Monday, June 30, 2008

A Plain Jane Day

Nothing exciting happened today. Not even anything I can turn into exciting by verbal enhancement. Maybe that's a good thing. The Mister went on an errand first thing this morning. (there is hope! See yesterdays blog for errand discussion) By our current standards, first thing in the morning is 10:45. Moved up a bit from 7 am ish. He stopped at the Bagel Deli for fresh bagels and cream cheese to go with the lox that I made. I did too make them! We have them quite often and they are delicious. and they're not $32.00 a lb. I'll send the recipe if you like. Later we did some shopping at the fruit stand and at Albertson's. Got more spareribs (buy one get 2 free!)

I got a pedicure, but there was no one of interest in the shop. I was hoping the school teacher would be there (See: There's Something to be Said for Home Schooling 6/4) You know, like uhm the one who like got bit by like the yellow fly. The closest thing to excitement was the high maintenance woman sitting next to me who was directing the placement of each of the red white and blue rhinestones on her toes. The magazine selection was a bore. No news updates on all of my fav Hollywood celebs.

My ped person kept trying to sell me up. You want luxury spa pedicure? No thanks, the mediocre one is good enough. You want eyebrows waxed? Look at my face? do you see any eyebrows? I started ripping them out when I was 16. I looked like a Yettie. What I got left requires major enhancement. You want manicure? No thanks. The last time I got one I had to nurse a hangnail for 2 months. I'm good. You want.... You want to get me a magazine please? And quit looking out the window when you're brushing my feet with that boxy sandpaper thingie. It feels like uhm a yellow fly bit me.

I don't want any remarks about how can the unemployed afford pedicures. One must keep oneself up. One never knows when one might get a job interview, does one. Besides, you try bending over and working on your toes when you're my age. It's more like an important medical treatment.

Jennifer gave me this orchid nearly two years ago. (Thank you, Jenn!) It has bloomed for the very first time!

Its a dendrobium anosmum. Pretty! It has a very berry scent. This is one of several pendulous dendrobiums that I am having success with. Each year a new leafy stem grows up straight for a while and then it starts to lean and hang over the pot. The following year it loses it's leaves and flowers bloom at intervals along the length of the stem. The close up shot doesn't show all of the buds.

I'm becoming distracted by the smell of the spareribs. I must sign off and tuck a napkin under my chin! Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Husband

I know I pick on the Mister a lot. From what you've read, I'm sure you agree I am entitled. He does, however, have several endearing traits. Yes, really! For one, he's always been Mr. Errand Man. Nothing too small or too embarrassing for the Mister. Like back in the olden day's, if I needed any lady-stuff he had no problem whatsoever going out by himself to make the necessary purchases. I've seen gown men pale at the thought of going into a woman's clothing store, or carry ladies laundry to the dry cleaner. They would never, ever pop into a Walgreen's to pick up lady stuff. Better they should be eaten by a lion then to ask on which aisle the Tampax are located. Not the Mister. Any time night or day. Anything. The more embarrassing to the average male the better. I know I've got a gem here.

He's not a church going man, but he does attend on Mother's Day, just for me, and on the major Holidays that match his initials : E C. Easter and Christmas. Today I wanted to attend the Baptism of several of our church members. He suggested it might be better if he clean the swimming pool and maybe pop over to Walmart for some paper towels, but I reminded him that the way to Fred Howard Park is a complete never to be unravelled mystery to me. 400 turns and back roads to get to a beach that is only about 7 miles from our house. You go north and end up going south. They have signs showing the way to the park, but when you come out they don't have any signs showing you how to get back home again. No problem for the Mister. He was more than happy to go with me. No bribes necessary, just the possibility that I might use up a tank of gas coming and going.
Yes - we have our baptisms in the Gulf of Mexico - it's a perfect place. I was re-baptised there about 2 1/2 years ago. The Mister came without being asked and took lots of pictures.

He is all of a sudden getting iffy on his errand runs. It used to be I could run out of Heinz 57 sauce (don't know why I used this for an example. We don't even use the stuff) and he would dust the potato chip crumbs off his turquoise t-shirt, change out of those blue shorts that he is not even allowed to go to the mail box in, and dash off without so much as a sigh. Just in the past few months, however, he has started to balk at errands. Says he doesn't really like popping out for stuff anymore. I told him he cannot change his mind now. No. He's been doing this for 38 years and I'm not even sure how to go about running an errand. I do not know which aisle they keep the Tampax in (don't know why I used this as an example, I don't even use the stuff any more) (Hallelujah and praise the Lord) Don't get me wrong, I've driven all over the state, from Michigan to Florida and traveled to several states on my own. No problem. But those were work related or to visit my family. They weren't to dash out for a quart of milk. He cannot change his mind at this late stage of my life. Batting my eyes doesn't really work anymore - we both just laugh at my efforts at feminine guiles. This is a developing story. I'll let you know how this goes. I think I might need a box of Raisinettes, or maybe some Heinz 57 sauce since we haven't had any in about 32 years. Thanks for stopping by! Did you take the quiz on yesterday's post?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Today I will show 5 pictures for you to guess Who, What, Where, When and Why. You may leave your answers in comments. The idea for this quiz came from a visit to fellow blogger Lavinia. I'll show the correct answers on Tuesday. Good luck!

1. Who?

2. What?

3. Where?

4. When?

5. Why?

Friday, June 27, 2008

It Pays to Complain

Picture: Tampa Theatre

It's a miracle. Maybe. I took my complaint about Suspender Man Denis and Suits-are-bad Linda to ABC Action news. I wrote a very polite note asking that they PLEASE MOVE OVER instead of standing directly in front of Pinellas County during their weather reports. I did not get a reply. However, last night at 6:00 and 11:00 Denis was standing in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving Pinellas in view for the local folk to actually see for a change. He seemed a bit distracted, so he may have been having an off day. Chances are that he got the message. I'll report back after a few more weather reports to let you know if it's just a fluke.

I have gotten a few things corrected by writing or calling to state the obvious. Once I encouraged the County to move 50 Bob's Barricades off of Starkey Road. The road warriors finished their work but left the barricades. I continued to sit in the turn lane each day for 10 to 15 light changes. For nothing. I called. They said they were still working daily. Pfffft. I explained that I sat there for 30 minutes every day. I memorized every stone and cigarette butt. I watched the gaseous expansion of the dead armadillo to the point of explosion. Nothing had moved. No human being had visited the area for at least a week. Next day? No Bob's barricades. Ya'll have me to thank for that.

Another change that has my name all over it: Tampa Theater has a wonderful balcony. Problem is, the stairs are various widths and heights and are not properly lit. It was scary enough trying to navigate them with two free hands, and I had somehow been rooked into going for popcorn for the Mister and his Bro. Coming back, I missed the last step - couldn't see it at all. I almost took a swan dive over the rail. Luckily the rail held. Other than a shower of popcorn on the folks below and a lovely black and blue mark I was none the worse for wear. I called. I'm not a litigious person, I merely stated the problem and asked for better lighting or reflective tape at the stair edges. Next visit: reflective tape at the stair edges. You're welcome.

If you haven't been to Tampa Theater yet, you have got to go. It's amazing. They show a wonderful summer series of old films. Go - even if you've seen the film 74 times. They also show the very best of current independent and foreign films: The Station Agent, The Painted Veil, Pieces of April played there. It's a wonderful experience. Sit in the balcony. You won't be tripping over any stairs.

I won't be asking the Mister to do anything out of doors today. Seems his 20 year old blue knit shorts are in the laundry. He's wearing some getup that is ....well. I am beyond words. He's wearing a 30 year old turquoise t-shirt with a torn pocket and a pair of ill fitting purplish gray knit pants that have enough static electricity in them that they have kinda spun around on his legs. It is gruesome. I told him I had no choice but to tell you.

I think the dryer just stopped. I can't believe I'm happy his blue shorts are dry and ready to wear for another 35 days. Gotta go get the Mister re-outfitted. Good to see you again!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Make it Sto-o-o-o-o-o-p!!!!!

So yesterday, after I turned off the computer due to thunderstorm activity, I decided to go sit next to the Mister for a while and pretend to watch Fox News with him. He promptly fell asleep. Neil Cavuto came on. I hate Cavuto. He invites 2 people at a time to talk the pro and con about assorted (sordid?) pressing issues of the day(to him, at least), gives them 2 1/2 minutes on the air then talks over them while they argue with each other. Holy shit, that's irritating. If he has one person on he just talks over that one person and argues with them all by himself. After 25 seconds of this I became airborne, grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. (TV OFF??? WOW WHAT A CONCEPT) The Mister promptly woke up and said, "Why'd ya turn the TV off? And then went back to sleep.
Meanwhile Layla the dog is on my lap quivering in fear of the thunder. I keep a small hand towel nearby for just such an occasion. It's her "thunder towel." I draped it over her head, got her to lay down next to me and she promptly relaxed and fell asleep. I watched and listened to the beautiful rainstorm for a while.
I took the rare opportunity of silence, and not being asked to "come'ere and watch this commercial, it's funny." to finish up my homework for my Wednesday night Bible study. My Small Group Posse and I decided to pause between chapters of Romans (we are slogging through, but taking time to learn, understand and appreciate) to define and discuss grace. Specifically God's grace.
We tend to use the word without understanding what it really means. We all have a general idea, perhaps, but that's about it. The basic definition of Grace is: Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or the merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what they might deserve. Grace is associated with mercy, love, goodness, kindness, compassion, patience and truth.
Our ability to not take grace for granted, and to trust in the mercy and favor of God, through Jesus Christ, even while it is undeserved, is an abundantly important part of our faith. It is key to salvation. Check it out. Romans. Next week we will have our very own Neil Cavuto discussion about Adam, and whether he was created with a sinful nature. I thought we were going to be discussing that last night, so I am ready! I know the correct answer, but I'm not saying until next Wednesday, so you are going to have to sit on the edge of your seats until then. Check it out. Genesis.
Got to go get my day started. Well, on track anyway. Thanks again for taking time to check on me. Let me know what you think. There's a little "comments" section just below this post. Click on it. Say somethin!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting My Clock Fixed

I asked the Mister to fix my clock. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. He's been wanting to do that for 38 years. I actually meant he should fix the wall clock he gave me for our 1st anniversary. It chimes 1 too many times each hour. I don't feel like trying to figure that one out. Besides I killed a spider this morning rather than interrupt his sleep, so he owes me one. He owes me millions actually but we won't go into that right now.

So much for our open door policy discussed in a previous post. I locked the Mister out of the house twice in the last 24 hours. Not on purpose. Honest! Just because I am so used to locking the door wall when I come inside, I neglected to take into consideration that he is outside. Man, you would have thought I ate the last ice cream sandwich or something. I have been instructed NOT to lock the door when I come in. He'll be sorry when people just come wandering in aimlessly.

I've accidentally locked Layla the dog out on the lanai on occasion. That's because she's so quiet (unlike the Mister with his assortment of bodily noises). I notice Layla's missing right away because she hangs around with me all the time. I go over to the door and look out. She's looking in at me- similar to how I imagine God looked at Adam and Eve wearing those fig leaves. I let her in and she acts like she was away from home for 15 years. I act like she was too. After 2 treats and a Dixie cup full of water she generally gets over it. I offered the Mister a Dixie cup full of water after I locked him out for the second time and he told me where I should put it. Tch.

It's starting to thunder quite loudly, and I love storms, but I have a fear of turning my computer into a paperweight, so I'm signing off - Our weather radio just came on too, so I'm thinking this is a good move. Catch you later! While I'm gone you can make your own Picasso style picture:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's Make A Deal and I got Door # 3

We needed baking potatoes for dinner. To go with our ribs and home made BBQ sauce. Yummy. We spent an hour wheeling and dealing, the Mister and I, about who would drive the entire mile to Albertson's and make the big purchase of the day. I'd already gone out for our lattes and Checker burgers so I felt I was immune having already exerted myself today. But the Mister came up with the best argument. He said he would load the 7 bags of grah-doo for the Salvation Army if I would do the Albertson's run. He looks reasonably shabby today(in his 20 year old shirt and those *%@(* blue shorts he wears day after day after day after..), and I, being the height of fashion in my jeans and clean t-shirt, decided to bite the bullet and purchase the potatoes. Whatever. It turned out that lady luck smiled on me.

I used the self-check out, to avoid being asked "Did you find everything okay??) (NOOOoo - you guys keep rearranging the store. It took me a month to find two potatoes, 1 box of pasta and some ice cream sandwiches) (Put it back the way it was, please)

Turns out I got an error notice on the potatoes: Item Not Recognized. Step Aside. Help Alert. Security to Aisle B. Stand Away From the Checkout. Keep Your Hands Where We Can See Them. I waved the bar code again. Yes, a bar code on the potato and said Itttttttssssss a potatooooooo. Still no luck.

The self check clerk who was in the middle of a yawn had to drag herself over and see what the problem was. Found out the potatoes aren't in the computer - new brand- so she gave them to me for free! They'll be absolutely scrumptious. I love free stuff. And then, Lady Luck smiled again: I found a $5 bill in the parking lot next to my car. Cool. I waited for a while to see if anyone would run out of the store flailing their arms and searching the ground for lost money, but it didn't happen. My ice cream sandwiches were starting to melt, so $5 and 2 potatoes richer I wended my way home.

The timer is about to go off - got to get the Mister to put those ribs on the grill, so I'm outta here for now. Check the earlier post from today - you can make a kaleidoscope. It's fun. Thanks for stopping by!


Here's something fun to do until I get around to typing my post for the day:

Later this week we'll learn to draw like Picasso.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Bum Horoscope

Check out my friend Heather's site

If you live in the area and would like to join Heather's team, the Happy Bottom Pink Dragonflies, for the Race for the Cure, sign up at Heather's site. We'll be downtown St. Pete at Vinoy Park on October 4th. If you would like to make a donation click on the pink ribbon over to the right of my blog. That will take you to the Muse Swings Race for the Cure Web site.

Another bum Yahoo horoscope
"New people are coming into your life at a fast and furious pace, and you can't slow down this flood! This is the start of a very social phase of your life, so get ready to party. You might have a few scheduling headaches, but figuring out which parties to go to is a nice headache to have! If you are in search of a romantic partner, this is a great time to try on a lot of different people for size. And if you're already in a relationship, this is a great time to rekindle those first-date night flutters!"

I AM going to Wal-Mart today, and Publix, so there will be loads of "new people" coming into my life today. At least for a minute, as they block my path with their shopping baskets. The only conversation I forsee is EXXXXXCUSSSSSSSSSSSE MEEEEEEEEE! I don't call that partying. I'm not searching for a romantic partner either- I have that swarthy little Romanian all to myself. First date flutters? After 38 years I've forgotten what that's all about. But that's okay, things are good.
So, if any of you other signs want to borrow my Virgo 'scope for the day, have at it.
Gotta get ready for my big outing - catch you later! I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mister Man on a Mission

Good afternoon, boys and girls! It's going to be raining on and off again today, and if you're looking for something fun to do indoors, try this:

You can make a Lego version of yourself. It's a hoot! I chose a tiara for mine. What a surprise, eh? When I was young, I liked to sit around and read and daydream and my mom's reaction always was to say, "Well, just who do you think you are, the Queen of England?" Well yeah, now that you mention it, I could use a Mistress of the Wardrobe and a Lady in Waiting or two. I never actually said yes, I valued a painless and timeoutless life.

Tomorrow, boys and girls we shall make kaleidoscopes! (Thanks for the fun stuff, Jason!)

I sent my swarthy Romanian on a mission the other day. Our resident alligator was sunning himself on the "beach" of our pond. I was already outside with Layla, so I asked the Mister to grab the camera and see if he could get a close up shot for my blog. He did, and he took several pictures as he moved towards the gator, knowing the gator could decide to vacate his spot at any moment. I stayed far away with Layla the Alligator Lunch Dog. That little island that the gator is sunning himself on is covered over by water now that it has rained about a foot of water. It's a little barrier island that the boys next door made by tossing dirt in the pond for an entire summer. Something like when my brother Joe and I used to dig for China.

We had a visiting Pastor, Tim Corbin, speak at church this morning. He and his wife Amy and three daughters moved to Seattle WA last summer. They will be opening a new church in September. It's called The Commons. He showed a short informational video before he spoke. It was quite amazing to find out that 90% of the people in WA have no religion whatsoever, and the vast majority of churches there have congregations of 20-30 people. Tim and his wife are going to attempt to change some of that, and bring the Word of Jesus to these folks. They, like we, are always searching for something that will complete our lives. Some of us have found the answer, some continue to search. Tim is an excellent speaker, and his message this morning was wonderfully enlightening - except for the time when thunder roared and the lights went off for a second.

Got some things to do, since I did't do a thing yesterday. Catch you later! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's Raining It's Pouring, the Mister is Snoring

A rainy day! We woke up to plenty of thunder and lightening today. We're doing rainy day things - nothing. The newspaper is soaked, can't read that. It was double bagged, but both bags were going in the same direction. It weighs about 10 lbs. So we're watching semi-good movies, recorded programs and Doppler radar. The dog is ensconced in her favorite sleeping spot - the Mister's pillow - except when it starts to thunder. Then she's next to me on the sofa shaking like a little dog leaf and wondering why we aren't all hiding under the bed. Because we're watching semi- good movies and recorded programs, that's why. Besides, there isn't enough room under the bed and it hasn't been vacuumed under there since the middle Paleozoic age. I'll dust her off next time she comes out. Which won't be soon - it just started to thunder again. Enjoy your day! Gotta go, our recorded episode of Burn Notice is next on my busy agenda. What to do for dinner....what to

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where's My Bloomin' Bloomers?

If you read yesterday's post you'll see my problems with the Soma order I placed. You'll be just so relieved to know that my bras (Jennifer called them birdles when she was little so we'll go with that) arrived today. I took them out of the package and they scared me! There is a hard plastic liner (meant to be removed) in each them and for a second I thought I had ordered the Iron Man Birdles by mistake. Weapons to dissuade mashers perhaps. Whew! I also took a look at the bloomers that came yesterday. I thought I had received 2, as ordered. I opened the bag they were in -I should say IT was in -as only one was in the bag. Soooooo I had to call Soma for the 4th time and explain. I felt like an idiot. For all I know they have me on their watch list now. Thinking perhaps I am stockpiling bloomers and birdles by calling and saying they did not arrive. Soma needs to find out what's going on in the warehouse! A little quality control perhaps!

Today I helped out at my church for most of the day and then spent some quality time with the Mister, so I'm a bit late checking in here. I have not encountered any people or problems in the past 24 hours that require a critique, so I'll share a poem with you. I wrote this one several years ago on a day I was feeling a bit neglected and unappreciated - one of those Saturdays when after a hard week at work I was faced the usual zillion tasks that sit there and wait for all of us working moms at home. I felt wasn't getting the help and support I needed. Probably true. This poem blossomed while I was watering the plants and flowers around the huge oak tree in the front yard:

She Plants Flowers in Her Garden

Flowers like her
That do not require much attention
Plants that grow anyway
And bloom despite neglect
And a lack of appreciation

Those needing no stakes for support
The kind with shoots
That find their way among gnarled tree roots
And grow deep beyond parched sand
And raise up to find their own light among the shadows of the yard

Icy pinks of pentas and Mexican petunias to balance
Violet moods of impatiens spreading among rainbow lantanas
And proud spikes of Amazon lilies
That bloom for just the day
But bloom nonetheless with stripes of royal and gold
Radiating from unseen mines of color

And white azaleas that bob like popcorn in the rain
And bloom sometimes beyond their season
Amid the shade of leathery ligustrum
And crepe myrtle that flourishes in a glory of crinkled pastel
Then sheds its leaves to rebuild itself from within
Despite tropical seasons that beckon it to remain
And deplete itself during balmy winters

And elephant ears
Richly veined to catch the evening rain
Of quicksilver drops that gather together and run from edge to edge
Testing the pull of gravity

Catching unseen light from a sober sky
They glisten for a moment in flat silver pools
Cabochon jewels
Water diamonds
Loose gems
That drop from velvet leaves bowed by their own carat weight
And disappear to replenish the dark earth

Cynthia Ann Conciatu 1997
Published FSPA Anthology 1997

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Good the Bad and the Muggy

This isn't me in the picture- just my new nightie:

Good Stuff:

Nephew Patrick who spent 3 days in the hospital with a lacerated spleen (Ouch!)was released today and sent home to recuperate! Not sure how he managed that one - wasn't hit while playing paintball, didn't have a major automobile accident - or even a minor one, didn't misstep during a rumba on Dancing with the Stars or sky dive into a forest. None the less, it happened - but he's healing!

I woke up to rain at 4:30 this morning! Got about an inch. Had enough water in the pool to spend time hosing off the lanai (this is the muggy part, but well worth the effort)

I enjoyed a yummy dinner with Heather and her mom DJ last night at The Melting Pot. It was a Breast Cancer Awareness Ladies Night Out. We had lots of quality time together and ate ourselves into a stupor. And then we had desert - a Banana's Foster fondue with wonderful tidbits for dipping. I can't describe it further without drooling on the keyboard so I'll just say it was eye-fluttering good! And all for a very good cause. Heather's grandmother is a 2 time survivor and my sister Mary is a survivor and has passed the 5 year mark. Get those mammograms ladies! Don't forget those self-exams! Think Pink!

Good stuff on the news today: 406 people were arrested in a nationwide mortgage fraud sting. Hope one of the was the person who "bought" the house next door. Todd - I hope you're in cuffs. 2 guys from Bear Sterns did the perp walk today for defrauding investors, and the Navy has to rethink it's contract with a European company and perhaps rebid it (hellooooo) to an American company.

Bad Stuff:

Not much of this, just trying to get my latest order from Soma (the ladies intimates part of Chico's). I ordered a night gown, a bra and 2 pairs of britches on 6/2. When the order came, only the gown was in the box. I called, got a credit then a recharge for the other 3 items. Today the order came - only the britches were in the box. No bra. So I called again, got a credit and a recharge and found out the price had gone down to $16! So I added one more bra to the order and got them to agree to a two day turn-around.

I've been ordering from for several years now, and have never had a problem. Not sure what is going on at the warehouse, but I'd suggest a bit of quality control. I'll have no problem ordering from them again. Everything usually arrives within 2-3 days, it fits well and they have great sales. I'm a Passport member, having spent a bundle there so I get free shipping and an extra 5% off my orders. Good deal. If you have trouble finding jeans that fit try Chico's. They use a realistic amount of fabric and have room to breath in their slacks and jeans. No laying on the bed to get the zippers up! Oh, and that night gown is fabulously comfortable!

Sad Bad news: My animated oregano plant croaked. After being stomped on by a deer, flipped upside down by a squirrel, nosed around by an armadillo and spiraled into the air by an egg laying turtle, it decided to just give up. It's dead as a doornail and all brown and crunchy, so I don't think it's going to revive itself.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Careful About What You Say, Mister Man!

"The Scream" by Mauch

Yesterday I asked the Mister one of those "Does my butt look big in this?" kind of questions.

It's funny what happens to some men when asked these quicksand, gunpowder loaded, no parachute and cobra in the chicken coop kinda queries. You can practically hear the gears working in their tiny little skulls.

The Pollyanna right brain kicks in first. It curtsies, twirls around on tip toes and then expels all sorts of have-at-it suggestions: Goooo ahead Matey! It's you're big chance. She does look fat in that. The color is bad too. You've always hated that outfit. Tell her. She wants to know. Go back a few years and tell her how you hated that thing she wore to MiMi's wedding. And might as well tell her to lose those brown shoes she keeps wearing. They look like ass. Tell her! Tell 'er to lose a few pounds, but that outfit will still look like sheep dip. She ain't what she used to be....... say it say it say it!

Meanwhile the left brain - the linear, safe and watch-your-back-side, don't forget your umbrella part of the brain is holding on to the brain stem for dear life and screaming "Whoaaaaaaaaaa big fella! Do you want to get us both killed? Just say NO! LIE! It's better for your health. Don't say anything. Press those lips together like an apple turnover and pretend you didn't hear her. Maybe she'll take her fat butt and that hideous outfit back into the bedroom and change. Don't say anything! If you're thinking what I think you're thinking then I'm thinking we'll all be dead by morning. REDRUM! REDRUM!

And what happens next is the Mister's eyes kind of flicker. His pupils dilate and flash - as though an alien being has taken over his body - and he says:

Weeelllhmmmtchzzzzflebleblatzsnurrrrf tick tick plink psssst fouffffffffffffffzt."

Good answer.

(Catch ya'll later. Gotta go change this outfit)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Move Over and Quit Shouting at Me!

Shut Up Billy!

Denis - Lines up his suspenders with US 19

Entire County Covered (literally) by Linda's suit jackets during Weather Report

I woke up with a headache this morning and I'm kind of grumpy, so I might as well talk about additional things that make me grumpy.
Annoying Local Weather Reporting
What is the deal with the local weather forecasters? They are always standing smack dab in the middle of Pinellas County while they report on the weather. It makes me crazy. There's the whole Gulf of Mexico behind them, but they sidle up to Lake Tarpon instead. You can see storm clouds moving out the back of their armpit and left shoulder, parts of rainfall numbers coming out of their right ear. Meanwhile they stand there like a lump and talk about what is going on just a little to the right of their 5th vertebra. You can see Orlando, Lake Mary, Kissimmee, Bermuda and 800 miles out into the Atlantic. But can you see what's going on in the local area? That they are supposed to be talking about? Noooo. All you can see is Denis' suspenders and Linda's suit jacket. (I hate most of her suits anyway) MOVE OVER! Better yet move the whole state over, but get outta the way! Isn't it time Denis got a new look? Those suspenders are getting a bit old. Oh, as the Mister reminds me, those aren't suspenders, they're braces. Whatever.
Worlds Most Annoying Ad Man. Shut Up Billy!
As I'm writing this, Billy Mays the TV Ad Man is screaming at me about some junk health coverage. Pointing his finger at me and telling me to cover my whole family. I'd like to cover him with some of those Hercules Hooks he's always screaming at me about. Maybe tie him up with some of his Zorbee's and toss him into the Gulf. It would be like setting a baby in the swimming pool with one of those super absorbent diapers on. They'd each take on about 80 lbs of water. It would be far more effective than cement blocks. Maybe hand him some Mighty Putty and tell him it's gum. Why are we being subjected to him? You're listening to a nice quiet Sylvester Stalone Rambo movie and next thing you know Billy (SHUT UP!) is screaming at you.
Worlds most Annoying Prime Commercial Time
Can someone explain to me why they put the most disgusting commercials on during the dinner hour? I'm taking a bite of mashed potatoes and they start talking about thick yellow toenails and foot fungus. I'm ready to dig into that delicious pasta and they show a buncha ladies going up some guy's nose. Then they go on to discuss various diseases of women's nether-areas, or acne, diarrhea and plaque. I know it must be a reminder that I shouldn't be watching TV during dinner, but I'm a grown up and I can if I want. I'd hate to miss the weather report. Or Cops.
Worlds most Annoying TV Commercial
Celebrex. Think blue screen. (Did I just take a Viagra by mistake? is my vision going?) Think little words winding across your screen. Think monotone voice going on and on and on and on. Think annoying plunkity guitar music with one note in particular being played and played and..... Think 3 (THREE) (III) (Tres) minutes of the SAME commercial - 2 and a half minutes of which warn you of the dangers of taking the medication. Why are be being subjected to this. Where's the remote.
Now that I've gotten all of this important annoying stuff off my mind, I'll go do something a bit calming. Maybe take an Aleve. (It's the same shade of blue as that Celebrex commercial) But first I have to get that picture of Billy Mays out of my head (SHUT UP Billy! and don't you dare say "But wait!")

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Grand Nephew Samuel!

Here's baby Samuel, ready for lunch and the new big world - but first - gotta nap!

Some Thoughts on Poetry - Painless Lesson #1

Did you know poems are intended to be read aloud? The best method for reading a poem is to read it three times? The first time to get an idea of the rhythm, words and subject. The second time to better understand what it is all about. What is the poet telling you? The third time, read it out loud to get the full enjoyment of it.
One of the most well known opening lines of all time is from a poem. Do you recognize this:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
We've probably all said these lines or heard them sometime in our lives. This is sonnet #43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She was a recluse for many years after the tragic death of her brother. She rarely left her bedroom, yet she wrote beautiful, haunting and imaginative poetry. She did eventually marry, at age 40 - she eloped - and had a happy marriage and gave birth to a child at age 43.

This is the entire sonnet:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
The classic verse form she used is called a Petrarchan Sonnet.

Besides verse form, poets use many different devices in their poetry such as irony, figures of speech, imagery, metaphor.
Check out this short poem and imagine the color and texture of what he is saying:
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
The author just wrote a few short lines, yet with his use of figurative language, didn't he pop open your imagination with colors and texture? Aren't those chickens bright against the red of the wheelbarrow. Did you get your feet wet standing out there in the rain looking at it?
Another short poem where the author uses irony:
Earth by John Hall Wheelock
"A planet doesn't explode of itself," said dryly
The Martian astonomer, gazing off into the air-
"That they are able to do it is proof that highly
Intelligent beings must have been living there."
The irony, I'm sure you noted is that the people living on the planet - probably earth- are so intelligent they figured out how to blow themselves into oblivion. How intelligent was that?
I have to get real now and go wash the floors and take some spaghetti sauce out of the freezer for dinner. So I gotta go. I was in a poetry mood and wanted to share a few bits of information with you. I'll probably do it again soon, so I've called this lesson number one. Watch out for those white chickens! See you later.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain!

Renoir's "The Umbrellas"

It rained last night! Here - in Palm Harbor! I spent another day, yesterday, watching the rain clouds move north, south, east and west of us, and NOTHING here. Nothing. My soul was parched for water from the sky. And so is my grapefruit tree, which is suffering more noticeably that I. Last night, around 12:30 am, I was reading in bed when, after plenty of rumblings from the sky, it started to pour. Here! On my house, and trees and flowers. I just laid there and listened for a half hour or so until I fell asleep. Layla the dog opted to hide under the bed.
This morning, the pond is full, my pool is an inch and a half deeper, my garden looks happy and I am happy. Just as, in Michigan, when I could barely get out of bed after it drizzled for the 5th day in a row, I am affected in Florida by a 6 month of drought. I get to the point where the waiting interferes with my ability to be the least bit productive.
It rained again today! I left my car in the driveway after church this morning with the passenger window down a few inches. I remembered when I heard the Mister go out and open the door later and say "You'd better bring a towel with you." Ooops. Not much water - just enough to get the passenger seat nice and clean.
We were at Hooters having dinner several summers ago when the sky opened up and torrents of rain blasted out of the sky like Noah's flood. Someone had left the convertible top on their mustang down, and every few minutes an employee would announce, will the person with the white Mustang..yatta yatta... It kept pouring. They kept announcing. Finally after about 45 minutes a guy at the bar realized that it was his convertible - he forgot which car he drove to Hooters. The thing had about 4 inches of water in it.
Before I wander off to another subject, here's a poem about rain. Not the Florida summer rain, but a northern 5th day of a cold drizzle type rain:
Rain Dance

I watch from the train
On this cold grey day
Dressed in woolen plaid
Cheek pressed against the window
Peering through rivulets
At dark umbrellas
Twirling gracefully past
Like ballerinas in mourning

Hiding somber faces
Of those who come and go
In quiet discontent
Wishing for warmth, I think
And sun
And better things to do than
Pirouette though puddles
By Muse-Swings 1994
I forgot that all the Dad's would be given an ice cold bottle of Root Beer (for Father's Day) on their way into church this morning. I looked down from the loft (where I was managing the lighting for the service) and it looked like the guys were drinking beer down there. Some of the kids too. I didn't think much of that, after all I AM Polish.
I took several empties home with me for my bottle tree! Anyone reading this who sees me on a regular basis: I am still working on my bottle tree (see picture down on the right side of this blog) If you have any empty wine bottles- colored glass is especially preferred - or bottles smaller than wine bottles, please bag 'em up and drop them off next time you see me. I have plenty of green, brown and clear glass, so drink some Blue Nun or something. Thanks in advance. I'm not getting much turnover on my own wine collection, so I might just start handing out bottles and collecting the empties. I'll put an updated Bottle Tree picture on my post in a day or two so you can see how it's coming along.
The Mister is enjoying his Father's day watching the Michigan 500 (that's a stock car race) mostly through his eye-lids. He keeps dozing off. Jason and I took him out for breakfast. I found a looooovely card for him yesterday. I had to push a lady out of the way so I could get one. She was looking at every card! It's for a guy. You just grab one. Any one.
Actually I spent a little time looking through them myself. Got him some chocolate covered cashews too. Big Spender, I am. So I'm not working, okay? For an extra special time we watched a couple of episodes of Burn Notice that we taped earlier. I love that show. New season starts 7/10. Check it out.

I'll go sit next to the Mister for a while now. He likes that. I'll catch you later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

May I please see your Green Card?

Is these pictures magic or what? A friend of mine - who happens to own a hummingbird feather - sent these pics of a friend of hers. With a little patience she has these sweet little birds eating out of her hand!

I spot a lone hummingbird once in a while in the yard, but not often enough to try this. I'd just wind up with a bunch of squirrels sitting on my head.

We were on our way to dinner at Sonny's last night and walked by the 24 hr Starbucks. The mister said - is that your Bosnian soccer team? (That's from a post of several weeks ago when I was there with my Bible study posse) Sure enough, it was. I wanted to stop for coffee after we ate - I wanted to see if they thought the Mr. was one of their compadre's and would talk to him. This is based on his swarthy Romanian looks. He opted not to stop, and kind of steered me away by walking right next to me and sort of leaning me off to the left towards the car.

During lunch hours I used to go to a Starbucks in N. St. Pete with my friend Kathy. Every day there was a group of Bosnian men there. One cup of espresso on the table. A dozen guys. All day. It used to tick off the Starbucks employees and the customers because these guys used up most of the tables and chairs. They'd be there for hours. Kathy and I'd manage to find a seat most times. But this group of guys was particularily unfriendly and were kind of distracting when their friends would pull up next to the curb to shout at each other.

Kathy and I found an on line translation site and we figured out how to say things like:

May I please see your Green Card?

Would you please move your fat-ass van out of the fire lane?

No, you may not take that chair.

Is that a detonator in your pocket?

We never really took the opportunity to say anything to them( they were rather surly) , but we'd crack ourselves up putting Bosnian sentences together.

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against people from Bosnia - I just don't like getting crowded out of Starbucks. And typically it's a group of Bosnian men who are good at doing that. There was a shooting at the downtown Clearwater Starbucks (Over by the Scientology Hotel) several years ago. One guy got killed. Bosnians. Probably a fight over chairs. How do you say "watch your head" in Bosnian?

I'm just planning to do things around the house today. No outside adventures further away than the mail box. Got to re pot a couple of orchids, sweep the lanai and keep an eye out for rain. We got about 10 drops total yesterday, meanwhile it was pouring buckets north, south, east and west of us. I was standing outside while it was raining and I couldn't even feel it. I'll let you know how today goes! Good of you to stop by! What are you up to today?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Late? How Can I Be Late if I Never Say When I'm Coming Home?

Don't you hate it when you sneeze right after applying mascara? I did that this morning. I looked like Speckles the Clown after.

I had lunch with Jill yesterday. I saw her new apartment and her cute little dog, Grace Ann. I told Jill that I told ya'll about her laundry experience - the bra and panties stuck to the grill of her car story. Jill didn't remember anything about it! Here I've been laughing about it for years. It's good to know that embarrassing moments sometimes erase themselves from your mind, isn't it? . I have 6 brothers and sisters to remind me of embarrassing moments so, erased or not, they will ALL come back to haunt me. I've got plenty of stuff on them too, and they know it, so we just rehash our childhood stories when we are with each other. Keep them among ourselves. Plus I have lots of family pictures. And a scanner.

Whenever I go out, the Mister kind of gets an arbitrary idea in his mind about when I'll be home. Anything after that artificially induced arrival time means I'm late. I don't commit to a return time. My plan is always just to hang out for a while. When the person I'm with starts yawning and looking at their watch (or I do) I leave. Then I make 2 or 3 stops on the way home. With that kind of an agenda it turns out I'm always "late" getting home.

I have to dash out later and get a Father's day card for the Mister. We're not doing gifts at the moment, because of my unemployed state, so that takes a lot of stress out of major holidays. I either happen across something months before an event or I am lying awake ( what's new about that?) the night before trying to decide on something.

As I walked into the Dunkin' Donut's for coffee this morning I noticed my reflection in the mirrored posts in front of the door. I screeched to a dead stop, almost killing 4 people running in behind me, because in that kind of mirror I look like I wear a size 2. The mister looked pretty good too. Soon as I'm finished here I'm looking for new mirrors. I wanted to drag the skinny girl behind the counter over to the mirror to see if she would disappear. People are so sensitive these days. I decided to leave well enough alone. Usually what happens with mirrors - especially at shopping malls- is I'm walking along, feeling pretty good about myself and I do a double take when I come to a mirror because I always imagine myself younger, skinnier and certainly more stylish than the woman who keeps staring back at me.

Did you notice that snake removal ad on my blog? What a hoot. That came from the story about extracting a snake from my lanai. Now that I've said that word again the ad will probably continue on for a few days. I wonder what will happen if I say elephantitis, or summer savory, or Sasquatch. We'll see. I just said them. I'll let you know.

I have some things to do around the house ( at least the Mister thinks I do) , so I'm checking out for now. More to follow! Thanks for popping in!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Excuse Me, But There's a Lady of the Night on Your Lanai

Did you hear the one about the person who was an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic? He would lie awake all night wondering if there is a doG.

I'm on insomniac (again) tonight, so here I am. I'm definitely NOT an agnostic. Occasionally my slight dyslexic side shows though. Usually just to myself when I misread something. I crack myself up. Like the time I glanced at a headline in the newspaper. I read: Librarians Storm Embassy. I think to myself: Librarians storm an embassy? Librarians? They're generally quiet and reserved. What might prompt a librarian to storm an embassy and which embassy for Heaven's sake??? I was going to drop off some books today, but now I am a bit apprehensive. So I decide to read the headline one more time. I read: Liberians Storm Embassy. I think to myself: Oh.

One of my Lady of the Night orchids is in bloom. The orchid species name is actually Brassavola Nodosa. It has a heavenly and very alluring scent - only at night. You can be 15 feet away and catch the scent. It is amazing. During the day it just sits there and looks pretty and doesn't give a clue about what goes on when the sun goes down. I think what prompted my inability to go to sleep tonight is I was minding my own business, reading in bed as I do and the Mister decided it was time to go to bed instead of watching the rest of Jimmy Kimmel. So he pops into bed and turns out the light. I decided to let him get away with it, but an hour and a half later I'm still laying there wide awake while he is snoring away contentedly in my left ear. I'm so used to the snoring part that I can ignore that, but Layla the dog was sleeping on my left foot. Plus I was thirsty. And my nose itched. So here I am. I'll probably go back to bed in a few minutes, turn the light back on and finish the story I was reading. A short story called "Rain" by G. Somerset Maugham.

I've read it several times, so I know how it ends, but that's beside the point. I was in mid-sentence when the lights went out and I was just getting to the really good part.

The story, written in 1920, is about a group of travelers who are held over in Pago-Pago because of a measles epidemic. The characters include a prudish missionary and a prostitute. Things happen. Maugham was a fantastic way of exposing human relationships. "Before the Party" is another particular favorite of mine.

One of his books, The Painted Veil", was recently made in to a wonderful movie staring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. Filmed in China. It's excellent! Rent it! Now.

At the tone the time will be 3:45. (I think the blog post time shows as Pacific time, so it might look like I'm lying to ya. Believe me. It's 3:45. So I'll check my spelling as best I can and go snap that bedroom light back on in a minute I'll let you know how that goes. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

I'm pressed for time today - and nothing the least bit interesting has happened. Nothing. No rain, no irritating people who deserve recognition - except for several drivers who may be a future subject, even the Mister behaved. All was plain and ordinary! Even the mail was boring. So, I decided to share a poem with you, and I'll go off and do my homework for my Bible study class. My posse will be very disappointed (and so will I) if I show up without anything to discuss and share tonight.

The following poem came to mind while I was standing in the """"express lane"""" at Albertson's one day several years ago....just read it, you'll see why:

Life in the Fast Lane

I’ve been standing here for hours now
With milk and whole wheat bread
As I glance again quite dolefully
At the sign above my head

The tersely written words imply
I should not be in distress
Limit 20 Items Please
Cash Only – Fast Express

And yet I stand impatiently
In a glazed-eyed cob-webbed funk
While Black-Tee-Shirt in front of me
Paws through impulse buyer’s junk

Straw-Purse-Lady moves in queue
And empties out her cart
The rest of us, with moving lips
Count from eggs to key lime tart

She’s unaware of piercing glares
As we count to 25
Oh, where’s my tar and feather kit!
Let’s string her up alive!

Then Black-Tee-Shirt (with impulse buys)
Sets down his case of beer
We all decide he drinks too much
His wife should leave him here

Diamond-Rings gets set to move
Lines up her wine and brie
Smoked oyster dip and cheese puff shells
That’s food for thought for me

A heavy date most likely sits
Or paces by her door
While she’s caught in the fast lane
Stuck here for ever more

A checkbook flashes in the hand
Of Baseball-Cap-Askew
All heads turn ‘round and glare at him
Cash Only Please means you!

We move with snail like slowness
‘til I finally forge ahead
and set my meager purchase down
(tepid milk and stale wheat bread)

Just then the check-out light blinks off
I can only gasp and gape
One moment, please, says MISTY SUE
I have to change the tape

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hey Lady, There's A Snake on Your Lanai

Rain? Yesterday the storm clouds parted like the Red Sea (as often happens) at the edge of Hillsborough County. Torrents to the north of us and torrents to the south of us and a meager little sprinkle in Palm Harbor. We'll try again today. I hear some thunder in the distance. There's hope.

This morning I was greeted by a snake on the lanai. Great. It was a ring neck snake, non-poisonous, non aggressive and small, so I set aside all of my personal creepiness, let the Mr. remain sleeping away the morning, put on my trusty gardening gloves, picked the critter up and set him (her?) outside. About 10 minutes ago I had to save a frog from the swimming pool. She (he?) was tired of swimming around in there, so I just snagged it by hand and set it outside with the snake. Bindy the Jungle Girl has nothing on me, except that she can probably retire whenever she feels like it.

The Mister got an advertisement from Hospice today. They're doing health screenings for major diseases. Stroke, diabetes, heart disease. It seems to me that they are looking for candidates. Don't get me wrong. I admire hospice, but it was like getting a suit altering offer from the local funeral home.

I had a big outing today. We went to Sweetbay to pick up a prescription. 4 bucks! Everything the Mister and I take is available for $4 there. Cool. It costs more to use my insurance. We also took a fish tank water sample over to Pet Supermarket. (there is no end to the excitement of our outings) The guy tested the PH, rolled his eyes and asked if my fish are still alive. I get the message. As soon as I finish this post I am going to clean the tank and fill it with his recommendation of Zephyr Hills spring water. I don't even buy that for myself. It's going to cost about as much as an oil change to make my fish happy.

We also got our daily iced latte's from Dunkin' Donuts. and then stopped for a gourmet meal of Checker Burgers. Don't let Jason or Jennifer know that we still get 1 plain for Layla the dog. They're totally against people food for dogs. I should be too, but this has been going on for several years and she is healthy, happy, at the proper weight and loves Checker Burger day. She's sleeping it off right now.

That was it for my outing. We almost stopped at Publix too, but I'd had enough excitement for one day. Tomorrow I get to see Erica for a haircut, and then stop at my church to help with some administrative stuff for a while. Can't tie me down!

Thursday I'm having lunch with my friend Jill. We spend a good portion of our time together laughing. She's a hoot. Her computer isn't hooked up yet, and she's not reading this, so I'll tell you a funny story. Several years ago she was taking a load of stuff to the laundry. She was in a hurry and just threw it all in the back seat of her car. When she got to the laundry she grabbed the clothes up as best she could and took them in. When she came out she found a bra and pair of panties stuck to the grill of her car. I still laugh about that one! She handled it well. Just kind of snatched it of off the grill on the way by and dumped it on the car floor. During lunch on Thursday I'll tell her that ya'll know about her undies.

Going to take care of my fish. Be back later!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Squirrel Mystery and Case of Inertia Sets in on Blogger

Samson the dog (Jennifer's pup) looks like I feel today!
Today's Horoscope is an obvious mistake.

"Be encouraging and help others ride the wave of good energy that you're on, right now! It's easy for you to create good times for your people because you are feeling exceptionally generous and warm toward the people you care about most. You know all their favorite activities, so why not plan something that you know they'll love? Even if you just have a friend over to watch their favorite television show at your place, they will love being hosted in such a thoughtful way."

Must be talking to someone else. Some other Virgo with energy. All you people I care about are going to have to make your own plans. I feel generous and warm for you today, but the energy part is missing. So, I'm going to read a book and maybe take a nap. You're on your own. Sorry.

Good news! I have a new grand nephew! His name is Samuel and he was born on Friday 6/6. How cool is that? He has big brother Benjamin to show him the ropes, and some really great parents and grand parents. He lives in Michigan, so I'll have to wait for some pictures.

Squirrel Mystery
My squirrels appear to have gone on vacation today! Or, they may be in mourning. Haven't seen but one. That one -of the 8 billion or so who have been terrorizing my garden - was found dead under mysterious circumstances this morning by my mail box. The initial investigation shows no signs of foul - or even fowl- play. I didn't use any crime scene tape or interview any passersby, or do the little chalk outline. I just gingerly transferred his stiff little body into a Chico's bag for garbage pick up in the morning. None of his buddies are available for questioning. There is no person (squirrel) of interest. This is definitely a cold case.

Other than that, and based on a complete lack of energy and drive I've got nothing going on today. Except to look at Doppler radar once in a while and see if there's a hair of a chance that we'll get some rain. I'll let you know how that goes. Any ideas for dinner? Something with about a 1 minute prep time?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Comedians and Onion Soup

Some of my church ladies and I saw Chondra Pierce yesterday evening. Chondra is a Christian Comedian. And, no, that is not a contradiction of terms. She's as real as can be and she was nearly non-stop funny, but with identifiable messages and encouragement for us ladies. If she's playing near you, grab some of your lady friends and go see her! Check out for her schedule. Her shows are generally sold out, and for good reason.

Because of the early show time I had a "late lunch" with the Mister and son, Jason, at Hop's. We prefer to call it late lunch. As opposed to "early bird dinner". We may be counted among the senior citizens of Florida, but we try hard not to be typical.

For example: We can both see over the steering wheel. We do not make left hand turns from the right lane. We buy an entire book of stamps at a time. (heaven forbid we should die with left-over stamps in our possession. Kids: Whoever gets to them first can have them. Use them for the thank-you notes or something) We try very hard to stay away from rush hour traffic so the rest of you young-uns can get home after work, On voting days we do NOT rush to the precinct at 7:00 am - we leave that time for the working folks. We do not come to a complete stop before making a turn. We do not eat at Denny's. We have promised each other that we will not buy Sass shoes.

But I digress. Anyway, we go to Hop's because the Mister loves their French onion soup. That's the only reason we go. I am not particularly enamored by anything on the menu. Especially since they snagged the Spicy Thai chicken salad off the menu several years ago. Bummer. It was really good. So the Mister orders his French onion soup - and guess what????? They've taken it off the menu. They have got to start notifying us when they do these things.

So two things happen. The mister expressed his unhappiness. He can look mean. He's not. But how would the waitperson know this. So for the rest of our time there she will only make eye contact with Jason and I and she keeps one foot in the running position in case this bug eyed customer goes ballistic on her. You can't be too careful these days. I gave her extra syrupy smiles to keep her courage up but with little success.

The second thing that happened is: Applebee's has identical French onion soup. While we are waiting for our order, the Mister places a call to the local Applebee's . He asks if they still have French onion soup on the menu. They do! (thank goodness!) The Mister then announces that we will never go to Hop's again. (fine with me, I'm only tagging along for him anyway) Going forward it's A for Applebee's whenever he has a hankerin' for F.o. soup. (whatever).

Gotta go fight some weeds and stuff. Thanks for stopping in! Leave a comment if you have time. Got any questions? Anything?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Orchids Orchids Orchids!

Daughter Jennifer sent me a picture of the tiny phalaenopsis I gave her for her birthday in March. She is an orchid lover/grower too and recently added some beautiful orchids to her collection in San Francisco.

My obsession began when I was in Hawaii 18-20 years ago. I brought a little dendrobium home with me to Michigan and set it on the window sill in my kitchen. I have a picture of the blooms somewhere in my picture box. One side of the kitchen window is bright with snow and on the inside I have this little tropical oasis with pretty little purple and white flowers on it. It thrived, and grew and bloomed each year. I brought it to Florida with me, put it in a hanging basket under the oak tree out back and the first year I had 14 sprays of flowers on it! The next year it was deader than a doornail. The famous No Name Storm aka March storm came through unannounced and surprised everyone on the coast with flooding and icy salt spray that blew far enough inland that it killed my poor orchid.

At some point I brought a replacement home, and then another and another.... 85 orchids later I have a beautiful collection. At any given moment, winter months included, I have from 12 to 25 or more orchids in bloom. They are surprisingly easy to grow and I keep them outside in the extension we added to the patio just for them. I have many different varieties. Some are so small you need a magnifying glass to see the flowers. I've shared offspring with family and friends over the years, and now both of my sissy's are adding to their collections.

Any time I'm on the road and I see an "orchids for sale" sign my car careens off in that direction and I turn into one of those people who look like they are taking their house plants out for a ride. You've seen them. Usually a blue Pinto with a potted palm in the back seat.

My favorite shopping places are for mail orders and gifts, Louis DelFavio Orchids in Tampa - over by the Citrus Mall and Art Stone over near Tyrone Mall. The mister used to roll his eyes when I'd bring in a new plant, but now he goes to Louis' with me, and chooses one or two of his own. It's catchy. He also built my beautiful orchid tables for the patio.

Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Walmart, you name it, they all sell orchids now. Those are not necessarily as well cared for at the stores as dealer orchids are, but as long as the roots look healthy, and the plant doesnt look dried up it's a done deal. My sissy Janet called the other day with the name of a miniature hybrid she found (was it at Home Depot, sissy?) I'd not even heard of one of the parent orchids of the hybrid. It appears they are moving away from selling mostly phalaenopsis and dendrobium. Janet was the third person to call me for orchid advice that day! It was nice getting the calls (hermit wanna be or not) from her, my sissy Mary and daughty Jennifer for my """"expert advice""""". My advice comes from experience and losing several orchids along the way and moving them around for more or less sun, watering more or less, and feeding whenever the mood strikes me. I also have a couple of good Orchid books for reference. I bring them all in the house if we are expecting a freeze or a hurricane. Then I've got some of those little lizards (anoles) running around the house for weeks afterwards. Some of them turn into little mummies if I can't catch them and put them back outside.

If you feel like you need an orchid, don't be intimidated by it - just go get one. Ask the expert how to take care of it or look the orchid up on line for directions, and enjoy. Many only bloom once a year, but others bloom often and still others seem to be in bloom all the time. Most are unscented, but I have several scented varieties that smell like cocoanut, berries, chocolate, and cinnamon. Some are scented only at night and some just during the day. That depends on what insect or bird specializes in polinating them in the wild. The night scented are pollinated by nocturnal moths so they don't waste their time trying to be extra pretty during the day . Cool.

'Scuse me. My dog was barking for some assistance. I thought she left one of her chewie toys outside. Turns out she wanted water - from her outside dish. We passed two inside dishes to get to the patio. Don't ask. That's just the way things work around here. If I didn't know better I'd say the Mister put her up to it because he couldn't think up a question.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Makeup Magic and Florida Wildlife

While enjoying my pedicure the other day I was reading an article about make-up application. Something about how to be as beautiful as your favorite movie star or something. Yeah, that'll be the day. The eye catcher was the part about how you should spend at least 20 minutes applying your make-up to ensure perfection.

20 minutes. I don't know about you, but I for one could and would not spend 20 minutes doing my face unless I were in prison. That's the only place I can think of that I might have that kind of time (while doing time). Come to think of it, it won't work there either. I think most prisoners only get to use make-up if they are doing an interview for 20/20 Mystery. They borrow an ill fitting and very pilled sweater from the Head Matron and slap on a little borrowed lipstick so they can talk about how they are completely innocent of all charges and that must have been someone else's fingerprints on the machete.

I timed myself this morning. It took me a little under 4 minutes to do everything from toner and that all important moisturizer to blush and eyeshadow. I'm probably a bit more slapdash than my "favorite movie star", whoever that might be. At my age I'm looking at maybe Dame Judi Dench for pointers.

The important rules that I personally follow are "make sure your _______ doesn't/don't look like __________'s."

My list goes something like this:

Make sure your:
  • eyelids don't look like garage doors slamming shut when you blink
  • eyebrows don't look like Uncle Louie's (that's the Seinfeld episode where his eyebrows got singed off and Elaine drew them back on with a black magic marker) or like Joan Crawford's when you're hanging your clothes on wire hangers.
  • eyeliner doesn't look like Liz Taylor's during her Cleopatra years, or like Cher's any time
  • Eyelashes don't look like Lucille Ball's.
  • Lipstick doesn't look like Lucille Ball's or Joan Crawford's (coloring within the lines applies here).
  • Blush doesn't look like Bozo the clown.

That's about it. If I pass muster, and I remember to check the back of my hair, I'm good to go.

Next topic

Several of my Northern acquaintances have asked about Florida Wildlife. Specifically bugs. They call and say: I hear there are a lot of bugs in Florida. Is that true? To which I reply: To tell you the truth, I've seen far more bugs in Michigan. However, the bugs you see in Florida are quite memorable.

Palmetto bugs the size of fire trucks are a prime example of memorable. Spiders so big you can hear them walk is another. So it's not the number, it's the overall weight and length that will astonish.

You probably already know this, but if you see a (normal sized) spider in the house just spray him/her with hairspray or spray starch. They are rendered incapable of moving long enough for you to call animal control or run out of your house screaming. Which ever you prefer.

The thing that brought this to mind is I walked into the bathroom last night and got that eerie feeling that I was not alone in there. Without moving anything except my eyeballs I searched about and sure enough there was a palmetto bug ( okay, okay I know they're cockroaches, but we here in Florida prefer to call them palmetto bugs) the size of the Queen Elizabeth II in the shower. I dispatched him quite handily. What to do about them is not the point here, the point is they are big enough that you know you are not alone in the room. How spooky is that? Very. I've creeped myself out here. Think I'll go sit by the pool for a while. Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Wings Did It!

Okay! I'll stop talking about the Red Wings for a while now. They won last night 3-2! Stanley Cup winners for the 11th time. Go Wings! It was a very exciting game but we won with an assist from the opposing goalie. Our guy hit the puck at the goal, the goalie sat on it, and when he moved to get up he pushed it into the goal with his hiney. Or, as my daughter so delicately put it, he butt squeaked it in. It was a fair goal, and well deserved. We can all go on to our normal everyday lives again until next hockey season. At least I will. The rest of the person in this house will be watching every football game that is televised. Love it.

I had lunch today with a dear friend who is also a writer. Or tries to be. She endures the same husbandly interruptions while attempting to write - although her experience doesn't include those scritching sandals creeping closer and closer to the door. It's something about if we're not sitting on the sofa next to them watching Cops and droning news programs, we are obviously ignoring them. I'm pleased to know that I'm not the only one - it's not just me or my imagination. It's either they're there interrupting you or you are writing away with this nagging feeling eating away at your brain stem that he's going to be coming by any second now.

I thought the mister got the message the other day when I told him he won prime time in my blog. Wrong. If anything, it only encouraged him. The next evening I could hear him scritching across the floor to my officette. Then I felt him breathing on my neck. I paused in mid-word and turned around to see what the deal was. He sez " I'm not going to say anything, I don't want to interrupt you, I just wanted to see if you want some Good n' Plentys." If one says "I'm not going to say anything" is that not saying something? You tell me. How can you respond to an offer of candy other than with graciousness and smiles. Why yes, my sweet, I am feeling a bit peckish, and I would ever so love some Good n' Plenty's at this exact moment."

Ten minutes later I was on a roll again and he shouts from the kitchen "After you're done in there could you check the refrigerator and see what we should ditch? Tomorrow is garbage day"." Apparently I'm the only forensic expert in the house who can tell if the oozing cucumber needs to vacate the fridge or the left over chicken that is growing a new set of feathers needs to be released back into the wild.

A few weeks ago, I actually closed the office door, which I normally don't do. We've always had an unspoken open door policy. That's just the way it's been. 38 years. No closed or locked door no matter what. Except for the bathroom. But that goes without saying. So forget that I said it. Anyway, so he's standing outside my office door saying - to the dog - in that special voice we use when we really want everyone to hear us: " I think she wants to be alone, so we can't go in there right now." Meanwhile, my eyes start to twitch and my hands hoover over the key board as I try to remember what in the heck I was writing about. I may have just been browsing through Chico's website for sales items for all I know, but that's beside the point.

As I'm typing this and considering my next topic, I'm thinking "it's about time for the Mister to invent another reason for popping in here, so why don't I just hang it up in for the day and go sit next to him on the sofa and watch some more droning news."

Why don't I just do that? Catch you later! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

There's Something to be Said for Home Schooling

I decided to go get a pedicure yesterday instead of meditating. One of my more brilliant ideas. After loading up with movie star magazines, I settled in, got the massager chair going and then browsed around to see who else decided to get their toes done. I did a double take at the chair directly across from me. I thought it was Karen Carpenter for a second. Karen's been dead for, what, about 15 years? Anyway. It wasn't Karen. Turns out it was a school teacher (per conversation with her pedi person) She said: "Yeah, like uhm, I teach an stuff? I'm off for the summer but I get, like, paid anyways.? Oh an this thing on my leg? I got bit by a yellow fly (yellow fly???) but it's ok because like uhm this'll uhm like make it feel better an stuff.

Hope she's not an English teacher or (yellow fly?) science teacher. Sounds dedicated especially like uhm she like gets paid for the summer. Clarification: Teachers usually have a choice of being paid just during the school term, or being paid for the full year. Their uhm salary is like uhm adjusted based on the number of months they uhm will be paid. If they like get bit by a yellow fly they like can like call in sick for several days.

So, that said, I read my magazines and caught up on my favorite people. Looks like it's true love this time for Paris and Benji. What a relief. The other 64 romances just weren't right. I'm so upset about Nicole Ritchie. I thought she and what's-is-name were married. And Jenn Aniston is going out with some guy who just isn't right for her. But Branjolinas are doing just fine, and no - no baby yet. What a relief to be able to see for myself that everyone is okay.

Have you noticed that the word fiancee is really over used these days? You especially see it a lot on Cops. First of all, HE is not your fiancee, the guy is the fiance. Also, why doesn't he have a job, why do you work and support him, his drug habit and the 3 kids? Are they all from this fiance? Have you set that all important wedding date yet? Do you have your wedding planner on call? Oh, you'll get married after his next parole hearing for "fianceel" abuse? Great. If you look at the word fiance very carefully you'll see that if you add just one more N to the word you'll get finance. Who's supposed to help finance this relationship? Ponder that when you buy him his beer and cigarettes on the way home from your 2nd of 3 part time jobs. The least he could do is take the kids over to your sister's house in the mornings. Save you some time.

I almost needed to make another pedicure appointment today after I took the dog out and found my oregano upside down. Again. The least the squirrels could do is put it back the way they found it.

As I mentioned yesterday, it looks like we have McCain and Obama. That's all I'm saying.

And now for sports: Go Red Wings! Game 6 tonight.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Things are Outta Control!

I posted a picture my daughter Jennifer sent - California gas prices. Ouch! The only reason our Florida prices remain below $4 is the number four is on back order. At least that's my opinion.

The Red Wings lost last night - in the 3rd overtime! 3-4. The Stanley cup was on the premises but with minutes to go during regular time the Penguins scored and brought the game to a 3-3 tie. We'll try again on Wednesday. They all played well, and didn't spend much time trying to kill each other. Except for the Penguin who caught a puck with his nose. It was delivered by his own team. You and I would have been laid up in the hospital for 6 weeks. He was back on the ice 5 minutes later. Hockey guys are tough.

A large soft shell turtle mama made her way into my garden this morning. I'm late doing everything because I had to watch this special moment. It was special alright. She couldn't find a comfy spot so she just kept on wandering about and digging. First I saw my pineapple plant flying through the air, then the oregano did a triple spin and then the milkweed started waving frantically. I couldn't watch anymore. As I ducked into the house she was heading for the bergamot and the chives. A short time later I went out to check the damage. Turtle mama was back in the pond looking at me with as much of a contented look that a turtle can muster. My garden looked like I had run a John Deere tractor through it. I carefully replanted the remains of the skyward plants, and now we'll wait for the delivery day. Should be the third full moon from now. I'll let you know when it happens. The announcement should read something like boy girl girl boy girl boy boy boy girl get the drift.

The squirrels were at it again. It wasn't a fluke that they managed to dislodge the squirrel proof bird feeder the other day. With our usual Pollyanna attitude The Mister and I cleaned the feeder and filled it with premium bird seed with plenty of fruit, nuts and sunflower seed before rehanging it. This morning it was on the ground again and the squirrels were laying around eating like they were at a Roman banquet. I tried adding an extra heavy s-hook. We'll see how it goes this time around.

Looks like Hillary may throw in the towel later today. That's all I'm saying. None of my friends or family are saying anything about the Presidential race. Like me they may be so dumbed out by the 2 years ( or is it 6) of debates, slams, biased coverage, un-biased coverage, over coverage, rehashed coverage, mashing an idiotic story into the ground coverage, that we can't even think about about it without getting a migraine. I think the race should have a time limit, a money limit and a news coverage limit. The way things are now, you just want to run into your precinct screaming, "Get this over with!! Git outta my way! Lemme mash a button - any button on the voting machine. Make it stopppppppppppppppp!"

Thank goodness for Lindsey Lohan and Brittany Spears. They throw the news guys off the campaign trail every now and again. The downtrodden everydayguys get some really worthwhile news tidbits to illuminate our decrepit little lives. That's what I love about the media. They decide what to report on and then they turn around and claim it is because we, the public, want to hear about Lohan and Spears and the Brangelina's. Meanwhile the stuff that landed on Mars last week - you did know that, didn't you? We had 5 whole minutes of coverage- could be up there digging up mummies for all we know. Better we should get the real inside on Deborah LaFave instead

Think I'll go meditate for a while. Do something calming ... catch you later