Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Blustery Day in the 1.76 Acre Wood

Hurricane Gustav is about parallel with Palm Harbor right now. Although it's about 300 miles away, it's a big storm and it's been affecting our weather since yesterday morning while it was still twirling around Cuba.

Today it's been a blustery day. No rain (yet), but plenty of wind and gray clouds and it is MUGGY. I was outside at our Welcome station at church this morning and got 75 new hairdos as I stood in the wind before the service greeting guests.
We had about 16 first time visitors this morning! Several mentioned that they had heard good things about our Pastor, Chad, and came to check him out. The (free) CD's of his sermons are going like hotcakes! I'm glad he and his wife and children are part of our church family. Check us out at Audio's of Chad's most current series are available on the site.
After the service the Mister and I ventured out for breakfast and did some grocery shopping. 68 more hairdo's.
We are very fortunate that Gustav is not headed for Florida. We're always happy that a hurricane has decided to take a course away from our state. Knowing that someone else is going to face all the misery of powerful winds and flooding, however, takes away all but the relief for ourselves. If you are in the expected landfall area, I hope you are reading this from Montana, or Idaho, or even NE Florida.
We're also tracking Hanna, but she's a slow moving storm and has a rather indecisive route. She may just stay out in the Atlantic. We shall see later next week.
Yesterday the screen repair guys came out and repaired the screens that the tree branch landed on during tropical storm Fay. I don't really know how they did it. I can't watch people on ladders. Especially when it's pouring down rain and thundering! I just know it involved some amazing acrobatics and no one got killed, maimed or injured in the process. Best of all, I can quit scooping leaves and branches out of the pool!
Hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day weekend! Don't do any labor! Go out! Shop, swim, bike, visit, picnic and have fun!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

HELP it's Football Season!

Football season has begun. Football minutes are the opposite of dog minutes. 1 football minute lasts on average 5-7 minutes. So, that means a game of four 15 minute quarters lasts about 3 hours plus the pregame ( I call it the hey Bob interviews) and post game discussions which are enough to make a sane person crazy. Before the game 3 to 4 commentators stand there with bad hairdos holding microphones like giant lollipops and grin and ask each other nit wit questions like:

Hey, Bob, what does Michigan have to do today to win. (Score the most points?????? Could that possibly be the answer?????)

Then post game - it goes like this:

Hey, Bob, why do you think Michigan lost their first game (to Utah) today? (They scored less points????? Could that possibly be the answer?)

Michigan has been playing football for 105 years, you'd think they'd be pretty good at it by now.

Football season lasts from now until the beginning of February. You have the preseason games, the games, the play offs and then 2,536,742.1 bowl games and then the Superbowl. You also have college games and Pro ball games. Before football is over hockey starts and they have so many teams they don't end their season until JUNE. There is no hope. All is lost.

The mister has 645 favorite teams and watches 2 to 3 games at a time. - flipping back and forth to check scores. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years dinners are planned around game times. Tis done. Hope has gone the way of the dodo bird.

Friday, August 29, 2008

You Too! Especially You! GET. OFF. THE. PHONE!

This woman is robbing a bank. While on the phone!

Yeah mom, me an Rocco are busy right now. Yeah. Yeah. I know we haven't been over in a while. We're busy. Yeah, I gotta job. Look, I'm right in the middle of something. Do you need any cash? Are c-notes okay? Uh huh. Yeah (Miss you put a dye pack in there I'm gonna shoot you in the foot!) No ma. I ain't at the beauty shop. (Miss, snap it up. I ain't got all day here.) Yeah ma, it's like a customer service job. (Look miss, I said no ones or fives. Just the big stuff.) No, ma I got a lady here uhmm payin' her bill. (Look lady you got one minute) Ma. Yeah, I know you taught me to be polite. Alright ALL RIGHT! (Miss, my ma said to tell you I'm sorry. Now hand me that bag or I'm comin' over this counter to get you) Huh? (Ma told me to say I'm sorry like I mean it. LIKE I'M SORRRREEEE, OKAYYYYY?) Alright ma, I gotta go, I got my hands full. Gotta run. That noise? It's ahh the um... the fire alarm. Gotta get out of the building like now. Bye Ma. Love you too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Get Off The PHONE!

It occurred to me yesterday when the zillionth person pulled right out in front of me while they were on the cell phone that we are hopelessly surrounded by people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but they think they can drive and talk and drive and text and drive and add new play pals into their address book, but they don't know enough to at least look to the left before they pull out into traffic. Cause it would be too inconvenient! I could go on and on and I'm sure you could too about people who take calls at the movies, in CHURCH, in the examining room, in the dentist chair, during Riverdance, while they're eating dinner with you.... but there's nothing to be done. It's a new rudeness that is here to stay. We are lost. It's over. I'm boycotting my 2,000,000,000 rollover minutes. Please bag them up and roll them over that young snippet in the yellow Mustang. Thank you for your kind attention.

Some phoney observations with my compliments to Flickr for the pictures:

Now, Paw, this here is one of them there cellery phones. If you teach me my numbers I will call for one of them pizza pies.

Hon! Hon! Can ya hear me? I'm at Yellowstone! I think it's gonna blow! I read about it on Muse-Swings so I came right over! I'm just gonna sit here and take a picture of it when it does!
I tell ya, Custer, you're getting on my last nerves! I got 3,000 faithful tribesmen up here with me. We're just over the hill. Go back to the fort this minute or we'll come and show you what for!
Heh heh, I'll believe that when I see it. Our guns are loaded. Show us what you got!

Mine's bigger than yours! I'm at a party but I'd rather talk to my phone friends than people.
I've been on the phone too long, I'm feeling kinda stiff and there are pigeons waiting to attack. Pigeons! I said pigeons! P-i-j-i-n-s. Pigeons!

It's 1960 and they haven't even invented the cell phone yet, but I got one and it's stuck to my ear already. I gotta go. The Beav and Wally haven't checked in yet.

Thee just sit there until I get home! Do thee understand! Don't thee sass me! I'll tell thy father!

That fricken' Sittin Bull just sent me a text message!
Yeah hon gotta call a plumber. There's a bit of water in the basement.

Whoah! Maybe I'll get me a hands free device.

Like this one. It's the cheapest one I could find.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Brief Season Explained

The poem I posted yesterday, A Brief Season, evokes textures, colors and sense of touch when I read it just as it did when I wrote it. It is about a relationship. It takes place in Florida - in old Florida, not the land of subdivisions and swimming pools.
As I was writing it, I followed a woman on a winter afternoon as she walked from her dark, silent, unpainted house down the cold wooden steps into a still cold yard. I heard the screen door creak and slam shut behind her as old screen doors do. There are a few tears in the screening and the handle is rusty and a bit sharp at the edges. . The woman's feet are bare, and she has not taken the time to put on a sweater or a coat. The skirt of her dress falls just at her knees and it makes a muffled cottony sound as she walks. Her husband is walking ahead of her, and she feels the need to follow him. Perhaps he told her to follow, perhaps he asked her to follow, perhaps not.

She lets herself lag further and further behind as they walk toward a path in the sandy yard. After hearing only their footfalls, his of boots on sand and hers the quiet pattering of bare feet, she becomes aware of the sharp piercing call of blue jays. She looks up through the leathery leaves of the live oak trees looking for sun and warmth, but the sun is not warm and she can not find it's shape through the graceful branches draped heavily with Spanish moss. She knows that Florida winters are brief, and realizes that her relationship is suffering a "winter" and that, with some effort,those winters can also be very brief. She begins to walk faster, to catch up with her husband. To find comfort from the warmth of him.

This is the first time I have explained this poem - even to myself and I am surprised at how much more I see beyond the words.
I wonder what you saw or felt when you read it? What story does it tell you?

Monday, August 25, 2008

For Bibi

One of my newest blog friends Bibi of A Yankee in Belgrade lost her husband of 31 years, Ivan, on August 23. I want to extend my sympathy to Bibi, her children, family and friends during this very sad time. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Bibi!

A Poem For Monday

A Brief Season
I follow him unwillingly
beyond the stillness of the house
feet bare against cool steps
and scraggled weeds, I
pace myself
to lengthen the distance
through a yard cold and dreamless
shadowed by ancient oaks
and somber moss
and jays attending their territory
my eyes rise to brightness
slicing through dark keyhole gaps
amidst rigid leaves
searching for warmth
and a defined sun
within that cold smear of light
and, finding none, I
pace myself to shorten the distance
between this brief winter
and the warmth of him
Cynthia Ann Conciatu
1997 Theodore Lindgren Memorial Award
Florida State Poets Association

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Things Have Gone Haywire!

I happened to say the word "haywire" earlier today. Don't remember why I said it. Probably I was over exaggerating about something. It's what I do best. But I paused in my dissertation long enough to wonder why we say that - where does the word haywire come from?
So, I looked it up and found that hay wire is the wire used to tie hay into bales (duh). However, the term "haywire", meaning things are outta control, didn't come out of the hay fields where makin' hay can mean several things. Haywire actually comes from the world of lumberjacks!
Hey, Dana, lookit me! I'm choppin broccoli!
Whenever machinery or tools used by lumberjacks were in need of a quick fix they used hay wire. Perhaps duct tape had not yet been invented? So now, when things aren't working properly or they're out of control, they've gone haywire.

Monty Python, of course, has forever changed the image of the once burly plaid flannel clad giant of the virgin larch forest. One can no longer say the word "lumberjack" with a straight face and certainly not without going into a quick rendition of "I'm a Lumberjack (and I'm okay)" So get it out of your system. Click the picture and sing along.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gr-r-r-r! Fay's No Sport!

Fay is 250 miles away and she's STILL causing trouble!

I was greeted this morning by a live oak branch, formerly part of a tree, stuck in the screen over the pool
It provides additional shade while I am sitting on the chaise, I suppose
And gives kind of a 3D image to the lanai

A little too 3D for my taste - looks like I'll be cleaning the pool for a while today
Even if this image were animated the pool vacuum would not be moving. It gobbled up too many leaves and branches before I discovered the problem and now sits there like an overfed ......well....pool vacuum.
So-o-o we have some actual tropical storm damage. We'll need to replace at least two of the screens - after we hire Tarzan to climb up there and remove the branch which has wedged itself over and under the support.
As you can see by the pictures, we did have a little sun today - but every time I went out back to clean leaves out of the pool it started to rain.
So what have we got here got here:
Branch removal $75.00
Two new pool screens $300.00
Free (rain) water for the pool, saved $27.13
Sporadic sunshine for the first time since Tuesday: Priceless

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Gray Day! Go Away Fay!

Aargh! Another gray day. Thanks to Fay. She just won't go away. Fay, you gotta make room for the other three storms out in the Atlantic.

Here's my prediction on the next three: 1 will go into the Gulf of Mexico, 1 will twirl around in the Atlantic for a while and then dissipate and 1 will head toward the Georgia, Carolina coast.
11:00 PM update: The weather person on the 11:00 news agrees with 2 of my predictions; one to the Gulf of Mexico and one up the Atlantic coast. The third is too far out for a news forcast yet.
I went, probably for the last time, to our "corner store" - the ever convenient Albertson's. Been going for 17 years. Spent a bundle and a good portion of my life in there. Publix bought out Albertson's and they are closing most of the stores. Including mine.
First I thought I'd pick up some eggs:
Well, maybe some Campbell's Chicken Soup for the soul
Ok, then maybe some ice cream. Found some frozen reject instead. Don't want it, whatever it is.
Well, at least the cosmetics are 50% off maybe I'll get a lipstick or something:
Just passing through, lady. Got nothing to check out.
Funny - she didn't ask the ever so irritating question: Did you find everything okay?
We were in Publix earlier in the week and we were asked that question.
I said: No - I don't know where anything is here. I'd like to go to Albertson's but you bought all of them and they ain't got no food in 'em no more.
Ashleigh: How bout that! Gives the bagger a high five.
C: (blink, blink)
Ashleigh: You saved $1.23 cents today.
C: At Albertson's I would have saved $5. because they had all the prices posted. Plus sometimes they gave out stamps for free dishes.
Ashleigh: I hear they kept running out of dishes and no one got any anyway.
C: True. And they were pretty ugly. But at least there was the potential for a freebie. A star to hitch our wagon to, as it were. The dream of something for nothing.....sigh
Ashleigh: Do you need help carrying that bag out to the car?
C: Yes please. I'll need a snack, too. Oh, and a glass of water to drink on the way, please. Your parking lot is so crowded with former Albertson's customers I had to park out in BFE. On second thought, maybe you could just call me a taxi.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

School Bullies: A Chance to Take Them On

Ming the Merciless was a kindergarten bully, I'm sure of it!

Were you bullied at school?
Were you tormented?
Were you pushed around?
Did people swipe stuff from you?
  • Did Kenneth tell you to put your fingers in your desk drawer and you did and then he slammed the drawer on them? Forget you were gullible enough to do it. Duh.

Scut Farcus and his little toady friend

  • Did Mimi throw your new coloring book in the bushes when you gave it to her because she asked if she could look at it? Forget that you knew Mimi was up to no good. And why were you hanging out with her anyway?

  • How 'bout Theresa? Did she swipe your little plastic Humpty Dumpty because your best friend had one and your best friend started hanging out with Theresa and they played Humpty Dumpty together until you went to Theresa's house and she answered the door and you asked to speak with her mother and she said wait a minute and came back to the door and gave you your Humpty Dumpty but it had teeth marks on the left leg?

Beach Bully

  • Did Joey convince you to see if you could throw your mittens over the rail yard fence? And you did. And they went right over the top and by the time you got home you practically had frostbite because for whatever dopey reason you didn't put your hands in your pockets and it was about 40 degrees (that's Fahrenheit) below zero and your mom ran cold water over them until you thawed out and then you got a cup of hot chocolate and got to help make Jello for dinner?

  • Did Anita convince you to stick your foot in the hole in the floor in the abandoned house down the street and you (of course) did and your foot got caught and your mom had to come and save you and she took you home and you got to lay on the sofa and watch Howdy Doody and she made you a cup of hot chocolate?

  • Did Theresa (there's that Theresa again) convince you to stick your tongue on the schoolyard fence when it was (again) (why why why do you insist on hanging out with her?) 4o degrees (that's Fahrenheit) and luckily it only stuck a little but the fence tasted like a dead armadillo?

  • Did Mary Jo and Janelle convince you to play hide and seek and you hid and they didn't seek instead they went to Mary Jo's house and had a snack in the kitchen and you knew because you could see them when you finally decided they weren't coming to find you and you walked home all by yourself?

  • If you had it to do all over, would it happen again? Or would you serve them up for dinner with some fava beans and a fine Chianti?

Here's your chance to find out:

How Many 5 Year Olds Can You Take on In a Fight?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One More Lick at Lou

Shawn Goes for the Gold

Lu Shanzhen, coach for the Chinese Gymnasts called last night. He was a bit tuckered out from putting all the little car seats in his travel van for his "women" gymnasts.
Lu: This that smart aleck American woman?

C: Lou! Good to hear from you again. How's it going.

Lu: Not so good. I lose face from not winning lots more gold medals.

C: Why do you think that is?

Lu: I think your giant American gymnasts just show up better. Judges see them. Forget what little 40 lb Chinese Gymnast is doing.


Lu: Anyway we be back in four years. We'll show you then. Girls will be bigger and show up better on camera.

C: You're bringing the same girls back?

Lu: Sure. They have a long career ahead of them.

C: They'll be kind of old in 4 years, won't they?

Lu: Ha ha ha No they'll be 16. Olympics say must be at least 16, so I bring 16 girls next time. All 16.

C: I was kind of expecting to hear from your embassy after our previous conversations.

Lu: Ha ha ha. China very democratic now. They check you out, look at your blog. You just small potatoes. Small flea on a large dog. Tiny zit on the face of humanity. Little yellow duck in large bathtub, tiny fleck of rice......

C: Okay, okay. I get it. So, what are you going to be doing now?

Lu: I think I might go to Idaho, or Iowa or Indiana. I forget which one. Starts with "I" though. Got good coach there. He's in much demand now. Might need an assistant.

C: You forgot Illinois, but try Iowa. They've got a lot of corn there.

Lu: Look, I got to go. Girls all waiting in car seats. Got long ride ahead.

C: Well good luck with that. And, listen, don't be a stranger. You've got my number

Lu: Ha ha ha. I got your number all right.

C: And I got yours, Louie. I got yours.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Thank you Stevie Wren from a little birdie told me so for this lovely friendship award! I've made so many friends, including Stevie, of course, by way of visiting your wonderful inventive and personality filled blogs! I noticed that among those I visit frequently, Stevie has awarded Nana Trish, Betsy and Willow! Congratulations ladies!It appears that we are to pass this award along, and I will do so! I would like to present the Perfect Blend of Friendship Award to:

Lavinia who is among the very, very first to visit Muse Swings and leave an encouraging comment.
Bibi and Shelly and Janeen who are among the very, very newest of friends

Aunt Jo who's friendships and family are always present in her blog
Camille who is a friend and a friend and a friend

And a Blog in Bloom for Willow!

I would also like to present a Blog in Bloom Award to Willow of Life at Willow Manor. Willow's blog just blooms with wonderful feasts of art, poetry, books, life and, of course food - some of the most delicious and divine (with recipes available). It is always a delight to walk along the tree lined path, dappled with sunlight, open the gate, and knock on the door at Willow Manor!

And a quick tropical storm update: Fay is up to something. She is strengthening over land and moving on her NNE path more slowly than expected. Although we expect very little weather from Fay here in Palm Harbor, she is taking her time with the southern counties. I don't think we have heard the last from her. My personal prediction is that she will move out over the Atlantic, gather her skirts in and make another grand entrance to Florida sometime in the next week.

Weather update : The weatherman must have read my blog! I checked the weather two minutes after noting my prediction and they have Fay doing exactly what I just said! Keep an eye on her - she's got her eye on Florida.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fay is on the Way

Weather Radar (click here for animated radar)

TS Fay is on the way - over warm water and headed for the Keys. Tracking is minute by minute now that it's north of Cuba. It's moving faster than expected and may organize itself a hurricane later today.

We "just"have a hurricane watch posted for our area rather than a warning. Things can change, but it appears it will go inland south of us and then move northward to the east of us. We expect windy wet weather later today and tomorrow and we're keeping a weather watch for any changes. The local news stations have constant weather coverage for our viewing pleasure.

In the meantime I've been working on my book (will wonders never cease!) and I've been visiting other blogs. It's fun to see what everyone is up to! Such wonderful creative people! I add to My Bonnie Blog List all the time during my "travels."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Hope You Dance!

Stop over at Willow Manor ! Watch Matt the Dancing Guy dance all over the world. It is beautiful and inspiring. Just goes to show you if you dance the world will dance with you, for you, around you, and because of you. I hope you dance!

Meanwhile, in Palm Harbor, we went out today to pick up a few things for ourselves and for the doggies. There is a sense of preparedness with folks filling shopping baskets with easy to keep food items, water, batteries, - you know the drill. At least some of you do. Hurricane season is upon us, the water shelves are emptying out, the gas pumps are empty and we're keeping an eye on the weather reports as Fay swirls over Cuba with her eye on the Florida peninsula.

We added a few things to our pantry. Important stuff like tonic water, Cheetos, flan, black beans - for black beans and rice - and a cucumber. We also bought Merrick (flour free) dog food and flourless dog treats. Layla is still bumpy and itchy from sneaking over to Lucy's dish and eating her food. The antihistamines help for a few hours, but by the time she is due the next dose she's all bumpy again. Her bumpiness could also be from the overgrown grass next door so I'm keeping her away from that. She'll be better in a day or two.

The hurricane watch has been extended all the way up the west coast of Florida including our area. The track of TS Fay is still unknown, but the overall feeling is if it does strengthen to hurricane force it will be a cat 1. With current reports it looks like it may either come overland north of us or stay in the gulf. The real track and intensity is never really known except as it happens. They jog and stall and do whatever they want so it's best to just be prepared and then see what happens. Palm Harbor is at 28.07 Lat and 82.726 Long. I hope Fay isn't!

Thank you for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation

I'm sure you have heard of the college game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Its inception is from the theory that everyone on earth is within six degrees of separation from any stranger they meet. Meaning, they can, if they have several hours, days or months, trace a line of 6 -or fewer- acquaintances to each other.

The college game, which has been going on for years now, for whatever reason chose Keven Bacon, and plays a game of linking people, mostly other actors to Kevin through movies, marriage, events, etc.

Well guess what? Here's a little tidbit to start your day: I am just two degrees from Keven Bacon.

How, pray tell, can this be? you ask with an ever so slight tinge of green in your voice. Well, I am acquainted with Dennis Lehane, author of the novel, Mystic River, which was made into a movie in which Kevin Bacon had a starring role.

People acquainted with me are just 3 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. Lucky you!

Dennis Lehane and I both graduated from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. Different years and very different majors. Dennis teaches and is still very involved with Eckerd. He is high on my list of favorite writers, and I am anxiously awaiting his next book, The Given Day, which will be released in September. I had the pleasure of listening to Dennis read excerpts from the book on several occasions and it's going to be a good one. His book, Shutter Island and short story, Until Gwen are the next to be made into movies based on his stories.

I came to know Dennis through a wonderful writers program Eckerd College offers each year called Writers in Paradise . I attended the first one in 2005. It was especially exciting for me to be accepted into the program. The requirement, to be accepted in the Contemporary Novel workshop that Dennis taught was to submit 12-14 pages of your novel for consideration. That was all I had at the time. 14 pages. So I sent them in, they were critiqued, and I was accepted! I was in league with people who had writing degrees of various kinds and who were much farther along in their writing careers. It was a wonderful 8 days of immersion into all things writing.

I just found the following pictures on the 2005 conference on the web site! Me (the blonde lady) listening and Dennis talking. Cool!

So here I am, 2 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon and that makes you three degrees from him.

Check out Dennis' new book. If you haven't read the others, put them on your reading list!

I'm off to check the next tropical weather update. We may be getting a bit of Tropical Storm Fay in our neighbor hood next week. Click on the Tropical Update picture for the latest on that.