Thursday, February 27, 2014

This and That...

My credit card came overnight, no hassle involved at all.  What a pleasant surprise for me!

I had the grapefruit tree in the yard taken out yesterday.  I kind of hate to get rid of another tree, but it is way too much work to take care of the tree and the fruit when I am not here all the time and I don't eat grapefruit very much and rarely drink the juice.  Fruit that falls on the ground and does not get picked up right away can attract rats.  I don't want to deal with that.

Now there is a large spot of mildew on the back wall that is visible since the tree is gone.  I will have to spray that.  It's also time to weed and mulch the flower beds and shrubs around the property.  I have a stone walkway from the carport to the shed that does not seem to have anything under the stones but some dirt.  That means weeds pop up and ants burrow in.  I look at it and wonder how I should tackle that...or IF I should tackle that.

The literacy program, my volunteer job, was not in session today.  I thought about what to do with my morning off, but then I told myself that I had volunteered my time so I went to the horse barn and spent the morning scrubbing horse stalls.  And I do mean scrubbing.  No need to head to the Y for an exercise class today.

Google Image

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not again

It does not seem to fail that something happens to compromise my credit card when I am in Florida.  That means the hassle of closing it out and then waiting for a new one to arrive.  Then there is the hassle of activating a new card from my home phone when I am 1500+ miles away from that phone.

It is a good thing sometimes to be tracked, though, creepy as it is.  Someone--more likely a nameless computer program--noticed that a $475 charge for make-up and beauty products popped up on my account.  A $47.50 dollar charge might have caused a minor blip, but the larger amount really deserved to set off alarms.  I tend to put everything on my charge card, pay it off once a month, and then use my points for something fun or frivolous.  Out of all those monthly expenses that go on the card, pretty darn little goes for make-up.

Of course, if the nameless computer had been able to see my damaged face from a month ago, it might not thought anything amiss with my ordering a boatload of make-up/beauty products.

Ouch!

It has gotten much better.


By the way, I don't think badly of my Florida dentist.  She has not been the first dentist to suggest that I fix my overbite and raggedy teeth.  The dentist who took out my wisdom teeth many years ago proposed surgery that would involve breaking my jaw and resetting it.  Invisalign sounds good in comparison.  I'm not doing it...didn't have my jaw broken either.  But if you happen to be a dental professional, you are going to notice it.

We did have a Homeowners Association meeting two weeks ago here.  The guest speaker had all kinds of information on protecting one's self from scams and identity theft.  I was afraid to unlock my door and go out for two days, but now I worry that I have been careless with shopping and swiping.  It's always something.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sea Fog

Sea fog rolled through the neighbor hood Sunday night...so dense and so moist.
Is it a cloud or a sponge?  At first I thought it was rain sweeping in when I looked out the door, but the couple walking by were not being drenched at all.  I could taste the salt in the air.  The light from the street light was refracted in the most eerie way and, later,  I saw the same glow over the city to the west.

That kind of light could inspire a painting.  Oh, it did. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

Hello, Are You There?


Wednesday morning, I was walking on the beach.  The conditions were exactly what Mike always hoped to see.  As I got to his favorite shark tooth hunting territory, I was remembering how he could spend hours on such a morning scouring up and down that smallish stretch of beach.

I have found teeth before, but I was never one of the dedicated hunters.  As I walked along, I spied a small shark's tooth and picked it up.

Sorry about the quality.



Since Mike and I continue to chat, I said, "It would nice of you to toss a big one up at my feet.  You know how how I love a sign."

Don't judge until you have been there.  I really am not nearly as crazy-whacko as I may sometimes sound.

And guess what:


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mending--How Much Do I Need?

Having my body battered in an accident has certainly taught me to be more cautious.  I also have to think that the yoga classes I have been taking are helping.  I really feel as though my balance has improved...and maybe not just in the physical sense.

My bruises have faded.  I can still feel a small lump over my left eye, another on my lip.  My face is tender just under the left cheek bone but it doesn't seem swollen.  My left knee is still my souvenir of the smash on the pavement.  It still needs time to heal.  I am really hoping it is not going to be one of those weather-predicting joints.  Nothing was torn or broken but the swelling is still evident and it really does not like dampness right now.

The folks at the ER had given me a name of a doctor to contact for follow-up.  I really didn't feel the need, but his office called and I decided to make an appointment just to establish myself as a patient with a doctor here in Florida.
I went the other day.  A nurse took my history and blood pressure.  The doctor came in and glanced over the history, listened to my heart, and said, "Why are you here?  You look perfectly healthy." Total time in the office was less than 15 minutes but the charge was over $250.  Thank God for insurance.  Even though I hate insurance as a concept.

I don't have dental insurance.  Usually, I pay in a year (for my two cleanings) what I would have to shell out per month to have dental insurance.  However, I did pop a cap off in December and then a large filling that sits on top of a broken front tooth like a cap but is really not.  Those two incidents upped my dental outlay by a good deal.  I did get a great deal on my dental x-rays at the dentist here in FL, but after my initial visit, they did call me in for a consult.

This is a sad story.  I have nine old fillings, still the silver stuff that they don't use anymore.  They should be replaced with resin because the old stuff can crack and allow decay to happen. $195 to $235 per tooth.

Then there are my crooked and ragged teeth.  They recommend Invisalign orthodontia and veneers on four front teeth.  Estimate of cost altogether: $8,565!

And beyond that, they would like to refer for a sleep study.  Imprints of teeth on the sides of my tongue are a sign of possible sleep apnea.  They have an appliance to fix that.

Have I thought about whitening?  Every one wants whiter teeth.  Not me.  I am never smiling again! And the office is offering a special on botox injections this month.

Yikes.  I have had an overbite for 65 years.  Do I really need to be worrying about it now?  And if I got rid of facial wrinkles my head would definitely look weird on my wrinkled body.

Get out!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More on Pills


Google image


I wish that I had thought to take a picture of the pile of prescription drugs Mike had accumulated last summer.  I do not even have the list with me here, but he was taking pills for blood pressure, heart rate, stroke prevention, cholesterol, GERD, and probably a couple of other things that don't come to mind right now.  He was taking pills to mitigate the side effects of some of the other pills.  And, my, my, he had plans with that stash of viagra.  Then he had about three different medications for gout symptoms, two different prescription narcotic pain killers. and a very expensive cream for skin cancer lesions on his head.

He had reordered a three month supply just before he went into hospital and many of the bottles were never even opened.  There were A LOT of pills in his drawer.

He used an on-line pharmacy.  I called them.  They would not take anything back even if it had not been opened.  I went to the local pharmacy he sometimes used.  They would not take anything.  I called the pharmacy that I used (because I passed it on my way to and from work years ago) and they said they would take it off my hands and send it to some place in Texas where it would be incinerated.

"You can't use it?  Not even the unopened stuff?  I mean can't it go to a vet clinic or mission clinic or something??."

No, it had to be destroyed.  Oh, and they could not take the narcotic stuff.  Great.

I know this is for the general safety...although that does not explain the narcotics left floating out there, but what a waste.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Maxine Barritt Park

It has been a few years since the city of Venice turned a desolate looking waste water treatment site into a lovely park area.


I took a walk around with camera in hand.

 The park is located between the Venice fishing pier and the Paw Park.

You can see that it was a gorgeous day for such a walk.



 Don't hate me because I say winter is my favorite season.

I didn't happen to spot an alligator this time.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Do you listen to Tom Brokaw's radio spot, An American Story?  He announced to listeners that he has an "incurable but treatable" type of lung cancer.  This was also on the television news, but his radio spot included tips for connecting with friends and family who may have the "full time job" that is cancer.

His spot this morning caught my attention.  It was about "there's a pill for that."  In this case, the announcement was a pill that scientists are hopeful will work in the brain in such a way that will stimulate language learning in adults AND/OR will allow musical abilities to flourish.  Being tone deaf and unable to carry a tune in a bucket, as they say, I am quite excited.

Tom wasn't impressed though.  He wants a pill that would enable him to slam dunk a basketball.

Maybe we should just stick to our own God-given talents.

Well, of course, somebody's God-given talent is developing pills to fix the rest of us...so I guess I had better end this post.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dreamland

I have recently had dreams in which I am entering a house.  I open the front door and flocks of birds fly out.  Last night, as part of the dream, i was thinking, "Well, these birds just keep getting into the house somehow so I better check out how they can be doing that."  I found a broken window and called my brother to help me fix it.

Since I have had the dream a couple of times and since I seem to have been making the deja vu connection even in my dream, I looked up a dream dictionary.

I did not contact any of the earnest looking psychics wiling to chat with me, but I did find this interesting to think about:

To see birds in your dream symbolize your goals, aspirations and hopes. To dream of chirping and/or flying birds, represent joy, harmony, ecstasy, balance, and love. It denotes a sunny outlook in life. You are experiencing spiritual freedom and psychological liberation. It is almost as if a weight has  lifted off your shoulders.

To dream that you are fixing or replacing a broken window indicates that you are reassessing your view and outlook on life. You are gaining a new perspective on things.



Also as a part of last night dreams, I found a baby in a basket.  It did not seem to be a surprise.  It was a Chinese baby dressed in a silk jacket, deep navy blue with gold designs.


To see a baby in your dream signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings.  Babies symbolize something in your own inner nature that is pure, vulnerable, helpless and/or uncorrupted. If you dream that the baby is smiling at you, then it suggests that you are experiencing pure joy. You do not ask for much to make you happy. If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential.

Well, I can't wait for all this joy to catch up with me in my waking life!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nebraska

Some of you wanted to know my opinion of the movie Nebraska.

I thought it was really well done, deserving of its mostly high ratings in reviews.  My personal reaction can be summed up in one word--HEARTBREAKING.

Bruce Dern plays Woody Grant of Billings, Montana, who has been notified of authorization to collect a prize of one million dollars (if....).  He is determined to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, to collect his money.  He doesn't trust the mail.  He will walk if he has to.  After his younger son fails to convince him the letter is only a come-on for selling magazines, he agrees to drive his father to Nebraska.


The movie was heartbreaking to me first of all because as far as looks and also certain aspects of the curmudgeonly personality, I was watching Mike on the big screen.  Sweet and bitter torture.  Heartbreaking.

When the trailer first came out, Mike's daughter texted me to google it.  Leave it to Dad to come back as Bruce Dern.

The second reason for its heartbreaking effect on me was the recognition of my mother in Woody.  She was also convinced beyond doubt that she was about to be a millionaire when she received one of those letters from Publishers' Clearing House.  I would think I brought her to an understanding that it was a hoax and the next day she would be bursting with excitement at winning a million dollars.  And, as with Woody, she wanted the money to leave to her children.  Heartbreaking.

Finally, although there was laughter in the theater during some of the scenes where they visit the old home town and the extended family, I found the jealousy, the greed,  and the conniving distressful.  Sad because I know it happens in real life.  Heartbreaking.

You can find a trailer HERE.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Leftovers

I enjoyed the visit with my sister-in-law last week--walking, talking, shopping, taking in a movie (Nebraska), and going out to eat.

I had a left over rotisserie chicken, leftover salad greens, leftover vegetables.  So this week I have been eating...guess what?...leftovers!


Chicken on a bed of baby greens topped with a farro, grape and apple salad.  There is a slice of avocado tossed in there as well.

And I made a lovely chicken soup.  It was good today when I got home from the horse barn.  It was not so cold, but really quite windy.  Also, it was a particularly large and a particularly, shall we say, energetic group today.  Team literacy was wiped out by the end of the morning; I can tell you that.  Whew!

So a hot shower and a hot bowl of soup were two very good things.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Time on the Beach

Of course the weather was perfect the day after my sister-in-law went home

The beach was crowded with early morning beach goers.

High tide was taking a bite out of the sandy shore.

This is what Mike always referred to as the "dead tree."  It had fallen over about seven years ago and there really is not too much left of it now, but it was a land mark for us.  Mike always had the best luck finding sharks' teeth near it.  When I would walk to the beach to meet him after his early morning hunting, this is where I would meet up with him and we would walk the mile and a half back to the parking lot together.  I was greeted there today by a large dolphin maybe fifty yards off shore.  A shout out from Mike.
Another half mile down the beach, two new dead trees, Causarinas.  I was
sorry to see their demise even though they do drop sharp little cones.

South Venice Beach Access--by ferry.

It looks kind of deserted, but it really was not.  I ran into six different people I knew so my four mile walk actually took three hours to complete.  It was a beautiful day to get sand between my toes.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A New Trick

Okay, a friend sent me this some time ago--a way to separate egg yolks from the whites.

The video is a must see: youtube.com/embed/iAp8pEaWB1Y.

I finally got around to trying it and it really does work...plus it is really kind of fun to do!

Get crackin'!

Visit

Mike's sister has been here for a visit and I have been having a wonderful time.  Perhaps in the week ahead, I will get back to my posting/commenting routine.  ENJOY!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Mash

Condolences to those in Bronco country, but congratulations to Sea Hawk fans. I understand the the young bucks wiped the floor with the old guys.  Linda Reeder and family...you must be over the moon!!

I myself did not watch the game.  I clicked through the channels, but I guess I don't have the right channel programmed into my favorites list.  I was just waiting for Downton Abbey to start anyway.

Mike knew even less about football than I.  He would not have been able to tell you it was a Broncos-Sea Hawks matchup.  He would be checking out the commercials on line right now though.

*****

Some of you learn important stuff everyday.  I myself learned that there is such a thing as bitchy resting face.  Another thing to worry about.  I definitely have it...probably invented it.  People have felt free to tell me I look mean/angry all my life.  But I have  dimple when I smile so then that makes them feel bad.  (I guess that is kind of a bitchy thought itself.  Oh, well.)

*****

I hope everyone has a happy, prosperous Chinese New Year...year of the wooden horse.

I helped some kids make a dragon for their parade.  It was really quite something in action.

*****

I understand the ground hog is predicting six more weeks of winter.  So is the calendar and the vernal equinox.

*****

The temps went up into the 80's by 9 a.m. yesterday.  Everybody in Florida (seemed like) went to the beach.  And why not?  It was a beautiful day.

*****

Here is an important tip for yoga class: Do not wear an underwire bra.  Learn from my mistakes.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cooking for One

My mother used to fight with me as a child to get me to eat eggs.  Scrambled, could choke them down, but in any other form--as in a yellow ball surrounded by whiteness--forget it.  Even worse if the yellow was jiggly and the white was runny.  Instant gag reflex.

Now that I am a mature adult, I have made peace with eggs.  I have even found that eggs are just a wonderful foodstuff in my life of cooking for one.

In all honesty, I still do not care all that much about facing an egg first thing in the morning, but I do prepare them for a simple supper or an easy lunch.
This homemade fried brown rice with vegetables became a complete meal with the protein supplied by a topping of fried egg.

It is no secret.  I really love avocados.  Really, really love avocados.  Avocados marry well with eggs.

I like to mash a really ripe avocado with a little olive oil or some juice from the olive jar, salt, and pepper.  Stir some chopped hard boiled egg into this and it is great sandwich spread with no mayonnaise.

Just a plain egg over sliced avocado is pretty yummy.  I also love some avocado chunks stirred into scrambled eggs just before they set.

Avocados are a source of dietary fat, but it is the monounsaturated kind that is heart healthy and helps maintain a beneficial ratio of cholesterol.  For a fruit, it is relatively low in sugar and high in protein.  It is a good source of fiber and potassium.  It is a source of Vitamins K, C, E, and several of the Bs as well as other phytochemicals that may help the body fight cancer cell development.

And if you are super patient, you can sometimes get a plant started from the big seed in its center. (Or so I am told.)