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The bugaboos in America’s health care system are unexpected expenses, catastrophic loss and/or cost as we age, plus the way our health care industry separates the haves from the have-nots in our society. Inherently, by design, our health care system creates another way for us to hate one another, or think of ourselves as better or worse than the rest.*

But, I  should start from the beginning, from a conversation we had in small waves…

We hit Cocoa Beach early this past Saturday just before the crowd arrived. It was a calm morning; no waves, no wind, the heat index would be high later on for sure.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is one filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything on the sand.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything. We did have someone doing hand stands in front us, but  I’d no idea that I’d hear something this day that would turn me on my head as well.

My wife had already struck up a conversation with a Canadian by the time I’d waded out to her side, standing in ripples of waves beneath clear blue skies, the ocean horizon so easily seen.

People could stand anywhere they wanted, while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked their way well off shore...

People could stand about while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked well off shore…

It's a casual beach where people wear what they want-but mostly the college crowd goes further south to Coconuts...

People wear, or not, what they want-but mostly the college less-dressed crowd goes further south in Cocoa to Coconuts…Here, the beach is somewhat conservative, but internationally accepting of fashion and preference…I like the meeting of diverging cultures.

The surf made it easy for people of all ages to stand around in chest deep water, others did crawl strokes, or paddled a surf board. Beginners road there first ripple.

Calm waters have the advantage of teaching the young or novice how to ride out those waves.....

Calm waters can help the young or novice to learn how to ride out those waves…..

With no big swells to  body-surf, I was all ears as my wife stood in the sea and talked to her new-found Canadian friend. The man hailed from Toronto, a ‘coincidink‘ since that is the only Canadian city my wife and I have ever spent time visiting. In his late fifties, a business man, the Canadian talked about the guns in America as opposed to those not often carried in his country, but what I wanted most to hear about was his take on his country’s National health care system…

He pays a lot in taxes, but stressed what a relief it was to not worry about end of life expenditures that are bound to come, and those costs related to being a father of two and an aging man.  He remembered various family health issues, ER visits, broken limbs etc.(his son plays Hockey) that were taken care of quickly and at no additional, unexpected cost to his pocket-book! He added, Canadians have a prepaid world-wide health care system! Canadian citizens can seek health care anywhere in the world for treatments not given in his country, or for those procedures attended to better by other providers world-wide, and Canada pays for  it ALL  but for the airfare it cost Canadian citizens to get to where ever they need to go.

He poo-pooed the idea that there were long waiting periods or waiting lines for health care in his country, but he’d heard that was the rumor. I decided that anyone could come up with thousands of examples of people dying in U.S. waiting rooms if they wanted, anecdotal experiences, but that wasn’t the norm in the U.S.  And, I guessed rumors in our country were the same when it came the truth about the Canadian health care system-just anecdotal crapola.

They have secrets......American health providers, and one is that they spread endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that national health care doesn't work...especially for them, that is. Think about, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America????Not.

They have secrets……American health providers I mean. Their industry spreads endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that National health care doesn’t work…especially for them.

Not that I draw my conclusions from one conversation, but from many readings on the subject and simple observation. Think about it, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America for health care, or for any other reason????Not-!

Thing is, it gets worse, for the U.S. workers……

The man’s job, like most professional business jobs in Canada, has a paid for non contributory pension. As listed, his employer pays one-half each month of his pension cost, and then his employer also pays the other half of his liability which he can claim as a tax deduction! (In effect, he pays nothing, but gets to claim 1/2 of his pension contribution cost on his taxes as a deduction as if he had paid it! )This is routine in Canada-a working man’s benefit.

The small ocean waves rolled by as I thought this over. The man has paid for life health care for his entire family, no worries there, and a routine, run-of-the-mill pension in Canada that ensures his well-being in retirement. I started to think about the Canadians’ I’d met while in Toronto and how relaxed they all seemed-happy. No wonder.

To be fair, housing in Canada is something like California’s housing market on steroids, but those snow hounds can afford the prices, and sit back as their pensions add up, and the people are covered for every medical emergency. This is a far cry from what it’s like to be a working American. Sad, for us.

So about those waves that eased on by-I thought I’d glide with one for about ten feet to get the nothing of a thrill.

No one was worried about the big waves coming, but bobbed about in the easy up and down drift of the day's ocean current.

No one was worried about the big waves coming as we all bobbed up and down in the easy drift.

I launched off my feet to hit the top of a two footer when something completely unexpected happened!  I hit some sort of vortex, not a rip tide mind you, but a weirdness that sunk my relaxed body straight down through the water and smashed me face-first along the ocean’s bottom. The non-wave then pushed me along the sand, scraping my nose and, actually, I’d thought I’d possibly broken it. I stood up in calm waist-deep water where children played nearby and couldn’t fathom what had just happened. It was all too shocking, and that small wave made me totally get the power of the ocean-it all starts with small waves.

The thing is, society usually starts to bring about powerful change with small conversations that build between people as waves do in the ocean, as one small wave builds to the next. Eventually, those conversations can become a roar that is heard nation wide, one that can’t be ignored by the leaders anymore. The Vietnam protests are a perfect example of a powerful wave of change. That protest didn’t start with hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. It started with small, connected conversations. Maybe, like this one.

Start or keep talking about the wave of changes you think America needs to go through in the coming years. Voices have ways of echoing, expanding, and if we continue talking, eventually our leaders will have to listen.

Franque23

*Result of listening to my wife think out loud…..

Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

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Baked Alaska has nothing on melting Florida this summer.

Welcome to the dog days of summer.....

Welcome to the dog days of summer…..

Ha! This state has put Hell out of business. Now, if a person lives a routinely horrid life, the Devil merely sends them to Florida to spend out their time as a sand flea.

It’s so hot in Florida even the bugs have slowed to a crawl…

Floridians go to indoor sauna’s to cool off.

Ya don't wanna get stuck in traffic.....

Ya don’t wanna get stuck in traffic…..

I’ll never think of a good lookin’ gal as being  hot any more…Ha! Not!! Anyway, the outside temps here in the land of the palms have given the word hot a scorching new threshold, a plethora of sizzling platitudes: way hot; fried and fired up; burned out; back draft day; blistering baby; no touch day and hell’s breath day to name a few.

Wanna lose weight? Blitzkrieg your way to Florida from up north. Stand outside a few hours then go back home. You’ll be amazed by what a difference few bazillion degrees can make. Then again, there’s an upside to the heat. Think of the money to be saved by cooking on the sidewalk, though who’ll be left alive to eat the food? As I get it, maybe only sharks.*

 more good news--Floridan roads haven't melted like they have in India-not yet.

more good news–Floridian roads haven’t melted like they have in India-not yet.

Nudist throw in the towel and run for cover.

Be sure to turn that door knob with your gloved hand and bring a diver’s oxygen tank into your car when driving.

Florida should change its name to IV central. The ants have burrowed to China; the roaches have flown to the Himalaya’s. KKK members have quit burning torches and decided to throw ice parties instead.  The last remaining umbrella in Florida was sold one hour and ten minutes ago. Sad.

So yeah, hitting forty below up at Lake Bonaparte, New York, during the winter is not perfect, but jumping over forty degrees above Hell heat in Florida during the summer is centrally unnerving as well. Freeze or fry, that’s the question McDonald employees ask as they hand out driving directions to the north into the hands of liquified tourist who dribble up alongside their window.

Idea man strikes again!

Idea man strikes again!

Come to think of it, the Floridian afternoon showers are such a blessing when they do come that they create the perfect time for state-wide wet tee shirts contests! Where or where is our state leadership in this one? At least the students at U of F have an idea.**

student skip the wet tee shirt idea and run for a fountain....

students skip the wet tee-shirt idea and run for a fountain in their undies….

Singing in the Rain should be Florida’s state song.

Check out a beach scene in Florida before AC hit the fan----thankfully, our society came to its senses for a bit before we went nuts-again.

Check out a beach scene in Florida before AC hit the fan—-thankfully, our society came to its senses for a bit before we went nuts-again.

Times have changed….

But I still miss the hats!

But I still miss the hats!

So yeah….Floirda cooks in the summer.-

Franque23

*http://www.businessinsider.com/sharks-found-swimming-near-active-underwater-volcano-2015-7

**http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/image_581191b4-0e9f-5442-b1e7-449c37c7044d.html

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

Though I may agree with some of Forbes’ top 25 picks for places to retire, I still think they’re trying to kill us. They just can’t decide if  retirees will look better stuffed in a refrigerator or buried in a sand box..  There’s at least three desert towns in the mix plus Pittsburgh is ranked 19-and Fargo is number 13!!!!

Someone caught this gal practicing for retirement .

She'll fit nicely.

She’ll fit nicely.

Home-sweet- home can't get much quieter !

Home-sweet- home can’t get much quieter ! And, apparently, there may be golf!

Really? Fargo! Where dead bodies roll like snowballs across the landscape-I mean, that movie was real, right? If not, then the winter temperatures out there are cold enough to kill thermometers. People? They’re the negative sense of toast.

freeze your whatevers off.

freeze your whatevers off.*

For me, the older I get the more guys sitting on park benches make sense.It’s not like those park benches will be there forever, and some one has got to use them.

Oh man–have I got an idea for retirement …..

images (23)

I can move up to Forbes # 13 on the list , Fargo ND,….and sit on a bench!

They write Fargo has cheap housing and low crime! No worries, mate!

They write Fargo has cheap housing and low crime! No worries, mate!

Retirement comes down to this-there’s no perfect list of places, dates to keep in mind or reason to retire ; it’s personal. Some want to ski tandem with the Abominable Snowman while others want to swim with sharks.

I just love the ocean...

I just love the ocean…

I figure life will catch up to me soon enough...now it's time to play, snorkel some, or paddle around in a kayak.

I figure life will catch up to me soon enough…now it’s time to play, snorkel some, or paddle around in a kayak..or not.

Thing is, the word retirement should really be spelled-you don’t have to hurry anymore-but Webster was too busy to write all that out. To me, it figures retirement is like walking out into a huge pasture filled with other people who don’t care if they’ve stepped in it.

who really knows what's been in that field?!?!

who really knows what’s been in that field?!?!

No one sees as well as they use to; no one hears or cares; smells are more like guesses and the muffled voices that belong to cartoon characters keep rasping from cracked faces that croak the sounds.

Speaking of croaking. Retirement is not the same as being dead.

It's time to wake up and smell the flowers-

It’s time to wake up and smell the flowers on that misnomer.

Heck, I know plenty of people who have lived days past their retirement date-a few even longer. But there are plenty of so-called guides to help people with retirement that are heck-bent on making sure that doesn’t happen for long. Everyone who’s ever thought about retiring has heard the adage: keep yourself busy. SAY What!?!?! Wait! That’s what I’ve done my whole life! Maybe, what those who spew this mockery of retirement’s real spelling-U don’t have 2 hurry anymore- mean for us to keep busy shoveling.

Keep in shape; you're almost there....

Keep in shape; you’re almost there….

Some guides even try to appeal to the frugal retirees…

My dad was from Iowa and saved even hte shadow of his money, so he might have thought this  a deal of a ,errrr,,lifetime....

My dad was from Iowa and saved even the shadow of his money, so he might have thought this a deal of a ,errrr,,lifetime….

Okay then, my bottom line and last-ditch effort to make this all up to snuff is I don’t think Forbes had a young guy writing this review..what old people need to move to where water’s running out and it’s 100 degrees in the shade? And who ever heard of retirees wanting to get comfy in blocks of ice for beds? Yeah, no

Franque.  I’m too busy to retire …..who’s got time for that?

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

* Actually this is a a true reading from Upper New York State near our lake home…


There was an odd thing about this latest cruise-I couldn’t lose weight no matter how much I ate!*

Honestly, I stayed dedicated to the diet, the attempt of a lifetime, certain to drain some of those unwanted pounds right into the ocean, but it was a no go.

I tried every thing.

Maybe, this guy did, too.

Maybe, not everything…

 

No amount of fruit-all kinds- or drinks, smashes, frozen, a zillion shots in one cup!, beer(s) on tap, iced funny named booze, rum-filled pineapples that mysteriously looked like coconuts to me by day four, hot coffee, cold soda and one million gallons of water-forget it, nothing washed away the pounds!

I hammered the pork loin, roast beef, filet mignon(s), Chateaubriand-I can’t Belize how much they expected me to eat. But, I only ate two lobsters-this the weakest link of my feel and look young again planned execution for the cruise.

I had a solid, well thought out plan in place.

I had a solid, well thought out plan in place.

Lobsters swam through my dreams by night; veggies up the kazoo filled my plate by day. Omelets included kitchen sinks, and why not bacon, sausage, and chicken fingers for breakfast(?). I was tempted to pass up the cookies but never the flanges, meringues, I never tasted mango cream pie like that-not to mention the mango soup-but was there a type of cake I missed?-I think not. Still, I knew several helpings of cherry, blueberry or whatever berry crumb pie wouldn’t tilt my scale an inch. NO. I needed something more, but what?

Late night BUFFETS had to be the key to losing weight.

Of course, there was still a chance those mid-afternoon fix-a-stomach-slump piled a mile high burgers and fat fries would do the trick. Lord knows having four appetizers before dinner had failed miserably. Added to my chagrin, fellow sail-mate, Mike, could very well have been out eating me! I could see his face getting thinner by the day!

In the end, there was still more to eat.

I mean, one day is only one day. It was time to eat on. That’s when those late night pizza’s, sandwiches, surprise open buffet-Look more deserts!- came in handy to the plate before me. Fortunately for my eat away fat plan, the plates offered resembled foot ball fields that had been molded upward at the edges and stacked so they might be passed off as lunch/dinner dishes. They barely cleared the doorways. It was so simple to choose what to take from the selections offered-everything would fit nicely on those plates.

This cruiser was starting to get the idea.....

This cruiser was starting to get the idea…..

Foodish cruisin’ connoisseurs needed a fork and a fork lift to help haul food plates around as they selected seating. Mostly, the passengers were your average folk.

Some looked familiar.

Some looked familiar.

Others had a vague look in their eye, like ones  seen on mathematicians or scientists.

Others had a vague look in their eye, like ones seen on the faces of mathematicians or scientists.

It was around Thursday, the fifth day of this cruising for losing voyage,  when my eat-the-galley-empty platform began to kick in. The ocean had been rockin’ for days, now my stomach had learned the tune. Nah, I wasn’t sea-sick, not at all-loved the rocking.(perk for alcoholics–no one could tell a drunk from someone sober when most people were banging against stairwells and corridor walls as they motivated to the next buffet line-honest.) Anyway, it was on Thursday afternoon when I looked upon the beautiful Caribbean turquoise waters and knew I’d succeeded.  I couldn’t eat another thing! I was done, finished, call it a wrap, over, full, completely out of the eating running game….until dinner. Those two hours were amazing, but for the hamburger…

Random idea-thought I’d float this on by.

images (23)The Spa really needs to add mouth stretching to its list of optional treatments.

About those burgers. The miracle was there. You get one, simple cheese burger and then float by a buffet add-on deal. Pickles, onion, olives, peppers, chili peppers, mushrooms, need more lettuce? and what about that special sauce anyway? Thing is, by the time I reached the other end of the maybe add this bar I didn’t have a hamburger anymore. It was more like a miniature Mount Everest had settled on my plate, and then it soon landed in my stomach.

I think this guy forgot the onions.....

I think this guy forgot the onions…..

I remember thinking that my stomach had come to resemble a ski-slope. That’s why I went down the three water work slides-somehow it all made sense.

When I add up the cost of all the food I diligently ate in an effort to lose weight, I figure the cruise ship lost about five thousand dollars on me. NO need to worry-I noticed most nights people were only eating one or two entrees at dinner. Certainly, the normal run-of-the-mill guest didn’t touch the five entrees I’d once ordered on a cruise some time back.( I am forever family famous for that as being one who’d mastered a gluttonous expertise.)

The SunShine six! Funny how the police give you a name and it somehow sticks!

The SunShine six! Funny how the police give you a name and it somehow sticks!

It is with a remorseful sense of failure to comply to the strictest of standards when it comes to dietary eating that I must confess I am not lacking a single pound that I’d carried on board that ship at the start of the cruise. NO, the chocolate mousse, cheese Danish, Russian knock-offs and Istanbul wannabe cream puffs, the meringues, melting cups, cheese cakes, so many flange cakes of every flavor, those dang mango mille feuilles and panna cottas all went for naught.

I stared out our cabin window wondering where all that food i"d eaten had gone?!?! Then, I looked down. (Hint:Never look down on a cruise.)

I stared out our cabin window wondering where all that food I’d eaten had gone?!?! Then, I looked down. (Hint: Never look down on a cruise.)

Thing is, nothing worked about my plan, and I blame this all on those two nights I passed up the cream brulee. What was I thinking! I guess there’s always next time. “Try harder!” That’s what dad used to say.

Franquefood.

* Absolutely my wife’s joke.

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

 

 

 


We have a great tradition of doing puppet shows here in the Alachua County Library district’s  downtown Headquarter’s Branch-In one way or another, the whole crew of the youth services department gets involved, even if this is  to man the desks extra hours while the puppeteers practice or perform.*

We’d performed an adaption I wrote of The Wide-Mouth Frog about four years ago. This time, when Gail Carr heard we were doing the show again, she came running up to me with the music we’d used before-she’d saved it all this time!

Gail's eyes dazzle with the same excitement we all feel about the puppet shows.

Gail’s eyes dazzle with the same excitement we all feel about the puppet shows.

We had to start with a publicity sign and hand bills to pass out.

We put the sign up about two weeks before show date

We put the sign up about two weeks before show date, but we’d thought about how to do the show for more than 3 months-selecting parts and thinking about the humorous aspects of the puppet show.

We place the story in a Floridian swamp–and talk up as many environmental issues as possible without being too heavy handed.

I decided to build a set that places the frog under mushrooms this time-that means I have to build those gigantic shrooms.

How to build a 3-D mushroom? That was my question!

How to build a 3-D mushroom? That was my question!

I started with two different shapes, thinking I might stuff something on this back piece and cover it with the right paper….turned out, I didn’t need any stuffing.

Iwanted the mushrooms to have gills,,,and think I may put interior lighting inside the shrooms for a neat look--though not sure I'll get to this.

I wanted the mushrooms to have gills,,,and think I may put interior lighting inside the shrooms for a neat look–though not sure I’ll get to this. I stapled the gills to the back piece, and bent it up and out.

Here’s a shot of this from the other side to help show the structure technique.

Now the back piece and gills of shroom are ready for the outer layer that will be stapled to the inside tabs as shown.

Now the back piece and gills of shroom are ready for the outer layer that will be stapled to the inside tabs as shown.

(above)I’m using x-actos to cut a stiff mylar and then bending the paper so they form the gills I want. My fingers point to the tabs I’ll need in order to staple the covering to the gill part of the interior.

It took some planning to figure how much material I'd need to bend around the mushroom frame.

It took some planning to figure how much material I’d need to bend around the mushroom frame.

I’m using a corrugated,  tan colored roll of paper. I deliberately stepped on this board for one of the shrooms, to give that one a different texture/look. Then came the stapling- I had to staple the tabs once to the top paper as it came around the bend, and then again to get those staples as close as possible to the frame and end up with the look I wanted.

a two step process-first, a loose fight, then a tighter stapling and closer cutting to shape the mushroom

a two step process-first, a loose fit, then a tighter stapling and closer cutting to shape the mushroom

Not too bad so far...

Not too bad so far…

The stems will  be made out of corrugated white paper…the mushrooms will stand about six to seven feet, one on either side of the puppet show. And there will be trees……that may be turned around by hand. One side of each tree will show an arching branch full of leaves and hanging Spanish moss but, when turned, the back side of those branches will come together as a rainbow —you’ll get the idea once they are done.  A great intern, Grace, helps make the rainbow, and stands next to the guts of the trees –

Grace helped us before several years ago....it's great ot have her back! Menawhile, the puppet stage that will be transformed into a swamp is in the background.

Grace helped us before several years ago….it’s great to have her back! Meanwhile, the puppet stage that will be transformed into a swamp is in the background.

I got center pieces of carpet rolls from a local carpet store, hack-sawed them in half, cut out boxes and taped them together for a stable up-right.

The mushrooms wait on my desk for their stems....

The mushrooms wait on my desk for their stems….

Some say I must have been eating mushrooms to come up with this sorta stuff-but I love it! And I can’t wait to see my supervisor, Tina, play the part of the Wide-Mouth Frog….she wears so many hats! Odette, our other puppeteer for the show, has a million voices! Plus, when I showed her a box I hoped to turn into an ambulance, she did a 1000 times better job of that task than I’d ever dreamed possible.

Usually, it is common for puppet shows to feature small, intricate stage props the puppets can use. Thinking big can work, too. We like to bring the show to the people, and often do outtakes during the Puppet show that present full size characters who represent the puppets in person. It’s an interesting twist.

The stage is starting to come together…

Thing is, we still needed to build much more for the set,,,I worked, and many others helped. Here’s a good shot of the trees in production. One side of overhanging limbs will be of wood and leaves, but when they are turned around, those hanging branches will form a rainbow…

the branches start- one picture of each side

the branches start- one picture of each side

Volunteers help us build the trees.....the tree frames stand behind the branches/rainbow.

Volunteers help us build the trees…..the tree frames stand behind the branches/rainbow.

Finally, after about four hours of putting prop  pieces in place, the stage is set. (The puppet stage is in between the shrooms, and the people appeared throughout the show by walking out in front of the ambulance.  That truck we drove out as two medics who wore frog hats–the wide mouth frog had a frog stuck in her throat….

It took a drill, hammer and counter sinks to attach the tree limbs that doubled as a rainbow....

( Click on the picture for a bigger, better view.)It took a drill, hammer and counter sinks to attach the tree limbs that doubled as a rainbow….The tinsel blew like rain in the rain forest once the AC was turned on.

The show was more than great fun!  Here’s to great times in Libraries.

Ribbit, ribbit.

See you!

Franque23

*The other blog about the show-getting ready to perform.https://franque23.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/puppet-show-pazazzz/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

Bobcats catch sharks off the coast of Florida.

This makes perfect sense, but I'd never imagined it happening.

This makes perfect sense, but I’d never imagined it happening.

Deer occasionally eat rabbits and birds…delanoes03-06-07-S1541 http://io9.com/field-cameras-catch-deer-eating-birds-wait-why-do-deer-1689440870 The next time you see a really big deer-run away…..Have to laugh about Monty Python’s attacking rabbit…

Broccoli seeds grow in pods….and the bunch in my garden will/do have one bazillion seeds on it—

I let my broccoli go to flower,,,then came the pods.

I let my broccoli go to flower,,,then came the pods.

The seeds are small.

The seeds are small.

I will never tire of swimming in Alexander Springs.

I wa slucky to have been in the park when it first opened-often only 6 to 7 people came there on any given day. We often saw gators like this one swimming below us as we snorkeled above.

I was lucky to have been in the park when it first opened(1970ish)-only 6 to 7 people came there on any given day. We often saw gators like this one swimming below us as we snorkeled above.

Okay, it was more than a week ago when I mentioned to a son-in-law that I thought it was a bit odd that-generally speaking-most designer’s of women’s  apparel were, well, seemingly gay men.* I mean, they like men, right!?!?  He turned to me and answered, “If heterosexual men were the designers, all women would be naked.”

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

Duh! That answer sorta rang the bell of truth.

Clothing’s appeal is completely situational-a product of the mind…**(this link to a neat blog on the history of sex and fashion.) A black bikini composed of a thong bottom and single strap wide top is acceptable at the beach, water play ground, rivers, lakes or springs, but outlandish on a sidewalk.

case in point.

case in point. A 1970’s shot.

Ho-hum, another day at the beach.....

Ho-hum, another day at the beach…..2015.

Learning can be fun! Franque23 *http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/08/fashion/thursdaystyles/08FASHION.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 **https://franque23.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/a-determined-lot-of-sex/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

My New Year’s foolslution this year was to re-gain my six-pack. So, I went out and started buying them, but they turned into a keg-belly, not a ripped torso. Odd. It seemed the more I tried the worse it got!

My self image was growing.....

My self-image was growing…..

Thing is, I’d wrestled most of my earlier years, beginning in second grade with my first official match in sixth and then on through high school.  I was flexible then, muscular for my age and quite successful at the sport( my entire lifetime record was 62ish wins and 2 losses). I had a six-pack then, and I’d never drank a single one! Go figure.

Being young has it's advantages....

Being young has it’s advantages….(Not me pictured.then or now..)

It’s April, and I’ve officially started to do yoga again daily, kicking in leg lifts and fifty stair push-ups as well. Who’d want to start in January!?!?! Ha! Anyway, it’s a start-moving from round to fit, maybe. I play Lisa Lynn Harp music as I workout every morning-love that music- but I have to say this repetitive tune thing I have going on drives my wife nuts, and now my dog scoots up the stairs to escape the morning barrage of lets feel good music, too.  Let’s face it, Shadow’s in shape at 1 and 1/2, and he’d rather be listening to squirrels chomping up in his jaws than me huffing on a mat.

But it’s all good, and since there’s ten thousand things I’d like to recommend, doing Yoga is one of them.

This is me leading a yoga session up at our Lake House-about four years ago.....sigh.

This is me leading a yoga session up at our Lake House-about four years ago…..sigh.

I started yoga in earnest at age 55 and did it nearly daily for seven years. The routine made me feel ten years younger and much stronger than the 54-year-old me I’d been when I started. Do yourself a favor-start any yoga routine that suits your fancy and stick with it to see what happens.

Random note(and picture):

Idea! It's a miracle I survived......

Idea! It’s a miracle I survived……

Robin and I would be first out in the water at Alexander Springs back in 1970ish.  Not sure, but it seemd Gators were sleeping with their faces pointed toward the spring until we disturbed them-they'd swim on down river....

Robin(my cousin) and I would be first out in the water at Alexander Springs* back in 1970ish. Not sure, but it seemed the Gators we often swam over were sleeping with their faces pointed toward the spring until we disturbed them-they’d swim on down river….I never felt in danger–hahahah…..So there are also disadvantages to being young.

So why did I ever stop doing yoga? Well,  one-off day easily leads to the next, and what once was time to do the routine becomes time to do other stuff. Plus, there’s ice cream, cakes, chips, crackers, spreads, jams, barbecue, not soda fountains, parties and those six-packs.

Not soda bars....

Not soda fountains….

It's really very simple-a person can work out or pass out....and then dream he's working out!!!! Wowowowo/.

It’s really very simple-a person can work out or pass out….and then dream he’s working out!!!! Wowowowo/.

In fact, when you compare the few things yoga does for a person-makes them strong, more fit, happier, thinner-to all the other reasons not to do yoga, well, it’s a no-brainer. Did I mention Football season and beer? And ice-cream cakes….the choice is simple.

I'm thinkin' this guy watched a few too many games.....

I’m thinkin’ this guy watched a few too many games…..

Find some simple stretches you like doing, and remember to hold your positions for 30 seconds. Don’t worry about how far down your hands go, or knees bend, just do what you can. Bend don’t break, that’s the rule. Quickly, the body regains its elasticity and a person becomes more flexible.

I spent Saturday at Alexander Springs snorkeling at my favorite Florida spring.

Ah--Alexander Springs....I'd like my cousins, etc. to one day see this place.

Ah–Alexander Springs….I’d like my cousins, and readers to one day see this place.

But I completely missed this! Jeez/Geeez...

But I completely missed this! Jeez/Ge’ez…

It was crowded, being Easter Weekend, but I couldn’t help notice one well chiseled young man who walked into the water up to his waist. He stopped, turned to face the beach head and started cupping water in both hands and pouring the water over his head and, yes, letting the water drip down across his six-pack. “What an a-hole,” I thought. It was as if he was anointing his body with water for all to see.”Show off,” I scoffed.

Now, if I can only get to look like that guy! Many think I’ve already 1/2 of his routine down with only one body to go.

They say every successful endeavor starts with a workable plan...I be alone and must think-

They say every successful endeavor starts with a workable plan…I must be alone; I have to think-

Cheers and Beers, and yoga, too. Good luck. And really , I might not have started this whole thing again if my sister hadn’t noted during her recent visit that I looked like a half-dead, soggy donut of a snail. So go out and challenge someone(should be someone you know)-do them the favor. And no, I am not a snail. My sister’s so off:-)

Franque23-

* I wrote about this spring before—-please enjoy!https://franque23.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/heart-pine/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

Shadow is watching "TV"...there's something on!

Shadow is watching “TV”…there’s something on!(click on the pic for larger view.)

Shadow will run out our door as many times as there are squirrels on our feeder. That’s one of his jobs, to chase those darn squirrels* away. Usually, those rascals are up a distant pine tree j-u-s-t before Shadow gets to them. Thing is, the one time he actually caught up with a squirrel, and had him dead to right running full speed, all he did was smell the squirrel’s butt as they ran together…what’s up with that?

Today’s TV channel isn’t playing squirrels. Finches have come to town!

To my surprise, the finches had landed!

To my surprise, the finches have landed!

I love these little guys, the gold finch, and a few years ago I had as many as sixty at one time around our feeders! Then last year, I had none-only the house finch, or scarlet finch as some call them, seem to stay year round. It turns out, finches have disrupted migratory patterns, and often don’t return to exactly the same place they’d been the year before. It stays shockingly fun when they do arrive in bunches-yellow darting dots of color zing, zoom, here and there with a chatter clatter that can be heard a block away…

What's up with all these birds? We had a long talk.

What’s up with all these birds? Shadow and I had a long talk.

This is my dog’s best look of consternation-the straight out ears, tight lips, raised eye brows and slightly tilted head. We watched the flickering, flying, bright yellow birds for an hour. It was quite a show.

We went outside ot investigate, and loved seeing the flock zoom to nearby trees...

We went outside to investigate, and loved seeing the flock zoom to nearby trees…(looks like my pine apples made it through the winter-1/2 year old plant in foreground right.)

It seemed to take about ten minutes for the gold finches to return after we’d cleared the yard. I read that often 25 to 100 finches will visit a feeder during one day, so we may being seeing different birds from time to time and just not know it.

I'd picked up this yellow rose form Lowe's , the same day the gold finch arrived.

I’d picked up this yellow rose from Lowe’s the same day the gold finch arrived.(Oh look-it’s another pine apple.)

I wonder if the color of the roses attracted the gold finch to our nearby feeder–same colors flock together? I think birds must pay strict attention to the color of things in their environment.

You can see our neighborhood trees think it's spring-the new, leaves, all in their soft green, fresh looking color

You can see the neighborhood trees think it’s spring-the new leaves, all in their soft green, fresh looking color-

It’s a peaceful, beautiful day in Gainesville, Florida.

In this hustling, bustling word, it's great to find time to relax.

In this hustling, bustling world, it’s great to find time to relax.

Even Shadow had to smile about these wonderful birds, their tweeting filling our ears with tingling sounds of joy.

Shadow's happy face!

Shadow’s happy face!

Cheers to you!

Franque23 *don’t miss the great children’s book- Those Darn Squirrels….(http://www.amazon.com/Those-Darn-Squirrels-Adam-Rubin/dp/0547576811)

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

Dear God, be thy man or woman-I’m so over that-please hear my cry over the broccoli picking-it’s gotten completely out of hand, or in my hand depending upon how you look at it.

I need help---

I need help—

I need your help to keep me from picking, picking, picking last years crop of Broccoli so that they may flower, and be done with completely. And thank you for the African coffee, too.

this is the start of the problem

this is the start of the problem

But the Broccoli plants look so healthy, it’s hard to allow them to pass. But this is not to say I’d like our neighbors to pick this crop-those people you could shoot before they shoot themselves IF that is what’s to happen, or IF they intend on picking my last broccoli-that’s your call.

I don't want to keep picking

I don’t want to keep picking

Surely, you know these plants need to flower as this is within the design of the earthly paradise. Thing is, now hear me out, please, I’m not complaining, but merely stating that I’ve a buddy who loves broccoli, who watches me closely so that he knows when I approach the broccoli, and he wants me to pick it…and allow him to eat all that I pick.

but someone keeps leaning on me

but someone keeps leaning on me-and he has big teeth!

Or , sitting on me…….

There's so much to be thankful for....

There’s so much to be thankful for….

Of course, I’m thankful for,well. everything, even the neighbors (on a good day.)

The front yard looks ready for spring

The front yard looks ready for spring

The birds, trees, bushes, flowers, everything is so wonderful-even those broccoli flowers.

(Random post…..)

Daley

Daley, my wife, flowering back in 1982

A few Chinese Honey's still hang from far above

A few Chinese Honey’s still hang from far above.

Some blessing get away, especially these Chinese honeys that basically are ridiculously high in the air–What? Am I supposed to be a Giraffe? Just asking…..

The Valencia still has fifty or more getting sweeter by the day

The Valencia still has fifty or more getting sweeter by the day

Thank you for the Valencia’s that are not ten thousand feet above ground.

And, for the back yard pool area where there’s always time for us to rest…..and take in the wonder of it all.

Out red Camellia still blooms

Our red Camellia still blooms

I’ve decided to sit in this chair until the broccoli blooms-thank you for that wisdom. Over and out-Amen.

Franque23, may let the broccoli flower.b

And oh, PS….I know I should know what these are since I planted them only a week ago…but my mind does get weary, and if you ask me, they look a bit like Broccoli, though why then would I have planted them in such a clump? Please let someone, like from the Gainesville growing group, tell me what they are…..

I forget?

I forget?

and one last thingy- Thank you for the first bush bean sprout….

peek-a-boo!

peek-a-boo!

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

I raked off the winter cover-not too many weeds to pull-at first....Shadow knows a job is at hand.

I raked off the winter cover-not too many weeds to pull-at first….Shadow knows a job is at hand.

I’ll use the wood stalks seen here above Shadow as climbers for pole beans and tomatoes–they’re from our indigenous jasmine that grows 14 feet high a year during summer, and then dies off in the winter.

These are the only two tools I'll use to plant this garden-my dad's 65 plus year old , American made rake and shovel.

These are the only two tools I’ll use to plant this garden-my dad’s 65 plus year old , American made rake and shovel.(Broccoli in background is from fall planting, and still yielding.

Being thirty-five is sooo different from being 65. I was always in such a hurry back then-“No time to play kids, I’ve got to garden!” Now, Shadow makes a game out of shoveling, raking and, yes, it screws me up, but this is so joyful!

He's gonna get that rake if it's the last thing.....

He’s gonna get that rake if it’s the last thing…..

Whew! First time through the garden--all the top weeds have been pulled

Whew! First time through the garden–all the top weeds have been pulled

I timed the process-It has taken about 1 and 1/2 hours to get to this point…..

The soil's been turned once by shovel, and now the bags of top soil /composed are laid out

The soil’s been turned once by shovel, and now the bags of top soil /compost are laid out

Turning the garden over shovel-by-shovel is laborious… It took about two more hours to get this part done. (3 1/2 hours total to this point)There’s a rhythm to that task though, and it gives me time to think about the beauty of our world as I go. Red Tailed Hawks circle above; Sand Hill cranes fly by: I listen to their calls and the soft sound of my shovel turning the earth over.

You might wonder-why not a tiller? It would do the trick, but also it would be loud, and heavy-not me at all, and I think I’d lose my spiritual connection to the earth that the old-timey method of hand shoveling brings to mind.

AND-there’s this. A tiller would chop up the weeds I’ve missed during the first weeding-those underneath the ground as well.This first shoveling helps me unearth the problematic roots (Florida Betony)….How many roots?  Here’s the collection and their weight after this first shoveling.

25.6 pounds of Florida Betony root pulled i none shoveling---they'd be about 3 times that much if allowed  to grow through spring.

25.6 pounds of Florida Betony root pulled in one shoveling—they’d be about 3 times that much if allowed to grow through spring.

Next, I shovel the rows, quickly flipping earth into raised lines—this took another 30 minutes.(4 hours total now)

The rows are ready

The rows are ready- I once asked my squash and zucchini seeds and they said they like rows as well as they like mounds.

I hitch my shovel under my arm and pretend I'm a plow horse as I drag it over the rows to flatten their tops.

I hitch my shovel under my arm and pretend I’m a plow horse as I drag it over the rows to flatten their tops. I sometimes neigh, if I know the neighbors aren’t listening-that could be bad.

It took ten minutes to flatten the tops of all the rows

It took ten minutes to flatten the tops of all the rows-Whoa boy!

All my victory garden needs now is seed holes, seeds, sun and water….

I use the top of my shovel to make the seed holes.

I use the top of my shovel to make the seed holes.

The holes take about ten minutes to make--but dropping seeds in takes another 30 minutes, at least.

The holes take about ten minutes to make–but dropping seeds in takes another 30 minutes, at least.

There’s more to do,( It’s taken about 5 hours so far) but for now I’ll wait for the plants to sprout, and then use mulch neighbors from all around have conveniently raked and bagged and put along the roadside for my taking!(actually for the garbage pick-up.) The mulch will go between the rows, and I’ll use about 30 bags I manage to find curbside over the next two months.-Stop, load those bags into my car whenever I see them, and drive away….

Thank You for raking....

Thank You for raking….

There’s more garden fun coming—-stay tuned and enjoy your time outside, growing food.

In all, by the time I first got the tools out, did the deed, and then cleaned up and showered off, it was about 7 hours later when I sat down and smiled….

Franque23

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

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