historic preservation people who absolutely do not want the house torn down. They feel that, as one of the first of the BLE homes (not THE first but one of them) the house has enough historical significance that it needs to remain.
So there's been a lot of back and forth. The couple who own the house have construction folks on their side explaining the money dilemma. The historic preservation people, who have the fact that the house is within the Historic District on their side, naturally want to preserve as much of the town original history as possible.
It feels a lot like a stalemate and I do not envy the person or persons who have to make the decision.
That said, I have lived in a lot of older homes. One of those older homes was built in the 1700's. When we bought it, it had no central heat, substandard plumbing (the pipes froze every winter), substandard electricity (you couldn't plug in two things at the same time in the kitchen). It was so cold in the house in winter that there was ice on the inside of the walls, not just the windows, the actual walls. All winter long everyone spent all waking hours in the kitchen because that was where the woodstove was. So I do have some familiarity with the inconveniences of trying to live in an older home.
Fast forward a few years and we have the first house that Tim and I bought together which was in Connecticut. That house was built in 1940. Not ancient but old enough that the first 5 years that we lived there, every spare penny we had went toward updating things that you couldn't see, like a new pump for the well, a new septic system, a new roof, etc.etc.etc. But, we were aware that we were taking on a BIG job when we bought it and knew that it would probably take a lifetime to make it what we envisioned. We were patient and we were willing to sacrifice to make it happen. We only lived there 10 years but made terrific headway in those years.
It is not insignificant that when we moved from Connecticut to Colorado, we did not buy an existing older home but had a brand new home built for us. This was Not a coincidence.
Regardless of how good your intentions, sometimes, reno-ing a house is more of a job than you anticipate. Our current house here in Florida was built in 1962. Yes, we jumped into the miasma once again. So there it was. As we knew would happen, in these four years that we've lived here we have had to update the HVAC, the electricity and had the entire house replumbed and that is the short list of things we've had to do here. The list of things that still need to be addressed is sometimes a little daunting. We occasionally day dream about, as Tim says, "blowing it all up and starting over". Just like this other couple.
The difference is that our house, while still on the island, is not in an historic district. If we actually wanted to tear it down and start over, nobody cares. Nope. In the original John Nolen plan, our house was designated as an Orange Grove. Nothing historic about that.
So here is my thought. I love history. I adore this town. Part of what I love about it is the historic charm. BUT the people who own the house are the ones who are paying the mortgage and the insurance and the taxes. The people who are living within it's walls and dealing with the rotting floors and the collapsing roof and whatever else is wrong with it (according to the news article the cost quote for bringing the house up to speed is upwards of $300,000 which is more than they originally paid for the house), these folks are the ones who should get to decide.
The historic preservation people are rightly concerned that if everyone who lives in the historic district is allowed to tear down their homes and build new, then Venice will no longer be Venice. Well technically it will still BE Venice, it's just won't look the same. But I get what they are saying. What bothered me the most was the spokesperson who said (and I quote) "Owners for such properties should be considered custodians and if they no longer wish to maintain them, they should be forced to sell"
Forced to sell? Oh me oh my! That's, ummm, an aggressive stance I'll say.
I rather liked the response given by the director of the local Museum where I am a docent. A year or so ago, someone else who was upset about the possibility of a different historic home being sold and further they feared that it would be sold to a developer who would of course tear it down and put multiple homes on the site, came in to talk to Harry, (our director) about it, looking for an ally I assume. When the person said to Harry, "What will you do about this!" He answered, "I will be sad". And that was the end of that. He went on to explain that you simply cannot save them all.
And perhaps this is one that cannot be saved. I don't know. If the town doesn't allow them to tear down and rebuild, I wonder if they will keep tinktinktinking away at repairs little by little, or will they just sell it as is. If they do, I wonder who will want to buy it.
It's quite the dilemma and I have no answers. But it's an interesting problem for sure.
Before I leave for the long holiday weekend (and I wish you a good one) I want to Thank my friends, Randy & Mary, who suggested this news story to me as a Blog Post idea. Thanks guys!
See y'all on Tuesday. Have fun and Be safe this Labor Day weekend. Hugs all 'round
I finished up yesterday's blog saying that today I would write about the rest of the walk I took on the day of the Nolen Green's discovery. And since I am a woman of my word, here we go:
This will be just kind of a random collection of photos and thoughts from my walk that day. I did spend time at the beach. Of course I did. Being walking distance to the beach was one of the the big reasons that we chose this particular town. I was not a particularly sunny day (which worked in my favour) and there was a bit of a breeze. As always it was even windier at the beach. Doesn't matter, it's still one of my most favourite places to be.
And even though I certainly could have, I didn't spend my entire day at the beach. I also spent time admiring the flowers that are, as I keep saying, Everywhere! Did you know the the name Florida means Flowers? Well it means Feast of Flowers and it was bestowed upon this particular hunk of land way back in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon. Yup that fountain of youth guy.
Because there were flowers, there were also bees, butterflies and dragonflies galore. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of a single one. And that's ridiculous because they were everywhere!
On the other hand I did capture some interesting yard art. Loads of Yard Art. Buckets of it. Piles of it! Hold on to your socks:
And a little bit of wildlife.
Then there were the park lions. I love the park lions
There was a lot of construction in town. Either a house coming down, a house going up, a lot prepared for a house or remodeling. Busy Busy Busy
And speaking of construction, I noticed quite a few folks who were clever enough to add roof top decks to them homes. All the better to have an ocean view, my dear.
As always there is my favourite section, the rando photos:
So I guess that's it. Thanks for coming along with me on my walk. Always glad for the company :) Hope you enjoyed
What on earth?
You see that post, right? It's hard to miss being orange and all. They are dotted here and there all over the island, sometimes at the entrance to what, at least appears to be a driveway, other times the post is just kind of stuck, seemingly randomly, between houses.
I've been walking around this island for more than four years now and, of course, I have noticed them. But I had no idea what they were all about. I googled it with no result. I even tried looking it up on the city's website but zilch. I asked a few people who shrugged their shoulders in return and eventually, while the curiosity remained, I stopped trying to figure it out.
Well I sort of stopped. I stopped trying to actively solve the mystery, but quietly in the back of my brain, the work continued. And really, it shouldn't be as difficult as I made it. Here's the thing. It says, right on the sign, 'Nolen Green'. Nolen, I believe to be a reference to Mr. John Nolen who was the man, way back in the 1920's, who laid out the plan for the City of Venice Florida before it was built. He was a forward thinking individual who believed in green spaces so we have loads of parks here. He drew up plots of land for all different sizes of houses, for schools and retail spaces. There was entertainment areas, natural areas and of course he took good advantage of the beautiful beaches.
Now here it is nearly 100 years later and our town is still surprisingly laid out very similarly to Mr. John Nolen's plan. The town is rather proud of that. His name is not only not forgotten, it is lauded here in Venice. So my assumption that those sign posts in some way have to do with Mr. Nolen is very logical.
So when I went off on one of my no particular destination walks last week and I passed by one of these John Nolen sign posts, instead of just walking on by, I stopped. I really looked at both the sign and the area around the sign.
Initially yes, it does seem to be right there on someone's property, but when I peeped further down the "driveway" or what I thought was a driveway, I saw a pretty little greenspace with trees, flowers, a picnic table and another sign. hmmm Interesting.
Now when I was asking around about these posts, one of the people who didn't shrug said that they thought the posts marked tiny pocket parks throughout Venice, but they weren't certain. Well if the sign marks a park, that would be a public space, right? And the post clearly has an arrow and an invitation. It says, "To Nolen Green". Sounds come hither to me.
But here's the thing about me. I am a rule follower. Well I am mostly a rule follower. If it's a stupid horrible insulting rule then no. But otherwise, yes. If there is a sign that says "Keep off the grass" I will (mostly) keep off. I might reach over the touch it once, very gently, just to feel rebellious, but that's about it. Because the rule is, "Thou Shall Not Steal", I do not steal. Since the general consensus is that it's rude to trespass on other's people's property, I absolutely do not trespass. Those rules make sense and I am okay with them. Wait, I'm not just okay with the, I rabidly adhere to them.
In the grocery store during the pandemic there are those arrows you are supposed to follow in the aisles, right? I follow them. Even when I just need that one thing that is an arms reach into the aisle, if it's the wrong way to enter, I go all the way around. If I'm doing something wrong, I automatically assume that if I'm not going to be arrested, then at the very least, someone is going to come out and yell at me. Since I do not enjoy being yelled at, I just do what I'm supposed to do.
Unless of course, as I said before, it's a stupid, horrible, insulting rule. Then not just no, but hell no. The rule to "Not wear white after labor day" is stupid. The rule to treat a person differently based solely on their religion, politics, gender or ethnicity is horrible. The rule to not read certain books or listen to certain music because the powers that be have deemed it inappropriate and have made that decision for me to protect me is insulting. So those sorts of rules will be summarily disregarded. Otherwise, I go along just fine.
So there I was. Standing by the To Nolen Green sign, starring at the arrow and trying to feel brave. I kept looking at the houses on either side of the sign. Nobody was peering out at me from behind the curtains and there were no vicious dogs roaming the perimeter so I took a deep breath, tried to still the pounding of my heart and walked down the shell and gravel driveway to what I believed was a pocket park.
I walked slowly, trying to look casual and I kept anticipating someone hollering, "Hey you, get out of my yard" but it never happened. Instead, I found myself in a pretty little tree lined green area that seemed to be tucked in behind other houses. I watched butterflies dance and dragonflies hover, I breathed in the fragrance of so many different kinds of flowers, I sat on the picnic bench in the shade of an enormous tree and eventually, I relaxed a little bit.
I felt as if I had gotten away with something very sneaky and I kind of liked the feeling. So as I was leaving, instead of going out the way I came in, I followed the shell and gravel driveway down behind other houses that, up until that moment, I had only ever seen the front of. It was an entirely different world back there. Lots of tiny gardens, interesting yard art and a very cool old car.
I followed the path to the very end where there was another To Nolen Green sign pointing back the way I had just come from. And that's when I realized that it was a shortcut of sorts as I was now across the street from the arboretum. I had NO idea that alternative route existed before.
Encouraged, I continued my walk, seeking out Nolen Green signs and following them into tiny hidden gardens, itty bitty parks and some times just a green short cut from one street to another. Every single time I found one, I was both joyous at my discovery and trepidatious, still unable to cast off that feeling that I was walking in someone's yard. Always expecting that cranky threat to call the cops or someone siccing their dog on me. Even though it never happened. Not once. But I didn't let my irrational fears dissaude me. Instead every single time, I took that deep breath, told myself to be brave and stepped onto the path.
I'm not sure I've expressed what a big deal this was for me. Even though it's clearly not against any rule to go into those little pathways and gardens, it feels as if it is. And going against that feeling is so unlike me. Nice to know that at the ridiculous age of 67 I can still grow as a person ;)
I was gone for hours. I don't think I found all of the Nolen Greens, but I definitely put a dent in the list. I will continue to look for them and follow them into those mysterious, almost secret places and hopefully, maybe someday soon, I will be able to just relax and enjoy myself while doing so.
Who knows what other amazing discoveries I will come across!
I took photos through the entire walk. So perhaps tomorrow I'll do another photo pictorial of the rest of my walk that day. Sound like a plan?
The English language is complicated but it's also wonderful. There are so many different ways to say everything. I can say that something I like is wonderful. Or I can also say that it is marvelous, fabulous, terrific, super, magnificent, glorious, superb, delightful, spectacular, first-rate, gold star, award-winning, all-time-favourite or great. (And those just the first synonyms that came to my mind.
I know that folks who are learning English get very confused by our inconsistencies. One house, two houses, one mouse, two mice. The comedian Gallagher does a wonderful bit on the messed up grammar and ridiculous "rules" involved in our language. For example, he felt that it makes no sense that "The word "big" is very small and the word "little" is big." The comedic master George Carlin observed that "we drive in the parkway and park in the driveway". More English language insanity.
But I feel that most of the quirks and whims of our language just makes it more interesting, more colourful, more fun. The part I have a real issue with is spelling. I think that way we choose to spell words is bizarre. Even our alphabet is crazy.
Some of the letters are fine just as they are. L is an L is an L. Same with a D and a B. but C, K and S, on the other hand, the standards around them are very loosey goosey. And that is just wrong.
Sometimes a C is pronounced as an S. Like in the word "Dance" Other times a C is pronounced as a K. As in "Crash". And then if you pair it with an H you can that hard "Ch" sound: "Church, Change, Chaps". A K is almost always a K such as " Kind" except when it's silent like the word "knife". S is pretty much always an S, "Silent, Sad, Silly" But it becomes an entirely different sound when there is an H next to it, "Shade, Shelf, Sherrif".
Personally I think the C ought to just be a "Ch". We already have a K and an S that work just fine. So the alphabet would be A, B, CH, D ...like that. And the silent K in knife? Retire it. It's not doing the work of the other letters, not holding up it's end of the job. It's time to let it go.
This popped into my head the other day when I was not sleeping and doing that name game that I do to try to bore myself to sleep. In case you are unfamiliar, the game goes like this. I have to think of 5 boys names and 5 girls names for every letter of the alphabet. And there are actual rules to this game. For instance, whatever names I list have to be real. At least one person had to have had this name. It can be a fictional character but I cannot make it up, I had to have read or heard of it at least once.
So I thought merrily along through A, B and C. But shen I got to the letter C for girls I listed, 'Caroline, Claire, Charlotte"....and then I stopped. I realized something and my brain wandered off on that thought. This is the direction that it took:
The girls name 'Charlotte' is a derivation of the boys name 'Charles'. This is actually a true thing. So, I ask you, why is Charles a hard "CH" sounds but Charlotte as soft "SH" sound? It makes no sense.
I actually like the name' Charlotte'. I always have. When I was expecting my children (and back then we didn't know the gender ahead of time), the name 'Charlotte' was actually on my short list of possible girl names. I've known a few Charlotte's in my life and they were all very nice people. One went by 'Charlie' and that's kind of cute. Another one went by 'Lotte', a little more European sounding but adorable just like her. So you see, this isn't me picking on the name itself. It's a great name. Just...why is the CH pronounced SH?
Here's another one, Why is 'Peggy' a nickname for 'Margaret'? Anybody know the answer to that one? And for that matter, why is 'Jack' a nickname for 'John'? It's the same number of letters! It's not any shorter or easier!! How is 'Harry' a shortened version of 'Henry'? Both are great names on their own, but I don't get how they replace one another? And 'Chloe'? What the actual heck? It is pronounced 'Kl oh ee' but, but, but..there is that dang CH again mucking it all up once again.
Another name that confuses me...how do you pronounce 'Leroy'? Is the accent on the first syllable or the second? 'Tad' is short for 'Thaddeus'? Didn't you lose an 'H' somewhere along the line? And what is the deal with the name 'Stephen' and 'Steven'? They are spelled differently but they sound exactly the same...what's up with that? And hey, it just now dawned on me, why do 'Jack' and 'Rick' have both a 'C' and a 'K'? They serve the exact same purpose. It's redundant!
Oh and the one that everyone wants to know...How on earth is 'Dick' the shortened version of 'Richard'? Please someone explain that to me. 'Rick'? Sure. 'Richie'? Okay. But 'Dick'? Nope nope nope and nope.
Oh I could go on and on. That night my brain sure did. I had questions about the whole 'Phoebe' thing, the 'Sean' thing, the' Jean', 'Gene' and' Jeanne' thing, and well, it's a long list.
Anyway, as usual, I have no answers at all, but lots of questions. If you have any of the answers, I'm right here listening.
So, the obvious question here is why are our clothes hanging in the living room? It's because the dang dryer quit working. ARGH!
The weekend before last, on Saturday, (I don't remember why) I threw in a load of towels. It is unusual for me to bother to do laundry on weekends because...it's the weekend. The weekends for us are now all about fun and exploring and occasional errands, not housey chores! But that weekend, I did that load of towels. They washed up just fine and they dried perfectly normally. No mysterious sounds or alarms or warning bells. No shimmying, no jostling or shuddering. Just wet towels in, perfectly dry fluffy towels out.
And then on the following Monday morning, as per usual, I began my loads of clothes, delicates first. I don't know why, but that is the way I always do it. When the washer was done, as always, I took everything out of the washer and transferred them to the dryer, closed the door, pushed the necessary buttons and...........nothing. Well not nothing. The lights came on, the display read out said "delicate dry" but the basket didn't turn. Hmmmm. So I turned it off and the machine made a terrible clatter bang noise. Ok that's new.
Experimentally, I turned it back on again. The same thing happened right down to the clatterbang noise at the end. Crap. I made a note of the model number and looked it up on line to see if there was some magic I could do to turn this frown upside down but nope. With the symptoms I was noticing the only thing it said was to notify your appliance repair person. Double dang.
Instead I notified Tim. He did the same things that I did except instead of ending by swearing colourfully, he diagnosed the problem. "Sounds like a belt slipped off" he predicted, "Call Jessups. It's still under warranty".
Jessups is where we bought all of our household appliances. They had a great selection and they were very nice and it's local. I had no idea that it was still under warranty and that made me feel a lot better about making the call. When it comes to appliance repair (I have learned the hard way) often it's about the same cost to repair as it is to buy new. Which frankly is a damned shame.
Anyway, so I called the nice people at Jessups (which is how it works here when something is still under warranty). They listened to my sad story, looked us up in their computer, confirmed that it was all still under warranty and said that he would notify the repair person who would call us within 48 hours. Ok. Well, I'm certainly not leaving my wet clothes in the dryer for 48 hours! So I draped everything around the house willy nilly. By the dinner time it was all dry. Some of it was set aside for later ironing. The rest was put away.
And I wait 48 hours. When waiting for that return phone call, every hour passes like 24 hours. A day feels like a week. And there I am trapped in the house, afraid to leave for fear that I would miss the call. What happens if I miss the call? Do they call back? Do I get put on a "bad" list? Do I go to the end of the line?
48 hours passed with no call. I called Jessups back and well I didn't exactly rat out the appliance repair person, it was more that I asked to confirm our phone number since I hadn't heard back and therefore assumed that, maybe, they had the wrong number in their files (sneaky eh?) No, the number was correct. I gave them ALL of our numbers. Both of our cell phones and the home phone. I made it clear that we really wanted to get this call.
And to be fair, before the end of the day the call came in. The repair person called Tim's cell. Tim described the problem, gave them his thoughts on what was wrong and the model number. The repair person agreed with Tim's ideas but said that parts would have to be ordered and it would take about a week for them to come in.
Wow. I was deflated. A week? By this time it was already late Wednesday and the laundry was starting to pile up. There was no way around it, I was going to have to go to the Laundromat. Dang. I hate going to the laundromat.
I went back out to our utility room (where my washer/dryer live) to assess the situation. I made the executive decision to just go ahead and wash all of the clothes and only take towels and sheets to the laundromat. That will cut down on cost and time and number of baskets.
Thursday, bright and early, I began doing the clothes. It was Tim's idea to bring my hanging rack into the house instead of leaving it in the utility room. You see, the utility room has no air conditioning and no fan. It stays relatively cool because it's concrete block and has no windows and is on the north side of the house. But it is no ideal for drying clothes. You need some air circulation for that. Which means in the actual house.
Sooooo, I washed the clothes and then hung up each piece to dry in the living room. Sigh. Socks on a hangar, underwear on hangars, shirts, PJ's and shorts on hangars. It was not a perfect plan but it works. Even the heaviest pieces dried over night. It meant a lot more ironing than usual. But the important part is that it worked!
On Friday morning, bright and early, I raided my change jar for quarters and loaded with baskets of towels and sheets and a zippy bag of Tide pods and dryer sheets, properly masked, off I went. Fortunately there is one laundromat on the island and it is kept very clean and tidy. when I arrived it was completely empty. By the time I left it was packed.
So here we are, one week later and well I haven't yet heard if the part has come in. And once it does we then have to get on the repair person's schedule. They will then have to show up and hopefully, fix the dryer before we can get back into my old laundry day groove. I figger another week at least. And it does not make me happy to say that. But it is realistic.
So today I will wash clothes again and hang everything on hangars on the rack in the living room and perhaps Wednesday I will head back to the laundromat to do towels and sheets. And with any luck at all that will be the end of that.
I had enough of regular weekly laundromat visits during college and when the kids were babies and we still lived in an apartment. Then there was a rerun when the kids and I were on our own in another apartment years later. I've done my time.
Please send positive repair type thoughts. Thankee
Thought I'd end the week with a grey hair update.
As you may (or may not), recall way back in May of 2019 I made the monumental decision to stop colouring my hair. It was a difficult decision mostly because at that point, I'd been colouring my hair so long, I no longer remembered what my actual, real, normal hair colour was. But I had tired of the time, expense and necessity of frequent appointments to touch up the colour. Additionally, I had this bizarre fear in the back of my brain. I did not ever want to look like a joke. I had some crazy phobia of becoming some doddering old fool hobbling around with a cane, sporting wrinkles galore but with perfectly coloured hair that clashed with my eyebrows. And I never wanted to get into that spiral of having to also dye my eyebrows to match. Just, no.
This is not a shot at anyone who chooses to dye their hair right up until their last gasp on this planet. If that is your choice, then I salute and support you. But it's just not me. So I got really brave and told my hairdresser that I wasn't going to colour it anymore. Cut, shape, style you betcha. But colour no. And then together we could discovered A) what my true hair colour was and B) how grey/silver/white my hair had become.
I was honestly disappointed to find that the initial answer was, not much. I had already embraced the idea of (again) grey, silver or white and I was raring to go. My hair had a completely different idea. It just looked like ordinary reddish brown hair. Well dang.
But after about six months, if I sorted through the strands of hair, underneath the top layers I was beginning to see sparkly bits here and there. I got very excited. And now, some 15 months later, I don't have to look quite as hard anymore.
As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, which I took THIS morning, first glance says, ordinary hair. But if I get in proper light and move the hair around a bit you can see:
Sparkly bits throughout the reddish brown and at the temples most definitely white hair. Awesome. White. Not the battleship grey that I feared. I can do grey (begrudgingly) I can do silver (becoz silver is sparkly and I do love sparkle) and I can absolutely rock white.
I tried to get a picture of the underside of my hair because that's where the most grey/silver/white is but dang it's hard to do! I do not have good enough balance to literally stand on my heady, so, instead, I just bent over and then quickly flipped my hair back as Istood up and snapped that really quickly. And hey...what do you know? There's LOTS more grey under there. Look:
And then of course I snapped the part on top of my head because that's the dead giveaway. I could hide the underneath part a while longer if I really wanted to. But there is no way I can hide the top unless I wear a hat. PS right now it's just too hot to wear a hat.
aAs you can see the transformation is really coming along up there. Which I actually never see. The only folks who get to behold that grey/silver/white part are people taller than me if they are looking down. And let's face it, most people are taller then me so I guess the vast majority of people around hereabouts have had the opportunity to admire the sparkliest part of my hair. Cool!
So progress is being made and thus far, I like it. It feels like it's taking a REALLY long time, but than patience has never been my strong suit. Perhaps at the next grey/silver/white hair update, my hair will actually be mostly grey/silver and/or white.
Bulletins as they happen!
Have a perfectly lovely weekend ya'll
So here's what happened.
The above is my most favourite shampoo brand in the world. Or at least in my world. This particular brand has loads of different, ummm, what do you call them, flavours? This is just one of many. Sometimes I choose this one, sometimes other ones. Thus far, I have adored every single one that I've tried. Except the bamboo one in the green bottle. Did not dig that one at all. But the rest? Yummm.
I love the way it smells, the way it feels and the way my hair looks. And I would use this brand all of the time except for one thing. (and yes I've mentioned this briefly once before a long time ago). It's hard to get the product out of the bottle. What?
Well not initially. At first it's not a problem at all. Gravity, y'know? But the more empty the bottle becomes, the harder it is to get the goo inside, out. I am perfectly aware that part of the problem is me. My little arthritic hands aren't as strong as they used to be. But for heaven's sakes. I ought to be able to get shampoo out of a bottle without requiring power tools! And as the bottle gets used up, sometimes, I just cannot.
I don't know what they make these bottles out of, but mercy! I squeeze as hard as I can with my hands. Sometimes I put the bottle against my leg and push both hands with poor results (and sometimes the bottle kind of slipping out and onto the floor with an alarming clatterbang). I have even wedged the bottle up against the wall of the shower and put all my weight into my hands on it trying to squeeze product out to no avail (and risking slipping and falling myself!) It just shouldn't be that hard.
I did write to the company about it. They wrote back fairly quickly. It was a very kind note full of apologies and promises that they would look into this issue. Several weeks later I heard back from the parent company (also very nicely written) apologizing for the problem and asking for the lot number on the bottle. Well of course by then I had thrown the bottle away and so that was the end of that.
With a normal bottle of shampoo I could stand it on it's head and let the product slide down to the opening between uses. But in the design of the bottle holding the shampoo I prefer, the little round top prevents any headstands. I finally gave up, threw it away and tried to find something else I liked as much.
After some experimentation, I ended up settling on something that was perfectly fine and a wee bit less expensive. The two best parts are that I can squeeze it if I need to and the top is flat so if necessary, I can stand it upside down. It does it's job. When I use it, my hair is clean and that is the entire point of it. There is nothing in the world really and truly wrong with it except that I just don't like it as much. I missed my old shampoo. Ratz.
And that's when it happened. My moment of revelation. I was standing the shower about to wash my hair and I noticed that the bottles were close to empty. I made a mental note to add shampoo and conditioner to the grocery list. I heard myself say, outloud, 'Or I could reuse these bottles for the old product!" Huzzah!
I cannot swear that it happened, but I think it was just like in the cartoons when a fellow with a problem suddenly gets a great idea and that little light bulb comes on over his head.
The next time I went to the store, I bought my favourites. "Hello old friends", I said to them. I thoroughly washed out the old bottles, took the tops off the new ones , flipped the new ones upside down and carefully balanced them atop the old empty bottles. Viola!
Yes it's an extra step. And no I shouldn't have to I suppose. But hey, it works!
Creative Problem Solving baby. Sometimes I rock!
The salon, or beauty shop where I have successfully been getting my hair attended to for the past 4+ years is right here on the island. Which is exactly where I was looking for it. Knowing as you do (by now) how much I hate to drive, it is logical that I would concentrate my search within my comfort driving zone - which is admittedly very small.
But I got lucky and on only the 2nd try, I found Venice Day Spa and Carolyn, my amazing hairdresser, and life has been easy peasy hair-wise every since. The salon is in the same plaza as our grocery store so it was easy to find with loads of parking if I should happen to drive instead of walk. And life was good.
But since we've lived here, we have watched as one business after another has left that plaza. When we first arrived, there was only one storefront that was empty. And slowly, one by one, the doors shuttered and the businesses have disappeared. Some merely relocated (off-island dang it) others seem to have vanished altogether. Now the plaza is about half empty. (which of course also means half full, but you know what I mean).
So when I recently walked to the store instead of taking the car and I strolled past the salon I was dismayed but not truly surprised to see a big sign in the window that said, "We Are Moving". Ratz. Of course that's all it said. There was no when or where on the sign. I was very VERY curious, but I also knew that I had an appointment coming up soon. I decided that if they didn't mentioned it that day, I would. No reason to panic. Although I confess I was concerned.
The ideas that rambled through my brain! Were they closing altogether? Were they leaving for a different town? Would they stay on island or move off? If off, how far off? How difficult or easy would it be to get there? On no! I would have to find a new salon. And what if I dont' find another place I like? I'll have to give up getting my hair done altogether. I'll grow it back out really long and wear it in braids and ponytails like I used to a long time ago and that way I'll save money too! Yup I went that far. Drama much? Please note how all of my questions were very selfish and self-serving. Apparently I am a horrible person. But hey, at least I'm honest about it.
I tried to just not think about it. Soon enough, I would know the answer and then I would deal with what ever the new reality was. One way or another, there would be a solution. That much I knew.
It so happened that on the morning of my hair appointment there was a big article in the local paper about how the business as moving. And while the article didn't give a specific address, it did list the name of the new street. Cockrill St. Cockrill St.? I've lived here now for more than 4 years and I thought I had walked every single road at least once and I had no memory of a Cockrill St. Which lead me to believe that the move must be off island. Dang. Resigned and more than a little sad, I went to my appointment a few hours later.
As I'm sitting in the chair, Carolyn hard at work on my hair, I began, "So I understand that you are moving.......?" She confirmed that they were and how much bigger, nicer of a place it was going to be. She also told me that the newspaper article go the street wrong. (How does a responsible newspaper get that wrong?) She assured me that they were staying on island (whew!) and the street name is, '"The Rialto". Yeah, they have streets with names like that here.
So that's a couple of pieces of good news. First of all, I know where The Rialto is. It's over by the hospital. And second of all (and best of all) It's on island. Hurrah! My stress level just smoothed right over. Carolyn also told me that they were moving mid-September which means that for my next appointment in October, I will be going to the new place. Exciting!
When I checked out, I made my next appointment (as I always do) and the appointment card had the new address on it. 775 The Rialto. I decided that I ought to find exactly where on The Rialto, number 775 is. Seems reasonable, right?
So I headed over toward the hospital and turned onto The Rialto. I drove as slowly as was courteous to drivers behind me, and...couldn't find it. Dang. So when I got to the end of the street, I turned around and tried again. All in all, I tried three times before calling it quits.
Here's the problem. Venice Island is an adorably quirky place. Sometimes things are a little willy nilly. It's usually part of the charm but once in awhile a little bit of a pain in the arse. The numbers could be anywhere. On the mailbox, (assuming that there is a mailbox - it's not a requirement), or over the garage, or on the front door or painted on a rock on the side of the driveway or..well anywhere. And none of the numbers are the same. Big, small, different colours, different fonts, different, well just different.
And this particular street, at one time, was all residential so with the exception of a church, it's still 99% buildings that look like houses. Some of them actually are houses, some have been turned into businesses. Like I said, quirky.
And then there was the issue with the house numbers, when I could find them. They didn't make sense. They seemed to jump around from the 400's to the 800's with big weird gaps. What on earth is going on?
I decided that it's just too hard to drive AND look for this address at the same time. New plan. I would go home, put on sunscreen and my sneakers and walk back. I see so much more detail when I'm walking. " I will absolutely be able to find this on foot", I sez to myself.
So as soon as I got home, I left my purse on my desk chair, put my cellphone in my pocket and grabbed socks and sneakers. I was determined and a little excited to have a mission! I had just finished tying my shoes when the house was filled with the sound of a giant thunder boomer. Dang. I went to the window and saw the sky filling up with dark ominous clouds, the wind picking up and a lightening flash or two. Well, there went my mission. Drat.
That's when Tim pointed out to me that I could have "mapped" it on my phone and the directions would have led me right to the address. What an idiot I am. The thought absolutely never once crossed my mind. We looked it up on my computer to get the general idea and sonovagun..there it was...Cockrill St. The new address is on the corner of The Rialto and Cockrill St. I'll be darned! It does exist!
Over the weekend we did a drive-by. I know now exactly where it is, what it looks like and have accessed the parking situation. (When I say that I'm not a good driver I mean I'm also not a good parker of cars. The parking situation is an important factor)
It's all good. My hair is saved.
This is our kitchen table. There is a perfect little spot right there for it. It's taller than the average table. I think they refer to it as "bar height". We intentionally selected this taller version so that the chairs would work in multiple places. Such as as that kitchen island
And at the table in the family room
Sometimes we really put thought into what we do :)
The entire reason that I bring up this kitchen table thing is that recently I was watching one of those HGTV house renovation shows. And on this particular episode the home owners were talking with the designer about how to change their teeny tiny kitchen into a larger more useful kitchen. The designer suggested knocking out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Great idea! Everyone was in favour. But then there was the thing that surprised me. The designer threw out a lot of different ideas of all sorts. The couple thought that everything was wonderful except for one thing. The only thing the couple said no to was having a spot for a kitchen table. The couple felt that they did not need a table because they would either eat at the island or in the living room in front of the TV.
I was gobsmacked. No Kitchen Table? How does anyone function without a kitchen table? Ours gets one heck of a workout on a regular basis. Or at least that's how I felt when I saw that show.
But that got me wondering just how much we really do use our kitchen table. So I decided to document how much the table got used in a week and the variety of ways. So here we go:
First of all it is a perfect place to fold clothes. I dump the contents of the basket, choose one item at random, and begin to fold and stack by owner of said article of clothing and type of garment. Tim's tee-shirts in one pile, my shorts in another, for example.
It's the perfect place to take care of correspondence of any sort. And yes I still write actual letters. I own stamps, return address stickers and envelopes. I even have pens, paper, an address book (a real one, not online) and when the situation calls for it, I buy cards. Christmas cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards, graduation cards, sorry-you-are-sick cards, sympathy cards and well, whatever the occasional calls for cards. Sometimes I just write a short little note in the card, sometimes I just sign it but once in awhile I write a separate full fledged actual letter. Shocking, I know
The table gets used heavily when I am baking. It's perfect for cooling racks. I usually put down either a table cloth or newspaper under the racks to protect the tabletop. And if they are the sorts of cookies or cakes that require decorating, then I use both the flannel backed, plastic table cloth AND newspaper. It works. There is plenty of room for cooling, for decorating and for certain people to snitch one as they walk by.
This particular table is a terrific spot for a larger puzzle. The smaller ones fit perfectly on the family room table but the bigger ones need more room. It's not just the puzzle itself, but the pieces. Gotta have a place to sort them! I like to turn each piece upside right first, then pull out the edges to build the frame first. Then resort by colour. But then that's me. I'm sure everyone has their own method that works for them.
It's also a great table for games. Especially if there are more than two people playing. AND being the kitchen table means the game is close to food and drink if you need refills. Very Handy. While you are stepping away for a second you can still keep an eye on certain people to be sure they are not doing anything sneaky. This is not a trust issue, this is a practical issue. Keeping honest people, honest. (get your mitts off my tiles buddy!)
And if I take a break to read during the day, I like to read here. Sometimes I read while having my lunch. Sometimes just a couple of quick chapters while I'm waiting for the oven timer to go off, or the water to come to a boil or the dryer buzzer to sound or maybe I'm just killing twenty minutes waiting until I absolutely must start dinner. There are other days when I don't even kid myself about doing anything useful. I just curl up on the sofa in the family room with a book and call it a day. But on a normal regular day, I read here and there as I can. Those days, it's at the kitchen table.
And of course meals. Yeah, we usually eat here too. Apparently that is unusual? We eat, we talk, we laugh at the table. I'm so surprised to learn that some people don't.
That's all I came up with last week, but I know that it has been used in other ways. For example for gift wrapping. It is a large enough surface to wrap almost any package.
Also for projects. If should take it into my head to attempt to create something or (even funnier) sew something, this is where it happens. Plenty of room on a nice big flat surface with lots of light both from the window and over head. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. And when it does I need a place to do it. Obviously, the kitchen table.
As a kid I did my homework and art projects there as did my own kids when they were in school.. As a young mother of three, my friends and neighbors would bring their kids over to play and the moms would sit around the table for tea and talk. We ate every single meal at the kitchen table. But I suppose that was long ago and far away.
And well, I am positive that there are other ways this table gets used that aren't immediately coming to mind. I guess the point is that I cannot imagine NOT having a kitchen table.
How 'bout you?
I read an article yesterday listing the 47 movies in the past 25 years that revenued one billion dollars or more. That's Billion with a B. Not a typo.
First I was a little mind boggled that there were 47 films that brought in that much money. Perhaps I'm naive (no maybe about it, I am not worldly) but Wow!
Once I recovered from wrapping my feeble brain around that idea, I went on to see what films were so powerful, so amazing, so damned good that they garnered that kind of cash. I was more than a little surprised.
Well I wasn't completely surprised. There were a few of the Harry Potter films of course, some of the Star Wars franchise and one of the Lord of the Rings series. Titanic was listed of course and that was the only one that I guessed correctly. But from that point forward it was almost entirely animated films and super hero stuff. Y'know, Iron Man, Spider Man, Captain American, Transformers and that ilk. Are you surprised? I was.
Now I have definitely seen the Lion King and I'm pretty sure I saw at least one Iron Man and one Transformers film but I'm not positive that I saw them in the theater. It may have been at home on TV or DVD. Still I saw them and so I suppose that counts toward the revenue. But I was so surprised to see that the majority of the films listed were, technically, kids movies.
Which is not to say that I have never watched a "kids" movie on purpose. I absolutely have. AND enjoyed it. But it's not my usual fare. And I can only assume (though one should never) that is the case with most adults. So the logical conclusion here is that the predominant demographic for movie theatre attendance are folks who are not old enough to vote.
Kids are the ones who coughed up the biggest piece of that One Billion dollar Plus pie? Seriously? Kids? Or the parents of those kids? More likely I suppose.
Movie theatres have always been a big draw for young people. I remember reading and hearing stories about the Saturday Morning matinees from about 1930 to 1960. Theaters were madhouses stacked chockablock with unaccompanied minors who, for a quarter gained admission, with enough money leftover for a snack, a newsreel, a cartoon, a cliff-hanger serial film that would ensure the seats would be filled again the following Saturday and a main feature. The main feature might be a Western, an Abbott and Costello piece, A Lewis and Martin comedy or perhaps a Tarzan film. Kids went crazy in those few hours of relatively unsupervised freedom. And parents enjoyed a kid-free Saturday morning.
Evening theatre watching was more for adults. Casablanca and Gone with the Wind and The Great Escape were definitely not children's films. But they were exquisite. Entertaining films of course, but also strong, powerful, captivating films that people who didn't throw their popcorn or jujubees at fellow movie goers could enjoy.
And of course there were Drive-in Movies as well. I remember those from my childhood. It wasn't very often, but occasionally we would go to a drive-in as a family. My father and grandmother in the front seat, my sister, mother and me in the back. We kids were always amused when the ticket booth guy would peek into the car and say, "2 adults and 3 kids". Every Time. The movie was almost always either Haley Mills or Jerry Lewis. So, yes, basically , kids fare. I do not recall my parents every going to the movies, just the two of them. Hmmm.
When my boys were young, we lived right around the corner from a Drive-In Theater. I think we only went a couple of times to see a movie but it felt much the same. The big heavy speakers that fitted onto the car window, the playground under the big screen and the concession stand (my favourite part). This particular Drive-In acted as a Flea Market on weekend days, but transformed at night back into the Drive-In movie. We went far more often to the flea market part frankly. I recall the price of the drive-in theatre being low, the films being, at best, second run and the concessions being awesome.
But then those days passed into history, the prices of movie tickets skyrocketted, and the multi-plex theaters were born. There was now one movie and one movie only being shown at a time in each theater, with trailers for coming attractions of course and far fewer movie theater shenanigans by the audience. Drive-in movies became a thing of the past. And Saturday morning kiddie matinees disappeared for ever. Some theatres got very creative and began serving meals. Dine-In Movie Theatres (as opposed to Drive-In) became an interesting idea. Tim and I went to at least one, back in Colorado.
But most theatres were now enormous multi-plex buildings that showed 10 or more different films at a time each one shown in much smaller rooms. Children were accompanied by adults, films became graded by age appropriateness, the seats were almost always a shade of red with a built in cup holder and the floors were almost always sticky. The bathrooms were clean, the concession stand held quite the variety of choices, the volume was almost always too loud and the trailers took up more and more time at each visit.
And I don't really know why, but Tim and I kind of fell out of the habit of going to the theatre. We went less and less often as the years went by. So it really didn't impact Tim and I much when we all went on Shut-Down this past March.
And I'm sure the industry is reeling. To go from making Billions to making zero has got to be a shock. Like driving a car as fast as it can go and suddenly coming to a complete halt by running into a wall. Not Good.
As things begin to re-open and some filming beginning to resume, I wonder what sorts of changes will be made? What results will come ?
I understand that some theatres are beginning to reopen with every other row and every other seat closed off. We shall see how that goes. It will be interesting to see how it all evolves once again.
The one thing you can always count on in life is that things change.
Do you mind if I talk photography for a few minutes? It's something that I truly enjoy. And if pressed to explain why I like it so much, well of course there are a lot of reasons. When it comes to having a passion, there's never just one thing.
One of the reasons is that it helps me to see the world around me differently. No matter how craptastic things in the world may be: a constant barrage of one sort of devastation or another, when I look through the camera, I see things that are beautiful. And sometimes I need that balance.
I also appreciate that photograph is not something that requires any sort of athletic prowess whatsoever (since I have zero talent in that direction).
I like that no matter where I am, inside, outside or upsidedown, there are things to take pictures of and the equipment necessary is contained in my camera bag. There are no membership fees, I don't have to join anything or attend meetings.
I like that it's something I can do alone or with other like-minded folks. In fact, I can go places with people that aren't interested in photography at all and still pursue my interest without being a bore.
And it's a way of exercising my creative side that doesn't involve painting or drawing or singing or dancing or well, any of the things I am incapable of. I get to be creative. And that's cool.
But one of the top reasons that I adore photography is that it allows to me grow. More than allows, it encourages me. I actually see personal growth and improvement nearly every time I head out with camera in hand.
The picture at the top of the page is one of my favourites. I can actually look at that photo and say, "Hey! I did a nice job with that" instead of picking it to pieces and criticizing it to death, which is what I would normally do. I actually won an award with that photo. I'm kinda proud of that.
I didn't start out that way. Nope nope nope. The first few times I used a camera was, maybe junior high school days. It was back in the day of film. Back in the times when, before taking a single shot, you had to purchase a roll of film. (Money out). I was very careful about how each photo was taken because when the roll was full, it then had to be dropped off at a photo developing place and wait. In a week or so, it was ready to be picked up and paid for (more money out), so the anticipation of seeing how those pictures came out was running high. And then the disappointment at seeing the results was crushing. And discouraging. I was NOT a natural born photographer by any stretch of imagination.
I do not remember owning a camera back then, although perhaps I did and just didn't use it for the above reasons. Too costly for something that I was obviously no good at. Somewhere along the line I acquired a Polaroid camera. Woohoo! Finally, near instant results and while the film was expensive I didn't have to pay to develop it at least. But I still wasn't a good photographer. And Polaroid photos always have a funny unrealistic look to them.
Years flew by and when we lived in Colorado Tim bought me a small digital camera. It was pink. I began to take more photos with that camera for two reasons, I didn't have to buy film or pay for it to be developed AND the delete button. I adore the delete button. I have absolutely no mercy or remorse. If a photo doesn't measure up, OUT it goes! But eventually that camera gasped it's last and I resorted to taking photos with my cellphone.
In fact, the first question I always ask before buying any new cellphone is, "Tell me about the camera". I continued taking pictures more and more. I almost always had my cellphone with me tucked into my back pocket so I was always camera read. And I slowly began to improve. Eventually I suppose, if I do anything long enough, I start to learn things without even intending to. Things like composition and lighting and slowing down a bit. Patience was the hardest part of it I promise.
When we moved here to Florida Tim bought me a real camera. I was suddenly retired and therefore had time on my hands to practice a lot more. I began to get experimental, I play with all the buttons and dials on the camera. I began to mess around with various filters and slowly gained more confidence which, oddly came through making a lot of mistakes. Because that is how I learn best. My delete button gets quite the workout.
And that leads to my favourite part of photography. And that is that I never stop learning. There is always another level to reach, another goal to achieve, a new dot in the distance that I'm working toward.
The secret to happiness is having attainable goals. And Photography makes me happy. I hope that whatever your hobby or passion or talent is you make it a point to spend time doing it and that it continues to make you happy.
This is my make up bag, such as it is. It's on the smallish side. And it occurs to me now that I could probably throw out some of that stuff because I almost never use it. The bag itself originally was one of those cheap-o travel bags prefilled with teeny tiny shampoos and toothpastes. Once we returned from whatever trip I bought it for, I repurposed it into my make up bag. I don't remember what I was using before this. But that's beside the point.
I wasn't born into a family where the women wore make up so trying out mom's eyeshadow as a little girl never happened. My mom wore chapstick, not lipstick. So I grew up not really thinking about it. By the time I hit my highschool years we lived in Texas and it was the latter part of the 60's and early 70's. The hippy dippy days. Where even in Texas the natural look was a thing. Of course those native texas beauty queens achieved their natural look via make-up back then, but hey.
The only time I had make up on my face, someone else applied it. It was transformative to suddenly look in the mirror and see a different fact looking back at me. Kind of strange but kind of cool too. Still it wasn't until college that I began buying make up for myself. And being a poverty stricken college kid it was really cheap crappy stuff. Put that together with the knowledge that I didn't have a clue what I was doing and well, I'll just say that the results were definitely mixed.
And then I got married, moved to a working farm and immediately produced three children. I didn't have the time, the inclination or the funds to put on make up. Also the cows and chickens had no opinion about make up one way or the other. So for a long time, I was make up free.
Then one day I had to get a full time job which meant investing in a real hair cut, as opposed to the really long hair whipped into a ponytail or braids and real clothes, instead of jeans and sneakers AND wearing make up. Since I was at least smart enough to know what I didn't know, I went to the professionals. I went to the make up counter of one of those really big department stores, perhaps a Macy's?
I wandered around rather confused looking at all those mysterious potions and lotions until one kindly lady behind the counter asked if she could help me. When I shyly explained my situation, she was both delighted and excited, "You sit here honey," she said, "I'll fix you right up". She explained what she was doing and why throughout the process. And while the results looked very nice it was also a bit much for me. Still I bought the whole kit'n'caboodle, went home and experimented until I came up with a down-sized version.
And that is what I automatically applied, every single morning, for the next twenty or so years. I didn't give it any more thought than brushing my teeth. Shower, do my hair, put on my make up, get dressed. Like an automaton. Until this past March when we went on lockdown.
I'm not sure what it was about the advent of the quarantine/virus but everything kind of came to a screeching halt. Even thing that didn't necessarily have to be affected by the shutdowns. I suppose it just seemed like nothing mattered.
And at first it felt strange NOT putting it on, but eventually it became the new normal. And I kind of liked it. It was liberating. One less thing on my gotta-do list. Except that whenever I ventured out into the world, masked, I realized that nobody can read facial expressions anymore. All anyone can see is my eyes. So in the spirit of once again putting my best foot, or perhaps face, forward I would bother to at least wear eye make up. Mascara in lieu of a smile.
I know that everyone says that looks don't matter and that we shouldn't judge others. But we do. Everyone judges. They may not mean to but they do. I do, you do, everyone does. And therefore, whenever I must be out and about in public with a mask, I take a few minutes and make the minimal effort necessary to look the best I can under the circumstances.
It's the least I can do. And never let it be said that I didn't do the least I could do.
A friend of mine recently asked a small favour of me. And because she is one of my most favourite people on the planet, and because I at least try to be a good friend, I was delighted to help out however I could.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to locate for her a toss pillow. A very specific sort of toss pillow. She wanted something about a foot square, white or ecru coloured with a beachy picture on it. She had already searched her own town exhaustively and came up empty. You see, she does not live in a beach town. I, however do, and logically it follows that such a thing might be more readily available in my town. I accept the mission.
As she described what she was imagining, the design would be something in an ocean-y colour and a design that would bring the beach to mind. Something like a shell or a starfish or maybe a mermaid, perhaps. A mermaid would be fun.
I know that when I picture something that I want to purchase, I am very specific. Sometimes so specific that what is in my head doesn't exist in real life. So rather than guess and purchase something on her behalf and then have to turn around and return it, it seemed to me that a better idea would be a photograph what I see, send her the pictures and let her decide from there. We both agreed that was a good plan.
So late last week, off I went on the great toss pillow hunt.
Not only is Venice an adorable beach town, it also has a couple of streets that are lined with wonderful and unique shops and restaurants. It seemed reasonable(to me at least) to start there. Cute little boutique shops are loaded with unusual and wonderful things of all sorts. Yeah, let's start there.
I walked up and down and went in and out, of every shop on both the Avenue (that's Venice Avenue) and the next street, Miami, on the off chance that one of them might have precisely what she was looking for. The shops were very quiet. Most of them had nobody in them except the sales people and me. It was kind of sad. Still, every single one of the sales people was so helpful and kind when I explained what I was looking for. Each of them easily granted me permission to photograph the wares, all the while knowing that I would not be purchasing anything that day. The samples above are from just three of the shops. I promise you that I wandered through many, many, MANY more that day.
The most interesting part to me was that no two shops had the exact same toss pillows. Oh they might be similar, true. But none of them were duplicates. Do the shop owners get together and discuss this ahead of time? How does that work? Hmmmmm.
Another thing that fascinated me was how many different ways there are to interpret the exact same idea. A starfish, a starfish and a starfish. Exact same creature. But each pillow bearing a the likeness of a starfish was unique. Very Well Done!
Well in the end, it was a fun afternoon of prowling through adorable little shops, taking photos, chatting with sales people and walking around downtown, which I really haven't done much of lately. And that in itself is silly because we live only about a half mile away and I love to walk soooo why am I not walking the avenue and peeking into the shop windows? I have no idea.
Eventually though, I ran out of shops and came home to download photos and email them to my friend.
It came as no surprise to me that none of the pictures was exactly what she had in mind though she expressed great appreciation for my efforts. On my part, I plan to check again in a month or so when the shelves are restocked with Christmas shopping in mind and there will be different options available. In fact, I look forward to it :)
All in all it was fun and different way to spend an afternoon. I am mystified however, by the shocking absence of any pillows with mermaids on them. Perhaps it's just not mermaid season.
I woke up early this morning to the unmistakable sound of rain on the roof. Yes, even without my hearing aids on, I could hear the rain. It was torrential. It wasn't just tippytapping gently, it was the entire percussion section of an orchestra drumming. So I did what any sensible person would do. I smiled and fell back to sleep.
When I woke for the second time about an hour later (what a slacker!) I could not longer hear the rain and since the curtains were closed I certainly could not immediately see what was happening outside. My assumption (though one should never assume) was that the storm had passed. So I was quite surprised when I went into the bathroom to take my shower, looked out the window and discovered that it was still raining out.
This time the rain was different, steady but gentle, softer and more fragrant. It was the quintessential summer rain. Ahhhh.
Once I was dressed, even though my hair was still wet, I grabbed an umbrella and my rubber flipflops and went out to rescue the newspaper. Fortunately our newspaper delivery person, wise to the ways of summer in Florida, had double bagged the paper and it was still dry. Yay! I also noticed that the garbage and recycle had been picked up.
So I tossed the newspaper on the front mat and trundled, one at a time (needed one hand for umbrella wrangling) the bins around to the side of the house. Every time I stepped in a puddle I was prepared for a chill that never came. The water temperature was much like slightly cooled bath water. Perfect.
Mission accomplished I casually strolled back (there was no need to run) to the front of the house, picked up the newspaper and went back into the house. I closed the umbrella and removed my flipflops, dropped the newspaper on the counter and left the wet things to dry in the utility room, smiling all the while.
What a perfect start to a Monday. Unlike the old song, Rainy Days and Mondays do not "get me down". Instead I am relaxed, a little sleepy. I feel no need to rush, no desire to play 'beat the clock' which is my usual state. My list of gotta-do's for the day suddenly loses importance.
Normally I start each day as if I was blasted out of a cannon, my mind awhirl with a thousand thoughts and the thread running through that chaos is the list of things that need to be done. The list gets prioritized and re prioritized and re re prioritized constantly throughout the day. I move from one chore to the next to the next without a break. If I eat breakfast at all, it's on the run while doing other things. While I do ordinarily take a lunch break, it's not unusual for it to occur mid-afternoon which means that when dinner time rolls around, I am not yet hungry. I t's not at all unusual for me to skip dinner. And when the dark of the day finally falls and we are settled in on the sofa to read or watch TV and chat a little, I'm normally so beat that instead, I just conk out. (to be fair it's a super comfy sofa)
But today, today I'm not rushing, I'm not racing, I'm not flying through the house trying to do twelve things at once. Today I will do one deliberate thing at a time and take lots of breaks. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if today, once the things that honestly do need to be done are completed, that I chuck the gotta-do list entirely and just sit and read the afternoon away. Or alternately read and nap.
I cannot help it. Rain is hypnotic. I feel as if I am in a daze all day long. It's almost as if I'm dreaming the day away.
Some people fall asleep in the hot sun. Not me, I fall asleep on a rainy day. And more shockingly, I don't even feel a bit guilty about it. I am absolved of all guilt on a rainy day, which is a whole other kind of relief.
Soooo right now that is my plan for the day. Drag my lazy sleepy rainy-day butt through any chores that absolutely positively must be done and then phone it in for the rest of the day. A little reading, a little snoozing, a little gazing out the window day dreaming and watching the rain fall. Ahhhhhh. Lovely.
Unless of course, the sun comes out. If the rain stops and the sun begins to shine again, all bets are off.
One evening recently, after dinner was eaten and the kitchen cleaned up, Tim and I decided to wander on over to the jetty to watch the sunset show. It's something we used to do frequently. Though lately we have not.
I think we got out of the habit when the beaches were closed during shut down. Then too, it often rains in the evening during this time of year. And now we are trying to avoid crowds. As you can see, the sunset show is a very popular one here abouts.
But that night, we couldn't resist it's siren call. So we masked up, avoided crowds (telephoto lens you see) and just stood there, capturing these shots and enjoying. And without immediately realizing it, relaxing. I don't think either of us realized just how tense we were until we began to let it all go.
While we were there we weren't thinking about the virus or politics or protests or riots. We weren't considering bills, the heat & humidity or making mental grocery lists. We weren't concerned about hurricanes or tropical storms or flooding or climate change. All of the worries and concerns and stresses of life were gone.
It was just us, the sand, the sea and the glorious colours of the sunset for awhile.
I wish you a wonderful weekend. And a pretty sunset or two. It's good for what ails ya, as my Nana would say.
Hugs all 'round. See you again on Monday
Behold! This is the library here on Venice Island. She's a beauty for sure. It's official name is, "The William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library". Whew! That's a long name.
When we first moved here the library was completely different. The old library was a very squarey brick structure that felt like an old school house to me. Serviceable of course, but nothing fancy. It seems that it had a problem with mold though. And after addressing the problem over and over and OVER again for years, the town decided to just tear down the old one and start over. This is what they started over with. It's snazzy.
Before all this virus stuff descended upon us, I was at this library several times every week. Sometimes to teach my ESL (English as a Second Language) students and sometimes to restock my own pile of New Books to Read. This library, like all libraries, was a very familiar and comfortable place for me.
Here is the thing about me and libraries. We moved a lot when I was a kid. I mean a lot. And every time we moved I would have to adjust to new everything. A new house that had new sounds and new smells, a new neighborhood with new kids. There was a new school with new teachers and new rules, and people with new accents and new colloquialisms. While all of the travelling and moving certainly helped me to become a very adaptable adult, as a kid, sometimes it was hard.
Thank goodness some things didn't change, or at least they didn't change much. And one of those things was the local library. Oh the lady behind the desk had a different name and a different face, but her attitude was the same everywhere we lived. Hushing and stamping, hushing and stamping, that was pretty much what the librarian seemed to do. And that was fine. That was her job. And it was familiar to me. The buildings were certainly different from town to town, but the important part was that every town had one. Be it large or small, brick or stucco, new, old or on wheels, it was still a library and inside were books. Lots and lots of books.
And once I got the the stacks, the rows, the aisles, the shelves, I was in my happy place and it didn't matter where we lived or how different it was. The books were always the same.
Clearly I have an affinity for libraries. I have never lived in a town that didn't, at the very least, have a bookmobile. When I was a kid I visited weekly. When I was in college, it was more like a daily trip. When I was a young mother, my kids and I made weekly visits. There was even a special shelf in the house where library books were kept. Nothing else, just library books. That way, they never got lost. When you wanted to read, you stopped at the table and selected your book. When you finished reading for the day, you returned it to the shelf.
As the boys got older, somehow I stopped. I suppose I was too busy with working at my job and then coming home to work at my other job, being mom, wife and chief cook and bottle washer. There was very little time left for reading and I missed it terribly. But in all truth, I didn't even really have the time to miss reading very often. I was too busy being behind on everything that always needed to be done and forever trying to catch up.
And then we moved here. And life slowed down. And I got my new library card. And once again, while the exterior of the building was different, the books remained the same. In short order I developed a routine. I would take out 3 books at each visit. No more, no less. When I finished those books, I would go back for more. And then, I began volunteering as an ESL teacher at the library. They have these lovely dedicated rooms specifically for the purpose of tutoring. I became accustomed to those room in no time flat. It wasn't a change to adapt to so much as an expansion of my comfort zone. And for quite some time, that was my part of my new routine.
Until this past March. Everything came to an abrupt halt. And we had to adapt to something new once again.
As I said before, I am highly adaptable. I adjust. When I find a new shape in my life I then find a new way to be comfortable with it. But a void is harder to get accustomed to. And when the library doors closed, it wasn't just ending my work with my ESL students and removing hours of dedicated time every week from my schedule, it was also cutting off my book supply. ARGH!
But now, at long last, the library opened once again. Yay! And, to my great surprise, I did not rush right out to borrow books. What? I'm a shocked as you are. I'm not even certain why I didn't immediately zoom over to restock my pile of New Books to Read. But I did not. Not until yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon, I stuffed my pockets with my library card, my mask (of course) and reading glasses, put on my sneakers and sunscreen and walked on over. I knew it would be different inside, but of course I had no idea how different or in what ways. So I walked in, cautiously.
Naturally there were signs all over the place about masking, and not going in if you are sick and stickers on the floor to guide visitors in one and only one direction through the stacks. There were very few people inside but all of them wore masks. There was Plexiglass at the information desk manned by the masked librarian (sounds like a super hero doesn't it?). Aaaannnddnd that's about it for changes. Check out has always been self-check at our library. But the books, the books were, as they always are, the same.
I was not required to interact with a single person for the entirety of my visit. I selected my standard 3 books at random, moved over to the self-checkout, and then out the door and walked back home. On one hand, it felt very safe, the no human interaction part. On the other hand, it was kind of sad to have not even made eye contact with a single soul. Life keeps changing. And it will continue to do so. There isn't much that stays the same. It 's just a fact.
And yet, while libraries have updated with computers and other coolio techological advances of course, but they are still libraries at their heart, which means they are still filled with books. And books make me happy.
I'm already knee deep in the first book that I borrowed and I know the others will follow shortly thereafter. Then I will be back for more.
Don't be alarmed. This is just the aftermath of "routine bloodwork". The sort that has to be done prior to an annual physical. Seriously. No biggie.
On the other hand, while I have had this exact bloodwork done countless times before in my life, this is the first time I've had it done during a pandemic. And of course, everything is different now.
And this will be the tale of two perspectives. First the story from my point of view.
Roughly one year ago, I had my annual physical at the end of which I set up the appointment for my physical this year. They handed me my appointment card and an order for the bloodwork to be done a week or so prior to that appointment. I put the paperwork in my calendar on the appropriate week (as a reminder to me) and went on with my life.
When I turned the page in my calendar from July to August, there was the paperwork doing it's job of reminding me to set up the appointment. So I went online and went through the necessary steps and voila, appointment made. I did not have to deal with a single actual human being. Once the appointment was made, the system automatically sent an email to my cellphone with a new doodah attached.
The attached dooddah was a click-through that I was supposed to enact when I arrived (15 minutes early) for the labwork appointment. Supposedly this would alert the desk that I had in fact, arrived. So as soon as I parked the car, I pulled out my cellphone and clicked the button. It popped up a little window to type in my cell phone number. So that's exactly what I did. It then sent me a further message that I was confirmed and that I would receive a text when the lab was ready for me. I would be allowed in, masked of course, at that time as long as I also had my lab order, (check) photo ID (check), Insurance Card (check) and credit card for any co-pay (check). While I sat in the car, I gathered all of what they wanted. I glanced at the time. It was 7:38.
About five minutes later I got a phone call (not a text) from the lab telling me that I could come in. I walked in. They asked for my lab order. I handed it to them. Then I was lead to the blood draw chair in the next room. All of the rest of the stuff I had ready for them was not requested so I stuffed it into my pocket with my phone. The phlebotomist was pleasant but with a very soft voice and a pretty accent. Between her mask, my mask, her soft voice and accent, I had to ask multiple times for repeats to answer her questions. She was patient with me and didn't seem to be perturbed about it, which I appreciated.
As she was tying that oh my gawd so tight band around my arm just prior to the stick, my cell phone rang. I glanced toward my pocket and saw that it was a call from home. What? Why would Tim be calling me? He knows where I am. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. I will call him back afterwards.
While I was glancing at my phone, the nice lab lady had already filled one vial and was working on the second. Dang she's quick. Soon she was slapping a wad of gauze on my arm and taping it in place nearly as tightly as the original band. Mercy! I paused in the lobby to ask if they needed anything more from me, one hand in my pocket ready to retrieve ID, insurance card or credit card but nope, I was free to go. Hmmmm.
As soon as I got to the car I called the house to find out why Tim called me.
Now the story from Tim's perspective:
It's fairly early in the morning and he has not even had his coffee yet when the house phone rings. That in itself is unusual. We don't get many calls on the house phone. But the caller ID says "LabCorp" and he knows that is where I am. There is a moment of, at the very least, concern. Why would they be calling?
Well, they were calling, wondering where I was, because I had an appointment at 8:00 and of course I was supposed to be there 15 minutes early and basically where the heck was I?
Now Tim is wondering where the heck I am as well. He knows that I already left for that appointment. He also knows that, even with me driving (slow poke that I am), it's not more than a 5-7 minute drive. If I'm not at home and I'm not at the lab, where am I? What could possibly have happened? Was I in an accident? Did I finally truly lose my mind and get lost? Did I run away from home? Was I kidnapped by aliens?
I was so sorry that he was unnecessarily worried. I am baffled as to why the lab people first of all were calling my house when I had already checked in with my cell phone as their little app requested of me. And further, why they were using the house phone number instead of my cell phone number? ARGH!
It's moments like this when I remember, way back in computers were a brand new idea that many folks were, frankly, very dubious about. But we were all won over by the promise of how much easier it was going to make our lives. Humph!
Oh and totally unrelated subject but still something I observed this morning: I am rarely on the roads at 7:30 am but I was not at all surprised to see the volume of folks out walking their dogs or jogging at that hour. Of course. It makes perfect sense. Even now in hothothot August, at 7:30 am it's absolutely fabulous outside So that I anticipated. However, I did not expect the small child driving down the street (literally the street) in her little pink battery powered pretend car with her father? grandfather? uncle? walking behind her. In The Freakin' Street! Nor did I expect to see as many people as I did walking in the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk right there parallel to the road. Here is a tip. The side WALK is for walking! Get the heck outta the road!
Ok I'm done now. Hope you have a perfectly lovely day!
This is one of my favourite photos of my father. From left to right it's my sister Joy, our dad and me on the right. It was taken in the back yard of the second house we had in La Mesa California. I still remember the address: 8488 Denton St. My mother, who normally did not take pictures, snapped this one on Christmas day. I'm trying to think of what year it might have been and of course I'm not certain. Late 1950's is my best guess.
Today would have been his 95th birthday.
Lawrence E. Hurley was born in a small farming community in Michigan in 1925. He had only one sibling, his younger brother, Wilbur with whom he was very close. His parents, Della and Ira were good, hard-working souls with big hearts. My dad grew up working the family farm. He was only 4 years old when the Great Depression hit. According to my father, living on a farm was not a bad way to get through a rough time. No matter what, there was food to eat and as long as you had animals and food, you had something to barter with for the things you didn't have.
My dad might have gone on to be a farmer as expected except for one thing. My dad was a reader, and like most readers, he was also a dreamer. And he dreamed of different kinds of things, different places, different ways of life. He had great respect for farming. And he knew that farm life had taught him a great deal; lessons that would stay with him always. But he also knew that wasn't the life for him.
So when he was old enough, he joined the Navy to see the world. Well, he saw part of it. And when he was assigned to the radio room, he learned that he had an affinity for mechanical things. So much so that in later years, my sister and I referred to him as, 'Gadget Man'.
Right around the time my dad was about to leave the Navy, he met my mother in 1952. It was in Chicago at a Woolworths as I recall the story and it was a whirlwind romance. They married six weeks after they met and they remained that way until my mother passed away in 2012.
When I was born they still lived in one of a series of tiny apartments in downtown Chicago. But by the time my sister was born, they had moved to the burbs of Illinois. Their first home together, in Rolling Meadows, was a brand new build. But they didn't live there very long.
My dad was moving up in his career. He applied for a job at General Dynamics and, much to his surprise, he was hired. The job was in California and so they loaded up the car and headed west. My dad stayed with General Dynamics, through countless moves, a lot of travel for the company and many promotions until he retired. Actually retiring wasn't his idea, it was theirs. He was adamantly opposed. But what you gonna do?
Well, in my dad's case he joined service organizations. A lot of them. Usually, eventually holding a position of some authority and responsibility within those organizations. He also got involved politically. Like becoming the Mayor. Yeah, he did that too. He also began teaching computer classes to seniors. He loved that one especially. "Gadget Man" that he was, naturally, he embraced new technology instead of shying away from it. He liked being busy. That farm mentality of 'hard work is good work' never left him.
He was a rock. The guy that everyone else always counts upon. Whatever you needed, he was there. You only had to ask.
He loved history and books. He adored books. He was the sort of person who could get completely lost in a book, totally unaware of everything and anything around him while he was reading. He loved his dogs. He loved his country, his community and his family.
He was a loyal friend. If you were a friend of his, he would always stand by you. He was an optimist who always preferred to see the sunny side of things. No matter how craptastic life might have been at that moment, he absolutely knew that things would get better. And they always did.
He was a very rational and reasonable man. He would coach us through life by helping us think our way through. It is still a method I employ to make decisions, "If this, then that" . He never punished me although he once told me that he was disappointed in a decision that I had made. I was crushed. We ultimately worked through it of course because regardless of anything else, he loved me.
He loved Westerns and Science Fiction TV shows and movies. I am quite sure that is where I developed my fondness for both. When we lived in Texas, he took to wearing cowboy boots and they became his normal footwear for the rest of his life. He came to visit Tim and I in Colorado once and we took him to Sheplers, a western wear store. He was definitely in his happy place there. He bought a cowboy hat and it looked snazzy on him.
To help fill his time once he retired, he took his interest in history, his love of family and books and put that all together to research family history. Ultimately, he had an entire book of photographs, anecdotes and information of his family all the way back to the first ones who dared step foot in this country. Which was back before the United States was an actual country.
He did not care for vegetables, was tone deaf, and in the words of my mother, couldn't dance worth a damn. He loved to laugh, was secretly very nostalgic and poetic and had the energy of three people at all times. At one time he was on a bowling team and I remember a flirtation with golf as well.
I have shockingly few photographs of him. I think, sadly, he was almost always on the other side of the camera, the guy taking the pictures. I know that I had some but digitally somewhere along the line as I changed computers and transferred things like photos, enough of them have gotten lost over the years that I mostly have memories of him rather than photographs.
My dad passed away in January of 2015. Five years ago. Miss him still.
And today would have been his birthday. I would have made a pecan pie for him. He adored pecan pie.
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.