coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Crinum Lilly

The back of our yard is dominated by two cabbage palm trees. Because of the path of the sun, they provide some shade for the garden underneath and between the two trees. Right now there is an overgrown and obnoxious schefflera plant in the middle front, with azaleas on either side. Those three plants are the central focus of our view from the lanai.

Five years ago only the palms and the overgrown and obnoxious schefflera filled that space. We've been trying to fill it with bromeliad, white bird of paradise, dwarf poinciana, croton, and cordyline. None of these new plantings are mature yet, but they will be eventually and it will be beautiful.

I don't love that overgrown and obnoxious schefflera. A giant crinum lily is what we need there. The schefflera can be dug up, divided, and planted elsewhere or shared with others. I just have to find the perfect giant crinum. 

The only problem is they attract lubber grasshoppers, which means we have to gear ourselves up for the killing season in early spring. Aaack. Everything is a battle.

Some random pictures of various types of crinum. There are a lot of varieties. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

For Crying Out Loud

There are vanity apps on phones that do age progression on your photograph to show how you'd look in old age. I know these are fun. I get it. However, when you start posting the photos on social media so that your friends can laugh and be disgusted by the older "you," then I think you've crossed a line.

I have thought about this hard and long. What I have to say is this: The app picture of people looking older are not ugly to me. If I had friends who looked like the older photos, I would see them as beautiful.  I love the faces of my older friends, don't you?

Growing older and aging is not a bad thing. However, it is hard to adjust to growing older when we live in an insensitive youth culture that despises older women for aging. I wish young people could know how wrong it is to be judged harshly for becoming something more than sexual objects for men's fantasies. And that's the key, we are becoming something MORE, not something less. 

As a woman with wrinkles, gray hair, and age weight, the laughter and disgust over the age progressed pics diminishes me as a person. I feel invisible. I feel like I am disgusting and should never leave the house. I feel like I am the end result of everyone's fears about growing older. I begin to wonder why my ugly, useless self is still alive. What purpose do I serve when I am so reviled? Seriously, this is how ageism makes me feel.

Let's care less about how we look, and care more about what we do. Vanity is not a virtue. Women don't have to be young and beautiful to have value. The world will be a better place when we stop playing games.

self portraits over time:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Art scares him

I took my 7 year old grandson, N, to the Orlando Museum of Contemporary Art.  He had just participated in two weeks of Art Camp at a local gallery. I thought I'd take him to an art museum to broaden his horizon.

N is psyched to go any place that has a gift shop. This gift shop was up front by the admissions counter. Big mistake. He wanted to go there right away. I dug deep to invoke all my Grandma power, convincing him the gift shop would be the end of our adventure. 

We first encountered a blown glass sculpture as tall as the ceiling. It looked like an purple and yellow alien Christmas tree. He thought that was cool. I felt hopeful.

Next was a contemporary painting with no definable shape. It depicted stylized, frenetic representations of angry people wearing horse heads. He pondered it before exclaiming "Whoah, that's just WRONG!"  

Horse Head painting must have really creeped him out, because I had to cajole him into the other gallery spaces. He stood outside the entrance ways pointing towards the gift shop. He wanted to leave. He was actually afraid, poor kid. 

I thought maybe abstractions were the problem, but he seemed equally freaked by the representational art. We stopped in front of a large painting of a woman with two children. It was painted in a loose, impressionistic style with thick impasto. His thoughts? "Why does it seem like she's staring at me, Grandma?" 

The next room had reasonably benign landscapes. Not interested, he high-tailed it through to the next room which brought him to a skidding halt. An artist had piled all sorts of daily artifacts, toys, and plastic fruit/veg about a foot high on a long, narrow table and spray painted the entire piece bright pink. I loved it. He didn't want to go near it. His eyes were as big as saucers. 

He power-walked through various rooms without looking. Happily, the final room saved the day. An artist created miniature rooms in glass boxes with all the related teeny accoutrements. There were also headphones alongside the displays. Niko liked putting the headphones on. I have no idea what the artist was telling him, but it made him happy. Perhaps the guy said "Find the gift shop, young Skywalker."

And that's what we did. Art may now be ruined for him, but he got a great toy. A CubeBot, which is a representational abstraction, right?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

First world problems

Our air conditioning unit broke down last Sunday. That's always traumatic in July or August when 90-100° days, replete with drenching humidity, are common. Luckily, it was a relatively cool 86° with cloud cover and rainstorms.

The total repair charges end up being about $750. We will also be signing up for their yearly maintenance plan, which is $179 for the coming year. The guy told us that a new unit, which we "should really think about getting soon" would be $6,500. Yeah, right.

I think about this, and all the other charges for house maintenance. I wonder how many more years T and I will be able to afford to live in our own house.

Then I feel ashamed of my petty worries. Even if we were forced to sell and go into a small apartment we would still have enough. Enough is so much more than most people have. What a rough and tumble, frightening world we live in.