Dream World

Get the look: beach towel by Kohls, oversize lifeguard hat by Peter Grimm, pvc drying contraption by Sami, pool noodle organization by Suzette.

I was out early this morning to beat the mid-day heat. In Florida, “mid-day” means 10 am.

My days are are turning out just as I imagined they’d be. I go out to the patio as soon as I get up – 6:30ish most days – and putter around with the flower pots, do a bit of sweeping or watering, then sit in the shade and drink coffee. On weekends or days that I don’t have a crack of dawn meeting, I swim in clear aqua water while surrounded by perfect order on the patio. The only difference between my dream then and my reality now is that I imagined I would be more attractive and less sweaty.

This speaker is half a corgi tall.

Here’s a thing I am very impressed with: a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. I have to confess that the radio station selections in the Jacksonville area stink on ice. I have a radio that I’ve been using outside just for background noise and the faint hope of occasionally hearing something that I actually like. Then I thought about the accounts I have with Spotify and Pandora and the regular downloads of the many podcasts I can’t live without. So I went looking for a poolside speaker and man, this one is a real humdinger.

I have an affinity for things that are described  as rose gold and that is always my default selection. Then less whimsical people come around and talk me out of it by making the argument that rose gold is “too girly”*. So I ordered this in a sensible dark gray, which I enjoyed for about 1 full day, regretted for 2 more days and then sent back to get the rose gold version. I figured my choices were (1.) I could swap it out and take a loss on the free shipping or (2.) I could complain about it every day for the next three years. So I switched it and now I’m totally happy. Still sweaty, but happy nonetheless.

*Hello? Have you met me?


[Edited to add: You probably are mildly interested in the performance of the speaker itself. It’s great!  For a $30 thing with a main characteristic of water resistance, the sound is fantastic. Surround sound, no less. Very clear, lots of base and loud enough to annoy the neighbors. It got here on June 12, I charged it that day, played it for at least 3 hours a day ever since and it’s still running on the same charge with no sign of flagging. Recommended! I’d write an Amazon review but I’m not the type.]



Purple Front Door; Purple Back Garden

I am feverishly involved in planning the layout of a flower bed  that has no flowers. Also, it’s full sun and irritatingly sandy soil. Florida – you and lush tropicalness are a big tease! Everything i like and/or know about burns and/or dies.

One does love a challenge, though doesn’t one? To make this project extra challenging,  I’m going to try and limit the plants to only purple tones. Stay tuned.

Also, I’m going to get drummed out of Florida unless I put up an outdoor heron soon. So I’m going to incorporate one into my flowerless bed even though they are not purple. Which one do you like – the corny girly one with mini solar lights in its belly or the slightly shorter one that can rip out the screen of the pool enclosure with that metal beak if it falls over?






Say Hello To My Leetle Fig

Have I mentioned that I’m a fig farmer now? Yes. This is my orchard:

patio fig farm
It’s a bit difficult to make out the mighty trunk of my “fruiting size” fig tree so I have helpfully outlined it for you. Ditto the leaf buds.

That’s a 5-foot tall Brown Turkey Dwarf Fig tee. “Fruiting size”. It arrived with bare roots, tiny leaf buds and the top 5” snapped off and left dangling.  I was expecting something different – leaves, at least but that’s what I get for ordering online from a specialty nursery. They probably thought the buyer was someone who knows what they are doing. I do not. Obviously.

At best, Sami is indifferent to my planting schemes;  at worst, opposed.  But he is very invested in the idea of home grown figs. This tree is supposed to be “fruiting size” so fingers crossed that it produces at least one ripe fig this year so that he can pick it himself and eat it while it’s still warm from the sun shine.

I have great hopes for this little tree. In fact, I have plans for an actual fruit farm this year.  A little faux farmette that will allow me to pretend that I have an idyllic life – a place to escape the responsibilities of my real world.  It’s going to be the Petite Trianon of Fernandina Beach, created for the leisure and pleasure of Suzette Antoinette1. Only my retinue2 will be allowed inside. Anyway, what with things being as they are (official senior citizen status, bum knees, generalized laziness, the Gemini tendency to start things but not finish them), I recognize that it would be unrealistic for me to take on actual in-the-ground gardening, but I do believe that I can manage dwarf things in pots within the perimeter of the little world I have created for myself here inside the pool screen.
Also, I’m not interested in coming face to face with a lurking snake. The lizards give me worry enough.
Here’s what I have planned:
  • dwarf fig tree
  • dwarf lemon tree3
  • one pineapple
  • pots of herbs:
    • parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, mint
1 Fun fact: Antoinette happens to be my real middle name. Destiny!
2 Stedman.
3 I have come to the conclusion that the Meyer Lemon is a bullshit lemon.  Who wants a sweet lemon? That is not the quality I am looking for in a lemon. I think I’m going with a Eureka Lemon tree this time – the description of its fruit is “extra-puckery”.  Now we’re talkin’.

Who Among Us Doesn’t Like A Good Trash-To-Treasure Story?

I wish I could convey to you the mesmerizing sparkle of Rustoleum’s Metallic Vintage Copper Spray paint. You can get a hint of it in this photo but in person, its hypnotic. I think so anyway. Although my opinion might be influenced by the fumes.

This was a great Craigslist find. It’s got the retro design elements that I love, matches two steel mesh tables I already have (one painted the same; one still dull black and awaiting its turn to be sparkled) and it’s the right size for this corner. It does kind of spoil the quasi-mid century vibe I had going on out there but I am what I am and what I am is not a purist. You can see how rusty it was but you cant really tell that the back is not entirely straight and the top two shelves lean slightly forward. But for my purposes, it’s fine. And my purposes are to load it up with plants and tasteful accessories and a minimal amount of utilitarian objects.

When Sami saw the finished product , he thought the coloring was too dull and didn’t have enough contrast compared to the wall color. I had to remind him that my decorating strategy is to have a decor foundation as bland as possible so that when I inevitably go overboard with the doodads,  the base will fade way and the oddities will be showcased. And then I begged him to stop me from putting things on the shelves for at least a week so the many layers of primer and top coat can properly cure.


FullSizeRender (3).jpg

This is only what I couldn’t help accumulating in only 2 days. I have two more Talavera planters to add and some nice little battery operated tealights and 3″ tall mason jars to put them into. It was all I could do to hold back from buying a few mini-gnomes but I did manage to resist that impulse. Somewhere along the line, I have to fit in a wire basket of suntan lotion and bug sprays, plus a waterproof container for the outdoor ceiling fan remote control. Maybe I can hide those behind a chicken.


It’s A Tough Job To Find Enough Things To Spray Paint Around Here

I had a little black table steel mesh table that was  a feature in my short-lived Mexican Happy Hour Stoopscape.  Black steel mesh is a classic that I cannot resist, but the time had come to freshen it up and as long as I was going to be spray painting it, why not jazz it up a little?

I was really happy with the way the Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint turned out on the desk lamp, so I went looking for more metallic finishes and came across Rustoleum Metallic Vintage Copper. It looks so good next to the eucalyptus wood rockers that – and please act surprised here – now I feel like I have to be on the alert for more things to use this paint on.