Category Archives: home

And now, on an entirely different subject

Are there no safe places?

Summer in Florida and even the geckos want some of that A/C. This lad was perfectly happy on a cool wall – until the camera flashed – once (headed for cover) and then twice (nearly there!). He really didn’t have to  do that – it’s likely that his company would have been more pleasant than what I had to tolerate earlier today among members of my own species.


My name is Moe, and I am a fracking idiot

_OhMyGodOh, big ouch!  I just showed up at a friend’s house (45 minutes away) for dinner. He was a little surprised because the dinner is tomorrow. And that is why, now that I am home, I have chosen dessert for my evening meal.

So, did you ever do this? (Of course you did.)

I just found  this roasting pan (absolutely eligible for a middle school chemistry project) in my oven, where I seem to have stashed it two weeks ago. The counter was crowded and I was preparing dinner.

Bet you’ve done that, haven’t you. Come on . . .



He did ask me to walk with him but I had to wash my hair . . . .

Skywalker Nik Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon yesterday on a highwire, a big deal that was broadcast on Discovery Channel and seen around the world. He’s a local lad and does that highwire thing  around here quite a lot. In his walk across the Canyon, he was tense and prayed aloud every step of the way. If you watched it, watch this video for contrast. In spite of a high wind, he’s completely relaxed all the way and nary a mention of ‘Jesus’. (He called upon ‘his Lord’ throughout yesterday’s event; cynics like me couldn’t help but wonder how it would be received by Evangelical America if the good man didn’t make it.)

By the way, I think this camera work – in spite of its single perspective (looks like the camera is mounted on his balance pole) – is superior in many ways to what I saw on the Discovery Channel. Anyway, Nik:


It was hot today, but it’s cooling a bit now

Brings this to mind.

Lightning or lilacs? I guess I’ve made my choice

Deep in the winter of 1994, I left my New England home and came to Florida. There were a number of reasons for the move. A yearning to live in a tropical climate didn’t even make the list.

butcher 2I’ve learned to embrace this place including the weather; most surprising to me has been how much I’ve come to relish the summer.

I love the sudden winds that bring our afternoon thunderstorms, and gully washers that sweep in from the Everglades and leave behind the sweetest air. I love those thunderstorms so much that just the sound of one approaching makes me hasten to leave wherever I might be and rush outside so I can watch it. (Photo is by renowned Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher.)

I love how every green and growing thing explodes – all at once – as though released from six-months of holding its breath.

I love how quiet and peaceful it is once the winter people leave – and how I can park right in front of the library. Lines disappear in a moment and the annual refrain is heard: “hooray, we can go out to dinner again“.

lilacsThere’s no ice. I’ve never had to scrape a windshield.

But I do miss the smell of  lilacs and the rich velvet of tulips. I’ll always miss those.

My turn at Drama Queen? Brief.

I was just starting to enjoy this . . . the ‘oh let me do that’, the ‘we’ll go to the store for you’. Sweet. But . . . a phone call from the radiologist just now delivers a final verdict, the good news they say.

The fractured elbow is not fractured. So roll up the ace bandages, off with the splint. No plaster of paris appointment in my morning.

And I had just mastered ‘sweeping’ the lanai with the leaf blower. Which, by the way, is how I shall do it forevermore.


It beats a covered wagon, but still . . .

California to Florida? Five hours in the air – perfectly acceptable, in fact a marvel.

18 Hours of air and airport time over two days for that trip –  oh my aching back. (I did accept, indeed quietly and with grace, that on the first flight a 300 pound man chose the middle seat to my left. It happens.)

Grapefruit-Tree-CareAnd so today is about fresh air, newspapers, red grapefruit from my tree and a lot of coffee brewed my way. Plus a nap. And some strawberries I think.

Just like Ellen and Sandy, Nemo got all nasty with my home turf

snow FairfieldHere are some snowfall totals from coastal Connecticut. According to the Weather Channel, at times it was falling there at rates of five and even six inches an hour. They’re noting that the satellite pictures look like hurricane patterns and just said that we’re going to see even more remarkable numbers.

  • Milford – 38 inches
  • Bridgeport –  30 inches
  • New London – 27 inches
  • New Haven – 34 inches

Good info here. The photo is from Fairfield CT.

I like my tree a lot better this year

I was quite distressed last year over a tree that turned out to be the wrong size. I was so unhappy I accorded far too much importance to that. I’m now a bit embarrassed by my public angst.

But this year? A fine tree. Right size, right shape and so fresh that even a week after bringing it into the house there are no needles on the floor. Good, good and good.

Want to see it? No matter, you’re going to see it. History must be served. Here’s the tree buck nekkid and then almost fully dressed.


Stand up and take it suckers. Florida doesn’t give a damn.

A nephew recently opened a branch of his insurance agency here in town, so when my policies came up for renewal I planned to transfer them to his office. But oh no . . . thanks to our consumer-hating Governor Scott and the now-infamous 2012 Florida legislature (the one that put 11 amendments to the state constitution on the ballot that contributed to voting going on until midnight, all of which were soundly defeated) that ain’t gonna happen (see below).

scottOur odd-looking Gov (nice teeth though) began his attack on all insurance that isn’t  private (as a crooked indicted former insurance exec himself, he continues allegiance to his former cohort) on Day One.  His special target has been the state-run, wildly popular and very well capitalized Citizens Insurance, which provides wind and flood coverage. In Florida, that is our hurricane policy.  (Citizens, by the way, was established after the big national companies fled Florida following Hurricane Andrew which devastated the State.)

Scott formed a committee tasked with developing strategies to literally get rid of Citizens. He wants to provide actual cash payments to private companies who take over their policies and is also offering to share Citizens’ disaster funds with them which they need since none of them have reserves as healthy as the gay-socialist-anti’merican Citizens.  Some of this is already in place; in 2013 for the first time, wind insurance will no longer covers ‘external’ structures of the sort most subject to wind damage  – that would be pool cages, screened-in porches, sheds and carports (stuff our leaders assume the common folk could easily cover out of their movie money). Adding to the pain, there’s not another reputable company offering alternatives – not at any price. Isn’t that nice? 

So, back to my nephew and his shining new local business. Here’s the text of an email I just got from his office. Both the agent and I have now agreed that I’d put  myself at risk of being denied insurance altogether were I to attempt to support Mike’s new business by transferring my policies to him. She said:

I am running into a problem with Citizens. As you know, they are increasingly difficult to work with for us. In order for us to change the agent on the policy, they now require the policyholder to re-qualify and will not transfer documents from one file to the other. Because of the age of your home, they are going to require a new 4 point inspection which would verify the condition of the roof, electrical, plumbing and AC systems. All items must show that they are free of defects and have at least 5 years remaining useful life. This is different from the Wind Mitigation inspection that we discussed when you were in the office, which is only required in the event that you wish to have credits applied to the policy and only verifies structural elements and not condition. Unfortunately for us, if you simply renew your existing policies, you are not subject to this condition . . . .

And now, the same situation has popped up with my homeowners policy. I guess they’ve figured if Citizens can get away with this, so can they. Both policies will now remain with my current agent. Sorry Mike.

Way to support new businesses Gov! But hey, F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

When Florida votes this clown out of office in 2014 we may be able to repair some of what he’s done; till then, it’s going to hurt – a lot.

Gobble, gobble y’all

This year I feel especially fortunate. More of my family is here in town – in fact, another brother and a nephew have become neighbors.  The young’un and his wife have been visiting since they were children to see grandparents So this has always been a part of ‘home’ to them.

I’m also grateful that both David Frum and David Brooks have begun using – and not in a nice way – the phrase ‘conservative-entertainment media complex’. 

(Pictured is one of the two pumpkin pies I made this morning. Came out pretty good I think; there’s an apple/cranberry yet to go.)

Happy T’day and please, please, stay away from Black Friday. I worry about injuries. 


And so it went

The terror is ended.

Lucky iz us, but God still has it in for New Orleans

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes. We were spared here, but Mother Nature appears not to be done with New Orleans. That sucks and  it’s not fair.

If there’s an upside to being a target, it’s this: whenever anything even vaguely Tropical  threatens, the process of ‘battening down’ the house leads to some productive weeding. Everything under 30 pounds has to be moved inside away from the wind,  which means it is actually noticed and handled, and consequently a lot of what’s noticed (out of sight, out of mind ya’ know) doesn’t make it back, but goes instead into the Goodwill boxes. And that is ‘a good thing’.

Just sayin’

Busy, unbloggy

A retired person like my esteemed self is not supposed to be overwhelmed with what we once called ‘work’. But I am.

It’s not the house or yard or other personal projects. It’s the damn volunteer affiliations, where I regularly over-commit, not yet having learned the obvious lesson.

And so I have my piles again, each demanding attention. There’s the newsletter for one board I’m on. And for that board, because I’m now able to remotely access the organization’s servers, I’m suddenly the go-to person for membership and other miscellaneous information as well.

There’s the unfinished grant application for the beach trust where, even though I’m no longer a Trustee (term limited), I seem to have become an ‘advisor’. As such – lucky me! – I get to do a lot of what I did as a Trustee – at least the responsibility no longer rest with me.

So, like Bart Simpson, it’s to the blackboard for me: must learn to say ‘no’. must learn to say ‘no’. must learn to . . .

And then perhaps some ice cream. It all looks better after some ice cream.

Plus the world out there offends me. And it sucks too. So there.

Nice things happen, even to people like me

Market day for me. It’s always the same: make a list, check it twice, pay up, load the car trunk and head home to do it all in reverse. Like I said – always the same.

But not today. I got home but my purse didn’t. I’d left it in the shopping basket after unloading. (This is, embarrassingly, not the first time I’ve done this, although to be fair it was ten years ago.)

Heart in throat I raced back to the supermarket. Up to the service desk, now breathless. Do you have my purse? No, sorry. Heartbeat takes notice. Now frantic, I head out to look at every shopping cart I can find in the parking lot, but stop because behind me someone is calling my name. Someone in the store uniform.  First I wonder how does she know my name? And then I know. My world is about to be whole again.

The store clerk had just gotten a phone call from a couple who said they’d found the purse and were headed to my house, but then thought they’d best call just in case I went there. And now, the clerk said, they were turned around and headed back.

I love those people.


Hiatus? Hiatus over? Mid-hiatus? Even I don’t know (I’m going with hiatus almost over)

It is my habit at breakfast to keep a pen and notepad at hand along with a small pair of scissors. While I read my paper and sip coffee, glorious coffee, I jot down thoughts to perhaps follow up on later, and often – too often – clip articles with interesting passages highlighted. (I tried that underlining thing – did you know that ball pens often cut through newsprint?) And thus do I seed posts for Whatever Works.

After the ritual, I drop  the morning harvest into a wire basket in the office. If the basket starts to fill up, I do some aggressive weeding, which isn’t hard since much of this is far less interesting at second look.

Right now the basket is full. It is overflowing. It is intimidating.  It has become the enemy. It mocks me mercilessly. And it impedes blogging.

I’ve learned that some things can be left unexamined without doing any harm. So it shall be and so shall I be unbloggy until I face down that nasty basket and strip it of its power. The wastebasket and I shall overcome. Soon.

Meanwhile, it’s summer, the pool and grill beckon, the days are blessedly slow and quiet time is here for the taking, not stolen as in other seasons.

This may be over tomorrow – hell, it could even be later today. So this post shall serve either as explanation for why no blogging, or a return . But that’s summer:  non-committal, and that’s okay.

Two things I’m no good at

Carving meat and scooping ice cream.

That is all.

Everyone must make this for dinner

I think this is my first ever recipe post. But jeez, this was so frackin’ good  . . . I wish I could travel in the way-back machine and feed it to Elvis, who would then abandon his peanut butter and banana sandwiches and embrace a new diet and live forever and keep singing and be my bestest friend.

Anyway, what delights can happen when we clear out the veggie drawer and toss it all into a skillet!

Here goes: over high heat put a small amt of olive oil in a non stick skillet,  then:

1. add chunks of garlic, thinly sliced onions, push around the pan for a few minutes

2. add tomatoes (I quartered 2 Campari tomatoes), a minute more

2. add sliced and quartered green zucchini

3. push it all around for maybe four minutes, let the zucchini burn a little

(Earlier, I’d cooked a bunch of green beans chopped into one inch lengths and set aside.)

4. add the cooked string beans

(Salt/pepper a few times as you go)

I put it on a plate with a tilapia filet on top (cooked in another skillet at same time).

It was glorious.


Hi Santa: I have just the spot in my kitchen for one of these. Wink, wink.

Damn you Google! Stop fiddling. And make it rain.

Google has disappeared the bestest little – and most convenient – weather widget ever, the one I’ve depended on for a few years. Now there’s only a link to a less informative source.  That’s a very Microsofty thing to do – and not very customer friendly.

See, I’m very interested in the weather today and the teevee won’t do it (I continually miss the eight-minute mark on The Weather Channel).  Down here, we’re in our 28th month of drought (barefoot caution: the grass will cut your feet), and today holds the possibility of up to an inch of rain.  (The year-to-date normal should be 10.9 inches. We’ve had 3.4. Pretty much in keeping with the last few years.)

I just grabbed this from somewhere – it’s the current Doppler. See that little segment between the two big fronts? That’s me.

Rain rain don’t go away. (and damn teh google!)

Blog here, elsewhere is me

Understand this, Yoda would. Lately my blog posts have been either derivative or stuff I’ve posted because I think I should post. My heart is perhaps tired. I’ve even just re-blogged for the first time (new WordPress feature that is very very easy and very very tempting).

I’m  not going  to go dark here or get all unbloggy . . . but nor am I going to just toss stuff up. I must set out to find my mojo. It may have been used up for now by the astonishing tone of the GOP race and the more astonishing and bold steps by Republicans to reign in we ‘uppity’ women.

Find it, I will. Lost, it is not. Hiding, it is.

Still lite blogging and unbloggy anyway. But there is this . . .

. . . from Las Vegas’ 8 News NOW: “Trump to make ‘major announcement’ on presidential race” He still thinks we care. I think that’s kind of cute.

In other newz, my new shiny silver laptop arrived today as did my all legal-like, brand spanking new Office 10 Professional Suite. Tomorrow is a big day as my digital life finally will come off life support and be born anew.

And once it does . .  I will immediately and completely re-organize every single thing in my life to absolute perfection, put everything I own in the right place, rearrange the contents of the bookshelves as they always should have been,  begin blogging on a strict schedule (probably after my 45 rigorous minutes on the elliptical – and the protein shake), never again handle a piece of paper more than once, and feel secure in the certainty that I will never ever misplace anything again. Ever.

Ah, the power of the new ‘puter.


Back to normal?

Whatever that may be . . . but I think that I may now say that for me the holidays are good and truly over. Let the week begin.

“We are currently experiencing . . .

Me today - if I weren't a girl

. . . connection problems at”

I’ve been unable to access my email this morning. Withdrawal symptoms are appearing.

The laptop (with Outlook) had to check into intensive care yesterday; on this machine, I have to go directly to – and I can’t. Are there drugs for this?

And ooohhhh . . . has Comcast been hacked?

UPDATE: Email back. Cable gone. Comcast is screwing with me today.

They want you to throw it away. Don’t.

I have dry skin and go through rather expensive moisturizers far too fast. (You needed to know that, didn’t you!)

Now, I hate waste – absolutely hate it and using as much of the skin stuff as I do, I’ve learned a few things:

  • When your tube or pump bottle of moisturizer stops producing, don’t toss it out! There’s a good deal left that you can’t see, but not enough to respond to the pump or the press – which I assume to be by design. More sales that way! Don’t fall for it –  get out the matte knife and cut that sucker open. Cover it with a little plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and you’ll get weeks more use.
  • Most of us know that it’s best to apply moisturizer after showering when skin is still a bit damp. It’s better absorbed that way, better for your skin – the bonus is you’ll use a lot less. And if you – like me – rub cream or lotion onto your hands a dozen times a day, the same principle applies. You’ll find you use about 1/3 the lotion you now use.
  • Product in a jar is honest. You can see what’s left and easily use every single bit. Reward those who put their cream in an honest jar. Buy it.


The tree. It is up.

The too-big Christmas tree is no longer too big and sits in its traditional spot in my living room. It is yet buck naked but looks great (and even smells wonderful!). So my holidays may now commence thanks to good neighbor Jim, partner of good neighbor Barb. He’s my Christmas tree go-to guy. I always buy the thing and haul it home, but until Jim comes over to help make sure it goes into the stand straight, it sits outside. This year he brought the cordless saw and promptly took it down a size and made it perfect. Now, once once I get the lights on (nobody’s favorite job) I can enjoy the sweet part – unboxing the ornaments, some so old they’re from my grandmother’s trees (albeit fewer each year) – and finding the perfect spot for each.

Many Mondays suck

Today has not been a good day. I have not liked today at all.

Only one thing went as it was supposed to –  I managed to arrive home with a Christmas tree.

The tree however is probably tainted by virtue of being ‘of today’ . . . so I won’t be surprised in the morning when I find it looks like this.