Sunday, July 5, 2020

Grandson, Science Nerd

I tend to not be a worrier -- even at times when a does of worry might be well placed to spur some beneficial action. 

My grandson started middle school last fall and he really seemed to like it. It appeared that he had made a nice connection with his science teacher in particular.
He was excited about the subject and asked for a microscope for his Christmas present.

When schools closed for the pandemic I wasn't worried that he would not keep learning. When he gets interested in something he goes all in.

Now, I don't remember if I wrote about my eyes bothering me early this year. It was an allergic reaction to the glaucoma drops I was using. It was painful and ugly. I was walking around with bloody eyes for way too long.

And, my grandson? He was So excited to show me microscopic pictures of the "tiny arachnids that live in your eye lashes."

I won't traumatize anyone by including the picture he sent me. My eye doctor confirmed the information and suggested I tell Dane about water bears. (He already knew all about them, but he and my eye doctor are two of a kind.)

So he got his microscope but in the future I will try to think more long term when indulging his interests.

I gave him a rock-hounding kit for his birthday in February. Because I like rocks a whole lot better than bugs.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Times

This sign was on the desk in my hotel room last month when I was driving to VT from Florida. I suppose it is a sign of the changing times we live in. I had not seen a sign like this before.

Friday, June 26, 2020

No one has ever accused me of being high maintenance.  

I do consider it a treat to have my nails done but I can give myself a manicure/pedicure easily enough and since I get charged the same when I confound the staff by insisting "no polish" nail salons do not make it anywhere on my list of essential services.

I need a haircut though.

There is no way I am going to take scissors to my own hair as the results would be something like this:

Parents share funny photos of kids who cut their own hair | Daily ...Google image that captures it!

I miss Joseph, who does cuts my hair and sings while he does it. I miss my short and shorter hair.

Yeah, I need a haircut . . . or at least a comb!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Heat Wave

I returned to Vermont just in time for the 2020 heat wave. There have been eight days in a row now that have reached temperatures in the 90's. It is somewhat unusual to have eight days that reach that high through an entire summer as a rule.

Of course I was used to hot weather having arrived from Florida. The big difference is in the ubiquity of air conditioning in Florida as opposed to the occasional window units here in VT.  I have a small window air conditioner that I put upstairs. Fans and window shades keep the downstairs cool enough for me -- not cool enough for most people probably.

I met up with my friend Donna M. (I have an unusual number of same-named friends) who is my walking buddy and we walked for two hours. She talks pretty much the whole time and I  kind of drift in and out of listening/being lost in my own thoughts.

My first walk after returning to Vermont is always rude. There is a difference between breathing at sea level and breathing in the mountains. It takes an adjustment!

I Don't Sweat, I Sparkle! That's what you call Liquid Awesomeness ...I was sparkling!

Thursday, June 18, 2020


My trip from Florida to Vermont was uneventful, which is what I hope for in most any trip. The traffic was steady but not also moving right along. I stopped for gas and twice at state welcome centers for a stretch break.  I packed all my meals. I had my masks and sanitizers. I had disposable gloves for the gas pumps. I did stay at two hotels -- one in South Carolina and one in Pennsylvania.  I was careful and wore my mask when there was any possibility of interacting with others. 

The protocol for Vermont is a two week quarantine for anyone coming from out of state, but residents/returning snowbirds can quarantine for one week and then get tested. I will do that and can feel safer having contact with family and doing the grocery shopping. Don has taken care of provisions for the interim. And he took wonderful care of my house plants in my extended absence.

It is somewhat strange because usually I am back for a VT spring and get to see the lilacs and the crabapple blossoms and the green buds. It is full summery VT now, much like late winter/early spring in Florida and so it is a bit disorienting.  And spring cleaning needs doing but it is so hot! 

Vermont...The Green Mountain State | Vermont mountains, Green ...

This is why it is called the Green Mountain State

Thursday, June 11, 2020

On the Road

I will be on the road for the next three days. I am armed with masks, disposable gloves, a bottle of disinfectant and a roll of paper towels!

Good news!! I did get to see two of the butterflies work their way out and eventually take wing. That made me happy.

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Good Time

If I cast my mind all the way back to the beginning of the year, I recall that I was having high hopes for 2020. Almost all of the things I had planned continue to be falling apart.

Before all the lockdowns, though, my son was able to make his planned visit. It seems so long ago, but we had such a great time together. He only had a long weekend but we managed to pack it with hiking in at the Mabry Carlton Preserve,
biking along the Intracoastal Waterway, a kayak trip through Sarasota Bay, good seafood meals, a visit to Historic Spanish Point and a trip to the beach to catch the sunsets in the evenings.  It was wonderful just to have him here, but I always appreciate having someone to play with too.

So good to see that smile!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Lesson in Abiding

I have written about finding the caterpillars in my parsley plant. Yesterday I discovered that three babies had escaped. Two were on the screen and one was under a blossom on the eggplant. Today, each has formed a chrysalis.

There is a lesson in the metamorphosis. Patience, first of all. Unlike monarchs, swallowtail butterflies can take their own sweet time. According to some of my reading up on the subject, it could be August.

So if I make my way back north I will have to at least take the eggplant so I can watch the first flight of a swallowtail. And I like eggplant parm.

The other lesson is around struggle. The emerging butterfly really appears to struggle to break out. It may seem painful and painful to watch. Yet tender hearted helper types who carefully peel away the chrysalis end up with a dead butterfly.  Struggle serves its purpose. The butterfly tempers and strengthens its wings so it can fly free.

Be patient.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

On Protests

I feel strongly enough about this to post on both my blogs:

Is it possible to watch a white man nonchalantly kneel on the neck of a black man, to watch a man with his hand in his pocket ignoring the clear distress of the man he is so clearly oppressing, to watch his partners fail to intervene even while the weight remains full force for minutes after breathe and heart have stopped?

Is it possible to watch that and not feel the pain through your entire body?

Is it possible to watch that and not feel a shame and a sadness for the human condition that cries for acknowledgement and release from the depth of your gut?

Is it possible to watch that yet again and not feel your heart cracking?

Is it possible to watch the tears of loss in another and not feel tears well in your own eyes?

And then . . . is it possible to to watch one who feels none of that march to a church waving an unopened Bible in his hands and vowing to heap further injustice on lifetimes of injustice . . . and not feel angry? yet know that he is badly broken deep in his soul?

Surely, the angels are weeping for us all right now.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

On Guard Duty

This dove was watching from the roof of my car port. When she saw me watching, she flew to the crape myrtle tree and watched patiently from there, aware I am certain that I was still watching her.

Now she is casually sauntering around the lawn trying to convince me she has no harmful intent.

HA! I know what she is up to. She is not wandering far from my parsley plant.

I had noticed a black swallowtail butterfly visiting the parsley and last week I found the future generation. I covered them with netting but I have to remain vigilant over those wily birds.

My sister opined that I am being cruel to birds by depriving them of a food source. I consider it stewardship of increased food supply for the future.

They are growing fast and quickly demolishing the parsley.

I was kind of starting to think about the trip back to Vermont but now I am torn
over maternal responsibilities.

It may take a while for the process to unfold.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Missing This!

Beaches are open in Florida now. I took a ride on Sunday to see if the beaches might be thronged with people. They weren't so crowded around here, perhaps because rain was predicted.

I stopped my car and snapped a quick picture of this stretch of beach. You can see that the sky was quite cloudy, but just look at the color of the water!

The Gulf is gorgeous starting in March. Unfortunately some are predicting earlier hurricane season because of climate change. We have started having afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Walk, Continued

Plumbago was named after the Latin for lead (plumbum)  because the plant was once used to treat lead poisoning. It's native to southern Africa where some tribes rub a powder of the charred roots into cuts to produce the raised scars for body decoration. I suppose a similar impulse leads others to get tattooed.

These beach plums are pretty but completely inedible. I have seen beach plums in New England but somehow they don't look like these at all. The sign said they were beach plums though.

These are one a several different kinds of date palms.

Baby live oaks, but still providing shade.

FUN FACT: Palms are technically not trees but a herbaceous plant more similar to grasses and sedges. 
Oleander blooms are quite beautiful, but all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Florida panther statue.

Sweet gum tree.
When my step daughter moved to South Carolina her husband told the kids there was a gumbo tree in the backyard. They thought he meant gumball tree and had visions of a lifetime supply of sweet candy treats. The seeds are ball-like in that they are round, but they are also spiky and sharp. No fun for bare feet.

Fish tail palm.


If I remember correctly, this is a Cuban royal palm.
They get quite tall and line the main street of Venice to nice effect.

Friday, May 22, 2020


I felt the need to expand my walks from just making circles around my neighborhood. Parks have reopened in the Arboretum
is one of my favorites. There was a young mother with two young children and myself the only ones about so social distancing was not a problem.

The weather is getting hot so shade was welcome.

Jacaranda trees are starting to bloom. The flowers are pretty up close but the thorns are quite forbidding.

Variegated hibiscus --

the flowers are pretty

but I think the foliage is amazing.

Pony tail palms always make me think of a Dr. Seuss illustration.

Bottle palm. This bottle seems a bit wonky.

Fluffy fox tail palm.

Fragrant jasmine.

These are some kind of lily. They actually grow in  thick clumps but these guys were taking a rest on the ground.

Now I am taking a rest, not because I am tired from my walk but because I am tired of trying to wrestle photos onto the post. I'll save the rest for another time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bon Appetit

I am always surprised when people assume I don't cook. I always say, "But I like to eat!" Had I been in the habit of eating all my meals out I would have been in a world of hurt for the past couple of months now wouldn't I?

 I inherited a couple of pepper plants when neighbors went back north -- viola!
A chicken, peppers, scallions stir-fry over quinoa.

This was baked mahi-mahi (love-love) with a lemon-butter sauce with fresh herbs from my patio. The cole slaw is the way my grandmother made it -- very lightly wilted vegetable in a warm vinaigrette.

Salmon cakes made a couple of meals. My salads lately have been very simple:

Cooking can take up a nice chunk of my day.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Oh, No!

It is a rumbly, rainy morning here in Florida this morning. The weather report says two day of this. Damn! I will be stuck inside by myself for two days. Whatever will I do with myself?

Seriously. How can these weather people get away with obstructing my right to go out wherever and whenever I want? So unfair.

And my cable box went kaput yesterday. All the remote fixes were to no avail so a tech can come to fix it . . . someday . . . but not  someday soon.

Well, I am out of fabric and I am mostly out of yarn, but I do have other crafty things to do.

I have been making cards. Lots of family and friends with May birthdays!

I have to give most of them away, then I don't have to put them in the trash myself. I get on a roll and make far more cards than I will ever need.

I have been doing some painting practice.

When I get sick of that I tear the paintings into pieces and make a collage.

Isolation fun.