“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Moonrise Long Key Florida by JJ

Moonrise on Long Key State Park, Florida by Janson Jones

“Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.” ~ Alice Walker 

Okay, so I’m back. Finally.

Brett’s last day of 11th grade was Friday. Eamonn’s graduation is tomorrow afternoon at 3. I am looking forward to Eamonn graduating, but I am not looking forward to the actual physical aspect of the ceremony. Huge crowd, people all together in the convocation center, hunting for parking. I can feel my claustrophobia setting in already. But it’s all for a good cause.

Brown Noddy Garden Key by JJ
Brown Noddy, Garden Key, Florida by Janson Jones

I told Eamonn that we wanted to take pictures of him in his cap and gown before we leave. Of course, he is not looking forward to that.  Trying to get Eamonn to stand still for five minutes to take a picture is almost impossible. He bitches the entire time. We did pick up his senior portraits, though, and he is quite handsome, if I do say so.

My niece graduates on Tuesday, and my old friend Chris’s son Gordon, who is the same age as Eamonn, graduates on Wednesday. May I just pause here to say how fricking old this makes me feel.

So in an effort to make myself feel a bit better, I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I’m trying to keep myself from taking scissors to my hair again. One of these days, I’ll be able to visit Cathy so that she can fix the haircut I gave myself. Until then, I hide the flaws with the waves. It’s much harder to see an uneven cut when the hair is wavy and dark.

“Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.” ~ Corita Kent 

All of the pictures in this blog are from Janson Jones’s Floridana Alaskiana blog. He spent several weeks back in Florida a few weeks ago, and he has been posting some wonderful pictures.

Crocodile Lake Nat Wildlife Refuge Key Largo by JJ
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Key Largo by Janson Jones

I thought that I would share some selections with you in tonight’s post. The images are from several areas of Florida, and include birds, toads, frogs, moonrise, sunset, and several other wonderful subjects. To see what Janson has posted so far, click on the link.

I love this picture to the left. Everything is so verdant and lush, and there is an air of mystery about the whole location—as if in walking down this path, you are walking back in time, into the wilderness.

Speaking of which, I had a horrible dream last night in which I took my camera and started beating it against a metal porch rail. It was horrible. Actually, the whole dream was horrible, full of betrayals, lies, violence and broken glass. Anyone want to interpret that one?

As always, I told Corey about my dream once I woke up, but it was one of those weird ones where you can wake up and then fall back to sleep, and the dream continues. I always think that when that happens the dream is more meaningful somehow. But how exactly? I have no idea. But I always end up feeling disconcerted for the whole day when I have a dream like that.

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.” ~ Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Star Trek: The Next Generation 

In helping Brett to get his work completed for the end of the year, I reread Macbeth and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. One of my graduate classes was a special seminar on Conrad. I don’t remember the exact reason why I needed three credits that I couldn’t get from the regular schedule, but I got approval to do an independent study.

Broad Headed Skink Blackwater Creek Florida
Broad Headed Skink, Blackwater creek, Florida by Janson Jones

The advisor they gave me was J. J. McNalley. He was a character, spoke in quotes all of the time. I liked the man tremendously, but would have preferred someone else for my advisor. J. J. thought that it would be splendid if I did research on Joseph Conrad. I would have preferred Virgina Woolf.

But I digress . . .

“Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.” ~ George Sand

After I reread Heart of Darkness I started to think about Apocalypse Now. So I rewatched the movie. Although, the movie itself is still hard to watch. It is so full of violence and disillusionment. Just like the real Viet Nam war.

My favorite part is still the air cav guy played by Robert Duvall. I think that the Lt. Colonel Kilgore is probably my favorite Duvall role. He plays it to perfection.

Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz is written to mirror Conrad’s Kurtz, but instead of ivory, the movie’s Kurtz is collecting people, souls. The movie plays Kurtz as having a mesmerizing voice, just like the Kurtz in the book. Brandon’s voice is perfect. The epic line, “The horror. The horror,” resonates.

“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner Bahia Honda Key by JJ
Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner, Honda Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Other than that, Brett and I have watched Harry Potter 5 and 4 in anticipation of the release of The Half-Blood Prince. Yes, I like Harry Potter, and yes, I’ve read all of the books, at least three times. I’m actually quite sad that there won’t be any more additions to the series. The characters in the books grew up with each new book in the series, and I really admire the way Rowling made each successive book darker, keeping in mind that her audience was getting older, and the story necessitated moving from 11-year-old concerns to encounters with truly foul individuals, like Dolores Umbridge.

Yes, the basic story is about good versus evil, but characters like Umbridge are perfect antagonists for students: the teacher with the treacly sweet voice and the imperviousness to common decency. The one who addresses a room full of teenagers as “boys and girls.” Blech! Just thinking about this character makes my skin crawl.

That being said, I’m looking forward to the next installment of the movie version, even though we all know that it has an incredibly sad ending.

Other movies that I’m looking forward to are Inglorious Basterds, with Brad Pitt, and Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp. No. It’s not for the eye candy. Quentin Tarantino directed Basterds (yes, with an e), and Michael Mann directed Public Enemies. I love both directors and am hoping for a couple of good action movies that don’t involve large robots.

I know. It seems that I like both ends of the spectrum, but really, I’m pretty much at the action end unless it involves Tolkien, Star Trek, or something to do with literature. And no, I haven’t had a chance to see the new Star Trek. I’m still debating over that one. It’s hard to let go of the originals, even though I hear that the update is pretty solid.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Mediterranean Gecko Mt Dora Florida JJ
Mediterranean Gecko, Mt Dora, Florida by Janson Jones

And just let me finish by saying that I don’t have anything to wear to my son’s graduation. Oh, I have a closet full of clothes, but I feel like a sausage in everything that I own, which reminds me of a post that I read on Zirgar’s Fresh New Brain Squeezin’s. Zirgar delved into that sensitive area of being overweight.

Perhaps delve isn’t the correct word choice. It was more like broached the subject with a sledgehammer. It did remind me of the fact that I live in an area that is replete with woman in stretch pants, and shall we just say that stretch pants are not the most flattering attire for their body shapes?

Why do people do that? Seriously, why, or even how does a very large woman push herself into purple stretch capris with a cropped top? Now before you get riled, this is not an indictment on people who are overweight. I have no room to speak on this particular issue as I am carrying around more poundage than I like. What I’m talking about are people who choose to wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing, too skanky, too young, and too fugly for words.

I know that ordinary people do not have extraordinary loads of cash to spend on clothes when they are just trying to get by. But I shop in Target. I know that you can look on the 50 percent off rack and find a nice shirt for $7, a nice skirt for $8, a t-shirt that actually fits for $4. If you are going to buy clothes anyway, could you at least buy clothes that fit, or that are flattering, or cover up most of the private parts of your body?

Am I being too harsh? I don’t mean to be. I suppose I just don’t understand certain mindsets. Of course, if you are perfectly comfortable with your body, that’s great. If you are overweight, no one is saying that you have to hide in the house. I have worked with a few overweight people who dress to the nines and have wardrobes that made me salivate.

For me, the issue is not the weight or the body shape. The issue is fugly, ill-fitting clothes. Unless you are Rush Limbaugh . . .

Then the issue is not bouncing on your toes and making your egg-shaped body look like a Weeble (as in “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”).

Great Egret Lower Matecumbe Key Fl by JJ
Great Egret, Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Aren’t you glad that I used this beautiful picture instead of a picture of Rush?

And with that, I shall close. More later. Peace.

Totally Random Thoughts . . . Just Because I Can

cupids-bow-lips

Love This Color and Would Wear It On My Cupid’s Bow Lips

Luscious Lips, Cowboy Chips, and Delicious Sips

On With the Celebration . . . If We Must

polar-bear-shakes
A Rear View of My Jack Russell Shakes

My mother dropped by to wish me happy birthday this afternoon, and I was still in my pajamas. Obviously she had something cheery and complimentary to say. My reply: “Because I can.”

My dog Tillie is a spoiled brat, but that doesn’t matter because for the 18th year in a row, the Black Labrador Retriever took the top spot as the most popular purebred dog in America according to the American Kennel Club. Pshaw. I could have told them that. However, Jack Russell Terriers didn’t show up anywhere on the list of the top 20. Hmmm. Maybe it’s because when JRT’s get chubby, they turn into Polar Bears. Hmm . . .

Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is a certifiable doofus. The man just doesn’t know when to shut up. Todcowboyay’s press conference included some allusion to cowboys and stolen horses and John McCain and Ted Kennedy. If I read him correctly, six cowboys will attest to the fact that the governor was back at the ranch when the horse was stolen? I think he’s smoking too much oregano again.

So my mother calls me for the fifth(?) time today to give me breaking news. There is a group of doctors called Advanced Pain something and they are looking for people who suffer from migraines . . . I interrupt her to tell her that they are called Advanced Pain Management, and I’ve been seeing them for five years, which, if she ever listened to me, she would know.

My oldest son says this to me this afternoon (swear to god): “Mom, we got you a card or something, but Alexis has it, and she’s not here yet, so I’m going to play basketball. Okay?” Sure, honey. Why not . . . it’s the thought that counts after all.

It’s All In The Genes

So I make no bones about lying about my age. I figure that it’s no one’s business exactly how old I am. It’s up to everyone else to do the math and keep up. Luckily, I inherited those great Filipino genes from my father, which means that grey hair is minimal and can be taken care of every three months or so since it’s only at my temples. I have pretty good skin except for this crevasse next to my left eyebrow. Now, no one else can see it, or so they say. But it’s there. I know that it’s there, and last night I declared that if my Olay Regenerist serum did not do its job and make it go away, I was going to get Botox to make said crevasse go away whether they could see it or not because I know that it’s there. I heard lots of “oh my gods” and heavy sighs, but hey, I’m too young for a wrinkle, and I can be deloooosional just as long as I want to.

goldcuffbracelet2I need a new piece of jewelry. Not want. Need. Look, life seriously sucks right now. The only bright spot is on a national level. I cannot live vicariously through Michelle Obama. I mean, she’s surrounded by Secret Service 24/7. I have no desire to be surrounded by Secret Service. That is definitely not fun. I don’t have a publicist to work with, so I’m not going to be published anytime soon, which means that I’m not going to have the money to fix all of the money-related problems. So what would you have me do? Jewelry. It’s the only answer. Binging on chocolate will give me a migraine and make me gain weight. Drinking too much is bad for me. Sloth? What’s new about that?Obviously I need a trinket of some sort. A ring, a bracelet, nothing too big. I mean, I’m not greedy.

Speaking of chocolate, my triglycerides are, shall we say, in the stratosphere as compared to where they should be. So I accidentally land on this website that has this whole weight loss program based on Acai and body cleansing. So, I’m game. I start reading, especially since it’s FREE! What is this miraculous Acai? Well, from what I can tell, I’m mispronouncing it in my head, and it’s “nature’s perfect food.” If I start on this program, I’ll increase my energy and stamina, lower my LDL cholesterol, strengthen my immune system, fight cancer, and—now this is the big one—lose weight. Hooray!!!

Of course I don’t believe it. And of course, you also have to pair the Acai program with a “total colon cleanse” (how delightful). So I’ll be ordering mine tomorrow once I can put my birthday money on my debit card. What? I’m tired of being plump, especially in my tummy. I love Pooh, but that doesn’t mean that I want to look like him. Besides, it will help my cholesterol levels, which will help my triglyceride levels, which if you had any idea how high they were, you would be aghast, simply aghast I tell you.

Moving right along.

My Lipstick/Gloss Addiction Worsens

I feel the need to assert my position on something: I see nothing wrong with wearing lip gloss in the house. I believe that I have probably mentioned my addiction to lipstick in this blog more than once. I need to have something on my lips at all times; otherwise, I feel naked. In the past year, I have downgraded to lip glosses. However, since I don’t go out of the house very much, I don’t wear makeup as much as I used to, which has its good points and its bad points. But I miss my lip gloss. So when I put in my last order to Avon for deodorant, I just happened to notice that their lip glosses were on sale at a very reasonable price, so I ordered three in light, medium and dark shades.lip-glosses

When Alexis came by yesterday, she noticed the new lip glosses on my dresser and asked why I had ordered them. When I explained my reasoning, she had the audacity to laugh at me, as if wearing lip gloss in the house was an absurd idea. We both turned to Corey, who was smart enough not to weigh in with anything more than a shrug. The truth of the matter is that I actually miss wearing my makeup, not everyday, but most of the time. I like to wear makeup. It makes me feel complete.

I mean, I’ve been working professionally since I was 18. I was working at the newspaper. I left college every day, or depending upon my schedule, I went to work before school. I had to be dressed for work, and I had to look professional. So wearing makeup and having my hair done has been a part of my daily routine for . . . well for quite a while. When I leave the house now, I wear makeup, lipstick, earrings. But some days when I’m not going anywhere, I still feel like moving beyond my normal slothful state. I’m beginning to feel as if Kevin Spacey is going to come after me for committing most of the seven deadly sins all by myself, which wouldn’t be too bad if I were married to Brad Pitt.

My Bad Habits and Those of Complete Idiots

red-wineWhich leads me to red wine. No, there is no connection. It just led me to red wine. Most people with migraines cannot drink red wine because of the tannins (that’s only one theory). I actually appreciate certain red wines. For example, one of my favorites is an Australian Shiraz, which I discovered right before Corey and I were married. Now, if I drank one glass of red wine each evening, it would help me in two ways, it would help to lower my cholesterol and be good for my heart, and it would probably take care of my insomnia. I’m thinking of buying a bottle of Shiraz just to see what it does for my head. I haven’t tried to drink red wine in almost nine or ten years. Corey likes it. It’s one of those damned if I do situations, so I might as well.

And I would just like to say here that if I see one more commercial for “Girls Gone Wild,” which is the type of commercial you see in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep . . . where was I . . . oh yes, “Girls Gone Wild,” I may have to bang my head against the wall. All right, all of you XY people out there, calm yourselves. Yes, I am quite aware that no one is making these girls participate. That is not my issue. My issue is that these girls are so incredibly stupid as to lift their shirt for anyone, to get blotto on camera and stick their tongues down their best friend’s throats with the least little bit of coaxing . . .

In other words, any iota of common sense that they may have had before they went on spring break was tossed out the window when someone brought out the cameras, and NOW, their fathers, thinking that they are going to see some hot young things, are going to have the surprise of their lives when they see their own daughters and the little girls they’ve known since they were three on the camera showing everyone their thongs. Booyah. You go girlies!

Okay. I think that I’ve covered enough things for now. I think that my birthday is over in all of the time zones, and it’s safe for me to raise my curmudgeonly head again and say thank you to all who sent wishes my way and pog ma hon (thank you Gary Banim) for making me feel older than I feel, which, truth be told, isn’t really possible since I’ve always felt older and looked younger and hated my birthday.

There will be more later. Peace.

Dreams, Angelina Jolie, and Jello

And Now for Something Totally Different

Politically-free Day

For my friends who are tired of me writing about nothing but politics, I thought that I would take a break since I seem to be alienating my Texan readers (you know who you are) . . .

I woke myself up this morning while doing my nails in my sleep. Now while that may seem odd to some of you, there are those of you who will find this completely normal for me. I was having this wonderfully wild dream in which I had stopped by my favorite nail salon to paint my nails myself (I know, this makes no sense), and I was painting them a truly fugly shade of beige, something I would never do. Believe me when I say that I am a RED woman: garnet red, blood red, ruby red, “Woman in Love” red (one of my favorite shades), and then the darker shades of red once the weather cools. I do not do beiges or neutrals. Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn that began at our house months before the NYSE plummeted, I have been unable to keep up my nail fix for months, so I have finally begun to dream about having long nails again. I suppose the fugly color that I was painting them was to bring myself back to reality. However, the funny part was that I woke up with my right hand in the air and my left hand moving a pretend polish brush over my nails. Ah, que sera, sera . . . whatever.

Angelina Jolie Makes it Hard for the Rest of Us

I was reading an article online about La Jolie that was accompanied by pictures taken by none other than her love (who was my love first; he just did not know it). The pictures were black and whites of A. aprés the twins, and of course, she looks absolutely lovely. In the article she talks about how Brad wanted to capture her changing body after giving birth and how he accepts all of the changes in her and how wonderful that is. I only mention this because the pictures were not retouched, and several were close-ups, and of course, it is terribly hard to see these changes of which she speaks.

I have always found Jolie to be one of the most sensuous women on the planet earth. There is just something about her that I find terribly compelling, and it’s not the lips; it’s in her eyes. Her eyes are ageless. They have seen things. I have always been partial to men and women with dark hair and eyes for the most part. Jennifer Aniston is pretty, but she does not seem to have depth. Brad was always pretty, but he did not seem nearly as interesting until he found Jolie. Now that he is older and has crinkles around his eyes, he seems to have much more gravitas.

But I digress . . . The thing about Angelina Jolie, for me at least, is that she is so much more than a face or a body, and so it shows in her face. No makeup, head covered by a scarf, t-shirt, or completely decked out for the red carpet. It doesn’t matter. Her eyes reflect a very old soul.

From the Exquisite to the Mundane

I’m trying to break myself of my ice cream habit, so I’m eating more jello. I had forgotten how much I like jello, and how few calories are in one of those little snack cups. Of course, if you eat two snack cups at a time, it kind of defeats the purpose of the calories, but hey, I’m trying here. The problem is Corey. It’s really his fault. You see, when he fixes me a bowl of ice cream, he won’t make just a small portion. He makes these great big portions and pours on lots of caramel or chocolate topping, so I’m blaming all of the calories on him. Does apportioning the calories also transfer the calories?

My Space Versus Face Book

Dilemma: Friends who are opening Face Book accounts when I already have a My Space account? I’ve had a My Space account for about two years now. I finally have it set up just the way I want it. I have my music players set up; all of the fonts are finally the correct size. I finally got around to putting my pictures in different folders and labeling them, and I even created a slideshow.

Now Jammi and Mari have set up Face Book accounts. Traitors!!The only way I can look at their FB accounts is if I open an account too, and because I’m so anal, I won’t be able to just set up a half-assed account. I’ll have to go in and set up a real page with everything, and if I set up a real page with everything, then I’ll have another page that I have to check everyday, and if I have another page that I have to check everyday, then I’ll never get any writing done. Oh it sucks to be me *&@(!

It Really Is Fall in Naw-Fick

Wouldn’t you know it that if I wrote (several weeks ago) that we never have a real fall around here, we would  actually have more than two weeks of wonderfully temperate weather? I’ll have to remember this and write the same thing before spring. We’ve actually had weeks of weather that’s been in the 70’s with light winds and sunshine. I know that I’m taking a big chance in actually writing about this, probably jinxing myself. I’ll probably regret even acknowledging that this is happening, but it’s been so wonderful that I wanted to thank the weather gods for such manna.

The air conditioner has been off for weeks. The nights are in the 50’s. The dogs are pleasantly sunning themselves in the backyard (except for the horizontally tall one who refuses to leave my side for more than a few moments at a time; as I type, he is quietly snoring by my feet). I see more and more mums in bloom all around the neighborhood (along with lots of McCain/Palin yard signs; alas, it is a predominantly Republican neighborhood). High school football games keep getting postponed because of gang threats. My next-door neighbor is putting a new room on her house, which gives her a new excuse to spy on our backyard (she’s my arch nemesis).

All in all, it’s a beautiful fall in the neighborhood. I wish that I were in the mountains taking pictures of all of the turning leaves. Oh well, maybe next year, after Obama has been in office for his first nine months. Oops, sorry. This was supposed to be a politically-free one, wasn’t it? Just can’t help myself.

More later . . .