Monday, February 27, 2012

Emily Dickinson

I just had just finished reading The Diary of Emily Dickinson--which is actually a work of fiction by Jamie Fuller.  I really liked the book.  Then, coincidentally, I had the opportunity to attend a readers' theater production that featured the poetry of Emily Dickinson.  What a treat that was!  There were four readers--two narrators and two who took the role of Emily.  It was thoroughly enjoyable, but I have to say I learned a real appreciation for those who are true professionals in their field.  Two of the women were professional actors.  What they brought to the whole experience was beyond my powers of description.  I did not watch the Oscar awards last night, but I did gain a fuller comprehension of what it means to be a professional actor.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Heart Was Aflutter

Sally of Retired English Teacher had a very nice post about meeting a former student.  It's a good reminder to be nice to people.

Now, the sad part is that she ran into the former student in a hospital emergency room after suffering from a bout of rapid heart rate that lasted too long.  I hope she is recovered nicely from that and continues to recover from a bad knock to her noggin in January.

Her post did remind me, though. that I have had some experience with tachycardia.  My incident happened while I was in class with a small group of high school students.  I recall that I was standing at the chalk board and that I dropped a piece of chalk on the floor.  I bent over to retrieve it, and when I stood back up again I could feel my heart start to race.

 I took a deep breath and tried to work my way through this, but it didn't work.  One of the students jumped up asking, "What's wrong?  What's wrong with you?"  (I remember this girl fondly for so many reasons.)

"Nothing."  I tried to wave her away as I headed for my desk chair.  She didn't believe me.   Apparently I was white and the vein in my neck was visibly pounding away.  She ran to the classroom next door and got the English teacher.  My colleague took one look at me and buzzed the office for the nurse, then escorted me with the concerned student on my other side, to the teachers' room.  They stretched me out on the couch and the nurse came in to take my blood pressure, after which she called the rescue ambulance and then my husband.  I remember the principal coming in to hover and wring his hands and then the EMTs loading me onto a stretcher and and wheeling me to the elevator since we were on the third floor of the building.  What a commotion.

They tried to put in an IV to "save time" at the ER, but I started crying, so they gave up that little plan and started driving.  Out of the school parking lot we go, siren blaring.  The hospital was less than five miles away.  My heart was racing right up to the moment we turned into the hospital parking lot.  It just went "clunk" and started a normal beat. How embarrassing.

There's another student who was also there at the time.  I remember him often, if not so fondly.  Good old 'Calvin' waved good-bye to me as I was wheeled into the elevator.  He then turned to one of his buddies, possibly Hobbes, and, with fist pumping the air, remarked, "Yes!  Substitute tomorrow!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bake Sale

The Sandal Wood Homeowners Association is having a rummage and bake sale Saturday morning.  Since I have not accumulated stuff that I am ready to get rid of yet, I thought I would do some baking.

I made chocolate covered cherry cupcakes--a dozen for the sale and a single layer cake for Mike because he does love his chocolate cake.

I also made pineapple upside down cupcakes.  I was going to make a sheet cake, but then thought that smaller quantities would sell better.  I made the chocolate cakes from scratch, but I cheated with these and used Jiffy yellow cake mix.

This is not a baked good, but there is so, so much citrus fruit that I made a mix of white and pink grapefruit with Valencia oranges, lightly sweetened with Florida honey, and packed it snack containers.  I am getting to be very quick at sectioning grapefruit without turning it entirely to juice.

Lots of people will be having carport sales around the neighborhood tomorrow as well.  We will be putting out a bucket of two of "free for the taking" grapefruit.  Our tree is very healthy and loaded with more grapefruit than we could ever eat.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hello, Grandma

I called my daughter yesterday and got to "talk" to my grand son.

Actually there was very little talking because he just was so excited to hear my voice he was beside himself.
Isn't that the sweetest?

I am every now and then reminded of why exactly I don't move to Florida full time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sewing and Such

The purse organizers are supposed to make it easy to swap out bags.  I made this one because I just got tired of everything rolling around in my cloth bag.  This helps.

Our haunting of the thrift stores has slowed down considerably.  I did find about six yards of this denim material for $1.99 though.  How could I walk away?  I made a couple of pillow covers and decorated them with felt.  I have plenty of material left over, but no plans for it yet.

I am giving this bottle of Florida wine as a thank-you gift to the friends who were instrumental in our finding our winter home--ribbon (which I just noticed I have to trim), shells, and beads wrap it up.

If idle hands are the devil's workshop, I think I must be dancing with angels lately.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

And yet MORE decorative uses for shells:

Refrigerator magnets

Message board magnets and push pins (not shown here)


Or just decoration on the TV stand

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shell Games and Thrift Stores

I found these frames at a thrift shop and used them for two shell collages to hang in the spare bedroom.

We are decorating with finds from thrift stores and yard sales.  The hunt has consumed at least one afternoon per week and several Saturday mornings since we have been down here.

I found this oil painting at Habitat for Humanity on a half-price day.

 It's large and hangs over the couch in the living room.

I found this one at a yard sale in a golf community last weekend.  There was some good stuff at that sale--and cheap.  I paid $25 for this and put it in the office/TV room.
 It is also an oil on canvas.

Mike found this collection of ink drawings for $20.00.  It is also hanging in the office.

We have managed a beachy vibe on a budget, but more importantly, we are really enjoying having our own place.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shell Games

Yesterday was a great day for shells on the beach.  
Since we like to spend time on the Florida beaches, it's only natural that we would decorate our Florida home in that theme.

This is hanging in the car port.
Sand dollar and sea fan

Experiment with glitter

Give me some shells and some glue and I can keep myself amused for a long time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunset, February 12, 2012

How many pictures of a sunset does one person need?  I just had to add this one to my collection.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine

Valentines-Day-Wallpaper-03.jpg (1024×768)
(from Google images)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walking Again

 I had to stop for the drawbridge just like the many cars rumbling by overhead.  This is the Circus Bridge, and if you look carefully you can see the trapeze school in the background.  There are three drawbridges across the Intracoastal Waterway that connect Venice isle to the rest of the state.  Sometimes it is a traffic nightmare.
I understand the ambivalence the locals have toward "snow birds."  In Vermont, we have the "flat landers."

There was only one sailboat going through this time.  I think this is a real Florida image:

Further along, I noticed this burrow in the sand along the walkway.  It's the home of a gopher tortoise who was either still in bed or already out for the day.

I have a point and click camera and point and click camera abilities, but there is an eagle perched in the tree.  See it?

I love  Live Oak trees.  These are on a golf course that abuts the walkway.  There is a sign warning walkway users about errant golf balls.  So far, I have not been bonked on the head, but maybe I should wear a helmet just in case.

At the as usual:
There were people fishing off to the right.  These guys are on bait guarding duty/

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yes, they are around.

Really, though, you kind of have to put some effort into looking for them around here.

They look like rubber pool toys.

They appear really slow and lazy.  It wasn't lunch time.

This turtle was not afraid to swim among them.

The dry prairie of Florida around Mayaka Lake.

Really dry...although we have since had some heavy rain.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Full Moon

February 7, 2012

My horoscope said I would be slightly accident prone due to the full moon.  That's an improvement--"slightly'"  
so I wasn't distressed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Gracious and Beautiful Lady

We received the call that our sister-in-law passed away yesterday morning.

Liz lived with a peaceful dignity, and we can only believe that that is the way she died.

I hope that her husband, daughter and son (all sports fans) were able to watch the Super Bowl knowing that she would be with them in spirit.

Liz was a long-time second grade teacher, an avid reader and gardener.  She had her roots firmly established and was active in the local genealogy society.  She helped restore their colonial Connecticut home and did extensive research on its history and that of its original (and quite colorful) owners.

She truly was a gracious and beautiful lady.  She will be greatly missed.

My Sheet Obsession

Okay, I admit it.  I have this problem with sheets.

I know exactly how I like them to feel--crisp and cottony.

I know exactly how I like them to smell--fresh.

I know exactly how I like them to look--smooth.

For all the times we rented places here--six years--I would tell myself I would not do this but I could never stop myself.  I would unpack my bags and then take all the sheets out of the linen closet and refold them.  I would then start on the kitchen cupboards, lining up the glasses, etc., but that is a different story about a different obsession.

These are "before" sheets.  They're not even that bad.
I absolutely could not let then be.

I bring this up -- again -- because I read this tip all the time about folding the bed sheets and then putting them in the pillow case so you can find matching sets.  Even in the slovenly mess pictured above, I think I may have been able to pull out the matching sets.

Now this was included in a series of helpful hints sent to me in an e-mail.  There were some helpful hints, but here's this one again:


Overhaul your linen cupboard, store bed linen sets
inside one of their own pillowcases and there will
be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Okay, very neat looking indeed.  It just strikes me that wrestling the folded sheets into the pillow case to make these neat little packets is a lot of unnecessary work.  (And this from the person who made the above confession about having to compulsively refold sheets.)

This is my personal linen storage.  I find it quite easy to find the matching sets without having to stuff two queen size sheets and an extra pillow case into another pillowcase  Maybe not as neat looking as the "hint" picture,
but it works for me!!!!!!!!!
 So, there!  Am I not proving beyond all reasonable doubt that I do not have problem level obsessive-compulsive behavior?  I am perfectly calm with this bit of laziness in my linen folding habits.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame

The expression, "grow where you are planted," came to mind when I saw this plant clinging to the side of the Circus Bridge.  I looked for that quote on the Internet.  It probably predates a Mary Engelbreit card.  I am not a particularly religious person and I do not call myself a Christian in any case, but I found this information
worth contemplating and quite apt.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Two Shells

Sometimes, not very often, I find a near perfect shell on the beach.  By perfect, I mean in good shape and with no one living in it.

Apple Murex

Other times I find a shell that is far, far from in perfect shape and yet I am so fascinated by it somehow that it ends up in my pocket.  I loved the spirals visible inside this shell that I would not have seen had it been whole.


My lesson for the day is that even our imperfections serve a purpose.