The most excitement that happens to me during the day is an occasional sneeze. My face flushes a rosy glow and my eyes shimmer. I can't attribute the effects to anything but housecleaning--dust bunnies under the bed, in closets, reproducing like rabbits!
My husband helps a lot around the house. I'm the troubleshooter, the technical fixer-upper. Whenever something goes wrong, or malfunctions, it's Nan to the rescue. Nothing like being blonde, smart and well trained. Just toss me a box of truffles...
Other than typical work around the house, I do get out of the house. My idea of a good time is doing lunges and squats in the pool...darn exciting during a thunderstorm!
I celebrated a birthday recently. I've noticed the weeks go by so quickly, birthdays seem to come about every 6 months. Tom says I look good for my age. Hmmm...in alligator years? That'd make me 124--I do look good for my age!
I hear distant rumbles of thunder. Clouds are boiling up. Time for a pool break...
Living well into your 90's is not impossible--unless you're an unlucky skydiver, big game hunter, or bungee jumper. A good mental attitude helps, along with good health and eating habits.
I'm humorous, I eat smart--most of the time. So, I've got this living thing licked so far. It's amazing to me that the package of cheese in my refrigerator may very well outlive us all...
Most everything is processed. That's why food lasts so darn long. I try my best to stay away from processed foods. My hair's not even processed.
I've heard a crab can grow back a leg, if he's so unfortunate as to lose it--in crabby tug-of-war. Lucky him, or her! Fish never seem to age. Ever see a fish with wrinkles? They can live eons. Must be all the fish oil they carry around with them in fanny packs!
I take fish oil, by eating fish, and taking capsules. It's supposed to be great for your skin, and increase flexibility. I'm still waiting...
Big Foot, according to eyewitnesses, roams around the remote areas of the Pacific Northwest, Northern and Central California. For all the times I've been to Humboldt County, I've never seen him. There's even a carved wood likeness of Big Foot in Willow Creek, California.
Florida has the Skunk Ape--a big, hairy, smelly creature. People have said that the creature leaves behind a horribly putrid scent.
It's been sighted by numerous people in various parts of the Everglades. Hunters and fishermen, as well as local folks, have sworn they've seen Skunk Ape. Some people have videos and still pictures to prove the sightings. Like Big Foot, footprints have been documented. I've never seen Skunk Ape--only in a television special.
I saw an unexplainable UFO once. Honest! Some college friends and I went to the beach in Malibu to witness the 'grunion run'. The best time is late at night. Hundreds of people were on the beach, waiting for the tiny creatures to scramble back to the ocean.
From where we stood, looking down the beach, we suddenly saw a strange light. As quickly as it appeared, it vanished. Seconds later, overhead, a bright, conical light flashed over us. No sound, nothing. It wasn't a blimp, or a weather balloon. All we know, along with hundreds of onlookers, that something quite mysterious happened that summer evening.
Does Big Foot, the Skunk Ape, or UFO's really exist? I can't say they don't...
Floridians, myself included, are spoiled. When the temperatures dip below 75, hoards of people run to the stores to buy jackets and sweat shirts and sweat pants. You would think a blizzard was coming!
For a few days last winter, it was downright chilly--in the low 50's and 60's. My teeth were chattering while visitors from up north and the midwest wore walking shorts, tank tops and sandals. It was a heatwave to them!
Before moving to Florida, we sold many of our cold weather clothes on Ebay and in garage sales. No one needs a jacket in Florida--right? Ha...
I've come to the decision that pc's aren't meant to last. With scrupulous maintenance, updates--all that's required for a reliable computer--the pc turns into The Terminator.
My 7-year-old pc died an unexplainable death in October, 2008. I replaced it with a highly recommended pc. All the specs that one could possibly want was packed the new system. A huge hard drive for my digital files was of utmost importance.
Yesterday, my faithfully running machine took a nose dive. I tried different things to get it fully booted. No luck. The hard drive failed. I didn't have all of my digital photos backed up. Big mistake, you're saying... So right.
I'm poaching my son's laptop. I'm expecting a new hard drive in about 2 weeks. I can't get the hang of the laptop--I'm used to a mouse! Anyway, I'm blogging today. I hope to post with my own photographs soon. Any photos that I use now on my blog are from Paul's file. Many are of California, the coast, and areas around Sonoma County. Others are Florida shots.
Thanks to all of you in Cyber-ville for reading my blogs. I enjoy doing them, and will continue to write them from the laptop.
As a kid I used to be deathly afraid of spiders. I'd find them suspended above my bed, just over my pillow. Daddy-Long-Legs with their long, thready legs, gave me chills and nightmares.
My brother, Michael, and I would go on a spider hunt, flashlight in hand. Evenings were the best time. Black Widow Spiders dotted the concrete wall along the sidewalk by our house. Michael captured them, dumping them into a glass jar. Thinking back on our spider escapades, I'm surprised that Michael came away--ALIVE.
Today, I live in a subtropical climate. Everything thrives here. Bugs are super-sized--and that includes spiders. Hanging dead center from a huge web draped across the Royal Palm tree out front was a Trap Door Spider. It was the Biggest, the Blackest and Scariest spider I'd seen yet. Right out of a Stephen King novel!
Fangs, fur...orbs as big as marbles. I stood there, transfixed, fear settling in my spine. My childhood chills had come back. Grabbing a broom, I broke the web. 'Trappie' dropped down, dangling... I flung it out to the street. I haven't seen one since.
Wolf Spiders are just as fearsome. Recently, one was sitting on the edge of the pool. Big as a golf ball, and very hairy. I pool-netted him, and sent him flying into the woods.
Florida is a great place to live. Some people may , and do, disagree. We don't have seasons to speak of. It's shorts and sandals weather most days of the year.
One thing for certain is once you visit or move to Florida, the bugs will find you--the welcome mat being exposed arms and legs. It doesn't matter if you're a tourist. Suddenly, new blood is discovered. Mmmm...good.
When we first moved to Southwest Florida, I'd feel the after-bite-- an intense itching. I discovered that I couldn't even see WHAT was biting me! Like the Far Side cartoons, you'd need an electron microscope to see the sand-sized critters nibbling your ankle .
Floridians call these pepper-colored specks No-See-Umms. Once bitten, your itch-reflex kicks into hyper-speed. Whatever the critter left behind, be certain of this: you'll be feeling it for months to come.
Mosquitoes, on the other hand, are dreaded, too. Their numbers are squelched during the summer when mosquito abatement takes place. Planes fly over the preserves spraying for the intolerable insects. I can deal with the skeeters. Which is worse, of the two? Almost head-to-head, No-See-Umms are the clear winners.
I think I've passed the time period of being an inviting newbie to the bugs. There are tourists arriving here everyday.. nice and yummy, too...
I love to read books. Scenes, words from the page, become images. Characters jump off the page. Like a movie, images run through my mind. There's nothing like a book in my hands. What can take the place of being quietly and comfortably cozy and snug reading a good book?
I wouldn't care to listen to an audio book, or have an electronic book reader. When I was a child, books were what transported me. I was whisked away to fantasy worlds. I shared the mysterious adventures of the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Ballet books fascinated me. All I could think of was becoming a ballet dancer.
I bought books for my children and read to them. Beautifully illustrated, the colorful pages held their interest, as well as the story. I wanted to give them the joy of reading.
I'm sure that reading develops creativity and imagination. It could be one reason why I enjoy painting and mixed media, as well as photography. It's an electronic age, but not all of it's for me...
When I was 13, my family moved from Santa Monica to a new home in the San Fernando Valley. I still wanted to attend Saint Monica's High School with my friends. Every morning I commuted with my dad to Santa Monica. Dad dropped me off at Gran's at 6:00 a.m., where I caught a bus for school. Gran would be up, waiting for me. Occasionally, she bestowed little 'pearls' of advice to me: “Nancy, don't ever dress like a tramp...”
Me? Dress like a tramp? How could I? Roll up my green plaid uniform skirt until my knees were showing? Every morning we were made to kneel before school began—to make sure our skirts were touching the floor. Wear makeup? The nuns made sure all of the girls looked like wallpaper paste. Makeup was forbidden, though I knew some girls cleverly disguised the fact.
After 2 years, I transferred to a public school in the Valley for my junior and senior years. I'd had enough of 5:30 risings. Gran was really worried then. I'm sure she thought I was going to hell in a hand basket...
I cut up my uniform with intense joy! The baggy, white gym shorts were shredded. Mom bought me a few dresses, blouses and skirts. I replaced my suede buck shoes with pumps. I lingered in the cosmetics department of our drugstore, buying my first tube of lipstick, mascara, and blush. I felt emancipated. I'd peeled back the veneer of years of stringent policies, revealing my authentic self.
My personality bloomed, all in a good way. It felt great.
Grandma worried over nothing. Just look at me now...
How would we ever get along without the conveniences we have today? I just bought a pressure cooker, on the advice of my brother, Mike. He asked me if I'd used it yet.
I'm afraid of it. I remember the heavyweight iron pressure cooker mom had. It was scary... It whistled like an air raid siren, and snorted. One day, it erupted, blowing its pressure valve clear across the room.
Yes, I bought one, and there it sits on the counter, 'Black Bart',dominant and foreboding, waiting for me to make the first move. I stare at it—it's like the Showdown at the OK Corral.
With a glare that would melt an iceberg, I grab the handle. “I am woman, hear my Roar,” I say. I've got a roast to cook...
It's happened again! Anyone who does the laundry knows what I'm talking about—the case of the disappearing socks! Where do they go? Are they flushed through to China? Do they wind up in a water treatment facility, where the 'sock-keeper' makes them into Sock Monkeys? Have they made their way to an Osprey's nest?
I thought I had the problem whipped after I put them into a zippered lingerie bag. After the wash, I took the bag out of the washing machine—which, in some mysterious fashion, had become unzipped! I began pairing up the socks.
Two were missing—the new ones, of course. The holey-toe ones were there... am I not surprised? What did the errant socks do—elope to Sockville? I can see the two mismatched socks now, one comfortably cuffed within the other-- sipping Socktinis.
I love the beach as a place to walk, swim, read, and scavenge for shells. After a storm, there are numerous tidal pools, each filled with mounds of shells. Each shell is as distinctively different in shape and size.
Coquina shells have open, small butterfly-wing shapes, in purple, rose and golden hues. Olives are beautifully designed, smooth as silk. 'Paul Newman's Eyes', what we call the small, round, eye-shaped orb with a bluish spot in the center. Spider conchs have flared, spider-leg extensions along the shell's length.
The first summer of living in Naples, my daughter and I had 'sheller's' back, the term used to describe all the hunched-over shell collectors. Between us, we may have collected 500 shells, many of them now assorted and containerized. I like using them as models for watercolor painting.
I never tire of the beach: watching the gentle waves tumble new shells along the water's edge, or catching an evening sunset with billowing clouds. The deep footprints left from people strolling the beach are soon washed away by lapping waves. Another day will come and a new day of discovery awaits.
It's getting to be 'pond' season again. With torrential thunderstorms forecast, the backyard will be a haven for herons and frogs. One year we actually had a 'walking' catfish. The whiskered fish skittered along as if running, along the side of the house, until it flopped in the engorged swale, swimming—what a hilarious sight.
Other animals find their way into our community, as well. Neighbors have spotted the Florida Panther, seen twice. Coyotes and red foxes roam at night. Of course, we also have 5 alligators, lounging about the lakes.
Yes, a tropical wave is expected. Presently, it's flirting with SW Florida, out in the distance. A light rain is falling. Occasional rumbles of thunder are heard. Tonight, the woods out back may be a symphony of cicadas and croaking frogs. Bring on the storms...nature's night music awaits.
Today's my birthday. I don't feel 62. I think I have the 'think young, feel young gene'. My husband tells me “You're getting up there.” Up where? Age, to me, is a matter of brain matter. If you think you're old, you're going to feel that way, and act he same.
I have a good friend Mary, in California. When Mary was in her early fifties, she started wearing elastic waist pants. She wore them because she'd put on a few pounds. Mary laughed , said she was getting old. I looked at her pretty face and realized she'd given up on wearing a little makeup, too. “Too much trouble everyday,” she informed me.
It's never too late to make some changes, so I encouraged Mary to adopt a few. She tossed out the cheesecake desserts, and the salted chips. She lost a little weight too, and started feeling better. Mary got involved with a senior group, taking trips to the Nevada casinos, or day long trips to San Francisco. Her outlook on life improved.
I may be getting 'up there', but my mind and body doesn't know it. Not one to be a couch potato, I get out for daily walks. I exercise everyday—I really don't enjoy it that much, but I push myself. People say 'I eat like a bird.' I like healthy salads, fish, chicken ,nuts, and fruit; I drink plenty of water. If I fall into the pattern of feeling old, I'm afraid my body will pick up on that, and decide to give me assorted aches and pains.
Sure, there may be days that I feel like spitting tacks, when the day may not be going quite right. I blame it on bio-rhythm--sounds like a good excuse. I realize that if I put my thoughts and efforts on something else, small problems seem to dissolve.
I have many interests to keep me active and busy. There's no time for negative thoughts. I love to write, and I paint--not as often as I should. I have to wait for inspired moments. Photography is what I'm passionate about. I love the creativity photography evokes.
Humor is the best ingredient for a long life, too. My mom was young at heart, a real character. She gave me her wonderful sense of humor. We had great times together, always laughing until our sides split. It's one of the things that I miss the most, now. Every day I keep mom in my thoughts. It's also what keeps me feeling young.
Have you ever wondered, gals, what would happen if your bra didn't live up to its claim? What about the 24-hour bra? I'm not even awake 18 hours! Is there a refueling nozzle on it? If I try to push my bra's life past its limit, all I get are skid marks.. People are living to their 90's and beyond-- my bras don't last more that a few months--a year if I'm lucky.
What about 'water bras'? Do they come with fish? Are they good flotation devices? Mine would come with Piranhas or fighting Bettas.
What about the 'miracle' bra? Young gals don't know if it's a miracle or not. Everything is pretty much pointing in the right direction, no worries there.
I'm waiting for the bra packed with Helium— one that will float me away to Bali...
My brother, Michael, three years older and wiser,knows me well enough to see that I have a very quirky side to my personality. There are times when I become philosophical. My friends rely on my good judgment and advice. There are other occasions when I become 'off the wall', meaning, my proclivity for crazy poetry kicks in. It's pretty freaky how easily I can write the stuff.. Totally “swamp” poetry as Michael calls it. My nickname is “Swampette.”
Dear Michael thinks I should wax poetic, let my hair down a bit. If you're ready, here goes,with apologies to bro:
Spike and Mike
There once was a feller named Michael Who hopped on his three-wheeled bicycle He took off like a bat Spun out and went splat On ol' lady Greevy's fat cat.
Spike stretched and reeled Burped loud and clear The poisoned dinner flew out Twenty feet to the rear.
Spike stared up at Michael with a toothless grin Much like Ol' lady Greevy after her gin Eyeing the bike with his head in a spin Spike took off like a bat with Mike's bike in tow Spun out and went splat on ol' lady Greevy's fat toe.
Cat's have nine lives don'tcha know But Spike who was dumb Lost count ages ago And for Spike, at last This was the end of the show.
Tom and I were walking out of a natural foods store yesterday and noticed customer suggestions posted on a bulletin board by the door.
Many of the posts were compliments about the friendliness of the staff; some customers suggested products they'd like the store to carry.
One post caught my eye. One woman vehemently complained that the store had run out of organic sunflower seeds, and was told by a manager the item would be restocked on Friday. At least a 4-day wait. She was angry that she had to wait that long. Everyone seems to buy it, so why can't the store keep the item stocked, she ranted on.
We could only think she'll probably need an extra therapist session this week. Her personal organizer is probably filled with important things to do for the week: get teeth whitened, hair foiled, manicure and pedicure, tickets for the Phil. Nothing wrong with all of that, of course. Poor woman, more than anything, needs a dose of coping skills. Heaven help her if her schedule gets thrown off.
Some people think the world revolves around them. They're used to an organized life, all neat and tidy. How would these individuals cope if life threw them a curve ball?
Some things don't always work out the way you plan or hope they do. I've certainly found that out, but have learned to make adjustments over the years.
Growing up in the late 40's I learned so much about coping and sacrifice from my parents. We had few possessions. My brother and I relied on our own creativity. I developed a love for writing,art, books. Thank God for the library. I had an appreciation of what I did have, and realize today, all the misfortune of the past has made my brother and I grateful for our lives today.
Hot afternoons in Florida bring on not only intense heat but also roving cavalries of insects. They must be armor-plated, since no bug treatment seems to phase them. Ants, in particular. Fire and black ants. They have hides like Kevlar.
They're very good at social networking. The leader has an excellent command strategy. He maintains a covey of dedicated followers hard at work burrowing and heaving the earth. Armed with a bag of ant pellets, I sprinkle on more than I should over the billowing mounds, watering, as directed. Promises a dead mound in 24 hours..
Needless to say, I'm back outside the following day and find that the Ant Commander has evaded death by strategically issuing his troops underground in a SE direction another 2 feet.
I surrender to the army of ants, and go inside to put on my swimsuit. My son 's left the chaise outside on the grass, so barefooted, I go back outside. As I'm carrying the chaise through the lanai screen door, I step on a new mound. Legions of black ants are scurrying between my toes and up my calves.
Yelping, I swat them off. My feet are burning and intensely itchy. I know the ants have drilled and spit a special anti-human potion into my body. I also know that the effectiveness of their bites will last more than 24 hours.. say more like 2 months. Yes, the ants have won again.
Where have all the years gone, and so quickly? These thoughts cross my mind every once in awhile, especially now as I've had my 62nd birthday. If I could, would I go back to an earlier time, back to my teen years or my college days?
If I'd had a way of foretelling the future, I may have done a few things differently, change my direction a bit, but then again... If I'd fallen in love at 19 with the handsome Italian fella living next door, who I felt was in love with me at the time , I'd no doubt have a houseful of kids. But, I might also be divorced—since that was his status a few years ago, and still might be.
If I'd been more motivated to finish college and get a degree, I'd be teaching English Comp right now. When I'd moved to San Francisco in 1970, I was working at a local store. From the entrance I heard, “Nancy, what on God's earth are you doing working here?” My jaw dropped.
It was my former college professor, Jean Wilkinson, who'd had very high aspirations for me. She'd kept many of the works I'd written, and thought I would've pursued a writing career, at the very least. Presently, I'm still writing: short stories and romantic poetry, as well as this blog.
If I'd followed my parents to Oregon instead of moving to the Bay Area, I would've never met my husband, a handsome airline captain,and had our two children. Nor would I have had the opportunity to meet Charlton Heston or Bing Crosby who were customers of mine one day.
We now live in South West Florida, which has changed the direction of my life. I'm a freelance photographer, living a dream I've always had--sequestered in the back of my mind. I'm an artist, too.
Life is often convoluted. You're never sure what each day is going to bring. Ah, to be a kid again...? Not a chance.
Who said life was fair? Things, big and small, all have a way of creeping into our everyday existence. Whether it's someone who cuts you off in traffic or the barking dog left outdoors for hours, these annoyances can simmer and boil, until you feel yourself changing into Frankenstein.
You suddenly start thinking of ways of getting back: the middle finger's been on vacation for awhile—what's one little wiggle going to hurt..? Yes, I'm guilty! The barking dog a few door's down may eventually become dinner for our neighborhood coyote, panther, or alligators--of which there are three inhabiting the lake close by.
Yes, it's sometimes fun to entertain thoughts of revenge. We're only human, after all. Some annoyances needle and wedge, and cause brewing worries, until something alien takes over. You've suddenly become a victim of a bad science experiment! Where did rational thought go?
I've discovered the more something hovers over you, overwhelming your normal brain function, the more inclined your health—mental and otherwise—will suffer. Increased blood pressure, junk food snacking, losing sleep, all add up to a doctor's visit.
My friend, “Mark” [see the archived blog, On the horizon..] has been stressfully waiting for a meeting with administration of the college where he instructs. For two weeks, he's worried himself, speculating about the meeting, and what it may mean to him in relation to his job. His blood pressure has gone through the roof. I've commiserated with him, offering support and encouragement.
Allowing negative thoughts to upset your life to such a degree , is like speeding down a road with a sign saying DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD. There will always be worry of the unknown, and annoyances that want to burrow, but neither of these should be a winner...
*feet hanging out of car windows *being invisible:the clerk takes the person behind you *taking the road less taken and there's no cell coverage *finding a lounging alligator on the road ahead of you *coffee that's been dumped on the pavement *people who leave a shopping cart behind your car or in the parking space *'diva' pet stores *pets wearing diamond-studded pet collars *people who let a sneeze or cough 'fly' *smile wrinkles that look like excavation sites *people who publicly embarrass one another *European bathing suits--the skin variety *cigarette butts littering the beach *lit cigarettes tossed out the car window *people talking during a movie *overdone face lifts *6-year life CFL's that blow after a month's time. *animal walkers who don't scoop the poop *store clerks who welcome women with "Hi, Guys!" *people who openly criticize my daughter's slim figure *funeral preparation brochures addressed to me *people who don't really listen when your speaking to them *drivers on cell phones *washing the car on a day it decides to rain *double-charged for an item *people abusing handicapped parking
The availability of tropical fruit is delicious: mangoes, starfruit, papayas. Florida oranges and grapefruit are bountiful. Many Floridians are successful at growing these delicious fruits. My neighbor, Jim, has an abundant grapefruit tree. One neighbor grows bananas and oranges. I've never had a green thumb—only a hammered black and blue one.
I went to the nursery and bought an orange tree. It looked healthy with blossoms and buds, promising a nice crop of oranges. It smelled divine. I loosened it from the huge bucket that encapsulated the tree, dug a pretty decent hole, adding nutrients to the soil. As the weeks went by, the tree began withering and dropping it's leaves. I'd watered it and fed it—what more could I do? My neighbor's fruit tree weathered Hurricane Wilma, and mine up and died on me without provocation or neglect.
Not one to give up, I went back to the nursery and was captivated by the fragrance of the beautiful Asian Lilies and orchids. I bought one of each. The lilies looked great in the garden. The orchid had a protected and humid location in the house.
Need I say more? Despite all the TLC I gave the flowers, both were definitely DOA in two weeks time. I give up!
As I cruise down the produce aisle, I pick up my favorite Cali oranges[the best, sorry Florida], and some mangoes and papayas that I'm using as salsa for coconut shrimp. Seven dollars of delicious, juicy fruit...Yum!
*Wearing shorts and sandals most of the year *When you retire, you're already here! *Afraid of heights? Only real elevations are the high-rises along the beaches *Swaying palm trees *Shells *Sanibel Island-Captiva *O-D on Key Lime Pie *Geckos *Alligators *Manatees *Dolphins *Iguanas *Perfect umbrella drinks *Florida Keys *Jimmy Buffett *Margaritaville *Celebrity-watching *Hurricane watching *Fishing *White sandy beaches *Shorebirds *Sparkling blue waters *International cuisine *Big Cypress National Preserve/The Everglades *Swamp Buggy Races *Mullet Festivals *Pirate-themed festivals *Art festivals *Bo Sox spring training site-Ft. Myers *Florida authors,Dave Barry, Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiassen, Randy Wayne White *Haunted Places: Tampa Theater and Don CeSar Hotel
It's that time of year when most people look around the house, or apartment, and decide how much of the clutter stuck in closet corners--or even under the bed-- is worthy of tossing into the trash.
I'm a collector. I love books: books on photography, writing technique, cooking[I lost count!], mysteries. These are all books that are part of my comfort zone. My husband is always suggesting that I go through my stuff and throw it out or give it to a thrift center. Husbands like doing that, don't they?
My art supplies are stowed in the walk-in closet, very neatly--not bothering anyone. My easel stands in the corner next to our bed. It's been suggested that if something isn't used more than a handful of times, it's time to get rid of it. My artistic expression comes and goes like the tide.. I have two paintings that are in temporary limbo at the moment.
My photographic equipment is often in the Florida room[family room], ready to head out for a photo junket. I'm a very creative and cerebral gal. These possessions are part of what I am, what I love to do.
Spring cleaning in Florida—where the seasons don't seem to change? Nah..