Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pretty Bird

"A newly hatched tricolored heron waits for its siblings to break out of their baby blue shells as a parent keeps a close eye on their nest. The first birds arrived in February and, although May is usually the busiest month, eggs will continue to hatch through the middle of July. Photo by DARON DEAN,"

"Royal Pains." Never have watched that show before, but have been feeling yucky all day and they were having a "marathon." It's totally mediocre, but the houses of the Hamptons are impressive.

An exhausting day yesterday. Got up early, got to the pool by 8.45, swam for a while, came back for a 10am counseling session by phone with a CT client, went to the chiropractor at 12.30, then to get some blood drawn around 1.30 at Flagler Hospital, then to the 7th floor of the hospital to visit my 90 year old friend Gwen who was admitted for a few days. Had a nice chat with her caretaker C., stroked Gwen's forehead for a while as she was sleeping restlessly. S. came in, one of the docs came in and told a funny joke, then S. and I went down to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. I made bad choices: potato cheddar bacon soup, and pecan pie. The soup had a nice taste, but I don't know what the heck was in it or the really bad pie, cause I came home and crashed, and have slept all day. Was supposed to go to another free Cathedral Basilica concert last night, but just couldn't get myself to outside again. Rob the Magnificent was supposed to come over today to do some work, but I called him to cancel. P. came over around 5pm to do some more grass removal, and I sat outside with him for a while and drank Emergen-C. Now I'm getting ready to go to bed again.

Being on the 7th floor of the hospital afforded a gorgeous view of the marsh, as well as the thunderclouds and lightning. Lightning is a big deal here, and people take cover when it starts. The hospital is clearly short staffed, so need to remember that if I ever end up there. It's got a pretty good reputation, but really, it's all the luck of the draw with these places.

I think I just did too much yesterday. Hope to feel better tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Home ownership is not easy. Especially when an old house is involved. Gotta hire lawn guy, electrician, handyman, pest control (termites, Palmetto bugs, mice in the attic, tent and gas the house.) It's exhausting.

Can't use the studio yet as first it was turned into a nursery, and now the electrician says the fuse box needs to be updated as the old one is dangerous, so can't turn on the ac in there. And it's too hot to be out there without cooling.


Just got up from a long nap. Awoke at 7.30, ate some grapes and had a cup of coffee and then went back to bed. I used to have days when I would do nothing but sleep, my "crash" days, but have not had very many in the past year since I arrived in StA. I cannot really nap if someone is coming over to check this or that, fix something, make a delivery. I have to have an almost empty day to do it. Today I have a therapy-via-phone session, and then take Camilla for a follow-up check for her tail wound and her test results.

It's too hot to work outside. A bit of rain is predicted, but I don't think it's going to happen. And they tell me it's only going to get worse. The camp kids have taken over the public pool, and it's too hot to be at the beach except for early morn and late afternoon. There's tons of stuff I can do inside, but I don't like feeling trapped by climate crisis.

Hydrochlorothiazide. The new high blood pressure drug I am taking, 12.5mg once a day. I think it has decreased my appetite, which is a good thing. It also helps retain calcium in the body but can deplete potassium. It's supposed to be "the water pill," a diuretic, but I'm not peeing any more frequently. I'm still a chemical soup. Can't be good.

From the local paper: "Gulf's Biggest Dead Zone Ever Predicted." "New Orleans -- Scientists predict this year's 'dead zone' of low-oxygen water in the northern Gulf of Mexico will be the largest in history -- about the size of Lake Erie -- because of more runoff from the flooded Mississippi River valley." And from my state's governor: "Scott Kills Grown Agency. To be replaced by developer-friendly department. After 42 years, the Dept. of Community Affairs, which is charged with monitoring housing and commercial development in Florida, will cease to exist." It will be merged with "several other agencies" to be called The Dept. of Economic Opportunity. Scott's approval rating is below 30%.

Yesterday I got a second opinion from a pest control company, and will get a third. I worked with the lawn guy for a while. We are removing the grass around my new plantings so that I can put down landscape fabric and then mulch to reduce the need for watering. Almost everything I've planted is doing alright, except it needs constant watering and fertilizing in this weather. A good deal of cash is going into this gardening project.

Spoke with M. from CT yesterday and R. from Oakland, too. So nice to chat with them. R. and F. may come visit in August, with a side trip to Universal Studios.

Spot and Solomon have been adopted to what I was assured are good families. They had to be split up but they are so well socialized that I don't think that will be a problem. I have kept Calhoun, and it turns out Misty is the one who has the most trouble with him, hissing and growling when he walks by her. He's a rambunctious little guy, likes to eat the big cat food, but is very good with using the litter box and scratching post. I also have been cutting his nails since early on and that helps. Those little claws are like needles!


Sky is dark; waiting for the rain. Went to the vet with Camilla. She needs a dental cleaning and a couple of teeth pulled. Has cataracts. Otherwise she's doing pretty well. Trying to switch the big cats over to wet food from dry. Vet says they should only eat wet food, and dry kibble was developed during WW II when there wasn't enough food for pets. The government wanted to euthanize all pets "for the war effort," but a guy named Morris said, don't do that, I'll come up with something. And what he came up with was dry kibble made mostly from grain. She said it's why a lot of cats get fat, because cats are carnivores and cannot use all that grain properly. So I just opened a can of rabbit and green pea wet food for Camilla and Misty and so far they won't touch it. The other issue is Camilla's tendency towards diarrhea, so have to be careful what I feed her.

Stopped at the Urban Back 40 Cafe and got a salad to go. Yum.

7.55am Friday

We had about a 20 minute "gully washer" yesterday. We need about ten of those.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Finally, a longish thunderstorm yesterday. We could use about 10 of those. My first summer in Florida -- drought, wildfires blowing smoke all around the state, and temps daily in the 90s.

It's hard to read the newspaper here. The conservative state and local governments are eroding away in the worst possible manner any assistance to the environment, education, health care, small business. Policies and laws get passed here with no public scrutiny, and often with outright corruption.

The good news is that I have great friends here, and friendliness is everywhere. For instance, I locked myself out of my house yesterday, and my friend T., with IBS and COPD, dragged out his ladder, put it in his truck, and was able to climb through a porch window to open the locked door from the inside. When he leaves he gives me a big hug and kiss and tells me he loves me. (On the other hand, his partner told me to call a locksmith! Ha!)

But in a store recently I was trying to reach something on a high top shelf and couldn't get it. I found a ladder in the store and was about to begin climbing it when a customer came over and said, "You have that look on your face like you need some help." So I asked him to hold the ladder for me. A few minutes later, my hands were full with not only the flower pot from the top shelf, but ten rolls of landscaping fabric. I was struggling. (Didn't think to get a cart.) This same customer went to get a stockboy and asked him to "Help this woman, then when you are finished you can come help me in furniture." A stranger had my back.

Forgot to take my meds when I left the house yesterday morning for a doctor's appt. and when she sat down to talk with me about recent lab results, I just burst into tears. It wasn't anything terribly specific, although some of it had to do with animals and abuse, and she told me the story of how she ended up with 7 cats and two dogs. That made me laugh. She put me on a diuretic for slightly high blood pressure. Most of my lab tests that came back "high" or "low" were borderline and not of too much concern, but the extra weight I am carrying is an issue.

I take the kittens today back to Petco to go on display for adoption. I will only take Spot and Solomon as I am now considering keeping Calhoun. I recently learned that Camilla may have the beginnings of kidney failure. She is 16 and won't be with me that much longer. I've gotten way too attached to the foster kittenz and if Camilla can tolerate Calhoun, I will keep him. It makes me sad to think of them all leaving me, since I've had them since they were 10 days old. I've lived with three cats before, so it's not a new arrangement. Camilla is so sensitive, however, that I don't want her to feel displaced and hence act out her litter box issues.

Last week when I took the kittenz to Petco, there was a volunteer from another pet rescue organization who was abusing women who expressed concern over the dogs they had up for adoption being outside in the heat and the smoke. This guy lit into several of us with the most vile insults and language, and the other two volunteers did nothing to stop him. Two of us complained to the store manager, another called the sheriff, and I called the Humane Society, which sponsored the guys, with my complaint. I was assured they would not return to Petco again, and that particular volunteer would be kept at the facility and not allowed to interact with the public again. It was very upsetting for all of us.

One day this week, T. and I drove out to Green Cove Springs, a new town for me. It is an old Florida town that has fallen on hard times, but right in the center of the place is an open artesian spring, that flows into a swimming pool, then out to the St. John's River. I'd love to go swimming in that pool one of these days. We then tried to go to two plant nursesries, but as soon as we got out of the car the smoke was so bad, we both knew we couldn't breathe, so just drove around lusting after things we wanted in the relative respiratory safety of the air conditioned truck cabin. On our way back to Saint Augustine, we drove down an overgrown dirt road that T. said used to be the site of an African American college here. We detected some stone wall, and concrete slab foundation, but nothing else to indicate anything was there. All in all, it was a fun adventure.

Thursday afternoon I took a two hour class on Florida NE native plants at the local University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension center out on Route 16. I learned a great deal about invasive plants, and how to grow a native plant garden instead of trying to get "exotics" to grow. The drought is so bad, that watering anything non native is not considered sustainable.

Camilla was missing in action for two days, and came back with a puncture wound in her tail. It is healing well, after having some necrotic tissue removed and being given a shot of an antibiotic that is supposed to work for two weeks. Misty got caught out in the thunderstorm yesterday and probably hid under the house, but came back wet anyway. Bindi is well.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Birth Day

My mission for today was to find a flowering maple plant (abutilon) for my friend T., whose 51st birthday was today. Had been looking at various garden centers and nurseries with no luck, so got on the phone first thing. The first place I called, Holly's Nursery, in north Saint Augustine, had one left, so had her hold it for me. Drove out there, got the plant, petted her dog's tummy, got some ground cover jasmin for shade. Stopped at a thrift shop on the way home and bought two good cotton pillowcases, and an unusual manatee vase/mug.

The morning glory and fountain photos are from Southern Horticulture, my favorite nursery around here. I want the fountain. But. $500.

Came home, made contact with a counseling client in CT to try to set up an appt. Watched some "House" reruns, then got ready to go to T's birthday dinner. I was uncomfortable at the gathering, as a person I no longer want to be friends with and who blatantly ignores me was there. Serious discussion after she left about the dynamics. T. and J. are always complaining to me about her, so why do they still hang out with her?

Just fed the kittens, watched them run around and rumpus with one another and all objects in the studio. Will be hard to let them go. But. The only constant is change.

Called S. Made date to go to the pool tomorrow. Might go to a women's art festival in town in the morning, but probably not. Don't want to spend any more money, and feel just too busy.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Just a Day

Fed the kittens, now eating solid food.
Dropped Bindi off at S's, talked with J. and met her mom.
Robert the Magnificent gave me a big hug and grin. He's working for S. now, too.
Drove to Palatka and picked up my painting that was in the student exhibit at the Larimer. Stopped at Farmboy for produce and strawberry rhubarb jam and mango jam.
Saw a new exhibit of excellent photography.
Went to the Art Shoppe and got more brushes in a nice canvas case. The owner had fabulous bling to sell as well.
Ate lunch at City Cafe, all retro 50s, ate field peas, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and a roll.
Picked up Bindi, who had gotten in a fight with Jasper over a treat. Jasper started it.
Went to the chiropractor. Stopped by the new used furniture store next door and bought an iron mandala to hang on my studio outside. Stopped at home depot to look for a flowering maple plant. No luck. Stopped at Pet Paradise, a boarding/grooming facility for cats and dogs, which has a bone shaped swimming pool for the dogs! Left a kitten flier there and met a taupe colored dachshund named Brinkly. Went to an art exhibit at Haven Hospice. Explained my views on art and creativity to M, who was most appreciative. Convinced the girl gang to go out to eat at the Urban Back 40Cafe, which they loved.
Came home, fed the kittens, drank a vodka tonic, now off to bed and finish Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood.