Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sarah's birthday is june 26. this year she wanted a birthday party, and so was born the pig roast. It was a great party, no doubt! There were some challenges with the pig and the pups, however, so, when about four days after the party, Gracie showed signs of diarhea, I was particularly concerned about blockage or contamination. Friday night, I stopped to say fare well to a coworker who is moving on, and got home about 8:15 PM.
Gracie didn't greet me at the door. First and fore most clue something was wrong. Gracie's diarrhea was heavy with a blood presence. I called her vet, and got a message for an emergency hospital. I called the VET ER, and, of course - bring her in.
I brought her in and they treated her for colitis. They also treated her for infections in both ears. Gracie has long pendulus ears. They don't dry out. The cause of "colitis" is anybody's guess. They kept her overnight, no extra charge. Gracie was sent home with a full pack of meds - a couple of anitbiotics, washes, ointments... Five hundred dollars later...

This was the 4th of JULY weekend. Monday the 5th I was happy to know that Gracie's vet, Doctor Patterson, was open for business.
I Love Doctor Patterson. Every pet owner should have a Vet like Dr. Patterson. He was straight up with me: damned if you do, damned if you don't. regarding treatment of Gracie's ears... I' m good with that!
Gracie bordered on being totally spoiled when the ER Doc put her on a bland diet (chicken and rice/ ground beef and rice). I was boilin' chicken and steamin' rice for my delicate darling for several days.,

Do You Like Strawberries?

Tonite I'm listening to a mix of classical music that my daughter put together for me as a gift a few years back. We finished a dinner of a fresh garden salad with poached chicken and blue cheese dressing. We topped it off with some chocholate sponge cake and strawberries and fudge. YUM MY.
Gracie's in the atrium barking - either at the frog or at the absence of frog.
Ruca's sprawled out on my bedroom floor.
Mozart plays on my new Bose speaker system.
I sip a stemware half full of DiSorrano over ice..nice after dinner cocktail.
Y'know...Life Is Good....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lessons Learned In Pig Planning

Trash pick up in my neighborhood is on Wednesday. We probably should have had better planning when it came to disposing of the pig carcass. "Mom, do you have any heavy duty trash bags?" Sarah called from alongside the carved pig. I guess the trash bags I bought weren't heavy duty enough, but, that's all I had. Sarah and her friend disposed of the carcass and the party continued.

A few hours later, when my brother and sister in law were leaving, they pointed out a box sticking out of a trash bag in the side yard. "The dogs are getting into that, whatever it is..." my sister in law said. I went over and picked up the bag and put it along side the garage, out of dog's reach. It was swarmed with black flies, so I figured it was the pig remains.

The next morning, while waiting for the plumber to come and fix the broken hose bib, I took another trash bag and placed it over the top of the box, trying to contain the contents (it was gross) and tied it off and put it in the garage next to the (full) trash bin.

When I pulled in the garage after work on Monday, I stopped short of pulling all the way in: The gross box/bag of hog carcass was oozing fluid on to the garage floor, and said fluid was crawling with maggots. I donned industrial strength rubber gloves, grabbed a plastic table cloth cover that was waiting for the washing machine, and a large roll of duct tape. I purposely squinted to blurr my vision so the image of squirming maggots wouldn't be permanently imbedded in my mind's eye. I spread out the plastic sheet of table cloth cover and maneuvered the oozing blob of carcass onto the plastic cover and taped it closed. I poured bleach on the garage floor and swept the bleached maggots out to the driveway. I had 24 hours before I could put it out to the curb for trash pick up. What a stinky, nauseating mess.

A couple of hours later, Sarah was in the garage carrying on about how GROSS it was and THEY'RE EATING THROUGH THE PLASTIC! and other such exclamations. I grabbed a tarp and a quilted drop cloth that we used to cover the kegs before tapping them. We wrapped the maggot-fare in the tarp and then in the quilted cloth. We secured it with a mile of duct tape, placed it in the bed of Kev's truck, and he and Sarah took it to......... well, a commercial dumpster a short distance away. I'm sure someone would have thought they were dumping a dead body...heaven help anyone who chose to dumpster dive to investigate. It truly makes me wonder how crime scene investigators can stand the stench of decomp or the sight of maggots and smell of rotting flesh.

Lessons learned regarding the disposition of the pig carcass - better planning indeed should there be another pig roast!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

morning after

I opened my eyes and looked at the clock: 9:54 AM. My head felt cloudy and my mouth felt like cotton. The kitchen had all the signs of a marathon party the day/night before. I took a glass from the cupboard and pressed it against the dispenser in the door of the refrigerator. Nothing happened. "What's the matter with this thing, now?" I wondered. The power was on, so that wasn't it...I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of seltzer and poured a tall glass. The effervescence will cut the cotton. "Did you see the note I left?" Sarah called as she came from her bedroom. " I had to shut the water off.." It seems that as the party was winding down, and most of the kids were gone, 'someone' pulled the hose bib out of the wall outside and snapped off the copper pipe. Water gushed like a rainstorm. At least they had the good sense to turn off the water, I thought. I slowly began picking up the party leftovers... empty champagne bottles, half-filled solo cups of beer (from beer pong), plates with rib bones and barbecue sauce, watermellon rinds, cupcake papers. It sure was one heckuva party, I must admit. Cleaning up, though, can only go so far without water. What was I going to do, I wondered.
After about an hour of loading trash cans and emptying cups of stale beer and half filled soda cans, I pulled out the phone book and called a plumber. It was a sunday, and it's going to kill me, but I don't know how to do it myself, and I'm not about to burden any of my family or friends. It took the plumber longer to quote a price and write up an invoice than it did to replace the hose bib. It was probably a five dollar part that took him maybe 10 minutes to put in at the cost of $165.00. (ouch).

Saturday, July 3, 2010


June is a celebratory month in this household. Both daughters were born in June, 2 years apart from each other, so we celebrate birthdays! When they were young girls, we'd frequently have joint parties and they were always big blowouts with pinatas, cakes candies and lots of kids. Some were held at parks, some at pools but all were quite the celebration.
This June, the girls are 21 and 23 years old. The pinata was replaced with a 66 lb pig, and the koolaid cooler became a keg of yuengling.

The party went from 2 P to 2 A.... gee...sure hope we didn't tick off the neighbors!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Frog Lives!!!

Photos shot in the Atrium
Saturday, June 19
Frog Lives!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Frog in the Atrium

During the process of buying my house, the closing had originally been set for October 20, 2009. Because of the hoops that Wells Fargo wanted me to jump through, the closing was delayed until November 4. The seller had previously planned on being here for the October 20 date (he’s from Ohio) and maintained his plans. He signed the closing papers and handed over to me the garage door opener. (I resisted meeting him at the house – but did so most reluctantly… he handed over the garage door opener as if it were the Olympic torch…). There was a period of two weeks in which I had access to the house via the garage, but didn’t yet have title or the front door keys.

One afternoon I went by my soon to be new house and pulled in to the garage. Right now I don’t remember why I went there – probably just anxious to make it a done deal. The garage opens up into an atrium, which then opens up into the master suite.

See blog entry, Anticipation October 24, 2009 :

I stopped by my new house two days ago to bring in the trash cans, and so I popped my head inside the atrium. It had just rained so it was good to see how wet it gets and where. I noticed a small tree frog in the atrium, and pondered how he could have gotten inside. I thought perhaps he was born there. Then I looked up and noticed a rip in one of the screens in the skylights. Darn. That'll need to be fixed pronto, as I plan on opening the doors and windows to the fresh air outside.

That was my first encounter with the frog in the atrium.

I moved in, and one evening Sarah asked me whether I’d partied in the atrium, yet. So we wiped off the chairs and enjoyed cosmopolitans as the moon shone through the skylights. Peeking around from behind a planter was a small tree frog. I chuckled to myself as I saw him staring back, but Sarah wasn’t laughing – she really really dislikes frogs.

One evening I sat in the atrium by myself, with the gentle spray of a light rain dusting my face. It felt magical. Then I heard the Splat! As the frog lept by and landed squarely on the glass door. He looked a little larger….

One Saturday afternoon I was cleaning the sliding glass doors between the bedroom/bathroom/atrium. I opened the one door completely wide, and as I did, up in the track of the door I saw Frog inching back out of sight….(he thought I didn’t see him, but I did…!)

Enter Gracie……
Gracie is quite unlike the labs I have had over the years – without a doubt! – but especially in her fierce hunting. Of course I add to the frenzy by making a game of it: I’ll open the door to the outside as I most excitedly exclaim: “Git-m!!” She would charge out the door on a true hunt – chasing birds, squirrels, lizards, and…..frogs.
Gracie discovered the frog in the atrium one evening, as did her buddy, Ruca. The two dogs made themselves crazy whining, howling and barking at the small tree frog that managed to stay out of range. I nudged the frog so he was forced to lunge from his perch. (Git’m!). I decided enough was enough; Frog attempted to hide under one of the patio chairs, so, I took the chair – frog and all – out to the front yard and left him there. That should be the end of it.

But NOooo. Darned if Frog either found his way back, or one of his buddies decided to take over, because there was again (or still), a frog in the atrium.

Earlier this week, Gracie was sniffing around outside the atrium. She knew Frog was there. With the heat, now, the doors are closed, so I would hear Gracie’s tap-tap-tap wanting me to open the door so she could hunt. I did – and I closed the glass doors to the air conditioned area, but left the door open to the garage. Gracie and Ruca were dancing in the room trying to get Frog. I laughed and walked out to the living room. Shortly after, I heard the loud barking of two dogs. I went in to the atrium, and there was Frog on the ledge, out of reach. Being a brat, I grabbed a broom and nudged him til he jumped to the floor. Gracie was on him instantly. Now I really believe that Gracie has the taste of blood. Ruca, a lab, much like my other labs in years past, has a “soft mouth” and can retrieve and hold objects without biting down. Not Gracie. I think she had Frog pinned between the planks. Ruca stood there looking at her with apparent disbelief. I walked away, not wanting to be witness to the slaughter.

That was three days ago, and I have not seen Frog, or signs of his ‘remains.’ Hard to say whether Gracie ate him, or he managed to escape to a safe place and recuperate. Each evening I pause to survey the room looking for any evidence of the Frog in the Atrium.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend Shoppings and other good things

Both yesterday and today I woke before sunrise, seeing the faint rays of the sun slipping into the atrium. Insisting that I was going to "sleep in" on my days off, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Both mornings, I slept until 8:45 am. The problem with that, is, that by 9 and 10:00 AM, it's already getting too hot to do much outdoors except pool, beach or boating. I sit looking out over the lawn, lush and green despite the lack of rain, anxious to finish some gardening I'd started weeks ago. The thought of working in this heat, well, makes me procrastinate.
What about this heat. I have lived in South Florida over 30 years - I am well acclimated. So why is this summer so much hotter? I wonder if having moved off the beach is part of it - not having the benefit of the gulf breezes. Or it may be that when on the beach, you go outside to either go to the beach or ...go in to town! Or it could just mean that this summer is hotter. It is hot.
I joined a friend and fellow clerk for happy hour the other night. We had chardonnay and oysters and shrimp and good, lively conversation. I first met Dianne about 4 years ago, although I had spoken with her on the phone times prior. She's a delightful lady and I truly enjoy her company. We met after work, and I was in khakis and sandals, and she was in a dress with heels. "Do you always dress for work?" I asked her. "Pretty much," she said, "when we have council meetings I usually wear a jacket". When I have a council meeting, I usually wear a suit or jacket or something more "professional", but other days I'm pretty casual. Lately I've been noticing others' wardrobes, and recalling a comment made by Florida Senator Richter: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" I've been gradually upgrading my work wardrobe to be less casual beach and just a little more professional. Oh we're a far cry from the suits in town, but trying to move away from shorts and flip flops! With that in mind, I went to Tanger Factory Outlets yesterday: the Liz Claiborne shop had 50% off sale. I bought a pair of white linen slacks, a pair of white sateen capris, a black knit top and a navy cotton summer dress. I then went to Rack Room shoes and bought three pair: one navy, one white and one brown. Next stop was Walgreens for some new makeup, walgreens liquor for some margarita mixers, and then Publix for groceries.
While in Publix, I was reading the label on a package of corn tortillas, when I heard another shopper speak to me. "Excuse me?" I asked, as I turned to see a tall, tanned gentleman walking up to me. "Do you shop this store often?" he asked. I smiled, "Probably too often!" I answered. "Do you know where I could find the honey? I thought it would be with the jellies and jams, but...." I looked up at the guides above the aisles (where they say CONDIMENTS, CRACKERS, PET SUPPLIES) but knew that was futile. "Often times the carts have directories on them" i said, but quickly realized that this store didn't. Heck, I didn't know..."The staff is usually pretty good at helping..." I answered. "...well, but I can't find anyone..." he answered as he walked away. Y'know, I just hate it when I can't find something: whether at work or at home - it's just my nature - and not knowing where the honey was bugged me! I figured if I was looking for the honey, I'd look where the corn syrup, maple syrup etc. would be. As I left that aisle and rounded to the next, I saw this man standing at the end of the aisle. "Did you find the honey?" I asked. "Yes" he responded, "It was with the coffee." Funny how we see the aisles: the same aisle that has the corn syrup, maple syrup and honey is the same aisle that has the coffee.
Shortly after, I ran into him again in the produce. He had a small, hand-held shopping basket (instead of a cart) and I noticed that there was no ring on the left hand. I finished my grocery shopping and casually pondered the exchange. He was handsome. In hindsight, I mused at the question: "Do you come here often?" Gawd... am I dumb? Should I have acted / responded differently? We hear talk about meeting "other singles" in grocery stores - did I miss an opportunity?
I then recalled a dinner a few weeks ago: It was a conference put on by one of the Town's advisory committees, titled FMBeach Leadership Conference. It was a three-day event, culminating with an awards dinner. I was one of the speakers at the conference, so attended the final dinner. Many attendees brought a spouse or guest, but I attended solo. I sat at a table with two other couples - both business owners on the island who I knew. Just as dinner began, another speaker at the conference took the sixth seat at the table next to me. He was the regional director of a company that turns waste into energy. Very good dinner company, very intelligent, very friendly and rather handsome. (and no wedding ring). I quite enjoyed my evening, and I would venture to say that his company was a major contributing factor.
I have been divorced for 5 years, and, I guess I just don't know how to "get back into" the dating scene. After 20 years of marriage, things are quite different from when I was young and single. Then, I had no hesitations about meeting people. Then, I was probably thought of as "forward." It seems now, all the good ones are taken. Or so it seems.
I practice creative visualization, and have just recently been focusing on my desire to meet someone with whom I can have a relationship (my fingers stumble over those words!). Sometimes, when I think about the constraints of "relationships" I get a little doubtful. But then I see couples together and am envious. When I experience things - be it a movie or a kayak trip or a new recipe - I think how nice it would be to have someone to share in these experiences. You could say that the universe has placed both of these men in my path, as a result of my creative visualization, but I failed to act. So I ask you, my friends: what should I have done? or, when the opportunity arises again, what should I do? Is it OK to come right out and say, "Are you married?" I guess I just don't know how to "flirt" anymore, if that's even an appropriate term. I think I see a little of what men have complained about for years: the fear of rejection.
I guess I just don't get it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Y' can't fix stupid

I just finished washing and waxing my daughter's car. That's hard work! especially in the 95 degree heat. Her 21st birthday was Friday, and she and friends headed up to Ginny Springs (in north-northwest of Gainesville) for a few days of camping and snorkling the fresh water springs. I intended to get the windows tinted on her car, and was planning to take it to the shop Saturday morning, but I realized that I would have to keep the windows up for the first 24 hours after the tint was applied, and.... her A/C doesn't work. No way I was going to drive her car home in the 95 degree heat with the windows rolled up. So, instead, i dropped it off at the local super lube and they gave it an oil change and some fuel injection action. I left the car over the weekend and the shop keeper said things were slow on Sundays and he could have one of the kids who work for him do a detail for $70.00. The super lube is only a mile away, so I walked over this morning - they said it'd be ready by noon. At about 10 minutes before noon, my cell phone rang. Was I on my way? ...yes... I'd have to wait about 10 minutes - that's OK, it'd be about 10 minutes before I got there. He went on to tell me that there were a lot of stains in the carpet and upholstery that they couldn't get out. I understood.. (her car was really really trashed). On my approach, I could see the car outside of the garage, being hosed off (didn't they wax it?!), and then pulled into the bay. (they were just now getting to the oil change!). The short of it all is, that I wasn't clear on what I expected - I expected a wash and wax! and a full detail. (Lessons learned). I brought the car home and pulled it under a shade tree and washed and waxed it - complete with armourall on all the vinyl and rubber. She needs to get the A/C fixed - now that she's home for the summer, we have the time to get it to Hunter (our local 'shade tree mechanic') to get it fixed. It's the switch in the dash..,.not an expensive part, but a bear to get to - and Modern Auto wanted $500. to fix it. Let's see what Hunter can do.
My daughter, Sarah, also went to Ginny Springs, leaving Saturday morning. I hope they are having a lot of fun! Sarah's a very experienced camper - actually, both girls are - they grew up camping. Lauren' boyfriend, however, is a novice, with this trip being his first. It'll be interesting to hear his comments on the trip! My oldest sister was down from Columbus OH for a visit, having returned home this past Thursday. This is the first weekend I have had the house to myself in months and months. The thought was exciting. I soaked up the sun for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, went to Blockbuster and rented two movies and then to the supermarket for groceries. I bought two pounds of large, pink gulf shrimp. The fishmonger commented that we probably won't be able to enjoy these for much longer, both agreeing that the oil spill is truly, truly a shame.
I cranked up the stereo, cleaned the shrimp, and marinated it in a ginger teriyaki sauce, par-boiled and peeled pearl onions, and threaded skewers of shrimp, onions, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni, mushrooms and small pieces of corn on the cobb. I opened a bottle of chardonnay and snacked on some edamamie while I danced in the kitchen. this was good stuff.
I turned the lawn sprinkler on in the backyard, after having mowed the lawn earlier this week. Time to get the lawn to grow, and I don't know how to turn on the automatic irrigation system that is here, so, I use the manual (for now). I wait until after sunset, because it's just too darn hot otherwise. In the front of the house is a planter where I planted three bird of paradise, and several lantana. It has been hot and dry, so I put the front yard hose in the planter while I sat out back watering the lawn and firing up the grill.
I opened my eyes, and looked at the clock. 4:00 AM. I was in bed, fully clothed. I could see the hall lights on in the front of the house, so I got up and went to the kitchen. I poured a glass of chilly water and downed it, as I surveyed the kitchen. What a mess. On the counter was a dirty dish with the remnants of a couple of skewers and shrimp tails. Yellow rice dried in the pot. I stuck the plate in the sink and ran water to soak, covered the rice pot, turned off the lights and started to head back to bed. Did I put the food away, I asked myself and opened the refrigerator. I cooked two pounds of shrimp and lots of vegetables! Where were they? I looked to the patio and saw the empty pan and the barbecue tongs along side the grill. Then I saw smoke coming from the grill. I raised the hood. Oh good lord. Everything was charred, completely charred to ashes. All the shrimp, all the vegetables. I turned off the grill - I'd clean it up in the morning. As I turned off the front porch light, I heard water running. Oh good lord - the hose was still on in the front planter! I walked outside and the planter was flooded to overflowing. I turned off the hose cursing myself for the wasted water.
When I got up a few hours later I noticed in the screen porch area that the floor was wet. It's a concrete floor, and when it rains, the room floods slightly, as the former owners piled pebble rock up along the outside slab - up on top of the slab, so it flooded in. This wasn't the case today, however. Standing in the living room by the sliding glass door to the screen porch, my foot left an imprint in the carpet. My foot left an imprint in the soggy, wet carpet. The wet carpet was clearly as a result of the overflowed planter (7 or 8 hours of watering, you know...) I pulled away the love seat, end tables, floor lamps, potted plants, ottoman and chair. I hauled out the shop vac. Boy have I gotten my money's worth from that tool. The tub holds about 6 gallons of water. I emptied it twice. I cranked up the ceiling fan, turned the A/C down, closed the bedroom doors and opened up the curtains to allow the sun shine in.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Suddenly Saturday

Here it is a saturday morning again, already - the weeks are flying by. It seems like only yesterday I was moving in to my new home. Here it has been over six months! Things at work have been a flurry, what with (another) new boss who has his own style and ideas of how things are to be done. Thank goodness I hired an assistant when I did! I would be completely unable to keep up otherwise.
The weather has turned hot quickly. It seems we barely were able to open the windows from the unusually long cold winter, when the humidity shot up and temperatures are consistently in the upper 80s and low 90s.
Mothers Day was wonderful! I had my daughters' company all day! We started the day with brunch at a great little mom n pop place I'd never been to before. Delicious food (I had the gulf coast omelet: crab meat, asparagus and hollandaise sauce) reasonable prices and no waiting. the girls gave me some great gifts - Barbeque utensils, a large citronella candle tub for the patio, and a great hard-bound book Complete National Parks of the United States. After brunch we went shopping, then came home and played games, grilled chicken wings, grilled aspargus and threw snow crab legs on the barbie, drank cranberry juice and champagne and sat out on the patio bird watching and trying to spot otters and bobcats.
Although I woke early today, I am getting a slow start. I need to mow the lawn, and I want to get some more of my plants into the soil - it's too hot for them to be in pots - my water bill is out of this world. After finally getting out of bed and getting dressed, I made a very large pitcher of lemonade with a dozen or so freshly juiced lemons. Yummy.
I knew it had been awhile since I entered into my blog, so I wanted to take these moments for a quick entry. First order of business is to scoop poops - then fire up the Sarlo. It's going to be a hot n dirty afternoon, but I know it'll feel so good when I'm finished,.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Cardinal Rule

Seems I've always appreciated the cardinal; primarily the male cardinal, I guess because of his brillant appearance. I would notice his presence in the winter after a summer of rains and sea gulls. I've had various bird feeders over the years, and as my brother Kenny quips, we make fools of ourselves trying to keep the squirrels out.
This past weekend I planted a potted bougainvillea and many aloe plants. I set some pentas in pots alongside in anticipation of being put in the ground. I also set up the bird bath and bird feeder. The bird bath had been 'set up' in so much as the move-in day had it put in a spot and the rain filled it. A few weeks ago, I took it down and drained it and let it dry out. So this past weekend I set it up alongside a young wax myrtle that I put in the ground about 2 months ago. Wax Myrtle is a good birds bees and butterflies plant, and I fancied a bird and butterfly garden in that area of the lawn.
The bird feeder comes from a long line. When I moved in here, the bird feeder was dissed to the back yard, the bottom half packed with wetted seeds. A few weeks ago I removed the screws on the bottom, knocked out the clump of matted seeds and put it out to dry. This past Sunday I filled it and hung it on a wrought iron 'shepherd's hook' that I purchased at the auction in Alva (see goin once!). I positioned it on the mound in the front yard, where my twin ponytail palms stand tall - the first trees I planted here.
Today is Tuesday evening, and I erected the bird bath and feeder on Sunday afternoon. Since then, I've looked out in hopes to see a bird or two at the bath or feeder. I have hopes and dreams.
Tonight, I sat in the screen porch, looking out over the start of a butterfly garden, gazing at the bird feeder on the wrought iron hook, the fresh bird bath, and the wax myrtle. The call of the cardinal dominated the evening sound. A male cardinal, in his shocking bright red coat, landed on the young wax myrtle. He hopped onto the side of the bird bath, took a sip and paused. Like poetry in motion, he lept onto the feeder, while a female took his place on the lip of the bath. He stood down at the ground below the feeder, while she perched, pecking passionately at the seeds. I was awe-struck! Although the feeder was about 20 feet away, I picked up the binoculars on the table and watched. He stood guard below her while she feasted. He kept a soldier's watch under the feeder while she had her fill. When she had her fill, she flew back toward the stand of arecas next to the bouganvillea. He followed closely behind.
What you focus on, you attract.
This cardinal occurance is proof that what you focus on, you attract.
It is Magic.
Poetry in Motion.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just for the Birds

I spent some time yesterday replacing the screens on the screened porch - Gracie and Ruca designed their own 'doggie door'. We're getting into 'bug season' and the bugs are pretty intense in my neighborhood. I have lived in south florida over 30 years and have done wilderness camping in the everglades, so I'm no stranger to mosquitos and no-seeums. I have gone so far as to use insect repellant containing 100% deet - the hi-test - when outside at dusk. The bugs are bad.
I poured myself a margherita and sat down on the patio (with my deet). I sat gazing over the lawn, when my eye caught sight of a bird flying overhead. "That looks like a bald eagle.." I thought to myself. I didn't give it another thought until I saw another bird on the same flight path land in the same pine tree. I clearly saw the white undertail and the rigidly flat wings. I grabbed my binoculars. Carefully adjusting the site, I slowly scanned the treeline concentrating on the stand of pines. When my eyes saw the pop of bright orange amid the sea of green, I stopped. Focusing, I was awe-struck. There on a branch high up in the pines, stood a pair of adult bald eagles. Magnificent. The unmistakable white head and the bold orange beak and feet - times two - . The pair stood on the limb looking out over the woods. They were majestic and I was spellbound.
I didn't see a nest, but paired eagles are known to visit the same site year after year. As my friend LeAnn said, I am really enjoying my new home. As I am sitting at my breakfast table typing this, I saw a red shouldered hawk fly past the window with a 'catch' in its claws. For someone who enjoys nature as much as I do, this is an ideal place to live. Since I have been in this house just five months, I haven't done much in the way of decorating. I think I will convert the screened porch to a room full of binoculars insect repellent and bird books...
While I'm on the subject, I guess I'll mention that the other day, Ruca and Gracie were barking wildly at somehting on the ground. I have seen this before - a baby bird tossed or fallen from a nest. As I went to investigate, it was immediately apparent that it was not a bird. It looked like a pile of dog poop (a rather common sight in my yard!)it looked like a pile of poop, until in uncoiled! It was not the common black garden snake that I had seen before. It was about two feet long, with a small head and a thick body and the body was a mud-grey color. The dogs continued to bark and the snake slithered toward the canal, stopping and rearing up to hiss at Ruca. My first thought was that it was a cotton mouth. (POISONOUS!) I watched as it slid out of sight, and grabbed my "Reptiles and Amphibians" reference guide. It could have been a brown water snake. It could have been a cotton mouth. It's aggressive manner hints at cotton mouth, but for my safety sake, i want it to have been a brown water snake.
I promise that this blogg will not become "Michelle's Wild Life Adventures"

Monday, April 19, 2010


I Love My Dog.

Gracie was on the couch next to me the other night and I 'just happened' to have my camera. She looked adorable on the pillow - the pillow cover which is quilted by my mom - one of my favorites.

Isn't she beautiful?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

otter chatter

The other night after work I was in the back yard assessing the condition of my (still) potted plants - plants I've cared for in (what are now) very large pots. Gracie and Ruca were romping, and both halted along the canal. Both were poised at something in the water. I looked over, and saw the wake of some sudden submergence. Immediately the other canal bank was alive with motion. An otter poked his round wiskered face out of the water and looked at me. Gracie barked like a lunatic, but Ruca sat quiet responding to my command. Another otter of equal size slid off the far bank, into the water and slinked up behind the first guy. They looked right at me for an adorable moment, and then darted away. "Ollie Otter! Did you see Ollie Otter?" I giggled to the dogs.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in the breakfast nook (as I am's a nice place to sit....) when I looked out over the lawn and saw movement at the base of a stand of trees. It wasn't until I saw the animal move that I could tell it was an otter. Seeing the pair of otter the other night was not a surprise, but none the less a wonderful treat. So this evening, I was in the back yard watering many of those plants in very large pots, when action was going on in the canal. I looked to see a pair of otter exiting the canal on the far bank; one right behind the other. "I'm going to get my camera" I said to myself, although I knew that by the time I returned, the otter may well be gone. I came back outside and looked out over the still water. I noticed a dragonfly and thought I'd snap him:

As I stood searching the bank for otter occurrances, I saw a cat... stepping among the branches higher up along the bank. I fixed my stare on him; was it a ferral domestic cat, or was it a bobcat?

I was absolutely fascinated. I was so fascinated that I was slow on the camera trigger. I could have had much better shots. He sat there looking at me like I was some sort of a loser.

So I ask you: ferrel domestic cat? or bobcat?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Coupla Days Off

How quickly a few days off can pass - Some were very fruitful, and some were very stoic. While my intention was to just have a few days off to ...chill... when some would ask if I was going anywhere or doing anything I responded that I had no set plans, but still had a large number of boxes to unpack. Organizing the garage is a goal, mostly because nearly every time I need a tool or cleaning product or particular flower vase or book - I'm climbing through the boxes or cupboards. I did manage to get Beach Glass to come out and remove the wall of mirrors in the master bedroom and the very large mirror in the bath. Now I can begin the project of removing that god-awful wallpaper.

I sure got my work cut out for me. Some folks say, "hire somebody to do that..." but this is something I can do - I can't do plumbing and not too keen on electrical - but removing wallpaper I can do. Problem is, there's so stinkin' much of it. And it was glued on to stay forever. I paid $150 to have the mirrors removed; it was worth it to me. The mirrors in the bedroom were glued on - well, see for yourself:

now I gotta figure out how to remove the glue... the white part of the wall was the main, center mirror that was five feet wide. There were two, one-foot panels on either side. As my friend neener says, 'good-bye seventies!'

So I have my work cut out for me. Then I became annoyed with the appearance of the front yard. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a bird of paradise, a dozen or so golden shrimp plants and just as many pentas. I intended to plant then in the planter by the front entrance, but after I bought them I feared they would not get enough sunlight in the planter. I decided to plant them in the yard in front of the planter which had full sun for 4-5 hours. I planted them, and put the Invisible Fence flags around them to keep the dogs out. A few days after, the HOA asked me to remove the flags ('the rules say...' ) . I removed them, and it was only a matter of days before the dogs had nearly destroyed every golden shrimp, and about half of the penta. The front yard was a grey dirt pile and getting worse. So Saturday morning I drove to Home Depot. As I was driving down Gladiolus, I recalled my sister Debbie pointing out a nursery on the south side of the road and asked whether I'd ever been there. I hadn't. I guess we go back to what we know, and I knew Home Depot. As I was passing, I looked it over from the road, and it was a very substantial nursery, geared more for commercial customers. I was heading to Home Depot to buy sod, and as I passed this nursery, there was a sign out front that read SOD . I should stop there, I said to myself. But by that time I was under the fly-over and Gladiolus was under heavy construction. I got to Home Depot, and there was no sod. I didn't ask anyone, they were quite busy and full of lots of perrenials. I had been there last week and saw scant pallets of sod, but this day - no sod. I left and headed to that nursery.

I pulled in and had a brief but pleasant conversation with a man who walked in to the store behind me, and turns out he worked there. He could sell me sod by the piece. They charge a dollar a piece. I told him I needed enough for 14 square feet and he said I'd need half a pallet. What was I driving? "Well you'll need to make a couple of trips. The sod's out back behind us here, so how 'bout you pull around and we'll see how many we can get in one load."

I got home with 33 sheets in the back of my car. First I had to do was dig out the bird of paradise and what penta I could save, Plant the bird of paradise in the planter (yes, the one I had originally intended!), added three peace lilies behind the bird, and then had to rake and clean up the dirt lot. Then I started laying the sod. It was actually fun. I love the smell of the rich earth. I love the look of the young, green grass. I like putting together a puzzle, laying each piece in a snug fit.

I returned to the nursery and picked up another 30 sheets. Of course by now I was quite dirty and had to semi-change just to get in my car. The fellow from the morning was not around, and another young man came out to load the sod. Actually I'm not sure if he helped me or I helped him. But we were down to the end of the pallet and there was no more. I returned home and layed the rest, finishing just about sunset, which worked well as I drank a red stripe and watered the newly placed lawn. It felt good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fixing Dinner!

I'm having a blast. I took a few days vacation from work to just enjoy my new home. Tonight's dinner was pasta primavera with shrimp. Here's a pic of the preparation. How fun...I had Abba on the stereo while I drank pinot grigio...Mamma Mia!

A Happy St. Paddy's!!

Wearin' The Green!
T'was quite the happty time on St. Paddy's Day~! Mary Ann O'Connor DeMars can for certain cook up the tastiest corned beef 'n'' the best lot o' potatoes!
Kate and Sarah havin' the luck o' the Irish!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Going Once, Going Twice....????

"Go-on, go-on and play with them. They live across the street and they are the Gradys." It was my dad encouraging me and a couple other siblings to go outside to that lined up group of kids. We'd just moved in to the house at 63 Fairview Avenue, in Mount Pocono, PA. It was the summer of 1964.

My mother's family was in Ohio. Her 10th child was just 3 years old. I was too young at the time to realize what an adjustment it had to have been for her. But as the years went on, my mom developed her creative side. She'd always been a master seamstress, but living in rural northeatern PA, she became interested in antiques and collectables. "K's Dec-or -tiques" was the banner she asked me to make for her when she set up in the weekly flea market down on 611 just before Brocks drugstore. She would go to local auctions, and I would tag along. I was fascinated by the whole process. Mom would buy stuff - furniture, pictures, boxes of stuff, and turn it into treasures. Some of her specialties were trunks; she'd refinish the hardware, replace the lining. In later years, she lamented that the current trend was to keep as original condition as possible. She'd frequently say she regreted not knowing, then, not to ruin "the patena".

Whenever I hear someone mention an heirloom, antique or collectable and ask, "What do you think it's worth?" I hear my mother's response, "It's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it." Through the years we witnessed that with avon bottles and beanie babies.

But mom also taught me what to look for. I learned about furniture styles and periods, dovetail construction; how to sound the ring of cut glass; carnival glass, hobnail; reading the stamp 'sterling' .

Since I grew up with "antiqueing" and auctions, it was my passion that I introduced to my husband and children. Once Pete got the hang of it and understood the bidding process, he loved it. I still do.

Today I drove to Alva, Florida to attend an estate auction. I learned of the auction in the local weekly shopper. The ad gives a brief description of merchandise and the address date and time, and then their website. Alva is a community about an hours drive north east of here. Alva is your agricultural south central florida don't bother nobody community. The website had pictures of some of the items, and I focused on a bed frame (headboard, footboard and side rails), a wrought iron floor lamp, and some garden furniture and supplies. Preview was 9 AM and sale started at 10.

I woke shortly after 7 this morning. I felt pretty good, well rested. If I was to get to the auction by start of the preview, I would have to leave at 8:00... I wasn't so eager to rise and shine, but finally pulled out of the garage at 9:00 am.

When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live, I always kept Alva in the corners of my mind. There's some thing almost magical about Alva. Fields and farm animals ...flora fauna. Even this evening returning home, I mused about how nice it'd be to own a small cottage and some land in Alva.

I arrived shortly after ten, finding a fenced in hay field at the end of a gravel road that abutted a pen of pygmy goats. It looked like a parking lot, so, I pulled in. A young fella lanky and lean was walking through the entrance. " Think i can park in there?" I called to him. " Should be a spot right along that white van." he called back. I pulled in, parked, grabbed my bag and hopped out. "Oh no, ma'am - you can't park there - they wont be able ta get out..." another man called. "You might try up again' that red truck."

I walked into the yard... and it was the yard of a woman's home between her garages, pens, sheds and green houses. This was Alva. The auctioneer stood on a 3-step stool amidst feets of tables covered with rows of stuff. I've been to all kinds of auctions from the most common to the nearly most elite. This was the most common. and that was cool.

Merchandise went dirt cheap. He moved it. Most of the stuff was $3 $5 $10. Most of the first stuff was junk. There was a great amount of glassware. Glassware is highly collectible. I have more stinkin glassware than I ever could want, and, so, regardless of whether any of it was highly collectible, I was marginally interested.

Throughout the sale, it became apparent that there were a number of dealers. Some folks bought all kinds of stuff.. and a lot of all kinds of stuff. The auctioneer knew many of them by name. Some of my stunners: an oak drafting table sold for $45.00. A set of two solid oak, marble inset top square end tables sold for $25.oo for both. A full-size cedar armoir sold for $30.00. A cedar storage / hope chest sold for $20.00. I was paying attention to the furniture, but I know there had to have been stunners in the glassware. Fred Roenigk, the auctioneer, was moving it.

"Okay... let's bring the guns out." the aucti0neer called. Several folks slapped their pockets. "Whoa!" he called. "I'm in Alva! Can't call to bring the guns out! not knowing what folks'll do!" Folks chuckled to his humor. I'm not a gun collector, as a matter of fact I am repulsed by guns, but managed to realize that these guns were collectibles. I diverted my attention only to hear some fella come forward, and swiping his hand across his face, said, "Oh, I can't bid on those, I got me a record!" A woman next to me called, " Friends help friends bury the body!" I guess it was an 'inside' joke.

Iwas there until nearly 4:00 Pm. all the time, the auctioneer was on. That man worked hard for his money. Dang. I was tired just watching him! He was still going when I left. I was interested in the bed, but, upon seeing it, realized it was a king size, and my bed is a full size. I was willing to gamble on the size difference if it went cheap enough, but, there was a starter reserve bid of $300.00. ( it wasn't worth $300 to me). I cashed out, loaded my stuff and headed home.

I didn't mention the Christmas plates. I remember Pete's mom collected 7-inch, blue plates and had them hung in her family dining area. Today I saw a small stack of 4 of those plates. While the auctioneer was working his way through the pottery and glassware, he was anxious to move the stuff and get to selling the furniture in the house,. At one point, while moving through the tables, he asked, 'what else'. I said, "the Christmas plates" . I offered $10 and no one else bid. I could have lo-balled, but, why...they are Royal Copenhagen. I got 4 for $10, when 1 could sell for as much as $30.

I had a lot of fun today! The ironic twist here, tho, is...that today is the day of the 52nd annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival Parade! I don't think i've missed it ....ever....! (til now).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Mandy Patinkin was in my dream, again, last night. Last night he was my hero, savior. In this dream I passed out, and was revived from near death. Why do I dream of this actor? There's some weird kind of thing going on.
My mind is flooded with thoughts and scripts that I want to write down, but, where do I go first!
Tonight was election night. We had 2 seats open, 3 candidates. Results, one incumbent and one new council member. I'm bored with my job; my one personal goal was to acheive my certification as a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC). I achieved that last month after 3+ years. I need new goals career-wise.
I love my house! Buying this house was the satisfaction of another dream come true. Now, I need to rid myself of that god-awful wallpaper in the master suite and the guest bath...and paint the turqoise and pink walls! Not to mention my dreams for the gardens!
Gracie is growing into such a wonderful companion. She's easily confused, distracted, mischevious, misguided...! HA! The list could be endless. She's a baby girl, is what she is. Right now she's prancing among the kitchen cabinets. She's not hungry; she's just 'nosy...sniffin'.....bored...lookin'..." It's worked out nicely with her and the invisible fence... I Love! the invisble fence~! What's even worked, (shush this!).. I've used the Invisble Fence flags to cover newly planted gardens that I dont' want the dogs to dig up! Gracie's got a degree in excavation, and will dig up any and everything! so I use the flags to surround new plantings so she won't dig;m up. IT WORKS.
Right now, Mannheim Steamroller is on the stereo, playing "Slow Dancing in the Living Room". I love this song. I find it very very sexy. Iwould love to be slow dancing to this in the living room with someone I love. This might be on my list of new goals: slow dance in the living room with someone I love.
Wow. that last one was scary.
My children are doing fabulously. One of my goals was to provide them with reliable transportation, and, I believe that has been succesfully acheived. Sarah drives a 2005 Element, and La's in the 2003 Civic. Right now, La's Civic is paid in full, but I pay her auto insurance. Sarah's Element - she'll be in for a rude awakening come Oct 2010 when she takes over payments. At least she pays her own insurance!
My vacations the past two years have been wonderful! On my list of goals; visiting Washington State, and Alaska. Hard to beat! Now I'm focusing on what to place as my next vacation destination. I love the idea of visiting the National Parks, and could cross off quite a few in the course of my past vacations. As I wound down last year's trip, I contemplated where Iwould vacation next, and Yellowstone plays prominently. That's a work in progress!!
Time to Set New Goals.

This is such a vomit of ideas. I apologize to you for that. I have so much filtering in my mind. I have such a wonderful life. Life is wonderful; to be able to dream, imagine, and live all that you imagine - (i think there's some Thoreau in there, )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

too much o' nothin'

I am feeling a bit meloncholy, and without explanation. I feel somewhat at the crossroads, or a turning point, yet am unclear of my direction or destination. It makes for a weird sense; I'm not at the junction, just yet, yet,... know I am approaching it without firm knowledge of destination. It's a very weird feeling.
And I know I have just, basically, said...nothing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What'cha wearin' under there?

The six o'clock local news covered the sentencing of two young men in the murder of two other young men. I caught myself considering what must be in their mind to commit such a crime; and to commit such a crime at such a young age. I didn't think of it very long, because it made me sad. I turned off the TV and put the stereo on. Much better.
I put on a Willie Nelson CD. I love Willie - I love the smooth easy he has, with that twang of mischief. 'Always on My Mind'. Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should have; Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I should have. It makes me think about my failed marriage. I'm just now beginning to allow myself to let go of the hurt. I'm starting to admit to my failings. Maybe I didn't love him. When I asked him why, he answered, "I thought you didn't love me."
I'm humored by a memory of a comment from brother Ken. "You didn't ask for the right thing!" he commented when I told him how I employed the Law of Attraction and creative visualization. When I was approaching my 28th birthday, I recall affirming that I was ready to settle down; I was ready for a life time committed relationship. I asked for someone to love me.
I asked for someone to love me - then I hear Grace Slick asking, don't I want somebody to love, don't I need somebody to love. And Queen "find me somebody to love.." I'd had it all wrong!!
I had asked for someone to love me when in fact, I did need to find me somebody to love.
Lately I seem to notice couples that have a good marriage, or a good relationship. "He's the love of my life" Linda said when talking about Bob, her husband of 20+ years. I walked into my boss's office and heard him finish his phone conversation with his wife, and he said, "I love you, too." They are married nearly 20 years. ( I got a "Yo'"..)
I've digressed, and you've just gotten a peak at my underwear.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I am amazed at the time between today and my last post. It seems like yesterday, to me. Those of you who know me, know I have difficulty with the concept of time. I know that it is not a condition in which we live, rather a mode in which we think. I know that because I believe that, but I have trouble putting my arms around that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

She's so special.

A couple years ago, I was gearing myself up to get a dog. When I divorced in September of 2005, the two labs I had raised went with my ex-husband. It had been a few years, and I was feeling ready for a canine companion. We had always had labs. It was December 15, 1988, and Pete and Sarah drove to Miami and bought Vanna, a 10-week old female yellow lab. Two years later, friends gave us Max, then a nine-month old male yellow lab. We were Max's third family; we guessed the original owners mistreated him, a as he was very skittish, especially around men. He also knew the sound of a can opener, so we assumed he'd been raised on canned food. Max was a beautiful, square-headed, broad-chested dog of champion blood line. Vanna died in 1998, and it was obvious that Max missed her. And so did my daughters. In June of 1998, we bought Middy, female yellow lab pup. Max died in 2002, and a year later, Pete and Sarah and Lauren traveled to Miami to buy a male yellow lab. This was the first day of the world series, and the Florida Marlins were playing. We brought home our new pup, and rather tongue-in-cheek, said that if the Marlins won the world series, we'd name him Marlin. Well, the Marlins DID win the world series, and so we named him Marlin. None of us really liked the name, and it was awkward to say. Marlin was the worst dog to house-break. I'm not sure what was so different with him, but one thing was certain: I had never seen a dog that could pee as much as this dog. One day Sarah picked him up, and he was all wet from having just pee'd himself, and she joked, "We should call you Wizzer!" It stuck. So in 2005 I moved out and left Middy and Wizzer with Pete. After several years of being canine-less, I was preparing to change that.

Although I loved the labs we had, I was enamored with the Weimaraner. I thought they were absolutely beautiful, and especially liked the blue weims. I can't explain where it came from, but I wanted a blue female weim, and I'd name her Gracie. I spent a good deal of time reading up on the breed. I also searched the internet for breeders. It appeared I would have to travel to Georgia or the Carolinas to get a weim. I was in no hurry and figured it would happen when the time was right. Then one day in October 2008, a Friday afternoon, everything seemed to be 'going to hell in a handbasket' at work. When my computer refused to cooperate, I walked out of my office in exasperation, walked in to the break room, grabbed the classifieds from the News-Press and sat down aimlessly reading. There it was: 10-week old weimaraner pups for sale. I tore the ad out of the paper and took it home.

That evening, as I was surfing the net to see if I may have missed any article on weimaraners, I decided to call. A man in cape coral had both parents; he was not a breeder, however this was the only time his female had pups. They were pure breds, AKC registered, had the tail docked, dew claws removed, and current on shots. He had one female and one male left. The female was a blue. It was meant to be. The next day, Sarah, Lauren and I drove to Cape Coral and brought home our 10-week old female blue weimaraner. My life hasn't been the same, since.

In all my pre-Gracie reading, I read that it is better to resist washing the coats of the weim; instead, wipe them down with a damp cloth and give them a good brushing. For a year and a half, Gracie has not been bathed. I would rinse her off after being at the beach, but she'd act as if I was torturing her, so the rinse-offs were hurried and brief. When we saw Dr. Patterson last month, I asked him about the bathing (she was starting to smell). He shook his head and said, "not in Florida - you're not going to dry her coat out by bathing her - " So for several weeks, now, I've been planning to bathe her. The problem is it's been sooo cold lately! I came home from work last night, and opened the door to my bedroom. My bedroom smelled like a stinky dog. It was time.

I decided to wash her in my shower. It's a walk-in, and has a hand-held shower head. I lined up a couple of clean towels, lit some candles, put some classical music on the stereo and pulled out a bar of lemongrass soap (that I'd been given at one of the luxury resorts I'd stayed at). I anticipated this not being an easy thing to do, knowing how much Gracie hates the water. (She won't even pee in the rain! she goes under the arecas to have a cover!) I removed her 'correction' collar and put a small choker collar on her and grabbed a leash. (I knew I'd have a fight on my hands getting her in the shower). I put on a swim suit, started the shower to get the bathroom warm and steamy and gave Gracie a good brushing down. I turned off the shower, slathered coconut oil all over Gracie, concentrating heavily on her elbows and pads and massaged it into her coat. Speaking sweetly and encouragingly, I opened the shower door and coaxed Gracie inside. NO WAY. She firmly planted her feet on the floor and pulled back. I had her by the leash and the collar was as tight as it could be. Gosh, I didn't want to hurt her, but she was fighting back so strongly! I picked her up and walked in to the shower and her front paws grabbed onto the side of the door. What a sight!

Gracie doesn't do well on tile or linoleum - she has very long nails that don't retract. I should have put a towel or matt on the shower floor - it was as if she were on ice. (Hind-sight is 20-20!)
I let her 'get her footing' and sniff around. She was shaking and cowering near the door. Poor thing. I slowly turned on the water, and kept the shower head near the floor. Once the water was warm and comfortable, I slowly started it toward her. She jerked away at first, but then slowly began to tolerate it. As I allowed the water to gradually soak her down, cascading over her backside and saturating the sleek grey coat, it appeared as if she - was, actually.... enjoying it?

I turned off the water, lathered up a washcloth with the lemongrass soap and washed her down. I washed her feet and between her toes and scrubbed her coat and swabbed her head. I rinsed her, gently, and this time she really did seem to enjoy the water! I turned off the shower and opened the shower door. Gracie was like a greyhound out of the gate! I grabbed hold of her, put a towel over her head and another over her back. The bathroom floor looked like a war zone, and she bee-lined toward the bedroom. I put an old blanket over the bedspread, and called Gracie up on the bed. I dried her off carefully and thoroughly. She was lovin' this part! As I dried her, she stretched out and rolled over - behaviour I have rarely seen from her. She seemed to really be enjoying the attention. I finished her off with some lavender massage oil, working that into her coat, and a final brushing.

Gracie pranced out into the living room. Clearly, she was 'all that'. Her 's**t didn't stink' - she was fancy, she was special. She'd had a shower! I think it changed her! Today her coat glistens and she doesn't smell like a dog. She almost smells sweet. I think we need to make showering a regular occurance!

Friday, February 5, 2010

dreamin' my life

Dreams really do come true.
There is Magic.
Observe Less, Imagine More.
observe less, imagine more. Therefore, 'all that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream'.
Dream more.
Ask, and you shall receive.
What you focus on, you attract.
I Am Who Am.

A dream is a wish, your heart makes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Interpretations welcomed

In last night's dream, I was hosting a large dinner party. All the guests were people I barely knew. The food was served on a large buffet table. I was sitting at a table and plucked a strawberry from the desert plate (I was really hungry and hadn't had breakfast). I then announced that dinner was served. I felt anxious and nearly annoyed, as I didn't really know any of these people, and I wasn't exactly enjoying myself. After what I determined was a couple of hours, I began to clean up the dishes. There were bus trays full of every dish imaginable. I announced, "OK Folks, either help clean up or clear out..." Some folks promptly made their farewells, some pitched in to help clean up, while still a few threw comments about how rude I was. Mandy Patinkin came up to me (I weird is that...he would think me a stalker!) and in that gentle demeaner that he portrays as Agent Gideon, he said, "So did you have fun at your party? It was a nice party, you should be set for awhile. I noticed you ate your desert, first - (referring to the strawberry!) you should take care of yourself." Then he placed the flat of his hand on my abdomen.


To dream that you are at a party, suggests that you need to get out more and enjoy yourself. If the party is bad, then it indicates that you are unsure of your social skills.
(hmmm... .chin-scratch...)

To see or eat strawberries in your dream, signifies your sensual desires and temptation. Strawberries is often associated with feminine qualities and female sexuality. Alternatively, to see strawberries in your dream indicates that your ideas and goals are soon realized.

To see dishes in your dream, represents ideas, concepts, and attitudes. The dream may be a pun on the things you are "dishing" out to others. Or it could describe someone you are interested in as in someone who is a "dish". Perhaps it is time that you make the first move. If the dishes are dirty and unwashed, then it signifies dissatisfaction and an unpromising outlook. You may have overlooked some problems in your life or you have not confronted your emotions.
To dream that you are washing dishes, suggests that you are moving on and planning for the next thing that comes your way. Alternatively, it represents your daily routine. Perhaps you are in a rut.

To see a celebrity in your dream, represents your beliefs and understanding about him or her. Something in you waking life has triggered these similar beliefs and feelings. It is not uncommon that your obsession with a certain celebrity may carry over onto your dream world. Celebrities are often seen as heroes and all that is mighty. Also consider any puns within the name.
To dream that you are good friends with a celebrity, represents your idealized version of someone you know in your life. Perhaps you hope that a real-life friend can act more like a particular celebrity. Consider the qualities that you see in this celebrity and how you want your friends to have those qualities.

To see your abdomen in a dream, refers to your natural instincts and repressed emotions. There is something in your real life that you "cannot stomach" or have difficulties accepting. You need to get it out of your system. Alternatively, the abdomen may be strictly physiological and you may just be experiencing constipation or indigestion

Thursday, January 28, 2010

choice corrections

I have noticed that I am becoming jaded. I have lost touch with sensitivity to my fellow being. Perhaps commuting in automobiles attributes to it, as that’s the first correction I receive.
For several years, I rode a bicycle to work. It was great…it was actually quicker to bicycle than to drive or walk. I have always owned a “beach cruiser:” and it was perfect… Then I decided to buy a house and move off of the island, so even though the drive is only 5 miles, it is a drive in the car in traffic.
I jockey for position; I don’t let others cut in when a merge lane approaches. I maneuver the alternating light as if it were a contest. In the left (pass) lane, I curse the out of state geriatric driver that is rubber-neckin’ at a sub speed. Sometimes I honk in irritation.
I need a correction collar, just like Gracie has with the invisible fence. When I approach being out of bounds, a sensor should go off to “correct” me. I am having to reel myself in.
Over the course of the past six months, I have busied myself with everything else except my spiritual reading. By that I mean books that enrich my spirituality. I am a huge fan of Edgar Cayce, and recently books on the Essenes, and the Tibetan monks and remnants of Atlantis. These readings keep me grounded in what is real. My current favorite, and Shell’s-Bells Recommended Reading:
This book is very deep, for me. I am ingesting the words, little by little. Some of it is bitter fruit to swallow. That is when and where my reading stalls.
If the choices we make are not in tune with the universal consciousness, then we are not achieving our goal; that goal being to all become one, again.
The manuscripts that are said to be referenced in this book serve as my correction collar when my thinking falls out of line.

Here is my interpretation of some of the readings:

Every moment we come upon another
Fork in the Road
Every moment we choose
Our Way Our Destiny
Every Action creates Reactions
Choosing not to act, is an action with a reaction
No Choice Have You
But to Choose
Choose you WILL
Where you are
Where you have been
Where You will be
Is affected by Your Choice
Our Consciousness is the result
of our own Choosing
Where you are is
Where you have come
Where you WILL go
Is decided by how you are
With Free WILL we choose our Destiny
We were destined to Choose
The destiny we have Freely Chosen
Posted by Michelle at 5:38 PM
(originally posted Sep 1, 2009)

Please re read the above focusing on Choice and Will.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have sat here with a blank page for about 20 minutes. I feel an obligation to enter in the journal, but have nothing I want to write.
So, I've sat blank.
And you get

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Natural beauty

I wanted to share with you the beauty of this rose that I cut from my garden. I wish I could share with you the intoxicatingly beautiful frangrance it emits. As I sit looking out over the lawn, shadows move across the ground in an eerie way. Several large ravens circle above the trees. Yesterday, as I read an e-mail in which the writer claimed to have just seen his first red cardinal of the year, I heard the all-too-familiar song, and turned to see a male cardinal lighting on the bird bath. At sundown, I looked out over the vista to see a great horned owl touch down on the lawn.
Yesterday I had a new dishwasher installed. The mystery of the water is concluded. Now, perhaps, I can begin to focus on other home improvement projects. I don't know what to do first -
I think the world is watching football today. I don't - the only reason I know that there's play-offs today is because other folks tell me their plans revolve around watching games. I don't think I could care less about anything...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a simple saturday

It was a long, hard work-week. I got home last night about sundown. I put the dogs out (Gracie can roam free, but poor Ruca has to be on the line...she needs 'the collar'...), read the mail - all very boring - poured a martini and plopped in front of the boob tube and channel-surfed. TV is pretty droll. I enjoy the program, Criminal Minds and blindly watched back to back episodes. Hard to say what it is that I like about this program, but it may be the 'profiling'...and of course 'agent Gideon'. Mandy Patinkin is very, very good in this show. Somewhere around the beginning of the third episode, which began with a hooded man sneaking into a woman's home, hiding in her closet, then bludgeoning her to death in her sleep, I had enough! "What you focus on, you attract" I told myself as I turned off the TV, closed the sliding glass doors and went to bed. After a few hours' sleep, I heard Sarah come home. It was 3 AM. Ruca had been sleeping in Gracie's bed at the foot of my bed, but when her 'mom' came home, she ran to greet her. Gracie had been in my bed (cuz Ruca was in hers!) and she is the worst bed-mate. She literally sleeps on top of me.
I woke at 7 AM to the sound of Gracie barfing....great....she and her partner in crime had gotten into the trash the day before, and the chicken wings had come back up. What a way to start the day.....I cleaned it up and went back to bed. One of my greatest pleasures is going back to bed.
It's Saturday morning of a 3-day weekend, and I'm sitting here looking at the very over-cast sky. I have no plans for the weekend, only several things I should do, and a few things I want to do. I should buy a dishwasher.... I'd like to get out to the beach to visit friends who are over at their beach house for the weekend from the east coast. I should mow the lawn and get some of these plants out of pots and into the ground. I'd like to take Gracie to a dog park, or to the beach. .. I should clean bathrooms, laundry..... woulda ....shoulda ... coulda....
Meanwhile, on a 'no plans' day, I sit with my coffee and peanut butter toast, listening to the drip-drip-drip of the copper water line that used to be attached to the dishwasher, looking out over the lawn at the wax myrtle tree i planted last weekend... hoping it survives, as it looks pretty sun-burned... the young mango trees I planted also are getting way too much sun...a good location for a more mature tree, perhaps.... I'll have to keep a watch on those.... Gracie is out burying a bone. Chester, the neighbor's macaw, is screaching at the gardener next door, otherwise, it's a very quiet Saturday morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To blog or not to blog...

I kind of felt a little guilty, like I was prying into your private life or the life of your family. But then, since it was on the web, I figured I could read on......


Then I realized I KNEW you and felt voyeur-ish!!

Above are two separate comments from two separate friends, commenting on my blog. How different is it from those who write memoirs? My main goal in 'blogging' is to write. As any art, practice makes perfect. If I want to some day be published, I need to practice. 'Publishing' on the internet gives me a mold to follow, a reason to edit and polish.

so thank you. thank you for reading my blog, and thank you for your comments. and I hope that we will have an enduring relationship.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I've been plumbed...

$385.00 later I have a cleared sink / sewer line and a brand new garbage disposal. I also have a "shot" dishwasher.
I called Aztec Plumbing this morning and was pleased that they were able to have a technician out her at 3:00 this afternoon. Seeing that water was dripping from the bottom of the disposal, the tech determined the disposal was bad, removed it and showed me the damaged unit. When I asked him a few questions about the pipe lines etc., and asked why is it that the right side drain is clogged if it was the disposal. He looked surprised, and agreed to check it out after he installed the new disposal.
50' of snake and 30 nearly 30 minutes later, and the drain ran clear. Some of the blades were bad, as well, in the old disposal, so they weren't chopping the food up small enough.
When I mentioned that I believed the discharge line on the dishwasher was bad, he disagreed, as it hooks into the garbage disposal. He opined that it was more likely some gasket or seal on the dishwasher itself. I showed him the inspection report identifying the damaged copper water line in the attic, and he quickly added that it would be better to repipe: a proposal of $3070. Of course that's cpvc, not copper, and 1/4 turn valve and new hosebibs and braided supplies at all fixtures - blah blah blah. Oh - and for an additional $350, install a new water heater. (such a deal). I think I'll stew on this awhile.

Oh the joys of home ownership.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the mystery of the water part VI

The day after the discovery of the dishwasher discharge, (which happened to be New Year's Eve morn) I had a conversation with Ken M. who is a friend as well as a building inspector. I told him what I had discovered. He said it makes perfect sense, especially in light of the fact that the house was vacant for so long, and the age of the dishwasher. He said those rubber hoses can get dry-rotted, and when they/ I began using the dishwasher with such enthusiasm, the hose expanded and contracted and then probably cracked. He also went on to say that it should be a relatively simple fix: a hose from Home Depot or Lowes and pull out the dishwasher and replace it.
When it comes to water and electric, I'm pretty chicken. I was happy to FINALLY find the source of the leak. I was willing to do without the dishwasher for a short while. I would assess the matter.
New Year's Eve and the holiday weekend saw some record cold temperatures here in SW FLA. I pulled the two turkey carcasses from Thanksgiving out of the freezer and decided to make Turkey Frame Soup. I boiled down the carcasses and Sarah removed the major bones. I put the broth and the turkey in the fridge and would make the soup the next day. Saturday afternoon I sliced and diced carrots, celery, onion, sauteed, added corn and seasonings, and made a wonderful pot of turkey soup (complete with large egg noodles).
In the process, I had liberal use of the garbage disposal. I ran plenty of cold water with its use. You guessed it: drain clog.
How do you plunge a clogged drain in a 2-sided sink? Plug one side and plundge the other. Ever try that solo? I have been plundging with great faith - but little luck.
I spent Monday from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM in Council meeting. Then Tuesday AM from 8:30-11:30 in staff meetings. Never a chance to call a plumber. I talked to some friends about "knowing somebody" that I could hire to check it out.
Meanwhile, I plundge.

Here it is Wednesday, January 6 and I have a clogged drain and out of commission dishwasher.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The mystery of the water part V

When I moved in on Nov 4, I moved all my things into the house before I moved out the previous owners’ stuff. In trying to trouble shoot the water, I went through boxes and buckets and drawers and cupboards trying to get my hands on a working flashlight. I changed batteries (rather pleased with myself in finding the box with the replacement batteries) and then changed bulbs – I went through a half dozen various flashlights. At one point, Kev offered a pen-light he had in his truck. Sarah climbed the ladder to the attic but the pen light dimmed and died as soon as she moved away from the stair.
I’ll stop at the hardware store after work tomorrow, I said. We’ll take a look at that leak tomorrow night.
Wednesday nite we had two new bright flashlights. We pulled down the attic ladder, and with a tin pan in hand, Sarah climbed up to check out the leak. (I supervised from below J) After a short while, Sarah climbed back down. “Mom, that’s not the problem – the pipe’s not wet, the insulation and the wall is dry…that’s not the source of the leak….”
We put the ladder back up. I poured a glass of wine.
Sarah and I sat down to California pizza and a garden salad. After dinner, I cleaned up the dishes and took a shower. I was in my bedroom readying for bed, when Sarah called, “Mom? Are you still awake?” I opened my bedroom door. “It’s the dishwasher!” Sarah exclaimed. I looked in her room at the cement floor now flooding. The smell of Cascade was pronounced. The water was running from the corner of the bedroom adjoining the kitchen, along the exterior wall (under the window) and pooled in the closet.
I turned off the dishwasher and hauled out the shop vac.
Boy is this getting old…..

Friday, January 1, 2010


As intermission from the mystery of the water,

here's a pic of me !

enjoying my company in my new house!

Thanksgiving 2009

The mystery of the water Part IV

Monday after work I was sitting in the kitchen, at the "breakfast nook" table. Sarah and I were just chatting about various things; some work stuff, some family stuff, and my ever present mystery of the leak. "I know I seem to be obsessed with this..." I would frequently say. It was starting to make me crazy. As we talked, I looked up and saw the patches in the ceiling from the truss repair work that was done the day after I moved in. I wonder if perhaps the guys dinged a pipe or something putting the trusses in... I thought to myself.

At the time of the house inspection, it was noted that 3 or 4 trusses had extensive damage from termites. The previous owners knew of the subterranean termites and had the house treated. They also maintained the annual inspection and treatment. There was no presence of live termites at the time my house was inspected, but some of the trusses over the kitchen area were so badly damaged from the termites, that the inspector urged that I address this damage soon. The next day a local GC came by and gave a quote: $1,000. to "sister-up" the 4 damaged trusses. It would mean bringing the boards up through two cuts to the ceiling over the kitchen. The day after I closed on the house, Mark (the GC) and helper showed up at 9AM and fixed the brittle trusses.
As I looked up and at the patched drywall, (which, BTW, was an awesome job! it matches beautifully! wouldn't notice it if you didn't see it done.) I thought about the inspection report......
Monday night went on and Tuesday morning took me to work....all day something nagged at me: I needed to get my hands on my home inspection report. It was somewhere in a pile of all kinds' o' papers, folders, binders....paper.... stacked on the dresser in my bedroom. I'd gone through it quickly the morning before I left for work, and didn't find it. Tues night I found it. It was where a calmer, more careful look would have found it.
I turned to one of the pages with small photos of problem spots. That's what had been nagging at me:

"Well, there you go!" Sarah quipped when I read it to her. There I go, indeed. I turned to the page which detailed


and read:

NOTE: Evidence of leaking is noted at one of the copper lines. This is near a 45 fitting over the kitchen area. This should be checked and repaired by a licensed plumbing contractor.

Well there I go.

The mystery of the water Part III

I left the rug and pad rolled back in the bedroom for about an hour while I "studied" the situation. The carpet was soaked, and stunk. The padding was soaked. The concrete floor was drying. After about an hour or so of study, I dug out a razor knife from one of the drawers in the garage and tried to cut away at the wet carpet. My logic was that the carpeting throughout the house was old, stained, worn and dirty. Before moving in, I fantasized about putting in wood floors, or laminate, like Pergo. Knowing that I would have hidden expenses, I decided to move in and deal with the cosmetics one at a time. I decided at this time, with saturated stinky dirty carpet, that it was not worth saving. If the wet carpet is gone, I can better gauge where the water's coming from. Plus, my daughter should not have to sleep in such a stinky room.

Well, the razor knife was too dull to make a dent in the carpeting, so I went to the kitchen and grabbed the knife that I used to slice the Thanksgiving turkeys. It was indeed sharp. I cut away about 3 feet wide and 8 feet long of wet carpet and padding. The wet carpet and pad was outta there. I hauled it off to the garage to wait for trash day.

I was still scratchin' my head, stewing over this dilemna. Troubleshooting is indeed trouble-some. It was about sundown on a sunday eve. I went back to my belief that it had to be something not tested in the home inspection. Even though I had run several loads of laundry that day, I decided to run "one more". The carpet was up, now, so, any leakage would be apparent. I ran the washing machine, and no leaks. I ran the 'water in the door' on the fridge, ran the ice maker, ran the garbage disposal, ran the showers, the toilets....even the outside faucets. Nuthin'.

I was feelin' a bit stumped.

Holiday Pics!

The mystery of the water, Part II

Kev and I patched the gap in the back of the house where the A/C tube came in. (Actually Kev caulked, I 'supervised'). Rain was forcast for the next day, so this will set up in 3 hours. I was at work the next day and called home to ask Lauren to check whether the floor was dry after the rain. It was. whoo hoo!

Several days later, Sarah was moving in her stuff into the 3rd bedroom. She will no longer rent the house on the beach where she's lived for the past 2-3 years. That's a whole 'nother story perhaps for another blog, but this particular evening she was setting up her bed and the knees of her jeans were wet: "This carpet's wet, mom....." I was surprised and puzzled. Sure enough - it was soaked in the corner of the closet and under the window - just as it had been before. I certainly got my money's-worth out of that shop-vac. This time it wasn't quite as much water, but I vacuumed and put the fans on and opened the window to dry it out. What the heck could it be?

There was some theory that the A/C drain was clogged, but that didn't make sense as I hadn't run the A/C since I moved in. It had to be something that wasn't tested in the house inspection before I bought it. The washing machine wasn't tested - but that was on the complete opposite side of the house - but where did the water drain to? The ice maker wasn't on when I moved in: the refrigerator backed the bedroom, so perhaps that's it. I turned it off for a day or so.

We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas eve, with a dinner of blackened ahi tuna and short ribs, baked potato, fresh broccoli and carrots and a garden salad. We opened our gifts late into the evening. Christmas day we went to the Beach for a great dinner with my brother and his family.

The day after Christmas I was doing chores, including several loads of laundry. At one point I checked on the carpet only to find that it was again saturated. Days earlier, I pulled away the carpet and pad in the closet to expose the concrete pad. I was able to look directly at the floor to see any new wetness. With this current flooding, I pulled away more of the carpet into the bedroom under the window. The rubber pad underneath was saturated. I pulled Sarah's bed away from the wall, only to discover that the carpet was soaked the whole length of the room along the back wall. I pulled back 2-3 feet to expose the concrete floor, which was puddled with water. Shop Vac time again.

This is so darned puzzling.......