Saying Goodbye

They had to go. Even though they were beloved at one time, it was obvious that their time had come.


HIBISCUS I loved this hibiscus plant since the day the day it got here. It was only here for about 2 years but I protected it from burning and freezing, shaped it, fed it and nurtured it, and transplanted it from a lovely container to a magnificent one. But during the last four months of its life, it became a haven for whiteflies and I could not overcome them. I tried picking them off, cooking up my own organic remedies and then full-on chemical warfare. I managed to bring it back from sad little sticks to a reasonably healthy specimen, but the whiteflies never really went away. Since the plant lived inside the screen enclosure and shared a space with two even more beloved dwarf citrus trees, I knew it was only a matter of time until the whitefly migrated over.


They had to go. I chopped off the branches, dug out the roots and solarized the soil by covering the plantless pot with a black plastic bag. When I take the bag off in 2 weeks or so, I’m going to get rid of all the potting soil in there and scrub the pot innards. Then I’ll move in the Persian Lime tree once the current 98° heat wave (aka Florida summer) is over. That will be a good fit because what I’m ultimately trying to accomplish is to have something there of height and interest to take the eye away from the too-near shed right outside that corner. The challenge has been finding something attractive that can withstand a full day of direct sunlight. Stay tuned.

COVERED CHAIR Here’s an old friend that I have been having trouble separating myself from. In fact, I was going to get rid of it when we were deciding what to take and what to jettison in preparation for the move from New Jersey. But my daughter thought one of the bedroom chairs was too big for its space in the new place, so I took this one along, meaning to take off the cover and expose the simple MCM-ish dining chair underneath.


But I could never make myself do that. I made the cover myself sometime in the late 80s and it was so right in the formal parlor that housed the yellow floral lamp. There were curtains out of this same fabric, too. Double balloon valances (see above, “late 80s”.) It hasn’t been much used, not in that house or this one. I guess it’s too perfect for anyone to presume to sit upon? It’s been in 3 rooms here and just never worked. I considered Craigslisting it and curb alerting it, but it would be too sad for me if no one claimed it. So his week I went to take the cover off and was once again stopped by the … sweetness? … of it. The appealing fabric, the piping, the perfect little rosebuds centered on each button.

* sigh *

Dear Lord, Please help me to let go. Thank you for the 30 years I enjoyed it. Amen.

So as soon as I hit publish for this poet, I’m going to rip the cover off and recover the seat. Or maybe I’ll do it later. Or tomorrow.

I’ll do it tomorrow.

Busy Busy Busy

I’m deep into visitor season now. You would think that the colder months elsewhere would bring people around to this part of Florida but it doesn’t work out that way. I’ve had 4 visitors since May 19, looking forward to 2 more in July and hoping for 3 more in September/October. That’s as far into the future as I can see.

Visitors mean lots of ill-advised pool time under the mid-day sun, eating out and a boatful of shrimp in the kitchen and later, lots of shrimp heads in the garbage can. Possibly a slight increase in cocktailing. Fortunately for me, the recent visitors have been from my demographic so it was relatively early to bed/ early to rise. A younger set arrives in June so they will be on their own after ~9pm.

Pre-visitors, there was a flurry of cleaning which as usual was not completed 100%. Are you familiar with a coastal storm surge? That’s when a hurricane force wind blows tons of water along a coastline, and the water floods up on the land. In the case of 2012 superstorm Hurricane Sandy, in NJ not only was the ocean coast devastated but the coast of the Raritan Bay took a heavy hit as well until there was nowhere else for the water to go and it crashed into an area that usually gets a rise in water but not in such volume or violent arrival.

I bring this up because this effect is exactly what happens when I houseclean and run out of time to finish – it’s a furious force pushing things along to the farthest point. This time, it was the master bedroom that sustained the accumulation of things blown in from other parts of the house. I just kept the door shut for a week. Now you know how it is.

In other news, I’m still working on that side garden. Year 2. We’re in the home stretch but sometimes I just can’t face the idea of hauling one more bag of rocks to finish the termite-proof mulching. So I made a little tropical container oasis under the palms out front, also unfinished.

It was glorious in my imagination. Maybe a few more pots?

The Friends of the Library volunteer thing is going well – I manned the information table in another branch of the library to promote our new group – the first event for us. And now another volunteer opportunity has arisen:

They didn’t specifically mention broken down old cripples, but hey – ALL ARE WELCOME. Pretty sure that includes me.

This is a brand new group, – organizing right now but they already have their debut performance – Cat On A Hot Tin Roof – with auditions starting in 2 weeks. Volunteer opportunities in general are limited for those who can’t run around or tote and carry, so I thought I might mosey on over and volunteer my modest sewing skills for the costume department. I figure right now at the earliest stages, they’ll take anybody they can get so good chance they’ll accept me (a broken down old cripple). Or maybe I’ll audition for the part of Maggie the Cat . If that worked out, they’d have to change the play’s name to Cat In A Hot Tin Wheelchair, so maybe I’ll just stick to repairing rips and tears in the cast wardrobe. [Note: I have some concerns that this might be too high pressure for a person whose retirement goal is to loll around, very unlike promoting a library where the focus is on lolling around reading. We’ll see.]

Off to see my new primary care MD for the first time today. That means hours of shaving and scrubbing before I go and then once I get there more time listing all the things that are wrong with me. Let me clarify that: listing all the things that are physically wrong with me. He can find out about the mental defects as we go along.

So now you know why my blogging has been light. I’ve been very busy busy busy.

I’m Your Sponge

Remember when I said that I was going to live a retired life of sybaritic pleasure and do nothing except what pleases me at the moment , answer to nobody and have no responsibility at all? What was that – about 8 weeks ago?

Welp, you’re looking at the new secretary of the Yulee Friends of the Library.

I was looking for some little something of interest to do once in a while so I started investigating local volunteer opportunities. There’s plenty of things to get involved in but considering my physical limitations (gimpiness of the highest degree), the number gets drastically cut down. I had narrowed it down to driving seniors around for medical appointments or delivering Meals On Wheels. Frankly, I could use a little help myself getting around and Meals on Wheels, well… I did that in NJ and 25 years later I still can’t get the smell out of my nostrils.

But then I remembered the January news article in the very local paper about the local branch of the county library moving out of its 500 sq. ft. space in a branch of the state college and possibly into a 6,000 sq. ft retail space right under my nose. That article, repeated on the neighborhood Facebook page, had a comment that suggested joining the Friends of the Library – so I hunted down the meeting and off I went.

My intention was to sit quietly and listen to evaluate if this would be (a) something that interested me (b) something that suited my talents and skills and/or (c) fun. But as it turned out, 40 minutes after the meeting started (and about 10 minutes after I asked if there would be recap notes mailed out to the group), boom – there I was volunteering to be secretary for the organization.

The leader framed the request for nominations or volunteers as “.. or even temporarily” so nothing to lose really except time spent creating and mailing one set of summary notes. But I have to confess that I’m very excited by this development.

If You Open Up The Doors We’ll All Come Inside And Eat Your Brains

Sami and I treated ourselves to a video doorbell for Christmas last year. We don’t live in a high crime area but just in case – you know?

I didn’t really expect to capture a lot of home invaders but I also didn’t expect to see so much animal activity, either. So far, we’ve seen:

  • a cardinal bash straight into the front door, probably trying to land on that faux greenery
  • a cat that periodically takes a casual stroll across the path that leads to the tiny portico over the front door
  • a snake that appeared to emerge from the stone wall and slinked straight across the doormat
  • Godzilla, now a diminished senior retired to Florida too weak to activate the doorbell

Blogging Will Be Light

Spoiler: Once you look past official media coverage, it’s surprising to learn how deep is the hatred for Meghan Markle by regular British people. Not annoyance or dislike – actual hatred. 

Somehow I fell into several Brit blogs and tweeters dedicated to sleuthing the mystery of Meghan Markle and her fake pregnancy. I live now in a world of  a non-stop examination of surrogates, pregnancy pillows (new vocabulary wood: moonbump), moving due dates  and Meghan’s “bump behavior”, including a day to day record of the big-then-small-again size and shape of the bump and  documentation of her deliberate coat-flicking.

I tell you, it’s like a round-the-clock Art Bell Show of the British Royal Family. It’s utterly fascinating and I can hardly tear myself away. Blogging will be light until Baby Sussex is revealed to the world. And maybe not even then.