Monday, December 12, 2016

Season's Greetings

My first thought for titling this post was "The Year Grinds On" but, in an effort to be more positive, I reconsidered!  That, alone, should tell you the level of Christmas spirit I have!  We had a day and a half of rain, and I did manage to throw up a few decorations, with the understanding that when the rain stopped, so did the decorating!  It seemed a lot of time and effort for someone who wasn't even in the mood!  Anyway, it's done....and I've even managed to go through the decorations that were left in the garage, taking one load to the dump and another to the thrift shop.

Yes, I'm slowly but surely coming out of the fog of the election, but it isn't easy.  Like most liberals, I kept hoping and looking for positive signs, but things seem to be going from bad to worse.  Trump is just uninformed, uninterested, and doing business as usual, rather than governing.  Most of his appointments thus far have been people who actively want to dismantled the agency to which they've been appointed.  It would be laughable were it not so frightening.  Needless to say, I've been doing my usual calling and writing, as well as joining ANOTHER local grassroots group.  That doesn't help my anxiety level, but we can't just do nothing.  I'm also planning to attend the Women's March on Washington on January 21.  That will tell me whether I still have the stamina for that type of thing, because I think there are going to be many opportunities for protest over the next four years.

We are  also still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.  Things have progressed much more quickly for Bluffton as we suffered much less damage than Hilton Head.  It has totally changed the landscape in some areas, exposing some vistas that previously had been completely hidden.  Now that most of the debris has been removed from the roadside, you can also see the trees that were affected within the forest.  That will probably never be cleared.  There are also lots of FEMA (black, double tractor-trailor trucks) Disaster Relief trucks (something I never expected to see) around.  They spend the day transporting large debris to locations where it can be chipped, forming huge mountains of chips, which more trucks take someplace.  I've seen at least 3 of the processing areas, and there are probably more.  Just last week I saw alerts that there would be road/lane closures on the island due to dangerous tree maintenance.  So, their work is still ongoing and will probably be for a while.  From time to time, I've posted clips about the island on FB, so some of you have an idea of what's been happening.  This slide show is around the neighborhood, which fared much better. Even so, the golf course was closed for a few weeks and the final debris has just been removed from street-side.

Speaking of Rosie, she and I have started a new routine, in an effort to get out from under the 24 hour news cycle.  While the weather was still nice, we started taking our walks away from home.  Several days I took her to old town Bluffton.  She's great with people and very confident in the community (among her loyal fans), but easily frightened by strange noises, etc. I figure it's something we should do more often to get her more accustomed to things that are unfamiliar to her.  Our best outing was a morning at the beach....on a day when it was about 80 degrees.  She liked it, but as soon as we arrived, two men with a large (friendly) dog arrived and let him off leash.  He was very playful and wanted Rosie to run with him, but she was afraid.  I'm convinced it would have gone better had she not been intimidated by the larger dog, even though he was playful.  In any case, it was a lovely day on an almost deserted beach and we both enjoyed it.

What else has been happening?

  • I continue to experiment with my magic pot. This time I made yogurt from soy milk.  It turned out nice and creamy, and not too tart.  Had I wanted a Greek-type yogurt, I could have strained it.  It made twice as much as is shown in the picture and I will definitely make it again.  My next experiment is with cheesecake, though I'm afraid that might become addictive.  I've used the Instant Pot all summer and am very pleased with it....a vast improvement over the pressure cookers of old.
  • Had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner with friends with whom I've shared the holiday over the last few years.  The location was moved to their daughter's house due to hurricane damage to their own, but we were all thankful to be able to share the occasion together and in good health.  The day was so mild that we sat around the outside fire pit after dinner.
  • Went to a play, "Christmas Belles", with Elaine.  This was the fourth one we've been to by the theater company from Ridgeland.  They have all been humorous and something a little different from the norm.
  • Lunches with friends - Chris, Sharon, Melyssa's Progressive Group and Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry.- all the people that keep me sane!
  • Treated myself to a new TV for the bedroom so I can stream in there - another ploy to get away from 24 hour news!!  Little did I know that you can't give away old tube TVs.  I just thought I'd call a thrift shop and they would pick it up as it works perfectly and has a great picture. Nope, they won't take them.  So, I offered it on about 4 sites for free.  One lady came over and took measurements, but it was too large for her space.  Finally, I implored the guys who do my yard to put it in the back of my car so I could take it to the recycle center.  I paid them, but they went above and beyond and installed my new TV, which was nice. Who knew one little thing like buying a TV would lead to that much hassle?!  In any case, for the last week I've been surfing Netflix and Amazon Prime, to find some enjoyable series - Goliath (Billy Bob Thornton, whom I didn't think I liked!), Bosch, and Marvel's Jessica Jones.  I'm sure I've only scratched the surface! 
  • We've also been having some wintry days, which is not unusual for this time of year but, since the election I've coined a new descriptive term for those days - "cold as the heart of middle America"!  Feel free to use it when appropriate!! 
That catches you up with my doings.  I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  
I'll be thinking of you and sending love and good wishes for 2017!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Emotional Times

Well, November has already been a month long (or longer!) and we're only 13 days into it!  Most of that time has been very emotional and soul destroying.  

It began on November 5th when Tidewater Hospice held their yearly Service of Remembrance for families of patients who had passed away the previous year.  I was honored to be asked to light the first candle, the candle Memory.  I confess to not really wanting to go and just wanting to get through it, not realizing it would open a wellspring of emotion.  Tears just came.  It wasn't the "ugly cry" or uncontrollable sobbing.  It was just endless tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was in good company as there were sniffles throughout the service and after.  It was emotional for all of us.  In my case, I think I had just wanted to get through my mother's service in North Carolina and get home, without really taking time to process the whole thing.  This service brought it all to the surface, which, I guess, is a good thing.  The service was beautifully done and very touching.  It was good to see families of those I knew from Bloom and have a chance to catch up.  A light lunch was served, which gave us an opportunity to chat a bit and catch up with Tidewater staff, who are some of the kindest, most caring people I know.  The whole thing was very touching and more emotional that I expected. The complete service can be seen HERE.  

I remained weepy and easily touched by the slightest thing for the next few days; but, I was a poll watcher for the Democratic Party on election day, so I had to get myself together for that.  I have never seen so many (mostly white) people voting (though about 40-something percent of the population didn't vote at all.)!!  There were 9 voting machines and people were waiting 10 deep to vote, with lines outside the door waiting to get in.  I kept saying, "It's South Carolina.  It isn't representative of the rest of the country. Stay calm!"  As we all know, it only got worse from there.  I tried to stay awake for the results as I also like to follow down ticket races, but I fell asleep with the TV still on.  I awakened a little after 3AM with Trump giving his acceptance speech....a nightmare come true!  I was disappointed early on, but fully expected things to improve once returns started coming in from other parts of the country. As we know, that didn't happen.

This is where the rant begins:
I am still in disbelief and mourning.  The first thing that struck me was the misogyny.  I have to confess to being mostly unaware of it, being a white woman, but this firm slap-down was too much to ignore.  Part if it had to be a backlash to President Obama, which the Republican party has blatantly exhibited......but to follow that with a woman!  Never!!  The fact that a shallow, empty, vile man was preferable to the most capable, able woman in the country is downright unbelievable and frightening.  She was demanded to be perfect, which nothing, not even civility, was expected of him.  It makes me angry even now to think of it!

It surprised me how saddened I was that we are not likely to have a woman president in my lifetime, certainly not one as eminently qualified as Hillary.  Elizabeth Warren is a great possibility, but even she doesn't have the depth and scope of knowledge of Hillary. Even so, it isn't likely to happen in my lifetime.  Factor in everything that will be undone over the next 4-8 years and who knows how long it will take us to get back to the dismal place we are now. 

Then there is the bone-chilling sadness that our country is as racist, sexist, xenophobic and all the other -ics and -isms you can think of.  I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking so much of that was behind us, when really it was just lurking below the surface.  It began showing it's ugly head with the Bush administration, but when President Obama became President, it became full blown....championed by the Republican party.  Even the smallest modicum of respect I might have mustered for the GOP is gone!  None!

And, that all of the hate-filled, negative, destructive thoughts and actions can be swaddled in religion is beyond belief. I call it "moral/ethical gymnastics" when you can skew your religious beliefs to conform to your personal negative, hateful beliefs.  I've been a lapsed Presbyterian for many years, but it makes me wonder what churches are teaching these days.  It seems very different from what I was taught as a child.  If you want to be really freaked out, read THIS, which was posted by a "friend" on FB the day after the election!  That, posted by a former teacher and "Christian". will give you an idea of what we have here!  Needless to say, my view of religion has changed in the last few days, too!

All of this negativity and hatefulness causes me to view people differently.  In an area where most people voted Trump, I look at friends and family differently and wonder how much of a friend they can be and how much we really have in common if they hold the views that Trump represents.....and knowing they probably view me as a liberal heathen!  At the moment, until I can get my own head straight, I've kept to myself.  My election plan was to celebrate with Drinking Liberally friends the day after, but I couldn't even manage that.  I knew their support was there, but I was still too emotional to manage it.  Several of us are getting together on Wednesday for "underground grieving" over lunch.  I should be able to surface by then!

All of this has been played out of social media with stories of hatred and bigotry already becoming more blatant.  That is something we can choose to view or not, but locally the new Black Chamber of Commerce in Beaufort was burned down the night after the election.  Details have yet to be determined, but this is the South!  That threw me back to my childhood when my elementary school was burn to the ground rather than be integrated!  I guess that is another reason all of this has hit me so hard......after all these years, we have advanced so little!  it really does break my heart on so many levels.

If all of that isn't enough....
  • Leonard Cohen died and "Hallelujah" is everywhere!
  • It's a dark, drizzly day
  • I had to almost remortgage the house to have my front yard re-sodded
  • The community has already put up Christmas decorations....and I don't even want to think about Thanksgiving, to say nothing of Christmas!!
  • And my water heater died yesterday
Even so, it's not all bad......I'm sure it's not all bad!  I do think this has awaken us quiet, polite Democrats to a call of action.  It has helped us realize that we can no longer be quiet to friends and family.  We need to be true to our values and become more comfortable expressing them. Several women's groups have sprung up online which can serve as a great base for future mobilization. It is also my hope that women will recognize their power and be the next major political force for positive change.

Well, thanks for listening....and a special thanks to those who have been in touch...Ann, Eileen, Cheryl, Chris, Jacqui, Jan, Jean, Jenny, Paula and Victoria (forgive me if I've forgotten anyone).  It means more than you know and I'm not ignoring you.....I will surface soon. Change is constant and this too shall pass.....and I'll be feeling better, as will you!  Things will get better so lets hang in there.

To end on a light note.....this is Rosie at her naughtiness!  She sometimes does this if a toy is accidentally left under the covers.  For all of her naughtiness, she's the only thing that got me out of bed on the 9th!! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From Hermine to Matthew!

Well, I'm happy to be home and able to report that there was very little damage from the storm.  One piece of metal trim was blown off the house in back, and this tree was precariously leaning over the driveway. The guy who does my yard was schedule to come the day after we returned, which he did.  He cleaned the debris, which was a lot, and removed the tree; so that problem was quickly resolved.

As you can imagine, evacuating is quite an experience.  To be honest, I was busy doing voter registration and had given the storm very little thought, until Camille passed by as we were registering voters and mentioned her concern for her husband being evacuated from the Brookdale facility, as well as getting herself, two days and a bird ready!  It was only then that I began thinking about it.  David called and asked my plans and I said I'd probably go to NC near my relatives.  He had already booked a room in Augusta.  I checked for rooms online and they were already filling up.  I then touched bases with my friend Rhonda, whose brother had already evacuated.  I invited her to join me, and the next day we left around noon.....with two cats and Rosie. Things went smoothly until we got to Wadesboro, where the motel would not accept animals!!  Undaunted, we headed toward Charlotte, feeling sure we would get a room.  One place after another was already fully booked, and those that weren't would not take pets.  I was amazed that no concession was made, knowing that we were evacuation a major storm and would not leave our pets behind.  As it is getting dark, Rhonda suggests she call her friends near Asheville.  They graciously invited us up.  So we proceed from Charlotte to Candler, NC, arriving around 10:30PM!

Dee and Rob have an idyllic little farm, which Rosie and I thoroughly enjoyed.  There were so many new smells for Rosie and she was like a little sniffing machine. I took her out often, not wanting her to have an accident inside, and we both enjoyed the scenery and the other animals.  Rosie was perfect, with one slight exception......the one and only time I let her out off leash, she went straight for the chickens!  I would be bad enough if there had been a flock of chickens, but Dee has only two chickens - Georgia and Carolina, that Dixie Chicks!!  I've never seen Rosie run so fast, and Rhonda, Dee and I were trying to round her up, with no success at all.  The episode was over when the chicken escaped and Rosie couldn't find her.  Rhonda rounded up Georgia and I got Rosie, who was from there on referred to as "the chicken chaser"!  I was mortified!

With the exception of one day, the weather there was nice, though much cooler than here. Since we did not expect to wind up in the mountains, I had thrown in only one pair of long pants.  So one day, both Rhonda and I had to go shopping for warmer clothes!  I also picked up lots of vegetarian grub so as no to be a burden at mealtimes. As you saw in the video, we had a nice day in Asheville, which I totally enjoyed. We had a pizza night AND a karaoke night which, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rob is into music and films and he had a treasure chest of karaoke music on his computer.  I insisted on being a backup singer, but it was lots of fun!  

On Monday, a neighbor posted on our neighborhood site that she would be happy to check on anyone's house.  So, I texted her and within 20 minutes, I know that my house was undamaged and a tree was almost down.  What a relief!!  Compared to the island, Bluffton was very fortunate.  As we drive back up Hwy 278 on Tuesday, I was surprised at how little damage we were seeing, after seeing terrible images of the damage on the island.  Sea Pines and Hilton Head Plantation seemed to take most of the damage. Two friends have tree damage to their homes and are not able to stay there at the moment.  Parts of the island are still without water, can't flush toilets, etc.  So, with everything involved, I am counting my blessings.  Things have gotten back to normal pretty quickly for me, but I know that isn't the case for many of my friends.

Feral cat update:  All 22 cats in three colonies are present and accounted for.  Kathy had just gotten all of their condos cleaned and replaced before all this happened.  Several weeks ago, after feeding Georgie he went back and laid down in front of the condo.  I couldn't resist taking this photo and sending it to the other caregivers.....thought it looked like he was sitting on his front steps!  The addition to this years condo is that they are elevated, which was a great improvement considering all that has happened.  With everyone surviving the storm, they have proven their worth!
This morning I awakened to the sound of a light rain tapping on the piece of metal trim that had blown off the house during the storm.  Those from the south can equate that to the sound of rain on a tin roof!  It took me no time to decide that today was going to be an "at home" day!  I do not plan to leave the house except to put Rosie outside when needed!  I did get out of my PJs but I'm into a more comfortable house dress!  Just what I needed!

Most other things pale in comparison to the storm and evacuation, but I was pretty busy before that took center stage.  I did three days of voter registration, which was very interesting, like people watching on steroids. One man with a thick Germanic accent said that he was registered to vote but didn't know where he was to vote.  He had his registration card in his wallet and I showed him his precinct number, with which he could go online and determine his poll location.  I felt very useful.  One day as I was in front of Petco, a lady got out of her car and sat a beautiful flower arrangement on the curb of the parking lot.  As she approached the store, I asked if she was registered to vote, and she said she was.  Then, to have something pleasant to say, I said, "You're going to make someone's day with those beautiful flowers!".. She then explained that they'd been given to her but had turned over in her car and spilled all the water.  She continued into Petco and did her shopping.  She then went to her car and brought the flowers to me, saying, "You seem like a nice lady and I'd like you to have these."  I was flabbergasted!  She then thanked me for helping with voter registration.  She really did make someone's day!!    

Chris, Sue and I also went into Savannah on September 18th for the closing ceremony of the Tibetan Monks' Mandala making.  I went in on the Thursday before just to see them working on it, which is amazing that they can create something like that in sand......and even more impressive that they destroy it!  The destruction (closing ceremony) represents the impermanence of life, which is a heavy thought!  The procession down to the river is very symbolic and I appreciate it more this time than last.  Basic Buddhist philosophy has so much to offer and having this ritual every couple of years is very comforting. I'm also happy to have like-minded friends....Chris, Sue....and this time we ran into David and Cheryl.

Then on September 24th I went up to NC for a family reunion. It was good to see everyone, though we did have a few political skirmishes, so I'm sure there was a lot discussed among themselves afterwards. I was expecting that as there were riots in Charlotte due to the police shooting of another black man.  Anyway, all seemed to go well.

And, if all of that isn't enough to wear one down, there is always politics!!  All I can say is that I hope level heads will prevail....but it seems that there are fewer and fewer of those around!! It's crazy out there!!  I will share one of my favorite tweets following the first debate where Hillary looked great in that red suit.  Some clever person tweeted, "I see Hillary is dressed in the blood of every man who has ever underestimated her!"  I love that!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this is enough for you to know why I'm having a day at home!!  My hope is that things will settle down for a while.  I am okay and I hope this finds you doing well.  Take care and keep in touch!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hermine, Labor Day and Other Things

Another month, which included a hurricane and a holiday, has passed since my last entry.  I hadn't thought much about the hurricane until I met Cheryl on her drive up from FL to SC.  She mentioned the number of electric company truck convoys she passed on the way up.  It was then that I realized they must really be preparing for the worst.  One house in our neighborhood had a tree fall on it, but I was luckier.......though I was concerned about the remaining parts of the tree that fell in my yard a couple of weeks ago.  The storm brought a lot of high winds and lashing rain, but by late afternoon it began to subside.  Yards and roads were covered with lots of debris, but we were fortunate not too have had more damage.  The following day was about as good as you could want, and the mornings have been cooler.  Rosie and I can sleep in a bit before our morning walks now.  Yesterday still got up to 95, but I'm thankful for cooler mornings!

It's also been a busy month, maintaining the usual activities (Living Liberally, Zentangle with Ana, Canasta, feeding feral cats, etc.) and working in a few additional things.  Elaine and I went to another Coastal Stage Productions play, this time Steel Magnolias.  We know from having seen the movie many years ago that there would be good, ole Southern humor, as well as a very somber part.  It was very well done and made me want to see the movie again.  This time, they had a run on Hilton Head, as well as Port Royal.  We went on island as it was closer, and we wanted to encourage them to regularly include HH in their schedule.  It seemed well attended so I hope they were well supported.

I've also swallowed the bitter pill and joined Curves!!  Those who know me know that exercise is something that never hits my is a forced march!! I decided that I either had to actually exercise OR "exorcise" that nagging voice that kept telling me I should do something!!  I'm trying the former but may end up doing the later. We'll see!  I've only been a week, every other day, and it seems okay.  There are no young, perky bodies there and most of the ladies (around my age) seem to be in good humor - a lot of joking around, laughing, etc.  I've not been forced to challenge anyone's political stance (lol!), but I'm newly into it!  We'll see how long that lasts!  

On Thursday, Cheryl Mc and I went to Jazz for All Ages benefiting the Junior Jazz Foundation.  In addition to providing instruments to those who need them, the foundation also started a jazz camp 6 years ago.  At that time, they had 6 students.  This year they had 100.  The Jazz for All Ages was a two night event.  We went on the first night, but I would have loved to have gone both nights as the programs were different.  It began with a junior jazz group, which was incredibly impressive.  They were great!  The main event was Rene Marie, whom I didn't know, but she and her group were equally fantastic.  It lasted well past my bedtime, but both Cheryl and I were so happy we'd gone.  I also had not seen Cheryl in a while and it was good to catch up.  There were also lots of people there from my synagogue days so, all in all, a fun, social evening.

Friday was the make up meeting of Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry, which was scheduled to meet on the Friday of Hermine.  The speaker originally scheduled could not attend, so we expected to have "table topics"; but, we were surprised to have Lt. Gen Claudia Kennedy speak to us.  She was the first woman to reach the rank of three-star general in the US Army.  She gave us a brief summary of her background and then focused on what we needed to do to get Hillary elected.  She had some thoughtful suggestions and then fielded questions.  Everyone seemed to leave feeling very energized.  My take away was that we should concentrate on those who are undecided, because Trump voters are not likely to change (as I say, they are one issue voters and that issue is racism!).  We should know our facts and be able to state them clearly and calmly....and encourage discussion!.  I think Democrats are too quiet, to the point of letting others get away with total misinformation.  Anyway, it was a good meeting.  We now have a carpool of four ladies, where it once was Chris and myself.  Between "venting" and laughing, we had a great time on the ride in and back home.  It's a great group of well-informed ladies and it's a pleasure to be around them.

It was a year ago at the end of August that I got Rosie.  Needless to say, the house hasn't been the same since!!  She is such a treat to have, and it's great to see her charm the neighborhood.  Last week I took her for her first doggie daycare experience.  I'm hoping she will look forward to being with the other doggies so I might be able to leave home and feel that she is okay.  David has been good to stay with her for weekends, but he works from home and a longer stay would be asking too much.  Anyway, she seemed to do okay.  They kept her up front with other small dogs, which made feel better about leaving her, in that the staff was right there and could keep an eye on things. When I picked her up, she was yelping to get to me and was eager to get out.  It will be interesting to see how our second visit goes.  Keep your fingers crossed!

My goal this weekend is to enjoy some home time and to catch up on emails, correspondence.  So, I'd better get busy.  Have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Weekend Away

Summer is in full swing and we have a little relief from the heat.  The temperature has dropped to the low 90s, but the humidity is still with us.  For the last two mornings I've put Rosie out in the back yard rather than taking her for her morning walk. She would  not have to go out so early were it not for the heat.  After 8:30, it begins to really heat up and neither of us enjoy that.

At the end of July, I went to Virginia for Justin and Tara's renewal of vows. It was a fun, action packed weekend, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Jim (Justin's father), his two brothers, his aunt and I went to Mount Vernon on the Saturday morning.  It is impressive to see and one could spend the whole day there, but we had to be at the event at 3PM.  Even so, we did get to cover much of the grounds and had a tour of the house.  We got back to the hotel in time to shower, change and get to event, which was held on the grounds of the George Mason estate.  It was a lovely ceremony, with Justin in his kilt and Tara with a tartan draped over her white dress.  After the ceremony, they changed into sometime more casual and mingled with guests as we all enjoyed a delicious meal.  After the meal, anyone who was interested was given a tour of the Mason home, before returning for dessert. It really was a nice occasion and I'm so glad I went.

I was so proud of myself that I had arranged transfer from the airport to the hotel via Super Shuttle.  I only had a carry on bag, so I headed straight to their counter.  They ask me to wait and they would let me know when the driver arrived.  Well, I waited, waited, and waited 40 minutes.  The lady behind the desk called the dispatcher and he sent a taxi to pick me up and take me to the hotel.  The taxi fare was the same as I had paid Super Shuttle.  Had I known that, I could have walked out the door and gotten a taxi.  I wonder if that tends to be the case everywhere?  Anyway, I got to the hotel and cancelled my return arrangements and Jim dropped me off at the airport as they were leaving. I was there earlier than expected and stopped by the jetBlue desk to asked if there might be an earlier flight.  There was and I was #1 on the standby list.  I made the earlier flight and was home two hours earlier than expected.  As I was driving home from Charleston, I ran into and out of little rain showers.  Between Charleston and here, the temperature went from 94, to 86, back up to 92, then down to 77, and back to 93 when I got home.  It was amazing!

This motley crew is our growing Drinking Liberally group.  With all the chaos of the election season, Democrats in the area are searching out "their people"!  Discussion has been animated and it does help to have people of like mind with whom to discuss issues.  Between DL, Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry, and Progressive Ladies, there is something happening almost every week.  We all agree that I will be nice to have the election behind us, assuming it turns out well!!!

My friend, Linda, was in town, she being one of the founders of Drinking Liberal!  We had dinner and then went to see Pippin, which was very good.  The lead role was played by the son of one of Linda's friends and he was very good.  

Otherwise, it's just been the usual.  Trying to stay cool and occasionally accomplish something!!  I hope all is well with you......drop me a note and let me know.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hot! Hot! Hot!

This has been a summer like no other.  We have had days at a time where the heat index is between 110 and 115F.  Rosie and I try to get out early (for us!), but there have been morning when we've come in panting (Rosie) and soaked (me).  We try to get a long walk in the morning because we never know when it will cool enough in the evening.  It's really the hottest it's been since I've lived here.

My trip to NC was enjoyable, though fairly spur-of-the-moment.  I received an invitation from a cousin on my father's side, to a combined birthday celebration for him and his wife.  A couple of days later, I got an email from a cousin on the other side to let me know he was going to have a heart catherization the following day.  With all of that coming at once, I felt it was time to go up and touch bases with everyone.  So, I drove up on Saturday, had a little time with Laney and Julious before going to the party for Bill and Betty.  It was held at a "fish camp" between Wadesboro and Charlotte and they had invited loads of people, including cousins and childhood friends whom I only get to see occasionally.  It was lots of fun.  Betty had suffered a difficult year health-wise and it was good to see that she was feeling better. They were very good to visit Mama, which meant a lot to me, and I was honored they included me.

The following day, Laney, Julious and I went to Aberdeen, NC to visit cousin Wayne.  His test turned out well and eliminated heart issues, but did not determine the cause of the problem.  Laney took lots of good food and we enjoyed that and had a leisurely afternoon of catching up.  Wayne is such a sweet man and I'm thinking part of his problem is stress.  Both of his brothers died within a year of one another and he goes out of his way to do all he can for all families.  Add to that, the pressure of work would be enough to stress anyone. He was going to have further tests to see if they can get to the root of the problem.  I hope things will be okay.

We crashed and burn on Monday, July 4, by having a quiet day at home before cousins Betty and Peggy joined us for dinner. During my stay, Laney provided food for everyone and then sent me home with a car load, all of which was delicious AND I didn't have to cook for two days.  It was a good visit and I'm glad I went......though I wasn't looking forward to the drive.

Otherwise, life continues as usual - lunching, zentangle, reading, politics (!), Rosie.....and a lot of nothing..  My neighbor came over to let me know that she and her husband had to have Grady, Rosie's boyfriend, put to sleep..He had gotten to the point he could not move very much, nor was he eating.  I know how difficult that is and I hated to hear it.  He was an "older man" and just loved Rosie.  As soon as he saw her, he would throw his head back and howl until they got together.  It was a riot.  Gail said they both agreed to be Rosie's god-parents if ever I needed them!  Rosie definitely has her fan club......and I'm just her attendant!!

Our social committee has started having live music at the club house pavilion once a month through the summer, which is very nice.  I was surprised at how many people were in the pool, which makes total sense, but there were others just chatting, eating, etc.  For a place this size, we have lots of music venues, but it's especially nice to have it right down the street.

Well, never a dull moment!  Last Sunday I went into town (HHI) for a little shopping, which I rarely do.  The whole time I was there, the sky was dark out our way and there was continuous thunder.  I tried to complete things as quickly as I could and finally got home around 2:30.  As I drive into the driveway, there was half of the Wax Myrtle lying across the parking area of the driveway.  With all the thundering and darkness, I never ran into rain or wind, so I was very surprised to see this!  Needless to say, that changed my plans for Monday!  Luckily, the house was not damaged, nor was the shrubbery. 

Last night I joined friends in Sun City to hear Dr.Michael Greger speak about plant-based diets.  Sun City has a group called "Eat Healthy, Live Longer" with several hundred members.  Dr. Greger (How Not to Die) was here speaking with Dr. Joel Fehrman at a health seminar/weekend to the tune of $1200-$1500/person.  The Sun City group was able to have him speak to their members for free...and I was lucky enough to know some of them!!  Camille had Liz and myself over for a vegan dinner, which was delicious.  She was ushering for the event, so we got there early and got great seats.  Dr. Greger obviously enjoys people and he  presented a lot of scientific info in a very user-friendly way.  The room held 550 people and they had to close the doors 10 minutes before the program began!  Many in attendance were like the three of us - steady vegetarians or vegans.....but it's always good to get positive reinforcement.

Next weekend I'm off to Virginia for an I DO BBQ!  My cousin Cissy's (who died of cancer about 10 years ago of cancer)  son got married early in the year. He and his wife are having a gathering for friends and family to celebrate the event and renew their vows. It will be at Gunston Hall at/near George Mason University.  It will all be new to me and I'll look forward to seeing Justin, Tara, Jim and others, as well as enjoying the grounds. It will be a wonderful opportunity to touch bases with family, as well as seeing a younger generation beginning a new adventure.   It's so tempting to offer lots of advice and "wisdom", but I know we each have to travel our own path and learn from our own experience.  If they are happy together, I'm happy for them!

Other than that, I'm just trying to stay cool and do something constructive, from time to time!!  Basically, I feel that time is flying by and I'm accomplishing nothing.  I spend far too much time following politics, which should depress anyone!  I'll be glad when November is behind us!

Friday, July 1, 2016

From One Holiday to Another

It's July 4th weekend and another month has gone.  I'l leaving tomorrow for NC and this is just a last minute effort to touch bases before more time passes.  It's 7PM so, needless to say, this will be brief and without proof-reading, so if it doesn't make sense I'll try to touch it up when I get back (already know that the video needs more work!).

Shortly after Labor Day I joined a Mom's Demand Action Against Gum Violence walk here in Bluffton.  We started at the Church of the Crossed and walked through the Farmer's Market, across HWY 46, ending at Captain Woody's for lunch and wine.  You never know how that might go around here but, by and large it was well received.  I think there was one obnoxious person, but I missed him all together.  Quite a few people even cheered us on, so it turned out better than expected. Can you spot my feet and legs??

There have been the usual lunch with friends, Liberal Ladies, Progressive Ladies, Drinking Liberally, and a few games of Canasta, which I'm enjoying more.  Rosie finally finished Puppy 2 class so we can take that off our schedule for a while.  She did fine in the class, it just took us a while to make up missed classes.

Tidewater Hospice, who cared for my mother, invited all of our "Lunch Bunch" from Bloom for lunch at Truffles.  It was so good to see everyone, especially since Blake and Helen had passed away after Mama.  It was really a tight, caring group and it was thoughtful of Tidewater to get us all together again.  Little did we know that they also picked up the tab!!  None of us expected that!

Then on June 19th, I went to the Juneteenth Celebration at Fish Hall Creek (Mitchelville Beach).  The days leading up to it were sweltering, with the heat index being well over 100. The heat broke and the sky was overcast with a pleasant temperature, so it was just nice to be outside enjoying the scenery, displays, entertainment, etc.  I was a totally enjoyable day, and then I had dinner with four ladies from my Synagogue days.....lots of fun.

Well, I'm going to have to wrap it up here.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, with great plans for this weekend.

Happy 4th of July animation

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

This weekend marks the beginning of summer and the end of another fast-moving month.  May has been very busy, like everyone came out of the doldrums of winter all at once!  This weekend, though, doesn't reflect that. Yesterday and today have been dark and rainy as a storm passes through.  So far, it has been steady, moderate rain, unlike what happened a week or so ago. Over the last two or three years we have had occasional rain storms like that shown in the photo.  Inches of water filled the yard, and it was still pouring, fast and furious. Thankfully, it stopped before coming into the sun room.  

Since Eileen's visit, I have been keeping an "activity calendar" for myself as I did for her visit.  It's quite surprising how much is going on in the area once it's compiled!  I would often read of coming events and, before I knew it, they had already happened.  Now, I just make a note of them and, when time and interest permits, I can take advantage of them.  There always seems to be something happening.  Most recently, Rhonda and I went to Fiesta de Mayo in Shelter Cove.....lots of good food, great Latin music, and fun people watching.  When we arrived, the crowd was sparse; but, by the time we left at 4PM, it was packed.  It went on until 10PM and I can imagine that the music and dancing got better as the evening progressed!

Elaine and I went to Port Royal to see "Daddy's Dyin' - Whose Got the Will?  It was by the same group that did "The Great American Trailer Park Musical", which was hilarious!  We figured this would be as well since the advertising stated:

  • Adult language
  • Extremely colorful swearing and language occurs frequently and throughout show
  • Drugs/alcohol referenced. Beer is consumed
  • Sexual references used
It was set in the 80's in Texas, so you can imagine the dysfunctional-family hilarity that ensued.

Most recently, Chris and I went to a fair put on by the Chamber of Commerce entitled Re-imagining Life after 50.  It was informative and enjoyable, ending with tasty munchies and wine.  It also gave is time to catch up a bit, which I really enjoyed.

May has also been a good month for local Democrats.Our Drinking/Living Liberally group joined with two other Democrat groups to have a Purple Rain night (at our usual DL location). Prince music was played and the political connection was that to go from a red state to a blue state, you have to go through purple!!  Maybe a far stretch (especially for SC!), but it was lots of fun.  We had a large crowd and it was great to see people that I usually see in other settings.  

Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry had their usual monthly meeting, as well as a 5 year anniversary cocktail party.  It was at the beach house in Port Royal Plantation ( where we used to live), overlooking the water on a beautiful afternoon.  My take-away from that was that I discovered that a neighbor is a democrat!  We see each other frequently when we walk our dogs in the morning.  As we spotted each other at the party, I said, "Bogie's mom!" and she said, "Rosie's mom"!  We then introduced ourselves - we knew our dogs' names, but we hadn't introduced ourselves!  Now our morning chats are much more lively!, They have also attended Drinking Liberally!  Anyway, the anniversary party was great and the entertainment were these young ladies shown below.  I saw them several years ago when they performed at Bloom and was impressed by their demeanor and talent.  Even at that time (the younger was only 7!), they were very composed and professional.  After their program, they circulated around the room and spoke to everyone, which the residents loved.  They do those performances as practice and as community service.  They are just delightful and, needless to say, their mother is also quite impressive also.

You can see them as they appeared on the afternoon of the cocktail party (and doing a Michael Jackson tune) HERE.  This is the video I wanted to include but couldn't get it to work, though I was happy to find the one above on YouTube.  I love that they are in their frilly, formal dress and , what appears to be, flip-flops!  My kind of girls!

With all the socializing, I have managed to get a little done around the house, the primary thing being closet cleaning!  I couldn't face doing it all at once so I broke it down into about 5 steps.  What you see here is Step 1 - Everything on the floor of ONE closet!!  From this you can see that I could never have tackled the whole thing at once.....just too much crap.  After two car loads to the thrift shop, it looks much better.  All coat hangers are hanging backward, so next time I go through, I can get rid of even more. I'm really getting into the swing of "lightening up" and I hope to continue the process.

I continue to experiment with my magic/Instant Pot.  Today I have yogurt on the make and it's very experimental.....first time trying it, making it with vanilla almond milk instead of  dairy, etc. So, it will be very interesting to see how/if it turns out. I've also found a slicer/dicer that actually works the way they are all advertised to work....but don't!  It's German made and it works because the blades are SHARP.  Knowing that and following all precautions, yesterday I lopped off the side of my right ring finger (and part of the nail). It happened so fast that it didn't hurt, but it took forever to stop bleeding.  It is now well bandaged and makes typing a challenge.

I'm going to leave you with some love from sassy, sweet  Rosie, as she is lying on my back cushion, overseeing this whole operation.  She is such a character and adds laughter and love to each day. 

This is just.......

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Eileen's Visit

It's taken me a while, but here I am again.  I wanted to do a slideshow of Eileen's visit and have only now gotten around to it.  I knew if I did a post first I'd never do the slideshow.  Anyway, we had a great visit and it was wonderful to see her. Rosie fell in love with her right away and totally deserted me!  She followed Eileen like her shadow.  By the time Eileen arrived, I had a list of options to fill our time.  Many of the things we did were new to me, as well as Eileen; so, it was like a vacation for me also.  The great part was that we did everything at a comfortable pace, which I found totally enjoyable.

Eileen arrived on Thursday around noontime.  We had time to relax and catch up a bit before going to the local Farmer's Market. It's supposed to be one of the best in the state.  We took the new bus service, which was nice and breezy. We had a nice walk-around, stopping for a glass of wine and a listen to the resident singer.

  • Friday - a day of shopping and lunch at Chipotle, which was my first time there.
  • Saturday - wine bottling.  I had hoped to have it ready, but things were delayed due to Brent's illness.  Eileen jumped right in and it was fun sharing the experience.
    • We did a quick walk through of The Taste of Bluffton fair.  It was crowded and windy, so we opted for lunch at Fat Patties.  From there we went to Palmetto Bluff, where they were preparing for a huge, elaborate wedding.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of the event.
  • Sunday - a nice, long walk on Pinckney Island, where we saw lots of birds.  Unfortunately, they do not show up well on the photos, but they were fun to see in real time.  
    • In the afternoon we went to a free concert by the Stardust Orchestra at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church.  It was big band kind of music, but very well done.  
    • More shopping at Stein Mart before calling it a day.
  • Monday - a good day for the beach, so we explored Mitchelville Beach, something I had not previously done. Mitchelville was the first self-governed freedmen's town in America. There are interesting informational signs about the settlement, as well as a cabin like those of the day.  The wonderful part was that the beach was practically deserted.  It is not a good beach for swimming, but it was perfect for what we were doing - sunbathing, looking for shark's teeth (no luck!), walking and reading.  It was a wonderful afternoon.
  • Tuesday - another day of shopping/browsing.
  • Wednesday - a day of talking politics and eating out.  Eileen went with me to lunch with my Progressive Ladies' group AND Drinking Liberally in the evening.  I don't think anyone was surprised when she told us how crazy the rest of the world thinks we are.  No contest!!
  • Thursday - a day in Beaufort, again doing something I had never done.  We went to Port Royal and walked the Cypress Wetlands trail.  It's a well designed, short walk through the natural wetlands.  The birds were a little easier to see here, and there were lots of turtles, but we only saw one small gator.  From there we walked into Port Royal township, stopping at Moondoggies for lunch. From there we continue to the Sands, which is a long boardwalk with a 3-level viewing tower.  All in all, a lot of walking, but good.
  • Friday - a late lunch at the Boathouse for Eileen to have some shrimp before leaving the Lowcountry.
  • Saturday - it all came to and end.  We were at the airport by 10am and EIleen was off on the second let of her 3-part journey.

Needless to say, in the midst of everything we did, there was lots of catching up and reminiscing.  I hope Eileen enjoyed it as much as I did, and I'm eager to hear about the other parts of her trip.  

In the meantime, I've been trying to get back to some type of constructive routine.......I became too accustomed to vacationing!!  Rosie has adjusted to only having me around and misses the excitement of having a captive audience. Our weather has been beautiful and I'm partially successful at developing a walking routine.  Eileen introduced me to several good mystery writers and I've been reading more.....And there's always the political circus!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Preparing for Eileen's Visit

This is a short update before I pick up Eileen tomorrow morning around 11AM.  I'm so excited that she's coming and her visit has set in motion a hive of activity.  At this very moment, I have soup simmering on the stove, laundry going and I'm doing this!  Her visit motivated me to clean out my mother's closet and dresser.  All was donated to a local thrift show and a clean closet awaits Eileen.  In an effort to make my garage APPEAR tidy, I took about an hour to load my car with anything that could be discarded without thought.  The car was totally full!!  The only problem was that when I took it to the dump, I came back with this chair!  It's a funky color, but it's a very sturdy chair and in very good condition.....and I love the back!  I'm not sure why someone would take it to the dump and not donate it to a thrift shop.  Oh, well!

I did promise Eileen that we would not be attending any Trump rallies, but I do hope to take her to Drinking Liberally and our Progressive Ladies' Group.  She may be totally overdosed with politics but I think my friends will be interested in knowing how foreigners see us and our politics.

I fully intended to have wine prepared for Eileen's visit, but we were late getting it started due to the owner having Swine Flu.  He was really touch-and-go for a long time.  He has just last week been released home with nurse and therapist, and his wife thinks that is really too optimistic, that rehab would be better.  Anyway, I won't be bottling until this Saturday and I'll recruit Eileen to help.  I think she'll enjoy seeing their setup and will enjoy the bottling, which is the fun part.  It is a far cry from Saudi days, but it always reminds me of making wine there.

An of course, I've been scouring newspapers, magazines and web sites for things to keep us busy while Eileen's here.  There are at least two items on the list of things I've been wanting to do but haven't gotten around to doing, and we can always repeat anything that was a favorite from previous visits.

In the midst of all the preparation for Eileen's visit, I was also able to meet Cheryl, her Mom, and Nancy are our favorite Subway at the corner of I-95 and Hwy 278.  It never dawned on me to take photos, but it was Ann's 94th birthday and Cheryl posted this photo once they reached their destination.  I was happy to  be able to wish her a Happy Birthday in person and to share a little time with all of them.

One thing that will not be listed here are all of the things I did NOT get done before Eileen's removing pollen from everything outside; but, that's the great thing about friends coming.......they won't mind!  We have too much catching up to do!   Will keep you posted as time permits.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Stream of Consciousness...

A whole month has passed and I don't know where the time goes - and how I manage to accomplish so little!   My biggest time waster is MSNBC, to which I have an addiction.  This political season is downright frightening.  As soon as you think it has gotten as bad as it will, the Repugnants reach yet another new low!  The frightening thing is the number of people cheering and supporting this behavior.  I actually didn't watch their debate before this last one, but there was so much s*^t flying that I was suckered in again.  It would be nice to think that all voters watch all debates, both Dem and Rep, as the difference is striking - but I doubt that's the case.  The Repugs are making us (Dems) look extremely sane, informed, and well mannered. I'll be glad when it's all over - I think (I'm hoping)!

To reinforce my values and do my civic duty, I went to see Bill when he was here campaigning for Hillary.  They are both amazing people when it comes to how much they know and how they can articulate it ('Splainer-in-Chief!).  He spoke for about an hour.  About 30 minutes in, a Benghazi protester interrupted him.  The President asked to answer his question, but obviously he didn't want that - he just kept going until he was removed by the police.  As soon as he was out, his female friend started up.  Once they were both removed, Bill addressed the Benghazi event and the numerous committees that have investigated it.  Does anyone really think that if there was anything to prosecute that the Repugs would not already have done it!  Anyway, when it was over and I was walking back to my car, a "lady" driving down the street rolled down her window and shouted, "You're supporting a rapist!"  Welcome to Repugland - South Carolina!

This weekend, as a diversion, I'm binge watching House of Cards in preparation for the beginning of the next season.  It seems like light entertainment compared to current politics!  I am only able to do this because I finally broke down and bought a Smart-TV.  I can now stream Netflix and others.  The picture is also crystal clear.  I had an involved story to tell you about it all, but the short version is that I spent twice as much as I intended, it took three days to install it and get it functioning correctly, none of my old equipment works with the new stuff.....but I can stream Netflix!!!

"Don't declare war of Congress, Mr. President".
"I'm not, I'm declaring war on atrophy"....(aside: "But these days, who can tell the difference?)

---Netflix, House of Cards

Couldn't resist that one!

My other activities include:
  • Liberal Ladies of the Lowcountry
  • Primary Watch at Fat Patties
  • Drinking Liberally
  • Progressive Luncheon at Mellow Mushroom
  • Reconnecting via Facebook with a high school friend, who was also my college roommate.  Turns out she's a liberal, too!  So good to be in touch again and many years to catch up on.
  • Enjoying some  nice weather - all this week should be in the 70's
  • Clearing the road out our back gate of beer cans and bottles.  I kept seeing all this stuff by the roadside when Rosie and I were out for our walk, si I took a few minutes and collected all the cans and bottles.
  • Feeding Georgie, the feral cat, who misses Zorro
  • Puppy Class 2 with Rosie
  • Tax info to CPA way earlier than usual!
  • Reading (Living the Secular Life (Zuckerman) and Between the World and Me (Coates)
  • Making wine with Chris for Eileen's visit - can't wait!

I did have a funny thing happen on Valentine's Day.  Rosie was looking out the front window and barking, which I ignored as she barks at anything moving.  Later when I walked by, I notice this pretty gift bag by the front door.  I immediately thought, "Oh, one of my neighbors has remembered me on Valentine's Day!  How nice!"  You can imagine my surprise when I opened it to find that it was for Rosie!!  It was this cute little stuffed bear from Grady, one of her boyfriends in the neighborhood.  The note said:
       To Rosie
       Be My Valentine
       Love, Grady
       Phone number
       Call Me!

That was so cute and I got a good laugh out of it.  Unfortunately the little bear lasted about 20 minutes - ear chewed off, stuffing pulled out and squeaky box destroyed!

On a sad note, one of my friends at Drinking Liberally lost her husband to cancer a few weeks ago.  He was a gentle, charming man.  They had not been to DL in a while and when I was Christmas shopping, I stopped in her place of work to say hello.  That's when I learned how bad it was.  I've kept in touch with her and had her over for dinner on Monday.  Life is so difficult and it takes so little to help someone else.  I hope I've been a support to her - at least gotten her out of the house.  Then, when Chris and I were ready to make wine, I emailed Jane at The Vintner's Club, as I usually do, only to be told that Brent, her husband, had been in hospital for 10 days with Swine Flu!!  It is really touch-and-go!  He's been in the hospital for two weeks, totally sedated (is that an induced coma?), on a ventalator, etc. and has opened his eyes only once!  He is a gentle, big bear of a man and it is so hard to imagine this.  Needless to say, I've offered to help in any way I can, but that seems so little at a time like this.

On a less sad note, I will leave you with this short clip, titled Rosie Singing, Accompanied with Squeaky Toy.  Enjoy!