Tuesday, July 29, 2008


HI!! I'm Back! 

Here I am in one of the first photos from a wonderfully grand week in the Pacific Northwest! I am standing in front of Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park, in North Central Washington State. 

I sure look like a tourist! don't I!

I had a wonderful time, and am anxious to document/ memorialize my week in words, clips and photos.  But wanted to say hello! and that I'm back! 

Watch in the upcoming days for postings of my adventure! 

Got in late tonight, and not sure if I'm on PMT, DST, EST..heck if I know WHAT time!

But, until Next time!

Love to You!!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Funny Stuff!

New  Rules For 2008 George Carlyn
New Rule : Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com http://classmates.com/  !  There’s a reason you don’t talk to  people for 25 years.  Because you don’t particularly like them!? Besides,  I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these  days—mowing my lawn.
New Rule : Don’t eat  anything that’s served to you out a window unless you’re a seagull.  People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy’s chili.  Hey, it cost less than a dollar.  What did you expect it to contain?? Trout?
New Rule : Ladies,  leave your eyebrows alone.  Here’s how much men care about your eyebrows:  do you have two of them? Okay, we’re done.
New Rule : There’s no such thing as flavored water.  There’s a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste.  Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink.  You want flavored water?  Pour some  scotch over ice and let it melt.  That’s your flavored water.
New Rule : Stop  screwing with old people.  Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that’s square, with a bigger label.  And the top is now the bottom.     And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.
New Rule : The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole.  If you walk into a  Starbucks and order a ‘decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one  sweet-n’-Low, and one NutraSweet,’ ooh, you’re a huge asshole.
New Rule : I’m not the  cashier!  By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN  number, pressing ‘Enter,’ verifying the amount, deciding no, I don’t want cash  back, and pressing ‘Enter’ again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.
New Rule : Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn’t make you spiritual.     It’s right above the crack of your ass.  And it translates to ‘beef  with broccoli.’  The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren’t pregnant.  You’re not spiritual.  You’re just high.
New Rule : Competitive eating isn’t a sport.     It’s one of the seven deadly sins.  ESPN  recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting.  What’s next,  competitive farting??? Oh wait!?  They’re already doing that.     It’s called ‘The Howard Stern Show.’

 New Rule : I don’t  need a bigger mega M&Ms.  If I’m extra hungry for M&Ms, I’ll go nuts and eat two.
New Rule : No more gift registries.  You know, it used to be just for weddings.  Now it’s for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab.  Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn’t gift giving,  it’s the white people version of looting.
New Rule : and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants.  After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael.     I can’t even tell if he’s supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish.  I don’t want to be on your web cam, dude.  I just want to  wash my hands.

New Rule : When I ask how old your toddler is, I don’t need to know in months.  ’27 Months’     ‘He’s two,’ will do just fine.  He’s not a cheese.  And I  didn’t really care in the first place.
New Rule : If you  ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than minimum wage, then for God’s sake don’t pierce or tattoo every available piece of  flesh.  If so, then plan your future around saying, ‘Do you want fries with that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008



You may recall my mango chutney and key lime fest of a few weeks' ago.  This photo is key limes sprouting from the seeds I saved from the key lime juice.  I nursed these babies, not letting them fall into the trap of all the neighboring critters. 


This, on the other hand is a complete surprise to me.  After making mango chutney, I put a half a dozen or so pitts out on the picnic table to dry out.  After a week or so, I ripped off the exterior husk, stuck the seeds in a pot of dirt, and placed it in the shade of a palm tree in my garden.  And forgot about it.  Until the other day, I happened to look, wondering what was growing, there...and then I remembered.  I find this very exciting!  Granted it'll be my daughters and granddaughters who may enjoy the fruits,  but I am just so thrilled to see these growing!


Saturday was a great kayak day. The last time I used my kayak, three things happened that caused me to take a recess for awhile. I chose to paddle north in the bay, a different route for me. This called for paddling through the Mooring Field under Matanzas Pass Bridge, past the “Big M” gambling boat and Moss Marine, and past the Coast Guard Station. My destination was Bowditch Park at the north end of Estero Island. http://www.southwestfloridabeaches.com/bowditchpark.htm   At the widest, and deepest portion of the channel, I became caught between two large, identical and very unusual looking vessels that were refueling at Moss Marine. I found out later that these were USCG in conjunction with the NTSA and homeland security, teaching vessel control and water safety techniques to citizens of the Caribbean countries. Yielding to all other boaters, I misunderstood their destination, as one was pulling away from the marina, and the other was approaching to moor. At one moment, I got spooked. The tide was high and strong and I felt very vulnerable. I found out later that it was at that moment when the patch job on the bottom of my kayak cracked. I proceeded to Bowditch, and pulled the kayak out of the water. I removed the plug, turned it over to drain, and was aghast at the amount of water that poured from the hull. I called my daughter to bring the car and the car-top carrier, and drive me and the kayak back home. I went down to the end of the street where I had launched to retrieve my “wheels” - my two-wheel carrier that I padlocked to a palm tree. Well, someone stole my wheels… jerk. The carrier frame was still there, padlocked, but the thief had removed the lynch pins and the wheels. So those were the three things: 1) I got spooked - without a life jacket; 2) the crack; 3) loss of wheels.

My brother repaired the crack with fiberglass, having done a fine looking job. He also went to Northern Tool and bought two new wheels and two new lynch pins, but alas, the carrier was a unique size, and the standard wheels did not fit. I logged on to http://www.coolstuffcheap.com and ordered a whole new carrier (all the time repeating, “jerk”). Weeks went by and many filled with good intentions to test the new carrier and the new patch job. But I had not dealt with number three: I needed a life jacket.

I perused west marine’s website for life jackets. They have come a long way in comfort and design from what I was familiar with. They advertised a new model “for women.” What makes it for women, I wondered, as I always do. Do women have different water safety needs than men? This was “a beautiful lavender color”. Who will spot a lavender life vest in the aqua blue waters?! I got in my car and drove to west marine, and they had the advertised women’s model, and there was seemingly no difference from the men’s - except the color. I was ready to purchase a “men’s” because it was red and yellow (colors life jackets should be!) when my eyes landed on a paddler’s vest. Cool. This was Perfect! I also bought a paddle tether and a couple of new bungees.

I launched at the end of my street, however this time I took the carrier and the wheels with me, and strapped it to the front of the kayak (jerk). I felt really awesome in this nifty vest: It had a pouch on the front where I put my camera, and my lip balm. It had nifty Velcro straps and little rings and things to attach all kinds of gadgets…one being the compass-whistle combination that brother Ken sent. (thanks, bro!). As a matter of fact, I felt as cool as Ken with my new co2 inflatable vest and all the bells and whistles!! I attached the tether to the paddle and fastened it to the loop on the side of the seat and headed out.

I headed south, thinking that I’d stop at the Mound House  http://www.moundhouse.org/  to check the patch - job. All was going very well - not much boat traffic, the sky was partly cloudy, and the water was a bit turbid from all the rain we’ve had. As I got close to the mound house, I was feeling as if I’d “just gotten started” and wasn’t ready to land. I decided I could pull out at Coconut Street (the next known location with a ramp/launch) so I continued on. When I got to Coconut street, I figured, what the heck - I’ll pull out at mid-island marina. I paddled on to what once was mid-island marina, but is now Snook Bight Marina   http://www.snookbightmarina.com/  Because of the renovation, the ramp no longer exists. So I continued on south, keeping my eyes on the shoreline, looking for a ramp or a beach or somewhere other than mangroves, seawalls or rip rap. Judging by the landmarks, I figured I was in the neighborhood of the 6000 block of Estero, or a good four to five miles from where I put in. I was getting closer to Big Carlos Pass, http://www.ecotrail.com/panorama_bcpass_main.htm  and was rather certain that I would not find a beach or a launch along the shore before getting to Lovers’ Key. I decided to turn around.

Well. No wonder all was so effortless and I was just paddling along without acare. As soon as I turned around, I realized I was now heading into the wind and against the current. I leaned forward, and went into high gear paddling. It was at this time I realized that I am a very strong paddler. A friend asked me if I was a strong swimmer, and I answered that I am not. After having answered that way, I reconsidered that I am a strong swimmer, except the breathing part. I can do the side stroke, the breast stroke the back stroke, and can swim very well under water.. But I never got the breathing part down. No doubt I have become a strong paddler. It actually felt good to feel the muscles in my abdomen, thighs, buttocks tighten, to feel my biceps and triceps pushed to the top. Even the muscles in my hands were in high gear. I felt the sweat bead on my face, quickly being dashed away by the wind. I could see the rooftop of the King’s house - a giant gawdy pink structure which sits at the waters’ edge at Coconut Street.

Coconut Street is like many of the streets on Fort Myers Beach - running perpendicular to Estero Boulevard, narrow, and dead-ending at the bay. The difference with Coconut is that the street ends in a very small, old, launch pad. I paddled up and pulled the kayak out. Oh it felt good to stand up!! I pulled out the plug and flipped the kayak over. The problem now was that it was full of gear - carrier and wheels specifically, and I couldn’t see if there was water coming out. I held the end up for awhile, feeling that any amount of water would certainly be drained by now. I looked at the ground under the drain of the kayak, and there was no apparent new flood of water. I was relatively confident that the patch job held. I looked up to see the stern of a power boat on a trailer coming down Coconut. There was a man walking along side. Someone was attempting to launch their boat. It can be done, but it takes skill. The walker was telling the driver to hug the side, etc. (The other challenge, here, is, that to launch, you literally have to back the whole way down the street, as there is no way to turn around.) I hurried to get out of power boat’s way, so I replaced the plug andpulled the kayak back into the water. By now the walker was up to the launch and we greeted. Somehow he felt compelled to give me a push-off. Really, I’m fine… (grrr).

On my return, I paddled in to the Mound House. I pulled the kayak out, and unloaded my gear. I drained the hull, and there was barely a drop of water. HURRAY! Patch job a success!!! I went over to the picnic table, spread out my towel, and downed a full bottle of water. I felt terrific. I felt like I was made of steel. I walked around the property a bit, just to walk. I drank an Ice Tea. It tasted delicious. I checked my BB and it was 4:30. I’d been on the water several hours. I looked into the WSWern sky, and it was a charcoal grey. The smell of rain was in the air, and the wind was picking up. Time to head home.

The last leg, about a mile and a half, was choppy. The seas were kicked up and the wind had increased. Paddling into the wind and against the tide was work, and the bow of the boat dipped and spit with each wave. As I came to the end of Mango Street, I saw several men on the pier. One of them might have been the “jerk”. (There is a condominum complex at the end of the street, with boat slips, picnic area and fishing pier. They post PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING. I’m not sure they can lawfully deny access to the water. I’ve gone on the county plats and they have a conservation land lease from the state - they do not own the land, and I ignore their NO TRESPASSING signs). I paddled close and quickly to the side of the dock , hopped out of the kayak, grabbed the bow rope, and pulled it across the grass, under the chain and on to the public road. There, I strapped the carrier under the boat and walked home.

I had a GREAT DAY on the Water!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's a beautiful thing

Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing? Thanks, so much, Al Gore… you’re the best. I’m an internet junkie - I admit it. I could spend my life on the internet. Some surveys that query how much time one spends doing various things - watching TV, listening to radio, on the internet… heck if I can adequately guestimate my internet time. I don’t watch TV, rarely listen to the radio but boy do I pack on the internet hours.

I have an upcoming totally awesome, I’m so excited about vacation excursion coming up. Through the internet, I’ve purchased my airfare, made reservations, viewed the terminal layouts for the three different airports I’ll be visiting, had virtual tours of many of the places along my journey, read menus, viewed maps, read tips and guides, even weather reports and sky cams.

Being a self-proclaimed internet junkie, I’m having a difficult time with my decision not to take a computer with me… eeeeeekkkkkkk…I’m so scared! Since I am traveling on three different planes, two different airlines, and hitting the highway shortly after landfall, it’s crazy stuff to check baggage. So all is carry on, and there’s no room for a “puter. Oh My God. I may Jones.

I leave Tuesday morning..Tuesday the 22nd. So, journal will not be maintained, unless you’d like to do it for me. Of course I’ll take my BB, even though my co-workers chide me about it…. They think I can’t cut the Town Hall umbilical chord…haha on them…it’s really…

The internet….

You were my first love

And you’ll be my last love

I will never make you blue

I’ll be true to you


Thursday, July 17, 2008


I will write to an old friend and wish him well, said I.

Why? , they asked me. Why…I echoed and could not answer

I turned my back and it was stoned,

And their laughter rang through the ground beneath my ear.

And my soul cried.

But good ideas have been left on the dusty shelves of monestaries, and saints have been strengthened with mud and spittle before them.

As Pearl Harbor succumbs to the ranks of Sparta and ancient Egypt

I will rise up to cast off the dirt of my confusion

And the salt of my tears.

Farewell to the storms of insecurities and ill-will.

Hello! To the sunshine of tranquility and peace.

Hello Friend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stormy Weather

It is a rainy day today. It is rare that it rains all day, like it is raining today. The usual summer pattern is the afternoon clouds darken and rumble through, soak the ground heavily and thoroughly, and just as quickly as they arrived, they roll on their way leaving the sparkling blue sky to send crystalline glistens all around. I opened my eyes before dawn and heard the rain on the roof. I lay in bed listening to the crescendo. I like my bed and briefly entertain the idea of staying in it long past the work start time of 8:30. Briefly entertained, because of course it’s silly, and I do have to go to work. But it’s six o’clock in the morning and I have hours to lolligag. I thought of a dream I had, whereby I was in a large conference room, and all the conference attendees were gone, but had left behind all of their books and bags and purses. I knew that they had left them overnight. I walked to one spot, and picked up a woman’s clutch with an ornate clasp of silver and diamonds. I opened it, and saw a cell phone blinking with an incoming phone call, a wallet and a tube of lipstick. I quickly closed the purse and put it back down. I mused that the dream portends future financial opportunities(Publishers‘ Clearinghouse Sweepstakes with my name on it!!).

It is a rainy day to be sure. Since I bicycle to work, wardrobe selection had to be carefully considered. Then I remembered that I forgot to wrap a friend’s birthday present. Today is Julie’s birthday, so I wrapped her gift and signed the card and stuck it in my bag. I washed some strawberries and put them in a ziplock and put those in my bag. I dressed, donned my (awesome!) LLBean rain slicker, put a “Target” shopping bag over my computer case in my bike basket and headed in to the office.

An early morning call from a co-worker with a specific request took priority this morning, so I turned on my computer even before getting coffee. Outlook opened, and froze. I sat, waiting…watching the ever still hourglass. I control alt deleted and nothing happened. I cursed, walked over to Mark in IT and asked if I could just hard reboot. He said yes. I did, but the computer just showed it’s black to me. I cursed again. I walked back to Mark’s office, said, “when you have a minute, I need your help..no hurry, I’m going for coffee” and I did. Mark walked out of my office and said, “You’re in a bad way…” I cursed again. Mark spent all morning playing Hawkeye to my tired old desktop, then brought in a brand new, compact super duper new model, and systematically installed all the programs that this clerk insists on having available. I, in the meantime, fired up the laptop and began to satisfy the day’s demands.

It is lunchtime. It is still raining. Time to roll up my pant legs, don the awesome LLBean, and head back to work. Let us see what the rest of the day has in store.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

memory of george

I saw how you looked at me. I didn’t know who you were.

You may or may not have known who I am

But I caught how you looked at me.

How you looked at me inspired me.

Someone likes how I look

I thought.

I like how you look, too.

The next time you looked at me

I felt shy

I felt shy because the first time you looked at me

Made me feel differently.

The third time you looked at me,

You looked very handsome.

That’s when you winked at me.

The wink made me giddy inside.



Wednesday, July 9, 2008

..and in the end

Fifteen hours later, I look back at the accuracy of my "prediction." Of course today was a great day! We are remodeling administrative offices, so we have drywall dust and cables and conduits hanging and bare floors.  Last night, the guys moved the A/C thermostat, and there was no A/C until nearly 3:00 this afternoon. I customarily dress in lightweigh cotton and sandals and bring a sweater. It's usually so cold in the offices.  So when I pulled up front this morning, and a co-worker who was standing outside smoking, scowled, "The air's out" I secretly said "hurray!"  I mused at the various co-workers who reported, "..and they said it's going to hit 95 degrees today!"  I thought, that's why I don't listen to that stuff.  I felt sorry for one fella who is pushing 60 years, is about 6'4" and weighs an easy 280 lbs.  He's been with the Town for 2 years, coming to work with us just a few short years after open heart surgery.  He wears boots that lace up past his ankles, long pants, an undershirt and an overshirt.  He also feels the need to take charge in the day-to-day office operations ( I affectionately refer to him as "mother").  With the construction and the A/C out, he was sweating profusely.  I found it an interesting study in human behavior.  It also gives an intersting outlook as to who can be calm and functional in the event of a hurricane.   2005's Wilma had most residents without electricity for 8 and 9 days, and  2004's Charley had many without electricity for almost as long.

I had some serious deadline stuff, and ran into obstacles that should have been frustrating.  But i wouldn't allow it.  I stayed focused, and things went smoothly.  I did, however do without breakfast or lunch, sustaining on coffee throughout the morning, and a handful of pretzels in the afternoon.  It is rare that I do that.  I don't function well like that.  I guess it showed, because I got home from work about 6:30. I sat down to read the mail, and I started dozing off.  I must have snoozed lightly, but steadily for 30 minutes.  I can't tell you the last time I did that!  When I shook my head clear, I fixed a dish of macaroni salad I had, poured a lemonade and pulled out some homework.

It's nearly 'lights-out" time, and i feel good about today.  Not strongly productive in any particular sense, but very rewarding in that I managed to maintain a joyful day! And I think I was able to inspire others to "look for the good".  I look forward to tonight's dreams, deep rest, and opening my eyes to yet another joyful day tomorrow!



O Be Joyful!

Today is going to be a great day!  No special reason, yet every special reason!  I slept well, full of many and varied dreams. I was all over the place with many dream symbols - in a movie theatre, at a banquet, having hands-ful of money, driving, hiking..it was all so very wonderful.  I have a sense that I was in the mountains of the Carolinas or Tennessee.  The most poignant point of the dream was at the banquet, or rather after the banquet - it was evening and I was far from home. As a friend and I were leaving the banquet hall, I looked out the large plate-glass windows, and saw the grounds covered with freshly fallen snow.  "It's snowing!" I exclaimed, "I haven't driven in snow for - thirty years!" and then I fainted!  Haha!  When I recovered, my friend assured me that it would be clear and dry by morning.

I hope your day is EVER SO JOYFUL!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


i am enjoying the late hours of a sunday night, after a long weekend.  Some bruschetta, aged romano, fresh baked bread and a fine chianti accent the mood with music of female blues singers.  The pianos, the horns, the bass. I am there in the dark, the smoke filled room as she kisses the microphone with each deep note.  Her skin tight satin dress heaves in and out.  The lights dim and only her black lashes and red lips rise above. 

The Culprit

I knew it wasn't cats, I suspected it was lizards.  Now the truth is known. 

Things of Dreams

Horoscope for Sagittarius

Sunday, July 6, 2008: When dreams become more real, they can also be less tempting. Today your desires can lead you down a beautiful and unfamiliar path, but the closer you get to the end of it, the less certain you are about your choice. Remember, there is a delicate line between fantasy and reality now, and it’s easy for you to cross over it from both directions.


I dreamt last night about books and towels. There was an impromptu, unofficial contest between two people - one a neighbor I’ll call Elle, and the other a man whom I have a sense was a brother. They were each given a stack of pink bath towels and were to fold them in a specific period of time. I was the judge. The man won, and Elle was a sore loser, saying the towels weren’t properly folded and the loose strings from the tattered edges hadn’t been removed. One definition for towel suggests that I need to deal with my emotions in order to move forward in my life. I need to find some sort of a resolution. Alternatively, it represents completion, a fresh start and new transition. The dream continued with me on a chair placing the towels on a shelf in an office. I was having to stack the books to the one side to make room for the towels. While I was doing this, in walked Anita and her assistant. In real life, Anita is a local business woman, former mayor for the beach, and is running for county commission against Ray who has been our district commissioner for twenty years. Anita was wearing a bright red suit coat (the brightness was notable). The office was that of the county commissioner, and “her assistant” was actually Ray’s assistant. (Maybe this dream is precognitive - maybe Anita will win the election. ) Another young woman came in talking to me about whether I had put the scan decals on the books. I was wanting to pay attention to Anita’s conversation with her assistant, and the woman about the scans on the books was distracting me. She was telling me that some of the books had already been scanned, so we won’t get credit for them, or the next person won’t because we had some from Alaska, some from California and some from Ohio. I half listened and nodded that it was OK. As I drifted out of sleep this morning, my mind carried a sense of four books - four golden books. That thought lingered with me as I slowly came to consciousness. And then my mind corrected it to include one of those books was silver, and had a shiny silver insignia on the front cover, as if this one were the silver anniversary edition. (To see books in a dream indicates calmness. I will advance toward my goals at a slow and steady pace. Books also symbolize knowledge, intellect, information and wisdom. To see a bookshelf represents the various levels of your mind where ideas, concepts and memories are kept. It also suggests a need to acquire information or knowledge in a situation before making a decision.)

Colors: Pink represents love, joy, sweetness, happiness, affection, kindness. Being in love or healing through love is also implied with this color. Red is an indication of raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage and passion. The color red has deep emotional and spiritual connotations. Red is also the color of danger, shame, sexual impulses and urges. Silver represents justice and purity. It is symbolic of some protective energy.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stinkin' Lucky

I have to stop what I’m doing and write this down. I am incredibly thrilled with my life! The past few hours I’ve been pouring over the itinerary for my upcoming Pacific Northwest trip. How very lucky am I! I’ve googled everything, even google earth and have had a street view of some places, done the virtual tour of the hotels, virtually stood atop the Seattle Space Needle. I want to thrust my arms sky high in a bold and deliberate V and shout: TAH - DAH!!! Not just the upcoming vacation, but all that surrounds it. For instance, I’m updating my itinerary, adding in the flight schedule, and becoming painfully aware of the number of plane changes. I’ve always preferred to carry on luggage and have amazed others at how lightly I can travel. So I’m running through my itinerary and identifying activities to associate a wardrobe item. I have some favorites - like that pair of black dockers that I bought for $15~! at the Dockers’ outlet at Tanger Outlet Mall on the way to Sanibel. (That was 2002, btw…I LOVE these pants). I have my white capris that I bought at Old Navy ! Who’d’ve thunkit~! Actually, it was around the same time…I’ve had them that long, but they don’t get nearly the wear as the dockers… I have a pair of green chorduroy jeans. My daughter Sarah, bought them. I doubt she ever wore them. When she moved out last early summer, she left them behind. They looked BRAND NEW. I washed them and wore them, and was baffled by the compliments I received when I wore them! So, y’know what?! They’re mine! They’re comfortable, and launder well. “nough said.

I did not intend to get side-tracked on my wardrobe packing issues. What I meant to say is that in all of this, I have come to realize just how wonderful my life is. I have the ability to take a wonderful vacation, have a closet-full of great clothing from which to choose, have a great job to return to, and have a wonderful family to support me.

Just How Stinkin’ Lucky Am I!!

People on the Beach

Crossing Estero Boulevard on to the beach access, I could see there were a lot of visitors on the island. This was confirmed as I coasted on to the soft sand. My “usual spot” was taken, and my “alternate” spot was taken. Lots of umbrellas and pop up tents with lots of coolers and towels and bodies. I set up my chair closer to the water’s edge than I prefer, but in a spot as isolated as I could manage. The smell of coconut sun screen filled the air.

Estero Island runs WNW to ESE, but islanders refer to it as the north end or the south end. The south end is predominantly condominiums, while the north end is considered the business or commercial district, and home of Times Square. Times Square, a pedestrian mall with many restaurants offering al fresco dining sits at the base of the big bridge. The county park with the fishing pier is also located there. My stretch of beach is about two miles from times square, and about one mile from the famous Lani Kai Resort. I can see the bright green building of the Lani Kai from my seat, and the fleet of recreational boaters anchored off shore. The water conducts the beat of the live band .

There is a constant parade of people walking the shore line going from the south to the north, from the north to the south. I notice with pleasure a large number of young people. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I pick up pieces of conversation as each group passes. Four young men in their knee length swim trunks are talking about “..in my school there’s only three of them..” Two girls in pink and black bikinis walked passed me. Pink bikini is talking: “ and he was like, “oh, no way” and I was like, well, like I said, “ Then the girls stopped, Pink says “ why don’t we just set up here?” I watched as they systematically spread out four large beach towels overlapping each edge side by side. I guessed they were in their early twenties. Black bikini had all the bling in the belly button and seemed the dominant personality of the two. They walked into the water, up to their ankles, and turned looking back to the beach. They began waving to someone further down the beach. Black bikini demonstrated annoyance by placing her hands on her hips as she shifted her weight. She hollered out, “HEY!!!!” They walked back out of the water, and returned to the towels. Pink used the reflection in Black’s sunglasses to check on her hairdo. Then the boys arrived. One had a cell phone stuck in his ear. The other two engaged in conversation and shoulder slapping with the bikinis. Judging by the age of the boys, the girls were not yet twenty. Then another couple joined them from the other direction, a girl in a green bikini and a guy in Billabong trunks. The black bikini made some remark to Billabong, and ended it with “Oh Alan, you’re such a jerk”.

At the water’s edge, two boys about the size of a six year old played with minnow nets. A little girl with a hot pink swim ring ran in between them. A fourth child, a girl about six engaged in a sand ball fight. I remember how taboo that was for any of our kids - beach kids did not throw sand. Passing by from the south was a very attractive blond woman in a red white and blue bikini with a bright red sarong. She walked gracefully by. Passing from the north was an attractive young man whose entire body was ripped muscle. I could almost see the sparks fly as he passed her. Neither changed expression but shortly after they had passed, Muscles stopped and turned and watched her. “Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking and when she passes each one she passes goes, ahhh

A man bent over with age wearing bright orange swim trunks and a faded orange hat shuffled into the water. His back hadn’t seen the sun in a really long time. An elderly couple stopped in front of me. They struck me as being from Miami. She was very comfortable in her turquoise two piece. He was round. His round head was pink with white sidewalls of hair. His round face was pink with a white moustache. His round belly was dusted with fuzzy white hair. He set down the beach bag. She spread out a turquoise towel and sat down. He fished through the bag and pulled out a well worn ball cap and placed it on the round pink head.

Two men stopped and began a game of catch with their baseball and mitts. Gradually they increased the distance between them and the speed of their throws. These men were probably in the neighborhood of my age. The kid with the cellphone stuck in his ear was sitting on the towel watching them. “Man I like to play catch!” he shouted out. Having felt an audience, the baseballers seemed to step up their throws and catches to a more professional appearance. “ Hey, do you have another mitt?” Cellphone called out. “Naw..we just brought these..” responded one of the players. “ We’re just tryin’ to see if we still got it…” commented the other.

Earlier, I observed a couple walking by from the south. They caught my eye because the guy looked like someone I know, but as they got closer I could see that he was not. As I observed them, they walked like they had a buzz on. Well here they were some time later, returning from the north. They stop, and she walks in to the water. He stands on the shore watching her. She walks in about waste high and slides her body in up to her neck. How obvious was it that she had to pee. He just stood there waiting. She emerged and they continued on their way.

Such went the day of people watching. Never a dull moment on a beautiful beach day here in southwest Florida. Truly a day of Independence.


Friday, July 4, 2008

hot chocolate

I don't know the origin of the below excerpt - it was in an online newsletter that I receive.  I enjoyed it, found it very poignant and offer it to you for your enjoyment. 


Hot Chocolate
     A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion, and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired.  During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.  Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups – porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.
     When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:  Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.  The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate.  In most cases, it is just more expensive, and, in some cases, even hides what we drink.  What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups...  And then you began eyeing each other's cups.
     Now consider this:  Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just tools to hold and contain life.  The cup you have does not define, nor change, the quality of life you have.  Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us.  God makes the hot chocolate; man chooses the cups.  The happiest people don't have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything that they have.
     Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly...
     And enjoy your hot chocolate.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I am feeling very pink today

Things have been happening at a very rapid pace. Amazing me as time marches on. Today is Thursday, July 3rd - I think. Years ago when working at the newspaper, we manually logged ads on a grid, assigning each a number according to the day of the week the ad was scheduled to run. 1 was Monday, 2 Tuesday, 3 Wednesday and so on. So when Thursday is the 3rd, it confuses me… like today. Today should either be the 4th or it should be Wednesday, because 3 is Wednesday still in my brain.

Adding to the confusion in my brain is that today is a vacation day. I attended the annual clerk’s conference which began Sunday and ended yesterday. The conference was a huge success, but a lot of work. With Friday being a holiday, it seemed silly to go to the office for just today, so I scheduled vacation. I planned to meet a friend for breakfast this morning, so I woke earlier than usual. The ground was wet from last evening’s rain and the sky was that fresh opaque blue of dawn. There was an abundance of morning glories lining the path that I take with my bike. The sea grapes are full of fruit and the mocking birds darted through the trees. I truly live in a beautiful place. As I pedaled past the Chapel, the homeless were lined up on the porch waiting for God’s Table to open. One man greeted me by name. That still creeps me out, even though I know he’s well intentioned. I stopped by Town Hall to check the meeting notice on the door. (I had read an e-mail from my boss concerned about whether a certain meeting had been noticed, and I was double checking myself). All was well. I crossed the parking lot and pedaled by the rec center and community pool. There I saw a couple of public works guys doing their morning clean up. Donnie greeted me and I waved back. I passed the library and cut through the shopping plaza as shop keepers were arriving, gathering morning papers with coffee mugs in hand. I arrived at my destination to see my friend already there. We sat outside and enjoyed coffee and conversation. It was good to see him, and a great way to add to a beautiful morning.

Now the day is wide open. No deadlines, no commitments, no obligations. The weather is decidedly the summer pattern, so I will take advantage of the morning to enjoy the outdoors, ahead of the afternoon rains. Before I left for my clerks’ conference, I transplanted some catnip that I started from seeds. The seedlings were several weeks developed, and perfect for planting in the next level pots. I checked on them first thing when I got home yesterday, and they are all eaten clean. I don’t know whether it’s all the neighbor cats or if it’s the lizards. The pots are undisturbed, which leads me to believe it is not cats. I attempted to grow some cilantro and experienced the same thing: when the seedlings got to be about an inch high, some critter ate them clean! So I don’t know if I want to continue growing young herbs . My rose bushes need some pruning, but otherwise the garden requires little attention.

I think I will take this great book I bought last week and my great beach chair and enjoy sitting on the beach, taking in the gulf of mexico in all its splendor. I hope you have a great day… I know I am.