coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Most Famous Reindeer of All

The other night, while driving our 6 year old grandson home, we made up silly and a slightly naughty lyrics to Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. For instance, "Comet" became "Vomit," "Cupid" became "Stupid," and Rudolph became the "Snot Nosed Reindeer." We pulled out all the stops, using as many gross terms we could imagine to make a 6 year old boy laugh out loud. When Grandpa substituted Shitzen for Blitzen, I thought little N would bust a gut. Good times!

I don't remember my grandparents doing things like this. I fear I am a bad influence. I always knew I was with my friends, but I figured I'd outgrow it long before I became a grandmother. Guess not.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Alright already, I cleaned.

This post is for my blog-friend Sabine, who is often the voice crying out in the wilderness. 

Baby Sister texted to thank me for posting about our mother, and we reminisced about childhood holidays. She remarked on the work Mom did to stage those holidays. She said how thankful she was Mom made the effort because it provided lovely memories. Baby Sister waxed poetically about pulling out Mom's good china and setting a beautiful table under Mom's direction. Sheesh.

mother was a great cook, but a lousy housekeeper.  She's famous throughout our extended family for her messy house. So for her to summon up the energy to discard all the accumulated junk on her dining room table was a monumental act of love in itself.

Great, I thought to myself as I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair with the phone to my ear. Now in addition to cleaning like a crazy woman, I had to go through the boxes in the garage to find the good china?

I muttered a stream of swear words that would make a sailor's eyes pop out, pulled my lazy #%* off the couch to start cleaning the house and digging out the china. I made the effort not because I wanted to, but because my grandkids deserve Thanksgiving memories of a beautifully set table at their grandparent's house.
The things we do for love, right?

Is that all? Well of course not! I'm a sneaky old woman and I'm leading up to something more important than cleaning; climate change. If we don't start making the changes to deal with this, there won't be a future for our grandchildren, great-nieces/nephews.

Why bother? Well, why bother breathing?!

Climate change WILL be at the top of the list for the new Democrat majority House of Representatives in the U.S
While they deal with the big issues, we must muster the energy to overcome our cynicism and despair on the home front. We can start creatively imagining new ideas, new industries, alternate economies, better and more effective political strategies so there will a reasonable future for those we love.

Call me naive, but to me there is nothing more important right now than this: reuse, recycle, re-imagine,
rethink, and redesign. Please make the effort.

Popeye would do it.  Bluto would not. Be like Popeye.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Do I have to clean my house for Thanksgiving?

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday. It is as if I went to sleep last July and then woke up this morning. What a wonderful and personally satisfying interlude this election cycle has been. I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2020. 

But now I have to come down to earth and face the cold hard truth. I'm going to have to clean my freakin' house in anticipation of a big family dinner. Let's just say the housework has been a bit neglected and a serious holiday cleaning is in order. Yikes. It will take me days. I better get crackin'.

I'm sure it is hard for readers outside the U.S. to understand Thanksgiving, unless you are Canadian. Then you have already been through yours and you know the drill. But the rest are probably wondering what's the big deal with this Thanksgiving thing, and why don't we just wait until Christmas for Turkey? I don't know. We just don't. We're American, for better or worse. 

Thanksgiving is a family-based holiday, but not commercialized or decadent like the U.S. version of Christmas has become. It is about food, memories, and love. Or at least that's what we tell ourselves. I bet a lot of the people who will celebrate on Thursday dread it like the plague because they will have to sit next to their mean-spirited aunt, or their racist father. Politics, religion, and unresolved emotional themes will ruin yet another family meal in some households. Oh well, as long as the food is good. It is really the best meal of the year.

I love Thanksgiving food. Thinking of mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, moist cornbread stuffing with nuts and dried fruit, homemade cranberry sauce, and all the rest make me happy. A special memory is my mother's pumpkin pie. Oh, Ma! I miss you so.

She never bought canned pumpkin. Nope, not my Mom. She bought small pie pumpkins, split them in half, cleaned out the seeds and baked the pumpkin in the oven before scraping it out and making the pie. THEE pie. The perfect pumpkin pie. It was totally different than one made with canned pumpkin. Hers was luscious; darker, complex, textured, better in every way.

Everything was usually made from scratch in her house, but certainly always on holidays. She would even make homemade bread for Thanksgiving. We topped it off with jellies and jams her and my father "put up" (i.e., canned) every August.

I have had dreams about her three times in the past two weeks. In truth, this is what the holidays really do.  They conjure up ghosts.

My mother in pink, 1988

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Counts and recounts

Well, the thing about elections in Florida is that they never seem to end. We came very close to winning the Governor, Senator, and Agriculture Commissioner, but on election night it seemed we lost. 

However, over the next few days they kept "finding" votes that were not counted.  Seriously.  So now the Agriculture Commissioner candidate who was declared the loser last Tuesday has more votes than the so-called winner. Both the Governor and Senator races are within one half of one percent difference between candidates. 

The result? Probably automatic recounts for all three races. It will be weeks before we know the results or who the true winners are. But at least now if we lose, we'll know the truth. And we'll know the places in Florida that need to be held accountable for incompetence at best, and fraud at worst. 

In addition, we now have a cadre of seasoned progressive candidates who will try, try, again. The only thing better than winning outright, is coming back after a loss and winning the second time around. Winning isn't always clear cut; however, win or lose, this progressive energy feels like a huge victory for Florida. 

In the meantime, we took back the U.S. House of Representatives! We are powerless no longer. Hang on to your hat.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween, Florida style

Please tell me I am not the only person who has already consumed an entire bag of Halloween candy that was (foolishly) purchased weeks ago?

I am not looking forward to cleaning out two large pumpkins today. However, I am looking forward to lighting them up this evening. October is warm here. We sit outside on the front porch and wait for the neighbor kids to arrive for treats. They are cute, and I enjoy talking to them. And I'm probably one of the few people who enjoys teenagers who show up in packs. Yeah, I know they are too old, but so what? Halloween is a neighborhood event, and I like the idea of teenagers still wanting to be children who are a part of this fun community ritual. I'm glad they are begging for treats instead of wreaking havoc throughout the neighborhood.  Honestly, I wish I could still dress up and trick-or-treat, too.

Halloween Florida style

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Better than an action movie

I'm sure you are all sick to death of my political posts. Hang in, please. The mid-term elections are less than two weeks away and then I promise to go back to Colette's World style posts. For now, though, I am having the most fun of my adult life with this Florida gubernatorial race. Like so many political battles in this 2018 mid-term election year, this represents the divide that exists in this great country, and it delivers the best hope for breaching that divide and returning us to a healthy democracy.  

Last night I watched the final debate between the progressive Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum and his Trumpite opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis. The first debate had more quotable quotes, but this second one was absolutely epic. I spent that hour on the couch whooping it up, pointing, snapping, and feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time. It was more exciting than watching the Chicago Cubs finally win the World Series last year, but oddly similar in spirit. And yes, Andrew knocked it out of the park. 

and here's a video of it in case you are as obsessed as me:

Friday, October 19, 2018

If you are in it for the long haul

If you are in it for the long haul, you have to pace yourself. 

It is important to know when to rest, when to breathe deep, and when to look away. From time to time we must step back in order to come back swinging. Not only is that okay, it is essential.

And don't forget pleasure! Pleasure and joy play a role in sustaining a long struggle. Those are the moments that remind us life is worth living. Balance requires joy.

What is life but a series of obstacles that must be overcome? One can always surrender, it's true. But where is the fun in that? What is more important in your life than fighting the good fight? 

Struggle is the great work. If you can maintain hard work and committed living for the long run, in spite of the pain, you will have lived a heroic life. I guess there are some who don't particularly want to be heroic. I don't really understand that mindset, but I know it is a valid choice. Lots of good people live quiet lives. Do I envy them? Yes, some days I do. They remind us of what life could be like if life was normal.

For many of us, for whatever reason, life will never be normal. You are the people I'm talking to right now. Pace yourself. 

Being normal is overrated

Monday, October 15, 2018

Weed 'em out

It's hard to keep up with the weeds in my perennial beds. The summers in Central Florida are long, hot and oppressively sunny. It is impossible for us to get out there between June 15 and October 15 and weed. Instead, we mulch heavily in spring and hope for the best until Halloween approaches. 

We've been trying to use pine straw mulch because it is natural, native, and good for our acid-loving plants. Okay, we do it because we're trying to be politically right-on. However, I'm finding it similar to using herbal meds for physical issues. It sounds good but just doesn't work. Getting rid of weeds may require a sturdier mulch, and more of it. I'm sorry to say this. I really wanted to be kind and gentle, but those weeds must go. Time to get serious.

We've had a ridiculous amount of rain in the past few months so our hopeful, once thick and massive cover of pine straw has broken down quickly. Weeds are not smothered, they poke through the straw. They seem to benefit from the pine straw as much as our azaleas do. They grow and multiply. We're going to have to dig out an entire bed of Louisiana iris to get to the weeds and start again. This time I'm going to spray the tubers with water to try and wash out the weed seeds before replanting. That'll show 'em, right? 

Weeding is a fight that may never be won, but must always be fought. 

Reminds me of politics. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

October in Central Florida

I'm too stressed and overwhelmed over the upcoming elections to write much these days.  However, I am enjoying October in Central Florida so I thought I'd share some photos from our farmer's market and Lake Apopka.  Later today we're going to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival at Disney World with our daughter and granddaughter. I may have more photos for you later this week. 

Pumpkins for sale at the farmer's market

The fishmonger at the market

Hot dog stand

Awapuhi Ginger for sale
Heron on the loop (bike) trail alongside Lake Apopka
egrets hanging out in a tree, spider lilies at the bottom

plant crud, looking down from a bridge

A small alligator, moving fast
I should know what this is, but I don't. It is a water plant.  Do you know the name?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Check yourself

Here's a great site to check voter registration deadlines, your voting status, and find your voting location regardless of state:

Voter registrations deadlines are early this week in most states.  If you haven't registered, please go online and do so ASAP.   It has never been more important to vote.  Go high. Vote as if your rights depended on it.