coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Friday, September 30, 2022


We are safe and sound and lucky as all get out. My heart goes out to all the people who weren't lucky. What devastation this hurricane has brought to parts of the Gulf Coast! 

My husband is taking the plywood off the outside of the bedroom window and I write this. Soon I'm going to drive over to our daughter's house (about 15 minutes away) to see if they got their power back, or if they want to come and stay with us until they do. Yesterday they said no. Since I haven't heard from them today, my assumption is their power is still off and their devices have run down. Surely young N will want to spend a day watching TV and playing video games? 

Their power went out for them about 11:30 pm as the storm hit Central Florida hard late Wednesday night. Ten year old N sent me a text after midnight with only one word, "Grandma." I didn’t read it when he sent it because I was asleep. Saw it about 1:30 am when I got up to check on things. Broke my heart.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Laundry and all that

I'm sick of doing laundry. Every single week, you know? It gets old. I don't mind organizing laundry and putting loads in the washing machine; however, I hate taking the clothes out of the dryer and folding them. Then you have to put them in the right drawers or closet! There's no end to it.  

It could be worse. When we still worked I ironed my husband's shirts every weekend. It was a labor of love. I never enjoyed it. I remember a professor whose wife refused to iron his shirts. Instead of ironing them himself, he wore them wrinkled. It isn't that I wasn't sympathetic to his wife, she was a working woman. I knew my husband would do the same. No way was I going to let him go to work looking rumpled. My choice.   

Retirement is a simpler life. Better in so many ways (e.g., t-shirts). I guess I shouldn't complain. In fact, writing this pet peeve post means I'm going to go get the sheets and jeans out of the dryer, where they've been sitting for 3 days, quietly waiting.  

And it seems we might have a hurricane hit Florida next week. I really should do as much laundry as I can before the power goes out.  

Don't judge me unless you've folded fitted sheets

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


A commonly repeated theme in my dream life is signing up for classes and then just not showing up.  For some reason, I don't take the trouble to drop the classes, I just stop going.  Sometimes (in my dream) I wonder if I should just show up for the final exam, but I've never read the materials.  It's very unsettling.  

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Poetry in emails

A dear friend sends me poetry via email. Not poems she has written, but poems she finds and likes. I must admit at first I thought,"What the hell?" But then I started reading them, ha! What a joy.  

I often struggle to relax enough to read. Anything. I'm not kidding. I do read, but I have to wrestle with an angel first. Concentration is something I earn. A good story helps.   

Forget about meditating, it's just not gonna happen. So, receiving poems from her is good for my immortal soul. Perhaps there is balm in Gilead?  

Here's the latest.  

Future Plans

When I am an old, old woman I may very well be
living all alone like many another before me
and I rather look forward to the day when I shall have
a tumbledown house on a hill top and behave
just as I wish to. No more need to be proud—
at the tag end of life one is at last allowed
to be answerable to no one. Then I shall wear
a shapeless felt hat clapped on over my white hair,
sneakers with holes for the toes, and a ragged dress.
My house shall be always in a deep-drifted mess,
my overgrown garden a jungle. I shall keep a crew
of cats and dogs, with perhaps a goat or two
for my agate-eyed familiars. And what delight
I shall take in the vagaries of day and night,
in the wind in the branches, in the rain on the roof!
I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof.
I’ll wake when I please, and when I please I shall doze;
whatever I think, I shall say; and I suppose
that with such a habit of speech I’ll be let well alone
to mumble plain truth like an old dog with a bare bone.

Our great granddaughter is one of my role models 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Do you have the time?

I have a short attention span.  When I was a kid, I used to entertain myself by reading encyclopedias. When I'm bored its fun just learning things quickly and in short spurts. Now I entertain myself by asking google just about anything.  

I was thinking about “time” this morning, the concept of time, that is.  I googled “time” and here are some of the things that came up.

How old is concept of time?

Artifacts from the Paleolithic suggest that the moon was used to reckon time as early as 6,000 years ago. Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, with years of either 12 or 13 lunar months (either 354 or 384 days).

Time - Wikipedia

Who created the time?

The Egyptians broke the period from sunrise to sunset into twelve equal parts, giving us the forerunner of today's hours. As a result, the Egyptian hour was not a constant length of time, as is the case today; rather, as one-twelfth of the daylight period, it varied with length of the day, and hence with the seasons.

About time - Mathematical Association of America

Is time an illusion?
According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn't correspond to physical reality. Indeed, as Rovelli argues in The Order of Time, much more is illusory, including Isaac Newton's picture of a universally ticking clock.Apr 16, 2018

The illusion of time - Nature › articles

What is time made of?

Time comes from every particle within our bodies, including our DNA that is made of these same atoms and particles. Time is the frequency of longitudinal energy waves. However, time is not constant. It changes with motion.

What is Time? – EWT - Energy Wave Theory

Does the past exist?

Events in the past and in the future do not exist. The only reality, the only thing that is real, is the present. This idea is called Presentism. This idea, however, runs into some serious problems when you start taking into account relativity.Nov 10, 2019

Are The Past And Future Real? The Physics And Philosophy Of Time

Can we travel back in time?

Time travel to the past is theoretically possible in certain general relativity spacetime geometries that permit traveling faster than the speed of light, such as cosmic strings, traversable wormholes, and Alcubierre drives.

Time travel - Wikipedia

It goes on and on with questions and concepts.  Really fun.  

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Roof Rats and Palm Trees

We are in the habit of leaving our cat, Murray, outside for a while after dinner/supper (your choice, depending on where you are from) until we go to bed at night. Our back yard is fenced in, and he hasn't shown interest in venturing beyond. He loves being out there alone in the dark.

We let him out if he wants to, of course. He's in charge of us. I wish I could say he is a benevolent master, but he's not. He's self-centered and quite demanding. You know the type!

He killed a rat the other evening. It was his first big "kill" and he was very excited, absolutely beside himself. It was the first time I've seen a rat in our yard, so I was both pleased and horrified over the "kill." It's complicated. In all sincerity, I apologize to all the soft-hearted rodent lovers out there. I'm afraid I would make a terrible Buddhist.  

We had noticed he's recently been obsessed after dark, sitting at the bottom of our palm trees in the back yard, looking up and stalking "something." 

It was a roof rat. Apparently, they are especially fond of living in palm trees. Notice my wishful thinking in pretending it was just one roof rat? We'll see.

"Call them what you want–roof rats, fruit rats, black rats–but they’re all the same thing. These are the same rats that spread bubonic plague and fleas. They’ve been with humans for centuries, and throughout that time, they’ve been less than ideal house guests. Rats spread far more diseases than the frightening Black Death, though. Others include murine typhus, salmonella, rat-bite fever, and leptospirosis, to name only a few."

Murray "Murder Mouth" the Cat - my hero


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Mowing the lawn

My husband is old school. At 70, we still mow our own lawn because he "can mow his own damn lawn." I like his spirit, and I like doing yard work alongside him. He mows. I edge.  

We never "edged" a lawn before we moved here. We didn't need to up north, where actual lawn grass is grown. Here in Central Florida, that soft, lush northern grass won't grow. There are specific grasses passing for lawn grass here. St. Augustine grass comes to mind. 

We don't care about the perfect lawn. In fact, we wish it would dry up and blow away. The grass in our lawn grows sideways, not straight up. The blades shoot up, but the plant has woody roots that grow to the side. That's why edging is required. If we didn't edge, our grass would creep over the sidewalks and into the street. The homeowners association and our neighbors would pitch a fit, for sure.

And then there is the hidden cost of "taking care of your own damn lawn" in Central Florida. While mowing today, my husband had a Cuban tree frog jump on him, mowed over a fire ant nest (getting numerous fire ant bites), and was stung by a yellow jacket. 

Florida is not for the timid.  

Never fear, the white stuff is sand blown up by the lawn mower.

I pull this piece of grass out of the ground.  They get really long.

Grass and weeds growing over a square concrete slab.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Buying shoes for the boy

I offered to buy new school shoes for grandson, N. 

I struggle figuring out things like the right size, what's cool, what's appropriate. A couple of years ago I took him shopping alone for new shoes and got shoes that were way too big. The parents had to take them back to exchange them.  

My daughter, M, was supposed to go with N and me to the shoe store, but she was sick. So I took him alone. Again. Surely they knew it wasn't a good idea, right?

As always with N and Grandma, it quickly became a comedy of errors. For some reason (COVID?) the store had removed all the metal shoe measures. Instead, they pointed us to diagrams on the floor where you put your foot down and try to guess what size you are. I don't want to guess. I want to know. 

Twice I kindly asked an employee to go get me the metal measure. He said he would, but he never did. Remember when there were actual shoe salespeople who fit a child for shoes? Not anymore. It's all a guessing game now. No service, no metal measures, no help. Just N and me squabbling. 

N liked the first pair he saw. Adidas high tops. Based on the guessing game, he tried a few sizes on. I went with the smaller size, as he said they were comfortable. We bought them and I took him home.

Surprise, surprise, they were an entire size too big. His father took him back to the store to exchange them. He made N look around and try on other shoes. They ended up getting two pairs for the price I paid for the way too big shoes. N seems happy.  

I refuse to take him shoe shopping alone in the future. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, July 2022

Yesterday, Tom and I went on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, and then on to the city of Mount Dora for Cuban food. It was a much needed distraction from reality. This is some of what we saw along the drive.

A big guy in the water on a hot, humid day

a cute little marsh rabbit, minding his own business

A shot along the canal, such beauty sustains me

Egret, fishing no doubt

a scrappy female grackle

A raccoon, just walking by

a great egret being chased away by a heron

The heron, triumphant

The big payoff, eating picadillo (me) and grouper salteado (Tom) at the Copacobana in Mt. Dora. There are so many interesting things on the menu, but my heart belongs to picaddillo. I can't bring myself to order anything else.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Expressing sympathy is hard

Any effort to connect and console a person undergoing grief is amazingly helpful. Social media now allows for immediacy and increased contact. I'm not one who thinks that is a bad thing.  I'm one who has been relying on FB more and more.  I will continue to do so.  We appreciated every heart, tear, and caring emoji, as well as the kind comments. It's a beautiful thing, love and caring.

We received a few sympathy cards via snail mail recently. 

In the future, in addition to the helpful immediacy of social media I will also send a sympathy card. I'll stop worrying about being perfect, and I'll just try to connect. I must admit I had forgotten how potent and magically personal sympathy cards are. We live and learn.

I still remember a card we received from our friend Salli back in 1995, when my brother Fred died in a car accident. What will always stay with me was when she wrote "I don't know why these terrible things happen, I only know they do." I'm not sure why that meant so much, but it did. Maybe because it was an honest sentiment?  

We received the following from a friend, Marianne, who has had her share of loss. Some may prefer a more formal declaration of sympathy; however, this was absolutely perfect for Tom and me. This is exactly how we felt about losing our granddaughter, Melanie.