Guess what we did yesterday? Yup that's right. Gingerbread Houses!!!! Woohoo!!! It Was So Much Fun!
The last time we did this was four years ago and at that time I said that it was going to be an annual event. Clearly I lied. Well I didn't lie. At the time I absolutely meant it. And I don't even know why we did not do it every single year afterwards because we loved doing it. But the fact of the matter is that we did not. So maybe it'll be like the Presidential Elections, once every 4 years.
The previous Gingerbread House Decorating Day, our kits were such that first we had to built the houses. All the pieces necessary were in the boxes, but that had to be put together first. Yeah, that was a real stumbling block for me. I do not have a knack for construction at all. No matter how hard I tried, my house still came out a little wonky. Tim's was perfectly square and went together both quickly and neatly. Mine, not so much. I had royal icing everywhere before I put one single bit of decoration on the house.
So this time, we learned from that experience and bought houses ALREADY constructed. It was a Great step forward. I highly recommend it. All we had to do was the fun part, the decorating! Yeah! We augmented the little bits of candy that came in the kit with other stuff. Random things that mostly, Tim bought although I did add a few things myself (like M&M's of course). As Tim stood in the candy aisle, he was thinking, "Oh this could be used for...whatever...and that could be used for...whatever else". When I stand in the candy aisle I think..."I could eat that" which is why I bought the M&M's. It's the same policy I have for selecting Halloween candy. If something edible is going to be leftover in the house, I prefer that it be something I am willing to eat.
So in this endeavor, step one is to protect my tabletop with my awful looking but very useful (and cheap - dollar store, thank you) plastic table cloth, covered with layers of newspaper. Then the product becomes unboxed and the extra candies added to the center of the table. It's within easy reach of everyone, but still gives us room to work. I cut part of one of the boxes off and glued it to the bottom of my house so I had some "yard" to play with too.
See the cute little dormer above the front door of the house on the box? Yeah, I couldn't figure out how to do that. All the pieces were included in the kit but nope, didn't happen. I wasted at least fifteen minutes trying to figure it out before discarding that idea.
We worked, we talked, we hummed little hums. Occasionally I broke into song and/or dance. I ate a lot of M&M's and made a huge mess. It turns out that the lovely big bags of royal icing that they include with the kit (It says "over 1 lb of icing and candy" on the box - well nearly a pound of it is just icing which is awesome!) is in a squeezy tube thingie. And if you squeeze too hard well, the icing just pours out around the spout. Dang. I ended up using a table knife and sometimes my fingers to put on the icing so that it didn't go to waste. Extra Messy but effective!
But that also meant a super yucky work area on my end of the table. Honest to god, whenever I get up from the table all around my plate and my chair looks as if a 2 year old was eating there instead of a house-broken adult. I'm like Pigpen in the comic "Charlie Brown". Just a natural born slob. But I'm a clean slob. I always police my area. I'm permanently on KP.
Anyway, we took our time and had great fun and when we were done I had to sweep, vacuum and wash the floor. BUT it was totally worth it and now we have Christmassy Centerpieces for the table.
Tim's gingerbread house is, once again, the best looking. He takes his time, starts off with a plan and is incredibly neat and tidy while doing it. I had no plan at all, did it on the fly, made a huge mess and finished well before he did. But! While his is a work of art, mine of one of great enthusiasm and that counts too.
I'll show you the finished products. Tim's first;
And now my house:
So here is my recommendation, if you don't mind a bit of a mess, go for it. This was probably the most fun thing we've done this Christmas Season yet. It was such a fun and creative and an oddly relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And bonus, we got to eat our weight in leftover candy. Big Yay! This time we will make more of an effort to repeat it next year. And the next. And the one after that too.
Long Live the GingerBread House Project!! May this please become a real annual event!
When Joy and I were out hiking on Wednesday, we came across this on one of the trails. Awwwww. What a nice thing. It's a wish, a prayer and a state of being all wrapped up in one word. It was unexpected. From the shine on the lettering, I'm pretty sure it's a new addition. Whenever I see what I think is a new addition I always wonder, "Was it always here and I just didn't see it before? Am I just that oblivious?" Short answer, yeah, sometimes. But this time, I honestly think it is new. I doubt that someone is running through the forest on a regular basis polishing up lettering.
Wednesday's hike was a good one. It was a long one too. We were gone for about five hours, in that time we walked just shy of six miles, which, if you take out time our for stopping for photographs, the drive to and from, a potty stop and having lunch in the Arby's parking lot on the way home it equals a fairly decent amount of exercise.
It was not, however, a great photography hike. And that is most likely primarily because of the temperature. I know that people who live in snowy places will be laughing at me now but we woke up to temps in the 30's. When Joy and I arrived at the preserve it was 42. In Florida that is not just cold, it's freakin' cold.
In Colorado 42 degrees on a sunny day meant you could shovel snow in your tee-shirt. It's the dry air y'see. Our air isn't dry. It's the opposite of dry. It's wet, very wet. And there was a breeze. And the breeze comes over the water and brings an extra special bit of chill to the air. It's crisp, it's bright and it's so dang cold. Which would probably be fine if a person was intelligent enough to dress for it. Joy was. I was not. I plead exhaustion as my excuse.
My arch nemesis insomnia has been in overdrive lately and the night before the hike was the pinnacle. Not one iota of sleep all night long. And that followed too many nights of not enough sleep. Sigh. It is what it is. I don't fret about it. Honestly I don't. I know that eventually I will sleep. And in the meantime, I am still functional and pleasant. Unfortunately, I am just not (at that point) very clever. The old brain wasn't working very well.
So when I got dressed in the early darkness before the hike, I put on what I always wear when we hike. Which is to say, my beat up denim shorts (which are rather long actually), Tim's Marine Corp tee-shirt which I purloined long ago, two pair of thick socks and my hiking boots. I vaguely remembered something about cooler temperatures anticipated and out of deference to that, I put on a old blue sweatshirt over top. The sweatshirt is about twenty years old. Maybe more. And It has been washed so many times that it has gotten thinner and less useful over the years. But my dad gave it to me so I absolutely cannot get rid of it.
Somehow in my mind that was a sufficient amount of clothing to wear.
I was wrong.
Here was Joy:
See, that's how you dress for a cold weather hike. Oh well.
Once we arrived at the preserve and I stepped out of my nice warm car, suddenly I was hit with that teeth chattering chill and I was immediately wide awake. Mercy! Joy said that she had a lightweight zip front jacket that I could put on if I wanted. First I declined. And then quickly changed my mind. Yes, Please, Yes! So I took off the sweatshirt and put on the zip jacket then popped the sweatshirt back on over top. Surely that was be enough, right? (Big No)
Here is a photo of me wearing the cobbled together "winter" outfit. It's not a flattering photo of me at all AT ALL, but in the spirit of truth and honesty, yup, this is me:
(I am not making a mental note to strike an agreement with Joy that from this moment forward we will never again take photos of each other from the back)
But anyway, I decided that once we started hiking and the day warmed up a bit I would be fine. And off we went. It was early, the ground was still wet and the greenery heavy with dew, and our feet became soaked very quickly. Cold, wet little tootsies. But we took good advantage of that beautiful early morning light:
In short order, not only were our feet cold but our hands were too. Icey cold fingers. When my fingers started to be numb I had to actually watch myself push the button on the camera to be sure I really had taken the intended photo because I couldn't feel myself do it. Crazy! So I began trading off, one hand in the pocket and one hand holding the camera. That helped.
We saw only one set of birds. Water birds across the river in the water. All I could think of was how cold their little feet must be.
We did see birdie foot prints in the sand along the river and that was kind of cool. In other areas we saw other critter prints but I didn't think to take photos of any of those. Ratz.
The water level was lower than usual so we saw that, apparently, the river has a sort of beach some times. Never saw that before. It was quite pretty. But I wouldn't advise sunbathing there. While we did not actually see an alligator, that river is a known gator hangout.
When we finished up both sides of that preserve (there is an east and a west side - two completely different sort of preserves) we moved on to another one great hiking spot that is nearby. And as we neared the entrance we saw this:
One deer, all by herself, braving the chill to have some breakfast. I took the photo quietly from the car and then we moved on equally silently so as not to disturb her. What a beauty. And honestly, this was the only critter we saw other than one rogue squirrel.
When we arrived at the second preserve, Joy gave me the other jacket she had hanging around in the back of her car. It was a winter coat and it was Bob's. She said, "wear this before you freeze to death". The "you idiot' was only implied because she is very kind. I didn't even argue. I immediately put it on. Now bear in mind here that I am 5'2". Bob is more like 6'4" or more. Hah! I didn't care one bit. As soon as the jacket went on I could feel my core begin to warm up. Ahhhhhh. Let's not worry about how ridiculous I looked. Judge for yourself
So on the one hand, it was great exercise with good company and it's always nice to be out in the fresh air. I'm sure the cold was good for me too. If nothing else, I was WIDE awake. Heh.
And while we didn't get a lot of photographs (most creatures were smarter than us and stayed snuggied down in the little homes where it was toasty warm), we got a few. Mostly botanicals.
Oh! And one other really cool thing! This was one of the preserves where, about a month ago, we found ourselves in a predicament which required us to get creative. We ended up having to build ourselves a frond bridge to get across a flooded area. Well on this hike, somehow we ended up on the same trail and sonuvagun, the frond bridge was still there AND still worked! Woohoo! We did good.
Thus ends the tale of the Frigid Hike. I will be much smarter next time and dress more appropriately to the weather. I might even have to dig out a pair of gloves. I know I have an old pair leftover from Colorado.........somewhere......
Have a great weekend!
There you have it. The results of the annual Christmas Cookie Baking Marathon! Upon first glance it doesn't actual appear very Christmassy though does it? Hmmm. I expect that I didn't chose well for this sample photo. Sorry. I distinctly recall making red and green icing, as well as orange and white and why I made orange I do not recall. Made sense at the time :)
And the colours don't matter anyway. It's about the flavours and the fragrance and the taste and I can only assure you that those are absolutely present. Chocolate and ginger and cinnamon and lemon and peanut butter and molasses and peppermint and...well yes. Very Christmassy tastes indeed.
I made fewer cookies than usual, only these 11 types which means it was only two days of baking instead of three and that was kind of nice, I will admit. Oh I'm not complaining. Please understand. I have never minded for one second the effort involved in making 15, 16, 17 or more different types of cookies as I normally would do. But it is a lot of work. It meant making at least 7 (usually more) types of cookies in a day which means that is pretty much all that I do that day. For two full days and sometimes part of a third day. The last day is about mostly bagging and labelling and ever so carefully packing, addressing and ultimately schlepping to the UPS store. Followed by another day of cleaning. Everyone's favourite.
This year, this very wierd year of Pandemic 2020, it occurred to me to ask the kids ahead of time, do you actually want cookies again this year? And if so, which cookies? How many? And very importantly, are you able to share the goodies with others?
Y'see, my kiddos (that includes their spouses) are such lovely, generous, kind souls that instead of just keeping all of the cookies for themselves (and they could - cookies freeze wonderfully), they share. They share with friends, with other family and with their co-workers. But is it allowed this year? Do other people feel comfortable eating food that came from an unknown source (well of course my kids know me, but their co-workers.......nope)? Is it ok to just put a platter of cookies in the break room and allowing folks to "have at it" this year?
As it turns out, the answer mostly was no. Not allowed. Ok. And then there are the ones who normally worked outside the home but now work remotely from home. There are no co-workers with whom to share in that particular situation. Well other than the cats and it's probably not good for kitties to eat cookies.
So operating on the requests given by all six kids, the result was only 11 types of cookies. Some of the cookies were requested by more than one individual. Which meant only a day and a half of baking, half a day of bagging, labelling, packing, addressing and shipping. And one day of cleaning and yes, it honestly does take me the bulk of one day to sufficiently clean when I'm finished with a baking marathon. I am an appallingly messy baker. But a fairly good one so it's worthwhile.
In case you are wondering, the 11 types of cookies I ended up making this year were (from left to right, top to bottom in the photo above) were: (top row) Funfetti, Dirty Snowball, Lily Cookies (sometimes called russian teacakes of mexican wedding cookies), (second row) Snickerdoodles, Gingerbread Men, Chocolate Crinkle, (third row) Gingersnap, Peanut Blossom and Chocolate Chip (made with mini M&M's) and (bottom row) Lemon Bar and Frosted Sugar Cookies.
Did I miss making all of the ones I usually do? Kind of. But I also, in a way, was a little relieved. It was kind of nice to be done earlier than usual. Then too, because I started baking on Thanksgiving Day, I was able to get the boxes to UPS for shipping on Saturday and still get the kitchen (and environs - like I said I am a very messy baker) clean and still have Sunday off. When it was over I was well and truly pooped out. I slept late the day after it was over and took a nice nap on Sunday.
The cookies should arrive at their destinations sometime today and hopefully the kids will be pleased. There is no reason to believe that they won't be. The cookies turned out pretty good. And they have never complained before. Rarely do any of the cookies break in shipment. I do a fairly good job of packing and quite frankly, a broken cookie tastes just like a whole one. Just all of the calories leak out of the broken ones. My mother told me that so it must be true!
Will I go back to making the larger batches of cookies next year? Perhaps. Honestly I have no idea. It depends on what the kids want or need. I present to them whatever it is that they wish. Their needs and desires change. Heck the entire world is changing and, and therefore, I must change with it. But no matter how much society changes, no matter how sophisticated or technologically advanced we become, regardless of pandemics or lifestyle readjustments, cookies are still yummy. Which means that I, as a baker of cookies, will always be pertinent.
I wish you a very yummy holiday!
Another Photo Safari Report! This one was filled with surprises and adventures from top to bottom. Exciting!
I will begin at the beginning. Always a good place to start. (to paraphrase Mary Poppins) As everyone who reads this knows, my vision is now far-sided. I can see far away things just a clear as crystal but close up things are a blurry mess. That includes taking pictures. So whenever Joy and I are hiking, I have a pair of "readers" nearby. They might be perched on top of my head, on top of my hat (assuming I'm intelligent enough to be wearing one), tucked into the neck of my teeshirt, or just pulled forward on my nose so I can see overtop of them when not taking a photo. They are essential to photography for me. Or at least essential to halfway decent photography.
So now knowing that, picture this. As soon as we arrived at the preserve, we both get out of the car (of course). Joy goes into the backseat to get her camera and select her lens choice for the day. I stayed just outside the front seat carefully getting out my camera, cleaning the lenses, AND getting out my reader glasses. The readers are so important that I actually have a special zippy glasses case that hooks onto my camera bag that Tim bought for me. It's Awesome!
As I unzipped the glasses case, somehow I fumbled the actual glasses and they fell to the ground and broke. And I mean really broke. The frame broke on both sides, the lenses fell out and well damnit, that's that. Now I have no glasses for shooting that day. Crap.
When I stopped laughing I told Joy that I guessed I was going to be taking a lot of long shots that day! And we set out on the trails with that in mind. Joy would worry about the macro's and the detail shots. I would be responsible for landscapes and such. Things much harder to screw up. We had a plan.
And that's how we started out. And it was going pretty well actually.
Most of the long shots came out okay. I still couldn't see what I was snapping through the viewfinder of the camera, but luck was on my side. Of course it couldn't last. Eventually I felt compelled to try to capture other things. Smaller things. Adorable things. Those didn't come out nearly as well. As you can see:
The bigger surprise were the ones that DID turn out pretty good, even though I couldn't really see what I was doing!
So there was that unexpected issue. And then there was the next surprise part where so many trails were flooded. No idea why. Other than a brief, maybe 10 minute rainstorm the day before, we haven't had rain in a few weeks. So what the actual heck? It means we were back to hopping over narrow streams, slogging through wider ones, building frond bridges over even wider spots and a few times, doubling back and circling around. Dang!
And of course, because it was so wet, it was also buggy. Both buggy and boggy. The gnats are merely annoying, the mosquitos were viscious. Joy was nearly chewed to bits in spite of her long sleeves and industrial strength bug spray application!!! Poor thing.
We also saw a lot of hog sign. Never makes me happy to see hog sign. It looks like someone came through with a rototiller. It looks, in fact, like this:
So we watched and listened very carefully, ever alert for actual feral hogs. They are not nice! We want to avoid them entirely. And we managed to do so right up until we were about to leave. It was a small group of 3 ginger coloured oinkers:
Never fear. I'm not entirely stupid. I took this pictures from the safety of the INSIDE of the car.
So I guess that was pretty much it. Broke my glasses, took a lot of blurry photos , there was a lot of water to deal with, devil-spawned mosquitos, and feral hogs. It was a hike full of adventures! Oh yeah, and a few other photos.
Tomorrow we will hit the trails once again. It'll be much cooler out (we are having a cold snap, which for Florida means lows in the 40's and highs in the 60's) but hopefully drier, with fewer mosquitos and no broken spectacles!
A safari report, naturally, will eventually follow
Have a great day ya'll.
Taadaa! I give you the traditional Humphreys family Thanksgiving photo on the beach. It's not a great photo of either of us, but it was taken on Thanksgiving day and it is at the beach so it counts.
That's just about the only traditional thing that happened this year on Thanksgiving at our house. Normally on Thanksgiving, it is a gathering of any number of family members and/or friends. Did not happen this year. And I guess our thought was that if we aren't going to be very traditional on a day absolutely steeped in tradition, then let's not be traditional. Let's embrace the non-traditionalness (is that a word?) of it all.
On the other hand, we both really like turkey. And mashed potatoes. And cranberry sauce. Hmmmm. Well ok! So we did the turkey, but we did it the Sunday before Turkey Thursday. And by the way, whose idea was it to have a holiday - an actual real holiday - on a weekday? Kind of lame. Anyway, yummm. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we sat down to the real deal. And afterwards, faced with a LOT of T-day leftovers, I found myself debating on what to do with the rest of it all.
But Turkey is versatile and I'm up to the task when it comes to kitchen stuff. So the leftovers began. First, just roast turkey sandwiches with a wee bit of cranberry and it's practically magical. Follow that with turkey shephards pie. A genius meal because it uses nearly all of the leftovers! Think about it: turkey, gravy, veg and mashed potatoes! And it was so good. After one dinner of that, it became hot lunches (the leftovers of the leftovers as it were). And so dinner after that became turkey tetrazzini! A little surprise twist there. And it was good. The remaining bits of turkey became turkey salad for sandwiches and then it was done. I briefly considered making a soup but we voted and decided that we were over the turkey for awhile.
Soooo that was fun. What did we do on actual Thanksgiving day, you ask? Well, we were going to just be lazy and relax and watch Christmas movies and maybe take a walk or two (that part did happen) but instead we decided to begin the Christmas Cookie Baking Marathon on Thanksgiving Day instead of the following day - which is what I usually do. Not This Year! It was a great idea too. But I will write about that another day.
And let's see, the last time I posted, Five Long Days Ago, I mentioned that the day before Thanksgiving, Joy and I were going to go out on Photo Safari! We did exactly that and it was quite the adventure. So much so that I think I'll save that story for another day too.
I guess the only other traditional thing we did was talk to the kids. We got to talk to all of them and that was probably the very best part of the day. Family and friends, however you can connect with them is always the best part of just about every day.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and, even in these strange bizzarro world days, you found things to be thankful for.
You knew it was going to happen, right?
Yup, the Christmas Tree is up. And as I expected I am definitely feeling more Christmassy than before. I'm not sure if it's the ornaments themselves, the lights, the actual act of decorating or all of the above that did the trick. Don't much care either. The tree is up and I am nearly back to my usual Christmas Elven self. Hurrah!
We actually did buy some new ornaments this year. Just felt like making a little change up. Why not? Over the weekend we stopped by Big Lots and found a box of 60 "shatterproof" (read Sam proof) ornaments for only $15! They look really good too. Traditional colours as opposed to the whackadoo colours I have been putting on the tree the past few years. Traditional in my mind being green, red and gold. Some are sparkly, some are satin finished, some look like disco balls more than anything else, and some look like antique reproductions. And I really like all of them.
And by carefully selecting from my existing collection of other ornaments, we found enough other green, red and gold things to make it look complete. Overall I'm very pleased with the result. Some day I need a different tree topper though. The angel I am using refuses to stand upright. She is always leaning in one direction or another and appears to be alarmingly close to toppling off at all times. Maybe next year that will be my Christmas Purchase?
The tree is in the family room which is at the back of the house but because all of the main rooms of the house open to each other, it can be seen and enjoyed from the kitchen, the living room and the family room. In fact, if I stand outside in front of the house looking in from the courtyard I can still see it! And I love that :)
Every night now, as soon as it's dark outside (which gets earlier by the day) I turn on the tree lights, turn off the house lights and let the magic of the Christmas tree just settle over me. It's a wonderful way to end every day from now until when I finally take it back down and put it all away.
Soooo we have the lights up outside, the tree up inside and this weekend will be the annual cookie baking marathon. Well a slightly smaller version of it anyway. There will still be beaucoup cookie baking going on. Just a few less than normal. And that means next Monday morning bright and early, I'll be at the UPS store sending them on their way to our kiddos for their enjoyment.
And then I suppose, I can move on to the next thing. That's all we can do. Especially this year I think. Take it one day at a time, one project at a time, one problem at a time and then once that one thing is well in hand, move on to the next. As Captain Kangaroo taught me many years ago, "The best I can do, is the best I can do and I'm doing the best that I can".
Tomorrow Joy and I will be out on Photo Safari so there will no post and the following day is Thanksgiving so again, obviously no post and then it's 3 days of cookie baking and no post then either. A little break from the Blog I guess couldn't hurt. But! I will be around again beginning on Monday the 30th. The last day of November! And we can all catch up again once more.
I wish you each a wonderful and SAFE Thanksgiving. And I know that even in this crazy year, I still have much to be thankful for.
Big Hugs all 'round
Above you see two jars of molasses. Just ordinary everyday run of the mill molasses. It's something I always have in my pantry but I am fully aware that most people do not. It's kind of an old fashioned ingredient, used primarily in equally old fashioned recipes. And since most people are more contemporary minded than I am (apparently) they do not feel the need to keep such a fuddyduddy sort of product hanging around taking up space on their shelves.
Totally get it.
But that very thing, that fact that most people do not keep a jar of molasses in their pantries at all times, is why I was astonished to find my local grocery store out of molasses while I was shopping recently. What? How can there be no molasses? There was a space for it on the shelf at the store. A gap between Karo Syrup and some unusual brand of maple (or quasi-maple) syrup. A big old empty gap. Our local grocery store, Publix, carries only one brand of molasses, Grandma's, and that's just fine with me. It works for all my molasses oriented recipes. But it's one of those ingredients for which there is no substitute. There is molasses and there is molasses. That's it.
Other ingredients can be subbed out without a huge problem. I can use pecans instead of walnuts, for instance, without it being a huge issue. But molasses is the only thing remotely like molasses. Without it there would be no baked beans, no gingerbread cake, no gingersnap cookies, no gingerbread man cookies, no molasses cookies (rather obviously) and there is even a wheat bread recipe that I am especially fond of that requires molasses. In my world, it is essential.
And yet there was none. Dang.
So when I had to run into the store quickly on Thursday afternoon for just one thing, I checked the shelves for molasses and.....nope. Still none. Dang! We checked several other stores over that weekend. Still no molasses. Suddenly molasses is a "hot' ingredient? Unexpectedly out of the blue everyone and their Uncle Fred has discovered molasses and is using it on everything from their pancakes to their potatoes? (ewwww that sounds gross). Or maybe it's one of those bizarre COVID related shortages. Something that's hard to come by. I seriously doubt that molasses is hoarding item like toilet paper.
So there I was, trying to begin making my list of cookies for the annual cookie baking marathon and sadly scratching off both gingersnaps and gingerbreadmen. (insert booboo face here)
Then Taadaa! Like a knight on his white horse, Tim rides up to save the day. He found and ordered it for me through Amazon. Holy Cats. Those guys really do have everything!
The two bottles arrived yesterday, whole and unbroken (which impresses the socks off of me because they come in glass bottles) and now I can adjust my grocery list to include everything else I need for those cookies because they are BACK on the list baby! Huraah!!
And Tim is the hero of the Cookie Baking Season!
Oh I can hear you thinking already. Something along the lines of, "Oh what on earth is she showing us now?" Well, just hang on a minute and I'll tell ya.
Rhonda, my boss at the museum, created and sent to all of us volunteers, a little game. And it's a dang clever one too. Honestly, it's a terrific idea.
In the email was the explanation, the rules and 30 photographs, all numbered as you can see. Each of these photographs were taken somewhere here on the island. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to identify each photograph. Very specifically identify each one. Number 15, for example, cannot just be, 'walkway to the beach'. We must say exactly which walkway to the beach. And since the entire west side of the island is beach.....well, the door on that is pretty open.
I'm pretty excited about this.
As soon as I opened the email and realized what it is, I started smiling. I grabbed a piece of paper and numbered lines 1 through 30. Right away I started writing down the answers that I was absolutely certain about. Not to brag or anything, but in all honesty, right off the bat I knew at least half of them.
I took a break to email Rhonda a quick "How Fun" response. Within a surprisingly short time she returned emailed me with the declaration that she fully expected me to get all of them correct since I A) live on the island - not everyone does B) live here full time - again a lot of the volunteers do not C) walk all over the island on the regular D) take photos of things on the island and E) have an eye for detail (at least some of the time). Oh my! The Pressure!
I went back to the photos and thought harder. I confess that Tim also looked at the photos and confirmed many of my guesses. Woohoo! Eventually, I was able to identify all but 4 . Four! Only 4 photos out of 30 and I will have them all. 100% complete!
The due date is November 30th. So I have a little more time, but I need to get out there to find and identify these photos! I am determined to finish this. I don't care if I win. I truly do not. But Rhonda is right, I do live here year 'round and I walk everywhere all of the time. I should know this. It has now become my quest to finish this.
Two of the four remaining unidentified photos are driving me crazy because I know I've seen them, I just don't remember exactly where. The other two are a complete and utter mystery. One that I will solve because now I determined. And it's good to have a goal.
My boss referred to this as a game. For me it's not so much a game as a grail. I hate leaving anything undone. Like, I cannot leave dishes in the sink or sing half of a line of song or return a half read book to the library or, well you get the idea. Before November 30th, I will have this done.
AND have a blast doing it too!
Wishing all of you a safe and fun weekend!
Let's see, what else have I been up to lately. Hmmmm. Well I know it isn't really exciting but I did replace the felts on all of the chairs in the house recently. Wow! Yeah, I know, Life in the snooze lane right?
It was long LONG over due. When we first bought the kitchen table and chairs and the family room set (basically the same chairs), one of the first things we did was to put those little felt roundie things on the bottom of all of the chairlegs.
I wasn't concerned about scratching up the floors. Not really. This house was built in 1962 and these are still the original tile floors. So they've been beaten to heck and back again. It was the noise. Everytime anyone would pull out a chair to sit down or stand up and push the chair back in, there would be that gawdawful screeching sound. Very nearly a fingernail-on-a-chalkboard kind of noise. Horrendous!
So rather than avoid moving the chairs or be traumatized by that terrible sound every day, we bought a little card of the round things and put them on the chairs. Didn't take long. It was a small package and there were just enough felts for the chairs we had. Perfect.
For about four years we enjoyed blissful silence. Nary a sound when a chair was either pushed or pulled. And then, about six months ago, we slowly began to notice occasionally a tiny bit of a screech again. I don't know if the felts wear out or what but it became clear very quickly that they were no longer doing their job.
The noises continued and got slowly louder and more annoying and oddly, we stopped noticing it. It's like that screechy sound whenever I open or close my ironing board. I'm so accustomed to it I just don't hear it anymore. But wow, anybody else who happens to be within ear shot sure does. Or a squeaky front door. Or a small barky dog. Or a whiney toddler. Or....well you know what I mean, those little noises that at first irritate and then eventually just become sort of like white noise.
I thought Tim felt the same way aBout it, but apparently not because recently a nice fellow driving the UPS truck dropped off a package at our house that held roughly a zillion felts of all different sizes. I didn't order it so Tim must have (or perhaps it was a neighbor whose dog was about to have a nervous breakdown over the noise) Subtle eh? Well I can take a hint.
So I got to work laying all of the chairs on their sides like little drunken dinosaurs. Then I peeled off the old nasty felts and stuck on some new ones.
And afterwards, once again, blissful silence reigns supreme as we pull out and push in the chairs. I spent a few moments just doing that with a big stupid smile on my face. Mission accomplished!
As I was putting the kit away I noticed some paperwork in the box. I turned out to be a set of instructions. Which obviously I didn't look at before I started. It was pretty straight forward and I had already applied the felts correctly. (yay me) But the thing that made me laugh was the suggestion that, even after the felts are applied, we should never push or pull the chair but only lift and place the chairs. What's that now?
What is the point of putting felts on the chairs if you are always going to lift and place them? And wait a minute, let's picture this. I'm sitting at the table, enjoying my meal and the conversation. But eventually we are all finished and are, therefore, ready to stand back up. How do I get out of the chair without pushing back first? Hire a very strong person to lift the chair with me in it? Or slither out the front of the chair while it's still pushed up to the table? Which would mean I would end up being underneath the table and so than I would have to....what...crawl out? Well that is just Ridiculous.
Nope, in this house we push and pull chairs and when I need to, I will again replace the felts.
What an exciting Life I lead!
In Monday's blogpost I mentioned this really cool rock that I found while Joy and I were hiking. The photo above is that rock. The reason I liked it so much was that little recessed area in the top. I read, awhile back, about how people are often thoughtful about putting out water for passing dogs in dishes on the ground, and for birds with bird baths, but they rarely think about water for smaller creatures like bees and butterflies and, I assume, lizards.
So, I read about it a little more. I saw that if you put marbles in a birdbath, bees can rest safely on the marbles while getting a drink on a hot day. And that in a very shallow bowl with very little water, butterflies will light to quench their thirst. It all sounded like a great idea to me. But I hadn't quite worked out the details.
I really did not want to invest in a birdbath. I've had them before and while yes, they do attract birds and it's fun to watch them splash around, cleaning it is a constant and weekly chore. At least weekly. Daily would be better. Why? Because birds don't just bath in the water, they poop their too. And bird poop is so smelllllllllllly. You absolutely have to keep up with cleaning it on the regular. Before I had a birdbath, I foolishly thought that it would be just a matter of refilling the bathwater which is a no biggie chore. Nope! It's putting on gloves and holding your breath and using a brush to scrub and then rinse thoroughly (cannot have soapy water in a birdbath) and then refill. Constantly.
On the other hand, I'm retired. I have the time. So I started looking around and didn't really see anything that appealed to me. Most of them are just the concrete pedestal and bowl thing. You need to have a good solid and very flat surface to place it (an additional purchase and effort) because it's heavy and will sink in the soil given half a chance. The birdbaths I found were different shapes and sometimes in the inside of the bowl was available in different colours but while they were all serviceable, none of them were "it".
I liked the idea of something that looked a little more, ummm, not to be too new age-y about it, but something more organic looking than most birdbaths. And maybe something smaller. Much smaller. I'm wanting to appeal to tiny creatures.
So when my eyes fell on this hunk of rock with that shallow little natural bowl in it my heart said, "Eureka!". I picked it up and showed Joy. "This is coming home with me today". She nodded, because she is always supportive and said, "Are you really going to carry that the entire rest of the hike?" I said enthusiastically "YES!" I'm sure that on the inside she rolled her eyes at me, but on the outside she said, "ok then" because she is the best sister ever.
We actually left the rock for the time being. We were not really all that far from the end of the trail anyway, so we could pick it up on the way back. But would we be able to fine it again? Yes! Of course we did. And Yes I did carry it back.
At some point I said, "I guess I'm done taking photos now because both hands are full" and I was fine with that. Until we saw a lizard shedding a layer of skin. Well heck, I absolutely need a photo of that! So I was sort of juggling the rock and the camera and Joy, very kindly, said, "Oh just give me the dang rock" so I did. And every time I found something else I absolutely positively needed to capture, she, again, babysat my rock for me.
Once home, I wondered where I would put it. I wanted it somewhere that I could see it. I soon realized that on the ground it would get lost in foliage. On top of the courtyard wall, it could fall off. Hmmmm. It was a predicament. In the end, I nestled it into a plant pot where the actual flowers have already gone by. A few tiny plants were added and a bubbled bit of glass and it's starting to look a bit like a fairy garden.
It was a time getting the rock properly leveled so the water wouldn't run right back out, but once I got it all settled in properly, the next issue was finding a proper vessel to tip water into it. It's so small you see. Just a dribble of water from a normal glass or pitcher about does it. Or overfills it and what's the point of that?
Then I remembered a tiny pitcher that I somehow came into possession of long ago and have dragged around the country with me over the years. I put my sunglasses by it so you can see how very small it is. And then the picture of the bottom because it looks fancy, "Royal Crownford, Staffordshire, England". La de freakin' dah!
At any rate, it turns out to be the perfect little pitcher for filling this watering hole. And fill it I do. Sometimes several times a day!
I have not yet seen any creatures actually drinking out of it, but I've seen several lizards in the plant pot and one butterfly taking off from the vicinity the instant I walked out the door. And the fact that when I check on it, often it is completely dry, leads me to believe that someone is using it. My new goal is to get a photo of some creature utilizing their new watering spot. I may never happen. But it's good to have a goal.
And in the meantime, it is a wonderful new addition to my potted garden (yay!)
And I am rather delighted with it!
I'm reasonably certain that I will be adding tiny things to my little fairy garden. I don't know what yet, but I can just tell that it's going to happen.
And while I haven't yet seen a butterfly or a bee or a lizard drinking out of it, I did see this cute little guy cruising nearby.
By the way it's fine with me if you think I'm foolish or fanciful or silly. I don't care at all. Just now I am absolutely tickled to bits with my new rock/waterbowl/fairy garden and that is the most important part.
Yes, our Christmas Lights are up. Yes, I know it's only mid-November. Yes, I'm aware that it's kind of early to put up Christmas Lights. But you know what? I don't give a ratz patootie.
Normally I get around to putting up the lights sometime after the tree goes up and that happens often just in time for Christmas itself. I make up for the late decorating by leaving things up 'til mid-January ish. It doesn't really make sense but that's what almost always happens.
It's such a busy time of year. Usually. Lots of events. Normally. Lots of gatherings. Traditionally. Lots of bustling and baking and wrapping and shopping and festivities and, well this year will be completely different. As we all know.
Only small gatherings are recommended, if any at all. Therefore there won't be the piles of dinners and parties so there is no need to be spending my days cooking and baking and concocting marvelous and festive special meals. As far as the usual massive cookie baking marathon goes, well lots of folks are, probably wisely, avoiding home made goodies both given and received for fear to transmitting cooties of all sorts. So I'll be cutting severely on the amount of cookie baking. Shopping is even scaled back to avoid too much face-time in crowds (even with masks), less stuff to choose from in the stores (it's true), and I just keep thinking it would be wise to just spend less $$$ this year just in general.
We were in Walmart over the weekend and I was shocked to see almost no holiday festive clothing in the women's section. Usually there are racks upon racks of fancy tops and dresses or silly, fun sweatshirts and tee-shirts that are Christmas themed. Saturday there was one lonely sparkly red top. That's it. Just the one. Wow. Big Difference.
And no special events. When I looked at the local area calendar of events, it's just a long line of "cancelled, cancelled, cancelled". I get it. I understand it. I even support it. But dang. It's kind of hard to whip up a little Christmas Spirit. I don't care how many versions of Deck the Halls are blared over the intercom system in the grocery store, I'm not humming along. At least I haven't been so far.
And I didn't like how I was feeling. Normally I am a veritable Christmas Elf. Obnoxiously filled with Christmas Spirit and Good Cheer! This year, I was feeling a little more like the Grinch. Not a way I like feeling. I wanted to feel at least a little bit like my old self. So I started watching Christmas Movies on the Hallmark Channel. It was a good start. I read a few Christmas Books. And I found that I began to feel a wee bit lighter in my soul. And I asked myself, " What would make you smile?" And the answer was, "Putting up the lights" And so we did.
And it worked too. Just seeing them makes me happy.
By the way, We are not the first one to have our lights up either. The city already has all of their Decorations up so up and down the Avenue is a double line of palm trees lit up to beat the band. Looks pretty awesome too.
People might think I'm crazy and I am fine with that. I'm a smiling kind of crazy. And in this year of nothing at all "normal" all of the rules have been tossed right out the window anyway. And so I'm taking the opportunity to write my own dang rules. And rule number one, this holiday season is, "do what makes you smile". Lights make me smile.
Let's see how long I can hold out until I put up the tree. Anyone want to take bets on that?
Well hello there! I know I slacked off and didn't post on Friday but that's because Joy and I did a photo safari! Woohoo!
Our Friday hike was just after the big Tropical Storm and we knew the preserves would be too wet and mucky even for us, and we are fairly intrepid. So we decided to do the Caspersen Beach Trail instead. I will take wet sand over boggy mud any day.
As we suspected, there was a lot of deadfall. Not just fronds and branches but full trees down. Wow. We did have to do a little bit of slogging through wet in low spots and clambering over downed trees here and there but we are up to the task.
And we found some unusual and interesting things that the storm washed ashore. Things like lumber and buoys and concrete blocks! Not things you normally see on a nature hike
But we also saw some amazing things! Like for instance, more spiderwebs than I think we've seen before. Was there something about the storm that kicked them all into overdrive? Or maybe it was just the way the sun hit the dew covered webs that made us notice them and they've been there all along? I have no idea. Get ready for more photos of spider webs than you ever wanted to see:
Some of the secondary trails lead to the beach and we do not like to leave any trail unhiked. So often, we left the primary trail and spent a little time on the beach. There is never a problem watching the water and the seabirds. And this time we found some pretty great driftwood and a few crabs scuttling along too.
By far the most surprising thing that we saw on this hike were tortoises. Lots of them. We must have seen a dozen at least. Our best guess is that their homes got flooded in the storm forcing them up and out. While I'm sorry about the damage to their little houses, it was a delight to see so many of them. Some were on the sides of the trails but many of them were just slowly plodding along the same trails that we were hiking. Most of them didn't seem to care one way or the other about us, but one of them dived right back into his hole at the first glimpse of us. I had no idea we were so frightening! Yes we take photos of them, but from a respectful distance, I promise!
We did see some other creatures worth noting, although very few of them were birds this time. No idea where they were all hiding that day.
There were not a lot of flowers either. I presume that the storm destroyed a lot of them. But there were a few survivors. A little bedraggled but still alive! And, now that I think about it, these aren't just photos of flowers, there are leaves, flowers and berries.
So I guess that's pretty much it for the photo safari report. Oh wait! There was also this awesome rock that I found. But I'll save that story for another day.
Soooo Tropical Storm Eta has gone on her merry way to wreck havoc elsewhere. We actually did well through the storm. Although the lights flickered throughout the day, we never actually completely lost power. So that's a good thing.
And while we saw videos of crazy waves and flooding at the jetty (which the city wisely closed) and I'm sure there was probably some flooding in other low lying areas, we seem to be high and dry. Which is funny because technically our house sits in a flood zone. We are grateful.
The news reported this morning that the storm made landfall an hour or so north of us. And while my heart goes out to anyone affected by the storm - flooding, wind damage, power outages - I am counting my lucky (thus far) stars that it didn't happen here.
I went out early this morning to start cleaning up. All of the really big stuff I picked up and hauled around to the side of the house for the lawn guys to take away at their next visit. The little stuff, I swept back into the lawn. Yeah, I'm lazy.
And while I was dragging branches and fronds out of the shrubbery along the fence on one side of the house I found a large American flag. Ok that explains the big empty metal pole in front of the house,
Yesterday, of course, was Veterans day. And the day before that was the Marine Corps Birthday. Two rather patriotic days of note. And, you may recall, way back in the early spring, we signed up for a flag service. It's all run by Veterans who come around and put up flags in front of their members homes (and then of course take them back down afterward) on days like Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. I assumed, with the tropical storm and all, that nobody would put up a flag. And of course I didn't check. There was no reason to be outside in the torrential rain and driving wind yesterday so I stayed inside where I was warm and dry.
To my surprise, this morning, while on clean up duty, I found the empty metal pole. Hmmm. Did they start to put up the flags and then changed their minds? I didn't give it a lot more thought until I found that poor mangled flag in the bushes.
So I untangled it, shook as much dirt as possible off, gently folded it and put it in a zippy bag and then attached that bag with a twisty tie to the pole with a note (explaining why it was in a bag) for the guys when they come by to pick up. Probably later today. Poor flag.
Anyway, so that's it. Back to "normal". Whatever that means. The storm is gone. Hopefully it is the very last one for us in this exceptionally bizarre year. Honestly, at this point, no matter what happens: A Blizzard in Miami, An Alien spacecraft landing, the discovery of a worm hole to the Land of Oz, having a lightening strike on my car or winning the lottery, I don't think I will terribly surprised. It's just been an entire year of weird. If something is bizarre or strange or unusual, or unexpected, this is the year for it.
I'm pretty sure this is it for me this week. Joy and I are going to at least attempt to hike tomorrow so I will wish you a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing you again on Monday!
Today is Wednesday. Normally on Wednesdays, Joy and I are out hiking through some preserve, often getting lost, taking a zillion photographs, chatting and just enjoying spending time together. And we've been pretty darned lucky weather-wise. During the entire rainy season, our adventures have not once been called on account of rain. Until today. Dang.
The weather report in the above photo is wrong. It suggests a 61% chance of rain. Not true. It is a 100% chance of rain and it's coming down hard too. It's not just an ordinary rain storm either. It's a tropical storm. I'm not absolutely clear on what the difference is to be honest. But I'm sure there is one.
Since this is November, it feels as if it tropical storms and hurricanes should be off the list of possibilities by now, doesn't it? We've only lived here 4 1/2 years so it's not as if we were old timers who have seen it all, but this is the latest by far that we've seen any tropical storm activity. Generally speaking, by early October, it's over and done with. Which is just fine and dandy with us.
It's been a super busy hurricane/tropical storm activity year anyway so I guess it's not a complete surprise (to others, it was total surprise to us) but the rain that's beating against the windows right now is Tropical Storm Eta (pronounced Ada). And according to the weather app on my phone, will be upgraded to a Cat 1 hurricane by the time it makes landfall. Supposedly that event will take place tomorrow and a bit north of us.
It's been the strangest dang tropical storm we've ever seen or even heard of. First of all, it's so late to the party. That last storm of this magnitude hereabouts that arrived in November was more than twenty years ago. Secondly, the track of this storm is nearly impossible for even the experts to predict. It's been staggering around in the Gulf like a drunk, first heading in one direction and then another and then at the last second wandering off again. And thirdly, it's been hanging out first in the Central America waters and now in the Gulf for freakin' ever. It's moving so dang slowly. Which leads to the last point which is that since it's been so on again, off again, high/low, heading west/heading east and nobody knows what the heck is going to happen, nobody is really prepared.
Usually we have at least a week to secure things, pick up necessities at the store, make sure we have batteries, fill sand bags, make a plan. This time, nope.
Monday and Tuesday (which were also on again/off again storm predicted) were a bust. The sun broke through the clouds enough yesterday that Tim and I were able to do our noonwalk at the usual time. It was gloomy all day Monday but the rain was just periodic sprinkle. Today is completely different.
I understand that the jetty is closed today due to flooding and high waves. There are currently 7 different weather warnings on my phone, two of which are tornado watches (!!!) And meanwhile, I'm watching the wind blow palm fronds around, I see the rain falling steadily and it's cozy and comfy in the house with zero plans because normally I'm out hiking for most of the day Wednesdays and then editing photos for the rest of it. I'm not absolutely certain what to do with myself on a non-hiking, non-photography Wednesday! Hmmmmm. I need to give this some thought.
I'm sure I'll think of something. I will say this. Last night's sunset was spectacular. I only saw it from the kitchen window but it was still beautiful. It's something that I've noticed since we moved here. The night before a storm, the sky is always exceptionally lovely.
My instinct is to spend the day either baking and/or reading. But then, those are my go-to's on sunny days too and cloudy days and snowy days and.....well you get the idea. Basically I cannot blame that on the storm. And I'm certain that there is something I needs to be done that will keep me busy all day. I'll figure it out. Eventually.
Meanwhile, wherever you are, Stay dry, Stay Warm, Stay Safe and enjoy your day!
I have a funny story to tell you. Well at least, I was amused.
The above photo is of my legs. Chicken Legs they've been called coz they are scrawny. You can see how much wider the legs of my shorts are compared to my pipe cleaner legs. But you know what? I don't care a bit how they look. My legs are strong and they get me where I need to go.
I used to be a runner. Did you know that? Periodically through my life, I have, willingly, intentionally, strapped on my sneakers and hit the road (or the track) and just, well, ran. There is something about the rhythm and the mindlessness of it that is soothing. I don't have to think about it, my body is kind of like a machine and once it knows what to do, it just does it. Which allowed my brain to wander off. I solved problems, I had inspirations, I answered questions and sometimes I came up with new ones. I made plans, I organized and composed music, letters and sometimes short stories, all while running.
I don't run anymore, but I walk a lot. Oh, every once in awhile, I get a wild hair and break into a run. But not often and not far. Still walking feels good. I genuinely enjoy it. I walk to town, I walk all over the island, I walk on the beach. I walk my errands instead of driving them whenever possible and of course I hike with Joy regularly. And I rely, once again, on my good strong legs to get the job done. They have never let me down.
Until last night.
It was an ordinary night and I was sound asleep. Well that part isn't so ordinary is it? Usually I'm up and down throughout the night desperately trying to sleep. but for whatever reason, last night, at last at the moment of this story, I was deeply asleep. In fact, I was so deeply asleep that I didn't fully wake up when I realized that I needed to pee.
In the way that we do in the middle of the night, I came just awake enough to realize that I needed to go to the bathroom. So of course, I slid out of bed and began the short walk to the john. I took one step forward and promptly fell on the floor. I mean I just collapsed in a heap. What on earth?
I don't know how or why, but my right leg was fully asleep. Completely totally and entirely snoozed out. Once I realized the problem, I woke up a bit more and between using my left leg and grabbing the side of the bed, I pulled myself back up to a standing position. I took a deep breath, steadied myself and attempted to step forward once again.
I felt myself collapsing and grabbed the bed post so I didn't go all the way down this time. I began to giggle at the ridiculousness of it all. But Tim was still sound asleep and I didn't want to wake him so I tried to stifle the giggle. I also hauled myself fully upright once again, weight on the left leg only and debated how to proceed.
Grabbing the wall with my left hand, I kind of lurched forward from the wall to the door handle to the door frame, banging into everything in my way and staying upright through luck and sheer determination. So here's the picture: giggling, stifling, lurching, banging, grabbing, collapsing and all the while, needing to pee. By the time I reached the bathroom I just full on right out loud began to laugh. By the time I finally wiped the final laugh tears from my eyes, my leg had woken up sufficiently to get me back to bed, safely.
As I snuggled back into my comfy little nest I remembered something that happened way back when I was a kid living in one of the California houses. I recalled waking up and being surprised that I was the only one awake. My parents were always very early risers and this was the first time that I was the only one awake. It was a strange feeling. I wandered around the house feeling a little Twilight Zone-ish. Finally I walked to the doorway of my parents room. I just stood there, quietly, not sure what to do when my dad woke up. Like most parents, he had kid ESP. Almost all parents just know when their kid is in need.
First he blinked at me and said, "Are you ok?" Then he must have realized how much sunlight was shining around the curtains because he grabbed his watch on the beside table and squinted at the face. The time expressed on the watch must have been alarming because he threw back the covers and leaped out of bed and proceeded to just crumbled onto the floor. My mother, who woke up a split second after he did and had already sat up, blinking owlishly around the room, saw him disappear from her sight when his legs went out from under him, began to laugh. She laughed until she howled.
The entire time she was laughing she was apologizing for laughing and between gasps and guffaws, attempted to ask him if he was ok. Me, the little kid, baffled by this strange morning, went back to my room so I have no idea what transpired after that. I can only assume that eventually my dad's legs woke up and he did what he always does before heading out the door for his workaday. And my mother eventually got her laughter under control enough to get my sister and I up and out to school.
History has a way of repeating itself, or so I'm told. The only difference here was that it was only my right leg that refused to wake up where in my dad's case, it was both legs. And while my mother began laughing immediately, Tim didn't laugh at me until I told him the story just about an hour ago.
Still funny. Still giggling.
Hope you have an excellent day!
.Apologies for the quality of the above photo. I cannot seem to take a photo of anything on a computer screen correctly. You get the jist of it right? I found yet another set of "rules" for women and this one has to do with our ages.
"10 Things You Should Probably Not Wear If You Are Over 50" is the title. Hmmmm. At least they gave us a 'probably'. But the mere idea that someone has decided what women over 50 should and should not wear is not merely annoying it's ridiculous. Somehow by crossing the line from age 50 to age 51, we have become, somehow, offensive by our very existence. The very least that we can do to mitigate this, is to be an invisible as possible. I'm irritated.
But let's take a look at the list, shall we? Perhaps I'm leaping to unfounded conclusions (but probably not). I've copy/pasted directly from the list in Bold. My comments are in regular nonbold font.
#1. Overdone makeup. Women can start to look washed out as they age. Don’t compensate by piling on the bright colors or you’ll look like a drag queen. Heavy foundation falls into the cracks & red lipstick bleeds. Lighten up. You’ll look years younger and your pillowcases won’t look like a four-color Rorschach test every morning. Choose matte shades in neutral colors like grey and taupe, but avoid frosted and shimmer make-up as it just gets stuck in the cracks.
Okay. First off, yes I've seen some appalling make-up looks out there. More horror movie clown like than actual normal human being make-up. So that is not an age specific issue. Nobody of any age looks good made up like a clown. Unless of course, you actually are a clown. So I honestly don't think this should be an over 50 thing. This should be an everyone thing. And the avoiding shimmer crack? Why? Special events, formal events, evening events just beg for a little sparkle. Why not! Oh and the pillowcase that looks like a Rorschach test? Wash your face before bed. Everyone knows that. Again, all ages wash your face! So I'm taking this one off the list.
#2. Avoid excessive cleavage: While being over 50 doesn’t mean you can’t wear something sexy, the enemy of women over 50 isn’t time, it is gravity. No matter how fit you are, knees, armpits, and cleavage will reveal you age. When it comes to cleavage, a plunging neckline can come off as desperate and attention-seeking. Instead, leave some to the imagination and flaunt what the endless hours at the gym help maintain.
This one is a little mystifying because they initially were discussing cleavage and then they wander off to knees and armpits. If your cleavage is exposing your armpits and your knees, then, yes, it's probably too deep a plunge, I agree. In all honesty, my legs, which includes my knees, are probably the best looking part of my body. In the summer, here in Florida, when it's hot and humid, I'm by gawd wearing shorts. If you don't like it, don't look at me. And armpits? Nobody has good looking armpits. That is just stupid.
#3. Think “sensual” rather than sexy: Get dressed to make an entrance, not sneak in quietly through the back door. Just because you’ve hit 50, doesn’t mean you’re invisible. Show of your femininity with luxe, rich fabrics like silk, satin, and cashmere. Use fur details and deep colors (champagne, violet and hunter green) to channel a powerful female vibe that’s sensual but not overtly sexual.
Furs? Ooooo the PETA people aren't going to be big fans of this one. I actually really love what they call "luxe" fabrics. But it's not very practical for daily wear. Anything that has to be dry cleaned only gets worn on special occasions. And the colours we are "allowed" to wear? They are fine. But I'll be damned if I will be restricted to a certain pallette of colours on someone else's say so. I am capable of choosing my own colours, thank you very much. And by the way, none of them will be either champagne or violet. Not because they are bad colours but because I look terrible in them.
#4. Baggy & oversize clothes. Baggy clothes don’t hide middle-age weight gain. If you could fit a hammock up under your shirt, I guarantee you that you look heavier and older than your years. They draw attention to it by suggesting you’re actually filling up all that space. Find a style that flatters your shape, then buy every color they make. Don’t wear large shapeless clothes – they just make you look bigger. Belts will give you definition even if you don’t have a waist.
I am actually on board with this one. But it's not just a truth for women over 50, it's true for everyone! Wearing saggy baggy clothing is not flattering on anyone. However, there are days when I just don't want my clothes touching me. I don't why, but it's true for me. So my objection to this one is only that I resent it being a truth specifically for older women when in all actuality, it's true for everyone. (even though I break this rule all of the time)
#5. Neutral colors are the scourge of the middle-aged. If you insist on dark colors, then at least choose navy over black, and cream over white, as monochrome is too harsh on older skins.
I like all colours but all colours, or at least all shades of all colours, do not look good on me. This is true for everyone and for every age. And I have to add that this was written in the most snobby tone, "If you insist on dark colours..." makes it sound like I'm a small child having a tantrum over not being allowed an extra cookie. Some women look beautiful in black or white, some look better in navy or cream, at every age. It's much too broad a statement.
#6. No need for unreasonable footwear: Ditch the heels for a couple of good pairs of sling backs and flats. Besides, “stripper heels” should be left to the 20-something-year-olds. These costume shoes are impractical additions to a mature wardrobe and result more often in blisters than fashion envy. Classic shapes in well-cut materials will suit you better.
Ditch the heels? Never! Of course my heels aren't so-called, "stripper heels" they are gorgeous, quality, beautiful, well made (and fairly costly) high heeled shoes. I don't wear them every day but I wear them when I want to. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with sling-backs or flats, I wear those most every day, but there is also nothing wrong with wearing heels that fit properly, that a person can walk or stand for long periods of time in comfortably, and that look smashing and make you feel like a million bucks.
#7. You’re never too old to wear Jeans. Denim are ageless and suit every shape and size. Wear with a crisp white shirt and trench coat for a classic look.
Finally! A rule I can get behind. And it's funny because I read another list not long ago that talked about how women over 30 ought to avoid jeans. And I believe I laughed out loud and said, "Never Gonna Happen". I love my jeans. I will wear them forever. But I am now laughing at this particular rule saying to wear jeans with a crisp white shirt. Ummm, See Rule #5 about avoid white and choosing cream instead. Now they are in violation of their own rules. If they cannot follow them, why should anyone else?
#8. Crop tops and hot pants If you spend countless hours in the gym, it could be tempting to sport trendy crop tops. But the fact is that you can feel sexy without revealing too much. Wearing hot pant after 50 doesn’t reflect a confident, composed woman with a style to envy. Save it for the beach.
Well, hmmm. On the one hand, I think that everyone should wear whatever they like. On the other hand, I also kind of feel that crop tops and so-called shorty shorts probably look best on girls under the age of consent. I will leave this one at do as you please, but I won't be wearing either one of these things anytime soon. Shorts, yes. Shorty shorts, no. Crop tops? Nope. Nobody wants to see that.
#9. Your daughter’s clothes and accessories: Arm candy, nail glitter, and animal print anything are trendy traps that substantially age their victims rather than keep them looking young and hip. Your teenage daughter may be rocking the looks, but combining knockoff knick-knacks leads to a gaudy disaster.
Not certain what "arm candy" refers to here. It used to mean having a very attractive date (of either gender) so I am baffled at this reference. Clearly I'm out of touch with current colloquialisms. But nail glitter? Go for it. Why not? Have fun. Animal prints? I see that in high fashion magazines all of the time. And often on very well dressed mature women too so that one is bogus. Trends? Well, Trends are always very short-lived. I would never invest heavily in trendy fashion anyone. But I think someone can choose classic wear most of the time and participate a tiny bit in trends successfully. Otherwise, we would all still be dressing like Laura Ingalls out on the prairie.
#10. Classic and minimalist always a good idea: Classic shapes always work. For example, wrap dresses, a belted trench coat, peacoat, button-up white shirt, and tunic-length tops will flatter for years to come. Go for a minimalist style with functional designs and details. Think zippers instead of gold buttons and clean lines that flatter your natural shape.
Personally, I have always gravitated toward classic clothing mostly for the longevity of my wardrobe. By purchasing timeless classics of good quality, I have clothing that lasts for years without looking hopelessly out of style. But minimalist? I think that is a matter of personal taste and expression. Zippers instead of buttons? What the heck is wrong with buttons? I have nothing against zippers but I would never automatically dismiss an outfit with buttons just because of the buttons. That's just plain silly.
Here's my rules. Wear clothing you like. Choose garments that make you feel good about yourself. Select things that are comfortable. And the most important rule of all: Be Who You Are.
I strongly resent and resist any rules that are so arbitrary and ridiculous. It feels as if the writer is trying to lump all women over 50 into one category and factory process us into looking one certain way so that we are easier to be identified and then, even more easily, dismissed. I feel as if they are demanding that we be invisible. That we never call attention to ourselves or stand out from the crowd. Simply because we crossed some invisible line that has to do with our birthdates. Utter nonsense.
Decide who you are, and then be that person.
I don't know if you remember or not, but last week I mentioned that Joy and I finally thought to help ourselves to a map of the Mabry Carlton Preserve which is one of our favourite hiking spots. The above photo is part of that map. And while looking at the actual map instead of wandering around aimlessly (which seems to be our style) we learned a number of things we didn't know even though we've been hiking this preserve for quite some time now.
One of the most intriguing things that we discovered has to do with the bottom part of the map. I don't know if you can see it but along the very bottom of the map page are other preserves. What? We had no idea these places even existed! Naturally our first instinct was to go check them out! Of Course! New Places to Hike! WooHoo!
And then, almost immediately following that excitement, we discovered that the entrances to those preserves are off of a private, gated dirt road. Well Poop. We went from a high to a low in record time. Ratz. So we kind of struck those grand plans off of our list and instead got excited about heading out on some of the other trails within the boundaries of Mabry Carlton Preserve and that's what we set out to do on Thursday.
It was early in the morning of another gorgeous day when we hit the road.
Once we hit the trails, in our own inimitable fashion, we got turned around fairly quickly (even with the map....we are hopeless). We make emotional decisions I suppose. When the question is, "Should we A) stick to the known trail and go where we originally planned or should we B) take this intriguing new trail that we've never seen before, the answer is always B! Always!
After awhile we found an adorable little bridge that headed off trail. Naturally we crossed it. I think it's a rule. When you come to a cute little wooden bridge you absolutely positively have to take it. At the end of that bridge was an intriguing little gate. And as it turns out, that rule about going over cute little bridges has an addendum that requires us going through charming little wooden gates too. (if they are unlocked of course)
Beyond the little gate was a wide open dirt road and on the other side of the dirt road was another wooden gate, also unlocked. So yes, we went through. Of course we did. We had to! It's the law!
There were signs on both gates. Oh Me Oh My! We accidentally had stumbled onto the super secret entrance to one of those other preserves! Wow! (I just now noticed that the sign says, "Carlton Reserve not Preserve". I wonder who it is reserved for. Or does someone have reservations about Carlton. Hmmmmmm.
It was a preserve within a preserve. Kind of. And it was beautiful! Most of the trails were very wide and nicely maintained others were narrow and wild. But all of it was so green and lush and beautiful.
However we soon noticed something very odd. There were no birds. Not a single solitary bird. No bird sounds, no birds zooming overhead, what the heck? It just made no sense. And then we started seeing more and more of something that makes us uncomfortable. Signs of feral hogs. Wild piggies. Not nice creatures. Joy and I love wildlife, we respect it, and believe all of it to be beautiful. However, whenever possible we avoid the oinkers because they can be dangerous and unpredictable. The deeper we got into this preserve the more of it we saw and too much of it was not old pig signage but recent. We took our very first opportunity to hike right back out. Whew!
Safely back in Carlton Preserve we resumed our hiking, picture taking, wandering and occasionally we even pulled out the map to try to figure out where we were. It was a great dragonfly picture day so of course I have a few dragonfly photos to share with you:
And I have some other photos too. Of course I do! You knew you weren't going to get away that easily!
So that was pretty much it. The preserve within a preserve which was a wonderful surprise and some decent photos! Huzzah! Another Great Hike!
Not sure where we are heading next week, but you can absolutely positively count on the fact that I will be here to tell you about it afterwards.
Meanwhile, everyone please have a great weekend. By no you know my policy, "Have Fun, Be Safe.
Hugs all 'round
'Look what Tim found! An Arrowhead! Wow! He spied it earlier this week when we were doing the noonwalk so it's not as if we were hiking through the woods and found it there in what would seem to be it's natural habitat. Nope he picked it up from where it lay, right in the middle of the street. So it's probably not an ancient historic arrowhead or anything. And there is no obvious explanation for how it happened to be in the middle of Bayshore Dr. And yet there it was.
I really don't care what's it's true provenance is, I still think it's exceedingly cool. And naturally my mind wanders to all sorts of possibilities. Come on, if you see an arrowhead doesn't your imagination immediately go to Native Americans from hundreds of years ago? Mine surely does.
I don't know a great deal about the Southwest Florida Indigenous People but I am aware of the Calusa Indians who lived here. They were the inhabitants of a large portion of Southwest Florida for a very long time and their influence spread throughout Florida, even to the east coast. They were a very fierce people who fought off European invasion successfully for many years. The word Calusa is said to mean, "Fierce People" and they were. In fact, the famous Juan Ponce de Leon was killed by a Calusa attack.
As I read further I learned that the Calusa subsisted mostly on net fishing. The garbage heaps that they left behind, called shell middens, are made up primarily of shell and fish bones and things made out of shells and fish bones. And one of the things that they made from shell is projectile points for arrows. It seems that they did not make arrow points from rock. So this is not a Calusa Indian Arrowhead.
Ratz. That's kind of disappointing. But I read further. The Calusa did trade with other Native Americans so I suppose it's possible that it came from a different group?
Or more likely it was some kid who read about making arrowheads and tried it out for themselves. Dang, talk about bringing me down to earth with a bang. It was a lot more fun, more romantic, more entertaining to think that Tim had discovered a bit of history, an artifact. Not for any supposed money value. Not even close. Just for the novelty of it. Novel to me anway. I never owned an arrowhead before. (Tim found it and promptly handed it to me which makes it now mine)
So now it sits on my desk and I find myself often picking it up and running my thumb across the surface of it while I am reading an email or composing a blogpost or listening to an interview through my headphones. It seems to be the perfect fidget for me.
Donuts! Or Doughnuts! Whichever spelling you prefer. It makes no difference to me how you spell it, donuts are a wonderful treat. And homemade donuts are especially delectable. Last Friday I was in a donut making mood and this was the result. Oh me, oh my!
I hadn't made donuts in a very long time. Certainly not the entire time we've lived in Florida which is now 4 1/2 years. And if I made them in Colorado it certainly wasn't more than one time. Any baking or cooking required a little extra thought there since there was the altitude issues to deal with and, if I recall correctly, the donuts I made that one time in the ten years we lived there, were not a rousing success.
But when we lived in Connecticut I made them often. It was a great chilly morning kind of treat. Of course back then, I had a houseful of hungry boys and their equally hungry friends to help eat them. And that they did. Gobbled 'em up by the handful. If I managed to snare one donut for my own indulgence I was lucky. (Which, in reflection, was probably a good thing. Donuts are tasty but not exactly a health food)
I am not certain why the urge to make donuts suddenly came over me again after all these years but I'm glad it did. I wasn't certain that I even remembered how to do it but what the heck, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Luckily, it all started to come back to me and the process went well. Messy but well. The donuts, a nice old fashioned cake donut, turned out exactly as I'd hoped and we enjoying them tremendously. Once we had eaten our fill, I bagged and froze the rest to be enjoyed again another time. It was, as I'd hoped, a rare treat :)
The recipe I used was the one my Nana used to make and it was not original to her. The recipe is entitled, "Grammie York's Best Donuts". Grammie York is a mystery woman. Not a relative, there are no 'Yorks' in our family tree. And I can only assume that she was older than my Nana since she was known as "Grammie", And it got us to thinking about how old this recipe actually is.
My Nana was born in the 1890's. I want to say 1896 but I'm not sure that is correct. If this Grammie York was considered an old lady when Nana was young, then it's possible that Grammie York was thirty of forty years older than Nana which would mean Grammie was born in the 1850's or 60's. That's Civil War era, folks. It's possible that the same recipe I made last week was also enjoyed by Civil War Soliders. Holy Cats. And of course, it's also reasonable to presume that Grammie York did not originate this recipe on her own, who knows where she got it or how far back this recipe actually goes!
Well that got us to thinking - of course. How old is the "donut"? According to the admittedly quick research that I did, the donut in America came from Dutch settlers of the early 1800's who landed in what is now New York (Grammie York....coincidence?) It wasn't exactly the same as the donuts we know now, but similar. It was then called ab "okykoek' or oily cake. It was a sweet round fried cake with no hole in the middle.
No one knows for sure but the story goes that a Maine ship's captain, named Hanson Crockett Gregory, is responsible for the hole in the middle. It's a wonderful story and I hope it's true. According to the tale, in 1948 Captain Gregory, who was (at the time) a 16 year old crewman onboard a lime-trading ship, wasn't happy with the quality of the donuts that were served aboard the vessel. He described them as being fried around the edges but raw in the middle and the raw bits soaked up extra fat making them fairly indigestible. He wondered if putting a hole in the center would help fry the center bit as well. He claims to have taken the lid off of a pepperbox to cut the hole. And while it wasn't perfect, the result was a great improvement. So much so that he asked a tinsmith to fashion a proper donut cutter with a center hole.
When he returned to Camden Maine after his journey, he showed his mother the trick with his newly fashioned device. She was delighted with the result and shared plates of the improved donut with friends and family as far away as Rockland Maine. It took off like wildfire from there.
Now I must add here that my own Nana, from whom I got this recipe, was also an old Mainer. Her turf was Castine Maine. Camden, where Captain Hanson Gregory lived, was only 53 miles away and both towns are coastal Maine. My Nana's husband - Captain Ray Howard - was also a ships captain. so I'm seeing a possibility here of this recipe being, perhaps, one of the originals of Captain Gregory. Kind of exciting.
It seems that not only is it a yummy recipe and an old recipe, it's also a recipe with a great story attached and an interesting history. So yes! That was very fun. And Tasty.
Yet another adventure in the Humphreys Household.
This past weekend was kind of a busy one wasn't it? It was the last day of October and the first day of November. There was that damned time change (grump grump grump) and of course, Halloween, such as it was. That's a lot for just two little days to handle!
The change over from one month to another is pretty easy. It only requires me flipping a page on my desk calendar and remembering that it's a different month anytime I am required to write (or type) the date. 11 instead of 10. So that part is pretty simple.
The time change humph. Well that's something else again. Of course the physical changing of clocks is much easier than it used to be. The computers and our phones change automatically. But the ones in our cars, the microwave and the stove have to be changed manually. Tim does that because if he doesn't, I won't. I just leave it as is and mentally add or substract an hour (whichever way it needs to be) once a year. Yeah, I know, lazy. Actually the clock in the car I drive doesn't even work anymore so that one doesn't need to be changed again ever! Yay!
I admit it's great to have that extra hour of theoretical sleep every fall. And of course it's kind of nice to wake up to sunshine once again instead of darkness. But wow, it is so much darker so much earlier at the end of the day now and that part I am not thrilled about. Nor am I a fan of the hunger confusion in my tummy. My belly growls at me and says, "Hey lady, how about some food down here! It's dinner time!" and I say, "sorry the time changed and you have to wait". An argument ensues. It's not pretty.
Honestly I just don't see the point. Why are we artificially changing time ? Can someone explain this to me? I cannot possibly be the only person who hates this. Why are we still doing this? Oh well, whatever. I'm sure in a few months I will have adapted. (mutter mutter mutter.)
And then there was Halloween. Sigh. I was pleased to see that some folks still bothered to decorate for the holiday. I took a few photos around town, some in the daylight some at night to show you:
And at first I was thinking, "Halloween is going to be kind of weird this year". Yes, most costumes require masks, but the wrong kind. And the whole social distancing thing certainly doesn't lend itself to gatherings of any sort. So I was pretty sure there would be no parties, no parades and probably no little dressed up kids going door to door in their adorable costumes singing out Trick or Treat! Weird for sure.
And then I realized that Halloween is supposed to be weird. If there was one word to sum up the intent of Halloween, 'Weird' would probably be it. It'll just be a different sort of weird. So ok. I suppose weird is the word. And I was correct. No parties, no parades and no Trick-or-treaters at all. I set up a display with a big "help yourself" sign and a bowl of candy but nobody came by. I expected it but it was still disappointing.
So the weirdest Halloween on record has come and gone. It's a new day of a new week of a new month and now Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. I think I will put up the Christmas Tree early this year. Why not. It's been such a strange year that normal has gone right out the window. At least an early Christmas tree will make me smile :)
It's two weeks late but finally Autumn has arrived here in Venice Florida.
Oh there were a few false starts earlier just to tease us way back in September. A day here and there when the temps were milder and the humidity lower and we began to believe that maybe summer would be over early for a change this year. But nope. The temperature rose again and dashed that hope in a hurry.
And then it happened again earlier in October. For quite a few days in a row it was suddenly a little cooler out, the air felt drier and there was a tinge of cooler air in the breeze when the wind blew. And we thought, well, it's on time. And then it warmed up and became a little more humid once again.
But this time, it's for real. Better late than never I suppose. It's a welcome change. The windows are open all over the house and I'm wearing a shirt with sleeves and seriuosly considering making either donuts or cinnamon rolls today. Very Autumnish.
And I have to laugh at myself because earlier this week, in conversation with a friend back in Colorado, I learned that not only had it snowed a lot in the Mile High State over that weekend but in the exact moment that she was speaking to me, her thermometer was registering a whopping 9 degrees. That's 9. One less than 10, one more than 8. She said it was, and I quote, "a little chilly". The funny part is that as she is saying that to me, it was 76 degrees here and I was wearing a cardigan sweater because I was feeling, "a little chilly" too.
My conclusion was that if I was in Colorado at 9 degrees now I would simply freeze to death and that would be the end of it. Or rather me, I suppose.
I know that it's all relative. We all know that. Einstein proved it to be true. But it still kind of wows me when it reveals itself in my life over and over again.
And we adapt. I'm good at adapting. I've lived in a lots of different places with lots of different kinds of weather.
I was born in Chicago, a place with notoriously wicked winters. Also lived in Missouri which was not an improvement winter-wise. Connecticut? Cold, grey, snowy, icey.....check, check, check, check and Colorado which can have snow literally any day of the year. So I've done the wintery winter thing. I know how to dress for it. I used to own long underwear and I totally get dressing in layers.
But I've also lived in Southern California, Texas and now Florida. Not so wintery. And I know how to do that too. Wearing shorts with a sweatshirt feels perfectly normal to me here. But so does being cold enough to put on long pants, long sleeved shirts and closed toed shoes before the mercury dips below 65 degrees because I'm uncomfortably cool.
I suppose we can just say that I have adjusted.
I confess that I sometimes miss the pretty autumn leaves and that brisk little bite to the nose that is the perfect excuse for drinking my weight in hot chocolate (heavy on the marshmallows). And I will freely admit that few things are as pretty as brand new snow with the sun sparkling on it immediately after a storm.
BUT I do not miss shoveling snow. I do not miss driving on slip'n'slide icey roads. I do not miss power outages due to heavy snow laden tree branches falling on the power lines. I do not miss achey cold bones and constantly mopping up wet dirty footsteps in the front hall.
So all in all, I guess I can deal with being laughed at by my friends who live in genuinely wintery places when I complain of being too cold at 60 degrees as long as they can deal with me walking on the beach in the sunshine on Christmas Day.
Seems like a fair trade.
Have a Great Weekend ya'll.
Yesterday's hike was an adventure filled with Surprises! I love when that happens.
First of all, one of our favourite preserves re-opened at long last! Woohoo! As Joy and I were trying to decide where to hike yesterday, Joy suggested that we do a drive-by peek at Mabry Carlton just to see if the gates were still firmly shuttered. If they were, as we suspected, then we could move along to another option. But instead, to our delight, after months of being closed, the gate was wide open! Yay! We headed right on in and thank you very much :)
Our next surprise was this little frog! (above photo) It's been long enough since we've been to Mabry Carlton that we weren't absolutely certain that we remembered all of the various trails. And it's certainly possible that during the closure, some changes may have been made. It made sense to grab a map, just in case we needed it later. So Joy flipped up the lid on the map holder and found this little guy! Very cute.
We had a hard rain the night before so regardless of what trail we chose, we knew that there would be a lot of wet. But we were prepared. Joy wore her oldest, most beat-up sneakers and for a change, I decided to wear my good old Colorado hiking boots. As it turned out, it was an excellent decision. These may now be my permanent hiking footwear of choice.
Initially, since we get started just as the light comes up, everything was pretty well drenched; the ground, the plants, the trees and ultimately us. And no matter what trail we headed down, we kept having to turn back due to flooding. Dang. Was this going to be a bummer of a surprise where all of the trails were flooded out? We hoped not.
But we kept trying, trail after trail. Sometimes we just slogged on through the water, but other times, it was too wet, too deep, or too murky. I don't especially care to wade through water that isn't clear. Who knows what else is in there! A surprise we would not be in favour of!
Eventually we found a trail on higher ground with less flooded areas and we began to feel as if we were making more progress.
Perhaps it was because of the rain, or maybe the day, or even just the time of year, but it was a terrific day for insect photography. That was a Great Surprise!
The next terrific surprise was that yesterday's hike was an especially good bird hike. We didn't just hear them, for a change, we actually laid eyes (and cameras) on them! Hurrah! All sorts of birds! And one of them, as it turns out, is an endangered species bird and We Saw It! So kind of a double surprise
At some point, we spied something through the trees deep into the wooded area, that just didn't look "right". That is to say, it didn't look like, well, nature. We decided to check it out and found, to our surprise, an old shack! Wow! That was unexpected.
There were, as always, beautiful flowers, most of which are a total surprise to me because I have no idea what they are. I always marvel at the variety of colour, size, shape and, well just the existence of such beautiful flowers in the wild. I know that, technically, most of them are probably weeds, but let's be generous and refer to them as wildflowers. That is so much kinder, don't you think?
It was one of the best hikes we've done in a bit. We ended up getting a little turned around toward the end. I refuse to say lost because obviously, we found our own way out (thanks to that map Joy got from the frog at the start). But it was more than 4 hours later that we hauled our tired butts back into the car. We were hot, filthy, wet, bug bitten, sweaty, hungry and thirsty. All signs of another great hike, Regardless if we ever find anything to photograph, we always enjoy our time together. Mostly because, it's time together. The photos and the surprises were a wonderful bonus.
Once again, my bangs are too long. It really bugs me when the tips of my bangs are flirting with my eyelashes. I find myself doing that stupid head twitch thing to try to keep my hair out of my eyes all of the time. Or I'm forever pushing at it with my fingers trying to brush the hair to one side, as if that would work (it never does). I'm considering a glue stick.
Normally right about now I would just arm myself with my best scissors and a good magnifying mirror and start hacking away. But this time I'm trying to resist. For several reasons.
One reason is that my timing on hair appointment schedules this time was very poor. Usually it's set up so that just about the time that I'm ready to just give up and shave my head, taadaa, there is my appointment. Just in the nick of time. But this time, nope.
Which is my own fault. I had an appointment scheduled for earlier in October. And I moved it out a month. Why? Well, I reasoned at that time that since I'm not doing any of my volunteer work at the moment how I look just isn't all that important and by rescheduling the appointment I've saved a few bucks. So I guess that's two reasons. It made sense to me at the time. But I now regret it.
I suppose I could just go ahead and allow Sammy Scissorhands the opportunity to choppity chop, but whenever I've given myself a self-inflicted hair disaster, it's helpful for my poor long-suffereing hairdresser to wait until it's grown out a bit. That way there is more and not less hair to work with when she tries to fix what I've done. I think it's too close to my appointment now to risk it.
Then too, occasionally I get this urge to let my bangs grow out. The urge usually lasts for about 10 minutes. But it makes me think that perhaps I should take advantage of this, oh let's call it an opportunity, to decide if I want to let it grow? Or chop it into bangs again? Only one way to find out.
So I'll spend the next few weeks, twitching, and fiddling and eventually perhaps clipping my hair to one side while I decide. Unless of course it makes me too crazy and then I will try TRY to trim only the tiniest ittiest bittiest bit, as evenly as I possibly can (which frankly is not all that evenly) and hope for the best when my appointment day rolls around.
Wish me luck
Take a look at my keyboard. Take a closer look. You may notice, upon second glance anyway, that a letter or two may not look exactly right. Or missing entirely. And perhaps it isn't just a letter or two, it might be most of them. Ooops.
I would say that this keyboard has been well used. And it's not that old either. Just beaten upon. I don't wear my nails really long, but they aren't bitten to the quick either. What on earth would cause all of this damage?
I blame piano lessons.
I was taught, primarily, old school. Sit up straight (To this day I have good posture), hands so flat I can balance a penny on them while playing, and striking the keys with the tips of my fingers rather than the pad. That's how I learned. And it was easy to translate that to a typewriter.
Yes it's true. I'm so old that I learned how to type on an old manual Underwood Typewriter. An adorable little Texas lady who wore Jackie O suits (I remember a pink one in particular), patent leather heels, her jet black hair in a perfect flip (remember the flip hairstyle?). She would not have looked out of place wearing a pillbox hat. She had a very soft, sweet voice and to get our attention would wave her hands in the air saying repeatedly, "Quiet'n down ya'll, quiet'n down" Quiet'n would be pronounced, "quah tin".
Hers was the very first class I took when we moved to Texas and I had no idea what she was saying. "Quah tin?" What the heck is "Quah tin"? I grew to really like this teacher (whose name escapes me), I learned how to type very quickly and easily (again, probably thanks to all those years of piano lessons) and finished the course work within a month. So during class, instead of re-doing what everyone else was doing, I began typing up my school work for other classes instead. My teacher was fully aware of what I was doing and allowed it with not a word. Like I said, I really liked her.
Another thing that translated from piano keyboard to typewriter (and eventually computer keyboard) was memorizing the keyboard. It was actually a lot easier than a piano keyboard. The piano has 88 keys but there are only 26 letters in the alphabet. And even if you add in the numerals and punctuation keys it's still less to concern yourself with.
The goal back then was something that was called "Touch Typing". The intention was that a person could type accurately and quickly without looking at the keys at all. It's the same thing with piano. The player is supposed to preform without having to look at the keys. Which is the way that I learned. So having no letters on my keyboard is not an issue for me.
However, it is kind of a problem for anyone else who may need to use my computer who didn't have the advantage that I did of learning how to type without looking at the keyboard. Who else might possibly be using my computer? Well anyone in the house really. My computer sits right there in the combination kitchen, dining, living area and any guest or visitor that needs to look something else is offered my computer. Heck, even Tim has used it from time to time. It's convenient! Well, other than the no letters thing. Which, apparently, a lot of people find to be singularly inconvenient.
So when Tim recently ordered a new keyboard for himself for work, I asked if I could have the old one. "Well of course" he said but he wondered why I wanted it. I explained my thoughts and he nodded and said that he could order replacement letters if I wanted. Wow! That's cool. Great Idea!
So in the end, he didn't like the new keyboard and went back to using his old one, I got to have the new one (woohoo!) and the extra letters are safely waiting until I manage to obliterate the letters on this new keyboard. Yahoo! A new keyboard AND a backup plan for the future. I love it!
Here's the new keyboard. Please note that all letters are present and accounted for. Coolio.
The excitement never ends at our house :)
Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with peace, relaxation, fun and happiness.
Hugs all 'round
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.