Thursday, January 29, 2009


I am very tired. It's approaching 9:30 which is relatively early for me to be this tired. It's been a brutal week - having sacrificed my weekend in order to be on top of my game. I have company - as much as I love to have guests, it is taxing - they're on vacation and I am not. This afternoon I sat for nearly four hours with an attorney from the state capital, our town attorney, my town manager and each department head.... we're trying to codify our ordinances. tiring and boring, but necessary. I am supposed to attend a district meeting in North Port tomorrow, but I havc declined. I'm sure I will be frowned upon. One can only do so much.
I have just showered - needed to wash my hair. Now it's soaking wet and I want to go to bed...can't go to bed w/ a wet head. I envy bald men about now.
Weather says another cold front due in this weekend. It's that time of year.
I sure hope tomorrow is a better day.
Good nite.

Monday, January 26, 2009

an argh eve

I'm not sure what happened - somewhere the day went south - fast. I got to work feeling pretty good, the meeting started only about five minutes' delayed. My part was well accomplished. Somewhere mid-morning I had to excuse myself for a potty break - which I never do. At 1:00 I came home for lunch, had a turkey and cheese sandwich and lingered over aol news. I returned to work and never could get back into the swing. The weather had warmed considerably outside, and some crazy fool had the heat on inside. I felt warm, sluggish and irritable. My bowel was also irritable (sorry if that's "too much information" but it is most unusual, and probably a significant factor in the decline of the day). I have company coming tomorrow and will offer my college kid's room for them. The last time that room was cleaned was when we had company for Thanksgiving and I offered her room. She was home over Christmas for nearly a month, and returned to school - without cleaning her room. I spent a great majority of my weekend doing town hall stuff - it was top on my priorities, and it proved to be a wise decision as I started today. However, I'm feeling a bit 'robbed' of my leisure time... which probably adds to the irritability I feel. Plus the neighbors are noisy. Plus Gracie's being an absolute brat and I have no patience. It's an ARRGGGHH evening.
I didn't sleep particularly well. I was literally exhausted when I turned off the light at about 11:15 last evening. The sound of Gracie's tags jingling woke me and I realized she was "up". I also realized either I take her "out" or I may be cleaning up a mess. So we went out at about 2:30 AM. The neighbors were having one helluva celebration - still. I dreamt weird - the only part I remember well enough to relate is that I stood and walked across a walk way, or bleecher type structure with another female, and I commented, "well, there you skirt's caught up in my shirt and my ass is hanging out." ...Showing my ass, or caught with my pants down?!? What's YOUR interpretation!?
Before it gets too late, I guess I'd better 'get to spirits' and clean for company.

I have and I shall

Here, now..24 hours later from the last post, and I do feel accomplished. I was at the grocery store last night, checking out at 8:35 PM. I encountered an acquaintance - a businessman and community leader - he commented: "you're shopping late, Michelle..?" It had been a looong day.
Today, also will have its challenges - beginning with a council meeting in less than one hour.
Onward and upward - with a smile.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


"Something needs to change; you cannot keep everything going as is. Instead of waiting for the house of cards to collapse, it would be smarter to voluntarily eliminate some of the complexity while you are still able to choose for yourself."
The above is an excerpt from my horoscope for today. It resonates with me, as I woke and rose mindful of the myriad of tasks I hope to accomplish today. The rising sun casts its light upon another cool clear morning, promising to be another beautiful day in paradise. Often, visitors or new-comers will ask: how do you go to work each day, when every day is like vacation?! Today is one of those days: how shall I accomplish my chores with the temptation to go outside and play? Sometimes I try to structure the chores around the sun - meaning inside tasks are done before sunrise, or after sunset. For today, however, I cannot put off until sundown and must focus in order to get all things done.
Eliminate some of the complexity: I shall meditate on that as I work through today. I feel as if I am playing 'catch-up' instead of being proactive. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. No good deed goes unpunished. One step forward, two steps back.
Today I shall become as the little engine that could: I think I can I think I can. Optimism and hard work.
It should be sunday, funday, but tomorrow is monday and the start of an escalating energy of expectations. This time tomorrow, I shall be on top of matters, making attacks from the outside impossible; an unshakable stance of deep security.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

morning times...

I am not a morning person... never have been. Certain responsibilities require me to rally in morning hours and I always have and always can. I am envious of morning people, particularly when the sun sets so early - that sunrise should be capitalized upon. So part of 2009 resos is for me to turn myself around a bit. Most days, I am expected at work at 8:30 AM. I live minutes from the office - actually driving takes the longest, seconded by walking, and bicycling is the most expedient. With my new responsibility in the form of a puppy, I have made efforts to rise early, give her a good walk, blender up some nutrition and get to work on time. I haven't been doing so well. I like 8 hours of sleep. So I calculated back eight hours from seven AM, and would go to bed by 11:00. I'd fall asleep quickly. Anytime between 2:30 and 5:00 AM, either Gracie or I would wake up with a bladder that needed attention. We'd go...(me inside, she out!) and return to bed and sleep. The alarm would sound anywhere between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM. I'd always hit the snooze. and snooze and snooze. Oh, I was usually awake, lying in bed mapping my day, revisiting my dreams, just loligagging feeling how fine the comfort of my bed really is. Enjoying the sights and sounds of morning. I would wait until the absolute last minute to get out of bed. I have taken careful note of this "abusive" behaviour particularly this week, as I have made determined effort to go to bed with ample sleep time. When I do get up and go to work, my head and my eyes are clear, I feel GREAT! (and look great, I'll say!! ;) ) but...I'm just squeakin' by in time...
You "morning folks"? What gets you to throw your legs over the side of the bed and ditch the covers? What gets you on two feet? A point of humor, in my younger days, growing up in a very Catholic household, my father would stand at the top of the stairs, and declare: "Rise and Shine!Be about your Father's Business!" ..and then call each of us by name..." Jenene! Kathleen! Deborah Jean! ..." and down through all ten.. "Are you awake?!!" (sleepy responses ..yes..) Are you out of bed!?!" (yes) ARE YOU ON YOUR FEET!!? Ten it was: "Wash your face, comb your hair brush your teeth?!" ...yes... I CAN'T HEAR YOU!! YES SIR! "Shoulders back, chest out, stomach in!
Most of my married life, my (then) husband worked earlier than I did - and I had the responsibility of dressing/ feeding/ driving (etc.) the children to the day care/sitter. I would be up several times in the night with one child or the other. As they grew to teens it was some project or homework or special assignment.
I will continue to attempt my realignment. Last night I went to bed just before 11:00 PM. I set my alarm for 6:30 AM and said, " I will get up when the alarm goes off." Well, Gracie and I got up at about 5:00 AM, and when the alarm sounded at 6:30...well..."just 15 minutes more...for 5 or 6 more times!
not a morning person........but a work in progress!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We had a cold front come through today. I awoke around 2:00 AM with a gale blowing and palm fronds scattering and howling that was reminiscent of hurricanes. Except is wasn't humid and balmy: it was cold and dry. The weatherman tells us the wind is all out of the North, tonight. Chilly and Windy. Tomorrow night will be even colder. Wednesday morning in the low forty's. Near freezing tomorrow night. High temps only in the upper 50's. As chilly as it is, in a way it's nice - a nice change. I enjoy putting on long pants and sox and boots and sweaters. Candles burning and soup simmering offer nice scents. As long as it doesn't last too long! lol!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today's Writing Prompt: Obama
You find yourself somehow sitting next to Barack Obama on a plane, the day before his inauguration. What do you say to him?

Am I on Air Force One? Why is there so much controversy over your birth certificate? Explain why you're being called the AntiChrist by many. I didn't vote for you and I am fearful of what your presidency will bring.

Monday Morning Meandering

Gracie and I took a nice long walk this morning. We started out through Bay Oaks Rec Center, past the Community Pool, Beach Elementary School, the Library and Matanzas Pass Preserve. We strolled past Red Coconut RV Resort and crossed Estero onto the Beach. I am trying to teach Gracie to heel. She is the most willful animal I have ever known. When we get on the sand, she is nearly uncontrollable; the muscles in my left arm and hand are certainly getting a work out. The gulf is kicked up pretty good this morning and the steady onshore winds are heavy with salt spray. Many folks out walking the beach this morning. I became interested looking at all the different shoes: one man had on water socks over his cotton socks (very odd indead). One woman was wearing keds with the back broken down under her heel. Lots of sneakers with Nike seeming the most popular. Surprisingly few sandals and even fewer bare feet. I was wearing my Rockport sandals that I bought last year for my NW trip. I had to mend them yesterday - Gracie chewed a part of the leather strap sometime when I wasn't looking. (she's quick).

There were a few sunbathers this morning, even though the air is a cool 71 degrees. I saw a woman sitting and reading a book wearing sweat pants and jacket with a blanket over her shoulders. A few yards further down the beach, two women were stretched out in lounge chairs in scant swim suits. It's not hard to guess who's a tourist and who's a local.

I was attracted to the sight of sitting in a beach chair reading a book with the salt spray on my face and the sound of the gulf rushing ashore. I entertained the thought of doing just that as I walked back home. As I sit here typing this, I'm painfully aware of the dishes I need to wash (from my homemade chicken soup last night). I have laundry to do and I have to ready the front room for company next week. When I whine that there's not enough time, I am reminded of a saying that was on my desk when I worked for the newspaper: We have all the time we are ever going to have. Another favorite of mine was an expression of my father's: If you have time to do it over, you have time to do it right the first time. My mother's favorite expression was: Procrastination is the thief of time. And another I gleaned from some new age seminar I listened to: Space and Time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.

It's about time, it's about space, it's about people in the funniest place.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Studio II

Today's plan was to meet my brother in town at my mother's condo. Mom's clothes were donated to the Alzheimers facility that was her home for the last two years of her life. The day after she was buried, we sibs conducted the airing of the quilts. The bulk of possessions will be sold and the proceeds combined with her estate. All will be sold and divided nine ways. The probate law firm probably has some roots in the Slowski's ... In a not-so-viable real estate market, we need to take advantage of whatever opportunities we may have. From now until Easter is the best chance we have of selling mom's condo. Most of my sibs live hundreds of miles away. By consensus, we agreed that if there are items that we (the local sibs) can use, we will, and the balance will be sold. Today was for me to go in and pick up those few items I expressed an interest in having.

The second bedroom in mom's condo was converted to "Studio II" - mom's sewing room. Mom was a master quilter and Studio II was transformed with two 12'foot tables,floor to ceiling book shelves with various fabrics arranged in color coordination, with a clear plastic sheet "door" to protect the fabric from dust, etc. The closet housed plastic storage cabinets containing more items than one could begin to mention - from threads and bobbins, bindings, buttons, batting, ...well...the list is endless. She had an ironing table (not a board) set up with several auxillary items designed for pressing sleeves and shoulders. Mom had her computer in this room, a surger, and her sewing machine ... a of the line.

Of my brothers and sisters, I'm the only one that actively sews. I expressed a desire to have mom's sewing machine. I still use a cheap National brand sewing machine that my folks bought for me 20 years ago - I think they paid $150. for it. Getting mom's sewing machine is exciting! I went in to Studio II and began dismantling the Bernina from the cabinet. Initially, I wanted the cabinet, but realized I really have no place to keep it. I can always set up on the kitchen table or an 8' folding table I have. As I began going through the drawers of the sewing cabinet, I got deeper and deeper into a quilters world. I'll never have to buy another needle for the rest of my life! How many pairs of scissors can one person own?! For my old National machine, I have 3 bobbins. I opened one drawer and saw three racks of bobbins, each containing roughly a dozen bobbins, each with a different color thread. Mom had triplicates of every tool a quilter and crafter could ever need. For example, she had 4 X-Acto knife sets. I took one that's quite attractive in a 3"x 6.5" oak wooden box, holding three knives and 14 different blades. I located the "Know your Bernina" book, the "Step by Step Guide to your Bernina" and a 3 ring binder with bills of sale, service receipts and just about anything else pertaining to this machine. There are 37 different foot attachements. Hello! THIRTY SEVEN DIFFERENT FOOT ATTACHMENTS! I need a rocket scientist...

I also took Mom's computer. Actually, Sarah took it. When Sarah graduated High school in '05, we bought her a brand new Gateway. I'm not sure what happened, but it never worked properly. She's been without a computer for 3 years. MOm's computer was purchased brand new within weeks of the time that she began her downward spiral. So her computer, although it's 3 years old, is brand new...used maybe once. There's also a printer, scanner and computer desk. Sarah came by and picked it up and was on her way.

The Catholic Charities will come by on Tuesday and take all the fabrics, threads, bindings, battings, mats, cutters ...(ad nauseum). It's really quite an exciting circumstance. Catholic Charities teaches the spouses of farm laborers to sew, quilt and make crafts that they sell at flea markets, charity auctions to supplement their income. Recently, a local woman volunteered her time to teach quilting. I wish you could have seen their faces and heard their comments when they saw Studio II and knew they'd be the beneficiaries of a Master Quilter's shop of 70 years.

When my ex-husband's grandfather passed away, we were contacted by the PGA hall of fame (Gramps wrote the book on the PGA). We donated his black wrought iron type writer and it is on display in St. Augustine. Maybe some day there will be a quilters hall of fame, and the Bernina used by master quilter Kaye DeMars will be on display.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The :Poop

La and Rios left a few minutes ago. I cleaned up from the frozen pizza and put Norah Jones on the stereo. I sat down at this computer and looked to the lower right and said, “Holy shit, it’s 10:45 PM.”
The day sure got away.
I did not have a plan for today. I am learning the truth and merit behind the 5-P principle: Proper planning prevents poor performance.” I went to bed last night and woke this morning with no clear plan for today. I only had general weekend plans.
My landlord called this morning, and would be coming by to fix the toilet. That’s a good thing, and it was a success by about noon. Shortly there after, I was outside gardening. Came in, returned missed calls, cooked some chicken wings, transcribed a set of meeting minutes, argued with the neighbor, cooked frozen pizza for daughter and boyfriend……
My argument with the neighbor was over Gracie. Earlier I posted a letter I sent to the editor of a local beach paper about a false accusation about cleaning up after my dog. Here was another one. My neighbor assumed that the dog poop she found in the right-of-way of her property was from my dog. She assumed. I saw that pile this morning, and she saw me and Gracie in the vicinity, and assumed it was US! Now isn’t that a stupid argument? The woman's is certified insane... (that's the truth, not just an opinion!)

I took some photos today and yesterday,.

John F. Kennedy Rose


Monday, January 12, 2009


I woke early - around 5 AM and took Gracie out - different dog food not sitting well, I suspect. But I recall a "thought" that was in my head just as I woke.

Barack Obama is a eunich.

I have no clue......

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Close to Heaven

My daughter made several cd's for me for a Christmas present and one she named 'Old Mix' . I don't know this particular artist, but it's in french and it sounds like "no regrets, no worries, no forgets." It's very sultry. It goes nicely with the glass of white wine from Portugal that I purchased today from Total Wine. I opened the bottle with a dinner of Lobster Bisque and sour dough bread with roasted garlic. Delicious. Desert is a piece of Ghiradelli dark chocolate. It must be heaven.

Speaking of Heaven, Gracie and I took a nice stroll on the beach today. Absolutely perfect weather. Lots of people, and Gracie gets lots of attention. We came home and while she dug a hole to stick her snout in, I repotted two rose bushes and a crown of thorns. I cleaned up in the carport from all my gardening stuff that had been scattered about. I even swept out the laundry room. We came inside and I showered and changed and Gracie went to her crate. I went in to town with Total Wine as my destination. Next door to Total Wine is DSW. I pulled up in front about 6:00 and the sign on the door said they close at 7:00. I bought a pair of shoes that are just perfect. Of couse they're black leather. A girl can't have too many pairs of black shoes. (I'm so excited!)

It has been a short weekend. Frittering away yesterday shortened it even more. Tomorrow should be normal course of business. Tuesday will be a challenge, as will Thursday. All in a days work, I guess - but I have great new shoes! That'll help.

The moon is mesmerizing. I was leaving the grocery store this evening as the moon was just over the horizon. I wanted to exclaim to other shoppers, "Look at the Moon! Isn't it just awesome?!" But the shoppers I saw would have to reset their pacemakers if I exclaimed anything.

A good day! I feel satisfied. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Talk of Travel

This is a quiet ending to a very hectic week. The weather has cooled, so the windows are open. The only sound I hear, aside from my keyboard, is the distant music of a live band at one of the local hotspots. Water (by which we islanders are surrounded) is quite the conductor of sound. The band I hear in the distance is playing at a place across the bay. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon on the Rise. And it is a "bad moon" scheduled to be full on Sunday.

My USF-Tampa college kid got caught up in wanderlust. She's started a new semester with new classes and new professors. Her class in American National Government is taught by a professor who conducts a studies abroad program. Lauren became very interested and inquired only to find out that there are two seats left, and the deadline for a deposit is (was) today. Over the past couple of days, we've had frequent back and forth with discussions and efforts to meet the needs of payment, etc. When she was home over Christmas break, she told me she was considering transfering from USF-Tampa to Florida Gulf Coast University (which is a state university here in Lee County) - and live at home - with me. I was not happy to hear that, because I have seen it before, and fear it would be a back sliding of her academic performance (which has been stellar). So when she mentioned the studies abroad program, I told her I would support it only if she agreed to stay at USF. She agreed, paid the deposit, and we enjoyed going over the itinerary and dreaming of European travel. Then a few hours later she called. She'd had second thoughts. She was not willing to accept my conditions.

She had her work cut out for her rescinding her deposit and reclaiming her money. We're still not sure if she was 100% successful. She called me at work today, but I was really jammed up, so gave her some quick advice and some phone numbers and told her to get busy. Won't know for sure until the banks shake down Monday. I was excited for her to see London and Paris, and I won't allow myself to feel like the "heavy" for imposing conditions. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

I am working with a travel agent who is putting together a tour package of Alaskan travel for me. Thanks to dear rod I sought the advice of several travel agents, and believe to have found one who shares my interests and has experience and knowledge to fulfill my needs. Most people say the way to see Alaska is by water - by cruise ship. I'm not a cruiser, plus I'll be traveling solo, and cruise lines are based on double occupancy, blah blah. So, what T.A. Todd is doing is putting together flight from SWRegional Airport here in Ft. Myers, to Anchorage Alaska, a couple of nights in Denali, with day hikes, guided tours. A fly over McKinley that will then take me to (I think) Girdwood. A coupla day trips of the Kenai Penninsula, (glaiciers' stuff) a coupla nites in Seward, and then back to Anchorage for a flight home. I think it sounds like the PERFECT way to see Alaska!! (Stay Tuned!!)

A quiet ending to a hectic week.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please don’t let me be misunderstood

To the editor:

I would like to share a recent experience of mine as a reminder to all to use caution when making assumptions.

Last night I took my five month old pup, Gracie, for a walk on the beach. As we approached one of the busier areas of the beach, I saw up ahead two dogs roaming at large. Not wanting to endanger my pup, I stopped right where I was and waited to see whether the human companions would restrain these dogs.

I was about 10 or 12 feet from the water’s edge. Gracie began digging enthusiastically. Passers-by quipped that “she must have found something good.” When I saw that the humans had restrained these dogs and it was time to move on, I also saw that Gracie had managed to dig a hole about 6 – 8 inches deep. This looked like a sure ankle-twister, so I used the side of my foot to push the sand back in to the hole. As I was doing this, a woman walked by and said, “You are supposed to clean that up.” She continued walking despite my willingness to explain.

Things aren’t always as they seem.

Michelle Mayher
Fort Myers Beach

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A good day

Today has been good. I came home from work about 6:30 PM and for the first time in quite some time I feel good. I physically feel good, and I feel accomplished in my work. I'm not quite sure what's made the difference, especially my feelings toward work, because I'm in the weeds as much as I've ever been. Today was our third annual Council meeting with the County Commissioners. I did not sleep very well last night/this morning. I woke several times between 11P and 7A, and the time that I did sleep, I dreamt of being late for this meeting. Other senior staff were carpooling, but I chose to drive myself. Maybe that was weighing heavy on my sleepy mind. At any rate I took a few moments this morning before getting out of bed and thought of the day ahead and mapped the successes I was looking for. My wardrobe came together easily, by drive was pleasant, I found a parking spot, found my way to the conference room (I'd never been to this complex before) and was the third person there, preceeded only by my boss and a local reporter. (Phew. good show!)

I was responsible for several documents that were critical to this meeting. The problem leading up to this meeting, for me, was that I never received any clear direction about these docs. Let me explain a little: I work for the Town Manager. The TM works for the town council. I do NOT work for the town council - that distinction is very clear in the town charter. There is also the town attorney that works for the town council. She does not work for the town manager, and town staff does not work for her. So town council directs the town manager and the town attorney. The town manager directs staff. The town attorney works in conjunction with town staff, but she does not give direction to staff. ( She makes suggestions.)

The town council has been working on an interlocal agreement with Lee County to "nourish" the beach. This has been ongoing for as long as the Town has been incorporated (13 years). It's a highly controversial project and involves local, county, state and federal funding: FEMA, DEP, ACoE. There's all sorts of issues and it's been battled around for 13 years. My Council has made excellent strides in coming to negotiations with the County (cty holds the permit). There's issues of funding, dunes and vegetation, easements, disposition of sand, the erosion control line....blah blah ad nauseum. So we have an interlocal agreement that the Town finally adopted Monday night. Today, the Council gave their "pitch" to the County. The ILA was one of several documents that were my responsibility to have today. There were 2 other ILAs and executive summaries, etc.

So, as the Council makes decisions and sets policy, while staff tries to coax them out of the details of the project, they direct the town manager and town attorney. The town attorney drafts the agreement (the legal dribble). So as clerk, I am responsible for getting the clean version of this document fully executed and in triplicate (along w/ the other docs). Normally, that's a non-issue, as the normal course of business is for me to forward them via USMail to the county attorney's office, and they send back the signed agreement. No one told me that the Mayor's directive was to have these docs on hand at the joint session. No one told me until 4:00 yesterday afternoon. I was in town hall last night at 10:48 PM, gathering the remnants of these docs.

Anyway, I've quite digressed. I've probably bored you with shop talk, as well. But these are some huge issues: not document management, but the issues the Town is facing - especially for a small, young town. The minutes clerk from the county clerk's office said to me after the meeting that she learned a lot today. Commissioner Mann who is "old time Fort Myers" and has been a politician his entire adult life, commended the Beach for a well executed, no muss meeting. "In all his years in government..." It was quite a compliment to this "red-headed step child."

Reflecting on this meeting, I get a chuckle out of the male/female ratio. We're still a county of "good ole boys." The Beach has 5 elected officials, 1 of which is female. Our atty is female, and 3 of the 5 senior staff are female. The county has 5 elected officials, 1 of which is female. And of their senior staff in attendance, 1 female, and she is from the attorney's office.

It was a good meeting and set the pace for a good day. It has been a good day. Gracie spent the afternoon with Lola and Ruca, her girlfriends that live with my daughter and bff Kelly. She just got home, had dinner and is snoozing. She's exhausted. I have a crisp martini, classical on the stereo, the weather is cooling and humidity dropping. I feel satisfied and accomplished.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just another day in paradise..

I spent the better part of last evening de-decking the halls. After three weeks, the Christmas decorations begin to look trashy and cluttered. Each year as I put away the trimmings and take down the tree I tell myself that I will re-think next year. It was enjoyable, however, putting out the decorations and hearing my daughters exclaim at ornaments with their baby pictures, ornaments they made in kindergarten and music boxes and snow globes that we lined up and wound up. Memories. It is time to swing into the new year.

Tomorrow starts a very busy week at work. 9:00 AM Monday is a Council meeting, Wednesday at 9:00 AM is a joint meeting with the County Commission, and Thursday is a Luncheon that is a "command performance." Those are featured "highlights" on top of all the normal demands of the work day. Those are events that have me thinking about whether I have clean, appropriate wardrobe - remembering that I need to sew the hem to the skirt to my black suit (that I last wore to mom's funeral) - and polish my "closed -toe" shoes. (Islanders can get away with sandals and casual dress - when we go "downtown" with the County, it's suits and dress shoes....).

But that's yesterday and tomorrow. Today is another glorious day! My neighbor is a funny sort - when we greet and I ask how he is, his response this morning was "Living the Dream!" What a wonderful approach to life. I feel satisfied to have gotten the tree down and all the holiday behind. Laundry is all caught up, I've been to the grocery store and have plenty of healthy produce (I feel very RICH when I have lots of fresh produce!). I bought some chicken wings and charcoal, and some beer and I think today I shall have a barbecue while I repot some plants in my garden. The weatherman says there is a cold front coming mid week, so this is the last of the 80-degree weather we'll see for some weeks. Sounds like I should take a stroll to the beach, as well.

Gracie is currently curled up in front of the door. I taught her how to tell me when she wants to go out. She has learned that very well. I should have, however, taught her how to tell me when she NEEDS to go out! She loves being outdoors, and without a fenced yard, I have to be outside with her, or at least have an ear to the outside when she's out on the lead... we have a lot of "visitors" on the island, a lot of unfamiliar traffic, and I don't want her "stolen". Yesterday Lauren took her for a walk on the beach, down past the pier and met up with her sister and her best friend forever who were there with their puppies (a perpetual puppy party!). That is about a 2.5-3 mile round trip walk. I asked Lauren if Gracie got a lot of attention. Lauren said at first it was kind of fun, but on the way back she was sick of it! She mimicked, "...she's five months old...she's a weimaraner...she's a blue..." Enough already! I chuckled...I can relate. Everywhere I go with her, she draws attention. People come out of their way to pet her, ask about her. When she is six months old, I can have her spayed and microchipped.... until then, I won't let her out of my sight!

So onward and upward with today and the new year!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Bicycle Debacle

It's been great having time off from work. Throughout the day yesterday I reminded myself that it was Friday - trying to keep my perspective. With so much time on my hands, I idled more than I would most days. With the holiday beach-goers clogging the island, I have not taken my car out of the carport. I have been taking frequent walks to be sure Gracie gets the exercise that a young, high energy pup requires, but my knee is swollen and stiff (the meniscetomy last year was only mildly successful). I miss having my bike to ride, so I decided to get brother Ken's bike out and lube the chain.

Kenny left his bike here. I guess the Catskills in January aren't the best place to bike ride. His bike is a mountain bike with hand brakes and too many gears. For many years I have been riding my cruiser which had coaster brakes and no gears. I made a note to myself that I would have to get used to hand brakes again. So I sorted through the various keys on the rack and selected a couple that I thought might open the lock on Ken's bike. I pulled the bike out of the carport, grabbed the WD40 and gave the chain, derailer, pedals and wheels a good squirting. I checked the tires and they were well inflated. Then I realized I had to lower the seat.

I found a lever that appeared to lock the seat in place and released it. The milk-crate-basket set up on the back was wedged under the seat, so that had to be removed before the seat could move. I undid the rather unique bungee tie-downs that fixed the basket to the carrier on the back and attempted to push the seat down. This became quite a challenge as I worked at it with no sign of downward movement. At one point I held the bike next to me to see just how much the seat needed to come down. Alot! I tried turning the bike upside down, I tried spraying with WD, ...I tried everything I could think of. I actually thought of asking one of my male neighbors to help me, but I wasn't ready yet for that. I would remove the seat and hammer it down.

I got out a set of allen wrenches that Ken had bought for me last year some time, and chose the one that fit the screw holding the seat in place. I unscrewed the bolt and several metal parts came off in my had along with the seat. I grabbed the hammer and pounded the seat down. Success!! It took me probably 45 minutes to figure out how to put the seat back on - as I had not paid attention to the "several metal parts" that came off with the seat. I was getting very frustrated, and Gracie chewing on the picnic table didn't help. (She got repositioned to another part of the yard, only to then begin barking and whining... .Grrrr.). Having the seat on, I adjusted the carrier on the back to extend out further, then put the milk-crate-basket back on, with the unique bungee-like fasteners. At last!

Now for a test ride. I hopped on, noticing that the ease with which I could hop onto my cruiser was not to be found with this mountain bike. I gently pedaled around the street and at one point caught myself trying to brake by pedals. I circled back to the driveway and hit the hand brake with uneven pressure and the front brake grabbed sharply. I stopped, and as I swung my leg over the bike, my foot caught on the milk-crate-basket on the back and I lost my footing, landing hard on my back on the coarse gravel, bringing the bike down on top of me, and hitting my head hard.

I cursed. I lay there feeling the throbbing of my head, my elbow (which took the brunt of the fall) and all parts in between. For a brief second, I wondered if my neighbor across the street saw me. He's a delightful elderly gentleman who cares for many of the snowbirds' properties in the neighborhood, and would be the type to come running. I pulled myself up out of the rocks, and saw that my elbow was pretty chewed up. I went inside, washed it off and applied an antibiotic ointment. I went outside, put away the wrenches and hammer and WD40, walked the bike into the carport, locked it to the pilon and came inside. Perhaps today I will try it again, without the milk-crate-basket. Or, perhaps I'll drive to Naples Cycle and check out their line of beach cruisers. I might even get a pink bike this time!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sparkle asked, "Did you make any new years resolutions?"

I usually don't make new year's least not aggressively or that I write down. I intend to carry into 2009 a few personal committments - so I guess they could be considered resolutions. I intend to make what I have to do what I love to do. Tough challenge...but a unique way of approaching tasks... I intend to be more green... reduce the use of plastic... reduce with the intention of eliminating plastic in what I buy, use, etc. Recycle all and more.. (Save the Planet!) I intend to improve my personal relationships - that is focus more on people and less on "things". I intend to develop a stronger spiritual self - continue to work on who I am and who I want to be - without intimidation or fears of inabilities. I intend to treat myself - to do what I want to do, not what I imagine others expect of me.