coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Where have all the heroes gone?

From 2016 through 2020, the U.S. was a hotbed of women warriors fighting the good fight. Caught off guard by that traumatic 2016 loss, there was an awakening of women's political consciousness. We worked hard over the next few years to ensure Trump only had one term, and to elect a new generation of progressive leaders. Florida was no exception. Women (and men, too, of course) spent heroic amounts of time involved in political actions. It was a beautiful thing. 

In 2018, it seemed we might flip Florida "blue" (i.e., Democrat). Andrew Gillum was a progressive leader. Honestly, it really seemed like we were going to win the 2018 governor election. We only lost by 1/2 of 1% of the votes cast, about 32,400 votes of the 8.1 million votes cast. 

In 2022, the Florida Democrats ran a former Republican governor, Charlie Crist, who had switched sides to run in 2014, although he lost then. For obvious reasons he seemed like a safer candidate, a moderate who might be able to win in Florida. But he didn't, he lost to Desantis by 19.4%, or 1,507,897 votes of the 7.8 million votes cast. 

Many women warriors have left Florida since 2022. Some moved their families to states where the educational system wasn't threatened. I watch them go, reading their hopeful posts on Facebook. I get it, especially for those who have school aged children, trans children, or children of color. I wish them the best.  

When I first moved here there were more registered Democrats than Republicans.  Here's how it stands now.  Keep in mind that research tells us that the NPA votes are pretty evenly split between liberal and conservative.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Reflecting on Florida and Disney World

I like my Florida retiree life, but I realize Florida is creepy. Republicans have dominated the state senate, house, and governorship for about 30 years. Wacky retro laws are being passed daily, and the educational system is headed for disaster. Hate and intolerance are the rage. Women, children, gay people, and people of color are under attack as the white GOP machine struggles to turn back the clock and put everyone back "in their place."

I also know Disney represents all that is wrong about capitalism, but holy smokes folks! They stand up to DeSatan DeSantis and the repressive Florida GOP.  Currently they are in an epic battle with Desantis because of his stupid Don't Say Gay bill. Disney is big enough, and arrogant enough to fight back on behalf of their LGBTQIA+ employees and guests. The other day at Epcot I saw an entire section of PRIDE merch in the main store. It made me smile. Our granddaughter Melanie, who died in a car accident last summer, was gay. She loved Disney. I wish she could have seen that display, it would have made her smile as well. What I wouldn't give to see her smile!

Sometimes you have to choose a side even though there are no perfect choices. It's all very confusing. When I was a New York liberal, everything seemed so simple and clear.  Down here in Florida, not so much.  Life is really much more complicated than I thought.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Ridiculous pleasures

This is how ridiculous my retirement life is in the Land of Mouse. Today I have the choice of either edging the lawn or going to Epcot with my daughter and granddaughter.  

When you're a Florida resident and buy the cheapest Disney annual pass, you can pretty much go any weekday you like, all year long. Weekends are out for us cheap pass holders, but who cares? Everyone and their brother is there on the weekend. As a retiree, I rarely leave the house on Saturday or Sunday. We only live a half hour from the parks, so it's (ridiculously) easy to go. 

My granddaughter just came home from college for the summer. The grandson is still in school, so he won't be coming this time. It will be my daughter, granddaughter, and me. My husband and son-in-law don't like theme parks and refuse to go. That's fine with me because quite frankly, they get tired and cranky and are NO fun at the parks. 

Please don't judge me!

Monday, May 8, 2023

I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way

As a child I lived in my head. I tried not to go outside and play with neighborhood children because I preferred my own company. I had an active imagination. I played with my dolls for hours. I spent a lot of time daydreaming. I drew images on the newspaper with a ballpoint pen, usually faces and hairdos. I read each of the children's encyclopedias lined up in our room, many times. When I went to the library I would load up. When I came home and piled unread books around me, they seemed like a treasure trove. 

Thankfully, neither of my two older sisters spent day time in our shared room. I did. It was my chance to be alone. No one was looking, no one was judging. I was left to my own devices. I quite liked that.

Eventually, I became a wife, mother, and wage earner. I spent the next 50+ years building an external life that was productive. I made the best of it during the hard times. I thrived during the good times. I learned things. Every task I undertook, every person I interacted with during my earning years was a lesson in something or other.  I tried to pay attention, and I learned to focus as best I could.  

Still, there were times when my computer reminded me I had a meeting to attend. I would gather my purse and be on my way. I'd exit the building and realize I had no idea where the meeting was. No problem, there were other managers leaving their buildings to walk to the exact same meeting. I would either walk with them or follow them. It always worked out just fine.  

Friday, April 28, 2023

I found that red dress

I found it. Not just a red dress. I suspect the dress I now own might be the same Talbot red dress that I show Dora wearing in my post. Of course I don't mean it is Dora's actual dress from 2016, I mean it is one just like it. I found it on ebay for $30.  Can you believe it? Perhaps tenacity is a virtue?

Now I just have to invest in shape wear so I don't look lumpy when I wear it. I have two months, maybe I could lose 5 pounds? Whatever it takes. By all that is holy, I'm wearing this blankety blank dress.  

And ladies, could I get away with wearing black shoes with this red dress for a summer wedding? When I was a teenager in the 1960's, one didn't wear black shoes in the warm weather. Black shoes were cold weather shoes. Yeah, that's how long ago I actually thought about fashion. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

A night out

Our niece, K, flew in to attend a training session in Orlando. She stayed at a Holiday Inn across from the Universal theme park. We took her to Universal's City Walk for dinner with our daughter and her family. City Walk, like Disney's Disney Springs, is the restaurant section. There is no entrance fee for City Walk, and if you arrive after 6 p.m. the parking is free. Otherwise, they charge $30 to park.  

City Walk is much smaller than Disney Springs, but it is a festive place with neon, people, shops, and restaurants. Kiosks selling trinkets, margaritas, and cold beer abound. It feels like a carnival. I like that.

We struggled finding dinner reservations for 6 people. We usually go to The Cowfish@ Sushi Burger Bar. No luck there, or at any of the other decent restaurants. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville had room for us. The food wasn't great, but as a bonafide Northern transplant I'm used to that sort of deep fried disappointment. Let me just say there aren't many non-franchise eateries in greater Orlando. I made the mistake of trying the fish and chips. Yuck. Cole slaw is a ubiquitous side dish down here. Luckily, Jimmy makes a pretty good slaw, but it was room temp. Never a good sign.

I wish we could have taken K to Cowfish instead of Margaritaville. I also wish we had brought her home, cooked for her, and kept her for a few days. Next time.

Monday, April 17, 2023

That red dress

Our grandson's wedding is still a couple of months away, but I have had no luck finding a dress I like for the rehearsal dinner.  

My needs are simple.  Nothing low cut, no weird cut-outs, tea length (midi or below the knee), short sleeves, not tight fitting, not sexy, not high fashion. And I want it to be red, but I'm willing to compromise on the color.  

I'm 71 years old. I want to look respectable and attractive in an old lady kind of way.  Is that too much to ask?  

Saturday, March 25, 2023


I started physical therapy this week for a rotator cuff injury.  I guess one would call it an injury.  It's not painful as much as it is constantly sore. I don't know how I injured it.  Maybe just sleeping on that side, or due to enthusiastic weeding in the garden?  It's not serious, and doesn't seem to be a tear.  I'm fairly confident it will get better with therapy and I won't need surgery.  I live in hope.  

As one ages, it always seems to be something.  That's a phrase all the old ladies in my life have used.  Now I'm old and I have earned the right to say it.  Cliches have power.  

Looking back over my life I must admit it has always been something.  Looking forward I assume there will be something else and more, both good and bad.  

I do like going to physical therapy, it reminds me of going to the gym, and having a personal trainer.  Maybe if I actually still went to a gym I wouldn't have this injury?  No way to tell unless I went to a gym after I heal.  Not going to happen.  I just don't want to.  

It does feel good to be exercising my upper arms, though.  

Thursday, March 2, 2023

8 years this week

The whole process was surreal. She was in a nursing home and had a stroke. We didn't want her to be alone, so I offered to sleep in a hospital bed next to hers until she died.  

That week in the room with her was strange. She was non-responsive. I feel like I slept in the valley of the shadow of death. And you know what? I feared no evil.  There was no evil, only death and dying. Death is not evil, it is just relentlessly sad.    

My Mom was a devout, old-time Catholic. She once told me that the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel was her favorite prayer and she wanted it read after she died. Within minutes of her last breath, I googled that Leonine prayer (written about 1886), stood up and told my siblings I was going to read it because she asked. 

I was not the least bit familiar with this prayer. When I started reading it aloud I was a bit spooked, but I soldiered on. My siblings looked at me like they thought I'd lost my mind. Perhaps I had. 

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."

It seemed like a magical invocation. I was calling out the big guns, the ultimate bad ass, an angelic warrior named Michael! In doing so, I made a plea for her safety on that journey only the dead will take.  Honestly, I don't think I COULD have read it out loud if I had been in my right mind.  

Turns out Archangels have job descriptions.  According to Wikipedia

Michael is the angel of death, carrying the souls of all the deceased to heaven. In this role Michael descends at the hour of death, and gives each soul the chance to redeem itself before passing; thus consternating the devil and his minions."

I didn't know this until today when I looked him up. My Mom would have known and believed. At the end, she deserved better than me, an agnostic drama queen.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Visitor #3 of 3

Our second visitor arrived on Monday and left on Thursday.  Friday was our daughter M's 51st birthday dinner, and Saturday night Tom2, our third visitor of the week, arrived.  What a kind and gentle person he is.  

Having all these visitors has been fun in so many ways, and still is.  However, I'm on my last leg.  Today we took Tom2 to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive to see alligators, birds, and waterfowl from the convenience of our car window.  It's always a big hit with visitors, and my Tom and I love the drive.  Afterwards we drove into Mt. Dora to go to our favorite Cuban restaurant, The Copocabana, where I had my usual picadillo with a large mojito.  What a beautiful day!

I had to take a nap as soon as I got in the house.  Did I tell you I was exhausted?  

Here are some pictures from the drive.  Never fear, I was using a zoom lens and I was inside the car.   

Alligator Head





A big old gator