Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hopefully the last day of the arctic vortex

I took these photos this morning:

Yep, they look like yesterday.  The snow, or as I have been corrected by on TV, the sleet is still frozen.  Obviously, my only experience with sleet in St. Louis, MO and the sleet we have in Florida is different.  Ours is more like snow, fluffy and light, but it did look icy so what do I know?
I understand that Hwy 19, 27 and 98 have closures.  The TV said that I-10 is closed from Jefferson County to Alabama.  Hopefully the overpasses and bridges will be thawing this morning and open up for my sweetie to get home today.  They made it as far as Louisiana yesterday.  They have left the hotel and are working their way east. 
I have been wearing myself out cleaning and packing the house.  I saw no reason why to dust my massive collection of chickens again before we move, so I washed them and packed them away.  I have packed our sangria pitcher collection and some of our other treasures.  Again, why should I dust it and then dust it and pack away. 
Oh my gosh, I am watching the Colbert Report this morning and there is Stephen singing I have a hammer with Mr. Seeger, as Mr. Colbert called him.  He was in his 90s when he was on the show, and my eyes lit up with bright tears over the sheer happiness of yet another opportunity to remember the sweet wonderful amazing Mr. Seeger.  Blessed be, you touched so many.
Tomorrow I will order Chinese food from our little Chinese restaurant here in Monticello.  It is the beginning of the lunar new year.  I usually fall back to the ease of Chinese New Year.  This is the year of the Horse. 
Hopefully the sun will find some warmth today.
The overpasses and bridges will thaw
My honey will be home tonight
tonight I will sleep in his arms and
finally be warm again.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Arctic presents

Christopher called and asked whether there had been any snow. 
I said no, just big fat thick rain. 


I turned around and looked out my window.
Snow or frozen ice, I am not an expert. 
It is not sleet I know that.
It is light and fluffy,
just heavy snow.
I guess

I put on my snow boots,
yes I bought a pair at Goodwill in NJ at Christmas
I put on my wool coat
my wool hat
my alpaca scarf
and scurried out for a few quick photos
and here they are:


I am still singing, Pete, I am still singing

I have loved reading and hearing about Pete Seeger while our world is eaten by an artic vortex. It is almost like the world has lost a bit of the warmth with the loss of this great humanitarian.  Will we ever be as warm?

I think Mr. Seeger would say, "Yes!  Gather around together and sing.  It will keep us warm and singing together will bring us together as a people and together we can make the world a better place."

A better place would be warmer for me.  But I have sang along yesterday and still this morning with Mr. Seeger and my heart is warm.  If I had a hammer which I have sang, If I had a heater.  Where have all the flowers gone, The Garden Song, Good night Irene, on and on I sing.  The songs of my youth. 

Of course, my favorite story about Pete was from NPR:

Pete Seeger

Blessed be Mr. Seeger, blessed be

I am able to start moving back into the house today.  The carpet is dry in the living room and my bedroom, but still damp in the guest room.  The dogs slept on the closed back porch with the electric fireplace going.  I even put on the fire in the logs so it looked warmer.  I put blankets on them on their beds.  Every time I woke up and checked on them I would give them a dog cookie.  I wanted them to continue to have plenty of energy to stay warm.  They snuggled down in their beds and blankets and seemed to enjoy the little camp out.  When I got up to feed them this morning they were soaking wet from playing in the rain.  We did not get ice, sleet or snow, thank you!  But the rain was big, slow and thick from the cold and as soon as I would dry them they ran back outside and played, so I finally gave in that they were fine, and left them with a hot breakfast on the porch.  I see them running through the yard now. 

It is still freezing here, yes, we are at our high of 32.  I realize this is nowhere close to Vicki whose high last week was 8 degrees.  I understand that, but obviously I can't take this, I certainly could not live there.

Oh!  This storm is named Leon.  I have been confused by that living in Jefferson County and having Leon County next door.  I kept trying to figure out what they were saying had anything to do with Tallahassee.  Leon County is the home of the College Football National Champions. 

Bug and Dad have caught up with the storm, so they are about 800 miles away but the I-10 bridges and over passes are closed through most of the gulf coast.  They will have to be careful and creep along to get home and stay out of the biggest part of the mess which is north and east of us.  It will be miserable today with Leon, but hopefully Bug and Dad will be safe and make it home tomorrow.  maybe.

I understand that central Florida will not be hit as hard.  Thank goodness, the strawberry Festival is at the end of February and they do not need this much cold.  Some cold sweetens the berries.  Too much freezes them.  Plus it looks like they will not loose trees in the cold, but the fruit will either be sweet and wonderful or the oranges will freeze.  

They are still showing pink heading east across Tallahassee.  That is freezing rain.  hrmmmpppphhh.  I think I will put on another layer.  My electric heat is simply not able to keep up with this type of cold.  Tallahassee has sanded the roads and we are hoping to get through this horrible nightmare of cold.  Hee hee, okay, it is like a 3 day winter.  But this is by far the coldest winter I have lived through, and I think I will just watch passively from inside the house. 
No going outside today. 
Maybe tomorrow.
By this weekend it is supposed to be in the upper 60s and maybe even 70s. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Inch by inch, row by row, goin to make this garden grow.......

Pete Seeger died today.  He was 94.  I loved Mr. Seeger.  He would probably rather be called Pete, but it is hard to call one of your heroes by his first name.  Amazing how sometimes a person has so much good in them they can't help but change the world.  He is right up there for me with Mandela, Gandhi, MLK Jr, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Such a sweet loss of a rare gift to the world.  I have been wanting to get the Arlo/Pete CD set with the Garden song on it.  Susan, Linda and I have loved this song since college, maybe before.  I can't hear that song without thinking of them, and their off spring.  It is just a song that the music sings right out of your heart.  You just want to head out into the sunshine and hoe your garden.  To wipe the perspiration from your brow and shade yours eyes as you look up to see an old crow sitting up a tree.  I am sure that if I played this song to my gardens that they would grow bigger and brighter, happier and healthier.  I bet enough times played and the insects might all leave the tender leaves and shoots and do a flash dance to it.  A sight that would make Mr. Seeger laugh out loud I'm sure.  I know that crow would certainly be interested.  I ordered those Cd's and can't wait for them to be here.  I used to own the cassettes of this album, but I have no idea where they might be. 

Blessed be Mr. Seeger, blessed be.

I went to the Historical Meeting last night.  Carolyn was there and we sat together.  She ate some fruit, I sipped a very small glass of red wine.  They had the head of the Department of Archeology from FSU there and then one of the scientist that has been working on the wet digs in this area for almost 30 years.  They talked about different finds, what they expect to find, what they hope to find.  How they radio carbon date various pieces and how old civilization had lived just 100 meters or so off of Jefferson County.  How wet sites have been able to preserve wood, bone, fiber and other organic treasures.  They have a bison head bone that had a human made point in it.  They were able to carbon date the bone to about 14,500 years ago.  So it would appear that some type of human hand crafted a point that was used to maybe kill that bison.  Here, right here in the world I have grown up around.  The place where I belong, this peninsula of growth and life may have shared life with others not that unlike me thousands of years before the Egyptian pyramids were even conceived.  So very cool.  The work they are doing with these digs are not just teaching us about our past and who these people might be.  But also helping us to understand our world then and now and maybe how people will learn to survive for 14,500 years more. 

Everything connected. 

Last night not only did I know most of the people in the room, but most of them knew me.  What a feeling to be someplace that I have adopted to be my home.  To sink roots deep into the soil and swamp and soul of this place.  To look into faces that I have met over my seven years here and to know them and for them to know a little piece of me.  To stitch my square into the quilt of this community.  To be one little piece of the 14+ thousand pieces of this puzzle.  I do not want notoriety.  But to have a sweet woman I had met at the Founders Garden Circle introduce me to her son, was so sweet and for her son and I to know each other made me feel like a part of the family.  Another lady from that day with those lovely garden mavens told another friend about how funny I was.  Ms Beulah, whose home we met was there and we each thought about her sister.  Someone we both knew.  Someone I admire for her work with pesticide regulations and education.  Someone she grew up with and loved.  Again, that feeling of family.  To sit among these people.  People whose people have been here forever, added to the wonder of treasures in this region.  The presentation was a bit dry, but I learned many things I did not know before.  A wonderful way to spend a drizzly evening when my sweetie is driving across this big wide country. 
He is coming home. 
This is our home, and I felt that so strongly at the meeting.

We are moving, but closer to the heart of this community.  People look a little shocked when I say I am moving.  I am not sure if it is because they never thought I would leave.  Or is it that once you have fallen under the spell of this Brigadoon kind of place you can never leave.  But as soon as I tell them we are moving to Casa Bianca they always laugh and say what a pretty area it is.  Almost like I told them the oldest joke in the world.  Once the spell has been cast you might be able to go away but like the migration of birds, butterflies, fish and other wild things, you will find yourself drawn back here.

Yesterday Mom and I scraped off the paint that had been used like glue to hold on the quarter round on the base boards.  Then I sanded them down, once with 60 then with 100 grade sand paper.  They felt smooth to the touch when I was done.  I wiped the cleaned boards with a damp cloth and Mom laid out tape and cleaned up the mess.  She was up until almost 3:00am painting the boards in the living room.  She planned on painting the ones in the bedroom today.  I started some packing and cleaned and moved everything I could pick up and move off of the three carpets.  I set it up so that I have a little nest in the kitchen to snuggle down in, or I can bundle up out on the back porch with the little electric fireplace and stay warm.  I can fix food and with only one step on the bedroom carpet I can make it to our bed, one more step on the carpet and I can be in the bathroom.  I would like to keep myself and all of the animals off the carpet for at least 24 hours.  They are not going to be happy with me, but I have worked hard to have their beds ready and a heater on the porch so that they can keep warm.  Henry and I spent much of the afternoon sitting together keeping each other warm while he napped and I read.  I am tired and have had to take pain pills twice for the last couple of days.  I was ready for this, knowing that it was going to be physical work and that I knew the consequences of my actions.  It feels good to do more.  To stretch with work, not just yoga.  To be useful again for a couple of days.  And I knew I would have this afternoon to rest and read.  To give my body a rest after pushing it hard for a couple of days.  The red spots have been particularly unpleasant this week.  Appearing in very uncomfortable places and slowly growing despite the med.  The gel Dr. M gave me for this still works just fine, but sometimes the spots just need a little more attention and notice.  Not bad really. 

Tomorrow I will continue cleaning and in the afternoon I hope to start putting some things back in their place.  Other things will be lovingly packed for the move to the new house. 

All day it has been getting colder.  Tonight is the beginning of a 48+ hour nightmare while frigid Arctic vortexes dance hopefully just out of our reach.  I heard on the radio that at noon 34 states were reporting temperatures 32 degrees or colder and the front was still tumbling eastward.  The "s" word has changed from a possibility of snow to a fear of freezing ice and sleet.  oh bother!  a big sigh and a loud hhhhrrrmmmmpppppphhhhhh!  I do not like the cold. 

I am sure that some where Dr. Seuss wrote or meant to write a book about the cold. 
I do not like the cold. 
It makes me want to scold. 
To yell up at the sky,
and tell the dreadful clouds good by. 
I do not like the  cold. 
It makes my bones feel old. 
I layer on sweaters, gloves and coats
a cup of hot coco helps the most. 
I do not like the cold,
and now it has been told.

There doesn't seem more that needs to be thought of and written down for the day.  So bundle up, snuggle down and stay warm.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

what a wonderful life

The carpet guy went by Mom's and measured the rooms and got her final choice on the carpet for the living room.  He also told her that the 1/4 round had to be removed from the base boards before the carpet was installed.  They could remove the trim, but it really needed to be done ahead of time so we can repaint the base boards before the carpet goes in. 

I went over on Thursday and Mom and I pulled up the base boards then had lunch at the Rosemary Tree.  Mom loves the Rosemary Tree.  The food, the ladies who work there and the fact that when you walk into the place you are met with sweet lovely faces welcoming you.  They know Mom now and they come up and hug here and always make her feel welcome.  She also got to meet Alex who is in the MADco production of Cabaret at the Opera House.  Lisa was also sitting there having come from England to be in the show.  So this simple lunch of quiche and salad introduced the show for Mom in that she knew two of the people in the show. 

Bob the dog is still humiliated and isn't thrilled about going outside, leash or not.  I don't know what happened that day, but Bob seems different, somehow affected by all of this negative attention.  I will fix the back garden fence and it could be a pen for the dogs until this 10 days is up.

Saturday morning I picked Mom up and we drove over to Janak and Geeta's home for lunch.  I had no idea that she had invited a group of us and so not only did I get to kiss Baa on top of her head many times, and hug and kiss on Janak and Geeta, but I also got to see other precious friends.  I brought Christmas presents all in pillow cases that had been sitting here waiting for them.  The gifts brought smiles to their faces.  The table as always groaned under the weight of all the delicacies.  Plates and bowls were filled and refilled, conversation became the laughter and gentle talk of friends sharing a meal together.  Mom enjoyed her time and meeting all of these talented woman.  Most of them know each other through yoga and Ba at 89 sits on the couch with one leg folded up under her.  Mom was amazed at Ba's flexibility. It was a perfect afternoon and Mom and I both enjoyed ourselves.

I dropped her off at her place after coming home from lunch and drove the toy back south the few miles to home.  I spent the time resting and reading and then a little after 6:00pm I drove back over and picked her up for dinner and the show.  It was cold, but it is winter.  Have I ever mentioned I don't like cold weather?  We sat with Carolyn for dinner and saw so many friends and precious ones.  Many of the cast and crew served the dinner along with the people of our community who volunteer.  I love going to the Opera House, the tables are close together, tonight there were over 80 people clustered around tables eating salads, wiener schnitzel and then pound cake with raspberries and whipped cream.  I had the vegetarian plate which was pasta with grilled veggies and a lemon sauce.  Forks clicked, laughter bubbled around the room, glasses clinked and plates were cleaned.  They were huge portions, hot and steamy and I enjoyed it very much.  I just wished my stomach had agreed with my taste buds.  Carolyn took Mom up through the elevator and we had wonderful seats close to the elevator just in case one of us needed to make a quick exit.  We saw Jack and Jan, Ron and Pat, Judy and Denise all sitting down front in the tables by the stage.  How fun to have so many of the Stage Company showing support for MADco and for our beloved Opera House.  The lights went down and the silence of the room was broken with the introduction of the play.  The new curtain provided by Dr and Ms Bailer split and out stuck a face painted white and the show took off.  I managed to make it through the entire performance.  Everyone was wonderful but by far the star of the show was our own Judy Persons.  She played half of the older love story.  Duncan played the other half.  I had pretty much forgotten that story line of this show.  Normally the part of Sally usually shines the brightest, like when Liza played it in the movie.  But this time, it was the older couples love story that shined the brightest.  Everyone was wonderful.  The kitkat girls were fabulous and sexy and naughty and so much fun.  Judy was just amazing the emotion, the pain, the passion she gave the audience last night was sharp.  Laughter was replaced by the quiet horror of the time as the story progresses and Judy takes us the entire range of emotions.  Her character is a survivor and so is Judy.  The Emcee was as precious as Joel Grey only twice as big which was perfect for this cast.  Lisa was hysterical, the young lovers were believable but the gorilla was incredible.  It is one of the toughest numbers in the show, but the Emcee was perfect, the gorilla delicate and graceful.  My favorite Olivia played the part of the gorilla.  She is sweet and a tweenager and was the best dancing gorilla I have ever seen.  I love that she will be able to put that on her resume of shows.  I also understand that she did a great job working with the Stage Manager.  And actually did more of the work as the SM before the show opened.  Can you tell that I am in total awe of these young ladies?!  Jason, their Dad played the bass in the orchestra was located at the rear of the stage.  Having the orchestra behind the actors instead of in front of them in the pit made all the difference.  Normally the orchestra sounds so much louder then the voices of the actors.  This show was exquisitely balanced.  Also with Daisy helping with the lighting and technical logistics they had a color spot on the stage whenever they used the hot spot and it softened that light.  Sally's dresses glittered and sparkled and with the expert lighting from Kat in the balcony.  The huge space filled with twinkling light like fireflies on a summer evening.  Cicada chirping was replaced by laughter and applause.  A magical evening at the end of a magical day.  Another wonderful performance in a grand old building.  A lovely little community of friends and neighbors gathering to enjoy live theater.  To watch more of our friends, neighbors, kids and grand kids as they dance across the boards and sang their hearts out for us.  If you should ever get a chance to enjoy one of our many events at the Opera House, please do come and join us.  You will be very happy that you did.

I got home around 11:00pm and was wired and excited from the busy day.  I read and tried to relax and sleep and I don't remember the clock turning to 1:30am.  I slept until 8:30am, late for me, and all of the animals were starving by the time I got up.  I fixed some earl grey tea with a splash of milk, fruit and banana bread.  I was exhausted.  I am still exhausted. 

I sat down on the couch and watched as they changed the chances of the "s" word from one day now to two, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Oh, please no.  I understand those who are excited about the possibility of dare, I say it, snow.  I mean if you are going to have to live through the cold, you might as well enjoy the snow.  Seems logical, but I am sorry, I just can't get excited about the cold becoming visible in the form of frozen water falling from the sky.  I know I must have mentioned once or twice that I don't care for the cold.

I snuggled down under a blanket, with Bob warming my feet and I just had the strongest desire to record Sunday Morning.  I didn't, I am not sure why.  But this ended up being the 35th anniversary of the show.  First Charles Kurat was the host and now for the last 20 years it has been Charles Osgood.  There were so many wonderful spots this morning.  They had a bit about Marie VonTrapp from the Sound of Music, Charlie sang a song about the show, they showed so many different suns, their logos and Winton Marsallies playing the theme.  They interviewed Snoop Dog, whom I knew very little about before this show.  They did a wonderful tribute to Danny Kaye.  I love Danny Kaye.  I would say, loved but he lives through the flashing lights on the movies and by being the first Ambassador for UNICEF.  Every article, every moment of song or quiet thrilled my heart.  All the way to the moment of nature filled with cold, snow and ice.  A perfect moment during this bitterly cold winter.  I reveled with each moment of the show and clapped after Mr. Osgood sang his version of my favorite things.

Geeta called and we relived the joys of the lovely luncheon she had thrown.  Then I got to relive the joy of last nights show when Oona called to verify my next volunteer day at the Art Center.  But the day has continued to be joyful when I heard from my sweetie that he and Bug had left California and have started their cross country adventure.  Mom is happy about the return of her honey and son. 

I am so tired, what is new?  But even though my body responds in slow motion, sleep rests just out of reach, it is Sunday morning.  My favorite morning of the week.  I don't care if you say it is the beginning of a week or the end of a week, it is my day to watch Sunday morning.  It ends my week like a sigh after a big meal.  It starts my new week by giving me a day where I live between the last week and the coming one.  The day where I transition from what was done and what needs to be done.  It is a day that expectations of what is available belong all to me.  I can do anything I want.  Go to garden club, see a show, watch a movie, watch football, garden, create, rest, anything I choose.  I guess  because of being employed for most of my life, other days seem like days with responsibilities.  Or maybe it is because I grew up with the poem that helped newly wed wives to plan and organize their lives.

I copied this from a website:
the new homemaker

Long ago (like 1960), the rhythm of the average American housewife's life was fairly standard no matter where you went. Each day had its own task, and so the work got done in a logical, orderly fashion as the week progressed. It went like this:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

Okay, I do not iron and I am not the best Friday cleaner, but I did learn that saying in home economics at school and I think it still sits with me.

Today, I shall rest.  I watched renovation TV after Charles Osgood and I have set to record the black version of Steel Magnolia.  With the cast it has, I am sure it will be amazing and I don't want to miss it.  So that are all the plans for today.  Tomorrow?  I will start packing up some of the things in the living room.  The carpet cleaners are coming on Tuesday so I would like to get some of the things packed up.  We will take our time to move to our new place, but we have lots of treasures we have collected in our thrifting and they will be up and out of the way, ready to go.  Monday, Mom and I are hoping to finish the base boards.  Monday night is the archeology thing, Tuesday is carpet cleaning and the rest of the week is simply working around the house and waiting for my honey to get home, and spending a few more hours at the Art center on Friday. 

But today is Sunday. 
And I feel lazy but in a good way. 
The sun is slipping through the day masked behind a cloud bank, removing any guilt of working outside even as the temperatures rise above 60.  I have had a full week and next week is full of opportunities to reach out and grab.  My world is spinning around the sun along with everything else on this blue green globe we call earth, home. 
And this week my honey will be come home to us. 
what a wonderful life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It was supposed to be a relaxing quiet day

It is supposed to be colder still tonight and tomorrow than today.  I did go outside out of necessity and the sun was shining and it looked glorious but the cold nipped at me constantly and no matter the number of layers and how I held myself together, I was so uncomfortable.

I am still having problems with the solar gate, so I have simply chained it shut now.  Sort of closing the barn door after the horses have all run away.  Bob the dog, previous known as Bob, the good dog had a bit of an altercation with one of our neighbors and they came to lock him away.  When the animal control pulled up along side of the sheriff car he got out and looked at Bob and said, "I thought they said it was a chow."  I don't have a chow, but since the neighbor had pointed at Bob and there was a mark on the boys arm, there is no fighting, just accept.  I give up.  I completely give up and can not wait to move away from this place.  It is not the property or even the trailer.  It is the neighbors at the end of the road.  They are terrible neighbors with people driving in and out of their property all day and night, with the cars never seeming to stay more then 5 - 10 minutes.  It is not my business and I don't want anything to do with them and their habitual throwing of trash out of their vehicles leaving broken glass on the road.  The sides of the road show decaying human garbage and I am just tired of picking it up.  In fact, I quit picking it up quite a while ago, but they have called the sheriff on me every chance they could exaggerate something enough to get the sheriff to come out.  The Officers are always polite and a little embarrassed about the situation once they get here.  I don't blame the sheriff for doing their job and do not try and retaliate.  I just want to live and let live.  But the neighbors win and since they were here first after all, we will leave and they will be one reason why I will not regret leaving this place that holds so many memories.  This is such a complicated place for me.  Filled with magic and joy and challenges and heartache.  I am looking forward to starting new memories at our new place.  I will look back at this little place that I named Labrun and it will become a place in my imagination of wonder and love.

So, Bob the dog is in lock down here at the house.  He is not allowed outside for 10 days without being on a leash.  Or walked on a leash to a pen.  Trust me right now I am wishing I had a pen to put him in, but he was only scared and trying to protect me and his brother and sister.  Getting angry at him would be ridiculous, but the cost of his ticket is pretty steep and I am not sure how he thinks he is going to pay me back.  He is a dog and has no hire-able skills, so we will have to think of another way for him to pay for his sin.  He is still my little boy and I love him, even if I don't appreciate his dog behavior in this particular situation.

So that was an hour outside in the cold, punishment that I consider cruel and unusual punishment.  But as I stood there by my dog that had brought this punishment. I looked through the branches of an oak tree across the street and could see the sky filling with birds.  Huge big black buzzards rising on the wind currents.  I did not see a wing flapped, just a giant black spiraling vortex of silent birds.  I have seen this habit with buzzards before but there were more then I could count.  It darkened the sky like a heavy rain cloud, but these birds just lifted higher and higher.  I looked at the sheriff and the animal control officer and commented that as much as I am not happy about what I had to do, it certainly wasn't there fault and at least I had gotten to see the buzzards.  They gave me that look they give to outsiders.  I smiled and when the officer asked me if I was in Lamont, I said, "well actually Nash, but our mailing address is Lamont."  That caused heads to cock.  The officer said, in a practiced voice, "Only someone born here would know Nash."  I smiled and said, "or someone who loves this place and happy to know the history of where I live."  They agreed I could keep Bob on house arrest instead of them taking in for 10 days.  They were worried about the money.  I was worried about Bob.  He may have made a very bad decision regardless of his dogness, but he could not survive 10 days locked up with the bad dogs.  I understand my responsibility to Bob and the community and have already put a chain and lock on the gate that had barely opened, but enough for them to slip out.  Another reason I need to fatten up my boys, they are both too skinny.  Bob will also have to be on a leash and this is not going to make either of us happy, but maybe he will finally learn how to behave on a leash. 

Other than that it has been a quiet day and I have enjoyed sitting inside reading Prodigal Summer.  Enjoying it and enjoying the sun bright but not warm just outside my windows.  I got to see the buzzards, talk to my sweetie and talk to my mother in law.  I got to talk to friends, Carolyn patiently listened as I told my tale of whoa about Bob.  She was kind and made me feel so much better.  I spoke briefly with Ms Moon, but she had the kids and I don't like to take her time when she is with her boys.  They take so much attention and energy and I am in awe that she is able to keep up with those two.  And how very lucky they are to get to spend so much time with there Mermer and Boppie.  I also got to talk to Judy, but by that point the sting of Bob's unlike Bob behavior had wore off a bit.  I know he is shy and scares easily and when it is a question of protecting he will use his only defense, his mouth.  I am the adult here with the two hands and his actions are my responsibility.  I think we will all survive and I know that the boy is fine. 

Tomorrow I am going over to my in-laws house and look at the quarter round on the baseboards in the living room and bedroom.  They have to be removed and the baseboards painted before the carpet is installed.  I will look and see if it is something I can do with Mom or if we will have to get someone to come help.  It will be colder tomorrow so I am not happy about leaving the house, but I want to make everything as easy as possible for Bug and Dad when they get here the end of next week with the rest of the house stuff.  Bug is working so hard and has packed 99% of his parents house.  They will start loading the truck this weekend and then head east back here.  I miss him and look forward to his return.

It is dark and the cold is trying to creep through the cracks under the doors and the sides of the windows.  I have things blocking the cold and the heater although only set at 70 is cranking away.  I had it turned down earlier but the cold just causes me to have to take pain meds.  As long as I stay mostly warm layered in the house and keep the temp up I can get by all day with out pain meds.  Well, when all you do is read a book and chastise your dog it really isn't very stressful. 

Now to bed and to sleep.  Tomorrow it will be colder.  I have to go outside, but I will scurry from one door to the next and hopefully avoid as much of the cold as possible.  Darn winter, comes every year, gets cold every year, but this year winter is being a little over zealous in my mind.  But it is getting late in January, so spring is just two month away.  Something to hold on to with a cup of hot chocolate on a night like this.


Lately living in Monticello has felt like living in the movie Brigadoon.  I loved that movie when I was growing up.  Gene Kelly falling in love with Cyd Charisse, but he also fell in love with the town and the glorious Scottish highlands.  I have so completely fallen in love with the people and the town of Monticello, but I do not love this cold!!!  We have been below freezing for almost 12 hours now and tonight they are predicting even colder temperature.  But it is Florida, so hopefully this will be gone soon.

OOOOOOOOoooooooh No, we have another cold front coming down on us today and then the beginning of next week, yet another cold front.  Have I ever mentioned I don't like cold weather.  It really doesn't help to keep talking about it, but this may be the coldest winter I have lived through, and I want to remember how horrible this is so that every other winter will seem somehow gentler because of these several weeks we are trying to survive now. 

Survive, Ha!  Ha!  I say, survive my plants on the porch have not.  No, they are all freezer pops, dead, cold and just sad brown shriveled stalks in lovely pots.  My bad, I thought I had put them in a safe place and was able to keep them above freezing, but I had not planned on this cold.  How could I possibly plan for a cold that I can not fathom.  That is why I whine so much about the cold.  I just can not figure out cold and always seem to be layered too much or not enough. 

Yesterday never got out of the 40s.  This is a day I would normally never ever have left the warmth and safety of my own little place.  I had signed up to volunteer at the Art Center from 10 - 1.  I was totally unprepared for this job.  I thought all I had to do was sit at the entrance and welcome people.  That was my job, but then Carolyn came in and she was volunteering to sit in the exhibit itself in case people had questions.  Oh, that sounded like fun, but I had not gotten a docent handout, so I really didn't have enough information to be of any assistance.  I picked up one of the brochures and volunteered for another morning.  I will be ready this time.  I mean I did do what they asked of me, but I would like to be able to do more if they need me. 

Bug's Mom met me there around 1:00 and we walked through the Exhibit.  Mostly we looked at the old photos from Monticello, just giving a glancing courtesy to the Smithsonian Exhibit.  This is my second visit and I have now seen about 1/4 of the exhibit, and so I will go back again to look at more of it.  I have volunteered for a Friday this time, so far no schools are scheduled for that day, but I want to make sure that if some sign up I will be able to ensure that their visit is enjoyable.  We are very proud of our Art Center and our travelling exhibit. 

Monticello does not appear for 1 day every 400 years like Brigadoon,.  But the life style and youth of the place regardless of the aging world around it, remind me of this little town.  The old and historic here is everywhere.  The houses tall and small lining the streets, some still red brick streets.  The moss hangs on the oaks, the mistletoe hangs on to the bare limbs of the pecan trees and the camellia's are filled with buds fat and bursting with pinks, white and red.  As I sat next to Edith at the front door of the Gallery our Main Street Ms Anne came in.  She is the reason we have this exhibit.  This woman with at least 10 years on me is a bundle of energy and focused on bringing the history of this area to the forefront. 

She announced yesterday as she plopped a stack of bright orange fliers on the desk that they have found a very important new artifact at the Aucilla Dig sight.  Monday night they will have a presentation at the Downtown club with the head of the Aucilla dig talking about what they are finding.  According to Ms Anne, they have found the oldest European artifact here in Jefferson County.  It is a European knife and was carbon dated to 14000 years old.  No, I did not put too many zeros on the end.  That is fourteen thousand years old.  This is not the only artifact they have found during this 30 year dig.  Ms Anne announced that this makes Jefferson County not only the keystone county for Florida, but it is the keystone for North America on the origins of European visitors.  This was during the last ice age that North America experienced, unless you count this winter, hrmmmmph.  That would mean that the Gulf Coast would have been the closest to temperate on this continent at that time which would explain why they would have come up the Aucilla River.  I just find this fascinating and I hope to be able to attend on Monday, cold dependent, of course. 

After looking at the Jefferson County photos in the exhibit, Mom and I had lunch at Carrie Ann's.  Brandi is so sweet to Mom, and a wonderful maker of quiche.  Mom was so happy to see her and Denise, to meet Alex and to eat soup, which was more like a stew and warmed our bones before we headed out to run our assigned errands for the day.  Mom is loving it here.  She loves the people, she loves her house, she loves that she feels like she already has a place here.  And that is the way of this town.  When Ms Anne was talking about raising money to build a huge learning Center here was a little overwhelming.  That sounds wonderful, but we have serious problems with our school system here, if this place would help, then that would be great.  I see where Anne is heading with this.  Let each child from kindergarten to 12th grade in high school spend one week learning science, English, history, civics that one week each year and theoretically you will raise children who have learned more then basic standards and hopefully also gained a sense of where they come from, who their people were.  To give children a strong sense of place maybe they will want to make this a better place for their children.  But does this mean lots more people? 

Like Brigadoon, Jefferson County does not seem to grow or change like the rest of the state.  There are almost as many people living here now as when it became a county.  People don't walk around in kilts, and the accent is more Southern then Scottish, but the happiness in that movie dances and reflects for me in the people's faces and the change of seasons.

But Mom and I could not accomplish our errands in Jefferson County today.  We had to drive to Tallahassee to find the carpet for the living room.  The guys hope to be back by the end of next week and it would make all of our lives easier if the carpet was installed before they get back so the furniture can just go into place rather then being moved again.  Bug suggested we try ABC carpet.  It is next to Lumber Liquidation which is on the outskirts of Tallahassee, so even though it was late afternoon I bundled her into the toy and headed to the big city.  I was so proud of Mom she was able to describe what she wanted in her carpet and the lovely Michelle did a wonderful job.  In less then half an hour Mom had ordered not only the living room carpet, but also the bedroom.  Michelle had suggested they she go with a lower pile.  Easier to vacuum, safer to walk on and with a good pad it will last longer and look better then a lot of the longer piles.  They were so friendly and kind to Mom.  Bug and I will be back there also to look for our new flooring.  The price was wonderful also, much cheaper then the big box stores.

After that we drove back to Monticello and I drove Mom past City Hall, out to our new place, over to Carrie Ann's and the Jefferson Green Grocers.  We talked about land marks and went back and forth from near her house to the next location so that she could get her bearings of her new home.  She patiently repeated back the landmarks I had named for her.  I did not show her too much for fear that would just get jumbled up in her head.

I headed home tired.  I had renewed our Art Center membership, our membership to the Chamber of Commerce and our membership to the Opera House and picked up the tickets for our show on Saturday night.  While I was waiting to pay Fran the phone never stopped ringing, most for ticket to Cabaret.  That is great, we can use a big hit and the money it will bring into the Opera House.  It is MADco. so they only give about half of their proceeds to the Opera House, while the Stage Company gives all of its proceeds, minus the money for the startup for the next play.  The phone rang so much I started answering it and taking messages for Fran to call back.  Fran is our Executive Director and has been a wonderful addition to our Opera House family, but she has been lured away with an incredible opportunity back in her own field.  We will miss her.

I have not spent enough time with my kids these past couple days.  I am still quite tired from everything lately and since it is still so very cold, I think we shall all snuggle up in the house together.  I would love to read my book and nap today, and that will be involved, but I also need to sew some pillow cases and write out a plan for products.  I need to revisit the stories I am rewriting after loosing them and trying to get them written again.  This time I will save it on a couple of places so I do not loose them again.  I don't want to go out and see all the brown, the squishy green of my less cold tolerant plants.  The pots will be light when they are moved to our new home and will be planted again there. 

The world could disappear for 400 years and I would have no idea.  It might be a bit restful actually.  I hope it is warm when we do finally wake up.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


My big brother, Rob, his wife, JongAe and their daughter, Jessica drove up Sunday night to visit and to drop off my truck and the riding chair.  They got in about 7:30pm and I had a big pot of spaghetti on the stove, garlic bread still sitting in the freezer forgotten and a spinach salad.  It had been a busy day for them, church then a meeting at church and then they left St. Pete and started driving north on Hwy 19.  It is a straight shot from St. Pete to Monticello up 19.  It took so much longer because they were towing my truck behind Rob's new fire engine red truck.  His old truck, my new truck, is green, so it sort of looked like Santa's sled dragging a Christmas tree up the highway to me. 

We were all exhausted by the time we ate, but the spaghetti was slurped, the bread remembered sopped up the last drop on our plates and then we had birthday cupcakes.  Sunday was Jessica's 10th birthday, that was why I had made spaghetti.  Koreans eat noodles on their birthdays and the new year to help ensure a prosperous year.  I like those cultural traditions, I made my precious niece noodles.  I also made her cupcakes.  Cupcakes because it was her birthday, but we were also celebrating my big brother getting to enjoy his birthday present from Bug and I, his helicopter lesson.  I love birthdays and holidays and traditions and things that give humans joy and happiness.

After we finished dinner the 49er and Seahawk game was still going, but one by one we petered out and disappeared into cozy beds to sleep and dream of our day.  I did make it to the end of the game, only because the last few minutes were so exciting.  I texted Bug all of the action at the end with my final message, "Seahawks win" then I turned off my light and rested my own weary head and slept.  I slept fitfully in that I was not in my normal bed and I worried to make sure that my brother woke in time to get the car trailer back to Uhaul and to make it to his lesson.  The day broke clear and bright.  No clouds, no winds, no weather that could in anyway affect his flight.  His lesson was set at 11:00am so the temperatures had warmed up into the 50s, again no problems.  JongAe got to go up with him and to take photos and videos of Rob's first flight.  He loved it.  He was so happy when he got home, and with JongAe getting to go up with him, she was able to be with her husband while he got to do something he had always wanted to do.  The joy was contagious because before they left I did not think that my sister-in-law and niece were taking this ride seriously. 

We can make some moments even more special for someone by simply recognizing them in the moment, instead of ourselves.  I tried to explain to them that I had watched my big brother his entire life get bullied and never really fit in with a class that was still clinging to the world of the correct 50s and testing the wild drug life of the 60s.  He was always quiet, intelligent, stronger then his slight structure would imply.  He always took care of me.  I always looked up at him and wanted to see him happy.  I don't remember my brother ever really getting the recognition he deserved.  I don't remember him getting a lot of choices in his life.  He was pushed into the Coast Guard because of the war in Viet Nam, and even though he had no intention of staying in the service, he excelled at what he did.  He always wanted to be a Sheriff or a Policeman, but he has all of these skills involving paperwork and handling the radios and call ins.  He is a master of logistics and management.  He is a wonderful instructor.  He is always so good at everything he tries, but people don't want to do what he can do, so they push him into that confined space of management.  He just wanted to be someone out on the street.  He retired from the Fire Department, and again, ended up with the paperwork end of things.  He was an EMT for years, and he went on many fire and emergency calls in his career, and now he is retired.  He also became an armed guard for a security company and he gets to be out with people and protecting and helping others.  Can you tell, I am a little in awe of my big brother.  We are very different, the two of us.  Not physically, we are both shaped like my Mother's side, and I look like Mother and he like Dad, but we look like brother and sister.  But our political and religious views quite different, although we come from the same beliefs.  Love, sharing, giving back, take care of your family and friends, the values our parents demonstrated and shared with us.

Rob and JongAe came home still flying high from their amazing and glorious trip through the sky.  It seemed like a celebration lunch was in order.  We drove over to pick up Bug's Mom.  She took Rob and JongAe around her house and they oohed and aahed over the closets and bathroom and wood floors and they just loved the house.

Jessica did not have any "grandparents" in that our parents are now gone and JongAe's parents had died within the last several years also.  So I asked Jessica if she would prefer to call Bug's parents, who are her great aunt and uncle by marriage, grandma and grandpa.  She said that did seem simpler, so no problem.  I mentioned it to JongAe and Rob to see how they felt.  No problem there, so I called and asked Mom.  She was thrilled and first question was when is her birthday, well it had been Sunday, the day before. 

The five of us drove over to our new home on Casa Bianca.  Everyone again aahed and ooohed over the woods, the pond, the house and the swamp.  Rob and JongAe just turned round and round looking at each giant tree.  Mom loves magnolias and pointed each one out bigger then the last.  Everyone agreed they could see why Bug and I were taking on this project. 

We drove back to Monticello to have lunch, but most places were closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King's actual birthday is January 15, but this was the national day of service in his honor, the third Monday of January.  I think Dr. King would be humbled but proud to have a day of service in his name.  I am so blessed in my lifetime we have had so many people of peace.  Gandhi, Dr. King, John Lennon, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Stookey to just name a quick few easy names.  People who taught me so much through their messages.  Some gave up a normal life, some gave up their life to try and teach the rest of us humans about love and sharing the world together.  Yesterday people came together to share service and helping each other.  The human family.  My sweetie refuses to color in a little box on those forms that ask 'race' he always writes, "human" under race.  I like that.  One family.

The Monticello Pizza Kitchen was opened, so we had lunch there.  Mom and I split a calzone, JongAe ate a salad as big as her head and Rob and Jessica had Philly Steak Cheese.  I recounted my stories of the people in Philly yelling at me that it is simply a "steak and cheese" in Philadelphia.  No need to use the word Philly because that goes without saying.  Not in my world.  Those three words come out as one.  Mom gave Jessica her $5 for her birthday.  This is the gift they give to all of their grandchildren.  Jessica hugged her and thanked her.  I commented that Jessica was the luckiest girl in the world.  She got a new Grandma and $5 to boot.  I looked over at JongAe and she was wiping tears from her face.  She looked at me with such longing and hope and asked me, "Do you mean I have another Mom?"  "Yes" was my response.  She jumped up and ran over and hugged Mom crying.  Mom was a little taken back, but you could see that happy sparkle in her brown eyes as she hugged her newest daughter.  When JongAe sat back down, she had a happiness I didn't realize I had been missing in her.  I saw a thick fog disappear from her like the sun coming out on a gray morning bringing bright clear blue skies.  The sadness of loosing our Mom, her Dad, her Mom, our Dad had just worn her down each time with the loss.  She has not really completely gotten over the loss of these parents, and with Dad's loss she now struggles to even go over to his house, now Tom and Pat's home.  But maybe, just maybe yesterday she got a piece of that little joy back.  She is a daughter again.  I sat at that table and looked around.  Mom is so happy here.  She is feeling like a part of this community already.  There sat my big brother and his family.  They too are looking to come up to this community.  There is just something here in this little magic town that brings families together.  They are looking around this town now as people who plan to move in and take their part in the community.  To bring their gifts and talents to share.  They are looking for their daughter to finish her school here, maybe go to FSU, and for her to have a forever home.  To make her mark in the keystone county of Florida.  The state my Mother insisted her children be born and raised.  The state my Mother and Daddy adopted as their own.

Monticello just seems like one of those magical places where families can make magic together.  Sometimes it is just appreciating the family you make around yourself as you share a calzone. 
As magical as a tear of happiness.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cold but the sun is shining

We took Bug and his Dad to the airport yesterday to finish packing up the house in CA.  Then Mom and I drove back to Tallahassee, ran a few errands and had dinner before returning home after dark.  I was a little worried about sending Bug's Mom off on her own in the dark.  She is more then capable of taking care of herself and driving her car home.  I was just concerned that she had not driven herself from here to her home, and she did miss the turn, but only got as far as Fred's.  Coming back down 19 she had no problem then making her way around behind the B&Bs.  I spoke to her before I went to bed and she was home and fine.

I am taking it easy this morning, picking up the house and watching curling until football comes on.  I love curling.  I mean what is not to love?  Rocks, brooms, sliding across the ice and yelling it is positively insane.  It reminds me of bocce ball and shuffleboard, only on ice and with those cute little brooms.  I like sweeping, I don't care much for vacuuming. So as crazy as it is for a Floridian who can not stand on ice to like that sport, I do.  Go figure.  I will switch off of curling to watch the two football games today.  Today we will find out who the two teams are for the Superbowl.

I love the Superbowl, it is like Thanksgiving in that you eat and watch football, but you don't have to wash as many dishes afterwards.

My oldest brother and his wife are bringing my truck up today.  My big brother has bought a new fire engine red Toyota Tacoma and he is giving me his old truck.  A very old truck, but as I have said before I know who has owned the truck from day one.  I know he takes care of things, and keeps records.  He knows what is wrong with this one, and Bug will be able to fix the few minor problems and the truck will carry me to pick up hay and to take my kayak out.  I have never owned my very own truck and this is so exciting for me.  

Tomorrow my brother will go take his helicopter lesson.  I am pretty excited about that for him also.  They are only staying tonight, dropping off the truck, dropping off my Dad's little riding chair.  The family figures I will probably need it first, Rob next, but this way, it is here just in case it should come to that point.  We will see what the future holds for all of us, but it is nice to have a family that watches out for you.

I am doing much better with the pain meds.  Okay, I haven't done much, that is one way to not need pain meds.  For now I could just do nothing and I won't hurt.  But I am afraid that won't work for me, and I don't know why anyone would want to be alive if they don't do anything.  

Well, I cleaned part of the bathroom, and now I am heading back to take some meds.  My brother is finally on their way, I have gotten to message and talk to my sweetie and now here comes the first game of the day.  

The sun is shining
my heart is happy
my big brother, sister-in-law and niece are on their way to see me
pink perfection camellias blooming right outside my window
it may simply be Sunday at home
but it is hard to imagine a more wonderful world
The sun is shining 
and my heart is happy 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Plans and pills

We had planned on taking Mom and Dad up to Thomasville to celebrate their anniversary last night.  Dad called and said they did not want to drive up to Georgia, which is less then 20 miles.  They just wanted to eat at Sandy's Country Buffet, one of Monticello's newest dining establishments.  It has been open for about a month now and Mom and Dad have eaten there before.  I think a lot of it is that they did not sleep well on their new beds from Thomasville bedding so after several days of trying they gave up and drove back to the store to talk to them.  Thomasville Bedding  said no problem, took them around and helped them find another bed, came and picked up the old ones and set up the new.  However, for all of us who are starting to get a little long in the tooth, sleeping on the wrong bed can sure impact our health.  Mom and Dad have finally had a couple of nights sleep now and are getting back to their happy perky selves, thank goodness.  The drive across the country with a different bed each night had worn on them before they arrived.  Then to spend those few cold nights in their new home with beds that they could not sleep on and would wake up aching and exhausted, was just too much.  So driving to Thomasville just seemed like too much for them.  Okay, it was their anniversary, they could spend it anyway they wanted. 

We met them at Sandy's which is about a mile from their home and probably 6 or 7 miles from us.  It was cold.  Have I ever mentioned I don't like the cold?  But because it was Sandy's we didn't worry about getting dressed up nice, just dressed warm.  Sandy's always looks so busy because the parking lot is quite small, but we found 2 parking spots and Sandy put us in one of the big booths by the window.  We had a nice dinner together, but what was so amazing to me was how happy Mom and Dad were to be there.  Not just anywhere, there. Together in their new community, with two of their kids, and a room full of potential friends.  Yep, Mom is very much like my Daddy.  Daddy could walk up to anyone and start talking.  Mom is the same.  As is the way of a small town it did not take long before someone I knew came in.  Ginger, from my garden circle and her husband came in.  They ended up sitting in the booth right next to us.  And knowing what a sweetie Ginger is, I didn't think she would mind, so I asked her to come and meet Mom and Dad.  The parents were thrilled.  Ginger was so nice.  I told her it was their 60th Anniversary and while the two of us were standing there we broke out into song.  The happy birthday song with 60th anniversary instead of birthday.  I kept messing up, but Ginger braved forward with my harmony of wrong words and melody.  Mom and Dad were literally over the moon happy.  They are famous for singing happy birthday to all of the relatives, and here, in this small little country buffet, two ladies sang for them.  They clapped and smiled.  Dad has a way of sparkling when he looks at Mom.  It is not just a crinkle around the eyes, it is not just the bright glint from those blue eyes that run so strong through this family.  All of him sort of shines when he looks at her.  It was so dear and precious.

After that there was no stopping Mom, not that it occurred to any of us to do so.  But as she walked back and forth through the restaurant, she spoke to several of the tables.  They all of course having heard us sing, wished her a happy anniversary.  And it was.  Sixty years, three sons, I couldn't begin to tell you how many houses they have lived in, and last night all of that magic came and spilled over a little buffet in a small town in a county that doesn't even have a traffic light.  And all of that was perfect.

We spoke with Robby our Contractor last night and are going to meet him this afternoon at Beau Turner's Youth Ranch.  I am excited for two reasons.  One is to actually go into Turner's.  It is just a couple of miles south of us on Hwy 19 so we drive by it quite often.  It has an old Air Force plane and has some buildings and outside play things, mostly it is conservation land where Beau sponsors parent/children hunting events.  This is a very rural community and hunting is a main stay for the meat in many families here.  They could buy their meat at the grocery store, but they prefer to hunt for their food.  Although I am not a meat eater, I understand.  Nothing tastes better then veggies I have grown myself.  Venison is a high protein, low fat meat and as I understand it much healthier then eating the beef we grow with possible hormones and a higher fat count.  The hunting events for the families are to teach hunting safety and to give kids and their parent(s) an opportunity to learn the traditions of hunting and not wasting the meat.  To only shoot when you can take an animal down with as little pain as possible.  To respect the animal, the environment and their heritage.  The Turner's, both Ted and his son Beau own thousands of acres of land just south of Labrun.  All of it is in conservation land.

The big thing will be to sit down and see if we can come up with a plan to make this house livable.  The electrician that works with Robby is the one who originally wired our new home, so that should make that puzzle of wiring a little easier to solve.  He has come up with a plan to do all the things we thought the first day we were there we wanted.  Hopefully today we can get a better idea of what we really want to do.  We still have plenty of time to decide, the house closing is scheduled for February 24.

Bug and I are not sleeping well.  We have too many plans in our head.  What do we need to fix now?  What can wait for later?  When is later?  I want to stay in Monticello.  Bug would be happier down on the coast.  I want a home.  To him a house is a house.  What he is trying to give to me, and what I want are not quite the same, and vice versa.  When you are buying a broken home in the swamp that is always going to look like a barn, how does this match either of our wishes?  It doesn't, but yet we both heard the land calling us when we first drove up and got out of the truck that very first day.  And we still hear that call. 

I have not been one to move and change houses.  Bug's Dad was in the Air Force so moving was just part of their lives.  His Dad was deployed twice during Viet Nam and Korea for 13 months each time leaving Mom to take care of the family.  Bug joined the Air Force and continued this nomadic life style.  The longest place he has ever lived was in Germany for seven years.  But even then his job kept him on the road travelling.  When we first met I kept waiting for him to leave.  It did not occur to me that he was wooing me.  I was constantly waiting for him to tell me he was going to leave at the end of the month.  But he never left.  And now this woman, who still feels very much like her Daddy's little girl is not a mover, but I have fallen in love with one.  I love to travel.  But I also love roots and plants and gardens and time on my knees with my hands up to my elbows in dirt.  These are things so foreign to Bug.

I have always lived in a home.  My parent's home for 58 years.  No, I did not live with them that long, but I always had my bedroom from youth open and waiting for me.  I lived 20+ years in our little house on Pine Island.  It was a home filled with sunshine and labs, cats and plants, chickens scratching in the gardens, and one that slept on my foot board of my bed.  Each night as it got closer to dark that chicken, Penny, would walk in the front door across to the bedroom, clucking contentedly and would flap up to the foot board, Ruffle all her feathers then compress herself into the position chickens sleep in.  I would pet her goodnight and slip some newspaper under her.  In the morning Penny would wake with me and hop down and return to her sisters and brother in the flock.  I would crumple up the newspaper and toss it in the compost pile.  Having a chicken sleep at the foot of the bed had not seemed like the best idea I had ever had, but Penny had been bullied terribly by the other hens and at night they refused to let her roost with them.  They would charge her and chase her off, and I tried everything I could find on how to reincorporate her into the fold.  But it never seemed to work.  What finally did work was for me to treat her like the alpha hen.  I always fed her from my hand in front of and before the others were given any treats.  Pretty soon Horton, my rooster looked upon her with favor, and the girls fell in suit.  She was able to go back down with them after a couple of months and was even given the roost next to Horton.  How can that not be a home? 

Labrun is magical and beautiful and we have a home here.  But not a house.  I want to take this house that was badly abused by the people who created it.  There are little things in the house here and there that show care, attention.  You can see that there was thought, time was taken to add a simple touch of color or tile.  The color of the paint on the walls is interesting and fairly bold.  Thought went into the color but the paint jobs were rushed and thoughtless actions.  The view from the living room is glorious, but downstairs is dark and disconnected.  To me from the very first time I looked at it I could see the home.  The home looks beaten up.  I have experienced that abuse.  I understand.  I almost didn't want the house because it did remind me of something long ago in my past that was the most violent and difficult thing I have ever had to deal.  hmmmm

We just got back from meeting with Robby and Tammy.  I like them as people to work with in this way.  I like them just for who they are.  As always happens in a small town, it does not take long in a conversation before 'where do you come from' and 'who are your people'.  Yes, we have connections, of course.  None from here outside of Robby's Dad and step mom who are friends of Bug and I, which of course why we hired Robby.  We talked about our plans again.  Robby and Tammy were nonplussed, they are contractors, they are use to people changing their minds.  We talked books and of course as three of us were Floridians,  A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith came up.  This book was the first Read Across Florida, an off shoot of the Read Across America project.

Public Service Announcement:


Read Across America will kick off this year, March 2, 2014, which we all know is the great and wonderful Dr. Seuss's birthday.  The book is The Cat In the Hat.  And the project is hoping to promote as many children across America to read as many Dr. Seuss books as possible that week.  To learn more about this, check into Read Across America Seuss Special. 

This is the one for kids, but you can bet I will be reading The Cat In the Hat.


So with our connections and people identified, business was conducted and only the very basic home repair was agreed upon.  Where, what and how it will look like when we move in has not been set in cement so to speak.  Robby and Tammy were fine with that and I think Bug and I were very happy.  It gives us time to think things through a little further.  KISS, keep it simple stupid.  That is what we all laughed about this morning.  After all, it is the fact that Bug and I will make this home with our labs, cats, chickens, fish and plants.  He has been so very sweet trying to make sure that the things that are important to me are included.  I am trying to make sure that we do not take on too much ourselves, which will end up being him.  All in all it is very exciting, but like Ms Moon commented the other day, overload is overload, good, bad or other.  She is right, my body can not determine between happy and sad, it just feels the stress. 

She was also right about the pain meds.  And I have to say that all of your comments lately have meant so much to me.  Thank you Syd and Janzi especially.  The two of you and Ms Moon are the closest to me in this ether world, in that I hear most often from you, and I greatly appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts.  I have started taking my anxiety meds about a half hour or so before I go to bed.  I had wanted to make it an hour, but so far I haven't remembered in time.  I have also gone a week without the other pain meds, just taking the one.  It is much stronger then the others, but I can get by with just one within 24 hours with very minimal pain.  I did take one in the morning and one at bedtime for a couple days, but I started to get that "poison" feeling again.  It is like food poisoning, but with pain meds, or any meds.  I am dealing with less long term nagging pain with this method so far.  I do get some pretty good stabs every once in a while, but they are not as bad since I am not already in pain when they happen.  It is just trying to get my brain to function and think things through.

So the pills are working better, I am getting used to this new place in my life.  We are buying a house
in a swamp
my friend Kim called and left a message saying she thought it was beautiful
It will be our home
I think the beauty of that already shines through.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Swamp land

Well, we drove back out to Casa Bianca where the house we hope to buy is located.  It was cold, like in the 30s cold, but I layered up and went along with Bug.  The sky is that blue that only occurs when the weather is clear and cold.  I had my camera, Bug had a ladder and measuring tape.

Barry, our realtor met us.  Barry was born and raised in Key West before he moved to this area. 

It would appear that Barry is going to sell another native Floridian,
swamp land.  Yep, the property is 8+acres. 
Maybe an acre of it is swamp. 
Muddy, water standing, squishy Terra.
I am a gator
University of Florida Gator
So I feel quite comfortable in a swamp

The house is broke
The people who were foreclosed apparently were a bit unhappy
Unhappy enough to punch holes in the wall and cut electric wires
They pulled the wires out of the panel box
and just randomly beat up on the house

So why are we buying a house that looks like a barn, that the previous owners left uninhabitable, that land surrounding the house is in the flood plain and some of it is swamp?  Well, the land in front of the house actually is not swamp or flood plain.

I guess we are buying it because we see the potential. 

When we drove up and got out of the truck a hawk's cry broke the clear sky as the red tail circled above.  The sun shined brightly sparkling off the frost and dew on the ground.  It is quiet except the song of bird, frog and insect, the rustle of leaves brown and crisp.  There is a pond, big enough to be stocked.  A creek the water from the swamp empties in to.  There are oak, maple, pine, magnolia trees, standing tall and strong. 
There is a whisper, "here, you belong here" that both Bug and I hear. When we are standing there in front of the house we feel the magic. 

There are pads of cement in front of the house that is larger than the house itself.  You could use it to land a helicopter.

There is a huge barn
that is very very nice

We could just stay here.  We could just fix up this trailer. 
But I would like to live in a house
No, I want a house
A real house, not a trailer or mobile home or modular home
I want a house

The kitchen is upstairs
Downstairs there is a basic bathroom, 2 oddly shaped dark bedrooms with large closets, a laundry area and the Florida room.

Upstairs is a very tiny kitchen, living room, a bathroom and two bedrooms with normal closets.  The kitchen and living room are open concept.  The kitchen is half a dozen cabinets, frig, sink, high end dishwasher, microwave fume hood and a place for a stove.  It is only on the part of one wall.  But the cabinets are lovely and the handles have leaves. 

Today we took our time and saw why they would have put the house in upside down.  The view from the upstairs is gorgeous.  Your eyes skim across the top of trees.  There are four huge old crepe myrtles that are lined up in front of the house.  This summer when they are in bloom it will be magnificent. It is glorious looking out those windows in the living room.  The bedrooms downstairs are darker and more closed in.  So it was a good choice to put the living space up with this beautiful vista.

It is going to be a lot of work just to be able to live there. 
It is a swamp
It is amazing
It is going to be ours

We have our contractor and he is supposed to be drawing up some plans and estimates for different things to do with the house. 

I am so very excited
I am so very nervous
We have started signing the paperwork
My mind is just jumping constantly
ceiling fans
electric wiring

Tonight we are taking Mom and Dad out to dinner for their 60th Anniversary. We had a picture of them put in the Monticello News on Wednesday.  They were happy.

Bug and Dad fly to CA Saturday to pack up the house and drive the rental truck home.

It is getting down to freezing again tonight. 
I don't like cold weather.

We are buying a house
a house
a real house