Saying Goodbye

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

hello

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.

goodbye

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.

artsy

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.

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.

How I Learned To Relax And Love the UV Index

Oops, did I forget to mention that I’ve been diagnosed with malignant melanoma? Blah blah blah closely monitored by great doctors blah blah blah que será será. I’m adjusted to the idea and realize that I have been in need of a mortality wake-up call but there are a couple of things that vex me about this situation:

  • The irony Apparently, I was cultivating this enemy within from my time in NJ. When I was in 4-seasonville, I sought out the shade wherever I was and never let the sun shine on me to the best extent that I could. I did this mostly for the sweat factor. I just don’t like the sun shining on me/making me sweat. Now here I am in the Sunshine State with the swimming pool and the beach and so forth and I cannot enjoy the great outdoors without looking like a freak.
  • The wardrobe
    • I cut up an old tube sock to make a driving gauntlet. I laugh about it and call it a fashion accessory but truthfully I don’t mind wearing it because I get nervous when the southern sun shines through the car window right onto the spot where the primary site was. I also don’t mind wearing it because it cost me $0 compared to the $Many for a commercial UV blocking sleeve, and they are all tight compression sleeves anyway. A big deal to get on and off.
    • gtlThis one kills me though. The swimwear. Not only do I wear a wide-brimmed hat and a long sleeved SPF-50 shirt in the pool, lately I’ve added a pair of full length seersucker drawstring pants. That’s for the benefit of my head more than my skin because I’m sure they are SPF-zero. My legs are starting to look tanned. Anyway – freakshow, but a color coordinated one. I might have to rearrange my morning schedule, which right now is as follows:
      • 7:00 am – Arise
      • 7:05 am – Make Coffee
      • 7:12 am to 10:00 am – Sit on patio drinking coffee, reading the internet on my iPad and making fresh mouth remarks on Twitter. Concurrently, pretend that some kind of outdoor work task is about to commence. Nah, maybe another cup. Oh, look – 10 o’clock and it’s too hot to work outside now.  I’ll go out after 6pm when it’s not so sunny and humid.
      • 10:00 – 1:00  – FlexTime. May include meals, indoor internet reading, feeling guilty over lack of accomplishments.
      • 1:00 pm to 4:00pm – Pool time.
      • 4:00 – 6:00 pm – Nap.
      • 6:00pm to Open End – cocktails/hors d’oeuvres/ TV. (Why should I go outside to do work NOW? Maybe tomorrow morning.)
      • 10:00 pm Bedtime
      • note – Occasionally, I will throw in a trip to Walmart or some laundry management. I’m not a complete sloth.

A little weather add-on that I have on my Chrome browser gives the basic temp/sunrise/weather of the day but if you click on the day –  and I just found this out – will reveal more and hourly- specific detail, including the UV index. I’ve been doing this all wrong.hd.JPG

My timing needs adjusting. I guess mad dogs and Englishmen instinctively know enough to stay out of the mid-day sun – too bad Florida retirees with skin cancer didn’t. I’ll have to work on rearranging the schedule . Perhaps cut out the self-delusion that outdoor work is going to start and just jump in the pool at 8am. Maybe again at 5pm. Both are times that the UV Index is 1-3 and the pool is in shade any way.

sfOn the positive side, I’ve discovered that Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+  makes a marvelous moisturizer. It’s the only thing I wear now, pool time or otherwise.