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, May 24, 2012

It Was a Beachy Kind of Weekend

Ah.... and we're back in summer mode, thank ya jezzuz! I live for this time of year when the snowbirds have gone home, the tourists have thinned out and beaches belong to the locals once again. Lots of wide open white powder beach areas with a sky so blue it looks like it was painted. The turquoise water was crystal clear and calm, just gently lapping at the shoreline. 

Lots of treasures to be found during low tide. I wonder how many years it took for these shells to fuse together? I can just imagine their stories of all the places they've been, things they've seen and experienced before they finally came to rest on the beach.

See that little blue cottage in the middle? I feel in love with it the first time I saw it. It's for sale, now if I just had a a couple million dollars...

The sea turtles have already started coming ashore to lay their eggs...

Here are a few tiny shells I brought home. They are about the size of the nail on my little finger. So intricate and beautiful. Left click the photo and then click "open link in new window" to see full size.

There's no where on earth lovelier than Anna Maria Island in the summer!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Very Important!

Last night I had a really intense dream which had an important message I was to share with the masses. The minute I woke this morning I thought I must blog about this dream, people must know! But first things first- I had to pee and brush my teeth.

And guess what after I peed, brushed the early morning stink out of my mouth, washed the dried night time drool off my face, and put in some eye drops to ease my allergy suffering puffy and gritty eyes... I couldn't remember one frigging thing about my dream.  I hope that dream wasn't an important cosmic message with instructions that were essential for the survival of the human species. If it was, I can't remember a damn thing about it so I guess we're all fucked. Oh well, guess I'll go to the beach... for all I know this may be the last day of the world...  and I'm sure as hell not wasting it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Termites, Suspicious Characters, and Dogs

 For days now, we've noticed this guy walking by the house, down to the end of the cul-de-sac, then he  turns around and walks back to where ever he came from. He does this several time a day. He's very focused, keeps up the same pace, doesn't stop to look at anything or talk to anyone.  He's always carrying that black bag and a bottle of water. I'm so curious as to what he has in the bag. Maybe a defibrillator? If keeps walking around in the heat of the day he may very well need it. I asked a neighbor who knows everything about everyone and even she didn't know who he was. I've thought about following him to see where he's coming from, but it's hot and I'm lazy. It's close to 90 each day and I'm now in summer mode. The only thing I do outside now is sit my fat ass on the lanai under the ceiling fans until the sun begins to go down.

Not only is it now summertime in SW FL., it's also termite season. Every May like clockwork the bastards show up. We've had our house treated several times, but I don't know if you ever get rid of termites completely and forever in FL. I had no idea termites were such a problem in Florida until we moved here. I thought we were done with them when we didn't find any of the tell tale wings for several years. But they're back and have driven me out of the computer room. For some reason they are attracted to light, and of course I'm on my computer late at night with my desk light on which was like flashing a welcome sign to the hungry little bastards. When termites swarm in the spring they lose their wings before they settle in to eat your house to the ground. And the other night I saw a small pile of wings scattered on the top of my desk so I knew they were back. The wings are small and transparent. I tried to take photo of them on paper towel with my camera's macro on, but they are still hard to see.

I've counted 4 different exterminating company trucks on my street just today so I know we aren't the only ones that have been cursed by a recent visit by the little winged demons. Termite treatments costs some serious money and I'm sure it's like Christmas for the exterminators. We keep treating and just hope our homes survive until we die.  Then the little fuckers can have the place if they want it. For now  I'm so creeped out by them I'm staying out of the computer room and using my laptop. Of course termites have no interest people and don't bite, but the thought of them and the chemicals used to kill them definitely makes me uncomfortable. 

Termites didn't worry Isabella as she blissfully lounged and napped on her ottoman this afternoon. No storms anywhere near us today so she's happy. 

Some have accused me having a favorite dog because I post so many photos of Isabella and not many of Emmy, our Jack Russell Terrier. The reason why is it's hard to get her to sit still long enough for a photo. As Isabella calmly napped while I took her picture, Emmy was posed on the arm of the couch momentarily- the minute I aimed the camera at her and she heard the chime as I took this photo she flew off the couch and came running to me. I have no idea why. She's seen me take photos for years but she still has to check the camera out when she hears the chime. And that is why I don't post many photos of her.

I think it's going to be a beach day for us tomorrow. Hope you're all having nice weather where ever you are and you get out to do something fun this weekend...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We've Been As Dry As ...

...I was going to say as dry as the vaginas around our community pool but decided that was in poor taste. I should only talk about my own vagina and not presume to comment on the condition of someone else's vagina. I'll just say we've been as dry as my vagina. Thank ya jezzuz for lady part moisturizers. Anyway, we really need rain.  I don't think it's inches of rain we're behind on now, I think the weather people are now measuring our deficit in feet. Every day rain will come within a few miles of us and veer away. Yesterday the rain was practically knocking on our east door. So close Isabella had the vapors and demanded her Xanax. 

But no rain for us yesterday. This is as close as it came.

Today's radar looked much as it has for days. Approaching rain splitting apart just before reaching us. Again, close enough for Isabella to take to the wall and begin to drool until she got her Xanax, but no rain for us.

Finally this afternoon the skies darkened and when I went out to look I saw this to the..





We were surrounded by storms, surely we'd get some rain from this mess. And when I went inside Bella was back at her wall doing some serious shaking- time for another dose of Xanax. Within an hour, the sky opened up and dumped some serious rain. Didn't rain that long, but I'm sure the rain barrel  got filled. We'll take what we can get. After the storm passed, Isabella ate a huge supper and crashed to catch up on all the sleep she lost today. Instead of napping most of the day as she usually does, she was frantically holding up the wall and praying the sky wouldn't fall in on her. Must be exhausting. Bless her heart...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Damn Electronics Packaging- The Bastards...

I hate how so many electronic accessories are in sealed hard plastic packaging. I thought I was going to have to get ROM's table saw out to open this frigging mouse package. I think I'm going to start basing my purchasing decisions on which products will be the easiest to remove from the packaging. I suppose they package things this way to thwart shoplifters, damn criminals are always inconveniencing law abiding consumers. Same thing with now having to show our drivers licenses to purchase over the counter allergy meds and being limited on how much we can purchase.  So now instead of one of us going to Target once a month and picking up enough allergy meds for both us, we both have to go to the store with our drivers license in hand. Stupid politicians decided that would stop the meth epidemic, which of course is nonsense. But that's a whole 'nother subject. I did finally get the mouse out of the package, after a lot cursing and hacking away at it with my utility scissors which have gotten very dull. I need to buy new ones- I bet they are packaged in hard plastic that'll I'll have to try to cut through with my old dull scissors. It's a vicious cycle I tell ya!

ROM spent the weekend in bed with a nasty respiratory virus. So the girls and I spent most of the weekend right here on the lanai:

It was a perfect weather for sitting on the lanai reading Stephen King's book The Dome and chatting on my laptop with my new mouse that I finally freed from the damn hard plastic sealed encasement.  Oh, my time outside also got me an earful of the latest neighborhood gossip about the quarrelers. I'll try to get that story written up tomorrow to post. Yes, even old people have their lovers spats.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It Started With A Banana Peel...

Yesterday after I had taken the trash out, I ate a banana. I hate the smell of banana peels in the garbage and realized the peel was going to be in the trashcan until the next day when I emptied it again. I solved the problem by putting the peel in a Ziploc bag and left it on the counter so I could add ROM's peel after he had his banana.

So that afternoon when he got home from work he asked me why I had a baggie sitting there with a banana peel in it and this is how it went:

Me: So I can plant them and grow bananas

ROM: Wow, I didn't know that was how banana plants were started. So now we can have homegrown bananas?

Me: Yes, I read an article online today about how to do it.

ROM: Cool!

Then I got busy watering the plants outside and forgot about it until I came in... and sure enough, ROM had dutifully added his banana peel to the baggie. I absolutely cracked up. I was laughing so hard I couldn't even answer him when he asked me what was so funny. I finally choked out a two word response - "banana peel!". And I kept laughing as he stood there looking puzzled as to why banana peels would make me laugh so hard. When I finally got my laughter under control and told him I couldn't believe he fell for my story about growing bananas from peels. His only response was "You ass! I can't believe I still fall for your bullshit!". My only regret is that I didn't have him dig holes to put the banana peels in, have him water them every day and then watched him waiting for them to grow.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinco De Mayo and Not a Taco In Sight...

We went to the downtown Bradenton, FL.  Cinco De Mayo celebration Saturday night. I love downtown Bradenton, such a pretty area. Old Main Street is where something is always going on such as farmers markets and art fairs.

There were quite a few dogs and this one stole my heart-

There was also this amazing large iguana on display by a wildlife rescue organization. For some reason I though iguana's were green but this guy had gorgeous coloring of blue, green, grey, silver and copper. And he was quite patient with my photo taking while keeping a watchful eye on me. ROM kept warning me not to get too close. He used to do volunteer work with a rescue agency and a guy he worked with got a big chunk of his ear torn off by an iguana. This guy might have a fighting chance with Emmy, unlike the little geckos on our lanai. And yes, I know they are really named anoles, but I like the word gecko better. So in my world on my lanai anoles are geckos.

As the sun began to set, more and more people began to fill the street and we could hear the band several streets away. There were lots of food vendors and area restaurants open, but not one single place was offering anything remotely Mexican to eat. There were a few people wearing sombreros- white people looking foolish. But no Mexican food, no Mexican music, and no Mexican people that I saw.

For some reason, there was an appearance of the Crewe of Hernando de Soto.

I would have gotten a lot more beads if I had flashed my tatas. The night's Giant Moon would have paled in comparison to my magnificent womanly orbs, dontcha' know? ROM objected and promised to buy me all the cheap beads I wanted if I kept my clothes on and didn't embarrass him.

I have no idea what connection Bradenton thinks De Soto had with Cinco De Mayo, but I have news for them- there is none. It doesn't seem to matter what the occasion is, they include De Soto and the Crew. De Soto is a big deal here because he landed in Bradenton in 1539. According to Wikipedia:

"In May 1539, de Soto landed nine ships with over 620 men and 220 horses at present-day Shaw's Point, in Bradenton, Florida. He named it EspĂ­ritu Santo after the Holy Spirit. The ships brought priests, craftsmen, engineers, farmers, and merchants; some with their families, some from Cuba, most from Europe and Africa. Few had traveled before outside of Spain, or even their home villages."

Cinco De Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla when  an out numbered and out armed group of Mexicans soundly beat a well armed French Army-  which took place on May 5, 1862. And it had absolutely nothing to do with De Soto. In fact, De Soto was from Spain, not Mexico, and he died several hundred years before the Battle of Puebla.

Apparently, Cinco De Mayo isn't as big a deal to Mexicans as it is to white Americans- and we don't even know what it is or what we're celebrating. Come on Bradenton event planners-. if you want to have Cinco De Mayo celebrations then at least invite some Mexican food vendors (we have several great Mexican restaurants in town), and how about some Mexican music next year? Perhaps some Mexican arts and crafts booths?  De Soto and his Crew aren't a suitable substitution. When you get ready to start planning next year's Cinco De Mayo, give me a call if you need some ideas. Oh- and if you want to toss beads to women, get a better quality of beads because I ended up with a nasty rash on my chest from wearing those beads you were tossing at us. Yes, there are quite a few things we need to discuss and plan out before the next Cinco De Mayo. Have your people call my people to set up a meeting.

I'll leave you with this video of a young woman celebrating with her hoolahoop...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Fine Line Between Crazy Liars and Interesting Eccentrics

This is a common sight in all of the 55 & over communities in the area. The snowbirds are battening down the hatches of their winter homes and making their way back up north. Soon these pretty red geraniums will be withered up dead vegetation. And come November the people that live here will return and plant new geraniums.  Or a for sale sign will appear. Some people don't make it back, just the way it is in older communities.  People die, develop serious health problems, or just get too frail to make the trip. 

I'm finding it harder and harder to find people I really enjoy.  All of my neighbors are perfectly nice people- courteous, pleasant, and friendly. But oh so boring... I can only talk about the weather and trivial niceties so long before my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to wander. I guess I like edgy people that are a bit eccentric but that's gotten me in trouble when they turn out to be just a tad too edgy and I eventually catch on that they're bat shit crazy, and then I don't know how to get rid of them. You think the duck story was crazy, oh lordy the stories I could tell you about some of the people that have come and gone from life over the years. The older I get the harder it is to find edgy, witty and fun people that haven't crossed that fine line between being edgy and being unstable.

Speaking of unstable... why are so many of them online???  I've been online since the late 90's and have ran into so many crazies in political, spiritual and artist groups, and now on Twitter. I recently discovered someone I met online who I thought I knew well is in fact a complete fraud.  Over and over again I've met people that at first seem to be amazing, fun people who are living interesting lives. In time I find out those interesting lives they're sharing are mostly made up and heavily embellished. Why are so many people dissatisfied with their real lives? And why put so much energy into making up a fantasy life instead of putting that energy into changing whatever it is that makes them unhappy with their real life?  The older I get the less I understand people. That's why I love my dogs- they never put on airs and try to be what they aren't. Relationships aren't a game with them- they accept and love me as I am and trust that I love them just as they are, which I do... 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Search For The Red Pineapple

I don't remember my mom ever having house plants or doing any gardening outside. She thought plants were messy, always died and had no interest in them. My grandmother on the other hand,  always had houseplants and a small vegetable garden.  Every spring she'd plant sweet peas around her porch and let them climb the railings.   I can still close my eyes and see their pretty blooms and smell their sweet scent.  Funny how some childhood memories never leave you. My grandma and grandpa were my favorite people and I have so many wonderful memories of them. 

As a young adult I never thought about plants, was always busy with school, work and life in general. But I can tell you exactly when my passion for plants started... it was on my 30th birthday. It's the only birthday that has ever bothered me. My 40th, 50th, and even my 60th haven't bothered me like the big 3-0 did. Something about not being in my 20's anymore really depressed me. I hadn't accomplished any of the things I thought I would by the time I was 30, my life was in turmoil and I was in the process of making big changes in my life.  I had decided to ignore my birthday and was wallowing in self pity as I watched TV when a friend dropped by with a gift- a book about plants. Why she gave me a book about plants I hadn't a clue, and still don't-LOL At that time I had no plants, had never expressed an interest in plants, and the only thing I knew about plants were memories of my grandmother's. Later that night I remember looking through the book and ended up reading it cover to cover before putting it down. I still have that book.  And that is when my love of plants began. 

Over the years I've had many plants both inside and outside. When I was 40 I even spent a summer working at a greenhouse just for the opportunity to learn more about gardening and plants. Hardest work and worse pay I've ever experienced but of all the jobs I've had over the years, it was my favorite. I spent every cent I made there plus more every week and by the end of the summer our yard was a show stopper. 

When we moved to Florida I was delighted that there were so many amazing plants I couldn't grow in the Midwest but could grow here.  Unlike the short growing period we had in the Midwest, I could now garden outside year around. Of course I can no longer get down on my hands and knees to work on things planted in the ground so I've taken up container gardening. ROM does the in ground planting and stick with container plants. And to make it even easier for me, last year he ordered a potting bench for me.   I was so excited when it arrived in a box...
(I discovered if you right click a photo and then select "open link in new window" you can the see the photos full size.)

After he got it put together, I decided to add some lattice and planting boxes to it. I planted mandevilla  in each box and waited for it to grow.

And grow it did! Within a couple of months the trellises were covered with vines and bright red flowers.

I've put the potting bench to good use potting up new plants I've bought and repotting old friends I've had for some time. This Philodendron "Red Emerald" was a house plant I brought with me from IL. and it now lives on the lanai. Look at the size of that leaf! The plant is huge and has taken over an entire corner of the lanai.

These are baskets of mandevilla I recently potted and hung outside the lanai-

And of course I have lots of plants at the lanai front entrance-

You'd think I'd be satisfied with the plants I have, but of course I'm not. Especially after seeing my neighbor's red pineapple! OMG- I am so smitten with this plant and determined to get one. It's freaking gorgeous! We traipsed around  nurseries last weekend looking for a red pineapple plant and came home empty handed. Everyone knew what I was asking for and one nursery owner said she had one at home, but no one could tell me where I could get one.

I'm now stalking my neighbor trying to catch him home so I can ask him where he got his. Maybe I could even talk him into giving me one of the pups growing on his? 

Hopefully I'll soon have my own red pineapple plant to show you ;)