In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bitch Just Isn't Wired Right...

Those of you that tweet with me on Twitter know that my dog, Isabella, is a neurotic mess and deathly afraid of thunder, lightening, and even light rain showers. She must sense the pressure dropping because she'll start freaking when a storm is still hours away. She's also afraid of wind, strangers, garbage cans sitting by the curb, farts, fart sounds, fireworks and any loud noise. There are many more things she fears, but that gives you an idea. As a puppy she was afraid of the dark and shadows. You could not get her to go into a dark room, let alone go walking after dark. For some unknown reason, one day her fear of the dark and shadows disappeared. 

Unfortunately, her other fears have stuck with her. When people notice her usual fears and strange behavior, they ask me what's wrong with her and if she's been abused. I try to explain to them that she has a free floating anxiety disorder, has never been abused and I have no idea why she is the way she is. Or if I'm in a mood I say "The bitch just isn't wired right".

We've tried all the desensitizing techniques but nothing has worked. Once she goes into her panic mode, it's impossible to get her to focus on anything other than her over whelming fear. I can't even get her to look at a ribeye steak when she's freaked out, let alone coax her with treats past a strange car parked in the street. Her fear of storms has gotten so bad the vet put her on xanax, and it really helps but doesn't relieve all the anxiety. Without the xanax she shakes so bad she can't even sit up and drools large puddles. With the xanax her shaking is much less and she doesn't drool, but she lays in a certain spot in a hallway against a wall while staring at the opposing wall.  And she does love her xanax! When she senses a storm coming she paces and sits in front of where her meds are kept. I keep warning her not to like her meds too much or I'd have to send her to rehab with Amy Winehouse, Charlie Sheen, and Rush Limbaugh.

Last night she suddenly developed a new fear. When I took her out for her last potty walk about 2 a.m. I saw that a heavy fog had enveloped everything. As we walked out of the house and Issy saw the fog, her tail went down and she started backing up. Never mind that she's seen, been fine with and even walked in fog many times before. She's suddenly terrified of fog, for some reason that only she understands. I had to drag her out into the yard long enough for her to pee, and then she quickly bolted for the door to get back inside the house.

Once back inside she wanted nothing to do with her usually relished late night treat. Nope- she went right to her special spot in the hallway and struck her anxious pose. She wouldn't even come to bed with me when I finally gave up trying to distract her. And there she stayed until I got up this morning, took her outside and she saw that the fog was gone.  Suddenly all was right again in Bellaland ... but there's fog predicted again for late tonight.

 She may be a crazy, but she's my crazy and I adore her....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sarasota Festival of the Arts

The weather here has been so freaking wonderful lately. The cold chilly temps have moved out and I have my fingers crossed that winter is over in Florida. We took advantage of the great weather and spent most of the weekend outside. Sunday morning we took off for the Sarasota Festival of the Arts.  We saw some great art work, but people didn't seem to be buying this year. It was an upscale show so I don't know if the poor economy or what was stopping people from buying, It was a shame because many of the artists had traveled from all over the country to showcase their art. Such is the life of an artist- spend weeks working on one special piece and people expect to be able to by it for less than $100. I remember once when a woman haggled with me over the price of something I'd spent weeks creating. She wanted the item for $200 and I asked her if she would work three weeks of 12 hour days and then accept $200 as her pay. Of course she wouldn't. And by that time I was pissed and wouldn't have sold it to her for any price. Anyway, I digress, back to the art fair

There was a very big turn out which made it hard to get any photos. I wish the booths had been spread out over a larger area which would have thinned the crowd as we moved from one booth to the next.

I loved the mixed medium paintings, with lots of textures and colors. I've been working on pieces like these and they're such fun to create with texture mediums, paints, inks and glazes.

Click each photo to see full size image.

These metal figures were delightful with the balloons adding an eye catching splash of color.

I don't know why this photo loaded on it's side. I tried 3x to get it to load right, but couldn't get do it. You'll have to turn your head to see it, sorry. I loved this piece.

I had the same problem when I loaded this photo. These were wonderful sculptures.

This booth of watercolor painting caught my eye because of all the vivid yummy colors.

This seahorse sculpt was gorgeous! .
That's all the photos I was able to get due to the crowds and congestion around each booth. My favorite booth was the one from New Orleans where we got a plate of delicious powdered sugar Beignets. I would have taken a photo of them but we ate them too fast. At the end of the day we planned to go over to St. Armand's Circle, do some shopping and sit at one of the outdoor cafes, have drinks, eat  and people watch. But St.Armand's Circle was packed- no parking and every cafe was filled (damn snowbirds and tourists). So we decided to drive through Long Boat Key where we crossed a bridge to get to Anna Maria Island. Here are some photos I took as we went over the bridge..
I swear the sky and water down here are such a bright beautiful blue

After we got on Anna Maria Island, we stopped at one of our favorite places, The Beach House. We chose the outside seating right on the beach where we sat to  enjoy a couple of drinks and have a late lunch. Finally we were able to tear our selves away and head home to the dogs. It was a wonderful day -life is good!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bicycle Built For Two and Silver Alerts...

It been a gorgeous week In SW Florida. I do believe winter is over! It's finally warmed up into the low 80's, the clouds have cleared and the sun has returned to the Sunshine State. Now that it's warm again the little geckos have come out of their hiding places to lounge in the sun which drives our Jack Russell Terrier crazy. Unfortunately a few have met their death when they ventured down from the lanai plants, low enough for the JRT to grab them. The smart ones stay outside on the other side of the screen where she can merely bark at them in a high pitched frenzy which makes me want to stab my ear drums. Isabella saves her barking for old men in golf carts and people on 3 wheel bicycles. She was beside herself today when a friend and Bella's favorite pup rode by on a bicycle built for two- a human to pedal and dog in a basket.   

After a just a couple of barks, she regained her self control and watched them ride on down the street.

And then she gave me this look as if to say "Why don't I have a bike?"
 Rather than waste these beautiful days barking at geckos or people, I started cleaning up my plants, trimming back the foliage damaged by the freezing temps we had. Surprisingly, most of my little succulent and air plants came through the unusually cold weather we had just fine. My rubber tree plants and Bird of Paradise foliage didn't fair as well. But I think once I cut off all the damaged parts, the main plants will be fine and will regrow.

It seems the nice weather has also lured people out of their homes that would be better off staying at home. I had never heard of Silver Alerts before we moved to Florida. Of course I was familiar with Amber Alerts for missing children, but had never heard of an alert system for missing seniors. Today there was a Silver Alert issued for an 87 year old man with dementia. This happens way too often down here. What I want to know is why these elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer's have access to cars! I think that's a fair question, don't you?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catching Up in the Neighborhood

Remember when I posted this picture of the old cowboy and said he still worked and drove a car? And then the entry about the ambulance picking him up? He never made it back home. I got word a couple of weeks ago he'd passed. I remember when I first him met shortly after we moved into the community. He wore his hair permed and dyed bright red, wore a big black cowboy hat and black cowboy boots. He was a riot and fancied himself quite the lady's man. And he was a hard worker- he worked right up to the day they took him away in the ambulance. Say what you will about us older people, we have/had a hellava work ethic. Rest in peace, Old Cowboy.

All the snow birds are back and the streets are alive with golf carts, 3-wheel bikes, electric scooters, and walkers. Of course Isabella is afraid of all of them so we have to walk after dark when everyone locks themselves up in their house. I don't know what it is, but once the sun goes down they disappear inside. Maybe there's a senior curfew no one told me about? Oh hell no, that couldn't be it- the HOA would have been all over me by now.

In other news, I haven't spotted the ol' prostitution whore duck and band of merry johns in almost a month. She's probably out recruiting more he-ducks before she starts turning tricks in my yard and laying her bastard eggs in my flower beds. I just know we haven't seen the last of her. But enough about the whore duck, back to talking about people....

My neighbor across the road who had triple by pass surgery a few months ago is doing great and already back to working too hard and obssessing about her yard. She's a tough little gal, and so funny.

I could post a new entry every day about the eccentric old characters that live here. I'll never forget the first party we attended - I'll have to write that story up. Real Old Man and I still laugh about it. That's when we realized we had moved into a retirement community way too soon. We just weren't ready for old peoples' kind of fun time. Then there's all the stories about my battle with old Donald who always insisted on tanning his ass cheeks at the community swimming pool.  

But no one is at the pool today... it's dark, gloomy and rainy....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

As Requested- Recipes

Someone left a comment asking for the recipe for scalloped corn. I've made this dish for so long I don't even measure anything, so this is a guess-LOL

2 cans of creamed corn
1 pkg saltines
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs
Butter or margarine

Crush the pkg. of saltines (you know the sealed pkgs that come in a box- just one of the pkgs.) and set aside. In a bowl beat the eggs and milk, mix well. Then add the creamed corn and mix well. Sprinkle some pepper ( pepper to taste- we like it peppery) into the mix. Now add about half of the crushed saltines, add a little more if the mix is still too soupy. Put it all in a greased square casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cracker crumbs over the top and then  dot with butter. Bake in preheated 350 oven until bubbly and lightly browned on top- approx. 30 - 45 minutes.

We have this often because ROM will only eat green beans and corn- that's it. None of my tempting to get him to eat other veggies has worked. And believe me, during the 27 years we've been married, I've tried. He'll eat raw veggies in tossed green salads, but of course he smothers it all in dressing.

I'll write up the recipe for my fried chicken and gravy tomorrow....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

No Super Bowl Chicken Wings For My Man!

After a week of restaurant food Real Old Man didn't have a hankering for the typical Super Bowl foods. Hooter's chicken wings? Oh, hell no! Pizza? Forget about it. Sub sandwiches? Nah, wasn't having any of that. He requested pan fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with a side of scalloped corn. And since I missed his old ass last week, I decided to be a good wife and granted his wish. While he watched the first half of the game I got busy in the kitchen.

I dipped and breaded the chicken breasts-

 Fried it up-
 Prepped the scalloped corn for the oven-
 And called him to eat when it was all ready-
And he happily gorged while we watched the half time show (the only part of the Super Bowl I ever watch). I now have the greasy kitchen cleaned, dishes washed and I'm off for a shower. I feel as greasy as the chicken I fried...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Like This Look....

As the JRT shrilly barked her head off, we met Real Old Man at the airport and brought him home last night. That dog was barking so loud and such a piercing pitch I was sure Homeland Security would swoop down on the car. We were all thrilled to see ROM but Isabella and I managed to greet him in a quieter way.

After spending the week in the Chicago blizzard and frigid temps, Rom was looking forward to some FL. sunshine and warm temps. It was warm and sunny here all the time he was gone, but the first day he's back the weather turned to crap. I'm blaming it all on ROM- I'm seeing  a connection. But lucky for me, I have a pair of warm socks that match my mumu so I looked quite stylish as I sat on the lanai tweeting today...

I know some of you who read this blog don't read my other blog where I write about reality TV and Bravo Real Housewives. If you check out the most recent entry you'll learn that I received a certified letter from a lawyer threatening legal action against me if I don't censor and remove all mention of a certain Real Housewives cast member (not an official Real Housewife but a second string cast member). If you're interested check the entry out for the details.

Friday, February 4, 2011

They Wait...

Late every afternoon the dogs wait at the door watching for Real Old Man to come home. All this week they've waited until it got dark before giving up their watch. This evening I'll let them ride along with me when I go to pick him up at the airport. After a week in Chicago dealing with the the blizzard and wicked cold temps, I'm sure he'll be happy to be back in Florida. It's sunny and 77 degrees today...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Enveloped in a Shroud of Sea Fog...

When I took the dogs out for their final walk last night about 2 a.m. I found that a heavy sea fog had drifted ashore. I love how fog softens everything and gives it an other worldly, mystical look.  I'll never forget the first time I was on the beach and saw a wall of sea fog moving toward shore. It was the middle of the day and the wall of fog was so clearly defined, it looked like a solid block of greyness moving across the water. It was an amazing sight.  I hope someday to be on the beach again to watch a sea fog move in- only this time with my Flip so I can catch it on video.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where Would You Rather Be?

Real Old Man sent me this photo he took of the patio area outside his hotel in Chicago...

I returned the favor by sending him a photo of our patio today...
Hmm... where would I rather be?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No Way In Hell I'll Never Go Back!

Of all times, it just had to be this week Real Old Man needed to go to Chicago on a business trip. So while I'm sitting home enjoying a warm 77 degree day on the lanai looking out at this...

 ... he's in Chicago waiting for the big blizzard to hit. Poor bastard. After spending most of my life in the Midwest, there's no way in hell I'm ever going back. For any reason. Ever. Not in the winter, summer, spring or fall.

Instead of waiting for a blizzard,  I spent the afternoon giving the girls a spa day and now they're happily air drying.... which takes awhile for Isabella...

But Emmy is one of those wash and wear girls...