Monday, March 30, 2009

My Week in Naples

An exhibit of works by Andy Warhol at the Von Liebig Art Center in Naples. Small but startling, colorful, and bold. We were surprised by the four Andy Mouse pieces, a collaboration between Warhol and Keith Haring. The student exhibit had some extremely fine works in the collection, as well.

Lunch at the Greek restaurant, owned by friends of Scott; the best tasting tomatoes in the salad of anywhere I have eaten here. Naps on the rainy Sunday afternoon. S. goes off to work and I attend a crystal bowl sound healing meditation. The singing bowls are mesmerizing, and when the meditation was over, I was acutely aware of how much tension I have been storing up in my shoulders. And how much I need more of those kinds of healing experiences. What is considered "New Age," is actually very ancient, and full of great power.

Dinner at California Pizza, crunchy Thai salad, vegetable panini, yum. Lunch at La Playa, fancy resort on Gulf Shore Blvd., great view of the ocean, the food completely mediocre.

Lunch in Bonita Springs with an old friend, at Dixie Moon Cafe, "Southern Food With an Attitude," fried chicken, fried okra, mashed potatoes, three kinds of gravy, excellent peace cobbler, green beans with bacon, banana pudding with vanilla wafers!
An exploration of the "historical" section of town, about one block long, but still interesting. Walked along the Imperial River, and a vacant lot alongside, which we later learned was destined for a strip mall. Old, lush paradisical Florida once again being paved for a parking lot. Heartbreaking.

Many visits to the beach. Water was a bit cold the first few days I was here, but warmed up. The winds were brisk the whole time, so lots of waves to bob about on. The sand is clean and almost white. Unlike CT, where all the beach access is private, you can drive down almost any coastline street here and there will be a tiny or larger parking lot, and excellent access to the sand and ocean. Even the numerous McMansions cannot claim exclusive rights to the beach access, although there are private clubs that have restricted beaches.

Took the dogs to the dog park a couple of times where we met Cotton, a young fluffy white long haired Chihuahua, Sidney, a white bull terrier, Ben, an old golden lab, and Winnie, a black lab mix puppy. Bindi is clearly the alpha dog with the smaller canines, so actually does much better playing with the bigger dogs. Today two big dogs had both gotten their teeth on the same ball and were pulling in opposite directions, but there was no real danger, just a lot of growling and posturing.

Had delicious potato latkes at Fred's, the diner that allows dogs on the terrace. In fact, one woman who was there was passing out her dog sitting service cards, and she also drives people to and from the airport, so she's gonna pick me up later today and take me to RSW.

Made it to the Naples zoo again to see the botanical garden planted amidst the animals. Rather the botanical garden preceded the zoo, so the animals are nestled amongst the flora. There were two lion cubs, nine months old and already pretty large. Zebra, gazelle, gators, primates, parrots, and a gorgeous tiger. I felt bad for the cheetah, pacing in her cage. Although this is considered a fine zoo, full of "enrichments" for the animals, it is nothing like them being in the wild, or even on a very large reserve. It's a terrible compromise for endangered species to have to be caged.

Scott's pond behind his house has afforded many moments of enjoyment watching the muscovy ducks, the anhinga, the turtles, and other things I cannot identify. He says there is an otter living in the pond, but I never saw it. The muscovies roost in the trees at night. Yesterday I saw for the first time a female with fifteen chicks that must have just hatched, as they were so small and fluffy and following mama around.

I did no shopping this trip. I don't need anything, and need to save my money to hire help for after the knee surgery. I have very high anxiety about going home and making various arrangements and going to various doctor's appointments before the surgery. I'm very very nervous about it. This has been in the back of my mind the whole time I was here, but have managed mostly to keep the anxiety under control and have some good times.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Happy Spring! And in Iran, Happy New Year!

At the community garden committee meeting last night, an elegant solution was arrived at concerning my garden and the Food Not Bombs initiative. One of our committee members runs the local FNB chapter, and needs more space to grow vegetables, so I offered my garden for the season for her to use, since I'll be laid up with recovery from knee surgery. In return she will tend my garden and harvest whatever she plants for distribution. I love this arrangement.

Had lunch with K. yesterday at Midori, the Korean restaurant where I had a huge bowl of chicken soup with Asian greens, and udon noodles. It was so cold and rainy out. She lent me the dvd "Under Our Skin," a documentary about Lyme disease, how it is misdiagnosed, the damage done to your body if it is not treated soon enough, and the political corruption which keeps hidden the true extent of the epidemic. I recommend it to everyone.

And esp. for those who have a chronic illness that is not improving or is dismissed by your doctors. Luckily, my being infected with Lyme, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis, all from being bitten by one tick, was diagnosed early, but if it had not been . . .

Yesterday morning I had an appt. with a trainer at my gym who stretched me, and used this roller thingie to work on the knots in my thighs. He was amazed at my flexibility and said that boded (is that a word?) well for my knee replacement recovery. I also did the weight circuit, and about ten minutes on the eliptical machine. It's absolutely clear to me that I need a trainer on a regular basis. My two comp training sessions are over, but perhaps seeing somebody once a week would not cost too much. Haven't looked into that. Can't believe I'm gonna write this but: I like my gym, and it's worth the price. The staff is great.

Had pre-op blood drawn yesterday too, and the woman was so good I didn't feel the needle AT ALL! The vampires usually hurt me and leave a big bruise. Roseann gets an A++! Now have to get a chest xray. No wonder I'm tired today.


Elvy, K's dog, was hit hard in the eye by a golfball today. When K called me and said her eye was swollen and she was squinting, I said "take her to the vet hospital immediately," Natasha Richardson's death still on my mind. Turns out Elvy has a scratch on her cornea, which was likely painful, and was given two meds. Always better to be safe.

Went to my optometrist the other day to get new lenses for my everyday glasses, my computer glasses, and my reading glasses. No new frames this time, as the lenses themselves will be hundreds of dollars.

Bad news about my haircutter. I was absolutely sure I had asked her when I first started going to her if she charged the same fee for women and men, and I was sure she said yes. I asked her again today, and she charges $20 for men and $35 for women! Ethical dilemma alert! I really like this woman, but I cannot stand this discrimination. She was in the middle of my cut when I asked her this question, and I decided not to talk to her about it. Oh man . . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ok, I had a good day at the gym. Had an appt. with a trainer who took me through the weight circuit. Now I have a chart, and when I go back to the circuit, I'll sign in for what time I want to use it, and a trainer will set the weight and the seat to my specs. Then I did 25 minutes on the recumbant bike, and then stretched on the raised PT table.

Went to an orientation yesterday at the hospital where I will have my knees replaced. (see photo) Fortunately, with the great help from my sis, I knew much of what they said. I got a little peeved when the nutritionist/dietition gave her part of the talk, and when I asked about their ability to accommodate people with food allergies, she said I would have to order special items ahead or bring them myself!!! What is it with these people? She claimed they don't keep rice or soy milk on hand because there aren't that many requests for it, and it spoils. Spoils!? In those aseptic cartons, they can stay on the shelf for a year! It's one of those small but highly annoying things that really get under my skin. I made a nice connection with a woman who also lives alone and is having a knee replaced, after having the other knee and hip already replaced. She had good suggestions about making sure the medical staff knows about my PTSD.

Saturday night I went to the Milford Center for the Arts to hear the father/son Mexican classical guitarists. I was all the way in the back, and couldn't see very well, but the music was really engaging and beautiful. And the Center had a great photography exhibit on the walls as well.

Hung out with D. and her son N. on Sunday. We had a nice time. N. went across the street with Bindi and played with Chris's dogs and daughters for a really long time. He came back at one point to get a water bowl for Bindi, saying she wouldn't drink out of the other dogs bowls, and she seemed really thirsty. How sweet and thoughtful is THAT?! I was so touched. That night K. and I went out for pizza. So it was a good Sunday.

Hey, I changed the sheets on my bed! Woo hoo!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunny, but Cold

Photos of Misty, Geranium, and Clivia, taken yesterday in the morning as the sun shone through the kitchen window.

Found a place called Charlie's Closet in Guilford that will "rent" medical rehab equipment for $1. Not $1 per day, but $1 for the entire time you need it, with the agreement that you return it when you are done so others can use it. Got that tip from Freecycle WHICH I LOVE. So am going out there today to pick the things up: a commode, a bar that attaches to the tub, and a walker. Am also going to buy some chain to hang my porch swing between two trees, and my neighbor Chris will attach it for me, as well as install a handrail on my front porch. I offered to pay him, but he said we'll barter. He's so great.

Did you know that if you take the online Defensive Driving course that your insurance company may lower your rates? I use Geico, and since my friend had a fender bender when he used my car in December, and I had one previously, my rate went up over $100/year. But I took the course, passed it, and my rate is now reduced by $86 a year for three years. The online course was long, but doable, and I passed the test at the end with a 96% score.

My back door neighbors have been taking out my trash barrel and recycling for me, without my even asking them to. T. is going to plant a raised flower bed this spring, and I will give her parts of all my perennials in my Edgerton garden so she won't have to spend a lot of money on new plants. It will make me happy to give them to her, as I will probably be giving up my plot in the next year or so, as I plan my move out of the Northeast. I'll know where they are and will likely stay for quite some time.

Went to the gym yesterday for over an hour. At some point when I was working out on the weight machines, I felt very depressed. I shook it off, and made a couple of appointments with trainers for next week. I was so tired when I came home I had to take a nap.

There were a bunch of "wellness" vendors there for the day, which I think were all focussing on weight loss (what else?!?! makes me so mad . . .), but I noticed one for the VNA (Visiting Nurse Association), and CPAP (that awful sleep apnea machine I can't get myself to use). I had useful conversations with both of them. Am gonna try to find a CPAP support group. Of course if I could lose enough weight perhaps I wouldn't need it, but that doesn't seem to be happening, so I HAVE TO USE THE MACHINE for now. Whaaaaaaa. But perhaps I would have sleep apnea even if I were thin. I've always been tired and had low energy. Oh, man . . . .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apparent Disk of the Moon

Celestial north is up, celestial east is to the left.

This is a synthetic image of the Moon as it would be seen from the
Earth at the date and time indicated, the latter expressed in Universal
(UT). The image is recreated many times per day so that it always
represents the current appearance of the Moon. Listed below the image are the
lunar longitude and latitude (planetographic coordinates) of the sub-Earth and
sub-solar points on the Moon, the phase (the fraction of the area of the
apparent disk that appears illuminated), and the angular diameter of the disk in

This photo is for today, 3/11/2009, from the US Naval Observatory website. Full moon day.

Been going to the gym which really wears me out, along with the time change. Haven't been eating my vegetables, have absolutely no desire for them, unless some one else makes a sald, or a veggie something. All these carbs are so bad for me. Hopefully, when I am in Florida where it will be hot, I'll want salads and vegetable dishes. Plus, Scott is mostly vegetarian.

Saw the ENT today, everything checked out fine. Now have to get all the scripts in my three pairs of glasses updated: general, reading, and computer. I always put that off too long, cause I don't want to get seduced by getting new frames. I have a complicated prescription, and can't just go to lenscrafters or one of those one hour places. Have to pay the big bucks to a good lab.

Been IMing my niece recently, something I never did before. That's cool.

Went to see the singer/songwriter Randy Burns, an old folksinger who hung around New Haven for a while and was back around. Enjoyable. Went with D. We had drinks and a bit of food at 116 before the concert. I had what I think was the best BLT ever: maple smoked bacon, really good cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, lettuce, garlic aioli, on a small sour dough roll. It was luscious.

Had dinner with K. this past Saturday. She made a tasty calzone, and we watched "I Am Legend" again, since it was playing on her multi channel tv lineup. The doggies munched on bully sticks, and kept trading off between both of us for pets and snuggles.

One of my doctors suggested I rent a hospital bed for home for after the knee surgery. She said when she had her hip replaced, she was really glad she had it, for all the positions it could easily be put in. Sis said she didn't think she needed one. Will ask at the hospital orientation about that when I go on March 16.

Been rainy for a few days. Many more signs of spring. Coincidentally, I decided to put Frontline on Bindi yesterday, and then later in the day found a tick on her. So it's time to do all that fuss. There will be tons off fleas in Florida so protecting her now is the ticket.

So what are you all up to?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sexism is Alive

So I went to the fitness center yesterday, and connected to it is a day spa/salon.
The salon had a sign outside, part of which read "Women's haircuts, $45," "Men's haircuts, $25." Well, me being me, I couldn't leave that one unchallenged.

I went in and had the following conversation with the woman behind the counter (WBC):

Me: Do you see how short my hair is?

WBC: Yes.

Me: Would you still charge me $45 to cut it?

WBC: Yes.

Me: Is that because I have a vagina and not a penis?

WBC: Well, we wash, cut, and blowdry the hair.

Me: And you don't do that with men?

WBC: Yes, we do.

Me: Your policy is highly discriminatory, and I will never come here, and I will tell my friends not to come here.

And I walked out. And went for a swim and a soak in the whirlpool hot tub.
Had dinner with M & S last night. Nice hot fire in the fireplace, and good conversation as usual. Brought "The Black Stallion" for them to watch. S. is going to learn "You've Got A Friend," to play on the piano, and her friend will sing it, for the 4th grade talent show.

Got a $25 gift card from Rite Aid for transferring one of my prescriptions there.
Was very sleepy all day, even tho the weather was near 40 and supposed to get even warmer tomorrow. When I get back from Florida, spring shall have sprung.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Buddha With Crown of Snow

The Nor'easter hit Sunday and Monday, the amount indicated by Buddha's crown in photo. But I went out today and the roads were fine, and the snow cover produced some beautiful scenery.

Picked up a raised toilet seat and a bath/shower stool from someone on Freecycle, in preparation for the knee surgery recovery. I love Freecycle. Also got some tips on where to rent other equipment for next to nothing.

Saw the cancer radiologist today. PET scan last week showed nothing significant except a little something under my left arm, which I think was a swollen lymph node from the Tegretol, but now I have to get a CT scan and mammogram, just to be sure. Endless. The arthritis in my left thumb joint is really bothering me today, but that's the least of my ailments.

Got an hour and a half massage today, out where the Scottish Highland bulls live. Found out their names: Dundee and Fife. But they weren't out in the pasture today, unfortunately. But saw some nice horses on a farm nearby, one with a pink blanket covering her back.

Stopped at Paws by the Green in Guilford and got some breath mints for Bindi. Her breath has been reeking, probably because I've started feeding her homemade food with garlic. Got a couple of things that initially she wouldn't eat, but I cut them into small chunks and she ate them right down. She's such a little diva, only liking tiny bits of food and treats.

Ever see that movie, "Enemy Mine," with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr., where Quaid is a human and Gossett is a Drac? I liked it. Been some very good movies on the tube lately.

Picked up a few free books at the cancer center today. When I go back, I'll bring some of my own.

Temps are very very low, but hopefully with a couple of days above 32 degrees, some of the snow will melt. Anyway, I'm going to Florida on the 23rd, and spring will have arrived when I get back.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Went to hear some folk music last night with a friend. I knew a couple of the performers, but not most: Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy of Nightingale, Shoregrass,
Cece Borjeson & Ruth George, The S.S. Chanteens, Robert Messore & Brian Slattery. It was such a nice community event, and I ran into a couple of people I hadn't seen in ages.

Guitar teacher coming in a little while. I'm still not practicing, but dear soul that he is, he doesn't get mad at me, and is still patient. I guess for right now, our lessons are my practicing, and that will have to suffice. Had a good online chat with Max about how practicing alone can make one self aware of emotions one would rather not be in touch with. We will have to explore that concept in more depth, but I felt some ring of truth to it for me.

I got myself to go to the gym last week after having felt awful for many days prior. Hopefully this week I'll be able to get there more often. They offer chair yoga and have a dedicated women's work out room. Plus a whirlpool hot tub. It's a really nice place to just hang out in, even if you aren't working out. Helps that it's expensive, cause I feel like every day I don't go I'm wasting money. Messed up motivation, I know, but it works for a lot of people.

Pretty snowfall this morning, big fluffy flakes. No accumulation, but the cardinals stand out so beautifully against the white snow at the feeder.

Finally got the ornaments on my solstice tree put away, while the housecleaner was working at other things. Again, couldn't get myself to do that task alone, but with someone else in the house working, it was very easy. Would appreciate any input on this difficulty, if any of you deal with it in your own lives.

Watched Jack Lemmon as a priest in "Mass Appeal," 1984. Kind of amazing. In the first half hour the issues of homosexuality, abortion, and women in the priesthood were brought up. Lemmon's character takes on a rebellious student studying for the priesthood, and examines the ups and downs of their relationship.