Sunday, May 31, 2009

I tawt I taw a dwagonfly

On my way to my car after work this afternoon, what I thought must be a dragonfly flitted right past me. I thought wow! and plucked my camera from my bag. The flying thing disappeared from my sight, but I looked around and spotted a long - about three inch - yellow and black striped oddity hanging from a stick in the hollies. I tried to move in and snapped a few without regard to settings of camera or location. Then unfortunately, people in the parking lot started talking to me, and I answered, and then the insect flew away. If that had not happened, I think he would have let me take a nice picture. But one thing I realized...this dragonfly is not the pretty creature I thought it would be.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


It was a year ago this week that I was in the South of France and it was cherry season just as it is now. The acres of orchards that we passed on our daily outings were dotted with sparkling red cerises. And we enjoyed them, too, for breakfast each morning, sweet and delicious. I am not aware of any orchards here, but at least I can buy them in season like these from Whole Foods.

As I was going through a new patients belongings many years ago, I found a can of cherries. Now that was unusual! He explained that he needed them in case his gout flared up. He was right. Cherries are known to be natural anti-inflammatories and they have many other health benefits as well. They are what I now call "real food," not one of man's concoctions that really don't do our bodies any favors.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Coming Together

Today I got out of my usual routine and attended a nice luncheon meeting of local Republican women. It began with the Pledge of Allegiance - and me with a mouthful of lettuce - but it felt good to participate in this patriotic ritual with a group of people who care about our country. After chicken crepes and Baked Alaska served by bustling waiters and interspersed by a couple of interactive talks, the meeting ended with this "Republican Creed." I had not heard it before but liked it.

I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon.
If I can seek opportunity, not security, I want to take the calculated risk to dream and build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for dole. I prefer the challenges of life to guaranteed security, the thrill of fulfillment to the state of calm utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, save my God.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid. To think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations; to face the whole world boldly and say, "I am a free American."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So soon?

Fifteen year old Jacob's yahoo address doesn't separate the spam from any legitimate email he may receive. My unsolicited stuff goes directly to a spam file where I delete without looking at it, but I have seen enough to know there are plenty of gross come-ons and sales pitches out there out in cyberspace. Thankfully my grandson's web address must have some sort of filter, but still, seeing what is in his inbox gave me a few laughs. For example: Chat and mingle, Seen on Oprah, AARP, Goodbye yellow teeth, Flush Toxic Gunk, Lung cancer alert, Birth Control Newsletter, Rainforest Magic, Stop foreclosure, eharmony, Psychologists needed, Seeking Marriage, Coffee and donuts, Celebrity diet, Drop 20 lbs by June, Free trial bottle, testers needed, Black People Meet, Pancake Breakfast...and oh, there is one from Grandmommy. No wonder I didn't get a reply.


I acquired a love of all things beachy from my mother and of course that includes sand and shells. I had heard that Sanibel Island was place with white sand and great shelling so I wanted to see for myself. As with most places I visit I didn't get to stay long enough, but I am glad that I did get to its beautiful shores and find it all to be true. This morning I finally opened the bags of shells that I brought back. They were a little smelly so I washed them and am letting them dry before I put them away. Most of the scallop shells were recycled in the waters by Mother Nature, and the few whelk type shells I found were broken and no longer inhabited by small sea creatures. The Sanibel shells are on the towel. The jar holds already washed shells from Bonita Beach. Shells are a little like us. Each one is different and each may be made more beautiful from use and brokenness.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not Quite Beignets

On Sunday morning I "whipped up" some dough for doughnuts. If I were to give you the recipe it would go something like this: basic white yeast bread adding a little sugar and an egg, and using half canned milk for the liquid. Then the great part is after kneading, you can put the dough in the fridge for up to three days, keeping it well covered. If you want to eat them nice and hot, the Krispy Kreme way, take out the amount you want to fry, press dough down and cut into the shape you want. I aimed for triangles. Let sit for a few minutes, then drop in medium hot oil. Turn and take out to drain when done. Roll in or sprinkle on powdered sugar. I have had them for three days in a row and think they are as good as the ones at Cafe du Monde! Here with a cup of (instant) Cafe Francais.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What a Terrific Grandson!

I think Jacob is a great kid and I love having him around. I appreciate his mom and dad for sharing him with me from time to time. When he asks, "Grandmommy is there anything you want me to do?" my happiness meter goes way up, like Maria in Sound of Music when she sang "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good." Jacob doesn't hesitate when asked to do a dirty job or yard work and always praises anything I happen to feed him. He is a fine conversationalist and can discuss anything, like this morning when I was telling him about our trip to Edison's summer home and he contributed with a story about Tesla and his OCD and his conflict with Edison. And any car questions? He is the authority as far as I am concerned. How nice to be a grandmother in the summer!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hot Air Balloon

My best picture from Freedom Weekend Aloft today.

Getting Crafty

I had an opportunity this week to participate in a basket weaving class. The instructor had already cut all of the thin strips for the market baskets and put them in kits so we just had to assemble them. It was a fun learning experience for me and now I have a pretty, though flawed, basket.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the US or on a tropical isle?

Here is another picture I liked because of the position of the white clouds and the blue sky behind the fronds high on the tree. Can you see the coconuts on the palm?

Flowers from Mina Edison

I think it is a bird of paradise.
Queen's Wreath and friend
A Bean FlowerGooseneck Cactus

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


How different the world would be without the genius of Thomas Alva Edison, Time's Man of the Millenium, and Henry Ford, the father of assembly line mass production and founder of the Ford Motor Company. I could have traipsed around their summer homes in Ft. Myers much longer, but I did love my brief time there. Edison saw potential in the country boy Ford, mentored him, and they became fast friends. What interesting lives! I will be checking out their biographies from the library soon. Here is a picture of Edison's summer lab. I wonder what ideas he worked on while he was there.


Orchids grew in trees on the Edison - Ford properties.

A Heron of a Different Color

I think it is a yellow crowned night heron.

Trees at the Edison and Ford Homes

These are some of the roots from what I think is a rubber tree - in the genus Ficus for sure. Edison successfully experimented with getting rubber from trees here in America.

This is an amazing specimen of a banyan tree and is the second largest one the world covering an acre on Edison's land. Even though it looks like a lot of trees, it is really only one. It was a gift from Harvey Firestone back in the twenties.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


If you were Edison, this would be your back yard. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Plants and Animals

What would a trip to Florida be without seeing a few alligators and flamingos and exotic, tropical plants. Today we went to a nearby attraction that had all that and more, including this red-eyed guy (or gal). Then we drove quite a way to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary planning on taking the hike and seeing some birds and other wildlife. I should have suspected something was amiss when I saw that the colorfully blooming butterfly garden was absent of flutter, then the guy at the desk confirmed it. "You haven't heard, have you?" Apparently the swamp has dried up and all of the wading birds have flown away as well as most of the other birds. Maybe today's rain that forced us back to the hotel early will help. Here are some reptilian animals from the Everglades Wonder Garden.

And in this . . . plants on animals?

The Beautiful Tree of Sanibel

I had seen some trees here that are in bloom with rich orange-red flowers and wondered what they were. Today I was able to stop and see one up close and take some pictures. From another blog, I learned that it is a Royal Poinciana, or Flamboyant Tree, Delonix regia, and I must say it is the most gorgeous tree I have ever seen. It is related to the mimosa - similar leaves - and to the bean family - big pods on it today. Also I read that it is a native of Madagascar and is officially one of the five most beautiful trees in the world. Here is my poor attempt at conveying its beauty.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Today's Adventures

Today's main event was taking an evening cruise aboard a catamarand that left from Captiva Island in search of dolphins in the Pine Island Sound. We did see a few but mostly I just enjoyed all the pretty scenery.

Around the marina was a manatee and her baby as well as pelicans, a great blue heron, and this great egret, larger than the ones on Lighthouse Beach yesterday and with black legs. I watched him wade around and decided he must be the giraffe of the bird world.

We ate dinner at a local place that offered frog legs and alligator on its menu but we opted for the traditional seafood items. It was just what we wanted! Then we found our way to a small public parking area with a walkway to the beach. I searched for shells and found some nice scallop shells that I would not see on the Carolina coast, some lady slippers (I think that is what I used to call them), and some other small, pretty bivalves.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So far so good

We had a pleasant and uneventful flight to Florida yesterday that fortunately gave me no funny stories to tell. After breakfast today we left Sarasota in our rental car and took 41 South eventually finding our way to our nice and economical Hampton Inn in Bonita Springs. This afternoon we checked out Bonita Beach and also the architecturally endowed Barefoot Beach before heading off for Sanibel about five. After going through the toll booth and crossing over a couple of bridges, we followed a road until it ended at the Sanibel Lighthouse, parked, and we were there! There were people fishing, shelling, walking, and enjoying the white sand and emerald water, but it was far from crowded. A couple of serious looking guys with big fancy cameras passed me. I'll bet you can see every feather on their egrets! The required afternoon thunderstorm came at sunset but only added to the beauty of the sky dome. Tonight we ate at at a great Mexican restaurant here in Bonita Springs, Iguana Mia. That's it for today!

The Snowy Egret of Sanibel

I snapped almost a hundred pix of these beautiful birds today. They were all pretty good but I narrowed them down to these five.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gulf Coast, here I come.

Wanderlust: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Today I am leaving with the hubby to satisfy some of that desire to roam, especially toward a sandy beach. We are headed to Florida, Sanibel Island in particular, one of the places I want to see before I die. I hope to walk along the water's edge, find some seashells, watch a magnificent sunset, and take pictures of whatever pretty things I may find.

Until then . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My First Granddaughter

Was I excited when Caroline was born! Though I have two lovely nieces, I had no other girl relatives til that wonderful day when Caroline made her appearance six weeks earlier than expected. I had no sister or daughter, but now I had a granddaughter! How wonderful is that.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful brown eyed girl.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Cell Story

Cell phones are staples in our culture, gotta have items not only for communication, but I have noticed they are also the pocket watches of this century. I lost mine two months ago, the LG that I had for close to three years. It had all my numbers and a picture to go with almost each contact, and the rings notified me who was calling: Beethoven's Fifth for the hubby, Hallelujah Chorus for Rob, The Entertainer for work, and so on. What a helpful buddy. But one sad afternoon between stops at Publix and the gas station, my faithful and familiar phone "went missing" as is said on the news about people who have probably been abducted or murdered. We retraced my steps and called my number all over the place, but there were no sightings or hearings. We hastened to the the Verizon Store to replace it, as if any beloved item could actually be replaced. My geeky side had been thinking a Blackberry would be cool, and I often dreamed (only in the literary sense) of keeping one by my side. So a Blackberry it was, and was I lucky. I could upgrade for free, and the Storms were on sale. BOGO. Though I did enjoy the unnecessary retrieval of my email as it came in, I soon started to whine about the Storm's bulkiness, and when I was actually using it as a phone, I complained that the voice on the other end was barely audible. And the money! What I could do with the cost of it over a two year period! Yesterday I traded down with a guy who wanted a Storm and I got his Motorola flip phone. I can hear well on this functional phone, but it isn't cute. Can I ever be satisfied! I have a feeling I will be looking for a comfortable, new and pretty LG tomorrow. Gotta have it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cool Cogitations

After more rain it is a chilly overcast day here in Greenville, and the bugs are mostly staying in. I did get some nice shots of that tiny green fly on the little green leaf and tried for more, but no luck. Such is life. I can get lost in my meanderings around my yard and can relate to Thoreau as he studied life in his changing surroundings. Today I watched as a single bee quickly ravaged many small white blooms on an old holly, flinging the unwanted parts to the ground, and I wondered why I had not noticed the flowers before. I admired the magnificent design in one of last season's yellowed leaves that was trapped in some tall grass, and listened to the sundry bird songs above. Many years ago I took Astronomy and Microbiology within a year of each other, and the classes, going from the infinitely large to the infinitely small, expanded my thinking. We live in such a minute section of time and space, yet our lives and what we do with them are important. There is a lot to ponder out there in nature.

My what green eyes you have.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all us Mommies.

May we always have a loved one to share May's bounty.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Artisphere 09

Last night was a wash out thanks to the thunderstorm, but today...beautiful weather. Artists, artisans, and street performers came from around the Southeast to show and sell their stuff in this yearly event, and under white awnings, local restaurants had samplings for a small fee. Here are some pix.

A view over the Reedy River.

Looks ol' timey

I like the name as well as the artistic use of the gourds.

Water colors, mixed media, photography all displayed in the artist's tents.

The sidewalk chalk painter said he considers himself a street performer, too. Here is is working on a Degas dancer.

Friday, May 8, 2009

In a Moment

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city." . . . . . Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
James 4:13–14

As it turned out, we did not get to Paige's Pinning Ceremony as planned. The morning started out sunny, but before long the sky turned dark and ominously heavy. Then the rain started falling as it had for most of the week, and around noon we were smack dab in the middle of a noisy thunderstorm. We were both near the front window when a very loud and sharp thunderclap hit making me jump. Raymond looked out and saw sparks on the driveway. I witnessed a momentary red glow on my favorite maple and saw a long black gash in its trunk that I swore was not there before. Then an even stranger thing, the windshield wipers on his car, the one we were going to drive up the mountain, were moving back and forth. He covered up and went out to check. The car was dead except for the busy wipers. He disconnected the battery or whatever, and we called the insurance company and a towing service that didn't come til after four.

That was my closest experience with lightning. It was a weird thing.

But as to the ceremony, thanks to the internet I watched it on the school's web site as if I were there. I was so emotional about the whole thing, I probably would have embarrassed her anyway.

Paige Graduates!

Growing up, leaving home and marrying is a good thing. My circle of love has grown! My wonderful daughter-in-law Paige has finished the torturous road through nursing school and tonight will be having her capping and pinning ceremony. I will be there. To us nurses, capping and pinning is more important than "walking the stage." Even though we may never wear our nursing caps again and rarely our pins, the tradition symbolizes a link with nurses past and makes us feel that we are embarking on a new journey of sacrifice and duty. At least for those few shining moments. And it's also recognition for finishing those grueling hours of clinicals, and studying, the multitudinous care plans, learning those new long medical terms, and passing crazy tests. I am so proud of Paige. She will be an asset wherever she goes. Congratulations!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We all grow up

Since Mother's Day is near.

On Mother's Day of 1966, I had been a mother about a year and a half and my tummy was beginning to bulge with baby number two. Some of my friends and I headlined the women's section of the newspaper that Sunday with pictures and stories of how our lives had changed since we had become mothers. Diapers drying on the line, baby on the hip while I pretended to stir a pot on the stove. (How things have changed!) I knew I was a novice at motherhood, and felt a little unworthy, maybe guilty, of being a star in the photo op. But it is still that way. Young mothers still seem to get the biggest share of the limelight on Mother's Day. Now I am an "old mama," seasoned and battle scarred. But sadly those of us who have reached this wonderful place are often maligned by the media as cranky, controlling or grumpy. Our day in the sun past. How about a little more respect for our years of service!

I remember being in a store with my boys when they were little, and after the sales clerk gave the obligatory praises on their cuteness, made a comment that pierced my heart. She told me her sons were grown. "Grown and gone," she said. I wanted to cry. I couldn't imagine. I thought that she must not have loved them as much as I loved mine. Otherwise how could she bear to let them go! Funny how we remember some little thing that a stranger said, but I did. I suppose I needed to know it would happen some day.

I went through an emotional adjustment as my boys started leaving. I looked for books to help me through this stage in my life but could find none. I went it alone - it felt like - learning all the way. Maybe the biggest lesson was that while I would always be a mother, my role was changing. They were growing up and I must grow up, too. I had started as the object of love and affection, and became mom who met physical needs, provided safety, gave correction and reassurance, and eventually must have morphed into Sarge, as Trip called me a time or two during his teenaged years. (Was I really?) In the blink of an eye, our sons go the way of the man, and we mothers must let go, knowing we can't go back and change a thing, even those things we wish we could, and hoping that what we did do right will carry them through.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Yea Day

1. Yesterday was my last day of teaching for a while. I gave a silent but heartfelt yea! just like the students did, and when I got home? Drained.

2. Today I got ol' Raym to the reflexologist. Another yea! I have wanted him to go for years. She has been in practice for thirty years and gave his feet a good workout. As she was rubbing he asked, "What are you doing?" She responded, "Working on your spine." He just gave a quizzical look.

3. I got to work early and went over to our Starbucks. I got a medium Pike's Place, and as I was stirring in my cream, I heard one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs. Yea!

4. Since it is Nurses Week, we have been offered a few cool things. I was back on the unit and preparing for my duties of the shift, when we were told we could go to a nearby room and get our hands blessed. I had been with Sally and Caroline to get their pets blessed so why not my hard working hands. DeAnna and I walked over and after a little chitchat with the Presbyterian chaplain, we offered our hands for a drop of scented olive oil. Yea! Trouble was, I had a strong urge to get to the nearest Olive Garden afterward.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Bare Accessories

Accessorizing well remains one of those mysteries to me. Sometimes I see an army of bangles around another woman's wrist or shimmery necklaces of the length and tone that perfectly enhance what she is wearing, and think how much I like the look. And I did she put it all together? What comes first, deciding what clothes to wear or what accessories to wear? Or maybe she thought...what kind of woman do I feel like today? Sensible, sexy, or fun?
But as much as I appreciate this in "my sisters" (i.e. other women) I think I also avoid accessorizing because it makes me feel like...let me out of here! The most I ever do is put on a sentimental old favorite piece of jewelry from time to time. But soon it becomes cumbersome, and I feel that I am choking from the weight. Chains become chains and I do not feel free. A lightweight pair of earrings is enough to make me feel dressed up and girly. That's just me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Caterpillar 2009

This fella was under the leaves also. Even though an Eastern Tent caterpillar was in my blog last spring, it is pretty enough for this season, too. And I liked the veins of the dried leaf he was on. Like old skin.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life and Death Under the Leaves

On this warm overcast morning, I lay prone on the ground and gently pushed the blanket of dead leaves from a tiny piece of earth, looking for insect life. Amazing what I saw in about two square inches. I figure bugs are as essential to our existence as the tidepools and the rain forests.

Good Therapy

While a co-worker and I were philosophizing yesterday about the complexities of the human experience, I told her I would pass along an old favorite book of mine that hadn't looked at in years. I found it on the shelf today, and as I thumbed through, I saw why I loved it at the time. Hearts That We Broke Long Ago by Merle Swain reflects some of our most tender, painful, and guarded human thoughts. I could quote from any random place as it is deep with meaning, but here is a sample.
"Compassion can't exist with anger or jealousy, with envy or revenge, so those who have those feelings starve themselves. In the hands of the insecure, compassion becomes condescension, pity, and a taste for pain. Real compassion comes from strength."
"April is the cruelest month," TS Eliot said, because it involves rebirth, and most of us would rather lie dormant yet and not quite come to life. But just as we have to walk with love, we have to walk toward fear, and we must know what hurts a lot and look it in the teeth."
"For many of us self hate is the result of an ancient but still nagging sting, a sad echo of an earlier bruise from which we never seem to recover, and so we keep ourselves auditioning, always remaining a seeker in another's land, the person who shouts across the gulf, hoping to be heard."