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Saturday, April 14, 2018

MY HEART WAS SURE NOT IN ART


My friend, Marie is blessed with the gift. Gracing her home are gorgeous pieces of art that she created herself. Marie could have her own show! She is THAT good! Unfortunately, she does not believe this. I've tried repeatedly to persuade her to at least join Facebook and post her work. But she has no interest in computers. Marie would rather be out living her life than starring at a screen. This is another thing I admire about her despite the fact I've become one of those pitiful screen people. 

I love and enjoy art. I’m a highly visual person; I gravitate to things with eye appeal. Sadly, I have zero talent in this area, myself.

But art is subjective; something doesn’t have to be good to be considered art. I’ve seen artwork in galleries and for sale at an exorbitant price that look as if created by a drunken monkey and some fool will probably pay that price. This aside, even bad art can be interesting, everyone sees the world thru their individual filter and have their own interpretation.

I have always believed it's highly possible humans were created by DNA tampering and interbreeding with space aliens. But when I see photos of those Nazca lines in Peru, I can’t help but wonder how a society with a far advanced technology could ever produce such amateur looking art!

Frequently, people ask if I'm an artist. I have that look, they say. Writers are considered artists, because we too, create from our head. And it's an art to write a 30 to 60 second commercial, then get up and perform live before an audience as I’ve done at networking luncheons. Believe me as an introvert, I’ve had to take flying leaps outside my comfort zone to do that! But honestly, if I could choose my talent, I’d prefer drawing or sculpting.

After I published my 1st book, strangers asked, “Have you written anything else?” I found this insulting! Had I displayed a painting, no one would have asked, “Have you painted anything else?”

As a child, I never liked coloring books! They made me feel as if I was completing someone else’s work. I’d rather be given a blank piece of paper and create something of my own even if it was crappy or else go outside and play with rocks and spiders.

But there is no denying Marie's talent! Every October when she returns to Florida Marie enrolls in another Art Class. She's a natural and enjoys it, probably the top student every year!

Knowing from an early age that I had no skill in this area, I signed up for Art Class in the 9th Grade just because I thought it would be a fun and easy credit.  – Was I ever wrong!

Most of the other students were no-talents like me, (a few were in denial about this) with maybe 3 genuinely gifted ones. The teacher possessed what most consider a strong personality. This squat man was loud, demanding, and swaggered when he walked. He was the type who made others want to either kiss his arse, spank it, or shove a firecracker between his butt cheeks and light it. I was in the latter category.

I think of art as something open with freedom of expression. Unlike writing, there are no rules and only guidelines, that's what I thought, anyway! Instead, there were lots of rules we were forced to follow. Mr. Loudswagger was a stickler about that! Some made no sense to me at all.

One in particular that bugged me the most: A drawing must start at the bottom of a canvas and work upward. He repeated this constantly! Well, I preferred to begin in the center and work around. And this is how I did it! Since our teacher liked to sit on his backside while we worked, I usually got away with it.

Then one spring day our class strolled to the park only a block away to sketch the statue there. It featured a curvy woman in a clingy garment. Grapes sprouted from her head instead of hair. She stood balancing a jug of wine on her shoulder with another spilling from her hip. This statue had been imported from Italy and was considered quite risqué in our (then) small coastal town. It has since been moved to the Historic Downtown area.

I seated myself comfortably on the grass. I began sketching in the middle as usual. Suddenly, I felt a yardstick on the back of my hand holding it down. A looming shadow overwhelmed my canvas. Yikes! It was Mr. Loudswagger!

"What have I been telling you for months!” he bellowed. “Always start at the bottom! Haven’t you been listening?!”

“OK,” I said nervously. Quickly, I pulled my hand away and moved my pencil to the bottom. He cleared his throat in disgust. I watched him swagger away. Then I went right back to drawing in the middle! This was MY work of art after all!!!

I passed the class with a C. The other no-talents all got B’s, but only the gifted ones received A’s. I had no desire to sign up for another Art Class ever again. I was clearly unsuited for it. Another issue, it was too messy for me! Despite wearing a smock, it was not unusual to show up for the following class with paint dotting my arms, face, or in my hair. However if you possess the aptitude and passion, I guess this is a minor thing.

I decided I'd rather just admire the work of those with talent.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

BIG DARK GLASSES & MAPLE-FLAVORED SYRUP


Recently, I watched a movie The Space Between Us on my DVR. After the teenager born and raised on Mars came to Earth he was issued big dark sunglasses that covered his brows and both sides of his eyes. I laughed out loud at the sight of them! They were exactly like the ones I wore after my cataract surgeries.

The teen soon exchanged them with a street person for a cooler pair. However I was forced to wear mine for what seemed like forever! I'd spot other people wearing those same glasses when I was out & about. We'd smile and nod at one another as if we were members of some esoteric club. In a way we were, almost as if we came from Mars.

In the movie, the teen asked whomever he encountered: "What's your favorite thing about Earth?" For ME, it's the food! -- But you already know that, don't you?

Well hot cat pee!!! Not long ago I received a shock that nearly shattered me to my core!!!

One of my favorite flavors is maple! I actually prefer maple fudge to chocolate! And maple is not only delicious, it's healthy!

According to science, maple syrup protects brain cells from Alzheimer's. The cells are prevented from fibrillating or clumping and the maple keeps the beta-amyloid from sticking or tangling. -- I am NOT making this up!

Unfortunately, I have aged into the danger zone. My two best friends in the world, Margaret & Pat were lost to this disease as was my step-mother. Alzheimer's does not run in my family, but I still worry. I don't want to be seen naked as a jay bird stumbling over my sprinklers on my way to the mailbox one day!

So I bought a bottle of maple syrup for my spiraled butternut squash. However I noticed the syrup had a peculiar after taste. I grabbed the bottle and read the ingredients. To my horror, there was NO MAPLE listed! It was mostly corn syrup & fructose. This was only MAPLE-FLAVORED syrup!

On my next trip to the grocery store armed with reading glasses, I checked out the syrups. All the popular brands, (even the one I grew up enjoying over pancakes on Sunday mornings) as well as the others around them contained NO MAPLE whatsoever! Whoa! I was nothing short of traumatized. This must be how a little kid feels when they learn there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy! How can I ever believe or trust anyone ever again!!!

Several advertised NO FRUCTOSE in big letters, but there was NO MAPLE either! They were mostly CORN SYRUP and just MAPLE-FLAVORED!

Sure, PURE maple syrup was on a higher shelf; however, it was more than double the price. I purchased a small bottle.

I've come up with a healthy, or rather healthier dessert. I sparingly pour pure maple syrup on plain or frozen yogurt, top with lots of walnuts, (antioxidants, cancer fighting properties & heart healthy) then I liberally sprinkle on cinnamon (rich with antioxidants).

But man-o-man, I still love and long for maple fudge! But to my dire shock and horror, I recently discovered that the main ingredients are brown sugar with maple-flavoring. There is absolutely NO MAPLE in maple fudge, either! 

Earth sucks!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

THE NOT SO EMERALD ISLE OF ERIN


The year was 1976 America was celebrating its bicentennial.  I was 25 years old.

I had been to Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, & Guatemala (none of which required a passport back then) with family members; but now I hungered to go abroad. Friends expressed interest right up until it came time to make firm plans. Then I heard every imaginable excuse why they couldn't go and the following year it was the same. Exasperated, I declared that I was going alone!

One Sunday in July my father spotted an ad in the travel section of the newspaper; a 10 day trip to Ireland for $650! This included airfare, a full Irish breakfast every morning, plus a celebratory dinner inside an Irish castle! Even by 1970's standards this was a bargain!!! And it was out of Miami. Plus the tour would be taking me to County Tipperary where my paternal Grandmother was born. This was Grandmother I never knew.

The next day at lunch we drove to a travel agent in West Palm Beach where our family business was located. The agent researched the tour and stated it was legit. She booked me for the second to last week in September. This was to be the first of many tours abroad for me and Stella became my regular travel agent.

Now, all I needed a passport! The cost was only $15 then. I actually loved my photo! I had long, wavy blonde hair & wore my cameo choker, a typical 1970's look.

All summer long, a soap commercial played their ditty on TV. With a spritely lilt it sang, "Get away from summer escape to Irish Spring!" This always made me smile.

When I shared my exciting news, most replied, "Is that a good idea? There's a civil war going on there between the Protestants and the Catholics. People are getting shot and blown up!" I explained that this was occurring only in a small section in the north. The greater part of Ireland was peaceful, although they seemed not to believe me.

My flight departed during the wee hours of the morning, around 2:45 AM. My father drove me down. It was a near 3 hour drive from our home in Stuart to Miami, plus I had to be at the airport 2 hours before take-off. I'm not a night person and I was eager to board the plane and sleep.

I was assigned a wretched middle seat crammed between 2 strangers. Despite the discomfort, I managed to doze, but was awakened shortly as snacks were being served. This was the last thing I wanted!

An hour before landing, the airline crew walked up & down the aisles singing, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Passengers were encouraged to sing along.

After arriving at Shannon Airport we were greeted with big mugs of Irish coffee. I had Irish coffee before and didn't like it, it has too much alcohol. I was the only one who declined it.

After collecting our luggage, we were directed to a small room which quickly became over crowded. Here, 6 or 7 different guides stood with a list of names over each. Everyone bumped into each other looking for theirs. The entire airplane had been filled with only Florida residents for this tour. On later escorted trips, I learned this is rare; usually you're among people from all over the U.S. and even other countries.

My guide was named Paddy. He gave me the number of his bus. Soon after seating myself a slender woman around 45 came and sat down beside me. She was Anna from Delray Beach. We became fast friends.

After everyone was seated, Paddy announced the hotel was overbooked and some of us needed to unboard and remain at the airport hotel. But not to worry, he'd be picking up everyone later for the welcome feast at Bunratty Castle. Anna & I held my breaths; usually it's us singles who get it in the neck. But not this time! Paddy called out the names of 3 couples. One of the men was livid and red-faced with anger. He unleashed a barrage of profanities in Paddy's face. The tour guide appeared shaken as he re-entered the bus. I felt badly for him.

Neither the guide nor driver knew where Florida was located on the map. This surprised me, because Florida has a distinctive shape; it's America's penis, or gun, depending on your frame of mind. I was astonished to learn that tourism is as big an industry in Ireland as it is in Florida.

In 1976 Ireland was experiencing the worst drought in 200 years. It was not as green as advertised and this was disappointing.

I was surprised to find 4 big double beds in my room! Then I remembered this was a Catholic country and families are large.

A few hours later, our group was driven to Bunratty Castle for an evening of entertainment. The guide explained that everything at the feast would be exactly as during medieval times, only knives would be given with our meal.

The castle was torch lit and displayed long rows of tables. The entertainers were our wait staff. The star of the show was a beautiful blonde girl around my age. She walked up and asked me to sit at her table. I felt honored.

Soup was served. We lifted the bowls to our lips. I don't remember what was served next, but it was all finger-friendly food, no mashed potatoes or peas, etc... Then we were treated to a musical & dance history of Ireland. This was my first experience with dinner theatre.

The following day we toured the city of Limerick and then south into picturesque countryside with quaint thatched cottages and churches made of field stone. We passed thru the village of Adare. On the River Feale we stopped at Abbeyfeale.

This was the beginning of an irksome habit! Half our group headed straight for the bar. Always, the tour guide encountered problems getting them out and extra bathroom stops were required later. After which they would head straight into another bar! Always, we were late arriving at our destinations! Due to this, many optional tours available thru our hotels were missed. I complained to the guide!

"You have to understand, dear," he said. "This is something special to them."

I told him we have plenty of bars in America! And I didn't know if I'd ever be returning to Ireland but I was missing things I wanted to see and do; activities that were truly special, all because of them! He shrugged and said he was sorry. Thankfully, on future trips I was assigned guides with backbones who insisted we stick to our schedule.

We were supposed to arrive in Killarney in the afternoon, but thanks to the drunkards it was well after dark. I had planned to book a jaunting car (horse-drawn buggy) to tour the lakes & castles, but now it was too late and I was pissed! This was something I had been looking forward to. I had to settle for the bus tour the following morning.

From there, we toured the Ring of Kerry. This was a succession of panoramic views composing of lakes and mountains that took my breath away. Despite the drought Killarney was gorgeous! Its lakes, rolling hills, and centuries old castles appeared to be straight out of a fairytale. 

Then we drove thru Cahiriciveen on Doulous Bay. Valentia Island is just off the mouth of the Bay. Named by the Spaniards this was a hub of trading and smuggling for centuries. From there, we went to Waterville. The fields, streams, and rural beauty truly made it a sportsman's paradise.

The following day, we were off to Cork City to kiss the Blarney Stone! This was a major highlight of the trip! Two years before I saw a travelogue showing tourists doing this. I have a fear of heights and told myself I would NEVER do that, but I DID!!!

At Blarney Castle the narrow winding staircase leading up to the famous stone was actually scarier! There was no railing on the one side with a steep drop below as a constant stream of people moved in both directions.

As to the Blarney Stone itself, a big man holds your ankles down as you're lowered backwards to kiss the rock, and it's a long, long way down beneath. However, I was near-sighted back then and after removing my prescription sunglasses all I saw was a green blur below.

There are iron bars in the event the guy loses his grip, however those are far down as well! You could still crack your skull!

Kissing the stone is supposed to give one the gift of eloquence. I joked afterward that I was no longer inarticulate. I began thinking about the saliva from people all over the world and wondered if the stone was ever hosed down with soap.

The next day in keeping with spit-covered rocks, we left Killarney and viewed the monastic remains of the Rock of Cashel where according to legend, the devil spat. This was County Tipperary, the birth place of my paternal Grandmother! All of us clapped loudly as we bellowed out a rousing rendition of, It's A Long Way To Tipperary! For me, this was another highlight and now a sacred memory.

From there, it was on to Kilkenny situated on the banks of the River Nore. Afterward we stopped in Kildare the center of horse breeding & training at the Western edge of the Curragh Plain. This was a busy marketing town.

It's the donkeys that I remember most in Ireland! We were up early every morning and it was common to see milk delivered by donkey cart. In fact, throughout Ireland, people with donkeys were everywhere.

Now it was off to Dublin! Ireland's capital is a fascinating city. Its history is steeped in both tragedy and glory which I was soon to discover. The tour guide had us all singing, Molly Malone! "In Dublin's fair city where the old maids are pretty," --Those are MY lyrics anyway!

Dublin is filled with wonderful 18th century Georgian architecture, lovely squares, parks, and wide streets. We toured the Joyce Museum. Afterward, we went to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells and the National Library. Also we saw the old Parliament House, (now the Bank of Ireland) Dublin Castle and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Our afternoon was free! My seatmate Anna & I went exploring together. I remember seeing a large African woman in colorful tribal garb looking magnificently incongruous amidst the Celtic atmosphere as she strolled proudly down the sidewalk.  Anna & I bought souvenirs, postcards, & gifts. Later, we encountered a group of young Italian guys who flirted with me.

Anna & I stopped at a small cafe for lunch. I was surprised and delighted to find pizza on the menu! I ordered a small, individual, anchovy one. (Hey, I love anchovies, deal with it!) But there was only ONE long anchovy in the middle, period! However the pizza was tasty. In fact it was the most delicious thing I ate during the entire trip. Irish food is terrible! I am no fan of their cuisine.

I along with everyone else signed up for an optional event at the Jury's Hotel that evening. It consisted of dinner, classic Irish entertainment and more. We enjoyed Irish fiddlers, dancers, & lots of pretty girls singing. But the star was a comedian and master of Irish humor. (His last name was Roach just like the bug!) This guy was downright side-splittingly hilarious! And it was all clean humor, too.

For the finale, all the performers took the stage to sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic in honor of America's bicentennial. The crowd consisting entirely of Americans gave them a standing ovation.

The following day we left Dublin. As we set off across the breadth of the Irish countryside we passed thru scenic towns amidst castle ruins and sleepy little villages. 

We stopped in Athlone, capital of the Midlands on the River Shannon. Later we toured Connemara. As with Killarney, it was gorgeous despite the drought. Connemara is one of the most wild and beautiful areas of Ireland. The lakes and mountains are glorious and breathtaking. We traveled thru Clifden a seaside town and capital of Connemara. There, I bought myself a bracelet of Connemara marble.

Next it was on to Galway! Throughout the trip, the guide was constantly having us break into Irish songs and clap along. A little of this went a long way! As we approached Galway, he had everyone singing Galway Bay. The song that starts: "If you ever go across the sea to Ireland, etc, la, la, la."

We stayed the night there. Our hotel was directly across from Galway Bay. From the lobby a long dock was visible. Land stretched under the entire length of it and beyond. This looked rather sad. My room overlooked a cow pasture. Despite the drought, the scene was bucolic and pretty.

On the city tour of Galway, a group of us ladies lingered in town attempting to find a reasonably priced meal. Dinners in all our hotels all started at $8 which was expensive by 70's standards. (Nowadays most places want that much just for dessert!) However, all we found were bars on every corner serving sandwiches and we were hungry for a full dinner. Locals directed us to a restaurant, but it was closed! We ended up taking a cab back to our hotel.

But I was delighted to have breakfast served in my room every morning. This was true throughout the entire British Isles as well.

After leaving Galway we drove thru the Burren country with its bare limestone hills. They cover about 50 square miles. We stopped in Lisdoonvarna noted as the matchmaker town for people who wish to marry. (I was eager to leave for that reason.) Then it was off to view the majestic Cliffs of Moher which extend along the coast of County Clare. They rise sheer above the sea to nearly 700 ft. -- It was the photo of these cliffs in the newspaper ad that actually sold me on this trip. And yes, they were impressive! Before reaching them we passed wide haunting Irish moors. 

Our final destination was Ennis, the chief town of the county. From there, it was back to Shannon Airport before our flight home. I recall I did some serious duty free shopping there.

At Miami International, my father and future step-mother were waiting for me. Anna & I smiled fondly at one another and waved good-bye. We would never see each other again.

Shortly after, I complained to my travel agent, Stella that our guide was negligent in adhering to the schedule forcing me to miss optional excursions. Several weeks later, I received a $50 check from the tour company. I would have preferred going on those excursions!

In 1976 Ireland was at least 30 years or more behind the United States. Even in Dublin, milk was still being delivered by donkey cart. Whenever I mentioned this, often I heard exclamations of, "Oh I would love that! I want to move there!"

And I'd tell them, "No you wouldn't after you discover all the things you'll be giving up." This is a lesson I had to re-learn when I looked into expatriating.

Many people who have been to Ireland more recently tell me it has changed quite a bit. But I'm glad I visited when I did, despite the drought and the drunks. I saw Ireland as it used to be and that's something to treasure.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

HANDS OFF, I'VE GOT THIS!


I'm a fickle shopper and I'm sure most people fall into this category. Where I shop depends on wherever I find the best deal. I follow the grocery ads & specials in the newspaper. I'm not in the habit of going to the same supermarket every week. And many personal and kitchen items I buy at the Dollar Store.

However around the corner is a major supermarket and naturally it's my go-to place when I need an item or two in a pinch. It's not unusual for an employee to approach me and ask, "Are you Ok? We haven't seen you in here for awhile!"

I smile and tell them the Winn-Dixie down the street has been having better specials lately. Usually the prices are better on fresh fruit & vegetables there. However this store carries more frozen items I like, but the Walmart bakery beats them both when it comes to dessert.

The close store however, is the only remaining one that offers to wheel your groceries to your car and load them for you. I'll admit I'm a fussy, opinionated person who likes everything done a certain way. Naturally, this seldom makes me likable.

I enjoy grocery shopping and I like this store. But I resent having to argue with the baggers about going to my car with me. I just prefer doing it myself, period!

"Hey that's what we're here for!" one told me, recently.

"But I do it perfectly!" I replied.

From the expression on his face, I could see that every time I entered from that point forward he'd be shaking his head and thinking,"Egads! There's Miz I-do-it-perfectly, again!"

The last time I let a bagger do it was about 6 or 7 years ago. The cap on a big bottle of juice came loose and leaked all over the back of my station wagon. An emergency trip to a car wash was required to have the inside of my car shampooed. But it still smelled like blueberries for weeks after. I'm thankful it wasn't a bottle of bleach! Also I've had cakes overturn on the drive home!

After the juice incident, I decided that no bagger would ever be loading my groceries ever again! This was a job strictly for Dianne.

I have my own system now. My old car is a hatchback which I love. If I'm ever carjacked, I know I'll never have to worry being locked in the trunk! -- Shot or stabbed perhaps, but at least there's no place to hide the body.

Moving right along, here's the way I load groceries into my car. I suggest you take notes, because I do it PERFECTLY! 

Below is my system:

Cakes & pastries along with ice cream, & frozen seafood go on the floor behind the driver's side. Everything else goes in the back. All liquids I place upright inside a large plastic laundry basket with remaining groceries packed firmly around them.

I wish baggers were this careful, but they're not!

The majority of baggers seem to be men over 50 with a few under 20. Whenever I tell one, "I've got this!" Instead of trying to persuade me otherwise, I wish they would just go help the invalid in the next aisle, or the 90 year old two aisles over.

In the most recent case, the bagger was a geezer around my age. Unlike me, he looked the part! The guy grabbed my cart suddenly just as I was exiting the store. As I unlocked my hatchback I told him he could go, I'd take it from there. But he remained insistent!

"I really prefer doing it myself," I told him again, raising my voice.

"And if anything spills you'll be responsible, too!" he snapped.

I gave him a hard stare. "Sir, that NEVER happens when I do it!" I stated firmly. "Because I do it perfectly!" (In other words, I do it better than you.) SO THERE!!! Get lost.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

CRACK SHOTS & CRACK POTS


Wednesday Feb. 23 I attended another protest on the steps of the Courthouse here in Vero Beach, this one concerning our lax gun laws. The crowd was large with many carrying signs. This time there were no counter protesters which is surprising. Just the day before I was reading a letter in the local newspaper from some idiot who claimed the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre would have had far fewer deaths if teachers had been armed. Really??? I can visualize MORE deaths because more students and teachers would have been caught in the crossfire. Just how many people who own guns are crack shots!

But let's assume they are all trained marksmen; remember there's an element of surprise here, not to mention pressure. From what I read a policeman was there when all of this was going down and was frozen in place outside. And with a number of armed civilians a SWAT team would be confused as to which was the crackpot! This is the kind of stupid idea only an NRA toady could think up.

When I learned of this latest Florida shooting on Valentine's Day it was on the evening news and frankly I wasn't surprised. It's becoming too common place for that. Naturally Trump was eager to blame the FBI despite the fact he's made it easier for mentally disturbed individuals to purchase assault weapons as well as cut the funding for mental health. If anything, I'm surprised it doesn't occur more often.

The NRA owns the Republican Party. It's bought and paid for them! So I don't expect anything to change soon. However, that doesn't mean it should be accepted or even tolerated. Become a bayonet in their side, fight!!! Protest like hell again and again until something does change!!! You don't defeat bullies by turning the other cheek.

It's not just students and teachers who are in danger! The Orlando Pulse Nightclub, Las Vegas Concert, and Aurora Theater massacres are proof of that! No one is safe under our current gun laws. Next time it could be a nursing home filled with senior citizens, a sports arena, an airport, or even a supermarket! I could have been shot on the courthouse steps along with dozens of others. Vero Beach is a Trumpanzee town and the school shooter was a Trump supporter.

This, is only one of a long list of issues I have with Trump and his administration. I wish there was equally as much uproar about the other policies harming people and our environment. This entire administration along with their evangelical supporters consists of nothing but crack pots; vile and corrupt ones backing a con man in the oval office. All of them need to be removed, starting at the top!!!

As to our gun laws, Trump himself does not help his case with his boasts of shooting someone in broad daylight and not losing any voters. Remember during his campaign he urged someone use their Second Amendment right to take out Hillary Clinton.  -- I wish the same for him! It would only be poetic justice.

FYI I am a registered Republican and consider myself conservative. But I know a turd when I smell one.

Nothing good is going to come out of this presidency. This insane administration is all about greed! It's consumed by it! A toxic stench is permeating our land and it's emanating from that blob of human excrement inside the White House.
Trump, you are incompetent, plus a disgrace and an embarrassment! Since you love guns so much why don't you do this country and the entire world a favor and shoot yourself!

I don't care if you leave office in handcuffs or a box, either way I will celebrate! There will be dancing in the streets!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

FLASHING, SPINNING, NEON LIGHTS GOING ROUND & ROUND


It was my nasty Valentine's gift from the Universe! On the eve before Valentine's Day I was watching a movie on my DVR titled: Best Laid Plans. The movie was kind'a sucky, but I've always liked Reese Witherspoon. She reminds me of peanut butter cups. Anyway, about 45 minutes into the film I noticed my giant eye floater darting about like a speedballing bug! Suddenly flashing, spinning, neon lights appeared inside the outer edge. My right eye seemed to be on an acid trip!

Alarmed, I hurried to get my eye drops, the ones specially formulated for dry eyes like mine hoping it would normalize the situation. It didn't, not even after repeated applications every half hour. I kept examining the eye in the mirror searching for a difference between it and the left one. But they looked exactly the same, yet one was acting bizarre. After the movie, I went to bed hoping the eye would return to normal the next AM. It didn't!

On Valentine's Day it was still acting crazy as I awoke. I Googled my symptoms. -- I had been warned previously by a healthcare professional never to believe Dr. Google because he would mess with my head. Well my eye was messing with my head and I wanted answers! To my horror, I discovered I had symptoms of a detached retina. The bottom line was to seek medical treatment immediately or I would permanently lose vision in that eye.

I phoned the Florida Eye Institute and gave a nurse my symptoms. She instructed me to come in early the next AM; they made a space for me. Just last October, I had cataract surgery in both eyes there. I don't have Insurance and despite my age, I don't qualify for S.S. or Medicare. And my bank account couldn't handle a hit from another surgery! I was sick with stress and foreboding.

Later, my friend Marie dropped over with cookies from a French bakery. It was the one bright spot in my worst Valentine's Day ever! I told her the horrible news.

Marie said she had a giant eye floater, too. Hers looks like a lobster! We both laughed. Marie offered to drive me the following morning. I could still drive. Besides, I knew I was in for a long, tedious wait there and I couldn't subject her to that. So I thanked her and declined.

At the Institute the next day, I had to be examined by 4 technicians (with long waits between each) before even seeing the doctor. The morning felt excruciatingly long. I heard a nurse inform a patient that they were running late due to an emergency case. I wondered if that was me.

The doctor stated that the gel in my right eye was loosening and it was age-related, but he saw no signs of a tear in the retina. I asked about the flashing, spinning, neon lights, and the floater gone wild. He said I was having a migraine!

I told him I didn't get migraines anymore, although I had terrible ones during my early to mid-50's. He stated that if you are migraine prone they never go away, you just outgrow the pain. I've never heard that before and it sounded crazy to me! But I reminded myself that I was talking to a professional.

Thinking back, my migraines were always over my right eye stretching clear to the back of my head on the one side. They were nothing short of torture! I would go 3 days or more without food because I couldn't even keep water on my stomach! But I NEVER saw flashing, spinning, neon lights or even halos which many migraine sufferers do!

He said my symptoms would eventually go away and the floater would settle back down. The light show in my right eye is less dramatic, now. However, the floater is still darting around the screen as I type.

Thankfully, no surgery was required, I left $500 poorer; but I should be grateful it's not thousands!

What scares me, if this occurs again, how can I be absolutely certain it's only a migraine.

I doubt there will ever be affordable healthcare in this country, at least not during my lifetime. This is a for-profit industry and too many people with influence are getting rich off it. If you are a senior citizen with health issues to them you are just a piece of stale meat with a wallet!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

WINTER, I LOVE YOU!!!


This year, Florida has been experiencing more than a few days of winter, even more than a week. Those from other states have no idea how rare and precious this has become!

Every February I hear people declare with exaltation, "Summer is right around the corner now, I can't wait!" -- I WANT TO PUNCH THEM!!! I don't want summer arriving. I dread the long months of heat & humidity along with hurricane stress & anxiety! Summer has become a season of misery for me. Oh and I forgot the swarms of bugs, too!

The best part of the year here in Florida is after hurricane season when the holidays arrive one after the other. And if the weather is chilly, that's a double bingo jackpot!

So winter please stay awhile longer, linger into spring. Your cold nip excites me and makes me feel alive, yet, safe and comfortable. Wrap yourself around me and let me inhale you.

Yeah sure, I know people up north are shivering in the snow & ice. However, judging by the horrendous traffic and congestion, I think half of them are down here. Go home and freeze, I say!

Late spring and summer will at least bring an end to that, (temporarily) along with lengthy lines in restaurants & supermarkets, also it will be easier to find parking spaces once the tourists & snowbirds go home. This part is good at least, but I still long for the coolness of winter.

I'll miss the glowing serenity of the season, being bundled-up in warm clothes with my snuggy boots and a mug of hot mocho here alone inside the house I love. Twenty years ago this would have seemed an impossible fantasy. No matter what happens in the future, I can look back and know that I enjoyed the sublime here and now.

And when it's cold I fall asleep faster and sounder under lots of heavy covers!

For the first time in almost a decade, I've had to turn the heat on to get the chill out of the house in the AM, but I prefer that to sweating! My thermostat is set at 68 degrees. Once the temperature hits that, I turn it off.

I've never eaten so much soup in my life as I have this winter, except during the back-to-back hurricanes of 2004. Then, I sipped it at room temperature. I didn't mind, because my house was boarded up and there was no electricity. The last thing I wanted was something hot!  OMG What I wouldn't have given for a big, freezing, cold, chocolate-covered ice cream bar during the aftermath of those hurricanes!

Our Florida winters were becoming steadily hotter. Often I wore my summer clothes year round. The pretty sweaters & jackets I bought on sale, at long last I've been able to wear! They've just hung in my closet for a few years until now.

Please winter, linger awhile longer. I wish I could freeze time and make you last forever. But I can only enjoy the chill while it lasts. I fear the weather will be warming long before summer returns.

I've got my fingers crossed in hope for next December. Winter, please don't be a stranger. You are welcome here!