SFJ 7/14/2019

Had a big scare this week. I got a call from some agency that”Marian was weak, suffering from dementia, non-responsive and was being transported to the hospital.” The short message ended with saying that my sister and her husband were with her. I went cold and played out needing to be in Baytown right for the end. Thankfully, I got Deena on the line and things were not as dire as that call had made it sound. It turns out that she has a UTI and is being treated with IV antibiotics. It’s the right thing for Deena to be there. I think I would have frozen to have had to make the decisions she’s had to make so far. Still not out of the hospital, but the scare is over for the moment.

In my mind, I ask people to meet for meals all the time. In reality, it practically never happens. By the time I play out all the possible negative responses the moment has passed and I’ve cooked my own meal again or ordered delivery. I need that interaction and don’t get that from texts or phone calls (never have). My default is to save money and cook for myself. But that has meant that I spend all my time with “what will be” rather than “what is”.

Knowing that I need to change that action is another reason that I am again considering the lap pool. I’ve contacted Endless Pools to get the base price of the pool (eek!). Now I’m waiting on the installing contractor to find out about the installation–where in the yard, above ground on slab or partially submerged, and price. (Toss all the patio furniture and use the existing patio? Nope, not enough room.) Time to spend something on my now…almost convinced. For my health, though, I need to do this. Sometimes when I get up fast, my legs sorta faint and I have to sit down again. I need the exercise. If I can’t get myself out in the world to move around, I’ve got to do it here. Gotta.

Me and Novella have been having a trying time this week. For months now, she will come into the bedroom, nails clacking on the floor, pacing back and forth until I wake up and take her out. Generally this has occurred between 5:30 and 6. Thursday night, she started this pacing at about 1:30. I took her out, but she never settled down. She paced and clacked until morning. I took her out twice and never did get back to sleep. (Not sure if this had anything to do with that being the day Mothers emergency occurred.) it made for an extremely long day. The moment I got up and started the coffee, she fell deeply asleep. Out of fear for a repeat the next night, at bedtime, I took her out front on the lead instead of out in the backyard. Got her stirred up and a little tired and she slept pretty well…until 4am. Took her out (back, was in my PJs) and never got back to sleep. This morning, 4:30. I’ve been able to get a nap on the weekend, but that just isn’t possible during the week. Solution: even though I’ll be exhausted by the time it’s time for bed, Vella needs to be exhausted before bedtime for me to be able to get a good nights sleep. And maybe I go to bed earlier that 10:30 or 11 pm. Yes, I’m sure that this is something that many, many families do every night, but it hasn’t been our practice in the last 10 years. Like her dog mom, she really needs that potty break. Thankfully, she gives me somewhat of a notice. But, that notice is SHORT! She doesn’t have a lot of control over holding her bowels so as soon as she gives a sort of indication, we need to get outside or there are land mines to contend with. (Luckily, she can control the pee…for now.) Ah, aging.

on a happier note, the plants in the backyard are doing great. Well, maybe not the mangos. I was able pick one early one, three more were attacked by the wildlife before I could get to it, and several others are still not ripe (??). But, the fig tree is over seven feet tall and has a dozen hard green figs all over those spindly branches. Not sure if this first year will produce ripe fruit, but this is great progress. The transplanted chenille plant is thriving. On the side yard, it was straggly, but it is getting pretty lush and has loads of chenille tails now. The gingers are doing well, too. They all just needed some space to breathe!

Freezer Fill: Baked Swai with Spinach, Pork Cacciatore

This Week: Getting screens replaced on the patio, therapy session, eye doctor appointment, book club (10 yr anniversary). And I’m delivering training Tuesday through Thursday while developing a new training session. (Somebody thinks I’ll be delivering this training. But I’m not available on half of dates they’ve chosen. The rest of this year is going to be a nightmare for scheduling.)


SFJ 7/7/2019

Some of the best affirmations come wrapped up in the middle of  hours-long gab sessions with people you love while pounding points about the Housewives and the general state of decay we live in. These moments come when I least expect them and most need them. I hold these people dear, but don’t really grok that they also hold me dear. The idea of that much love leaves me, well, gasping for breath. I spend so much time mulling things over in my mind all by myself that the concept of sharing deep thoughts (and I drift, comically, to SNL’s Jack Handy, sorry) still seems novel. That there is still talk about doing some sort of communal living later is comforting. elderthink.com

At lunch the other day, when Karen and Maddie and Marjorie found time to break in the middle of the week, Maddie asked about this blog. Marjorie said, “Oh, yeah. You’re a writer.” It was one of the most flattering things I’ve heard in about forever. It’s something that I aspire to. Frankly, I know that my delivery here is spotty, at best, so to have my attempts be read as “writing” was flattering. Truly once I found out that Mother wasn’t even opening up the emails and I switched to an online format, I was pretty sure that very few people were reading this and that this was probably a personal journal or diary. I absolutely know that the quality of the ideas laid out here are only sometimes legible as full thoughts and that a puff of wind can scatter the elements out of reach. Often (really often) making the effort to go back and review and revise is just too much as I can’t face the idea again for a moment. So. I let it lie. The narrative in my head plays on…or stops suddenly…on a seeming whim. Like the tides that govern the oceans (and I believe, the juices inside of our bodies) I ebb and flow between comfort and anxiety. Usually comfort wins. But when anxiety wins, I tend to let it lie, not revisit, and just hope that it all goes away.

One of the things I like about tracking my reading is finding some of the statistics that go along with that reading. I’m well on my way to reading over 100 books but have fun with seeing how week I’m doing with diversity. I use goodreads.com to track what I have read and hat I already want to read, but I use another app to challenge what to read next. I have a really big TBR list, many of which are at the house waiting or sitting in the kindle or nook. I use this other app, Litsy, to challenge myself. Litsy is also a lot of fun if you like to be creative. There are quote and photography challenges that make for truly lovey posts. (There are other apps like LibraryThing… I ain’t got time for that.).

The count of books 2019, The count of pages 2019, The year read vs. year published (total):

Novella is creaky. I am creaky. If I can’t motivate myself to get moving I, going to atrophy in this recliner. Still interested, or again interested, in a lap pool. I know where I’d like it to fit, but my initial measurements make it look like that space on the north side is too narrow. A partially submerged pool is the best for those with mobility issues (that’s me), but I need to find out just how expensive is partial excavation versus just pouring a slab and tossing the pool on top. (BTW, I’ve now determined that the pool itself is affordable, but the installation is the current issue.) I’m going to contact the company to come out during my vacation week toward the end of the month.

Latest Binge: Tig Notaro’s Under a Rock. Tig, who is notoriously unaware of most popular culture, interviews people that folks should know. Her dead-pan is my jam! Tig Notaro’s Under a Rock

I wish this was the week for therapy. I feel like I could use some counseling. I haven’t done it yet, bu5 if I have time, I might ask for a session this week in addition to next week. When I first started therapy, I couldn’t fathom needing to continue past a few sessions. Now, I see it as a chance to talk freely without having to change the subject from myself.

Postscript: Most of this was written early in the week, right around the Independence Day holiday. It wasn’t until Saturday when the explosion occurred back in Plantation at an area where I shopped, a gym where I had visited, close to my old grocery store. I had been right there the weekend before at a cooking class. Within a couple of hours of the explosion I was able to confirm that everyone who had any chance of being there was safe. Kate was in Fort Lauderdale, Janelle was out of the country. Karen was working down the street and some ceiling tiles fell. But everyone was safe. At the time I, writing this, it appears that there was a gas explosion at a pizza restaurant that was closed for some kind of remodeling and rebranding. That entire space was reduced to some steel frames. Next door was a business that trained kids to do computer coding–closed for the holiday weekend–destroyed. One door down from that was a pediatric dental office–closed for the holiday–extreme damage but they have another location or two to continue business. Injuries, but no deaths–incredibly fortunate. Word from another tenant was that there had been a gas leak there a year or so before.

SFJ 6/30/2019

Here is a tiny piece of advice that I gleaned from jury duty this week. If you want to be acquitted of drug trafficking charges, please refrain from wearing an expensive but ill -fitting suit paired with a watch that is worth more than my car. That is all.

After all the rains, I got a surprise bloom. Not exactly sure where it came from but odds are that it is one of the plants that was salvaged from the front yard before the driveway was replaced. Rain Lily? I won’t be putting it in the back yard…front yard only. Back yard is for pink and scarlet flowers. front yard for oranges and blues to contrast with the teal door and wall.

Weeeeeeeeell, that didn’t last long. For a while there, I was making the bed every day. Not any more. It was a nice thing to do for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be as important as it did for a minute. Once again, if something happens and the forensics are trying to solve a mystery: if the bed is made, I was expecting company.

Lately what’s been taking up my brain time is about that damned lap pool that I have been contemplating. On the one hand, it is a terrific expense. On the other hand, it’s an immediate access to exercise for practically the whole year. On the first hand, the purchase could impact my retirement. On the second hand, swimming is my favorite exercise and I hate public pools. Back to the first hand, the place I’d want out is directly over existing plumbing lines from the house. Second hand, an above ground application might not mean any issue with underground plumbing. I’m hemming and hawing enough that I do need to get someone from the pool company out to look over the area. My history of making a quick decision makes me wary of having them over without a more clear idea in my head. I need to channel my inner Aunt Nancy for my decision-making. Money versus health. Doesn’t exactly seem like it should be a hard decision. I’m going to have to be sure to get information about maintenance costs as well…ugh. Wish it wasn’t just me making the decision. If I think back to all the vacations I didn’t take, maybe I can justify this as being a long, long vacation. Aargh!

June Reads:

I rediscovered a handy kitchen gadget–a wine saver. Because of the gloomy rain on Saturday, I wanted to open some wine and binge-watch some TV (some of the first true crime stories I ever read about problems in the Pacific and Caribbean). The only wine I had in the house was a magnum of Chardonnay that had been a gift of the wine distributed I use. There was no way that I was going to open and ruin 3/4 bottle of wine just for a night relaxing. Thanks to my friend Mary Beth for introducing me to this so I have a way to shut it up and even still lay it down so it still fits in the fridge so that it doesn’t leak.

No real plans for the 4th. I just want to make enough distractions for Novella so that she doesn’t freak out too much. She has been able to ignore (or probably just too deaf to hear) lots of what is distressingly loud outside. Thunderstorms don’t affect her unless the thunder and lightening are really close. Except for the Twice daily peanut butter treats, she doesn’t have much perk. She favors her right rear leg when she walks. We are just a couple of old ladies mincing around the house.

Freezer Fill: Roasted Ranch Potatoes. Didn’t eat enough from the freezer this week to make space for another set of meals.

SFJ 6/23/2019

Because I write this on Sundays, I often end up missing out on some of the intense emotions that I feel early in the week. That could be changed if I wrote more often. Yikes! And, nope. Well, at least not yet. My intense desire for a schedule would be wholely rocked by putting in more posts. And, I’m not ready to plug in more times to gather thoughts…at least not yet. It is a calming factor now to have one day for reflection.

That said, I need to reflect on Tuesday. My friend Elizabeth who moved to New Jersey is in town for her annual visit with her students which means that we get to see her a few times before she heads back up north. She is one of my younger friends, and like so many of the dear friends I’ve made here, the generation gap does not make ANY difference. We give and take each other’s advice and hear insights on the same level. (I’m kinda fascinated by that, frankly.) we had dinner together with Karen at a new spot in Davie. We talked and talked for about four hours. (we were talking and not eating evidently cuz I took home an almost complete salad.) I don’t even remember everything we covered. What I do know is that on leaving that night, I felt incredible contentment and love. I’ve said before and I just keep repeating it. I am incredibly lucky to have met and found to love a small group of true friends. It just doesn’t happen to many people. I moved away from my comfort in Texas. My short-term plan was to get out of a work rut really not thinking about my social life. Work filled so much of what I had been that it didn’t even occur to me that I might need new friends. I did. And I got ’em.

Summer is here for sure now. It’s so hot that if I spend even a little time outside that I get a bit nauseous. I went to the grocery store this morning and merely getting the bags inside made me have to run the ceiling fans in addition to turning down the air. I do know that weight is a part of it and every one of my friends is either small or average. I’m not sure that my complaints are understood fully…or at least not enough. (Got into a bit of a scrap about it and almost triggered an panic attack.) For me, for the summer, spending time outside is an early morning event and, again, every one of my friends has a somewhat allergic reaction to the morning hours. For Pete’s sake, by 10 am today I had already run four loads of laundry, had breakfast, read two papers, folded and put away the clothes, remade the bed, shopped for groceries, and started two different casseroles for 12 freezer meals. My brain doesn’t innovate late in the day (amazing that I can hold conversations after work at all; must be the wine). As part of my therapy, I’m working on being more social. It is still a struggle to say Yes more while keeping my anxiety down and planning my retirement activities.

Next week I’ve got jury duty which will likely have me not picked. I’d love to serve, but so far, that hasn’t been in the cards. All that time spent on true crime? I want to put some of that to use! I just realized that I’m preparing for it like I prepare for a flight. Bringing two actual books (current read plus one) so I don’t have to rely on power from who knows where, water bottle and drink mix, non perishable snacks, and a phone charger. I still don’t believe I’ll be picked, but I am going to be ready for whatever wait I’m forced to endure. Not looking forward to hard chairs all day, that’s for sure.

Had to turn down a trip to Madrid because I couldn’t fit it into the schedule for the rest of the year. Randy found excellent fares and it would have been a quick trip anyhow…sour grapes…I’ll hold out for an Alaskan whale watching cruise.

Freezer Fill: Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes, Creamy Chicken and Tomato Noodles

SFJ 6/16/2019

Father’s Day. It’s one more holiday where I don’t feel a connection. My father has been gone for over two-thirds of my life. With no husband or children, it is a tricky emotional day that means a little more disconnectedness from others. Not dwelling on that, though. Just going to point my head at some good memories. When he drove 300 miles one way to get me back to college across icy roads. When we took the paisley canoe out into the Bay by way of inland water routes to see if we could do it. When we went to a bird sanctuary to look for migrating birds for a school paper. (I do still wonder if he was actually allergic to celery or just didn’t like it.)

There’s been more reminiscing this week. On Litsy, there are these challenges, as I’ve said before. For this month, one challenge is to find images that relate to various song titles. Yesterday’s challenge was “London calling” and I found a pic from my first trip t9 London that I’ve brought here, too.

It’s been rainy again this week. That is so different from when I first moved to Florida. At that time, rain was an event that happened in the middle of the afternoon and was done. Lately rain comes for the day…or days, lingering. I can’t say that it is specifically climate change but it sure seems like a change to me. Marjorie might say that it has to do with being this close to the ocean. She had told me a while back that it rains differently over east, but she had said it rains less and now it seems like it rains more. Change. I’m getting some good use out of my Wellies for taking out the trash and recycles. I do need it to stop, though, because the house is starting to smell a bit stale and I need to open some windows.

Here’s the woman who is helping me out of my anxiety and control issues. She is pushing me to think about things more succinctly and to go against what I think is who I am or must be. Most recently she’s making me understand that there are real reasons to not go out in the midday sun, but merely because I shall sweat is not good enough. She’s also challenging me to get out more, to be more social. That is a challenge. My walks during the week with Di is a small start. And, Maddie has said that she would meet me for breakfast some weekend mornings Baby steps. Seriously, it’s not a terrible push to have an early meal right in the water. Janie Rhone psychotherapist.

Home maintenance time. I just put a hand through the edge of the screen off the patio so that the edges are flapping the breeze now. Palms need to be trimmed. Termites need to be contained. Rain must first stop.

Before going to the grocery store, I had a foolproof plan for not putting random things in the basket. Brush your teeth right before going and stuff won’t seem appetizing; you’ll get what’s on the list and move one. Today proved me wrong. I had a relatively short list and thought I was home free. Came home with a variety of ice creams, snack mix, and crackers. Damn.

Freezer Fill: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, Portobello and Veggie Meatballs


SFJ 6/9/2019

It’s been a very rainy weekend so I’ve used that as an excuse to remove myself from all human contact. I was not a nice person at the grocery store and I think it must be time door another therapy session. Six days away from home is a long time to be with people who are not loved ones. Most of those folks were terrific and I was thrilled to meet some of the people I’d been taking to for years. There was one woman who actually told me to “calm down” and we are all surprised that she left the room with her life intact. It was meant to be a coordinated effort between two different part of the company with a common goal and I was told that my side of the company was not a priority on this project. Guess what, reader. I lost my shit for a bit as I was there expressly to see that our group was properly represented. (Five days later and I’m almost over it.)

Suffice to say that my six days away from home wore me out and I was happy to have a rainy weekend to curl up and vanish.

Something is definitely going on in this house with my clocks. I’ve replaced my alarm clock in the last few months. Recently, the wall clock in the kitchen actually fell off the wall. Then when I got home from Boston, I find that although the pendulum is swinging, the clock hands are no longer moving (no, not even with some manual encouragement). is there even such a thing as clock repair dude anymore?

Next week, I get my loaner computer replaced, a book club meeting where I haven’t read the book, another book club meeting that I’m leading that I am ready for, a couple of morning walks, and a therapy session. Those walks are turning out to be…well, I’m hoping they are life-changing. I am so incredibly stiff when getting up and going that I’m actually wondering if there might be something other than out-of-shape involved in it. My knee was such that I didn’t take the stairs much last week and when I did I had to use the rail as a crutch. Ah, aging and finding my fit. Me and Novella are just two old gals who are really stiff getting up, but just okay after getting going.

Movie: Always Be My Maybe: cute

Freezer Fill: Tortellini and Gravy, Tofu-Stuffed Portabellas

Watched the #tonyawards2019 for the first time in a long time. I’m finally inspired to get back to Broadway. For so long, it seemed that there was nothing new. Seems that there absolutely is now.

SFJ 6/2/2019

I found out this weekend that one of the gals who has become a dear friend, Beth, will likely be moving to Gainesville soon. She is one of the reasons I moved to Hollywood so it makes me want to truly rethink just what I need to live where I do (or will). Making friends at my age is terribly hard and I can’t imagine trying to start over again. And, I don’t want to make her fears my fears (hers: hurricane evacuations, nasty neighbors, flooded streets all exacerbated by the fact that her husband though now fond of their outdoor cats is highly allergic and to take them all out of danger took two cars). But I do need to consider that things will not get any easier living in a stand-alone house and maybe I need to actually consider a condo. After Novella. By the beach. (My fears are not her fears.) If my friend Di expresses any interest in leaving the area, I’m out. Seriously, out. I’d have to rethink the whole thing. But, I can’t start all over looking for friends. (Jupiter Beach friends, look out.)

But. But. But. Time spent also this weekend with a dear friend who now lives in New Jersey but who travels to Florida frequently reminded me that if you truly want to see someone technology makes that possible. This excessive travel for work, though, makes additional travele seem like a horror rather than an honor. I’m not now, nor will I be, destitute. So, I can afford to go places. I just need to get my head back in the game again. Friends are important and therapy should help me with getting out more. Still working on that Bucket List so that I have an idea about just what will fill the time after retirement (which continues to loom).

May Reads: nothing terribly spectacular this month. Good reads, no standouts.

I got my first edition copy of Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered which is authorizes by my favorite podcasters. I had already read an advanced copy (thanks, Karen), but had somehow forgotten or skimmed over this quote by Karen Kilgariff talking about her mother’s illness. I hope you can read it here. I’ll get the transcript later.


I’m in Boston all week for another big deal work event. I sincere hope that I don’t have to chop anyone (punch in the throat emoji).