Thursday, November 25, 2010

San Marco Terrace

Rehab & Care Center. Today was my first day doing a therapy dog visit with Bindi. Three other women with their dogs were there, along with three organizers since three of us were first-timers. There was Bindi, the chi mix, Bella, a small bulldog, Mandy, a wiry haired white terrier something, and BARNEY, THE BIGGEST CHOCOLATE NEWFOUNDLAND I have ever seen! He was hysterical. He would splay his legs out on the ground and look like an enormous plush rug. I was nervous and so was Bindi, but we did very well. Bindi was shy and submissive, which was just fine given the folks we visited. I was outgoing and cheerful. Two residents commented on how beautiful her eyes are, and others talked about their own dogs. We stayed about 45 minutes. It was joyful, and sad, interesting and heartbreaking. After we left I felt absolutely drained and tearful. I was exhausted and I think Bindi was too.

I was late for my chiropractor appt. cause I remembered the time wrong. Ran into the woman who sold me my house in the office who said, "What are you doing at the best chiropractor in town?" That was encouraging. It was so nice to see her and we shared a big hug.

Came home where three people again were working on my future art studio. The ceiling has now been insulated, sheetrocked, and painted, and I have an impressive
6' x 6' wall of windows on the back wall where just yesterday there was just a wall. I'm very excited that progress is being made, but now with the holidays and my going away, there will be another halt. Still, progress. The shed was torn down and hauled away. The woman who was painting may turn out to be a housecleaner for me. That will be a relief.

This afternoon the gurlz and I all took a long nap then I watched "Hancock" with Will Smith and Charlize Theron. Liked it a lot. They are both such great actors.

Tomorrow I have three Thanksgiving invitations, and hope to get to all of them.

Photo of a stray cat who used to come around. No longer.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA or Take Some Ativan

Suddenly after reading a Facebook post by one of my friends on the new pat-down procedures at airports, I'm freaked. I mean they pat me down anyway because of my prosthetic knees, but now they're doing breasts and buttocks and groin? This is not going to be good for me. I hope I don't break down crying, but I just might.

I don't seem to be getting anything done inside the house. It's still a mess. Although three workers showed up today to paint the ceiling in the studio, tear down the rotten metal shed, and access what kind of windows and where to put them. Had a chiropractor appt. this morning. Then some grocery shopping. Then came home and realized I needed to get Bindi's nails cut and filed for our first nursing home visit tomorrow. Then make myself supper.

A minor wine miracle at the market. I had my items on the belt and when the woman moved the belt forward, the bottle of wine I was about to purchase fell to the floor. It DID NOT BREAK. We were all astonished. I could only attribute it to the guardian angel candle I also had on the belt. The checkout woman muttered something in Portuguese, which meant spirits or saints.

Been watching dvd's borrowed from JG: Life as a House, The Painted Veil, Sherlock Holmes, Savages. All held my interest.

I got four vitex agnes-castus variegata plants for free from the nursery. They have a give away section, and I've been checking it out. How will I ever get the plants into the ground before next week? Someone is coming on Monday to take a look at the platform bed job. Then when I get back from Michigan I must SERIOUSLY get a new mattress.

Had a massage last Sunday then went over to SM's mom's house and had dinner with the gang. JM made grits polenta with fake ground beef and vegetables. Wasn't half bad with a bit of hot sauce on top.

Got to read some of the Sunday New York Times. I cannot subscribe to it, even just Sundays, until I get more settled.

Blogging seems important. How else can I remember what I've done? I'll just feel like I'm free floating. I guess the cat sitter won't mind if my house is a mess while I'm gone, so I should probably take the pressure off to clean it up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Magical Mystery Tour

Amazing sights here at every turn. Saw this on the beach yesterday while sitting with my friend. I let Bindi off leash for a bit and she ran into the water and flipped over, got wet, and ran some more. Dog heaven.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hidden Beauty

When I would drive down the coast to Washington Oaks State Park where my watercolor class was held, I would pass an empty restaurant/inn which I found completely intriguing. There was a for sale sign in front, and although the place was small by some standards, it's architecture was charming and I would always say to myself, I must stop and explore that place one of these trips.

On Sunday, I went to the Park for a fundraiser and a showing off of the work we produced in the class. I had plenty of time and decided to stop at that inn. There was no one around. The sign on the gate to the back said "Private Property Keep Out," but in the words of Woody Guthrie, on the other side it didn't say nothin', and the gate was unlocked, so I went into the back. This is what I found.


The staircase leading down to the labyrinth.

The balcony off one side of the building.
On the back landing were two hot tubs still filled with water, and a long boardwalk which led to the Mantanzas River. What a glorious place it must have been when it was in operation. I hope someone buys it and returns it to its original glory before it falls too badly into disrepair.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The photos are from a friend's dermatologist's office. I went with her one day and his office was filled with old movie posters, magazine covers, and endless items of graphic interest. I am often pleasantly surprised by what I happen to come across down here. It's truly an eclectic atmosphere.

Yesterday a woman who works with the cats-only clinic near me came over to meet Camilla and Misty, as she will tend to them when I am away in December. I don't know why everyone says living in Florida is cheaper. She charges more than my catsitter/dogwalker in CT. But she is a vet tech so I guess that accounts for the higher rate. Her name is Hope. Housing costs down here for places not on the water are very inexpensive these days, but other than that, everything else is just as pricey as CT.

I've begun to let Misty out into the yard when I am at home. I kept her inside for over two months, and when I finally let her out, she stayed around the house and came back in easily. She likes to chase the little anole lizards that are everywhere. Hope said to be on the lookout for blue skinks, as they are toxic if eaten.

Insulation and sheetrocking of the ceiling of the art studio is nearly complete. I'm trying to get my young handsome carpenter to come back next week and put in the windows. He's got some big job on hold and thought he might be able to do it.

Was tempted by some inexpensive plants at Home Depot so bought a couple to put on my screened front porch. Planted some pink/purple muhly grass in a big hole Bindi had dug hoping it will deter her. Found a big resin urn to plant a colorful croton in, and a purplish shrub that is cold resistant. I've got a huge tomato plant that is flowering but I'm sure will be frozen out before it produces any fruit. But as an experiment of planting a spindly thing that a friend gave me, I'll plant another in that spot in the spring and I'm sure it will do well.

I think I may have made a connection for Bindi to get into a therapy dog program, to go with me visiting to hospitals/nursing homes, etc. I'm meeting with someone next week. It's an organization called Canines for Christ. Someone called me after I sent an email to someone else who was listed in the paper, and although this woman said I didn't have to be a "member of their church" for me and Bindi to participate, upon looking at their website, I may not be their preferred candidate. All Bindi needs is her Canine Good Citizen certificate, which she has. Now we will meet and get checked out by the organizer.

Speaking of Home Depot, while i was in there I was approached by three different salesmen trying to sell me various home improvement services. I did not like that at all. It's bad enough being in that place, let alone having my time extended with having to listen to their crap. The job situation is bad here, I get that, but leave me the heck alone when I'm shopping.

Watched "The Last Station" with Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, the story of Tolstoy and his wife. Very good. Also watched "Twilight" to see what the fuss is with all the teenagers being into it. I did not like it much. Also watched "Sudie and Simpson" on Hulu, which, altho quite old, was excellent. A young Sarah Gilbert played Sudie.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Anastasia State Park

Yesterday being veteran's day, all the Florida state parks were open for free. I drove over the Bridge of Lions to Anastasia State Park, right in the city, as I had never been there. There was a good snack bar at the beach where I ate a yummy spicy black bean veggie burger with provolone cheese and lettuce, tomatoe, and mustard. Nicely done. I walked across the dunes, very white sand, and saw this:

I had no blanket or chair, but I just lay down on the sand in my clothes and basked in the warm sun and breeze. The water temperature was 69 degrees, much to cold for me but some brave soul was out there swimming laps for quite a while:

A sweet little girl was hunting for shells with her mom:

And when I left I saw this "landscape" on the dunes:

Tuesday was the last day of my six week watercolor painting class. We are hoping to meet on our own once in a while, and the instructor has said she will do the class again in the spring. That day we were painting right next to this exquisite pond with koi swimming about.

I saw the chiropractor again yesterday, and she had my xray results. My neck is badly misaligned, and I have degenerating discs in my neck. Those of you who know chiropractic know that this squishes nerves and can cause all sorts of dis-ease in the body. I didn't have any specific neck pain, but I do get headaches quite often, and these squished nerves could be exacerbating my mood issues. I look forward to working with Dr. Sage to see if she can help me feel better.

I also met with a new psychiatrist who I think will work out. She was definitely warmer than the shrink I had been seeing for years in CT, and had some interesting takes of my medications and diagnoses. She totally gets PTSD. AND she is covered by my insurance policy!

New carpenter working on the art studio. I lost my great guy to more lucrative jobs, after I pushed him a bit on getting a deadline to finish the building. He recommended this new person, but he's not nearly as good as the one I lost. Oh well, it will get done and that's what I want.

Off to home depot to buy a new mailbox post and some plant pots.
Love to everyone who reads this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Interesting. I just wrote several paragraphs and accidentally deleted them. Don't know how to undelete, so this is all you get for right now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Villano Beach

Took a ride over to Villano Beach on Friday cruising the bulk trash. Didn't find anything, but did discover the Usina Boat Ramp on the intercoastal waterway.

Some kind of beach morning glory.

Villano Beach shoreline.

A ridiculous blow-up black cat.

No comment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Can't remember the last time I went to a supermarket and saw boxes of lard sitting on the drygoods shelves. In the north you occasionally find it in the dairy aisle, if you find it at all. "Southern" fried chicken is cooked in lard, and that's what my mother always used. Her chicken was delicious.

Stayed in today doing odds and ends. My handy-person came and advised me about hanging the porch swing, finished up the caulking, and put in a new sink drain stopper. A small thing, but what a difference from what was there before, and the things we use daily should work correctly. Took a long nap then watched another movie on Hulu. Oh, talked to my therapist on the phone this morning.

Another watercolor class yesterday. Saw a beautiful snake wandering the grounds. I still always think of Steve Irwin and how his tv show and his interaction with snakes helped me get over my fear of them. Now I see them as fascinating and harmless.

After the class I decided to drive down to "Furniture Row," a place I had been told about near Ormond/Daytona. It took me a bit to find it, but the drive down A1A along the ocean was interesting and pretty. Except for the McMansions that are built along the beaches obscuring in most places the view of the sea. And then a rock from somewhere hit my windshield and took a chip out of the glass right in my line of view on the driver's side!!!! I'll have to see if the new car warranty or my insurance will cover fixing it or replacing the windscreen. Really really annoyed me. More money.

Anyway, I found the place, just a huge sort of upscale row of furniture stores, all connected to one another inside. Went to Denver Mattress, a "factory to you, no middle man," mattress store and bought one of their Durango queen mattresses. Foam on top of individually wrapped coils. 30 day money back guarantee, 2 year no interest financing, less than 1K for the set and a frame and delivery and two pillows. The salesman did two things that I found impressive, although they may have been bogus. One, he had me lay (lie?) on the mattress, and raise my arm at a 90 degree angle from my body, and then he pushed on my hand as I tried to resist. It is the standard kinesiology manual muscle test applied to finding the most supportive mattress.

Secondly, he laid (lay?) himself down on the bed next to me to demonstrate that there was little to no movement on the mattress when another person got in or out of the bed. It was all very professional. The bed will be delivered tomorrow. Today I ordered a new mattress pad and a set of sheets online from Penny's on sale.

Here's an online abstract of a study done about the use of MMT to find mattress support for individuals.

I missed my orientation for reading to kindergartener's on Monday, as my handy man was here then, too. He spent quite a long time opening two kitchen windows that had been painted shut many times. After he left, I decided I should check my date book and sure enough, it was already 1/2 hour past the time when the orientation began. I immediately called the contact to say I was still interested, and please call me when another orientation takes place. Ended up going to the beach with SM. She was burned out, so we just sat on the beach and talked and watched the shore birds. Water is cooling down (77 degrees now) but it would still be tolerable in the heat of the day.

Sunday afternoon I went to J & S's for the usual potluck dinner, and playdate for Bindi and Jasper.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Southern Living

On Thursday, I went to visit Sandra Bernhak at her very lovely home further inland. It's a huge old farmhouse with an orchard near the St. John's river, where she lives with nine dogs, three of whom she refers to as "the Taliban," and her house loaded with memorabilia from her many trips out of the country. This first photo was taken in her studio with shots from her Antarctic Project, some of which she took herself.

Standing next to her is Roxanne, one of her dogs who is mostly blind and deaf but so sweet.

Friday, my carpenter came over and replaced the roof on what will be my art studio in the back yard. Among his many activities is being on a men's roller derby team!! He also installed a new fan/light appliance in the ceiling of my kitchen, getting rid of an awful two bulb plastic flourescent mess that was there. He seems to be able to do anything. He'll be installing two new windows, and replacing the yard/garden shed to the right of the larger building.
Got myself finally to go swimming at the Solomon Calhoun outdoor public pool yesterday. It was practically empty, and so refreshing. Even tho the mornings and evenings have become cool here, midday is still nicely warm and the pool is heated. I got a 12 swim pass for $8. A great deal.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


En plein air. In the gorgeous Washington Oaks State Park. Only seven people in the class, all very nice. Teacher extraordinaire. Learned much in the first 3 1/2 hour class. Apply a wash. Let it dry. Apply another wash. Let it dry. Draw more leaves. Coordinate the colors. Let it flow. Rose garden. Koi pond. Greenhouse about to be rehabilitated. Shades of Edgerton. Lovely drive down A1A. Into it. The joy of water and paint and paper and brush.

Photos of art by Kathleen Maling, the instructor. Fabulously talented.
Flowing red curly hair.
Still neurotic about getting furniture. Keep almost deciding on a bed, then backing down. Mattress salesmen are like car salesmen. Can't believe a word they say. They're desperate to sell. I'm compelled to check out every mattress on the internet, and then I can't find the one I've just tried out. Mattress companies constantly change the names of identical products so you can't compare prices. What if it feels good today and sags in 12 months? 1K? 2K? 3K? Is visco memory foam all the same? How can they put just a bamboo cover on a mattress and then advertise it as "eco-friendly?"
Computer chair and table not working out. Arms on chair are too wide, yet the seat and back are comfy. Computer table too big for the guest room, but maybe I can use it in the studio? Take them back? I think the chair had a two week return policy and it's been more than that now. Not making much progress on the inside of the house.
Weather has been lovely, cool mornings and nights, warm during the day. Still am not swimming or going to the beach. What's up with that?
Watching movies on Hulu.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


I'm pretty sure I've been hearing owls in my backyard. And this morning when I walked outside around 8am, something big flew overhead and landed in a nearby treee, which I'm *pretty sure* was an owl. Of course, since I've unpacked my binoculars, I have misplaced them.

The photos are from the St. John's County Agricultural Center community garden. There's another community garden in the city center, an area called Lincolnville, which I'm going to try to find. All that rich dark soil came from a county compost pile. I wondered why they had such great dirt and all I have is sand. The Home & Garden show was very sweet, and I bought a few plants (Mona Lavender, peppermint, "false" gardenia, coneflower, and something with a red flower the name of which has escaped me) and had good conversations with vendors. It began to rain early on and didn't stop, so Bindi and I got drenched, but we had a good time anyway. I found a brand new smoothie blender at their tag sale for $5. Saw my landscape design instructor there, and ate a hotdog.

Was exhausted when I got home and took a long nap. Then watched "Wilby Wonderful," a film on Hulu, the wonderful free online movie/tv site. What a good movie.
* * * * * * * * *
Monday, Oct. 4
Went to Elkton yesterday for the St. Ambrose church fair. One of the reasons I go to these things is the treasures I often find (like the green ceramic shell mandala plate for 50 cents), and also to take me down roads and parts of the county that I would otherwise not traverse. (Underused word, traverse is.) On the way to the fair, I stopped at the weekly flea market on Rt. 207, bought some vegetables, and a sturdy wood drying rack of $2. There was a pet supplies vendor who took Bindi's and my photo to put in her rotating photo display frame; she says she takes photos of all her customers.
Then back to StA to attend the opening of a transit dispatch center, a joint venture between the city and the county, combining the small public bus company and the para-transit vans sponsored by the city Council on Aging. Lovely new building, and they kept the two very old oak trees in the front; usually developers just bulldoze those things down. I went at the behest (another underused word) of my friends who were protesting the presence of a politician at the opening who had claimed credit for making this center happen, even tho he voted against the stimulus package that eventually paid for the place. These friends are very active and involved Democrats, so I never have to read the articles in the paper to get my political updates.
Went back over to their house after, read the NY Times, S. and I took Bindi and Jasper for a walk, but I left before dinner because I was very tired, and slightly annoyed/hurt/sensitive to the fact that some of my newer friends here don't ask me how I am, or how my week went, or how I'm feeling about being here, or anything about myself. I have more of those conversations with strangers. I don't get it. Is everyone a narcissist? So many people are able to blab on and on about themselves, without being asked. Is that what I'm supposed to do? I don't assume anyone wants to know anything about me unless they ask. S. said, when I complained about this, she would never ask me a personal question in a group. I think I have to just do one on ones. I end up feeling so alienated in groups.
On Saturday morning I went to a big garage sale (that's what they call them here mostly) at a retirement community and found a very nice small table, unfinished wood, clean lines, for $15, and a modern chrome table lamp for $5. Still no bed, microwave, toaster, sofa, or dining set.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Photo of the Route 312 bridge taken from the Bridge of Lions on a rainy day.

Can't really get great radio stations here, but have discovered Pandora online and am listening to Glenn Gould play Bach.

The weather is finally cooling down. But I just tried to open my guest bedroom window where I am sleeping and there's no bloody screen!!! Ratz. Ah, the joys of owning an old house

Finished the landscape design class today. Now I have a better handle on what to plant, but the instructor suggested I wait a year to see what my yard does, what the sun does, before making any major plant purchases. I have planted my double apricot hibiscus and a gardenia and have a
coral vine waiting to be planted by the fence. None of them may survive the winter, at least not without some covering help, but then again they may. As part of the course, the instructor includes a free on-site home visit to give advice on what to plant. Best $30 I ever spent.
The agricultural center grounds where I took the design class has a community garden which I wandered about in today. Made me miss Edgerton very much, but at the same time it was interesting to see what people were doing with their plots. There was a beautiful circle garden, almost like a labyrinth, which quite pleased me. And someone else had constructed a bench with a bird house on a pole on one end and an umbrella at the other end. I've got to put in the ground the various bulbs I brought down from CT before they rot in the backyard. It has just been too hot to do much outside. Still trying to sift those darn rocks out of the front flower bed.

Photo of some local birds hanging around a borrow pit.

My rugs for the front screened porch arrived and I like them very much. I found some inexpensive shades I'm installing to keep the morning sun at bay, and purchased a standing fan on sale today as the porch ceiling is a bit too low to install a ceiling fan. Porch needs air circulation. Had my morning coffee sitting out there today for the first time.

Had a small fire yesterday when I put new lightbulbs into my stained glass cat-base lamp. The bulb popped when I screwed it in and then it burst into flames. All I could think to do was to pull out the cord from the socket and that did indeed stop the fire. So now have to have the darned thing rewired I guess.

Tomorrow I'm going very early to a community garage sale at Coquina Crossing, where some of my friends live. It's a suburb about ten miles out of town. You know how I love those events. Saturday there's a home and garden show at the ag center, and they'll be selling plants and hosting all types of vendors. Sunday it's over to S & J's for their weekly get-together and dinner and swim in the warm therapy pool if anyone wants. And of course Bindi will get to see her Corgi boyfriend Jasper.

Next week I'm going out to Palatka to visit Sandra Birnhak, which is interior Florida, but near the St. Johns River. She was hosting the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society table at the Florida Heritage Book Festival last weekend. What an interesting event that was, tables and tables of authors and books about the history of Florida, in all possible genres. I could have spent a lot of money, but I think I should unpack my own books first . . .

Slept thru this week's episode of "House." Would have had to have gone over to J & T's house anyway to watch it since I don't have a tv yet, but will make sure to catch it Monday night. Slept through a women's networking wine tasting event too this week, but that's ok, they do stuff all the time.

Got into a conversation at the hardware store today with a woman who said she was getting rid of the grass in her yard and letting it go back to its mostly wild state, and getting rid of the invasive plant species. She told me about the rattler and cotton mouth snakes in the area, and how they can kill small dogs with their bite. She advised me to get rid of the pile of brush that I have in the back yard of my house, as they like to hang out there, even tho the landscape design instructor advised keeping such piles for the snakes as they eat mice and other vermin. Oh the delicate balance of nature.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cherry Laurel and Algerian Ivy

Don't know if I can get myself to buy a $3500 Tempur-pedic bed. And that's just the mattress, not even a bed. Saw an Englander brand today for $900 on sale, foam and latex and an organic bamboo cover, whatever. Will go back and look at it again. Englander is a brand I had never heard of up north, but it has pretty good reviews online.

Looked at sofas again. Don't know how I will ever make a decision. Everything is so expensive new, and I get so overwhelmed by all the choices.

Had dinner with J & T, and some high spirited conflicting opinions after, but no loss. People down here are just more conservative.

Had an hour and 1/2 massage today. It was ok, but I'm so preoccupied by this furniture buying. What a drag. How can I make it more enjoyable? It should be exciting to get new things, but I can't find exactly what I want, so anything will be a compromise. I think that's the problem. Paying so much money for compromise. All the sofas are too low and the cushions not firm enough, and still we're talking $1000.

Planted a volunteer cherry laurel tree in the yard today. It was in a pot with a yucca, so I divided them and since the tree was already six feet tall I thought I might as well put it in the ground. Took some leaves to the landscape design class yesterday and the instructor said it can get big, but it flowers and produces a nice berry that the birds like, so that's reasons enough to try to salvage it. Also was told that Algerian ivy is a good ground cover down here for under shady trees, so got a couple of those plants.

Have ordered most of the materials needed for my watercolor class that will begin in a couple of weeks. Been ordering a bunch of stuff online cause it's less expensive..

Just finished reading "Wench," by Dolan Perkins-Valdez. It was a page-turner for me, a novel about 19th century slavery, and the friendships of the slave women, and their relationships to their owners. It just happened to be on the return shell when I signed up for my library card. Nothing fancy in the writing, yet a worthwhile read.

The Saint Augustine Gay Pride festival is tomorrow. I signed up to do registration for a couple of hours. Thought it would be a good way to meet folks. J. will be exhibiting some of his art. Also will stop by the Florida Heritage Book Festival to visit Sandra Birnhak, whom I met when I went to the Backus murals showing. She's in charge of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, and has produced the movie "The Yearling," from Rawlings book of the same name. Birnhak has invited me out to her farm which is a bit inland from here, but it sounds lovely. She has eight dogs. Also scheduled a haircut. And have to go back and look at that $900 mattress set. Sleeping on this futon is no good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Potato Capital of Florida

It's a ghost town, esp. on a Sunday afternoon. Two blocks long, burned out and neglected buildings. There's a cafe, closed, an antiques store, and the ubiquitous Dollar General, which was open, along with the Kangaroo gas island.

Behind the second from the left window in the above photo, you can just about see the a/c vents, is a small room, once a waiting area for the doctor and dentist, and on those walls are spectacular murals painted by the acclaimed Florida landscape artist A.E. Backus. The building was set for demolition, and upon examination of the interior, 50 years since the building had been occupied, these treasures were found five months ago. I would never have known about them except for the excellent P.R. by Sandra Birnhak, one of the curators of the find, and a long time movie producer. ("The Yearling" was one of her productions.) Sitting in the room with her and my friend ML, I felt a bit like I did when I went to Ellis Island in NYC -- there were spirits there, the room was bathed in history and a standing-still of time. The water damage to the walls and the original torn curtain on the window emitted memories of the likely hundreds of people who had sat in those chairs waiting for medical attention, bringing their energies into a space locked shut for decades.

These murals are considered to be some of his earliest work, and my photos don't do them justice. If you google AE Backus paintings, and click images, you'll see his beautiful art, along with that of the Highwaymen, a group of African American painters who studied with Backus, and sold their paintings for next to nothing along the A1A highway in Florida.
An attempt is being made to preserve this historical find, preferable intact as an entire room, but so far the right situation has not materialized. The curator wants Flagler College to take on the project, since it is the place closest to the town of Hastings where the paintings are surviving. Flagler says no. I even wrote a letter to the President of Flagler myself, and in no uncertain terms he made it clear they had no interest in this remarkable work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Non-Sulfite Organic Zinfandel

The first landscape design class yesterday left me with homework, and a great deal of knowledge about how to go about landscaping this property. Did you know landscaping, along with energy efficiency, are the two most important investments you can make in a home for later sale? I was warned not to just go out and buy pretty plants and try to landscape with them. Also, my soil is all sand so I will have to put tons of amendments in any place that I plant something. It was fun to find the University of Florida Agricultural Center and see what they are up to. There was a community garde on site!

Stopped at the new Publix supermarket near there on the way home, and got some things I needed. As usual, got into a conversation with the cashier and bag person about how I just moved here. The bagger offered to help me to my car with my parcels, but I declined as I didn't have much. He asked if there were bag boys in CT. I said yes but they never offer to help me to my car with the bags. He said, why not? I said, cause they're CT bag boys!!

Came home to find the AT&T guy hooking up my phone line and dsl. He was talking on his cell phone about some drama at work, and he later told me that a co-worker was threatening to do bodily harm to him but management wasn't doing anything about it. I didn't really wanna here it, but there you are. He got the connection working, left, and then I attempted to set up my modem and internet and wireless theatre. Well, of course I couldn't get it to work so called the AT&T support people, and was on the phone for 3 hours before they were able to get it to work. I was so frustrated and tired.

Too much for one day. Slept badly and woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Went to the pharmacy to get scripts refilled, then to Target to get some more things I needed. I was walking around Target in a daze, unable to remember what I went there for, and completely spaced out.

Came home, took a short nap with the critters and went to J & T's for dinner, and then nice conversation on their deck overlooking the San Sebastin river. Lovely.

One step at a time

Wrote this yesterday. Today I am exhausted.

16 Sept. 2010

8.05 am

The landscaping class I wanted to take was full when I called, but they said they would call me if there was a cancellation, and there was. I'll be doing that the next three Thursdays, and then the watercolor class.

Yesterday I went to the Women's Networking lunch at La Pavillon, which was kind of interesting and fun. There was the usual assortment of thin well-dressed blondes, real estate agents, metabolic weight loss distributors, fitness trainers, and a few normal women like myself, therapists, radio announcers, yoga teachers, dog trainers, wine shoppe owners. Everyone stood up and took one minute to introduce herself, and then we had lunch. I ordered the vegetarian option, and it was a beautiful plate of spinach, carrots, mushrooms, rice, brussels sprouts, green beans, mostly steamed. Very good. $8. Made a connection with a young woman who will be doing Thai massage, which is a combination of yoga stretches and massage. I've known about it for a long time, but think I will finally try it with her. I liked her energy.

Also stopped in Sofa Tucker's, (get it?) a furniture store, a small one, near the restaurant to begin my search for the perfect sectional sofa for my small living room. I realized that many sofa cushions are too squishy for me, and I want firmer cushions. They did have one nice piece, not a sectional, but I could get a matching love seat or chair and use a corner table although I didn't want to do that. Also in the neighborhood is the rare and used book store that JM works at, so I stopped in to see her for a bit. She seemed distracted by whatever was going on with the computer so I didn't stay.

Came back to the house and took my typical-these-days four hour nap. Two cats and a dog on the bed and being unconscious for a few hours seems to help keep me grounded during this transition. The weather has been cooler in the mornings and evenings, but still hot during the day. Tuesday night J & S called and we went to Saint Augustine Beach and I had my first dip in the 82 degree ocean water since I've been here. It was very nice. The breeze was cool after we got out and I realize I have to get myself to the beach more often when I'm hot. We didn't take the dogs, but they are allowed on the beach if on leash. You can also DRIVE and park on the beach in some places, for a fee. Weird. CT would never allow that . . .

Attended an auction at the Ponce de Leon Mall last night for a while. A lot of the stuff was crap, and it was definitely the other end of the spectrum of the Women's Networking crowd, but the auctioneers, both very young, were very very funny. And a young Asian woman was showing off her baby squirrel that she had rescued. She was just holding it in her hands, and the little thing was tiny, but lively and healthy. Quite sweet. In the office on the wall was this ginormous white moose head, not only the largest moose head I had ever seen, but white! There was as well a very large, very old long hair orange Persian cat sleeping on the counter, and I couldn't help but notice the similarity between the two. The only thing I wanted to bid on was a swing open pet gate, but it didn't come up for bidding before I got bored and tired and left.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conservati. . .

I'm sitting in Barnes & Noble in a chair in front of the Current Affairs shelves. Just some of the books with their covers facing out are Courage and Consequence (Karl Rove) second row, Conduct Unbecoming (Robert Patterson), top row, Right Now (Michael Steele) and Liberty and Tyranny (Mark Levin), Courting Disaster (Marc Thiessen) all third row, Catastrophe (Dick Morris & Eileen McGann) and Culture of Corruption (Michelle Malkin) fourth row. Oh, Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama) is on the very bottom shelf. I suppose I do have some kind of duty to put a few more liberal titles facing out, just for the sake of equality . . .

Just did some shopping for household needs at Marshall's and KMart. Man, do I hate shopping. It would be much easier with a buddy, but I can only shop spontneously when I feel I can stand it, so I have to grab the moment with no time to find someone to go with.

Yesterday I went to the Jacksonville branch of the Mayo Clinic where J. had an appointment. Figure I may be seeing doctors there one of these days, so going with her gave me a chance to see where it was. I sat in the cafe while she went to her appt. and on the way back we stopped at Fresh Market, a kind of sort of natural foods market about 1/2 hour from Saint Augustine. It's hard to get good produce in the local supermarkets here, unlike CT. The farmer's markets have good greens, but no fruit. It's a little early for the citrus crop, and past peaches and strawberries. I will surely miss the variety of fresh apples available up north. Fresh Market was decent, but they didn't carry soy cheese or non sulfite wine. We stopped at Villano Beach for a bit, and I got my feet wet in the 84 degree ocean water for the first time. J. and I talked about trying to set up some kind of exercise schedule together. I hope that works out.

My plumbing problem turns out to be just an uncapped vent pipe under the house releasing foul smells. The guy will order the part and come back next week to install it. Should be about $150. Glad it wasn't anything worse.

Saw a notice in the paper that the school district needs volunteers to read to kindergartner's (sp)so will follow up on that. I think I would find that most enjoyable. There's also a three week landscaping class which starts this Thusday at the ag center, and if you attend all three classes they apparently will come out to your house and give you a free landscape assessment.

Sunday JG came over and fixed by back door screen so it would shut. Said he didn't want the job of renovating my studio out back, so will get the nice carport moving guy to do it. Later went to S & J's for dinner, seafood gumbo and salad, and we watched "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. It was entertaining, but not well acted, although I think kids would like it a lot.

Been sleeping a lot still. About ready to go home for my afternoon nap.
Photos from around town: a pink vine I must have but don't know what it is; a very good example of xeroscape; a sign in a window at night; guess?