Archives for posts with tag: Florida

Mike and I were running some chores and we stopped by Arby’s for a quick bite. The young lady who waited on us stared at me, “Are you Mrs. D?” She went on to tell me that she remembered me as her elementary teacher (2008) at M*** Elementary, the infamous title one school I worked while temp. certified. My mouth dropped open: I was a little cautious. At first, I thought she was one of my students from Saint Leo University Freshman comp. and when I mentioned Saint Leo, her eyes grew big and then she said, “Elementary.” Tampa is such a big place and she told me her family moved often and she was at many schools but she remembered me! It was very typical of this elementary school that the students moved frequently but she remembered my name and face. She is very bright! Sad to say, I didn’t recognize her. I remember the year as trying to stay under the principal’s radar whenever I tried something different in my classroom. She retired or was asked to leave 2 years later but we were truly on different paths. Anyway, that was truly a lift for my self-confidence as a teacher to know I left some kind of positive impression on her. That year was so challenging for me with the administrators and the economy. Also, health-wise for both Mike and me. It is good to know. She is the second student I have run into from M*****. I have also met students who remembered me from my first year in Florida teaching remedial reading at a middle school. He remembered me as “the bomb.” I am glad they liked me but more importantly I hope I influenced them positively to enjoy reading, writing and to learn 3 new things each day.

Evidently, some days are too busy for my mind, heart and feet, so I need to remind myself ‘learn 3 new things a day’ or stick with getting 3 things done. Just pick them and do it. Enjoy the holidays and as one co-teacher this year reminded me, ‘Keep on challenging yourself. If it feels uncomfortable, do it.’ Evidently, I am taking her advice, mostly. How about you? What are your plans for the season?

You know you have lived a long time in a city when you longer get lost reading new directions and visiting new areas. You go shopping in a different area and run into a familiar face. You can arrive home after finding a new location using map quest to go and your instincts to come home. You say nay to Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts finding a cozy cup of Cuban Coffee in an old style place where they all turn to watch you come in as you are not the neighborhood local. The coffee wakes you up! In a New York minute, you are ready for the day. You are able to easily handle the one way streets, the charming areas flanked by the not so great areas because you know the place. It is a rewarding feeling like a good book sitting near an armchair and you have the evening to yourself. However, tonight is taken or at least early evening.

Chicken wings warming in oven with bourbon sauce prepped by husband while I went on a shopping expedition this morning to pick up a few things. I also stopped by this library in an old part of Tampa which I had never been to before. The bookmark inside reading, “This takes place in Bangkok! Check me out! I felt intrigued and chose the book in minutes provoked by the Thank Proverb inside: Kwam lub mai mee nai like “There are no secrets in the world.”

And with that, I must get ready to go to a Christmas party for my workplace! Cheers!

You know that I am a big fan of cats. I grew up with cats on a farm, harbored an indoor cat on the Bayous in the small cottage named ‘Raisa’ after Raisa Gorbachev, and took in Sheba from infancy until she passed on. I remember our neighbor saying when I found the nest of kittens, “That was no accident.”

Someone recently asked me what kind of costume I wore for Halloween when I lived and worked in South Korea throwing a Halloween party for my class. With little time for pause or memories, I said ‘A cat.’ I thought of going on safari while living in the Middle East to Kenya and researched the different cats I would see. I adopted a little Siamese kitten to visit at a small computer repair store in the United Arab Emirates and sometimes fed the feral cats as not everyone was a fan of them.

That is why when my goggle reader on my phone came up with articles about cats that I was not surprised. Perhaps I insinuated through talk or research my interest or maybe they were searching. Who knows? I was happy to read that cats are very intelligent and are among the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. They have 300 million neurons compared to dogs with 160 million neurons. I think of Ms. Sheba and how as our previous dog became older that she would swat him on the nose to lead him safely around our backyard.

Cats watch and they are able to perceive things we cannot. Often I watch with great curiosity a cat which visits our yard and hunts for small animals. Besides keeping rats away, they can also know when someone is near them. If you are living alone with a cat, and you open the apartment or house door, they might be able to softly tell you someone is inside. Of course, I love our pug but the next alternative is Le Chat. The cat. I find the research interesting. Perhaps because of this, “Cats are more impulsive than dogs and have far less patience. They don’t easily tolerate frustrating situations for long periods of time. …..cats can solve harder cognitive problems, if indeed they feel like it.” (Berit Brogaard, “How Smart is your Cat?” at Psychology Today (2013). Who hasn’t felt the cats attitude when they march off or sit idly watching you from a distance. They are masters of their own domain.

Meow. I feel like I have more in common with cats. Looking forward to Thanksgiving Break! Enjoy the weekend.

Do you ever wonder about what people don’t say in person, on blogs, over the phone, in an interview? Today was the last day for city workers in New York for Covid Shot or to be send home without pay. They shut down 150 ambulances, a dozen fire stations were closed and police precincts are being consolidated because of the number of workers who will not get the shot. Many of them are moving our way my husband told me happily.

It is interesting that many police from Chicago have moved our way. I wonder how they are handling the crime and how they will curb it: their city experiences are well received, I believe as they bring a different viewpoint to the venue. Some bloggers from these areas don’t talk about these things. I am not sure why.

Is it because it is better to ignore what is happening or to bide the time until things may change? What if thing don’t change? What if grocery prices continue to rise along with rents and owning homes become a dream for the new generations…can we exist in a void. Many of us continue with our jobs, our daily life and sometimes we don’t have time to notice what is happening around us because we are at work or at school or busy, busy, busy. In this case, we need others around us to notice. My husband notices. Sometimes I pick up on details through noticing those I work with, hearing stories, keeping my ears open. Sometimes a commute and reading the news on the weekend will help me pick up the slack.

The things we don’t say and need to say. I hope we all have someone in our life who reminds us of events happening outside our community, so we pay attention and not exist in a slog of one. Thanks for listening and reading! Now, I think I will do like a former student of mine mentioned revert to a bad habit: reading a piece of fiction to take the edge off reality. In this example, I still think this bad habit is not going to get me in trouble anytime soon. It beats waiting for bloggers from the Chicago and New York area to relate to us these realities and how the shortage of essential city workers will affect their life. What about when they call 9-1-1 and no one picks up? Enjoy your weekend!

I was writing this blog in the early a.m. this morning visualizing reading the hard back newspaper. Do you remember those days? As an English major at college, I read newspapers: since I was on Long Island, there was the college newspaper, the New York Times, the Daily News, local papers. I remember sitting in coffee houses with friends tearing apart the paper into sections: sports for you; cultural events for me; not so much politics but the daily calendar and people of the day. I read for writers. The Times had some excellent writers and I devoured them reading voraciously of people, places, and events.

Through time, this event of newspapering seemed to fall by the wayside as the news became more and more political but still I searched out those writers I liked to read. When I first moved to the Gulf of Mexico, my family knew a good Christmas stocking present was the New York Times or even better, the Post which never failed to publish the absolute truth with bold shocking headlines of things people never knew or wanted to talk about. I was very pleased to discover some of our regular customers at our store years ago were Post readers and would arrive with the Post under their arm ordering a cupcake and sipping a coffee.

I asked my husband for a stocking gift one year to buy me gossip magazines: you know the kind they sell right before check out with shocking headlines of celebrities, and events in the news. I am not sure they even position them in the same place anymore. In the check out line lately, I see a magazine about “Cooking and living light” or is is “Living Simply?” Anyway, I loved the moments away on vacation and laughs these magazines gave me. My life and concerns seemed simple.

My life lately has been busy with training for the new job and getting accustomed to a busier schedule. It is new but I find that I still relish in reliving some of the good old days which is why when my husband mentioned going out for breakfast this weekend as my training class is downtown and it might be a good idea to find the location before the week arrives: I thought of newspapers, I thought of writers, I thought of news published and how much fun with old friends I used to have eating breakfast and reading/dividing the paper. Now, I go to the computer and we pull up news or watch on the tv but somehow it is not quite the same because once something is in print it is easier to share and to return to and you can cut it out. For years, I kept a magazine article my mom shared with me about “Cowboys on the range” in Wyoming. Because it just sounded like something I might like to write about or perhaps visit one day in person to see the ranches and the wide open spaces.

Those wide open spaces are still there but we just have to find them in different ways and readjust. Just as I adjust to getting up at 5:15 a.m. my husband is cleaning out the garden spending hours pulling weeds and making it more simple to take care of. We have a new neighbor who bought the house next door for a family member and is revamping the house. The house is identical in many ways to our house it is interesting to hear of all the improvements they are making inside. Times are changing and we change with the times.

Do you remember reading newspapers? Do you still read them? What is your favorite to seek out?

I thought of this with regards to Florida. Sometimes we hear stories and wonder: is this for real or is it a fantasy? Thinking of the song from “Talking Heads” the words, ‘you may wake up one day and ask yourself “how did I get here?” ….one of these days gone by.

As I am learning the best routes and becoming accustomed to my new schedule and the people, I read with passing interest ready for a quick laugh of Florida fables, and foils. The latest was the Florida woman finding the python left behind in her new apartment. She reported that the python might have been hiding under the fridge for weeks. Inadvertently, she discovered the snake curled up in her bathroom sink. Speaking of disclosure, the article continued about all the new things discovered while inhabiting her new abode.

We find alligators crossing golf courses, highways, and turtles in our backyard. Sometimes the alligators have been known to stand up and one rang a doorbell. These stories can only happen in Florida and this is why we also have the meme called Florida man which focuses on unusual crime or events occurring in Florida where the headline mentions “Florida Man.” Internet users submit links to this meme and there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the information. “Florida Man Calls 911 for Ride to Hooters. ” “Florida Man Threatens to Destroy Town with His ‘Army of Turtles'”

How about your state or where you hail from? Is there an icon you submit stories about? Or was there a time you moved into a house or an apartment and got more than you bargained for? It is the weekend! Find a good laugh for the week ahead.

If you ever want to get to the heart of a neighborhood, take a walk and you will understand the rhyme and rhythm. Take a walk in the morning and one at night and you will see the different tempos. I went for a long walk (45 minutes) with my hand held weights this morning. Usually, I go to the gym, so other than walking the pug I haven’t been walking a lot in the area. The husband went to the hospital for his labs, He was anxious. I walked the pug at 6:30, returned left again 6:45-7:30.

I walked. There is therapy in walking which you don’t get in the air conditioned and sterile gym. There is no music or tv but there is plenty to watch. As I turn off our driveway, I meet some of the other walkers I have passed while walking the pug. Earlier that morning, I watched the mailman whizzing by on his bike before work, and the lady who walks her tiny chihuahua without a leash while gabbing on the cell phone. I continued and met a mom this time walking with her daughter who is pregnant. I easily recognized her because of the traditional clothing she wears. She is from India or Pakistan. This time she smiled at me. Perhaps being with her daughter comforted her long walks.

I passed a few new faces and said, “Good morning.” I watched a few houses with ‘for sale’ signs and new cars in front. When we first moved in, we didn’t take any walks around the area to check out the area. We knew it was a promising location which just happened to be near the VA Hospital, a major university, and a very quaint smaller incorporated area across the way. There were wonderful oak trees and a rich history nearby including property of a hunting ranch and one of Florida’s first golf communities. There are a few stories to tell and we saw a few homes but we chose this area, made a bid, and were chosen from many bidders. Throughout our time in our home, the neighborhood has grown from dicey to a ‘hot place’ to live. We have watched many people come and go with job changes, divorces, even odder cases including a family that had to sell their home to put up bail for their son. That was when we first moved in. As in every area, there are these stories and no community is immune, some just hide it better.

Then the thunder rolls in. I clutch my weights pumping my arms and pick up my pace. Where there is thunder, not far behind is lightning. I begin to count the homes where I know the people and can duck in under their porch for safety. There is comfort in knowing your area and your neighbors. Lightning is frightening here. As I continue walking up one of the few hills, I see a young man in his 20’s heading towards me with his rap music. I notice a small bedraggled dog wandering without his collar. Simultaneously, I observe the young man and the puppy. The puppy heads to a yard and sniffs around. As the man draws closer, I hear the music more clearly and notice his eyes do not seem right. I smile and keep moving. I watch two couples walking nearby and then a man running down the street towards the young man calling his name, “Did you take your medicine?”

I hasten my pace curious but wanting to get home ahead of the storm. I think about the young man who passed me and wondered what kind of medication he takes. I enter my home, finally home, and turn on the coffee maker. Yeah, if you want to know more about your neighborhood or if you ever feel lost, just get out and walk. You will realize that everyone has something to contend with. And some of us are lucky with our houses or our homes are our safety and sanctity from the craziness. I hope he has that in his home and I hope that puppy has found the right yard.

Thanks for listening! Have a good week! If you want to share something, tell me about a time you went walking and came upon a person, event, or something which surprised you or reassured you somehow.

They might be “blue herons” but there is always someone in line somewhere in Florida on Black Friday. I took these pictures after doing some early Christmas shopping for a few people. The most interesting conversation was with the 20-something sales lady who mentioned missing “getting up to shop for Black Friday at 4 a.m. with her mom and sisters and then going out for breakfast.”

I remember waiting on line at 4 a.m. clutching a bag of golf clubs one year. Who can forget also getting up early for markets in South Korea as the first shopper gets the deal.

Good morning,

I noticed that I have picked up a few followers, so I decided to interact more by inviting you to ask me a question.

The question can be about my background or a topic I have talked about or baking: you might have noticed the theme involves cupcakes or about myself. Another blogger that I interact with, or just a question.

I have been trying to be more open, so go ahead and ask. This lets me know you are listening.  Note: this topic will close by the end of the week…….

10632828_10203406729866514_8314451907960664247_n10614269_10203406730786537_7498088894432912547_nI thought I would share some of the work of Steve Coleman, a photographer, and a good friend of my brothers. We all grew up together in the Catskills. Steve lives in Florida and like his father has carried on as a wonderful photographer.

Feenixfoto – Images by Steve Coleman is a good place on social media-facebook to check out more of his Florida works.