Friday, April 29, 2016

Showers

I always assume that shiny metal looking parts are actually made of metal.

That, of course is a totally unwarranted assumption on my part.

One day a while ago I was taking a shower when the hand held shower hear went sailing to the floor of the shower stall.


Looks like a sturdy metal...but
it's plastic and had cracked enough to no longer hold the shower head.

Kay at Musings recently posted about a new shower head that looked interesting.
However, I opted for replacing the the part since it was much cheaper to go that way.  I am keeping the reference to the unit she mentions though.


The new part (from Lowe's) is plastic.  I can only assume it will have a similar fate as the one I replaced.  But for now it is holding and it doesn't leak!



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Playing With Food



Oh, no!  I burned the toast.



Shame to let it go to waste.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Birds

They were in the habit of flying over every afternoon at about 4:00.  The squawking, unmistakable, alerted everyone to their presence.  Try thinking something akin to a crow with a sore throat and a megaphone.

Yesterday, the noise did not fade or stop. It did not take me long to spot a pair parrots in the Norfolk pine across the street.  I was surprised to see how large they were.  Perhaps in my mind I confuse them with parakeets.

I don't have a camera that would capture them atop forty- to fifty-foot tall tree. This picture, from Florida's Wild Parrots, is very close to what I saw though.



I have seen parrots in Venice before, but this year I have noticed them more and more.  There was one species of parrot indigenous to Florida, but it is now extinct.  The parrot population now seen in Florida are descendants of escapees from the pet trade in exotic tropical birds.  They have adapted well since the weather tends to be familiar and so do many of the non-native plants that have been imported for landscaping.

Everything you may have wanted to know about Florida parrots in the wild can be found here.


In other Florida bird news--the baby Sandhill cranes are growing up, no longer little yellow fluff balls with legs:


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lotus Flower

Rising out of the murk and mud of a  brownish pond, the lotus flower is a symbol of purity and beauty.

My origami lotus flower doesn't quite live up to the symbolism.



I like it anyway.

Monday, April 25, 2016

For the Beauty of the Earth

This is one of the hymns I like in a YouTube video.

I thought I would add some of my own examples








Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Tale of Two Cars

Talk about first world problems...

I wrote about the 2011 Prius.  That car lives in Vermont.  I bought it used.  Mike and I had intended to buy a small car to leave in Florida.  Our ideas about exactly what constitutes a small car differed, so had Mike lived, the Prius would never have passed the start up gun and the checkered flag.

Anyway, I liked the Prius and thought it made a much more practical main vehicle for me.  I ended up driving the Ford Taurus X, a car that had served us well when we had lots of stuff to haul around for various reasons, to Florida in the fall of 2013 and leaving that there.

The following summer I flew to Florida with my grandkids and we drove back in the big Ford.  I realized I no longer needed such a big car and the price of gas, the low gas mileage, and my long time preference for small pushed me over the edge.  I bought a used 2013 Ford Focus in the fall of 2014 and drove it to Florida that winter, where it has been ever since.

Google images (but just like what I have/had):

the Prius


the Ford Taurus X

the Ford Focus

As you can see, left entirely to my own devices, I am going to choose a small grey car.  (The two other cars I picked entirely on my own--a grey Nissan Sentra and a grey Saab)

In spite of the fact that they look a lot alike, the Prius and the Focus are very different in how they drive.  The learning curve when I make the switch tends to be steep each time.

The Prius key stays in my purse and I push a button to start it.  I have to dig the Focus key out of my bag and insert it to start up.  All the interior controls and the gas tanks are on opposite sides.  The Prius has a backup camera.  The Focus has backup blind spots in disturbing number.  The Prius is a hybrid, the Focus strictly gas engine.

The Focus is lighter and a lot zippier. I am not saying it would make the ultimate getaway car (see previous post) or that it is sporty, but it is more fun to drive and more responsive.

So in a few short weeks, I will be going through the agony of having to change driving habits once again.  I know, poor me.


I really do wish I were more like Linda on her Bag Lady Blog and be more gratefully philosophical.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Commercials

Sometimes a commercial captures my attention even though I try to mostly tune them out.

I confess to being amused by the "it's what you do" commercials for Geico.  As in if you are a mom you call at inconvenient times; it's what you do.  "Are you taking a zumba class? It's so noisy there." It cracks me up every time.

However, I am offended by the Prius commercials.  The news is reporting a police chase and the suspects are using a Prius for their getaway.  It is one of those progressive commercials.  Now a large cadre of Prius drivers are running interference on the thruway to help the suspects to elude capture.

I have a Prius.  I know it has not been seen as a zippy car.  If you drive it as recommended to up the gas mileage, you are pretty much going to stay off the speed trap radar.

I am worried that these commercials are going to put Prius drivers on the highway patrol watch list.





Google image, but exactly like my own little hybrid.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Weighing In on Politics

All I want to say is there has to be a better way.

United States election cycles have become a joke to the rest of the world, but a kind of low grade constant torture for its citizens.

We really might as well go ahead and change the whole process.  Reality shows are popular.  Why not go with the popular vote and make the election a television reality show?  I think Anderson Cooper would make a good host. Some might prefer Megyn Kelly. Each week all the candidates would have the chance to pontificate on a given topic chosen by the spin of a giant wheel.  A Vanna White type could draw names to determine the order of appearance. Or perhaps there could be some kind of audience participation component. At the end of the show, the public can call, text, or tweet for their favorite candidate.

At the start of the next show the candidate with the lowest  vote tally would be eliminated, along with his or her campaign manager. We will have to come up with a new tag phrase--"You're fired!" has been done already.

And perhaps the Donald would have a little bit of advantage in this format. So there are details to be worked out, but stay with me here.

It would be no less of a circus than what we have going on right now.  And there would be the major advantage of the election process only lasting as long as one television season.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Still a Student

This past week in the drawing class I am taking, we drew a tree stump.
Unfortunately, I was late to class.  I got a low tire pressure warning light and had to stop at the Ford garage and get a tire with a leaking seal tended too.  I missed the instructional part and demonstration and I also did not have time to really finish.  All the same, I have to confess that I am learning quite a bit doing this
basic drawing class.


You can tell it is a tree stump, right?  Well, one of the things I am learning is that I have a lot to learn.  And isn't that a wonderful thing?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stoppable

Well, this was a new one for me.  I just saw an add for a product that you throw in the dryer to extend the smell of detergent/fabric softener for up to twelve weeks.

Obviously. I am missing something.  That would be a good thing because...???

I mean I get that it is a good thing for the manufacturer of such an item and the ads want us to feel insecure about the smell of something we may have laundered and then put on a shelf for a week so that we will run out and add the cost of the product to our laundry day budgets.  But is this something that is really needed?

And what's it made of?  What will we be inhaling when we take a towel out of the linen  closet after two or three weeks and have that orgasmic sniff fest?

Just wondering.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Paper and Pencils

I have been taking a very basic drawing class.  We drew a lot of cubes and spheres to learn about perspective and shading.  Last week we branched out and drew a wine bottle.  Unfortunately, we did not get to drink the wine first.


For practice I drew the statue of a rabbit I have in the yard.  I got tired with the work of all the shading at some point and just stopped.


What I really want to draw is flowers.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Venice Arboretum

These are baby live oak trees:

This flower is on a tree.  Very fragrant.

                                                              Lady palm. Small, so maybe a candidate                                                                   for my yard:

Bottle palm

Jasmine, also very fragrant


Cactus and succulants


Must take a lot of work to keep this bougainvillea in line.

Gold tree

Statue of a Florida manatee.
I did see a real one this winter!

Jacaranda are starting to bloom.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Soap

I was reading the April, 2016 Real Simple magazine.  It's all about spring cleaning--home and life.

I don't know why I am such a sucker for the cleaning and organizing topic.  I click on those Pinterest teasers, "Secrets of People Live in Pristine Homes."  The secrets are always tidy, clean and put away every day.  Never a magic bullet or advice to hire a cleaning service!

Which is not to say that I never learn something new. There was an article in RS about "eco-habits."  It recommended using soap bars for washing up as much as possible.  Now I do have a liquid soap dispenser in my kitchen and I have some body wash in the shower that I use on occasion, but I do love a bar of soap.

Don't know what to give me for a present? A bar of chocolate or a bar of soap.

I love handmade soaps from craft fair.  I love fancy French milled soaps from expensive boutiques.  I love scented soaps (even though they may make me sneeze).  I love the Publix store brand of cream-based soap.  I, of course, love these soaps.


The thing I learned--something I never even thought to consider before--is that liquid soaps require five times more energy for raw material production and almost twenty times the energy for packaging over bar soap.

Plus, according to this article, people tend to use seven times the liquid soap compared to solid soap when washing hands.

It made me stop and think.  It's easy to be seduced by advertising and not even think about the impact of something as small as the choice of how to wash up.

Another small step in my quest to save the earth.  And I really have to remind myself to stop and think about the products I use and the packaging they come in.





Thursday, April 7, 2016

Play Ball!


I read this in the Washington Post:

 Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost pointed out that fans who paid $1,000 for one of the premium seats wouldn’t be comfortable sitting next to a fan who had bought one of the seats on the secondary market and maybe had “never sat in a premium location.”


I had not realized that baseball had become the sport of the wealthy and socially elite.  I always thought it was the "great American pass time."  Peanuts, beer and cracker jack.  Now the hoi polloi are to be relegated to the nosebleed section or otherwise hidden from view.

Well, good on John Oliver for buying tickets for several lucky people who promised that they would dress like someone who never before sat in a premium location.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Giving Back

I spent the rainy Saturday at a symposium, Awakening the Dreamer--exploring bringing forth the dream of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on Earth.  It is a program of the Pachamama Alliance.

One of the things I learned--was reminded of, really--is that since I have food in my refrigerator, clothes in my closet and a roof over my head I am better off than 83% of the world's population.  I am reminded to express gratitude but also challenged to do more.

I also learned that natural resources are being used at a rate that is 50% greater than the Earth can renew and sustain.  Some of the food in my refrigerator and most of the clothes in my closet have a cost to the planet far more than I was privileged to be able to spend.

So for me, things are not okay in this country right now and, really not okay in the world.  It is devastating to contemplate and what can one person do?

I am going to take a long hard look at candidates for the next election and vote.

I am going to continue to work at decreasing the amount of chemicals in the products I put on and in and even near my body.  It will be better for me and better for the environment.

I am going to continue to volunteer my time where I can.

I am returning to my plan of having at least one car-free day each week.

I am going to educate myself about companies that are dedicated to doing
good in the community and in the world and support them.  I am going to seriously investigate changing my investment strategies.

Why are so many people in this country so scared and angry?  We should be...BUT not because we don't have enough and someone else has more.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Raining

It was raining really hard today.  Raining from the roof turned my yard into a puddle.


The street was starting to look like a  river.


Inside, I have my reminder of Easter.


April already!!!!