Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

The almost constant rain of the last few days through my front screen door


It has been pouring here and after my weekly food shopping, I am a bit water-logged and tired of the wet, wind and grayness. It is one thing to sit home and enjoy the sounds of rain slushing through one's life but quite another to get soaked...

Even the cats, who love to sit and look out when the front door is opened, have retreated in reaction to the thunder, lightening and power outages...

Their menagerie of insects, birds and reptiles have all taken shelter, so there is nothing to keep two felines entertained except of course their favourite human who really only wants some tea and a bit of a nap at this point...

So far today, I've cleaned out the refrigerator, done the laundry, dealt with two bags of rubbish, had a small clear out of the bedroom closet and got the groceries in...

I did not buy more than three bags and still managed an eighty dollar total...

I'm beginning to wonder if the increase in cab fare would be worth a trip across town to Aldi...

I've tried every tactic but that one to cut my grocery bill...

What would you do?



Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Really Isn't My Leg...But It Is A Re-Post...


This tale from my younger days is true and was part of an e-mail sent to another blogger. I figured you might like a laugh. What was your life like back in the 1990's?

Image From Wikipedia. It is in the public domain worldwide and has been cropped. It is used here for illustrative purposes only.

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In the mid-nineties, I found myself part of a wave of thirty-somethings seeking work. On the day of an Employment Fair at my university, I arrived, CV in hand, dressed in a beautiful red skirt and matching jacket. Having taken pains to find exactly the right creamy silk blouse for the ensemble, I looked the picture of confidence.

Concluding an interview, I shook hands with the hiring manager to whom I had been speaking, leaving the room excited to be starting a job in the next two weeks.

The exits, likewise brimming with flurries of skirts and suits, all rushing to various destinations, some no doubt unforeseen, only added to my growing anticipation.

It was not until I reached the row of cars containing mine that an odd sensation gradually replaced the heady feelings I'd carried from the interview.

A small, almost imperceptible snap led to a slow downward migration until the crotch of my sheer tights rested between my knees, impeding further efforts to get to my car. 

In a split-second decision, I crouched between two Jeeps. However, removing the offending tights, and trying to jettison my favourite flats without burning my feet on hot asphalt, wasn't as easy to accomplish as I'd imagined.

No sooner was I free of shoes and busily yanking off the last shred of hosiery when I heard in booming bass: "What do you think you're doing there, Miss?"

The snapped elastic band of tights in hand, my eyes migrated to the burliest male specimen of a police officer I'd ever encountered. Tall, and exceedingly muscular, he had no discernible neck, and his light blue eyes reflected an air of impenetrable reserve and calm.

Cramming my left foot into its shoe, I decided that a quick departure was in order and pasted a smile on my face to hide rising panic.

"I had a small problem but it's over now," I said. Before he could respond, I added, "Would you be a dear and dispose of these? They've seen better days and I hate to leave a mess. Thanks ever so much."

With that, I hurled the defective hosiery in his direction, and took off toward my car, glancing backward only once to see whether he was in pursuit.

The increasing peels of laughter that met my ears only faded as the driver's door opened and I started the engine...

Until Next Time...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Not Looking Forward To This...

Whole Structure Fumigation...

I don't know what sprang to mind as you read those words, but if it had anything to do with a large tent enclosing four flats in a two-storey walk-up while chemicals designed to kill termites and other pests infiltrate every surface and pore, you'd be right.

Of course, this includes some preparation and an extensive clean up upon return to the premises, something not adequately covered in the letter I received last evening, courtesy of the community association and property management. I know this after having called the pest control company today. Every bit of clothing, linen, bed sheet, towel, dish and pot and pan, plate and glass and mug will need to be re-washed before use. Not good news for She Who Has Grandmother's China.

Having made arrangements for the felines and myself, discussed the situation with my cleaner and enlisted the help of a friend with the preparations, I've only transport and the making of spare key to worry about. I'm glad I've the money for a hotel and pet boarding.  Others here do not and I am sure with only two weeks notice, the unanticipated expense involved in such preparation will be a strain.

Why we were not given the courtesy of thirty days notice, I have no idea. However, this is the best incentive for me to clear out my bedroom closet that anyone could ever have devised.

Enjoy the weekend.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What? Again?...

There I was, staring at a full calendar of things I had cancelled when the dreaded four-week cold knocked me off my wheels...

I happily re-scheduled lunch with three friends, made it to a much-needed hair appointment, got the flat sorted and cleaned up, resumed physical therapy with renewed vigor, and was generally enjoying a return to relative normalcy. Sunday morning found me visiting the porcelana, face first. I do not drink, nor was I hung over or suffering from too much Saturday. I don't live that kind of life.

After calming my gastrointestinal region with a handful of "good bacteria," courtesy of my pharmacist, I made a half-hearted attempt to get the week's groceries before heading to bed. When I awoke the following day, the runny nose, congestion and dreaded cough were back and are still, though it appears, not as forcefully.

At this point, I should explain that these episodes of sickness have become commonplace for me over the last year or so, chiefly, I believe, because of the overuse of prescribed antibiotics. Many months ago, I began suffering from a condition all too common for some women--chronic urinary tract infections. This led to a medical professional suggesting that I stay on an antibiotic at a low dose permanently to avoid the problem.

Unfortunately, over time, I began to notice increasing heartburn, sour stomach, bloating and a host of other unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, along with greater frequency of nausea and vomiting. In the last seven months, I've had one emergency department visit for dehydration due to vomiting and been on no less than four different and progressively potent antibiotics because others haven't worked. My last three urine samples have been free of infection and the GP, who was not the one who started this mess, has finally taken notice. When I was last in her office with the dregs of the four week cold, she said that I might also have a sinus infection but that no antibiotics would be prescribed because I had had too many, a decision with which I agreed.

Some months before this, I had spoken with a friend who told me of his own travails in trying to shed chronic sinus infections and the subsequent overuse of antibiotics that led him to five different doctors looking for a cure for yeast rash that had begun to appear on his skin. Topical creams were used but never permanently rid him of the problem. It was not until my friend began doing his own research and using clinically developed products designed to staunch candida overgrowth internally that his health returned.

I too have researched this issue and have begun using the same product. Additionally, I am now taking probiotics in large amounts daily to re-stock my depleted gut of what is commonly referred to as good bacteria. This helps combat candida overgrowth and helps restore the seventy percent of immune function in the gut that helps maintain health. The process is slower than I would prefer, and I wish my doctor or the other individual who began all of this had been the ones to suggest it or monitor its progress, but this is not something covered in their medical education, nor do Big Pharma stand to make a buck.

Tells me a lot about the state of American medicine and it ain't pretty.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Miscellany...

The weather forecast was true to form last week. Not a glimmer of sun to be seen, though it has been quite humid and uncomfortable outside. Apart from researching a new drug plan and doing the requisite household chores, I did venture out with a new friend to a small restaurant in another neighbourhood on Wednesday.

Found amid a clutch of retail shops and town homes, this little Greek cafe provided a filling and economical lunch. I had grilled falafel on a small salad with a side of hummus and pita. My friend had the falafel sandwich.

 It would have been nice to roll around the shops for a bit afterward but the rain stymied that idea. Sadly, I do not live in a "walkable" locality, and there is not enough green space for my liking generally, so when I come upon an area that is walkable or rollable, in my case, I seize the opportunity. Another time and with photos.

Thursday was horrid as Tropical Storm Andrea made her presence known. Lightening, thunder and rain gutters overflowing. Everywhere. I was on my way to a medical appointment when a radio broadcast on the bus told people to get off and stay off the roads unless driving was an emergency. Apparently, no-one here heeds such advice because crashes and rescue vehicles were widely in evidence.

When I reached my destination and was waiting for the physiotherapist, the lights in her office kept flickering on and off, just as they had done at home. I wondered why anyone would stay open in such conditions but she is so booked, I don't think she felt she had much choice.

I got soaked on my way into the bus for the return home and found my teeth chattering as I reached the door of my flat. Once inside, I turned on the heat, something unheard of in our humid summer months. That gave me time for a cup of tea and a hot shower. The cats and I soon fell asleep listening to the steady pelting upon our rooftop.

While Andrea has since dissipated, rain, particularly in the late afternoon, is never a stranger during Florida summers. I think that the blacktop one sees everywhere here contributes to the blistering heat people love to complain about, too. Apparently, this state has been a developer's paradise, and the price the average person pays is to deal with the many and varied consequences of over development...Ask anyone who has had a sink hole...

But I digress. The weekend was much calmer, though still wet. Friday night services were lovely, and I eventually found myself in a space of complete rest and quiet. You know, finding that still, small voice inside is a rare event for me, and one that I look forward to, like a present given simply "because." I don't regard myself as mystical or extremely religious, but that sense of connection is profound and is something each of us seeks in our own way.

Until Next Time...

Monday, June 3, 2013

What I Wished For...


Unlike this photo, the current weather here has been dismally gray, with rain off and on throughout the day. More of the same is forecast throughout the week. That means that my photo opportunities will be somewhat limited and has me wishing for a beach to roll on in Orange County or LA...

What about you?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Life With Cat...And Other Tales

Saturday Laundry Helper
My lovely bi-colour male, Jacob, always has to be in the midst of everything I am doing. In this case, it is removing dry laundry, which he then burrowed in, until it got cold and I was allowed to hang, fold and put away.

Earlier in the week, I resumed physiotherapy and was also invited to dinner at the home of a new friend from my temple. There were four of us, and the conversation was lively. It was a once-monthly dinner and movie which is rotated amongst the participants. I had previously met two of the women, who thought I might make a good fourth. We all got on and I was happily informed at the end of the night that I had been vetted and the others all agreed that I was now part of the group. Though I have several women friends of diverse backgrounds and varying ages, it has been a long time since I was part of a group like this. I think I'm really going to enjoy these women.

The movie we saw, Devil's Advocate, was a 1997 film that I had not seen and is based on a book of the same title by Andrew Neiderman. The cast features Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. I'll say no more other than both deliver wonderful performances and the twists are not predictable. Those of you who may have read Milton's Paradise Lost will catch the themes of this film readily.

Enjoy the weekend.