Friday, November 30, 2012

A Day in the Life



Saw the heart doc this morning.  My cholesterol number is way down after starting the medication.  My blood pressure was way up since I took myself off the blood pressure med on Monday.  It was making me cough, and making me dizzy.  He prescribed something else.  When I described  my dizziness he said he did not think it was from the blood pressure meds, but possibly an allergy, an inner ear something.  I see my ENT in a couple of weeks, and depending on what he says, I'll go see an allergist.  I'm still very phlegmy, and am sure I have develped some allergies I've never had before.

Went to the Gallery Cafe for breakfast afterwards.  It's such a comfortable place, with good food.  But the coffee is bad.  Still I like it, and one of the owners, Russell Kuecker, is a good artist.  Hence the name.

Then a stop at Home Depot to pick up some organic potting soil.  A young man helped me load it into my car.  He was clearly running around like crazy, very busy, and I had to wait a few minutes for his help.  I asked him how much he made working there.  He said, $7.60 an hour. Disgraceful.  He was glad to have a job, and we agreed on the need for more education -- best in the computer or health care fields -- and I gave him a tip.  He was very very appreciative.  I tip big down here in Florida.  The job situation is so bad, really awful.

Off to Target to get a rebate on stuff I purchased yesterday.  Had the wrong coupon yesterday; found the right one today, and they retroactively gave me the discount.  8 bucks.  But hey, 8 dollars is 8 dollars.  Paid for a bag of potting soil.

Another stop at Staples to get a lapdesk.  They didn't have it, so came home and ordered it online.

Next to Anastasia Cat Clinic to get FrontlinePlus for Camilla.  She is allergic to Revolution.  They didn't have the Royal Canin hypoallergenic food she eats, so had to go to St. John's Vet Clinic pet shop to get it.  Saw they have a $19 a day "playcare" for doggies.  Good to know if I have to be off somewhere for the day; Bindi would love it.

On the way home stopped at a yard sale and bought a couple of sweet little things.  Another yard sale in the neighborhood resulted in me sitting on a milk crate going thru 30+ year old needlework magazines.  They were playing vinyl lps on an old turntable, country music stuff, and I found I was remembering all the words!  Tennessee Ernie Ford!  "Sixteen tons, and whataya get?  Another day older and deeper in debt."
Listened to the complaint by another yard sale customer about how people steal the pecans that fall from her tree.  And advised the yard sale producer on what to do with the pristine still in the box porcelain dolls that she inherited from her grandmother.  Craig's List, hello!  She has a gorgeous small hutch for $75, but I have nowhere to put it.  Ack.

Dumped the therapist I had started seeing.  Yesterday's session was the second time, and she just doesn't have much of a clue.  That's the second one I've tried down here.  This place is DESPERATE for another LGBT therapist.  There is only one out open/out LGBT counselor here, and since I run into her in social situations, I don't want to become her client.  I think I need to hang out my shingle again.  I did have business cards made already.  Personal Growth Consultant.  On the plus side, I became even more clear that I need to spend half the year in California.  Making it happen is as yet unclear to me.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon




Went to our beautiful senior center today to hear David Nolan, city historian extraordinaire, talk about his adventures since the 1970s discovering the history of Saint Augustine, and his frequently futile attempts to preserve parts of the city that were ultimately demolished.  90% of the original historic buildings of Saint Augustine have been destroyed.  And now the government is covering the historic coquina sea wall with modern concrete slabs.    He said it hurts him every time he drives by the construction site.



He's a great speaker, and so passionate about his life's calling


Went for a late breakfast at Athena's, only to realize I had forgotten my wallet at home.  But I had 20 bucks stashed in my car, so was able to cover the bill.

Turns out the cough I have and the dizziness is from the high blood pressure meds I am taking.  Benazopril.  Finally read the side effects.  My internist has just been filling me with antibiotics, ordered a chest xray, and wanted me to take steroids, and threatened to put me on iv antibiotics;  she didn't even look at my list of meds or suggest that the cough could be from the blood pressure med.  Crap.  I see the heart doctor on Friday, who prescribed this drug, and I will ask him to change it.  Stopped taking it on Monday.


Went to a lovely arts & crafts festival in town last Saturday.  Such good good art.  The man who paints marshes had delicious work, and was such a nice guy.  Saw my first "tuxedo" standard poodle, named Newman.  He was a grand dog.  And of course, one of my favorite t-shirts:  make art not war.



Ack, Google chrome is frustrating me.  Maybe my computer is too old to optimize its benefits.  Like uploading these photos to my blog. Why are they so small?!

Helped my friend Julia assemble an outdoor propane fueled heater, to put beside their inground pool.  The pool water itself is heated, but the air temp is often too cold now for her, hence the heater.  We got it together, but it wouldn't light.  Haven't heard still if she got it to work.

My bro T. came over and helped me clean my front porch.  It is so nice now, but have to repair the fountain before it will work again.  Hung the hand carved wood cattle head.  Awesome.

CamillaCat is doing much better about using the litter box.  Kitten is wrestling with her right now in the cat bed they often share.  Love my four pawed children.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Anti- antibiotics



Uck.  Went to the doc for a followup today.  I like her, but all she does is prescribe antibiotics.  Still have a cough and phlegm.  She said my lungs did not sound good, so sent me for a chest xray. And a new prescription for antibiotics, which don't seem to be working.  And maybe some steroids, I haven't picked up the scripts yet.    She said, "this is my last try.  You may need to go on IV antibiotics."  What?!??!  I've got to find some naturopathic/homeopathic/alternative medicine doc.  I did ask her to recommend an allergist.  I need to find out what I am allergic to, what is causing this respiratory distress that I had last winter, and seem to be developing this winter.  It's not unusal for folks to develop allergies when they move from one region to another.  And in Florida the blooming season is all year long; there's always something exuding pollen.  In the Northeast US,  the winters would freeze long enough to put every flora and fauna into domancy.  Not here.  Pffffttttt.

Went to lunch at Theo's.  Came home, took a bit of a nap, then went to the new Starving Artist gallery where my bros Tom and Jim have their paintings and glasswork.  It's a lovely gallery with work by local artists.

Saw a new therapist yesterday.  I seem to be a "lifer," someone who needs the therapeutic relationship with a counselor to get through.  I've just been struggling so much lately.  This new woman was slightly annoying, but she does EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing, and hypnotherapy.)  Somehow, in our first meeting, she asked me how she came across to me.  Then she said "I've never asked that of any client."  Are you kidding me??  She also had a very limp handshake.  And when she walked, she seemed to be in pain.  She wore shoes that were pointed and had a heel.  They were clearly uncomfortable to her.  She also assumed that everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner I was invited to would be gay; even tho that is not the case.  She said in an overly-chirpy excited way, Maybe your friends will invite someone you will connect with, or some such. Cause I had told  her I was lonely for intimacy (altho not necessarily sexual.) I found that terribly presumptuous.  She was clearly not comfortable in her own body, even though she claims to be an "expert" in PTSD.  I'll see her a few times and see where it goes;  at least Medicare pays for it/her.  She was not my first choice.  I think she even called me "sweetheart," when we first met.  That's kind of inappropriate, don't  u think?

Am reading "Life Interrupted," by Spauling Gray.  Are any of you familiar with his work?  The most famous is likely "Swimming to Cambodia," about the filming of the movie "The Killing Fields."  Brilliant.  I have always adored his work, felt very connected to his perceptions.  He killed himself in 2002, I think.  Jumped off the Staten Island ferry and drowned.  Had a history of depression, and survived a horrific automobile accident in Ireland which compromised his physical and mental abilities.  I've always thought that folks who commit suicide are deeply courageous.

Saturday, November 17

Went to The Present Moment for dinner last night and had the most delicious "raw" vegan lasagna.  The texture was not exactly great, but the flavor was so so good.  With arugula salad.  Raw isn't exactly raw raw, but they do not cook anything above 160 degrees.  Yummy food.  I heard a rumor that they weren't doing that well.  I will be so upset if they have to close.

This morning I took Bindi to the Wags & Whiskers dog wash/nail clipping at their facility.  It's a rescue organization that does amazing work with cats and dogs, and they recently moved into a building after years of relying on volunteers to house the animals until adoption.  I was so disappointed to find that the place was dirty and smelled strongly of shit.  I could barely stay inside.  There were no windows open, the air conditioning was not working, and I didn't want to sit on nor touch anything in the lobby.  I asked a volunteer if she could open some windows cause it was hot inside and smelled badly.  When I went outside the woman who does the nail clipping asked me to send an email to W & W about my experience.  She said she had been telling "them" that the smell was unacceptable but to no avail.  I did that.  I told them I wanted to volunteer but could not in a place that was gross.  I said it nicely, tho.  I did say that I would like to continue to foster kittens and puppies, once in a while.

Bindi was not dried well, so I put her in the car, put on her t-shirt, and left her there to dry and warm up while I attended the Flagler College staff/student/faculty arts and crafts sale.  Wow.  What talent.  I had such a good time, and bought a couple of inexpensive but so interesting things.  When I got back to the car, Bindi was shivering and still damp, so we began our drive home.  Stopped at 233 King Street gallery on the way back because they are only open on the weekends, and saw some more really great art and had a good talk with one of the co-owners.

As I write this, I'm figuring out how to upload photos from my phone to my PC via Google +.  I'm so proud of myself for plugging through this.

But, alas, this uploading of photos is not going well, so will post without.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

November



Such a lovely morning at the beach with J.  We managed to get into the water a bit even tho the water was cold.  It was just so nice sitting in the sun.  I so love the winters here in the south.  Stopped at Home Depot and Target on the way home; much nicer doing errands with friends.

Bindi and I went to Daytona yesterday to visit some friends.  O. had not met Bindi before and of course wanted a dog just like her.  She wins everyone's hearts with her affection and good behavior.  We walked down the boardwalk at Daytona Beach, actually a "cement" walk now, and the smiles on the faces of people noticing Bindi were such a treat.  One woman just stopped and immediately started petting her without asking, then apologized.  She had had a chi/beagle mix and clearly recognized her own pup in Bindi.  I love my dog.  Still disappointed in my sister for not accommodating her.

Been ailing all week with a sinus infection;  started off with a nagging cough I could not control with Robitussin, or tea with honey and lemon, or cough drops.  S. suggested Nyquil and that did the trick.  Went to the doc who put me on antibiotics again.  Hope that will stave off the bronchitis that I got 3-4 times last winter.  Never had these problems in CT.  Apparently, it's not uncommon for people in the north who move here to get these conditions.  Different flora, and a continuous growing season.  Had to blow off art class, and reading to the kids this week.  Must remember to get Scooby Doo books for Desmond, who requested same.

Watching "Animall Odd Couples."  Cross-species relationships.  Deer and dog.  Coyote and lion.  Blind horse and goat.  If you don't know Temple Grandin, you should.  Brilliant professor of animal emotions.  Bindi and Calhoun were such playmates, until Calhoun made friends with Pickels, the cat next door.

I am glad Obama was reelected.  Romney would have been too cold and harsh.  Defund PBS and Planned Parenthood?  No, absolutely not.  Obama understands the hierarchy of capitalism, the reality that the rich need the poor to be rich.  He's not perfect, by any calculation.  We need more than two candidates.  But I think the country realized that fixing what's wrong will take a long time. Even Romney could not have fixed it easily.  And, in any case, Obama supports the rights of LGBT people and women.  That alone was enough to vote for him.  And FL finally decided that Obama had won.  Oh Florida . . .

Did I tell you I found a wedding gown for $5?  I had this idea to dress as Emma from "Corpse Bride" for Halloween, but did not get invited to a costume party.  But I have the dress.  I've always had a fascination with wedding gowns, for their extravagance, elegance, theatricality, romance.  I am deeply romantic in feeling, while being profoundly cynical in reality.  I so want a witness to my life, but am not at all confident about finding same.

********************

Amusing exchange with my psychiatrist last week:

Me:  I have no intimacy.  Not sexual, just someone to share with.  I have no energy, no motivation; I'm not suicidal.  I just don't care.

Shrink:  Energy and apathy.

Pause . . .

Me:  Ebony and ivory.

Shrink:  All I can think of is "you're depraved on account of  you're deprived."

Me:  That's fucking true!!

Shrink:  We need Officer Krupke.

Me:  I want you to be my therapist.

Shrink:  All we would do is tell jokes!  But perhaps that would be just right . . .

*****************************

I'm like those babies who die for lack of love and touch.

*********************************



Seed pod on a palm at J and T's garden.




A lunch of beans and rice and wine at Urban Back 40 Cafe, in my neighborhood.  So yummy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Repeat Myself

"Do I repeat myself?  Very well then, I repeat myself."  -- Walt Whitman

Many believe he was probably gay.  But the point is, if I have repeated myself in previous posts, deal with it.  Who the hell can remember what she did yesterday?!

Camilla, my 18 year old cat, who has had a years-long condition that compels her to poop outside the box, has been pooing inside the box for the past couple of days.  I can only attribute it to my own experience of having had a pretty good week.  An animal communicator said that Camilla picks up on my negativity.  If that is true, then she is reacting to my feeling more positively about things.

Dropped by to see S, J, and E today, after my massage.  E. is 87 years old or so, and I always give her a long hug when I see her.  She just melts into my arms, and says she could purr.  I think she cries a bit, as her eyes were moist after today's hug.  It is so important to be touched.  And the older one gets, it seems the less we get touched. Uck. Should be the other way around.  We know that infants die without touch.


Look at these two.  Kitten, aka Calhoun, was outside all last night as he didn't come in by the time I went to bed.  So I kept him inside today to rest.  I don't like leaving my cats out all night.  I sleep better when I know all three are safely inside, including the dog.  Calhoun and Kitten have been close since the beginning, and I love to see them snuggle.

My massage therapist gave me two long hugs today as well.  She is not afraid to hug closely.  So many people are.  Why hug if it is not body meshing into body?  It is all about connection, after all.  I've always thought, that if everyone could get a shoulder rub (or hug) every morning, there would be no war.  Tension is the universal enemy.

J. stopped by to say hello.  Haven't seen her for a long time.  Must get down to Daytona to see her and her partner.  She likes Bindi, and Kitten.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Art Class Redux


If I don't write something every night, it slips away.

At art class today, it became apparent that I was surrounded by Republicans.  I said outloud, "Am I the only Democrat here?"  One vague response.  I guess I was/am.  Oy.  I kept my mouth shut.  I like these people, but it was already clear to me long before this that I wouldn't become close friends with any of them.  I'm there to learn the art and craft of oil painting, and if we put religion, sex, and politics on the sideboard, I'll be able to learn my lessons.

The weather is glorious again.  Cool in the mornings and evenings, and warm during the day, no humidity.  Perfect weather.  If only it could be year-round.  So many flowers are in bloom in my yard:  poinciana, coral vine, fire spike, thyrallis, plumbago, rose, datura, hibiscus.  Ocean temp is still 80 degrees F.




Well, it's official.  I have metabolic syndrome:  diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  Was put on yet another drug for the cholesterol.  I'm just slightly over normal for all three conditions, but still.  Doc said this was the "Bermuda triangle" of health risks.  I guess I could croak at any time of a stroke or heart attack.  The worst would be to survive a stroke.  He didn't comment on my weight, but stressed the absolute importance of exercise.  I don't know if I will be able to do it.  I might die young-ish.

Misty has to have some dental work on Friday.  Been giving her antibiotics for the past week in prep for whatever they will do.  I've been remiss on flea/tick meds for all the critters; must take care of that tomorrow.

Made plans to go see the munchkins in December.  Miss those guys.  Got a very inexpensive fare for the off-holiday dates, even though it might not be best for their family schedule.  Airfares have increased, and the whole process of travelling has become a pain.  Hopefully travelling not at high peak will make the trip easier.

I've made some headway on throwing away "paper."  You know, those sheets of hardcopy information that somehow pile up all over the place.  T. has been working on the yard and it looks so nice; my collection of plants is impressive.  The fig tree, given to me a few months ago by my neighbor, an offshoot of her big tree, is replanted in the ground and doing oh so well.  Want to get some dwarf citrus trees for the spring.

Had an idea to rent a small place on the beach for a month next summer.  Although it would still be hot, being by the beach is much cooler.  A stay-cation.  Still want to get my butt out to California again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Art Class



Today was the first oil painting class since my instructor returned from cooler climes up north.  I had forgotten to bring a canvas, so borrowed a piece of masonite board, primed, from a sister student.  I had never painted on masonite, and what a difference.  The paint glided on much more easily, so now I will make a trip to Home Depot, purchase a sheet of masonite and have them cut it up into 18 x 24 boards.

It was quite fun to be at the class today; someone had brought cheese, crackers, wine, and yummy muffins, and I felt I painted well.  We're working on a Florida landscape, with water, trees, sky, birds.  The weather has broken yet again after a couple of weeks of high humidity and heat, so I may be able to paint on the front porch.  I still cannot get myself to paint in my studio out back.

Bindi came with, and everyone likes her so much.  She is generally considered to be a very well behaved dog, and she got quite a few treats from the refreshments table, and many pets from the dog lovers.  Patrick, the instructor, even gave her a bit of egg from his sandwich.  He has a dog named Dirk.

Took all three cats to the cat vet yesterday, for a grand total fee of over $500.  Camilla, 18, and Misty, 14, both had good blood test reports, and the baby, Calhoun, got updates on his vaccinations.  He was quite tired after we returned, so kept him inside the rest of the day.  Turns out the black "mold" under his chin is in fact feline acne, probably caused by his suckling on polyester fleece blankets.  So I will have to ditch the polyester, and try to find some other kind of nappy fabric of cotton that he can suckle on.  Doc gave me some aloe to treat the mess under his chin.  Misty has lost several teeth, and needs some dental work, but otherwise fine.  We are doing a titer to establish Camilla's antibody status; she may not need any more vaccines.  Vet said she and the staff are talking about how best to use me as a volunteer.

Went to the thrift store next door, and bought two very tall, narrow vintage windows with bevelled glass that I've had my eye on for several weeks.  I paid a bit more than I wanted, but much less than they were marked.  Don't know what I will do with them, but just wanted them.

Have had a couple of really wonderful swims in the ocean recently.  The sea temp is still 82 degrees F. and so clean and clear, much more so than in the height of the summer.  I'm still having a very hard time with the heat and humidity; it depresses me.  But when I can get myself to the beach, it is a relief.  Salt water cures every ailment.

J, R, and I went to a regional theater performance of "Big River," the adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a musical at the Limelight Theater in town.  It was a terribly uneven performance, but some of the actors, some of the music/singing, and some of the staging was delightful.  It was good to go out and do something different.  R. said she had done quite a bit of acting herself years ago;  as had I.  I could tell she still craves it.  As do I.  I may see if the Limelight needs some volunteers.

I still have not filed my 2011 taxes.  I know I frustrate my accountant.  I am just so disorganized with my paperwork that I can't keep accurate track of my expenses.  I can only estimate.  Uck.  Instead of getting better, it seems to get worse each year.  Any ideas on how to keep track of everything?  The only thing I can think of is to keep a daily log of what I spend; that seems like so much work.  The administrative work of living is something I have no interest in.  I barely can pay my bills on time. 

See the heart doc on Friday.  I have been diagnosed with "thickening" of the heart wall.  So many of my physical conditions could be alleviated by losing weight, but for someone who hates exercise, that is a tall order.  I eat pretty well, have conquered my sugar addiction, but, alas, the damage has been done.  Without exercise, diet will not alone solve the problem.

Have had nightmares the past two nights.  Last night, I was supposed to meet a ship for a trip to Africa, but I lost my luggage, and when I hired a cabbie to take me to the ship terminal, he lost my carry on, and I had no passport, wallet, or anything that I needed.  I think I decided to just bag the trip.  Or it was decided for me.

Want to see "Frankenweenie" by Tim Burton.  About a dog of course.  Am looking for a wedding gown for a Halloween costume.


Friday, October 05, 2012

Ironwork

Got up early and went to the Coquina Crossing tag/yard/garage sale.  For a relatively upscale gated community, there sure was a lot of crap.  I think people are hanging onto stuff and giving away things that are just in the worst shape.  I was kind of disgusted.  I bought nothing even tho there was so much.  The only thing I might have wanted, a piece of carpet for my art studio, was sold by the time I circled back to it.  Lesson:  hang onto what interests you even if you aren't sure you want it.

Dropped by a couple of other yard sales.  Bought some lovely wrought iron decorative items that can be installed outside.  Had a nice conversation with the woman hosting the sale.  At another sale, I bought a blanket for Kitten (aka Calhoun) as he likes to suckle still on fleece material, and a possibly vintage "travel" washboard.  At least that's what it said on the thing:  fits into your luggage.  The joints on the wood appeared to be quite old.

I was driving out by the Saint Johns River, on Route 13, and came upon Maggie's Herb Farm.  Maggie retired several years ago, but Dora was there.  I bought a curry plant for a friend, lemongrass, and an indigo plant, the last one she had.  Also some worm castings fertilizer and fish fertilizer.  Everything they have is organic, and they have almost everything.  I resisted walking around because I would buy more.  But what a lovely place.  The photo is an inlet from the St. Johns.  I love the deteriorating chair that was there.



I was starving so stopped on the way home at the 3rd Street Diner.  Had never been there before, but was craving blueberry pancakes.  When they arrived, I took one bite and knew I could not continue.  The pancakes were dense and chewy and had an odd bitter cornmeal taste.  I sent them back and got a small Greek salad, which was fine.

Tomorrow night, going to a regional theater performance with J. and R.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Continue



Went for a wonderful massage this morning with the excellent Jennifer Jacobsen.  I was so tired afterward.   But being single, a girl needs to be touched, and massage is such a good way to get the starved skin what it wants.  I hope to be able to get myself to her Thursday night yoga class.

 Took myself out to eat for lunch at a place I had passed a few times and was curious about.  RIPE, its name, using organic, local, and sustainable foods.  I ordered the fish tacos, which were as far from any taco I've ever eaten, but in a good way.  Arugula, peppers, cucumber, onions, local caught fish, served not on a taco shell but on freshly made crepes!  Very nice, with a side of yummy slaw.  What was also really great about RIPE is their lounge, small, but with comfy sofas, a fake fireplace, and an honor system lending library.

I drove down to the beach with the notion of going for a quick swim, but the clouds were pouring in and it appeared too wavy.  I didn't see anyone in the surf, so I headed back into town towards home.  I stopped at the Democratic headquarters, picked up an Obama/Biden yard sign, and signed up to volunteer.  I decided to stop at the pool for a quick dip since it wasn't raining yet.  I didn't have my goggles, so just jogged in the water a while.  Felt so nice.

Finally home, I was bushed so got into bed with the critters and tranced out for a while.  Tried to watch the presidential debate, but got immediately bored.  It doesn't matter what they say, because whomever is elected will have to deal with the legislature and many advisors telling them what to do; whatever they promise may not be possible, given the compromises that inevitably have to be made.

Bought a eucalyptus tree at the hardware store on sale.  I so like that scent.  Also found my stash of garden seeds after looking for two weeks.  Will still try to get some lettuce, beets, carrots, kale, into the garden, although it is late.  But the root veggies will be fine, even if we get a freeze in December.  So many beautiful flowers are in bloom in my yard:



Monday, September 17, 2012

Sun Goes Down



I was driving to the supermarket the other night, south down US 1, glanced to my right, and had to pull off the road to take this shot with my iPhone 4S.  This light lasts for only a few minutes, so to be able to capture it takes a bit of ruthlessness.  Fortunately, the traffic was light.  Exquisite, no?

What a lovely morning yesterday at Saint Augustine Beach with J.  The surf was roiling, but the water was warm.  We waded out up to our knees, and held hands as the waves crashed around us.  Then spent some time just sitting in the shallow water and talking.  So beautiful, so perfect.  We are both happy in the moment, and we call our Sunday mornings "church."  One cannot be closer to God than in nature.  And the sea?  She is the mother.

Came home, and T. and I walked around their property looking at the plants and landscapes.  T. is a green thumb extraordinaire, can get any cutting to root, and they have the perfect dappled sunlight that caresses the plants, rather than burning the hell out of them.  I have either deep shade or blazing sun on my property, so it's a challenge to figure out what goes where.  T. has a long deep border of  baby's breath, that delicate sweet flower that often ends up in bridal bouquets.  It dies back in the winter, and comes back in the spring.  Told him to secure me a clump.

Went to the pool this morning to swim.  It was the first session of the water aerobics class, which I did not participate in but experienced vicariously while I was swimming laps.  So many older women with hats and sunglasses jogging, cross country skiing, and strengthing core in the chlorine.  70s and 80s dance music blasting from the boom box.  I overhear a woman saying, "That man over there asked me if he could swim naked.  I said sure.  I'll hold your swimsuit!"  Everyone cracked up.

I talked with the instuctor after the class, since I had heard her say she had double knee replacement, like I.  She talked about her surgeon, a local guy recommended by many, and criticized by some.  He seems to be the best local doc around for knees, and I need someone who will follow up on my replacement surgery.  Wanda is the instructor's name, and I'm not sure yet, but I think she might be the woman in the Cadillac, with her husband, who J. and I see at the beach each Sunday.  Will follow up on that.

I so enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations."  I normally hate "reality" shows, but his is so well done, so full of cultural information and wonderful photography.  And he is brutally honest about himself.  One of the few reasons to watch television.  Tonight, he visited "The Integratron," in the Mojave desert.
http://www.integratron.com/

I have not yet experienced the American southwest up close, only from the economy seat of an airplane.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Anole



Went out this evening after dark to pick some parsley, basil, and peppers from my garden.  Brought the bunch inside, and as I was washing it, a small anole lizard crawled out, went to the side of the sink, and opened its dear little mouth.  I picked it up, the first time I have done so, and it did not resist, perhaps knowing I was going to carry it to the back porch and let it out.  These small profound moments of affirming life are what happiness is all about.  I had never picked up one of these tiny creatures; it was incredibly easy.

Got up early and went to a couple of yard sales.  The second one was the most organized and efficient estate sale I have ever attended.  Everything in the house was carefully laid out, marked with a price, and there were several staff there to help.  I purchased a couple of garden tools and a lovely turquoise basket that will become a dog/cat bed once I put a blanket in it.



My old friend Judith Butler is the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Adorno prize, in Germany.  She is getting a great deal of flak/flack for her criticism of Israeli foreign policy.  She is one of the most intense, intelligent, attentive, caring, and funny people I've ever known.  That combination is incredibly rare.



And finally, featured on the front page of the Saint Augustine Record, the magnificent Ankole-Watusi cattle in Hastings.  I have passed these exquisite beasts many times on my way to Palatka for art classes, and have some great photos of them myself.  This photo is by Daron Dean.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spalding Gray



Do you know the work of Spalding Gray?  He was an incisive and humorous monologist.  One of his most popular pieces was "Swimming to Cambodia," about the making of the film, "The Killing Fields."  His mother committed suicide at age 52, and he did the same at age 60, after surviving a devastating car crash in Ireland.  His last monologue, about that incident, was published a few years ago.  I miss him, as I miss so many artists.  So many beautiful spirits die too young.

I read to the kids this morning, and they were unusually well-behaved.  I'm working harder at learning their names.  It's easy when someone like Madeline raises her hand and says, "Miss Linda, I love you."  What's better than that?  Eric can't stop talking.  Phoebe is SO tiny, with huge blue eyes, and smart as a whip.  Angel, Anthony, Tia, Paisley, Mackinzie, Hayden, Aiden, Darien, Jordan, Shawn.  Xavier had a black eye and when he came to hug me, which they all want to do after I read, I asked him what happened.  He said he fell on something, and looked down.  Of course my mind defaults to "what parent/caretaker did this to him?"  I do think Miss Abby and Miss Erin and Miss Danielle are good teachers and would know, but still I worry.  Mr. Don, the director, came in and gave me a hug saying, "I thought you had taken off and moved to Alaska!"  Ha!  I wish.

After reading, I went to Saint Augustine Library south and spent a long time looking at arts and crafts books, and then checking out several childrens' books for next week.  I love libraries.  What a wonderful wonderful resource.  The ones around here show movies, teach pine needle basket weaving, and invite you to a raindrop therapy workshop.  Who says CA has it all?!  Ah, I miss California.  As Spalding Gray said, I love new age therapies, all the alternative healing cultures.  I think I was meant to live there.  I am sending out to the universe my desire to become a snowbird; a home in Florida for the winter, a home in the Bay area for the summer.



Ducks feeding in the pond outside the library.  With wierd knobby root thingies.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

I have a friend on Facebook who posts several messages a day about the well-being of animals around the world.  She is a huge animal rights activist, and director of the Foundation for Antarctic Research, even tho she lives near Saint Augustine.  She keeps me up to date on the killing of seals for fur in Namibia, the slaughter of dolphins for meat in Taiji, Japan, and the destruction of the rainforests for palm oil, which ends in orangutans beings decimated.  Orangutans share 97% of our DNA.  They are our brothers and sisters.

Did you know Johnny Depp had a small role in "Platoon?

Was supposed to go to an LGBT Elders Task Force meeting in Jacksonville, but only realized it around 5pm, and the meeting was at 6.  I had settled in for the night and did not want to get dressed and drive 45 miles to sit in a "meeting."  I've got to check my iPhone calendar more often!!!  Wrote the email contact and said I wasn't feeling well.  Well, I wasn't!  I didn't feel like getting there!

Stopped at ACE hardware and bought some dahlia bulbs.  Don't know if they will grow in this climate, but, hey, they were selling them.  I miss some flowers from the north:  lilacs, tulips, peonies.  There is incredible flora down here, and I like learning about what is native and drought/humidity tolerant.  Still . . .

Have to take care of the hornet's nest under my mailbox tomorrow.  Spray the hell out of it with nasty insecticide.  Then I can pick up today's mail.

Hey, send me snail mail, ok?
xo


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sundry



Had a wonderful massage this morning by the very talented Jennifer Jacobsen.
http://skillfultouchbodywork.com/
When you work with a massage therapist a long time, as I have with Jennifer, she gets to know your body, and your mind, so it becomes easy to say what you need, and say what you need to say.



Stopped in an eyeglass shoppe after, still looking for interesting frames.  What do you think of these?

Went swimming at the pool again yesterday.  Decided to swim more gently, and the water felt like silk.  I realize I get into a kind of meditation when I'm swimming laps, as my mind can wander even while I am focused on breathing and the strokes.  Saw the chiropractor yesterday, who said that the results of my last evaluative tests showed great stress on my nervous system.  Duh.

Got my mail today, and as I opened the box, a hornet flew up and stung me on the hand.  Really hurt, and my hand is swollen, stiff, itchy, and sore.  Turns out there is a nest between the bottom of the box and the stake it is on.

Watched some specials on the survivors of 9/11 last night.  What horrific trauma.  The receptionist at the chiropractor's office said they have several patients who are survivors.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pools





T. came over to cut my lawn this morning, grown lush and long from all the recent rain.  I used his working as an inspiration to get myself to the Solomon Calhoun public pool, about a mile from my house.  The humidity had broken, and the day was warm and crisp.  I swam laps for longer than I had in a while, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Took myself after to The Groove cafe for lunch, in St. Augustine Beach, on my way to the hardware store.  Had seen it advertised often and passed it many times.  Turned out it was just kind of average food-wise, although the atmosphere was quite nice.  Way too expensive for lunch, though.





Little Bindi has been lackadaisical, perhaps even a bit depressed.  I took her for walks every day when we were in northern California, but since we've gotten back it has just been too hot and humid for me to do that.  And she doesn't even want to stay outside that long by herself.  It only occurred to me today that I could have hired T. to walk her for 30 minutes a day.  I did that when I was still in CT and had my knee surgeries and cancer treatments.  I wish I could do more of the day to day maintenance of my life myself, but alas, I cannot.  I am blessed to have some financial resources to hire people to help me.  As the weather begins to cool down, I hope to be able to walk Bindi myself each day.  Good for both of us.

Talked with my neighbor, over the fence of course, who had wondered where I disappeared to.  He thought I had packed up and moved.  I said, no, I was away, then I was sick, then I was holed up in my house avoiding the heat.  He said, put in a pool!  He said, I don't know how anyone lives in Florida without a pool!  And now I will consider this.  If I thought I was going to stay in this house, I might invest in an in-ground pool; but that would be way expensive, even if it was a narrow, 3-4 foot deep design.  But perhaps a round above ground thing, that I can jump into at will, just to cool off.  That would not be very expensive.  I think they are ugly, but I have to entertain the idea.  He has a fairly large round pool, that  he partially sunk into the ground.  Of course, I would have to hire someone to maintain it . . .

On the subject of heat, I received in the mail today two cotton gauze tank dresses that I ordered online.  It is the perfect garment -- unstructured, lightweight, easy on and off -- for this climate.

Anniversay of 9/11 tomorrow.  I remember where I was and what I was doing on that day in 2001.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Trauma







Paintings by Alice Miller, trauma specialist extraordinaire.

* * * * * * * * *

An illuminating conversation yesterday with a good friend about motivation.  He understood my complaints about not getting myself to do the things I want to.  He had the same problem.  He asked if I would get on my case about my inactivity.  I said, "Are you kidding?!?  I think I'm the biggest piece of shit on the earth!"  We talked and talked and eventually circled around to sharing stories of our childhoods, including each of us having near-death experiences at the hands of an abusive parent.  Part of his humiliation was being told that he was never wanted, and that he would amount to nothing.  Mine: being called weak and lazy, and accused of not being able to stand anything.

We both admitted that in various ways we had come "to terms" with what happened.  But what I do know is that the body remembers, even if the rational mind survives and in many ways thrives.  The cells, the muscles remember the paralysis, the tension, the contraction brought about by abject fear.  I still must monitor what I expose myself to.  I am triggered adversely by those sounds, sights, behaviors which at a subconscious level alert my nervous system that what is occuring is dangerous, or brings about the memory of danger.

He has severe IBS, which started at 15.  He was told by a family doctor at that time when taken for examination that he needed to get away because his father was killing him.  I was told by a social worker in my 20s that the best thing I could do was to get as far away from my mother as possible.  My friend is now close with his father; but I don't believe he has ever had psychotherapy.  My mother has passed, and I've had decades of all types of therapy, and currently am on several prescription drugs for anxiety, depression, sleep.  He did have some protectors: his mother, and then his step-mother.  I had no protectors.  Both of our abusive parents denied any recollection of what they did.

It was Andrew Solomon who said, "The opposite of depression is not happiness.  The opposite of depression is vitality."  That's what trauma takes away.  A vitality for living.  My friend and I both acknowledged that whenever we make plans to do something, there is always a dread before the event.  We don't want to go.  It seems too much work.  Once we are there, we have a good time, but the default setting is to stay isolated, unengaged, and, on some deep level, protected.

I watched the movie "The Hurt Locker" again yesterday.  It's brilliant, engrossing, disturbing.  A woman directed it.  A woman edited the footage.  A male journalist embedded with US troops in Iraq wrote the screenplay.  The opening screen states that "War is a drug."  Violence is a way of life.
I've often thought that if everyone had a shoulder rub the first thing in the morning, there would be no war.  Or violence.  It is embedded in most world cultures that corporal punishment of children is the norm, that it is natural and desirable to hit them to get them to submit.  This is horribly horribly wrong.  It is criminal.

Alice Miller's work on childhood abuse and trauma is some of the very best.  I used to read her during my worst times because she valildated how I felt.  It would, oddly, calm me.

My favorite aunt once wrote me that she thought as I child I did not get enough attention.  She said, you were so sweet.


Friday, September 07, 2012

Moving to France

Ack.  Not a good day.  Could not get myself to do any of the things I wanted to/should have done.  The big secret I keep is that it's hard for me to get and stay motivated, and always has been.  In an ideal world, I would have gotten up early, gone to the senior center with my painting supplies for the "open studio" session; then I would have gone to the pool for a swim.  Then I would have come home to rest, maybe changed the sheets on my bed.  Then I would have gone to the First Friday Art Walk downtown, where all the galleries put on a new exhibit, serve food and wine, and the people schmooze.

As it was, I did almost nothing except run to Target, pick up prescriptions, make a couple of business calls, watch "House" reruns, surf the net, and stop at the liquor store.  The woman behind the counter was complaining about politicians and bemoaning how sad life in the U.S. has become, and how she was gonna consolidate her assets when she retires next year and move to France.  Sounded good to me.

I was so tired this morning.  Then I had trouble breathing, couldn't take a deep breath.  Don't know if it's anxiety, allergies, my intermittent asthma.  Since I've been here in Florida, I've developed recurring mucous in the back of my throat, something I've never had before.  Doc says that often when people move from one region of the country to another, they can develop allergies to the new pollens and spores that exist.  Also, I cannot stand this heat month after month.  I was so vitalized when I was in California for two weeks in August; the cool coastal temps suited me.  In the north folks get cabin fever from avoiding going out in the cold; down here we get cabin fever from avoiding the heat.  I am so looking forward to winter here.

If I had gone to the Art Walk, I could have attended Thomas Glover W.'s memorial exhibit.  He tragically died at 63 of a brain tumor that was diagnosed last January.  He was a brilliant stone sculptor.  One of the hidden treasures of this area is the Saint Augustine Beach Sculpture Garden behind the police station.  Several of Glover's works are there.  These are photos I took there last year.





I can still see all of the exhibits that were inaugurated this day.  Just without the crowds, which will be better anyway.

Picked up a copy of Steve Martin's "An Object of Beauty," about the 1990s New York City art scene, at a supermarket bargain bin, for five bucks.  Surprisingly, it is holding my interest.  Turns out Martin, a Renaisassance man himself, like Thomas Glover W., is an avid art collector.  And writer.  And comedian.  And musician.

One of things I like about the book is that often when the narrator speaks about a particular work of art, a copy of that art work is printed on the page, giving the novel a kind of authenticity that is pleasing to the eye.

I'm breathing a bit easier now, after my vodka and tonic.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Screaming and Kicking




"Pop Up Bugs" was a wild hit with the 3-4 year olds this morning.  Out of the pages came a huge tarantula, wasp, beetle, praying mantis, mosquito, and scorpion.  As I read the script and turned the pages and the gigantic 3-D colorful critters emerged, the kids yelled their heads off, lay on their backs and  kicked their legs in the air, and hugged one another in mock fear.  Even the teachers were impressed by their thrilled reactions.  Feels good when I find a book they really love!

Drove after to the pool, but sat in the car checking my iPhone in procrastination.  Was hungry, and didn't want to swim, but it was so hot.  Found in the car a stale fortune cookie still in its wrapper; scarfed it down, read my generic fortune, changed, and got into the pool.  Was fine once I got in; the cool water felt so nice, and the place was nearly deserted.  Swam a few laps, showered, picked up some things from the supermarket, and came home.

Odd dreams last night.  One, my friend R. was showing me the beautiful needlework he had created.  Two, I had a dorm room that was situated in an abandoned elevator.  Three, the refrigerator door broke off, and as I was preparing to call the landlord, I realized I didn't have a landlord and I had to fix the thing myself!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Crystal Blue Persuasion



Such a lovely morning at the beach with J, T, and S.  The water was warm, calm, clear, and we played for hours.  A big swell would come along and J would yell, "Peter Pan moment!"  We would bend down in the water, then propel ourselves up above the wave.  Such good fun.  We didn't want to leave, but we were waterlogged, pruned, and sunburned.  We all ended up taking naps this afternoon.  Kitten cuddled up with me.

J invited me for dinner; broiled swordfish, asparagus, yellow rice.  So good.  Mango sorbet and ginger snaps for dessert.  We watched "The School of Rock," which is one of my very fave movies. The kids are awesome.  "Stick it to the man!"

T said his night blooming cereus was about to blossom.  It only opens its flowers at night, and his plant was covered with them.  I don't know how the blooms are witnessed.  It only opens for a few hours, and then gone.  I have the plant but not one as healthy as T's.  He says it needs the shade, so I will move my specimen.




Oil painting by B.F. Postel.

S. called later to ask if I wanted to host an Obama intern from another state who would be coming to Florida to work for the campaign.  I'll call her tomorrow to see what the details are.  I had said I was spending too much time alone, that I was lonely.  This might be a good thing to do.  I cannot do phone banking, as I cannot have conversations with people who support the GOP.  These interns are young college kids who need places to stay for just a few days. That could work.

The moon rose big and orange this evening. A nice day, all in all.

Came home and watched the most recent episode of "Breaking Bad."  I had wondered when Hank was going to suspect Walt; this was the episode.  I am so taken with Aaron Paul.  the acting, the cinemaphotography is so good, even tho the content is, well, depraved.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Low Energy Day



Low energy day.  Finally made it out and cruised the neighborhood for yard sales.  Found one, and bought an older RCA 5-disc changer, radio, tape deck with decent speakers for $20.  For my art studio.  I still haven't made it into the 21st century with an iPod and deck.  And I've kept so many tapes that I haven't thrown out, and have a few cd's.  Stopped to pick up some prescription drugs but doctor had not called in the order yet even tho I ordered the refill days ago.  Ack.

Went to the pool for a swim, but when I got into the water it was unrefreshingly warm.  The lifeguard said the heat index today was 105 degrees F.  They even had some cooling system that was pumping less warm water into the pool, but it didn't make a difference.  Oh well; tomorrow is Sunday morning at the beach, and the ocean water will be cooler.


CoverPMbook

The above photo on the left, one of mine, was published in the new Present Moment Cafe cookbook.
The restaurant, in my neighborhood, serves gourmet raw vegan meals, of exquisite taste and quality.
The worn door is on the side of the building, and I was pleased to have its photo included in the book.

Listened to some material by Mike Birbiglia on NPR today; so funny.  About his sleep disorder.  Apparently he has made a film about it, with the help of Ira Glass, host of "This American Life."

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Sea, the Sea



Little Bindi and I went out this morning to check out a couple of yard/tag/garage sales.  On the way, we stopped at Pet Paradise, the dog grooming/boarding facility with the bone-shaped swimming pool for the pooches, to get Bindi's nails trimmed.  We've been there many times, and they remember her, so it gets easier and easier.  I saw a gorgeous greyhound running around the pool, chasing some unknown breed dog.  What a sleek, fast animal a greyhound is.

Nothing at either of the yard sales interested me.  But the second place we visited, south of Crescent Beach, awarded us with a visit to an absolutely stunning house on the Matanzas river.  People leaving the sale were amazed that the owner of the house, which was for sale, would leave such an incredibly beautiful spot, which clearly was loved with an artistic hand.  I asked the owner why they were leaving; he said at first, "We don't know."  Then he continued, "We need to be in a smaller place.  Lower taxes."  Because of the economic situation in the US,  the "for sale" sign was embellished with yet another sign which read, "Reduced."  I walked to the back of the property, to the boat house on the intercoastal, and discovered the most exquisite manatee with baby sculpture.  Enormous.  And a neatly landscaped and furnished fire pit, with probably eight Adirondock chairs surrounding the fire place.  In its day, the home must have been teaming with children and friends, as much of the stuff for sale was children's things.  And there was a precisely designed playground on site.  One of the reasons I go to these yard sales is that it takes me to parts of the area I would not otherwise visit.  And I get to see some tantalizing homes and gardens. 





Did you know that manatee babies nurse from a nipple underneath the mama's front flipper?  Curious, but just one aspect of why I love these gentle, slow-moving creatures.  Also, did you know that manatees are often identified by conservationists by the boat propeller scars that they have on their backs?  Ack.  Brutal.  I hate speed boats, and especially boats that ignore the "Slow - Manatee Area" signs that are everywhere in the Florida waters.

It was a hot day, so I decided to take Bindi and me to the beach which was close by.  She loves the water, although won't go in very deeply.  There were a couple of dog lovers sitting by the water, and they eagerly agreed to hold onto Bindi while I dashed into the water for a dip.  The woman ran with Bindi for a bit, which I cannot do, with my double knee replacement.  The water was so warm and calm; I could have stayed there for a long time.  But alas, I had nowhere/place to park Bindi for a while as I frolicked in the water.



On the way home, hungry and thirsty, I stopped at Stir It Up, a funky window-only cafe on A1A, and had a tasty turkey/avocado/lettuce sandwich while sitting outside.  These sandwiches always come with too much meat, so I gladly fed Bindi some of my food, for which she was grateful.  Stir It Up?  The Bob Marley song.  "Stir it up, little darlin', stir it up . . ."  They also serve a mean rice and beans bowl.  Always fresh; always friendly.  Bindi barked once and the other patrons were astounded that a small dog could have such a loud voice.


We came home, and both of us got in the shower.  Bindi is so good with her baths.  I swear she was a whole shade lighter after the shampoo!

And finally, on this day of the Blue Moon, a full moon that occurs twice in one month, we headed out to Vilano Beach to watch luna rise.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kids and Cats

Went to read to the 3-4 year old pre-schoolers this morning, after a month long hiatus.  I have such a hard time remembering their names.  They always want me to read "Metal Mutz," the robot story of a tinman who builds himself a dog from the trash he finds.  The book "barks" at the end and they love that.  So afterwards, I went to Barnes & Noble to see what kind of sound/pop-up books they had.  Found a couple, came home and ordered them online from Amazon, at a decent discount.  I haven't wanted to buy any books for this volunteer gig, but the kids so obviously love Metal Mutz, that it makes sense for me to have more on hand for their entertainment.  I love those little faces.  "Miss Linda, Miss Linda," they cry.  So sweet.  They say they missed me; they say they love me.

I browsed the magazine section at B & N, and could have bought a dozen mags that I'd never seen before.  I have such a hard time reading a book; but give me an article in a magazine and I can absorb it easily.   But each issue is 5-10 bucks each;  I always thought that would be a good gift for someone:  a pile of magazines in the field of interest of the giftee.  Hint.




As I was driving home, I passed my cats' vet office;  had a brainstorm, made a u-turn, and caught my vet just as she was going out to lunch.  I asked her if she needed any volunteers, and she said yes.  Even if it's just to hang out and socialize with some of the critters.  It lifted my spirits, as I need to be alone less, to hang out with people more, and I so like the staff there.  I might end up just cleaning litter pans for a while, but what's the diff? i do it at home anyway.  Maybe just a couple of mornings to start.

Came home and stopped on a street near me to get a cutting from what turned out to be a yellow mandevilla vine that was growing in a kind of undefined space between two houses.  Had seen this flower for several weeks.  T. drove by in his truck, stopped and said, "Great minds think alike."  He had been coveting this same vine for quite a while and had the same idea as I.  He can grow anything from a cutting.  Hope I can get it to root.



Went to the chiropractor this afternoon.  It was "progress exam" day, and she did the exam with the thermal imaging which shows where the inflammation still is.  It was she who discovered the deteriorating discs in my neck, and has been doing treatments to stave off further damage.  My sister has the same thing, only with great pain.  I had no pain, but in x-rays the situation is clear.  Ran into J. and her mom there; her mom is 87 years old.  I always give her a big, deep hug and today she said, "You give the best hugs."  She just relaxes in my arms and kind of purrs, and I rub her back.  After years of J. & S. taking care of S's mom before she passed, they are now taking care of J's mom.  It is a lovely feeling to have someone appreciate my hugs.  I don't know why so many people are afraid of close, long hugs.  It is one of the joys of being human.  J. is very active with the Democratic Women's Club, and I told her I wanted to come over and talk to her about politics.  She said, "I'll let you."  Ha!

Went to the supermarket to get my favorite potstickers, and on the way out saw a young man with his jeans hanging way low down on his butt.  I asked him, politely, why that style was so popular.  He surprised me with his answer:  "I find it more comfortable," he said.  "I don't like the feel of the jeans on my bones."  Huh.  Whatever.

At last at home;  called JG to see how his trip to Boston went.  He was tired from travelling too, even though he had a good time.  Air travel used to be kind of fun; now it's just a pain in the ass.  But I'm still putting out feelers to find a place to stay in the SF Bay area for the month of August next year.

In my mailbox was a letter addressed to someone at this address;  I opened it.  It was a birthday card from what appeared to be the sibling of a guy who apparently once lived here.  Since I have had occupancy for three years now, it was curious that whomever sent this card, to their brother it indicated, did not know his current address.  I had never heard of him.  I will send a postcard to the return address and let them know that "no one by this name . . ."

No rain today.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Old Age Ain't for Sissies


Went to a new eye doctor this morning.  The one I saw last year was just awful.  His technicians did all the work, and he was with me maybe ten minutes or less, and spoke to me almost not at all.

This new guy was appealing because he does vision therapy, and his primary practice is in Jacksonville.  He did the bulk of the examination and was personable.  He said I have "complicated" eyes, and was going to make him late for his other appointments, but I appreciated his attention and thoroughness.  I opted for a newish digital photo test, which showed me my own optic nerve, the "floaters," and the macula.  Very interesting.  Because of my history of eye surgery and previous vision therapy as an adult, he said that I could still benefit from more vision therapy, but Medicare does not cover this.  And when I told them I don't do "homework," they said that the vision therapy would then have to be twice a week, at $120 a pop.  Discounts negotiable.  He does a lot of work with children who have learning challenges; a kid can have 20/20 vision, but still not be able to "see," which can affect their/our ability to process and comprehend information.  I think it is still something many people don't know about and/or don't understand.  I don't know if I will do the vision therapy or not.  He did validate that my eyes have to work extra hard when reading or doing close work;  I am a painfully slow reader which made school really difficult for me.

I also have the beginnings of cataracts, which he said would make it hard for me to have absolutely clear vision, although it can be improved with a prescription change.  Old age ain't for sissies.

Leaving his office, I felt somewhat bummed out, and exhausted by the exam.  But still I went to Planet Fitness and signed up for a year, for $99.  I hope I can get myself to go there at least once a week.  The muscles in my arms are weak; heck, the muscles in my whole body are weak.  It's a newish facility, and the staff is really nice.  And you can't beat the price.  I cannot walk outside in this summer heat, so at least having a place I can go to walk on a treadmill in ac seemed like a good thing to have.  Wish I could bring Bindi.

Stopped to get gas, at $4 for medium grade.  Fortunately, I don't have to commute anywhere, so a tank of gas lasts me quite a while.  I used to like Shell gas, but recently learned that they are one of the very worst of the oil companies, so will try not to buy there anymore.  They are all bad; one can only hope to choose the lesser of the evils.

Then the supermarket.  I am so uninterested in food; I don't know what I want to eat.  Been eating a lot of chicken noodle/chicken with rice soups, and frozen potstickers.  Stir fry veggies with brown rice.  I'm getting more and more grossed out by meat.  I'm completely off beef.  Cannot bear how the cows are treated in big factory slaughter houses; they are magnificant animals.  I still eat chicken and turkey, almost no pork although I love it.  The closer I get to animals the more I cannot bear to eat them.  I like the bumper sticker that reads, "If slaughter houses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."  The autistic professor and writer, Temple Grandin, made some inroads into the inhumane slaughter of animals.  Still.



The road work is encroaching on my property a bit more each day.  Today I had to tell the supervisor that I could barely get into my driveway because of stuff so close on either side.  Guess how much longer they think it will take?  TWO WEEKS!  Ha!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dreams

Got up today. Had coffee. Went back to bed. Even though I don't necessarily sleep, I lay there under the covers, cuddling whatever critter chooses to be close to me at that moment, meditating. Dozing. Letting the unconscious swerve and drift, percolate and condense. Retirement allows that. More rain. The tropical storm/hurricane Isaac is headed towards New Orleans again; so unfair. The 7th anniversary of Katrina. Hopefully the levees will hold and the damage will be minimal. Landfall tomorrow. The rain here keeps the lawns beautifully green, and the plants love it. Warm and wet. Hopefully it will let up a bit, and I can plant my fall crops. I adore the hummingbirds that visit my flowers. Went to the produce stand to get my vegetable supply. The woman there said that if I put my peaches in a bag with a ripe banana, the peaches will ripen very quickly. The bread was fresh baked, and I got my pickling cukes, which I so love. Cannot make a salad without them. The road construction people were not working today nor yesterday. The rain is slowing them down severely. I can only hope that when they are finished I will have a newly paved street outside my house. This neighborhood is like 1960s Dexter, Missouri. Many of the houses remind me of my grandma Effie's place. Perhaps that's why I feel at home here. I did not like my mother's family. But I have fond memories of Grandma and Grandpa Anderson. Had a good conversation with my niece R. this afternoon. She is so smart, creative, insightful, loving, funny, and motivated. I might become a foster parent to some puppies. The group I sometimes work with, Wags & Whiskers, needs some temporary homes for some "hound" puppies, and I have an art studio that I cannot make myself use, so why not nurture these little critters until they find a forever home? Calhoun, aka "Kitten," was outside all night, so he was content to stay in today. He's such a sweet little guy, still suckling on his fleece blanket in my bed. I would have 50 cats if I could. The Saint Augustine housing commission passed a LGBT non-discrimination ordinance yesterday. This is a big deal. It sets the stage for me to "get into trouble." I want to start an LGBT elders group at the senior center, or at least a PFLAG group somewhere else in the city. I have nothing to lose, and there is no visible LGBT organization here at all. Although, since this is a very conservative part of the country, I think I will install a home security system at my house. Eggs thrown at the door are one thing; but I am in a working-class, "marginalized" part of town, so I do need to be realistic and protect myself. I don't know why people are so threated by us; I don't know why the LGBT identity is considered to be a sin. Love is love. Over and out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Second Anniversary

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of my moving to Saint Augustine. And in four days there will be a "blue moon," known as the second full moon in any given month. I've been very contemplative recently, trying to figure out my next move. The two weeks I spent in the SF Bay area of California were eye opening and spectacular. I was grateful to have two beautiful places to stay in at no charge, and blown away again by the beauty of the area. I am already trying to figure out a way to stay out there for a month next August. The culture and environmental ethos in the Bay area are so much more in keeping with who I am than being in Florida. I like small town living, but cannot find all that I need here. Have never wanted to live in a big city, but that is the compromise one makes to find kindred spirits. Ah, if I only had the resources to be a "snowbird," the residents who live in Florida for the winter, and then go to the left coast for the summer. But that is not possible, as far as I can see. Lots of rain here for the past two weeks. So good for the lawns and plants, and bad for the wildfires we usually have this time of year. Soon the humidity will decrease and the wonderful northeast Florida fall and winter will begin; warm days, cool nights, and more crops can be planted starting in September. The two planting seasons are so delicious. My mandala garden will once again sprout lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, kale, carrots, and a couple rows of flowers. I have so enjoyed learning the "native" plants of Florida and planting as many of them as I can; they resist heat and drought, so don't require the careful watering that so many homeowners insist on indulging in so that they might have a smooth green lawn or tempermental exotics that use too much water in order to thrive. My thyrallis is an example of a beautiful shrub that has stayed in bloom for months. And the plumbago. And the native hibiscus called Haight Ashbury, so resplendent in its maroon cloak and deep red blooms. And its pot-leaf-shaped leaves, hence the name. Both T. and S. blew me off for the beach yesterday morning. J. is out of town, or he would have gone. It is our church. The sea, the air, the feel of the water, the sun, the sand, the waves, the salt bouyancy of the ocean. There is no place more close to the Divine. I am often my happiest floating in the sea. Am exploring more volunteer opportunities and might even some pursue some paid part-time jobs, but only something I really would find fun. Something in the arts or with animals. My oil painting class starts again in October. The watercolor class I began taking at River House, St. Augustine's senior center, was very inhibiting and I quit after three sessions. I learned a few things, but felt blocked by the group and the instructors sternness. Why, if I have 150+ "friends" on Facebook, do only the same few keep commenting? I can see this trend slipping away. It's only useful if a significant number of "friends" reply. Gosh, it's hard enough to get people to call you up on the phone to go get a coffee; it also seems too hard to comment on FB. I don't get these people who have 600-1000+ "friends." I doubt it. If you use facebook for the education of your friends, then comments are really necessary. But if you are single, and have a lot of time on your hands, comments are really important. Oh well.