Saturday, May 18, 2019


I belong to a writers' workshop in Vermont and a private writing group (three writer friends who meet in each other's homes to discuss our writing and offer each other support) and feedback). I also participate in a poetry group when I am in Florida where we discuss our poetry and offer each other support. I consider myself very fortunate to have the people in these groups in my life. Some of them have become true and wonderful friends.

The Writers' Workshops host all kinds of opportunities for writers -- fiction writing, creative non-fiction, song writing, all kinds of groups. I join poetry groups, whether workshopping our own work or discussing the work of known poets. I always learn something. Gotta keep learning!

Today I spent my Saturday in a revision workshop. I know that would not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was an excellent way to spend a day. I have ambitions of being a poet when I grow up.
I thought it was interesting that I was the only left handed person in the group of ten today. Just something I noticed.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Quiet Week

My first week back from Florida was extremely stressful and hectic. I was little more than a spectator, but it still left me exhausted.  This second week was needed. I spent time with family and relaxed. I got to a couple of yoga classes, a poetry discussion, and a group meditation. I caught my breath.

The week coming up is all about appointments. I will go to the dentist on Monday, the eye doctor on Wednesday, and my primary care physician on Thursday.

My PCP is retiring at the end of this month and moving out of state to be closer to her grandchildren. I am happy for her but not at all excited about having to find a new doctor. One of the minor annoyances of aging -- doctors retire. So now do I look for someone young and starting out or someone who is very experienced and might retire in what remains of my life time? Perhaps I am just overthinking things? (Ha! Not that I ever do that.)

My eye doctor is annoying: Your eyes are very healthy; see you in two years. Your eyes are very healthy but you have that little wrinkle in your retina; see you in one year. Your eyes are very healthy but we're getting close to talking about cataracts and your pressure is up; see you in six months. I focus on the healthy part but the six month thing does bother me.

My doctor's appointment is because my fingernails are turning white. It's disconcerting, one, and Dr. W.W. Web has nothing good to say about it, two. Of course I can also hear my mother's voice telling me I need to eat more protein. I felt foolish calling the office to say I might be in liver failure because my fingernails are turning white (it could be a vitamin thing) but the intake worker didn't laugh or tell me to stay off the internet. He just gave me an appointment. At least I will get to say good-bye to my doctor. She will be missed.
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Monday, May 6, 2019


I got back to Vermont. It was gray and rainy. Even the daffodils seemed depressed by the run of rainy weather.

But the next day was much nicer and those tender green buds that will soon be leaves made an appearance.  The grass is an emerald green that makes me just want to walk through it with bare feet. The soggy wet soil keeps from actually doing that. There are buds on rhododendrons and crab apple trees. Very soon there will be lovely blooms of pink and white.  I will take a short walk to the nursery across the street from the development where my condo is located and plan my mini garden for my deck.

I had several containers of plants in Florida.  Usually I give them away at the end of season.  This year I planted most of them (except the herbs that I know will not make it through a summer in Florida) in my little yard. Most of the plants this year were succulents. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, will survive. Will be interesting to see if I remember since I forgot to take pictures.

It was Green UP weekend here. Individuals and groups go out and clean up the trash that accumulates along the roadsides. It goes into bright green trash bags and then is picked up by town crews. Take a ride today because the pristine views will not last. Whatever makes some people think it's perfectly okay to toss coffee cups, beer cans or wine bottles out their windows is beyond me, but there you have it.

One of my favorite scenarios from a book is in Carl Hiassen's Sick Puppy. The main character is cruising along behind a guy in a convertible. Some trash flies out of the convertible and the m.c. is so outraged he follows the car to a restaurant where it is parked with top still down. The main character gets a garage truck (I've forgotten just how he manages that) and dumps the contents into the convertible. I've gotta read that book again.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Another Window

Joe, the Cranky Old Man, recently wrote a piece entitled "Window." It told a story of a brush with near disaster that turned out okay by some miracle. If I may quote, his conclusion was:

So, all you young parents, the reason your own parents don’t think you are capable of successfully raising a child is they know from experience that if you let your guard down for a second, stuff happens.  They fear you may not be competent, because they probably know the fact that you are alive to be a parent at all is a matter of their own dumb luck.  
Dumb Luck must be my secret middle name. Many miracles have occurred and my children should be far more thankful to a higher power than I suspect they are.

For example (and I may have shared this story before):

My son was about a year old -- still in diapers, walking, but not totally verbal. We were visiting my first husband's  parents who lived in an upstairs apartment of an older house. I had cooked a big breakfast of bacon and eggs. My mother in law went to work and the rest of us went into the living room to watch morning news and drink the second cups of coffee. At some point I went back into the kitchen and discovered it filling with smoke. Apparently I had not turned off the gas burner completely (I'd only ever used an electric stove before) and the frying pan was aflame.

My father in law's impulse was to grab the flaming pan and run through the kitchen and a hallway and then down a flight of stairs. Fortunately my husband stopped him and clamped a lid on the pan to extinguish the fire. My FIL turned his efforts to throwing open all the windows. It was in the spring and he had taken off all the storm windows but had not put up all the screens.

The phone rang.

It was the nurse who cared for the women across the street. She was wheeling her patient out onto their sun porch when she noticed something concerning. "Do yo know that there is a baby running around on your porch roof?" she asked my father in law. He started screaming. Maybe continued screaming, it was a long time ago.

My husband very calmly went to the dining room window and said, "Hey, Kevin, come here." And Kevin did and we closed the windows.

Three miracles that day alone -- the house didn't burn down, my father in law did not die of a heart attack (although he did pour himself an after-breakfast drink), and my son did not run off the edge of a roof.

I have sometimes wondered why it is that we seem to have a tendency to move onto new relationships and yet still end up with the same personality in the new person.  Ability to stay calm, think clearly, and solve a problem -- probably more than a good thing I gravitate towards those qualities in significant others.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Beach TIme

It is time for me to be getting ready to close up the house and pack up for my return trip to Vermont.
But it was way too nice a day not to go to the beach.

Boca Grande

I was going back because I had a follow up appointment to my sinus procedure in Boston. On Friday, the doctor's office called and rescheduled me for June. Grr. I could have stayed longer had I known that before buying my ticket.

I suppose beaches all look the same -- sand, sky and water. Other beaches I visited this winter:
Nokomis Beach

Broward Beach, Venice

View of Venice Beach

Top rated Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota

Perfect ending to a day at the beach:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Easter My Way

I am not big on Easter celebration so I wanted to help those who do celebrate. I volunteered to do breakfast and clean up for the Family Promise program. This is a program that provides temporary housing for families with children in area churches in addition to a center based program that helps the families find services, employment and eventually a home.  The churches involved house and feed the families for a week or two at a time on a rotating basis.

I have provided meals in the past. It's always such a heartbreaking experience to see young children homeless.  And yet there they are so excited to go out for an Easter egg hunt.

It's really hard to accept that there are these kinds of homes for sale in the general nearby area:

six bedrooms, 8 baths, $15,900,000.00

while affordable housing is so hard to find.

Then I heard about the bombings in Sri Lanka.

I spent the afternoon at the beach to ground myself. Beautiful, but even then I had to think about how an extended red tide outbreak in the Gulf and a green algae bloom in the Okeechobee water system that impacted the state last year.
Life is fragile.

Guess it's time for me to fix myself a Prozac cocktail. Or at least sit down and meditate for an hour.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

I Don't Understand

Oh, dear. The Spector of Socialism is freaking people out (mostly Republican people?) -- Bernie Sanders (well he claims to be a Democratic Socialist but he has money!) and AOC and other freshman Congress people -- what is this country coming to??

And yet . . .

It's pretty clear that the Russian government interfered with the last presidential election. Now I am old enough to remember the cold war years and how it was clear that the Communists were our enemies and not to be trusted.

Maybe I felt that more keenly than some because my mother was Ukrainian, a part of the USSR when I was growing up. I remember a well meaning neighbor suggesting she tell people we were Polish because she knew a Polish woman who was very nice, but it definitely was not okay to be Russian. (Not a lot of diversity in Vermont in the 50's and 60's.)
And even though I was little I must have picked up some vibes of the McCarthy era from my parents' watching the news. My father made no secret of his intense dislike of Dwight Eisenhower (a personal thing from the war) and I distinctly remember having the fear of men in suits who might knock on the door and take my parents away.

So I really don't understand the complacency (mostly among Republicans?) around this issue of foreign interference in our election process.

It's okay to put people coming across the southern border seeking safety and a better right into lock ups but let's not say anything about an outright attack by a foreign government. And also let's pretend that our government never interfered in the politics of those south of the border countries either.

I really just don't understand.