Monday, March 31, 2008

Greetings from Naples

Florida, not Italy. This is a beautiful city, mostly, stunning McMansions, astonishing landscaping, fancy shops. Spent most of the day trying to get S's computer up and running, then ended up at the Naples library using their computers. Will try something else tomorrow re: the computer. It may need more memory. Then went to the beach around 4:30, swam a while, found some pretty small corkscrew shells, talked to a client on the phone. Rushed home to make dinner for S. who was supposed to get off work at 8pm, but probably won't be back till 10.

Talked to Suzie and Adam, S's next door neighbors. They are so very nice. They have a miracle baby, Candace. She had open heart surgery 4 hours after she was born, and more surgery after. She was not expected to recover, but is now 11 months old, and although she still has a feeding tube in her stomach, Candace seems to be thriving. Adam was in Iraq for three years. They have a rat terrier named Playboy who Bindi has really been enjoying playing with. Bindi wants to play with Herman, but Herman doesn't seem very interested. Oh, Herman is S's chi mix.

Went to a thrift store today and found something a friend of mine has wanted but could not afford: a virgin wool ivory blanket in perfect condition. And a "beach sheet." Just a plain flat sheet that I take to the beach to put my towel on. It's lightweight and keeps the towel from getting sandy.

What else. Went to a nice bar with S, Bambusa. People were very friendly there, too. I do think people in the South are friendlier than people in the Northeast. Or maybe I'm just more outgoing when I am here. I think it's a combination of both. Went to a nice natural foods store, Wild Oats, which apparently is being bought by Whole Foods. Wish there was one near me in CT.

On Saturday I went to the local Farmer's market, which was small but charming. Bought organic vegetables, and some handmade soap, and saw seven of the most darling miniature Australian Shepard puppies. They were seven weeks old, fluffy, and very compelling. I'm sure they'll have no trouble finding good owners.

Ok, S. is home. More later.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Went to the library to return two books, and picked up two more. A novel by Edmund White based on the life of Stephen Crane, and Joan Didion's memoir of her husband's passing. Then went to the pharmacy to fill some scripts. When I drove away, I head a weird clunking noise, got out and checked and found my right front tire flat. Fortunately, I was right next to a Mobil station, and even tho there were no mechanics working, the owner was there and put a plug in it and more air, at no charge, which got me to Town Fair Tire. I had already called the Geico road service people, but they told me it would be an hour to an hour and a half before someone would come.

Town Fair Tire's door was open but they has just closed. I said "What should I do?" They said PepBoys was open, and since it was right across the street I went there. They took me right away, and were unbelievably nice. I needed a new tire. I needed an oil change too, so they did that and the mechanic pointed out the oil leak in the engine block. He noticed my weatherstripping under my hood was hanging down by the fan and would mess up the fan belt so he fixed that too. And put in a new dome light bulb, all for about a hundred bucks, with a ten dollar rebate. And it didn't take very long at all. I had a long talk with one of the service guys about how Toyotas compare with Hyundais, and he had lots of good information. Bottom line is: if buying used, get a Toyota. If buying new, they are comparable now. My friend who I am visiting in Florida next week works at a Hyundai dealer, and I thought I could buy a car from him, if there was someway of getting it back up to CT without my having to drive it. Anybody got any ideas on the virtues of Toyotas vs. Hyundais?

Then I decided to go next door and have dinner at T.G.I. Fridays. A decent dinner, good service, and I started reading the Edmund White book. I kept noticing this guy who was circulating the dining room, some kind of worker there. I finally called him over and said, "Do people tell you that you look like Tom Cruise?" He was very humble and said, yes, and then proceded to ask me how my dinner was. I said the fish was a little oily, and he said he would tell the kitchen, so I guess he was a manager or something. I told him he was very pretty. He was quite gracious.

Then I drove home and as I got into the driveway I realized I had forgotten to return the copy of Ocean's Thirteen I had rented from the Stop and Shop (for a buck a night in one of those vending machines!). So I turned around and went back from where I had just been, and returned the cd. As long as I was there, I bought myself some red and yellow tulips.

Having brunch with Frances and Rachel tomorrow at 11am.

More nightmares last night. Driving off a cliff into an abyss, cats killed under the wheels of the car, getting lost while driving. A dying puppy. My dreams/nightmares are so transparent.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Vernal Equinox

Some of the kids in S's third grade play about the Oregon Trail.

And full moon tonight. The sky is very clear, it is way windy, so I think moon viewing will be excellent.

Went to the dentist today. We all had a good laugh when I started humming the wicked witch's tune from The Wizard of Oz when he was shooting me up with novocaine. My tolerance for those needles is decreasing incrementally to the increase in my age, like my tolerance for cold. Anyway, after making it very clear to me that I created the notches in a few teeth by brushing too hard, he prepared to fix them. The novocaine stayed with me for hours, which was an additional pain.

I chipped one of my very favorite bowls! I chip all my nice bowls, dammit. This bowl I got at Open Studies, an event where probably a hundred artists occupied rooms in a no longer used school, and the bowl is a pale turquoise speckled with brown spots that make it look like a robin's egg, and of similar shape. Small chip, but chip nonetheless. I have to accept that I'm a klutz, all my clothes have stains and all my bowls are chipped. Hmmm, good title for my memoir: All My Clothes Have Stains and All My Bowls Are Chipped, by yours truly.

Watched "The Namesake," on video last night with R. We both liked it. And watched "Ocean's Thirteen," this afternoon. That series is so funny, and has so many great actors in it: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner (yep, he's till alive), Elliot Gould, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, and on and on. The plots are totally unbelievable, but who cares with all those pretty faces to look at?

It's tag sale season again, always a fun adventure for me. It's a great way to get to know the neighborhood.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring

Yeah, sure. Supposed to get into the twenties tonight. Brrrrr.

Today I took care of a piece of business that I've put off for years. The social security administration still had me listed with my married name. And I couldn't get it changed until I had a copy of the divorce decree, which I finally got a few weeks ago. So I went to one of the SSA offices and made the change; the agent made some noises about needing a court paper that said my name was changed, but I came prepared with all sorts of i.d., like my passport, utility bills, driver's license, and she put the change thru. I think I put it off so long because retirement seemed so far away, but now that it is on the horizon, taking care of this detail was essential. Even after all the years I have worked I will, if I decide to start collecting social security payments at age 62, only get a little over a thousand dollars per month. I will have a pension and some IRA money and some savings, thank goodness. What about people who retire and only have social security to live on? It cannot be done. No wonder people are working well into their seventies.

Heard on NPR that the awful video of the US marines abusing a puppy which has been circulating on the internet has resulted in an investigation. One of my friends sent it to me, and I was very upset that he sent it, and told him never to send me such a thing again. They played the audio of the video on NPR today and I had to turn the radio off before it broadcasted. Makes me think that more videos of war and the people who are killed and tortured, on both sides, should be circulated so that we know exactly what is going on, in human terms.

The photos are of blooming plants in my house. The daffodil is really pretty, with ruffled petals surrounded by straight petals. The pink one is an amaryllis.

Misty has been unbelievably affectionate recently. R. says she's happier in this house. Camilla has been licking the fur off her lower belly and inside her back legs, which she began before I moved here. I think she finds Bindi being around very stressful, and I hate that she is upset, but I'm not sure what to do. I wish Camilla would just scratch Bindi aggressively a couple of times, and Bindi would leave her alone. Bindi only wants to play, but the cats want none of her.

More nightmares last night. R & F brought me a Tinkerbell from DisneyWorld, which is very dear. Tink is sitting with arms and legs crossed with a kind of annoyed look on her face, which is very fitting for me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Window of Opportunity

Dr's appt this morning. Changing meds to see if there's a better result. This was the first time I had seen my dr's Corgi in her office, and as soon as I sat down the dog came over and put his head on my foot, and lay down. She said he is very empathetic. I was rubbing his head while she asked me how I was, and I started to cry. Not that great, I said. Am looking into extending my leave. PTSD. Got more news last week about how I was discriminated against. Can't get a break from the bad stuff, can't rest. Used to love my naps, now I can't.

Afterwards, went to Guilford to get a birthday present for a client. He knits, so I bought some skeins of llama yarn made from the groomed fur of the animals kept on the orchard grounds. It is a perfect gift. I hope it will be enough to knit a hat or some gloves or a scarf. $9 a skein. Is that a lot? Came from the llama named Iris.

Then to the hardware store, the best one in the area, incredibly helpful staff, small, old fashioned. Got my mop/broom handle holder, and some bottle of chemicals to clean my flat glass topped stove. Then a cappacino and bagel at the coffee shop while reading the paper. Then to the vet to get Bindi's nails clipped and her AGE, which were full. Saw one of the staff there who I've talked with many times, and she is having a very hard time trying to get out of her marriage. Cannot find a place for her and her sons to move to. I felt so badly for her, and encouraged her to get some support. She wants to stay in the area but cannot find anything she can afford. She knows that's why I ended up where I am, because I could not afford the shoreline. I miss it so much. I feel calmer there. Met a tiny nine week old pug named Lila who was totally cute.

Saw my dentist who said I should see an oral surgeon about my tongue. He suggested that the biopsy might not have been as traumatic if an oral surgeon had done it. Everybody has a different opinion. The thing is still sore.

A little over a week before I go to Florida. Can't wait. R & F are in Disneyworld right now. I told them to bring me a teeny tiny Tinkerbell.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Jigs and Samson

Dog park today where there were two small poodles, black and chocolate, and two mutts, Maddie and Roxie. Bindi loved the poodles and they played and played. I think they reminded her of her boyfriend R.J. next door, who is a poodle her size.

Got a bill for the oil heat for $481 for one month! That's nuts, and my thermostat never gets turned up to 70. I think 68 is the highest I've gone, and at night I turn it down to 55. I know being home more during the day has something to do with it, and the windows in the house are not sealed very well, but sheesh. Car fuel is $3.30 and rising. Florida is looking better and better, esp. not having to pay heating bills.

Had lunch at Ikea with Rachel, and bought some scissors. Don't know if they are any good. I'm so unimpressed with Ikea. I also needed a certain size lightbulb and a set of stainless steel measuring cups, and they had neither.

Scored big off Freecycle: a nice walking cane, as I have misplaced the one I had, and a really swell white iron round patio table with four matching chairs all in great condition.

Had dinner with M & S last night; S was really sweet - she made me a decorated grocery list pad to put on the fridge, and gave me a warm hug goodbye. Going to her school play tomorrow. Something about the Oregon Trail.

Is it bad for me to put my computer in my checked bag for a flight, or is that too risky, both tech wise and stealing it wise?

Going to another chihuahua meetup on Saturday; not many people have signed up. Hope Bindi behaves herself.

Had dinner for six last Saturday. Nice, but what a lot of work! Clean the house, buy the food, prepare the food, make sure everybody has what they need. I had salad, vegetable stir fry with tofu, cauliflower in cheese sauce. Next time I'm ordering in pizza. Two of the guests brought the most amazing cheese; absolutely delicious. Better be, at $19/lb. There are a couple of new fancy cheese shops in town.

For some ridiculous reason it's going to take two weeks to get my tongue thingie paperwork authorized and sent to the doc from whom I want a second opinion. So I had to change the appt. with the second doc till April. That's not right, but I didn't have the energy to fight it.

Photo of IKA being her graceful athletic self. You go, girl!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Eight Things.

One of my blogger buddies wants me to list the eight things I want to do before I die. That's a hard one, but here's what my list is as of this day. Could change, so don't hold me to it.

1. Raise a baby gorilla.

2. Have a private jet take me to Machu Picchu, get a private tour with no other tourists around.

3. Know what words like "gainsaid" mean when I'm reading.

4. Feel healthy and vibrant. Fall in love again and die before that person does.

5. Be closer to everyone in my family, and have them be more communicative and attentive to me.

6. Swim naked in the warm ocean for as long as I want.

7. Visit Australia zoo, and the spirit of Steve Irwin.

8. Take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Those are the eight things. For today.