Tuesday, March 30, 2010
We should be home by Friday. I'll have to spend most of Saturday catching up on Reader.
Monday, March 29, 2010
We were driving in the evening, not yet totally dark, in spring time. We were on a kind of rural road that wound its way along a river. As we approached a bridge from the south, we watched a southbound sedan shoot off the end of the bridge. It flew up into the air and then flipped, landing on the car roof. In those days, cars actually had some steel in them. You kind of felt like they were something heavy and substantial. It was astounding to watch that car flip through the air like a plastic toy thrown in a child's temper tantrum.
We stopped. My husband went running over to the car and I went running back down the road to a house where we might contact the police and an ambulance. (Remember the days before cell phones? Remember the days when you didn't think twice about knocking on a stranger's door to ask for help?) When I got back to our car another car had stopped and a woman was looking into the front passenger window of the overturned car while my husband was at the driver's side window. Later, my husband told me that the driver had greeted him with, "I'm okay. I'm fine. Just go!"
Then the woman who had stopped came running over and was yelling, "Ma,am! Ma'am! Are you okay? Help is on the way!"
She got a similar response from the driver, "I'm fine. Don't call anyone. Just go away!"
Well, obviously things were not fine, but my husband was thinking to himself, "Ma'am??" because, although the car was kind of flattened, he could clearly see the hairy, masculine hands of the driver and had already determined that there was only one person in the car.
The police came. They were also asked to go away, but they didn't. They were able to get the driver out of the car. Miraculously, he was not seriously hurt at all. He had a few minor scratches and a bump on the head. His nylon stockings were badly ripped and runny. His blond, curly wig was askew, and his skirt was twisted uncomfortably around his body. Clearly, he was incredibly embarrassed and I guess that explained his insistence that he needed no help--we should just leave him there, upside down, until his nightmare just went away.
I will say, the State police officers treated that man with dignity.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Venice really is a lovely little city to walk around. Typical of Florida development in some ways, it was planned in the 1920's and a construction boom was underway. Boom, then bust. At the end of that decade, Venice was left nearly a ghost town. Some nice places for ghosts to stay wouldn't you say?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I had a minor panic attack on Saturday afternoon after fixing the cheese plates and arranging fresh fruit platters--"We don't have enough food!!"
We had plenty of food and wine, plenty of good conversation. In all, a lovely time. We always enjoy these small kinds of get together with friends, but it's especially nice to do it here because we feel like we are part of a community even away from home.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Faux news reports that 75% of Americans are against health care. Really??? Even if I tend to over simplify, that's just hard to believe.
The beach was littered with huge moon jelly fish and a sea hare today. Sea hares look like a plastic baggie filled with blue dye and the end tied into a vaguely rabbit-like face. Seeing things washed up from the sea makes me really, really question the concept of intelligent design.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
When I brought out that Frog and Toad (last post) story, it was inevitably greeted by loud moans. Bear in mind I worked in a middle school; everything was greeted by loud moans. But they did actually listen to the story and appreciate the simple humor of it. It was easy, then, to get into a discussion of the school's requirement that they write all assignments in a school provided day tracker and have it signed by a parent each night. For some, this worked just fine; for others, it was a struggle; for a few it was about as doable as an assignment to read War and Peace over the weekend. So some kids needed a check to see they had the assignment and the necessary materials. Some kids came to an after school homework club (How fun is that? But it saved some wear and tear on busy parents and anxious kinds of students). Some kids found a system of color coded folders for individual subjects more helpful. Some kids got by with e-mailing a parent the assignments. There were always one or two who just declined any efforts to get them to do their homework (and honestly and sadly, most of those kids had way bigger worries).
And then there was Charlie. (Charlie is not his real name. I can't even remember ever having a student named Charlie.) Remember Pig Pen in the "Peanuts" cartoon strip? Charlie was not a pig pen, but his backpack sure was. That wasn't so unusual in itself. Lot's of kids crammed three cubic feet of stuff into the black holes of their one cubic foot capacity backpacks. What set Charlie apart was his absolute resistance to any and every effort to help him organize.
I have also worked with a couple of students with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is not fun or funny. It's a very hard thing to live with for the sufferers and those around them. I know I don't have OCD, and those kids knew it too. They could sense I "got it" though, and I could get a good working relationship going with them. Well, Charlie could sense my strong preference for neatness and order, too. He just decided he would use it against me.
Charlie didn't talk a whole lot, but the withering "leave me alone" looks I got from him spoke volumes enough. I thought, though. that we were evenly matched for stubbornness so I kept right on trying to get him to admit his lack of a "system" wasn't working and we should try to find one that would work. Study skills, like a twelve-step program, are predicated on the personal desire to change. My role was guidance and support. So for the last fifteen minutes of a 90 minute class session, other students checked their assignment books or arranged their folders, or otherwise packed themselves up for the day, using my precious "organizing time" and all the motivating encouragement I could dish out. Charlie would just stare out the window. After a while, the withering looks or complete ignoring subsided. Then, my efforts were greeted with, "This really bothers you, doesn't it?" and an inscrutable grin. I would have to admit that, indeed, it made me very nervous to even be around so much clutter in one tiny spot but I just knew I was right about there being a better way. Charlie started watching me like a cat toying with a mouse.
Finally, after a couple of weeks of this stand off, I came to the class armed with lists of missing assignments from all other classes and a challenge for everyone to come up with a plan for taking care of that business. Charlie's list was staggering of course. He had yet to hand in a single assignment for any of his academic classes. Heaven help me, I was gleeful as I slapped down his list. "Here! Proof your way is not working for you!" I got the look that wished my nagging presence out of his way, but he took the list. He proceeded to pull out at least 90% of the missing assignments, lining them up across several desk tops. They were sorry looking. On the other hand, he pulled them out with an absolute minimum of rummaging and no sending of extraneous stuff into the air, almost like he knew exactly where everything he needed was located.
What could I say? "Would you like me to find an iron before you hand those in?" At least I got a genuine smile with his "No, thanks" reply.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
1. Errands to run
2. Books I want to read
3. Books I have already read
4. Things I need at the drug store
5. Gift ideas for the family
6. Web sites I want to check out
7. Writing topic ideas
8. Urgent household or yard tasks
9. Sewing and knitting pattern notes, with materials needed
10. Ever changing sizes for grand children clothing
11. Groceries (developed from the comprehensive pantry list I keep in the kitchen with my cookbooks)
12. Clothes shopping (developed from the complete list of my wardrobe items with notes about what needs replacement, kept in my closet)
While I was still working, making my "to do" list was always on my list of things "to do." I kept a pad of sticky notes next to my bed so that I could jot down things if they woke me up in the middle of the night. I kept a pad of sticky notes in my car so that I could leave myself reminders and make note of anything that might pop into my head at the stop lights on the trip to or from work. Actually, I still have pads of sticky notes in the car and around the house, but I find I don't need to use them quite as much.
Being such a believer in list making, it was something I was always trying to get my students into under the guise of "study skills." At the same time, I could appreciate that the list making thing was a bit of an obsession that could easily turn into something counter productive. I developed lessons on list making as an organizing tool. However, I did introduce those lessons over the years with a reading from the beginner reader Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel : "A List." In the story, Toad makes a list of things to do but it is blown away in a stiff wind. He is rendered useless for lack of that list and spends the entire day looking for it. His pal, Frog, who chases around after the list with him finally says he's tired and has to go home to go to bed. Toad remembers that "Go to bed," was the last item on his list so he writes that in the sand with a stick, crosses it out and goes promptly to sleep.
I may be a tad on the obsessive side, I know, but at least I can take myself not so seriously sometimes. Sometimes I believe it is possible to organize myself right into disorganization and chaos.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Today "Next Blog," sent me to My Mother's Blog and head in the clouds, feet on the gas--both of which I found interesting. Then it went into a whole series of blogs about beer and home brewing. Why? (Oh, yeah...I did write about going out to hear a bar band last week-end.)
I seldom drink beer and I certainly have no desire to take up brewing as a new hobby. My husband likes the dark kinds of beer that you have to chew before swallowing. Give me a Corona, preferably one that comes in those cute little 7 ounce bottles cause otherwise I won't finish it, if it is a really, really hot and humid day or maybe if we are eating Mexican.
My brother-in-law was into home brewing beer for some time. (My sister was once thrilled to learn that one of her children announced to his first grade teacher that he had spent the week-end helping his dad bottle beer.) He went on to making his own wine. That was really good. Home made wine seems to be kinder and gentler--way less likely to give you one of those red wine headaches.
We have friends coming over for wine and cheese next week, so Ill have to make a visit to the local wine and cheese shop. I haven't been in once this year, but Mike is reminding me of the budget limitations. Sooo, I'll make two shopping trips--doubling the budget by staying within it twice. Funny that I can never get my darling husband to appreciate my economic theories.
I can't wait to play with the "Next Blog" button next Saturday morning.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Two years ago I went home and completely reorganized my laundry room and painted the kitchen. Last year, I organized myself a sewing space, put a fence around the front garden, and expanded a garden in the back yard. Mike was recruited to help with the 2009 projects.
Now for this year, I'm thinking about some interior painting to the upstairs of our raised ranch house...but really...only in the thinking stage. It might take a year or two to accomplish.
The thing is, I can get all these fairly recent home magazines at the Venice library in the Friends of the Library used book store and I do like to watch HGTV (although I think it is no where near as good as it used to be a few years ago, and that's another blog for some day). I get ideas. The recent seeds of ideas, though, are all about technology.
Someday, we will have to replace the faucet in out kitchen sink. I do like those faucets where you can pull out a hose and spray the corners of the sink instead of those fairly useless separate sink sprayers. But I am so behind the times. Now you can get a faucet that will turn on with just a glance from a pinky finger, or better yet, your elbow--so if you have been handling, say, raw chicken you won't contaminate the faucet handle with your germ infested hands. (Do you ever wonder how the human race has survived as long as it has?) Don't get me wrong, I am a frequent hand washer, but I do not yet own a "no touch" hand soap dispenser with built in motion detector technology. I thought the soap pumps were kind of neat, but now I realize the pumps are germ magnets.
I believe I have mentioned digital recipe readers before. When they are no longer $300, I would consider having one of those. I don't have room in my small kitchen for a computer and my cook books do take up so much valuable space on my counters. I print out recipes--apologies to the trees for being so wasteful.
I also do like the idea of the digital scale and measuring cup. How precise for baking needs! It even converts weight to volume in case you inherited a bunch of really old or European cookbooks--ones not available on the internet or your handy digital recipe reader. Not prohibitively expensive either, although they are not yet available at the dollar store where I purchase most of my kitchen utensils.
AND this is really cool--a grocery list app for the iphone. You point the phone's camera at the bar code of the item you're running short on and it adds to a list, organized by your favorite supermarkets and even the aisles therein. Obviously, I am not the only person in the world sans iphone because there is available for purchase a single function gizmo that will organize your grocery list. It uses voice recognition technology and will organize by category and print out a list to take to the grocery store. Those magnet enhanced note pads on your refrigerator, pencils--so yesterday.
So decision time is drawing near. Should I go with the cosmetic application of new paint or the life altering upgrades in technology?
I do know that whatever ideas I am jotting down as we head home--They'll be making Mike nervous.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Two nights out a year--what an exciting life!
This morning, we got the call at 8A.M. that Elizabeth had gotten on plane in Atlanta and was on her way to Fort Myers, scheduled to land at 10, so we had to gulp down some coffee and head out for the airport about 70 miles or so south of here.
Napping seems to be the big plan for this afternoon. E. left her house at 4:30 this morning and Mike and I stayed up past our bedtime. Sweet dreams to all of us.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
There have been all kinds of attempts to build reefs and import sand to protect the beaches here, but it's obvious that we are not going to win when Mother Nature is our competition.
I'm in a sad state about the earthquake in Chile. Our family has a connection there as Mike's sister and her husband adopted their son there and were able to travel back with him to visit a few years ago.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Can See How Much I Love You by Amy Bloom. I picked it up simply
because I loved that title. And then there were the tidbits like:
I sometimes think that my mother's true purpose in life, the thing that gives
her days meaning and her heart ease, is her ability to torture me in a
manner as ancient and genteelly elaborate as lace making.
from "The Gates are Closing"
Sometimes a writer's ability to turn a phrase just grabs me and I am filled with both admiration and envy.
On the subject of seeing:
I received a denial of payment for my visit to the eye doctor a few weeks ago. I had an increase in the "floaters" drifting across my line of vision and then lightening-like flashes, which were new and worrisome. I called my eye doctor in Vermont and he advised seeing someone, "preferably a retinal specialist" right away. I was able to get an appointment and I thought I was doing the prudent thing. According to my insurance carrier, when in Florida, I should go to an emergency room, which would be covered. If the doctor at the ER then referred me to a retinal specialist, that would be covered. Going directly any doctor "outside of network" is not covered. Seems wasteful, but I am not going to complain too much. The representative at my insurance company has a heart and I will be reimbursed this one time and from now on I will know better.
In the meantime, I am thankfully past the high risk period for a detached retina. The light shows and dancing shadows--cheap entertainment that I will have to live with for who knows how long.
Spectacular full moon last night and gorgeous sunset as I am writing this...