Sunday, March 29, 2009


Walking Gracie continues to be a challenge. She is learning, yet she is strong. I have walked two, 70-100 lb. Labrador Retreivers with more ease than walking this one 40 pound, 7-month old puppy, Gracie.A few days ago, she broke her choker collar. She was on the line in the lot, and Lucky came out and they were lickin' it up. In all the fun, the choker collar snapped and Gracie was at large. Nicole was quick and grabbed her up, but I was out a choker collar. Days passed in which I avoided any "walking" because I knew without the choker collar, I was in for pain. Today I realized I needed to replace the choker collar, and was confident the local supermarket would have one. I have a small, cloth (pink!) collar that I bought for Gracie. It's fine enough, but, anyone whose ever walked a willful dog knows the value of a choker collar. Last week I bought a new, large, very pink, cloth collar for Gracie. (It is really way too large - I'll save it for adult-hood!)so, on to the local market for a choker collar. I put both pink, cloth collars on Ms Gracie and headed out on the very short walk. As I approached Topps Supermaket, I saw a man and woman walking a small white dog. I instinctively shored Gracie up next to me, grabbing hold of the latch where the leash fixed to the collar. The man walked past and made small talk - a puppy? yes... The woman was holding the small white dog, and thought I was waiting for a puppy play day or something, because she walked her small white dog right into Gracie's face. Gracie is 40 lbs. of sheer strength and muscle. My left hand is already calloused from holding her leash. I was rude to the woman with the small white dog, but I didn't mean to be. I knew that I would have trouble holding Gracie from pouncing all over this small white dog. Oh, Gracie would not intend harm!! NO! Not at all! Just too freakin' strong and playful...So... as the man passed, and chatted, the woman strolled up to Gracie with her small white dog, and I said, "Do you mind!?!!" and at that moment, Gracie snapped the cloth collar I had hooked to the leash. Because I had anticipated Gracie's "exuberance" and had 'shored' her up, I was straddling her body when the collar snapped. I was able to hook her to the other collar for the time being.I walked to Topps, and slipped the handle of the leash over one of the posts outside of the supermarket. This'll be quick, I said, knowing exactly what aisle the collars were sold on. I grabbed two - she'd snapped one so easily, that I grabbed two. I went to the check out register, and while in line, I saw a man outside with a hand in the air that seemed to be holding a leash - in the vicinity of where I'd left Gracie. ( Now, be mindful that she is not micro chipped, and she is a desirable animal.) I dropped the collars and told the clerk that I'd be right back to buy those......and then ran out to see what was going on with Gracie.A man was there with his two dogs. One was an 8 year old German Shephard named Montana and the other was a very small, black and white dog, whose name escaped me and looked like a chihuahua.I explained my dilemna, although nicer than to the previous couple. Gracie is out of control and I need the choker collar to teach control. The man was joined by a woman who had been shopping, we chatted, and they went on their way. I returned to the store and paid the two dollars for the collars. I'd 've paid ten times that. Choker collars rule a seven month old {Wiemaraner!} puppy.
Sit. Down. Stay.

No communication from telecommunications

What a world...
My sister from WA called this morning. She called on my cell phone, and since my cell phone is paid for by my employer, I am required to reimburse personal calls, so I opted to call her back using my land-line phone.
It was then that I found out my land-line phone isn't working.
That explains why I was unable to get internet access - I have embarq DSL.
So my hours of rebooting routers and computers was all for naught.
Those bastards at embarq... you'd think after all these years of paying out the butt for their service, they'd at least afford me the decency of a phone call to let me know I'm behind a month before they axed my service.
And when I called today to ask them, "Did you discontinue my service?" their recording says, "we're closed today - call back tomorrow." So I went to and attempted to log in to check my account status, and they told me my user name or password is incorrect.
The bastards.
I hate embarq. I could really do without a landline and the DSL (which costs me over $100/month) but I won't use Comcast for internet - they're worse than embarq - for now, I'll just suck it up.
The bastards. A courtesy call would have been nice.
I hate Embarq.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

an uncommon saturday

Wow. What happened to today!  I woke at a reasonable hour and took Gracie out for a brief walk.  I then crawled back in under the covers for another hour.  (I just Love going back to bed!).  When I finally did get up for the day and got dressed, I spent about 45 minutes trying to get internet connection.  I wanted to check the card catalog at the beach library for a DVD and a book that friends have recommended.  I don't know what the problem was here - whenever there's a power outtage, which is frequent on this island - I have to reset the router.  I did all the usual things, and after nearly an hour, I gave up.  The library is only a short bicycle ride away, so it would be easier to just go there instead of trying to understand my uncooperative internet.  The book I was looking for was checked out, due back 4.9.09.  The DVD I was looking for was a bit more difficult.  The recommendation came from a co-worker, and I wrote it down at my desk at work.  At the time, the DVD was checked out, due to be returned on Mar 26.  It was an indie film, a documentary or non-fiction.  The title was a Hopi Indian word that began with a Q or a K... Dang...I couldn't remember! The Indian word translated to something like, " A planet in distress" or a "world in trouble".  According to my friend, it was directed by Martin Scorcese or Oliver Stone.... Dang.  I searched the card catalog in the library with no sucess.  I remember "Tunes" saying that he "knows right where to find it in the library... upstairs, to the right.."  So I went upstairs to the non-fiction - I thought Tunes said it was a DVD, but I wasn't sure.  I sure hoped it was a DVD , because I no longer have a VCR.  I searched title after title.  It was also about 11:50, and (I thought) the library closed at noon.   I went downstairs and began looking through the biographies, etc.  I ran into Pat, who volunteers her time at the library and used to serve on one of the Town's advisory committees, and ran unsuccessfully for Town Council last year.  I engaged Pat's help:  She was much better at using the search criteria on the electronic card catalog, but with little to nothing to go on, we were unsuccessful.  I quickly apologized, and said, "I know you're closing soon.." and she said, " I didn't hear the announcement...?" I hadn't either. We looked at the clock and it was minutes before noon.  "We close at 1:00!" Pat told me.  So I went outside, called Tunes from my cell phone. He didn't answer, I didn't leave a message.  I got on my bike and went over to Town Hall.  I didn't have my work keys with me, but when I passed by earlier, I saw some of the public works guys outside, and took a chance.  I pedaled up around the back door and saw Donny and Shawn finishing their lunch.  "I don't have my Keys..." I said, "Is this door unlocked?"  Donny replied, "No, but I'll unlock it for you..."  I scurried up to my office and flipped through the note pad I keep by the phone.  I knew I'd written down the title when Tunes had recommended it.  I found it on the seocnd pass-through, and jotted it down on a post-it.  KOYAANISQUATSI - Life out of Balance.  ( I wasn't even close!)I biked back to the library, and quickly entered "Life out of Balance" in the search field, and it came up.  I copied down the reference number and headed upstairs.  Pat was still there, returning books to the shelves.  I felt I owed it to her to let her know the actual title.  She put her hands on the DVD right away.  (and, by the way, it's Francis Ford Coppola...not Martin Scorcese or Oliver Stone....boy, did I feel stupid). That was the most productive and successful thing I did all day!  I came home and ate a large (much too large!) heavy lunch - a turkey and cheese sub sandwhich with chips and a bottle of beer.  Phew, was I stuffed.  It was also very warm... I decided a little afternoon nap would be a novelty, and stretched out on the living room sofa.  I quickly dropped into a light slumber, occassionally looking up to see that Gracie wasn't misbehaving.  It was warm, the couch is leather, I was stuffed and feeling bloated.  I rolled off of the couch about 3:20  in the afternoon.  I took two fresh oranges from the fridge and juiced them and guzzled it down.  I surfed the net aimlessly.  I took Gracie out.  I was uncomfortable and had no ambition.  I checked the mail.  Junk mail.  Somehow I found myself drawn to my bed, and stretched out on top of the bedspread.  Within minutes, Gracie was up next to me. Within minutes we were both snoozing.  The Hot sun came through the western window of my bedroom.  I was clammy and my clothes were uncomfortable, my feet felt dirty and I needed a shampoo.  I rolled off the bed and hit the shower... a long, hot shower.  It was 6:45 PM. It's suppose to rain tomorrrow.  At 7:00 this evening, it was 86+ degrees and high humidity.  Heck with it, I said, and closed up the windows and put on the A/C.  Ahhh.  cool comfort for (a) change.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a disturbing dream...

Two nights ago I had an odd dream, that I continue to think about with bewilderment. Maybe by writing it down, I will gain some deeper insight. I welcome and encourage any suggested interpretation(s) from you.
Someone handed me an infant. I knew that this infant was dying, and that it was my task to make things as comfortable as possible for this dying baby. I cradled her in the crook of my right arm, noticing how tiny her heart-shaped, pink little face was. I remember hoping that this death would not be as painful as my mother's. I rocked the baby, and gently sung/hummed 'Amazing Grace'. Then things got confusing. I don't remember exactly what occurred, whether I was unaware in my dream state, or whether I simply did not remember upon waking. But things became somewhat chaotic, with another person agitating my efforts to calm this baby. The baby became very figitty. I called to this other person, to look - "Look at how strong she is!" I cried, as this baby used her legs to lock around my legs, and pulled herself up to a vertical position. (dreams can do those things....) I was stunned, and immediately shouted loud and clear in the baby's face, "LU - CI - FER!" I called in a heavy, deep throating voice.. the words spewed from my gut. I literally cried out in my sleep, waking myself up. In my mind, I was exorcising the demon from this baby.
Phew. That was one weird dream.
My emotions were not of any sorrow or regret that this baby was dying, but rather matter-of-fact, as though it were a fact of life. There was definitely a sense of some evil presence, but it didn't fear me as much as anger me that it still existed.
Symbolically, babies represent one's spiritual age, newness, new beginnings, innocence. The legs represent the will. I don't suppose there's much symbology in "Lucifer" - that's pretty straight forward.
Perhaps it is my will that keeps alive the separate selfish self - which I know must die.

making scense of scents

Just a quick note about smell pollution. I'm not sure if my sense of smell is particularly heightened, or normal, whether I'm overly sensitive to smells, or not, but this morning I have an issue with smell pollution.
The couple that lives in the apartment below me are heavy smokers, and they smoke indoors and out. Times like this when the weather is mild enough to allow us relief from air conditioners, the smell of stale cigarette smoke wafts up to my windows. The young girls who live next door are cigarette smokers, and they smoke on the front porch (we never smoke in the house, they proudly state) and there's always a large ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts on the front porch. (Someone very dear to me once said, "Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray." I think of that every time I see that ashtray on the front porch).
This morning, the couple downstairs are doing laundry. The heavy, faux-floral dryer sheets are polluting the air, competing with the stale cigarette smoke. One of the girls next door is showering with a heavy fruity-scented cleaner that is filtered out of their bathroom window. A man walking by from the end of the street is puffing a pungent cigar, and his lady friend must've spilled her perfume on herself. The car in the lot next door emits heavy petroleum fumes, and the house its parked in front of must've missed the trash pick up this morning: rotting fish....pee - yew.
I never figured myself for such a scent-snob, but I guess I am. I spend a good deal of money on frangrance-free detergents and soaps and shampoos, and then still good money on scented candles (and only certain scents and certain qualities - any candle will certainly not do).
Right now, it's the dryer sheets. They're enough to make me puke. I can't even smell the fresh cup of coffee I'm drinking. Did you know that those dryer sheets leave a coating that eventually clogs the lint screen? If I thought I'd get any support, I'd start a campaign against scented dryer sheets. Blah.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Birds on the Beach

(and maybe some Anhingas)


(click photo to enlarge)SHORE BIRDS
(probably Sandpipers)


Your Beak holds more'n yer Bellycan
Food for a week
You hold in your beak
I wonder how in the Hellican.

Sunday morning segments

This morning I made a pot of coffee, and it is delicious. It's cool this morning - 61 degrees at 9am. I fell asleep early last night, without a plan for today. I want to visit Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, but I think I'll do that tomorrow - a Monday - which shouldn't be as busy as Sunday would be. So I thought I'd go kayaking this morning. My friend Wendy and her husband have kayaks, and whenever I see her she suggests I call her when I'm going kayaking and "perhaps we could get together." Yesterday afternoon I called her suggesting we get together, and she asked for a rain check: she has company. This time of year, nearly every one who lives in south florida has friends and relatives that visit - family and friends we didn't even know existed. Wendy went on to say, "and what about this breeze, eh?" (she's canadian). "..the weather might be a bit much?" I didn't give it much more thought after that - to kayak or not to kayak.
So this morning, it's cool - too cool to be on the water. Perhaps as the day moves along it will warm some. Afternoon kayaking is still an option. Yesterday I washed my car. I did the full detail - inside and out, conditioned the leather seats, armorall'd all the rubber and vinyl, even the tires. I waxed my car, too - its first wax job. Let me tell you, that's hard work. When I had the Civic it was work, but now with the CR-V it's REALLY work. But she's a beauty. It occured to me while waxing and buffing that I can understand, now, why people name their vehicles. I casually considered what I would name my vehicle, and 'Black Beauty' immediately came to mind. How un-original. I also thought of taking a photograph of it all shiny and sparkly and posting it here.... haha, I laughed at myself. I would be like all those guys on internet dating sites that self-portrait, sucking in the gut and flexing the muscles, posed in front of their vehicles. My car looks so good, that I want to get in it and drive somewhere. When I think of going north, into Town, I think of the miles of bumper to bumper traffic I'll sit in to come back to the beach. When I think of going south to Bonita, I think of the miles of bumper to bumper traffic I'll sit in coming back to the beach. It's that time of year... everybody wants to be on Fort Myers Beach.
Gracie is running from window to window, scratching frantically at the door to go out. I take her out, and after a few minutes she starts barking at Phoebe, the neighbor's cat. She barks incessantly. I get up and bring her back in. She runs from window to window, scratching at the door to go out. ... and so on. Perhaps a nice stroll on the beach is the solution this morning, for both of us. The tide will be coming in, with high tide due around 12:30. Low tide is nice for wading in the surf.
Sounds like a great way to start today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

another day in paradise

It's a beautiful spring morning! Gracie and I got up around 7 am and took care of urgent business. When I opened the front door, the outside air was considerably cooler than the inside air. (Earlier this week, I closed up and put the A/C on, at the request of my daughter). When I came back inside I turned off the A/C and opened the windows. It was a cool 67 degrees. I crawled back under the covers and enjoyed the fresh air blowing through the windows. It appeared that Gracie enjoyed it, too, as her nostrils quivered rapidly. This morning was unusually quiet. I heard a mourning dove singing to a distant mockingbird, accented by an occasional chirp from a passing opsrey. I fiddled with my cool new "Storm" as I lolligagged in my feather bed. This, to me, is pure decadence.

Gradually, I moved away from last night's dreams, through today's meditations and anticipations. I thought of making a pot of coffee, but decided to skip caffeine today. Instead, I poured a cup of chocolate soy milk in the blender, added a cup of yogurt and two frozen bananas and blended it up. What a delicious breakfast. This morning will be a wash morning: wash dishes, wash my car, wash my clothes, wash the kitchen floor. If I remain ambitious after all of that, I'm going to shampoo the carpet - at least the areas that Gracie has made unpleasant. (If do-it-yourself doesn't work, I'll be calling in the professionals).

The sky is remarkably clear and brilliant. I hear passing neighbors say it's breezy today - I will find some time to go down to the beach and work on my tan. It's another lovely day in paradise.

(photo is of Ruellia brittoniana, commonly known as Mexican Petunia)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Tourist at Home

Today was day one of my "mini vacation." I have wanted some time off - just some time off! to enjoy this beautiful island on which I live, enjoy the best possible weather on the planet! and spend time with my ever-so-faithful puppy. My job requires my attendance at every town council meeting, as well as the preparation and distribution of agendas and backup materials. With three-plus meetings a month, I rarely have the opportunity to take time off. Two weeks ago, I put in for this time, and I now have a five-day weekend! Woohoo!!
So today is day one. I slept in, and boy did it feel good. I woke to several work e-mails coming through on my blackberry. It seems the boss "forgot" I was on vacation and sent me tasks.... I politely replied that I am on vacation and could someone else please address these issues. I set my "out of office" on outlook, but wonder if it is working, because I continued to get e-mails all day long with requests for things. Sheeshe.
One of the things I planned to do today was to visit the Farmers' Market. Every Friday morning in season, the Town holds a farmers' market up under the bridge. We've been doing this for several years, yet I have never been to it. Many Friday mornings, I'll get to work and it'll hit me: "Dang. I meant to go to the Farmers' market....." There is one vendor that sells fresh seafood, and I have seen co-workers putting bags of shrimp, grouper, crab claws - all purchased at the farmers' market - in the fridge in the office break room. I received some shrimp and grouper from this vendor as a gift last year at Christmas. Visiting this vendor was definitely on my list today, and so I put a thermal bag with an ice pack in my back pack. Gracie and I took a nice walk down to the square and down under the bridge.
I got there about 10:00 this morning, and they were already sold out of grouper. Dang. But they did have snapper and pompano, and beautiful pink gulf shrimp. I bought two pounds of jumbos. Pink gulf shrimp is so sweet - it is as sweet, if not sweeter - than lobster tail. There really is nothing like it. I walked along and looked at all the great fresh produce. I saw some really large onions, and asked the guy if they were Vidallias. He responded, "Sweet. They're the same, only these are Florida Sweets.... Grown in Florida." I sensed that my question insulted him. (sorry). If you've ever had Vidallias, you know how sweet they are! I bought a nice large onion for two dollars.
Leaving the Market, I ran into John R. - a local businessman and somewhat of a friend after years of being an acquaintance. We shot the breeze about the local economy, tourism and of course our mutual love of this island. Gracie and I strolled into the square. I saw Herb doing his shaved ice - business seemed good. I walked past Burritto A Go Go and Nicole hollered out, "Gracie's here!" Nicole has an 8 year old female blue weim, so we often exchange stories. I tied Gracie up next door and went into Anita's shop, Local Color. It was nice being a tourist in my own home town.
Strolling back along the boulevard, I had greetings and waves from friends and coworkers driving along the road... well, actually trying to drive along the road, as traffic is always a crawl this time of year. Getting back home, I put my shrimp in the fridge, watered my plants and fed Gracie. I showered and changed and drove in to Town to get an oil change on my (new) car. 3300 miles is all I've put on it in the eight months I've owned it. I've even had a round trip to St. Augustine and several trips over to the east coast. After the Honda dealership, I stopped in at Home Depot and bought a shop-vac. How glamorous.
By now I am pretty stinkin' hungry. I cleaned half a dozen jumbo pink gulf shrimp and sauteed them in garlic and butter with a nice chunk of sweet florida onion. YUMMMMY! A chilled martini with a garlic-stuffed olive topped off the meal just nicely.
Gracie is snoozing in the overstuffed leather chair that she has claimed as hers. It is time to grab the folding chair and stroll on down to the beach to catch the sun set.
It sure is nice being a tourist on Fort Myers Beach.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Ruffled Start

Last night’s Council meeting ended at 11:30. Of course the second the gavel dropped, everyone scattered, and so by the time I turned off the lights, shut off the coffee pot, put away the snacks and locked up, it was midnight when I got home. It was 2:00 am by the time I turned off the lights. I listened to Gracie aggressively chew at her rawhide for what seemed like a full half hour. Her paws hit my leg and I said, “No…Gracie’s bed.”

I drifted off to sleep, only to wake briefly to feel her 40 lbs. laying across my belly. I was too tired to care. I heard the trash trucks and saw the first light of dawn. Shortly after, the alarm sounded, and I hit snooze. When I couldn’t stall any longer, I got up and put on some clothes and took Gracie out.

As I walked toward the line, a man was standing in the parking area of the house on the bay side of the vacant lot. “Hello” he said, and I replied in kind. “ I can’t seem to get my car started, and I have to get to work” he said. My mind grumbled as I put Gracie on the line. I had never seen this man before, and what did he expect me to do, I wondered. “Do you happen to have jumper cables?” he asked. I looked at my (new) Honda. “I know I don’t; I have a new car..” I replied. “My daughter, might…” I answered, looking at the Civic. “How are you going to jump your car, even if you had cables?” I asked, noting that he was parked head-on toward the building. “I just need cables and a car,” he replied. “No stinkin’ way I’m jumping his vehicle with my new car” I thought.

“Lemme see if my daughter has cables…” I said and tried the door handle on the Civic. “Nope. Her car’s locked, and she’s not home. I know I don’t have any…” I walked to the laundry storage and looked around. “I used to have a pair in here, but not anymore….” I called out. “Sorry…. You could call AFA towing.” “AFA?” he asked. “Yeah. AFA – it’s the Texaco station just over the bridge. They can send a truck out that’ll jump ya’…they’ll charge you like fifty bucks, but they can get you jump started.” Then this (moron) says, “I have AAA. I guess I could call them…” WTF!?... I picked up my recycle bins and went inside. WTF.

As I washed my face and hands and brushed my teeth, I heard Gracie barking. I went outside and brought her back in, noticing neighbor-moron on his cell phone in his driveway. I wasn’t back inside two minutes when a knock came on the door. WTF. I quickly glanced out the security peep hole on the door, but opened the door just as quickly. A woman exhaled a huge cloud of cigarette smoke right in my face, saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I was looking for Pam….” and immediately Gracie was on the porch and sniffing out this small white dog attached to the walking cigarette, who continued to say, “…does she live next door..?” I grabbed Gracie by her collar and turned and went back inside. WTF.

And I hadn’t even gotten in to the office yet.

It’s gotta get better.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A busy beach

I revisited the Shrimp Festival today: Gracie and I walked down the sidewalk, and returned by the beach. How stinkin' crazy! Here's some pics I took in front of the Lani Kai:
The bottom pic shows the Lani Kai on the left, the green building, with DiamondHead Beach Resort the brown-greenish building just left of center. High tide and wall to wall spring breakers.

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

51st Annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Parade and Festival!

Cypress Lake High School Marching Band

Shriners Clown!

Kookie Band

Girls Club of America

Shrimp Parade 09!

(a short) Shrimp Fest video

Yucatan had a lively float, so I thought I'd capture some of it in video. Don't cha know that Ice Cream Dave (who peddles ice cream, bottled water, bananas and oranges) thought the ball they threw Gracie was one of his oranges.....

Shrimp Princesses and Queen!

Princesses in Waiting

I rooted for Megg, far left...

Queen Jessica, Runner up, Megg!

Carrie and Brad: No, I have no clue....


Today is the 1st day of the 51st annual shrimp festival! The 5K run starts at 9:00 AM, followed by a parade at 10:00, and then down to the square for lots of shrimp, and other culinary delights, arts and crafts, fun and games! And people: thousands and thousands of people, most showing lots of skin as the south florida sun bakes down. The scents are overwhelming: coconut sunblock mixed with body odors, cigars and cigarettes, fried foods, onions, garlic, grilled and broiled meats and fish, and of course, lots and lots of shrimp.
The Matanzas Pass bridge will close to vehicular traffic at 9:00 AM, and Estero Boulevard will be closed from the bridge to Voorhis Street, roughly 2.5 miles, and will remain closed until noon. The parade route starts at School Street and is about 2 miles long. Last year I walked in the parade with the Pilot Club, carrying their front banner along with the incoming president. It was an honor, and it was also an exercise (literally!) in personal strength, as the banner is about 6 ft. x 3 ft., all vinyl and it was an exceptionally windy day: we felt the threat of going airborne at any moment along the two mile route.
Other years I rode in the parade representing the Ft. Myers Beach Film Fest: I was the Director of Operations, and we promoted the festival at every opportunity. We even hired a Marilyn Monroe look alike and Jimmy Grecco agreed to drive his classic 50's something convertible, and "Marilyn" sat on the back and blew kisses and cooed, as we walked along side handing out flyers and promotional material. We even had a booth in the square and took polaroids "Get your pic with Marilyn, and support the Film Festival!"
Even earlier years, the kids'd be in the parade either with the beach school, with local camps or bands. It is a parade of islanders, by islanders and for islanders, and it's a fun fun time. I may have missed one or two over the course of nearly 30 years, but I won't miss today's!

P.S.:!! I just had a thought! If you are reading this between 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, (Eastern), you can watch the parade! Through the Town's traffic cams! Log on to the Town's website, and from the main page, click the button for Traffic Cams (top right). Camera 1 is from Town Hall, pointed south on the boulevard, and will show the approaching parade. Camera 2 is at the Fire Station, and this is where the boulevard closes at the south end. You'll not see the parade, only lots and lots of traffic.
As I write this, I can hear the marching bands already at the school in the staging area! It's so EXCITING!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Smile a little smile for me!

Today was a good day, mostly because I had a root canal. That's alot coming from someone who has always stated that I'd prefer natural childbirth to a root canal any day. I Hate Going to the Dentist - at least I did until today.
I have quite a history with dentists. I recall 1959 - 5 yrs. old in the dentist's office, scared to death of everything, especially "Mr. Buzz-Buzz". At age 5 I had 5 cavities. One of my siblings has a theory that the #1 sibling has great teeth - the rest of us got crap for teeth. As a minor, my parents made certain we saw the dentist regularly. "They don't fix themselves" mom would say about teeth. Dad swore that he put all of Dr. Fitsimmons' kids through college.
When I was 16, I chipped a front tooth. "Wait until you are 18" Dr. Fitz recommended, "then your teeth will be fully grown." Little would we know that 10 years later, I'd chip the OTHER front tooth, forming a near perfect inverted "V". In my 20s, I didn't have money for dentists, but did manage to keep up my teeth regularly. Even to the point of being in Coral Gables in the late 70's and some renegade dentist let the drill slip and cut the muscle on the under-side of my tongue.
"They don't fix themselves" I knew.
After moving to Ft.Myers Beach and working for Gannett at the News-Press, I had good insurance, which included dental. I took a co-worker's recommendation and began seeing a local dentist. I remember a few weeks before my wedding (Oct 1985), sitting in his chair, and he said, "well, we'll get you all polished up for your big day." He retired in 1995. Over those 13 years, I'd had a great deal of dental work.
After my dentist retired, I was reluctant to visit the dentist who took over the practice. Various reasons, most of them stemming from the changes in my personal life. Several years passed, and I was a diligent brusher and flosser, but hadn't had a cleaning.
I don't recall the reason, but around 1998 or so, I chose to go to a new dentist for a checkup. The best way I can equate that experience is to compare it to auto repair. Let's suppose you have an antique car. All you want to do is get it running. You take it to a mechanic and body shop and they want to restore it to collectors' standards. I had teeth that all I wanted was to keep'm healthy, but this dentist wanted to redo all the work my dentist had done over the past 15 years. I left that office and never went back.
I left that office and never went to another dentist.
Until this week.
As I said, I have always had good oral hygiene. I have also been embarrassed about my teeth for the past 6 or so years. Oh, they are all there, but the front teeth are "bonded fillings" that discolor at a greater rate than the real tooth. And I hadn't had a cleaning in many years. Then there was all the dental work: I probably have a half-dozen crowns, or teeth with crater-sized fillings. A few months ago, one of those huge fillings fell out. The tooth was an upper tooth, in my "smile line" . The filling fell out, but there was no discomfort. Then the shell of the tooth split in half, with the back half falling away.
I still had my "smile line".
Until this past sunday night.
Munching on some cold chicken wings, that front shell of a tooth met the chicken bone in a destroying manner, and the remaining shell of a tooth fell away.
I now officially had a hillbilly grin.
Sunday evening I opened the phone book and scanned dentists. I saw an ad for an "emergency repair shop" boasting that they fix and replace teeth - a "one stop shop." I wrote down the name , number and location.
That night I dreamt that an ostrich stood on my head - several times.
I realized I was not facing reality, as I lay in bed Monday morning contemplating my work day.
As I was entering the office building, a co-worker was coming up the stairs behind me. I stopped and asked her who she used for a dentist. We talked, and on my lunch hour I called the office. They can see me the next day.
I went in Tuesday and they X-rayed the tooth in trouble. I was surprised to know there had never been a root canal done. They were surprised that I had no discomfort. They could fit me in Thursday afternoon.
Dentistry has certainly come a long way. In under 50 minutes, I had a temporary cap that matched my teeth perfectly. (Back in the "old day", I got a 'tin can' for a temporary tooth).
The beauty of today, though, is more than that I had dental work. I now have a dentist. My dental work is 15 and 20 years old. We talked about "giving me a beautiful smile".
A fan of the "law of attraction', my "mantra" included "whiter teeth". I now have the means to achieve my desire. Oh it'll cost a pretty sum, but, it is an abundant universe!
Today has been a great day, because I now have a means to achieve a dream!

Monday, March 9, 2009


A few days ago, I saw a news story on AOL - those flashing pics and headlines - that caught my attention. It was about a six year old girl in Plant City who was rescued from an abusive home. The story has gnawed at me ever since and so tonight I googled for more information.

I don't understand this world, how something so horrific can take place. Please take a few minutes and read this story.

or here's a video....and I have to wonder - where in the heck have I been? This is in my own backyard!

From the Kitchen of.....


There's not a fresh fish I've tasted that I haven't just loved. I make an outstanding mesquite grilled grouper sandwich, I have made salmon in about as many different ways as there are recipes, from grilled teriyaki to cured gravlax. My local supermarket had fresh tuna on sale this past weekend, so I bought two nice sized filets. I've cooked tuna in a variety of ways, as well, but there was one recipe that stood out in my mind: Tuna Burgers. I made this recipe tonight and the tastes and textures are a food-lovers dream. I strongly urge you to try this: it is not difficult nor time consuming, and is so deliciously rewarding, you'll be repeating this menu item for friends and loved ones. This recipe is from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook, to serve 4. (I cut it in half and it works perfectly).

1 1/2 lb. tuna fillet, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsley grated yellow onion and its juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Coarse salt and freshly ground peper

1/4 cup (2 fl oz) fresh or prepared mayonnaise
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce

8 slices brioche or challah, each 1 inch thick, or 4 kaiser rolls, split
4 crisp lettuce leaves
1 tomato , sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
2 dill pickles, cut into lengthwise wedges

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. In a bowl, combine the chopped tuna, onion and its juice, the 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into 4 firm patties about 3 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cover and chill in the freezer for no longer than 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the lemon-chive mayonnaise, stir together the 1/4 cup mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chives, soy sauce, and hot-pepper sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

Carefully place the tuna patties on the grill with a wide spatula. Grill the patties, gently turning once, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes total for medium-rare, 8 minutes total for medium. At the same time, lightly toast th bread slices on the grill. Transfer to individual plates.

Place the tuna patties on half of the bread slices. top with the lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and the 1 tablespoon snipped chives. Garnish with wedges of dill pickle. Serve immediately, with the lemon-chive mayonnaise on the side.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March thoughts of October

As day 4 of the 5 day work week, tonight I finally didn't have anything I HAD to do, mostly, I didn't have any obligations at Town Hall. I worked until about 5:30 and came home and fed and watered my rosebushes. Several new buds on several bushes. (I'm excited!! ) I fixed a martini and sat down and put on the national news.
Now I know why I so rarely put on the national news. I switched the channel, surfing past all sorts of undersirable programning. I turned off the TV. It was most soothing, sitting on my sofa, with my beautiful dog at my side, without a sound, without another person, without another distraction. {soak it in!}
I listened to the latino music coming from a few houses down. Party on. My mind was the thought thoroughfare for the period of half an hour. I'd pull over and give one thought some attention, log that that'll be an item for discussion, and move on. Finally my monkey mind said, "Sit.! down at your computer, and .....write. "

OCTOBER and other thoughts

I moved from Hallandale Beach, Florida to Fort Myers Beach, Florida in October, 1981. I had my new 1980 red Subaru 3 door hatchback, that Joe Lamb sold me at Sullivan Street Motors.
The day I signed the papers, after all was said and done, Joe spread out lines of cocaine and we partied on. 6 months later, Joe's body was found in a Fort Lauderdale canal with a bullet in the head.

I moved to Fort Myers Beach at the encouragement of my sister, Debbie. She owned a home on the beach with extra room, and after having visited me in Hallandale Beach (in my hole-in-the-wall apartment), offered to put me up 'til I could get established. The day I moved, was a Saturday in mid October. I remember stopping at the Goodwill Store and leaving stuff - I especially remember leaving a brown corduroy blanket with orange trim. Brother Robert was following behind me hauling more of my stuff. (Cute little Subaru only held so much).

Back then Alligator Alley was a two lane road. One lane east and one lane west. There were no lights, no "comfort facilities" no emergency call boxes, no wildlife retention fences. The speed limit signs were doubled, with a day time and a night time speed limit. Accidents were few, but serious. For me, it was a gloriously clear Saturday morning in October. I was driving a hot little red car and going to a new life. I had my hand out the window and pointed it to dip into the wind, up and down, back and forth. I was on a high.

I got pulled over by a FL Highway Patrol Officer. He asked me if I knew how many cars I'd passed? I said "no" and he told me. WTF. I signed the ticket and moved on. I wasn't looking for any hassles. I had a quarter pound of weed under my seat, and joints in the ashtray. We sure were stupid, back then.

Two years after moving to the Beach, I shared an apartment with another girl, in an apartment complex. I was 28 yrs old and this complex rented to a lot of singles. I made friends. One evening I went out to the 'clubs' with a couple of girlfriends. There, at the Top O'Mast on Fort Myers Beach, I met Pete. It was the third week in October. 1983.

The third week of October 1985, we were married. The first week of October 2005 we were divorced. In October 2006 I almost lost my job. In Otober 2007 I did something stupid enough to almost cost me my job. In October 2008 I had some really bad news about my career development,. In October 2008 my mother passed away.

I've always been fond of October, for it's flaming foliage, the smell of apples, the cooling chilling temperature changes. How could October turn to betray my life by repeatedly affording me so many societal down turns?!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Needs Work
Available Immediately
Local, Hardworking, Good References.
Experienced in Excavation.
Licensed in Lee County, Registered with the AKC- nationwide.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It was a restless night....

I was in the mall with two girlfriends. "Did you see where they went?" I asked, referring to two men with whom we were hoping to meet up. Looking around the store, I determined that they had left. "Let's go up to Barnes & Noble" I said. We exited the mall, and walked down the city sidewalk for several blocks. My friends were getting skeptical just about the time we saw the storefront. It was an old storefront, very much unlike the newer stores springing up in various plazas. The banner clearly showed the Barnes & Noble logo, so we approached the doorway. My friends entered in, but I was swept up into a car parked at the curb: the only way I could enter into the store was through the back seat of this parked car. In the front seat were two unknown, unidentified males. I had no choice, however I was filling with fear for the possibility that I would be trapped. I entered, and exited full of fear in my throat. When I reached the front of the store, my friends were already inside. As I approached the front counter, it wasn't a typical book store. It was a very old book store, like something out of "Never Ending Story" or "Needful Things"; a store that held its own mysteries. My friends were there, although I was unaware of where and what they were doing. A man came forward, though did not approach. We were standing side by side, but engaged in conversations with others. We felt each others' energies. We knew each other, have known each other for several years, although had never met. We called each other by name and smiled our knowing smiles. Long time friends together at last. I knew it was him, although he looked differently. Younger, more handsome, much thinner than I'd imagined. His friend engaged with my friends. We walked outside to the back yard. What had been a city block now became a residential neighborhood. The back yard had a garden setting, a picnic table, a grill, and a tall fence. "You can do these dishes" he said to me. I felt remorseful that I had given him these dishes without having cleaned them, first. I washed dishes - tons of dishes - in tubs outside - heating water on a burner, and stacking the cleaned dishes on towels on a folding table. My friend approached me - my new male friend, the friend I'd always known yet had never met. He put his arms around my waist and drew me to him. He was shirtless: the firm taut skin of his chest was intriguing. I ran my fingers over the lines of his pectorals, his biceps, triceps. He pulled me to him and kissed me passionately. A surge of emotion welled inside of me, and I kissed back with equal passion. We clung to each other in an unrelenting embrace.
It was time to go. The sun was setting and everyone was leaving. I found myself walking along a dark, winding road. It was a two-lane highway that wound through the mountains. I walked, jogged, sometimes ran, always careful with each passing car: would it hit me? would it stop and harrass me? The shoulder of the road was rough and caused me to stumble at times, always on my guard. Finally I reached my destination.
I entered the nursing home. Mom was sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by my sisters. She looked BEAUTIFUL! I told her she has never been so beautiful in her whole life. She was pleased with knowing that she looked stunning. She was in full make up, her hair professionally done, wearing her blue silk suit with pearl earrings. She giggled and said she'd never felt better in her life. We kissed and hugged and I told her I loved her. My sisters were there, and I told them that i was now living in Seattle, so could be close to mom if she should need my help. They thanked me for being close.

"All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Reverse Images

I just came inside from sitting out in the garden. The sun set about an hour and a half ago, the "front" is moving in. No more rain, which may be a disappointment as it has been dry. The temperature is dropping. Gracie had been acting up (or out, as others say) so I decided we needed to go outside for awhile. She loves being outdooors, and if I don't sit with her or play with her or at least be outside with her - she barks. (She's found her voice). So I buttoned up the cardigan I'd worn all day, added a light scarf and my brown jacket and went out.
With Gracie on the line, I unfolded my blue camp chair, and propped my feet up on the bench of picnic table. It really was quite blustery. While Gracie romped about, I cocked back my head and looked up at the night sky. The clouds were moving very evenly, steadily fast. Just as one might see images in the puffy white clouds on a bright day, I saw images in the dark clouds against the vacant white background. It was amusing, as if I were watching a film. I saw images of rabbits, more like the Roger Rabbit or Bugs Bunny type of rabbit. A saw an image of the bust of a Roman soldier with an outstretched arm holding a trophy. My imagination danced along with the roll of the clouds and I smiled.
At one point I looked deep into one of the passing images, and saw stars. I then felt silly for having not realized that these images I'd been enjoying weren't darker clouds, but rather breaks in the heavy white clouds. The front is rolling in.

weather or not

Gracie woke me at dawn. We went outside for her to "do bizzness". I crawled back in bed for another couple of hours, surprised at how late it was when I crawled out at 9:30. I had a number of things on my mind that I would do today, with gardening being the most appealing. When I put Gracie out on the line, I noticed the clouds sliding in from the northwest. With a blender of yogurt, skim milk and frozen bananas (to which I added a teaspoon of bone meal powder), I sat down to check e-mail and the weather.
A momentary lapse in electricity preceded a sudden gust of wind that slammed shut bedroom doors and pushed drapes up to the ceiling. The western sky was cobalt gray, throwing down drops of rain. I guess I didn't need to check the weather, after all. Apparently there's a front coming through; only question is, how much rain and how cold will it get.
I put on a cardigan and poured a hot tea. Today looks to be an indoors-day; the kind of day to make soup or stew or bake bread, or other culinary creations. I put Mozart on the stereo, put a load of laundry in the washing machine, and rebooted the router (every power outtage, no matter how brief, requires a reboot ).
Already the rain has stopped leaving no trace of its existance. The wind rustles the dried fronds on the cabbage palms next door. The driveway is a copper colored carpet of fallen leaves from the live oaks. The air is noticably absent of birds, both sight and sound. A check of the weather shows it is 61degrees, with wind out of the NW with gusts to 32 mph. The radar map shows a narrow band of rain over the everglades - probably that little burst we experienced a few moments ago. Pulling the radar map out further, I see that another ban of showers are due in the next 30 minutes or so. These bands are the tail of a large storm system that is right now beating down on the carolinas. My friends in Charlotte are experiencing winter storm warnings. I could use a lazy leisure day.

Happy Birthday, Mark

February 28th was my youngest brother's 48th birthday... I don't remember growing older, when did he? Mark has some special needs, particularly his attachment to our mother. To help him through his birthday-without-mom, family members joined for dinner at il pomodoro in south Fort Myers. Reservations were for 5:45 pm (Mark likes to eat early). It took me fifteen minutes to get off the island - a distance of about two miles. (Yesterday was a beautiful beach day, and everyone this side of the Mason-Dixon line thought so, too). I quipped that we're an afluent family, with six of us going to dinner in five cars. Norbert remarked, That 's the American way! Love of the automobile!"
When we checked in with the host, he said, "...I can't put you where I wanted to because you're late..." and then instructed a young woman to put us at table 9. I thought he was rude, and under different circumstances, might have told him so. Table 9 was fine with me and everyone else and we sat down.
We ordered appetizers of fried artichoke hearts and calamari, had glasses of house pinot grigio and hot garlic rolls. Dinners came with a choice of garden salad or caesar salad. I chose the garden salad with a side of blue cheese dressing. I ordered from the daily special, Grouper Francese. Others had more traditional italian meals, veal parmigiana, gnocchis, and assorted pastas. Their serving portions are huge. Even being cautious with appetizers and bread, I stopped eating after a third of my plate. We shared deserts of tiaramasu cheesecake and cannolis, and I had a cup of espresso.
As we gathered our boxes of uneaten food and rose from the table, I noticed the restaurant was full, with a line of waiting patrons out the front door. It was shortly passed eight. We kissed our farewells and found our vehicles and called it a night.