Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav, go away. Hanna don't mess with Savannah

This is what Ginny and I do on those long, stormy days we've been having the last couple of weeks. I mean what else can you really do when its dark, and the rain relentlessly pounds down?
Watching the weather bulletins gets old, really old, really fast and watching the rising water level in the pool is unnerving. So, we get some extra ZZZs. Actually, the pup pictured above is not Ginny but a dog currently available for adoption from Curs, The Catahoula United Rescue Society. Cute hound isn't he? Looks like a big love bug.

So, Gustav is taking aim at New Orleans and the gulf coast three years after Katrina. None of us will forget Katrina, of course, and it looks like New Orleans is doing better to prepare this time. Still, how awful it is. I know I still have post traumatic stress syndrome from our nasty trio in 2004 which were not as deadly as Katrina. My prayers are with the people of the Gulf. We are getting some rain here from Gustav's outer bands I guess. Danny's draining some of the water Faye deposited in the pool out just in case. I'm going to the grocery to stock up on food n stuff too. Hanna is out there and may aim for the same part of Florida that Faye messed up.

Global warming? Natural cycles? I dunno. Awful either way. Anyway, it gets old real fast. And the mosquitoes are getting as big a pterodactyls and as mean as velociraptors. I am a mosquito magnet, too. Scratch, scratch...

Speaking of prehistoric critters, all you Sci Fi fans out there check out BBC America's new Saturday evening series, Primevil. Pretty good show, mates.

W're going up to Mt Dora to supper at some friends new house and tomorrow grilling at Laura's. Happy Labor day. Stay dry.

Ta for now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

At the Circus

Today's picture: the little lady in pink from Alaska way who is about to follow our Hillary's example and take aim at the glass ceiling. This picture is dancing with her handsome hubby on Inauguration night in 2006.

Well, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, it looks like the great American Political Circus ain't over. It's got a few more interesting acts to go before the fat lady sings the national anthem.

The act in Ring One was a humdinger all right. We all gave it a standing ovation. Clapped ourselves silly and shed a tear or two. Yessir, it was great theatre. Even that big movie producer that done ET was there helpin' put on the show. Hell's bells, I even almost believed old Buffalo Bill and his little lady were sincere in their support of the Donkey and pony show star. Don't get no better than the charismatic Saint Obama with his smooth talkin' former rivals now converted to his bestest sidekicks an' disciples. 'Specially, when the whole kit and kaboodle act is slickly produced and perfectly performed. Better than any of them old tent revivals, I'll say. Praise, uh... Jesus.

Well sir, what's a poor old tired rootin' tootin' high fallootin' son of a gun ragtime cowboy Johnny form out Arizona way to do to follow an act like that? You is almost as old as Wyatt Earp. You ain't got the bucks St Obama has. You ain't got them big movie stars and political stars deputized to back you up. Terminator's busy elsewhere. You even been tarred and feathered and the town folk tried to run you out of town after town on a rail 'cause you done time out in the Bush leagues. Just 'cause you got invited to the same party as old GW was at an you went cause you didn't know what he was gonna become when he growed up. Heck, he's comin' to endorse your act and you can't tell him he ain't welcome in the ring. Don't look good for a ragtime cowboy do it?

Well, sir. Here's what you do. Your old, but you ain't dumb. You ask a staight talkin', pistol packin' lil frontier gal from up Alaska way to watch your back. She's young...and the first woman governor of Alaska. Us ta help run her family's commercial fishing business when she wasn't busy at PTA meetings and cutting her teeth on politics. She's got a son in Iraq, and four other kids. Even got a special needs baby. Not to mention a handsome hunk of a professional fisherman hubby who's a union man and a steelworker and a pipe line worker to boot. Got all the every woman credentials of Everyman Joe and she's a dang site prettier.

This is gonna be fun, Cowboy Johnny. I was about to leave the arena, but now I can't wait for the act in Ring two to begin. When does the elephant parade start? Will yer little Annie Oakley shoot out the glass ceiling with her pistols? Will she sing 'Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better' louder and clearer than Everyman Joe's A Biden With Me hymn?

Yessir, the circus ain't done yet. Even if the magician's done his act already and the trapeeze artists have gone on back to Hollywood, there's gonna be lots a shootin' and maybe a bit of trick ridin' too. Elephants are slower than jack asses but everybody likes to see them in the parade. So, bring on the popcorn and the peanuts. Heck, the ticket's worth the price of admission just to see what St Obama can do to discredit a soldier's mama with a special needs baby.

Live long and prosper. Send in the clowns.

Donkey and pony shows and shoveling after elephants at the Great American Circus

I just looked out into my back yard. People have been tossing garbage over my six foot stockade fence again. They do it all the time from speeding cars. Right now, a city crew is digging holes on the other side of the fence to bury underground utility lines. Maybe they've contributed to the trash haul, too. I dunno. Later this morning I will have to brave possible spiders lurking under the jungly trees and pick it up. It doesn't make me feel a whole lot better than I did last night about the ability of our fine citizens to think critically or behave responsibly. Last night, you ask? What happened last night?

Well, last night, I'd finally had enough of the media/Democratic National Committee ultra love fest. I watched and listened to all the key speeches up to Mr. Obama's. I watched all the carefully engineered...may I say brilliantly engineered and produced...programming through out the week. Michelle Obama's was my favorite speech, as it was delivered with panache and sincerity. Even though I knew she'd been carefully prepared by expert handlers, she hit her marks and delivered her lines perfectly( to use some of my old theatrical terminology) and I believed that she believed every word she said. Al Gore's speech was my number two favorite. I couldn't disagree with any word he uttered and I am sorry--profoundly so--that he is not running for President. I would vote for him as quick as a penquin can jump on an ice flow as Global Warming and Alternative Energy are very very high on my list of priorities. As far as the othe speeches went, particularly Bill and Hillary Clintons', they were terrific speeches. Professionally written, great oneliners, professionally delivered.

I omit Joe Biden's easy to see through tear jerker speech and story here. Not saying he's a bad guy. Not at all. But, I cried during Old Yeller too. Course I was a just kid then. And I wouldn't use--or allow anyone else to use--the death of my wife and child-to show the just plain folks that they could identify with me to get me into the White House. And, since he attacked Barak Obama pretty thoroughly in the primaries, his slavish adoring speech kinda rang false. Sorry, didn't buy that one,Biden handlers.

The Clintons, who seriously wanted to be back in The White House, did what they had to do, and they pulled it off, despite their perfectly understandable disappointment. They supported their party by endorsing the party's choice. Personally, I wanted Hillary to get the nomination. Not because she is a woman or particularly likeable. Because, the Clintons are a package. Hillary as President would mean a Co Presidency with Bill. I didn't like Bill's behavior with women. But, my life during the Clinton era was a heck of alot better economically and personal freedom wise than during the eight years of Bushism. All the hype aside, I would feel better with some real solid experience at the helm of my sinking ship. Not necessarily Joe Biden's either.

Getting back to the hype, I wonder if I am the only watcher made uncomfortable with the very carefully crafted and slickly presented production that was the Democratic National Convention?Presenting a man--any mere man--as Messianic as Mr Obama is being presented to an adoring, screaming, tearfilled, HOPEFUL, herd of thousands of sugered up and hyped up followers comes with a danger. What if Barak Obama is just a man with charisma, good intentions, and little real experience? What if, as smart as he is, he can't fix the several dozen real serious problems facing a downward spiraling America? What if he can't walk on water and turn that water into wine? What will his adoring followers do then? Turn on him as Ceasar's boys did or pass the Kool Aide? Frankly, it gives me shivers either way. I wish I had more faith and confidence in my own fellow Americans, but I am sitting here, looking out my window at casually tossed bags of McDonalds wrappers and plastic soda bottles lying admidst my sago palms.

Yes, Mr. Obama gives a brilliant speech. He is a likeable, charming guy. As a Vice President, learning the ropes from a seasoned veteran of the Washington gladatorial games, I'd welcome him to the Circus.

Do I think the Republicans can do any better? I am laughing here. George Bush and his incompetent political appointees and self serving oil and big business cronies have pretty much killed his party's credibility and Republican chances in this election. Damaged our country in ways that shock and dismay. John McCain, however good intentioned, for better or worse is fighting another jungle war that probably can't be won. Bush will hurt him just by appearing at the convention. There are no Republican superstars to counter the media magic of a Hillary or Bill or Ted Kennedy or Al Gore. Heck even Spielberg is producing tear jerker films for the Dems. Only Arnold Swartzenegger could command the pixie dust and he is apparently not real interested in appearing at the convention. I don't think the Republicans can produce a show to equal the slick Hollywoood production of the Democrats. Heck, I probably won't watch much of it. I'm tired of all the backbiting and false smiles and promises that are never kept already by all politicians. Excuse my cynicism please, but I have been around longer than I'd like to remember and I've heard too much before.

Besides, I have to go out and pick up the garbage in my back yard. That's real life folks.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just a smidgen of this and that

Alex had his first day at the beach last week end. In between deluges, I imagine, at least from all the weather reports. I know it rarely stopped raining here inland. It looks like it was fun from the photos! Especially the second. He was really chillin' with that bottle wasn't he?

We have a leak in our dining room ceiling thanks to TS Faye. Amy and Elias's roof is leaking in three places. So much so that they had to put a tarp on the roof. Laura's bedroom was flooded; Oviedo got hit hard. The sun is shining brightly today for the first time in a week. And it is so hot I can almost smell brimstone. But, whos's complaining? Everything needs to dry out.

Here's hoping that any swirly things out in the ocean don't come here no more!

I was kind of sad to see the Olympics end. The Democratic Convention just won't be as compelling somehow. No gold medals there. Or silver either. Not even bronze.

Word of the day: smidgen- noun meaning a small amount. As in "A smidgen of sunshine is far better than a bucket of rain after five frelling days in the house."

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rain rain go away and dont come back either.

Rain. It just won't stop. I forgot to drain water out of the pool earlier in the week and now thanks to Tropical Storm Faye its within an inch or two of overflowing onto the pool deck...which slopes slightly downwards towards the house. This is not good, especially since three to five more inches of rain are currently predicted for our immediate area before slowpoke Faye moves herself on. If she moves on. Its beginning to feel like she's moved in to stay.

We lost power twice today. About three hours all told. Inconvenient, but we've been through worse. At least--unlike our stormy season in 2004--we still had water. The small leak that we assumed was fixed in the dining room has turned into a two foot brown blob-ish stain on the ceiling. Poor Ginny and Abby won't go out to do their 'business'. At least Chili, the leaky one, will. Could be worse. May get worse. Hopefully not.

Amy reported three major dripping ceiling leaks at her house. Laura learns how to give herself insulin shots tomorrow. Not looking forward to that, but the baby's heartbeat is strong, so the shots will be worth it.

A light moment: Because of the constant hard rush of pounding water overflowing the gutter at the side of the house outside one of the bedroom windows the bright motion sensor light won't go out. It's pretty hard to sleep with that blazing into the window like noon day. So, I spent five minutes or so trying to cover the sheer drapes with various light blankets and sheets. Climbing on and off the bed. Draping. Folding. This sheet is too big, this sheet is too small, this blanket too heavy for the rod. Nothing was right no matter how I tried. Nothing was dark enough to block the light either. Danny came in and almost immediately figured out which sheet to use and how to fold the thing correctly cor maximum effect. We got up on the bed, put the sheet on the curtain rod and then I turned to Danny and said, "I never would have figured that out! You are so smart!" Danny nodded, smiled...and promptly backed into the paddle wheel ceiling fan. Thwack! Upside the head. Fortunately, he was not decapitated. Gave us the giggles.

Live long and prosper. Stay dry.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Thoughts and Unwelcome Guests

Well boys and girls, I may not be blogging for a while if "Tropical Storm Faye" becomes a hurricane. In any case, it looks as if she is aiming to come right up our frelling asses. We will almost certainly lose power at the very least. I really dread that. Especially since we only just got the full use of our entire house back last weekend after our flooring adventure and losing power will mean locked up and camped out in the home office again on the air bed with the window a/c chuggin'. Hopefully, the generator is still in working order since we haven't had to use it since Charley-Frances- Jeanne four years ago.

I've got the extra water bottles out ready to be filled, did all the laundry, washed my hair, got cash from the bank, bought lots of canned food and crackers, etc. Got batteries and all of our disaster regalia left from the terrible trio of '04. Naively, I hoped not to go through another hurricane for a couple more decades. Thank you, Global warming! What is is, I guess. Tonight we will secure all the patio furniture. Eat up all the cookies. Then, see what tomorrow brings. The bad weatherthreat brings back all sorts of bad memories from '04 as well as the sadness of Belle's sudden death during Katrina on '05. Maybe we'll luck out and Faye will fizzle or veer away from us. Here's to crossed fingers.

On another subject. Some people close to me and dear to my heart are going through a totally unnecessary and very bad time right now due to the hard to understand malicious actions of a third party. I don't know why this unnamed person is trying to hurt them so deeply with lies and threats. Is it pure malice? Hatred? Selfishness? Fear? Ignorance?A control problem? Weird emotional issues? All of the above? I don't know, but I've been thinking about it a lot over the past several days. It appears that none of us is secure from the collateral damage of negative behavior of others. It is shocking. The truth will out and justice will be done. What goes around comes around. I believe that. I am glad that it is not up to me to be the judge or jury on this one, though. I think I'd be more inclined to go all 'Old testament' rather than Christian. Definitely more Jehovah than Jesus. An eye for an eye. Smite thy enemy with a sword and all that stuff rather than turning the other cheek.

Maybe just a really good bitch slap. Here and there. Repeatedly, with feeling and ferver.

Okay, shit happens sometimes. Never a good time for that, especially when it is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. Speaking of SH...we literally know that first hand from Saturday night when Chili went out to pee at 5:30 am and stepped in it and walked all over the house and jumped on our bed. Danny had to put her in the bathtub and I removed our brown bedspread right away!! Had to do a lot of cleaning on Sunday too!!! Aaaarrrrrgh. At least we got it done in time for a damn hurricane to blow up. Double Aaaarrrrrgh. Ah well, on the upside the Olympics have been wonderful. I am so heartened by the class and committment and positive patriotism exhibited by our young athletes as well as many of the young people from around the world.

A light moment: We were driving down the road yesterday afternoon in Danny's Ford Ranger truck at about 35 mph when he turned to me and said, "Your door is ajar. Open it and close it again." I replied with widened eyes, "I can't. I'll be sucked out!" He looked at me for a moment and mused, "Huuummm...I wonder what would happen if you rolled down the window?" I just looked at him for a beat and he said, "Uuuhhh, we're in a car not an airplane!" That's when I realized I'd had a major blonde moment. I confess, I was not joking. I lost about seventy five IQ points somewhere last weekend. Pre hurricane stress? Concern for those dear to my heart who are suffering? Lack of sleep? I dunno. Gave me a much needed laugh though. Danny too.

Well, time to check on the weather. Here, a poem I wrote back when.


Until Charley came to town,

we saw no need to worry.

He didn’t stay here very long,

just blew through, in a hurry.

Before he went, he huffed and puffed.

Our oak trees all fell down.

Some roofs blew off, and screens got ripped

debris was all around.

Without a/c or water,

the days seemed awfully warm

and hordes of new mosquitoes

began to bite and swarm.

In rooms aglow with candlelight

we determined, we’d survive.

Without cable and the Internet

cope, ‘till power trucks arrived.

For six long days we suffered.

Then, all was fine again.

We thought we’d seen the last one

when Frances sauntered in.

She came, she saw, she conquered.

We thought she’d never leave!

She finally went, but Ivan formed

which we’d never, have believed.

And then, a strange thing happened.

We got used to hurricanes.

We laughed and shrugged our shoulders

the week-end Jeannie came.

We turned on generators,

whose humming filled the air

and plywood boarded windows

were nailed up everywhere.

We chugged our bottled water.

We gamely carried on.

There wasn’t much that gal could do

to cause us further harm.

Though, the season’s finally over

and we never will forget

the four that aimed at Florida,

we’re undefeated yet!

Nancy Wayman Deutsch

November 2004

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Behold....a lethal floor. I kid you not. The floor guys came out on Monday and sanded and stained the floor. I got a migraine headache from the smell of the stain. But yesterday was worse. One, two, three coats of Swedish polyurethane smelled like nail polish remover a zillion times magnified. The floor guys were supposed to wear respirator masks but they didn't. When they left about two-thirty yesterday afternoon, they were wobbly and blinking funny and having trouble speaking coherent sentences. I'm surprised they made it out of my driveway without passing out and crashing their truck. I had shut off the central a/c to keep fumes from permeating the whole house and they were working in the room with all those lethal chemicals with the windows closed most of the day...which they said was necessary.

The dogs and I had spent the time locked up in my home office on the other end of the house with the a/c vents closed and a window air unit pumping. Couldn't even venture into the kitchen without a towel over my face. Two and a half hours after the guys left as per their instructions, I opened the doors between the living room and foyer to open the living room windows and turn on fans. The overwhelming smell hit instantly. My throat and eyes burned behind my towel. Tears streamed from my eyes. I gagged and gasped and ran through the dining room back into the kitchen and shut the door. Otherwise, I would certainly have passed out. And that was with the front door open for ventilation.

I opened all the windows in the house and went back into my home office with the dogs.

When Danny came home we sealed the other closed door between the living room and kitchen with plastic drop cloth, went to Lowes for more plastic and a respirator mask. Turned on central air, opened living room windows, installed fans, etc.

Today, the floor is dry and the smell is disapating. I can go into the room without a mask. But, that stuff is obviously very dangerous. I will never refinish a wood floor again. Not when I have to live in the house being done anyway. We can put the furniture back this week end. No more projects this summer.

Which is good, since we have three house parties coming up in the fall season. The first...and most important... is a celebration party for an upcoming family wedding. This should be in October and we are really excited and looking forward to it. So, I hope the dang floor 'cures' fast.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Moments

Here are Chili and Ginny in our very empty living room. In between watching the events at the Olympics on TV, Danny and I had our own Olympic moments lifting and moving all the monumentally heavy furniture out of the room and putting it all in the dining room in preparation for sanding and re-staining and refinishing the floor. It looks pretty good in the pictures, but in person you can see all the wear and damage which will be redone by next week end.

How' bout those American swimmers and basketball players anyway? They have done us proud. If you watched the opening ceremonies I'm sure you will agree that it was incredibly spectacular. Danny, a former gymnast, is all but glued to the TV. I now understand golf and football widows a little better.

I am not a big George Bush fan, but his being there with his family and being excited about supporting American athletes is sort of a warm fuzzy. I saw the interview with Bob Costas and agree with everything the President said regarding China. China is a country with one fifth of the population of the world and is the big upcoming economic power of the 21st century. We need to keep good relations with China. Her culture is an ancient one and the Maoist communist regime was a brief blip in China time. China can whup the pants off Al Quaida and the arrogant Arab lords of oil as well as the Islamic extremists. Doesn't matter how many Chinese the Muslims kill, they will just keep coming. I just hope they continue to keep dogs off the menu.

By the way, did you know that in some Arabic countries, you are not even allowed to walk your dog on a public street. Dog can be confiscated and you arrested. In Arabia, women aren't allowed to drive cars...or participate as an athlete in the Olympic games. Say what you will regarding human rights...and China does have some problems least in China, women aren't slaves.
Nuff said.

Back on the home front we are very excited. We have an upcoming fall wedding in the NanNan clan to look forward to. A new son in law. Another upcoming grandchild in the spring. Life is good. Even if I have a new crop of aches and pains.

We enjoyed the week end...even with moving the furniture. We saw The Mummy movie and went to the dog park. Ate Chinese food and roamed the aisles at Borders. Signed up for dog agility classes and a new writing workshop for September. TTFN


Friday, August 8, 2008

katz n kids

Some new pix. Amy and Alex came to visit this morning. Alex will be seven months old (already) on Sunday. He can sit up on his own and is cutting teeth. Still has his mommy's beautiful blue eyes and golden well as the same sort of plump arms and legs Amy sported as a bambina.

The katz photos are Laura's Russian Blue (Gus Gus) and Bengal (Shyla). Obviously, the kitties get along well together. Laura captioned the second photo as "love stinks". No comment here.

This week end I will be moving everything out of my living room in preparation for the big floor refinishing project on Monday morning. I also hope to take in the silly new Mummy movie with Danny as a reward for our sore to be muscles.

Happy happy news tidbit of the summer: come March there will be yet another addition to the Nan Nan Dan Dan clan. More details will follow in future blogs. Zero to three in a little over a year is a pretty good average, right?! I better get seriously crackin' on that children's book....

TGIF. Have a good one.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A visit to the Scotts

Hey Bloggers,

It is August. It's super hot with humidity producing instant sweat that runs off the skin like sticky honey. I can't believe school is starting down here in Florida next week. How barbaric to start school in the middle of summer. When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, school never began until after Labor Day in September!!

Last evening after work we got the chance to spend some quality time with Stephen, Casey, and baby Gavin Riley who is now five week old. Isn't little Gavin cute? He's plumping up a bit and is already reaching up to bat his toys around. Hits em too. Baseball in his future? As you can see from the photos, all is well at the Scott's and 'Dan Dan' really enjoyed the opportunity to hold the little one. I finally got a picture of Stephen with the top of his head included, although he was about to swallow some pizza at the moment of the shot. Dunno what the hand gesture was, but it practically begs a caption which you won't get. Casey celebrated her 21st birthday on July 20th. If anyone was to ask, I'll bet she'd say that Gavin was her best gift.

Still no word from the publisher regarding my poetry manuscript other than confirmation that they got it. This one is going much slower than Flights of Nancy. I don't know why. I guess I will just have to work on the dragon book while I wait.

All for now. Its lunch time and a chicken burrito awaits.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Post week end update post

Here are some recent pictures of our tired pups. We went to the dog park on Sunday in our typical early August 95 degree heat where the Mutley Crew really enjoyed running through the shady forest trails and swimming in Lake Baldwin. Aside from 'dog parking', Danny and I indulged our week end hunger pangs at Bahama Breeze, PF Changs and Chipotle. I can really recommend, in order, that you order Chicken Margarita, Chicken With Black Bean Sauce, and the Carnitas burrito when visiting those eating establishments.

Saturday evening we went to Sea World. It was our first evening visit. We first went to Wild Artic where we rode the simulation helicopter ride and viewed the polar bear, walrus, beluga whales, etc at the 'research station' after the ride. The bear was right up against the big glass window eating fish that were dropping from a hole in the ceiling. Lucky bear, when fish fall from the 'sky' into his open mouth. The bear was so beautiful and so gigantic and somehow very cute. We must do something about global warming to help these wonderful animals survive in the wild!!

We also watched the ever changing Pets Ahoy show and went to the Penguin Encounter where most of the little guys were snoozing. Went over to the seal pond where scrazzillions of pups were snuggled next to their mamas on the rocks. Cruised the shops and came home. It was a nice evening except for the hour long traffic gridlock on International Drive, the main Orlando tourist corridor. As Danny pointed out however, there were about half as many folks as usual on a Saturday night walking along the sidewalks. Most of those who were appeared to be from overseas. (Thinner and dressed better than us sloppy Americans). Guess with the economy the dismal way it is, most of us Americans are staying home. Only the Europeans can afford to travel.

I haven't heard from the publisher since I submitted my book manuscript. It is eight working days today since I sent it in. I am anxious for feedback.

We have tadpoles in the pond. Wonderful!