Thursday, December 31, 2009

The sun sets on the first decade of the new century ...

What a year it's been, huh? The plane that landed safely in the river in New York, the death of Michael Jackson, an unsuccessful attempt at terrorism on Christmas Day. These are just a few of the things that made headlines.

On the personal front, my youngest child graduated from college and my granddaughter graduated from high school. Those, my friend, are fine accomplishments for anyone! And, yes, I'm proud of them. Good parenting helped, but they did the work themselves ... my legacy to the world!

Happy New Year to whoever out there reads these posts!

Monday, December 21, 2009

3 days to Christmas

It's cold in sunny, south Florida today and it's not supposed to warm up until tomorrow.
50-something degrees is cold when you consider it's been in the 80s since last April! Brrrr!

I have managed to make two Christmas purchases online, but I've got to find a couple of hours to go shopping for a few gifts for my family people! Life has been far too occupied with the kids' issues. Especially the graduation problem with my daughter. I simply haven't had much time to think about Christmas. I only just added ornaments to the tree last night, and it's been up with the lights on it since Thanksgiving weekend!

My baby girl, who is now 22, walked across the stage at her college on Friday night, December 11 in her graduation ceremony. This followed four years and three months of classes with only her final grades remaining to determine the final outcome --- receiving her Bachelors degree. She flunked an aerobics course during her sophomore year because she couldn't get to class on time. The class started at 9 AM and my child is definitely not a morning person. Aside from that one incident, her entire college career reflects a history of passing grades ... "A"s and "B"s and C"s. But no more "F"s since aerobics.

The Monday following the graduation ceremony (December 14), she was devasted to learn she had received an "F" on her advertising course. She could not get her marketing degree without this course! And, she had already walked across the stage. Her family had traveled 700 miles to watch her. There was a lot at stake here. So, I am not exaggerating when I say she was "devasted." She was sobbing into the phone, and, as any mother would be, I was frustrated because I didn't know what to tell her. I didn't know what to do. First, I had to calm her down. Then, I had to find out what happened.

It's been one week since this happened and it's been an emotional roller coaster ride. When she wasn't crying she was seeking a way to solve this academic crisis. Her friends told her to fight. I asked her if she was willing to fight for it. When she responded, "Yes," then I told her she had to do whatever it took to make this right.

She has talked to the professor and the professor is now claiming my daughter violated the school's code of ethics. Now I am outraged!

My "graduate" has always been brutally honest about everything and I've never known her to cheat, lie or steal for any reason. For her to be accused of an ethical violation isn't in keeping with her character. The "crime" she committed doesn't deserve this punishment. But, how do I, as a parent, pursuade the school to see that the teacher is the one who didn't perform her job well? There are some inconsistencies in the professor's reasoning and I'm determine to find a way to reveal these discriminations ... and, with any luck (and, perhaps, the hand of God) I can help my girl get the justice she deserves. Yes, she made a mistake. She admits that. But, do you give a life sentence to someone for stealing a candy bar from the corner store? NO! You do not! The punishment should fit the crime.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Shoes for the College Graduate!

My darling daughter was home over Thanksgiving and asked if I would buy her new shoes for graduation, which is only eight days away. How could I say no? One pair is for the ceremony. The other pair is for the partying she will do after the ceremony.
I'll let you guess which is which!
They sure are pretty, aren't they?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food & Fun with Friends


Artichoke salad and fresh baked bread were our offerings Saturday night for a friendly game of Bunco at Vera's house. My darling husband and I get great joy playing bunco. It's a simple dice game that even the children can play and with all the moving about, you get to visit with everyone before the night is done! Naturally I ate and drank too much because everything was so good, and it was worth it. I didn't win a prize but I had a great time! DH did, too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thriller Dancing & Roses


I have been attending Jazzercise classes three times a week for the past two years. I began taking the classes because I was diagnosed with osteopenia and needed to add high impact exercise to my regimen in order to build bone density. I had been taking ballet classes for years, but they were no longer enough to keep my bones strong.

As luck would have it, I hit the jackpot with the Jazzercise instructor, Darlene, and the people in the class! Many of them have been her students for five or more years and there's a real sense of community among this group of people. They were most welcoming to me when I was "new" to the group and I have thrived working with them. That said, I have a little story about these roses ...

Every now and then, during the stretching portion of class, Darlene will invite people to go around the room and "share something." Births and deaths, new jobs and promotions, health achievements and diet successes are just a few of the things my classmates have been known to share. So, one Saturday in August, I had something to share ... I told the class that I wanted to learn how to do the Thriller Dance and asked if anyone else was interested in learning it. If so, I offered to find a way to learn and teach the dance and, perhaps, if we mastered it, we could perform it during class on Halloween (which just happened to fall on a Saturday this year).

There were nine people interested in learning the dance, so after doing some online research, I found lessons on YouTube that were perfect for us, and throughout the weeks of September and October, we met every Monday and Thursday evening for half an hour before class and plowed our way through those lessons, learning the dance.

On Saturday, October 31, we came dressed as zombies, with full makeup ... the works. And, right after the aerobics section of class and right before strength building, the door began to creak, people moved off the floor, the beat of the music commenced and ... WE DANCED! All six minutes and 12 seconds of the song, we did the Zombie March, March Booty Swim, Hip 'n Roar and Wuz Up that make up the Thriller Dance!

The class broke into spontaneous applause a couple of times during the dance and then they just roared when we were done! I don't know that we were "great," but we were in sync with each other, we didn't miss a step and we made it all the way through. And, that, my friends, is quite an accomplishment!

I had brought a camcorder to capture those 6:12, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Darlene giving a rose to each dancer. Then I turned around and she was handing me this big bouquet! And, the picture, above ... that's how they looked on Sunday after Halloween ... All Saint's Day ... the beautiful blooms lit up my house and their fragrance reminded me how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who share my joy!

We're going to continue practicing throughout the coming year so we don't forget the moves, and we're hoping others will join us for next year. We have a name, too, thanks to Darlene! We are The Thriller-ettes!

We've had so much fun doing this! I can't wait until we get to do it again!

Friday, September 18, 2009

09.07.09


09.07.09, originally uploaded by Corey Holms.

I shot a photograph out on Krome Avenue of a boot, buried in the ground near an area where target practice had been going on a day or two before I was there with my camera. This photo reminds me of that one. The barren land, just rocks and sand, and the desolate loneliness of the child's hand puppet, like my boot, seem to be cries of isolation from the rest of the world.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

21 Slash Pines vs. LGBT-exclusive hotel

I've been privileged to serve on my local Planning & Zoning Board for three years now, and I get a real sense of contributing to my community by participating in this kind of public service. However, I do have conflicts now and again, trying to do what's right for the people and now is one of those times.

We are reviewing the plans for a redevelopment project on six acres along the Florida East Coast Railway. The project, The G Resort, is an "exclusive" hotel/time share for the gay and lesbian community. Now, I live in Wilton Manors, the No. 6 Destination within the U.S. for the LGBT market and we have no other hotel, so this would be a real boon to the City's tax revenue and to the local business community.


However. There are 21 slash pines estimated to be 60+ years old and they would have to be removed to complete the project according to the plans currently under consideration. A native specimen, slash pines are protected trees in Florida, so the developers will be required to get a permit to remove them and then they'll be required to "mitigate." You see, unlike live oaks and gumbo limbos, slash pines don't relocate well. They actually don't relocate at all. They have very sensitive root systems and don't transfer successfully.

Someone please tell me! How do you "mitigate" for 21 beautiful Florida trees? Why don't they build around them? Don't they know that these slash pines are exclusive to south Florida and are the main component of the pine flatwoods ecosystem found here? This southern variety of the slash pine is also known as the Dade County pine. The unusually dense and relatively sap free wood was commonly used by the early settlers of Dade County to build their log cabins. The 1912 Viele House in Davie was built of this wood and stands strong today, almost a hundred years later.

Would it cost any more to save some of these trees than making that silly "lazy river" that's on the plans? These trees are the epitome of "old Florida" and the developers don't seem to have given a second thought to just killing them! I just don't understand ... (scratches head)

Regardless of what your sexual orientation is, wouldn't you just love to sit on a comfortable chair beneath these tall, shady trees and sip a cool drink and listen to the sounds of finches, mockingbirds, cardinals and orioles? Wouldn't that be a lovely experience to have? Now, that would be worth something ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Marriage ...


Photo: Odd Molly Interior

Trouble in paradise ...

It goes something like this.

Two people are walking along the street, window shopping and enjoying a balmy Saturday afternoon. Suddenly they are confronted with a man beating a woman. The woman is on the ground, the man on top of her, hitting her in the face with his fist. One of the people looks up and down the street to see if it's safe to cross to the other side. The other one runs over and jumps on the man's back, yelling at him to "Stop! Stop!"

What kind of marriage would it be if the two people walking down the street were married to each other?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My story (below, "True Confessions") has been published on More Magazine's web site!
Now, that doesn't happen to me everyday, so I have to comment and post the link! Don't I?

Friday, July 10, 2009

True Confessions

June 26, 2009 – Michael Jackson died yesterday. Samantha called as we were driving southbound on I-95 through South Carolina to tell us. We’re on our way home from a week-long vacation in Virginia (for a family reunion) and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

When we checked into a Motel 6 last night and turned on the TV, sure enough, it was everywhere. CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX. It reminded me of the death of Princess Diana so long ago … what a memorable ending to our summer vacation …

~ o ~

Visiting with Aunt Evelyn in Virginia,
on Sunday, June 21st, she told this story ...

Blanche was the fifth of eight girls and she was always Daddy’s favorite. We all knew she was Daddy’s favorite, too. She was tallest at five feet ten inches. She was prettiest with auburn hair and hazel eyes while the rest of us had plain brown hair and eyes. And, she was always the smartest. You could tell after just a few minutes of conversation with her how intelligent she was. She knew things no one else seemed to know even though she’d never been to college. Although I don’t remember her as a book worm, I remember she loved to read. She read magazines and newspapers and trashy novels (when Mama wasn’t looking) as well as classics like “Jane Eyre.” And, she loved “Gone With The Wind.”

She had great style. It never mattered what she wore, from slacks and flats to a dress and heels; she knew how to accessorize and she did it splendidly and on a very small budget. I remember one time she came to my apartment when I first married and, as we talked, she moved a lamp from one table to another and a pillow from the sofa to a chair and the place looked better somehow. That’s what I mean about her having style. Every place she ever lived was nice, even if it was just an efficiency apartment. And, every outfit she ever wore was well put together, like in a fashion magazine.

I was the number six sister and Blanche was my best friend as well as my favorite sister. She taught me how to dance when I was eleven years old … the waltz, the fox trot and the jitterbug … and even though she was tall, she was the most graceful woman I ever knew.

Our father was a lot older than he let on. Mama was his fifth wife and it wasn’t until his final days that we learned how old he really was. You see, they didn’t keep track of birth dates then as they do now, so he was able to get away with lying about his age. He came from Naples, Italy around 1905-1906 as a young man and we think that was when he changed his age. When he died in 1957, the doctor said he was at least a hundred years old. I traced our family tree in the 1970s and learned that he was really closer to 110. He was about forty years older than Mama.

You might ask how I know Blanche was Daddy’s favorite child. Well, it had to do with his car. When I was 12 and Blanche was 15, Daddy let her drive his car. I remember, because I got to ride in the back seat. He never, ever let anyone else drive his car. Our older sisters still living at home at the time, Marguerite, Lillian and Doris, were never permitted to drive Daddy’s car. But, Blanche was allowed. She was allowed to do a lot of things that the rest of us never were. Which leads me to tell you this …

When Blanche was 16-years-old, Mama sent her away to a catholic convent somewhere in North or South Carolina. She sent her away because Blanche was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy and I never knew what happened to him.

I was almost 13 at the time this was happening and I didn’t really understand what was going on. But, I knew that Mama was making a mistake sending Blanche away. And, for the first time in my life I talked back to my mother and told her what she was doing was wrong. I got my face slapped more than once for “talking back.” Of course, she didn’t listen to me. I was young and na├»ve and I adored by older sister. Yet, I knew what Mama was doing was wrong, wrong, wrong! And, I knew it would change my sister forever. And, it did.

When Blanche came back, she was almost eighteen and she was changed. She wasn’t the free spirited sister who taught me how to jitterbug. She was quieter and seemed more serious about everything. We remained close throughout her life, but she was never the same. And, neither she nor Mama ever spoke about it again.



Mama, on their wedding day, 1949

Blanche met George when he was stationed at Fort Lee. He was a real handsome guy in his thirties and all of us girls had a crush on him. He was quiet and I guess some would say he was introverted. He was very intelligent … even smarter than Blanche. He was the cousin of another handsome soldier that we had known for a while from dancing at the local USO hall, JT. George took a real shine to Blanche. I don’t know if she ever told him about the baby. Like I said; she never spoke of it again, not to me and not to any of my other sisters or Mama.


Daddy, on their wedding day, 1949

After they married, Blanche was eager to start a family. She had you almost two years after their wedding, but she really wanted a son. And, she did finally have a son when you were just two. But he lived just three weeks and he died in his mother’s arms. Then, they adopted Jimmy. I never understood the way your mother treated you and Jimmy. He could do whatever he wanted and she acted as if he were a little prince. You? I can’t tell you how many times I stopped her from beating you when you were a little girl. She seemed to hate you at times. Maybe it was because of your dad, George. He had a lot of problems, for sure, but he always had time for you. I don’t know if you will remember, but he took you with him many times and left Jimmy with your mom. I think he did it to protect you. And, maybe she was jealous of that. He had another son with another woman in Wilmington before he knew your mother, and maybe she felt like she had to compete with that child and his mother. For you, there was no competition. You were the only girl.

The night you were born, Dr. Phipps came into the waiting room to talk to your dad and he told him that your mother was doing fine and he had a baby girl. All George said was, “Well, at least she won’t have to go to war.” It wasn’t too long after your birth that he left the army with an honorable discharge and joined the Hopewell police force. I think he was worried he’d get sent away and didn’t want to leave you. If you look at the photos your mother took of you as a baby with your dad, you can see he adored you. I wouldn’t be surprised if your mother was jealous of that, too.

I don’t know how you grew up to be as sensible and stable as you are. I was amazed that you made it through high school with all that happened with your mom and dad. I’ve wanted to tell you about this for a long time, but I didn’t know if you could handle it. I hope you can handle it now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I've been taking quite a few photographs here lately. Just thought I'd share a few favorites ...


My darling husband and I drove out the Tamiami Trail for the first time ever. Neither of us had ever been there (after 30+ years of living here!) and following our adventures in the Redlands the week before, we decided it was time. The Tamiami Trail, for those who don't know, is a road that cuts east-west across the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula. It cuts right through Big Cypress National Preserve in the heart of the southern Everglades. It's so far out there, as a matter of fact, that there's no cell phone signal. When you get out there, you are definitely way out in no man's land.

I shot over 200 pictures, but this one is my favorite so far. It's a lonely little flower peeking out of the sawgrass plains along the side of the road.




I attended an Everglades Working Group meeting at Long Key Nature Center and as I was leaving the building I noticed this tree. I once worked for a flower shop and we often used tree fern to fill in flower arrangements. This tree, however, made me think differently about "tree fern." Isn't nature interesting?



Here's my guy, Boris A. Flufoshinski, aka "Mr. Fluffy." He is the boss of our neighborhood! All the other cats watch him carefully and stay out of his way because they know he's trouble! Mr. Fluffy is going to be 17-years-old in the fall. He came tumbling out of a cardboard box at Christmas when my daughter was five and he's been the boss of us ever since! This is his favorite nap spot, as he likes to have a pillow to prop his head up! And, he always snoozes on my side of the bed, though I couldn't tell you why this is ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time for a litte fun stuff ...

Here's my first crochet project for my beloved Barbie doll. There is a crochet thread on the Barbie Fan Club Bulletin Board and patterns are shared among members. This turned out so much better than I imagined it would. After all, I hadn't done any crocheting in years!



Then, I found a dress pattern on the BFC board and crocheted it in white. I hadn't planned on it being usable. I figured I'd make all the mistakes so I could make a "real" one. Ha! It turned out quite grand, don't you think? I'm thinking about adding a crocheted flower and maybe a wide belt ... and, then ...


... these beautiful colors are for a color block dress pattern for Barbie that I recently found!

I had forgotten how much fun this could be!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where have you been?

Jeez! But, it's been too long since I was last here. What's going on with that, huh?

Well. They call it life.

My granddaughter lives with me for almost a year now and she occupies a good bit of my time and attention, as does my darling husband. Housekeeping, making certain that there's food in the house, laundry, gardening, auto maintenance ... these seem to be the only things I do lately. And, I hate it! I deplore not having time for art or for taking pictures or for giving my dog a bath or for taking naps or for writing ... Why does life have to be like this? Why can't I just have a little, tiny, teeny bit of time just for me, to do what I want to do? There just doesn't seem to be much time for the "fun stuff" these days ...

I thought it was supposed to get easier as I got older? What happened?

Friday, April 3, 2009




I've never posted my "art" before. Oh, sure, I've posted my photographs. I posted this one last year, right after it was taken. But I've never posted any of my scrapping or journaling stuff. Until now, that is.

I've studied on this photo a fair amount, because the sky doesn't show up in the photo, but it is clearly reflected in the water on the ground. The water was from the fire fighters hoses. I made this shot just hours after the fire was put out. The building was torn down a week later. I still can't get over how quickly it was gone!

The book page is from a book by Ogden Nash called "Hard Lines." It's an old book of poetry I picked up in a book store that specializes in old books. This book cost $6, so I didn't feel to bad tearing a page out. I cut out the letters and added some paper, trying to follow my artist friend, Janet's, theory on "design."

Now, I'll wait and see if anyone comments. I've never claimed to be an artist. But, I've always wished I was one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not quite the owl and the pussycat ...
This lovely mourning dove was perched on the side of the birdbath yesterday afternoon and I just happened to have my camera in my hand. I remarked to my darling husband, "What a pretty dove." It was clearly a young bird and, even though I was standing just four feet away, it didn't fly off as these doves usually do. I shot a dozen pictures and then, this morning, when I pulled them up on the computer, there was my cat, Mr. Fluffy, in the background. He had been lying under my car and I didn't notice him when I was shooting. He's very old, so I don't think he gave this little bird much thought. And, then, I was struck by the irony of the photo. A young bird. An old cat. Not your usual bird picture, huh?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Magnum P.I. & The Pompano Shopper

I came to Fort Lauderdale in October of 1982. We arrived on a Monday, I got a manicure on Tuesday, had a job interview on Wednesday and went to work on Thursday morning. I'd worked for newspapers before, most recently for the Key West Citizen, the "only daily newspaper published in Monroe County." I was good at my job and I knew it, so it was easy to impress the "creative director" with my mastery of the equipment, especially a Compugraphic typesetter they had that, apparently, no one else knew how to use. (And, lest you think me vain, I was not. It was the one thing I knew really well and I knew I knew it really well. It may have been the ONLY thing I knew really well.) So ... I went to work for the Pompano Shopper.

The photograph, above, was taken in December 1982, and I recently found it while rummaging through an old photo album. (I'm the one in the middle holding up two "devil" fingers behind Valerie's head.) Boy! Did it bring back memories! Mostly memories of my relationship with Magnum P.I.

The Pompano Shopper's plant was housed in a warehouse west of a yet undeveloped Sample Road. With 40-foot ceilings to accommodate the web presses, the "Art Department" was located in the northwest corner of the building with a 10-foot drywall around it. The long back wall was a row of artist's desks where each of us composed ad upon ad touting "Sales" and "Lowest Price In Town." There was a regular and rhythmic banter of conversations going on throughout the day among the young women working there. I may have been the oldest at 32, except for our director, Jo Allen, who was in her fifties and her assistant, also 'middle aged.'

The tall wall above my desk served as a display area for my Tom Selleck poster (above). In 1982, "Magnum P.I." was a hot TV show and I considered myself to be a devoted fan, often claiming I would leave my husband for him in a heartbeat!

Every Friday, Jo Allen held a "staff meeting." With so many young women working for her, it was the only way she could maintain control as there were frequently (and, often) "personality clashes." The Friday meetings gave everyone a forum to file complaints and clear the air and, for Jo Allen, keep the peace in the art department. So, at one of these meetings, Jo Allen's assistant, Barbara, who had just returned from a trip to Europe, clutched a large brown envelope and said she had something to share.

So, here we all are, sitting around in a big circle, our attention focused on Barbara as she begins to tell her story of an evening out while she was in London. She and a gentleman friend were having dinner in the White Elephant Restaurant on the Thames River and who should come in and sit down at the table next to her and her friend but Tom Selleck and his agent. MY Tom Selleck!

Knowing how I love him, Barbara said she wanted to approach him, but felt it was just good manners to wait until they had finished their dinner. Which she did. Then, she said, she struck up a conversation with him and introduced herself, telling Tom Selleck, "There's a girl I work with who just absolutely adores you ..." and she said she told him about my poster and my fantacism ...

She went on to talk about how charming he was and very, very nice. And, then she said she asked him if she could get his autograph.

Now, at this point, I am hyperventilating, thinking "Oh! I'm going to get to see his handwriting and touch someone who's touched him!"

Barbara continued, saying she was looking through her bag for something for Tom Selleck to write on when the waiter offered a White Elephant Restaurant menu. She slowly and very deliberately took her time removing the menu from the brown envelope she'd been holding. I remember holding my breath and imagining what it must've been like to sit in an elegant restaurant RIGHT NEXT TO HIM!

She held the creme colored menu up for all of us to see and there, on the front cover, just below a line drawing of an elephant and the type "White Elephant Restaurant" was the signature.
It read:
for Constance
Aloha!
Tom Selleck

I nearly fainted. No one had ever given me such a wonderful gift! I was utterly speechless and that day, Barbara became my best friend!

I left the Pompano Shopper a year later to go work for an ad agency, but to this day, the photograph of us and the menu (which was later stolen; but that's another story) are cherished by me. Wherever you are, Barbara ... Thank You, again!

Friday, March 6, 2009






















One afternoon last week I was stopped in the east bound lane of Broward Boulevard at Andrews Avenue and this gentleman was sitting on the sidewalk looking beleaguered and so alone. NPR was on the car radio discussing the economic crisis and how it was affecting people. Unemployment. Foresclosure. Crime is up. Consumer confidence is down.
So, there I was, in my car at the red light, watching this man and wondering what his story is. And, almost without realizing it, I was reaching for my camera on the seat beside me. I got a half dozen shots off before the light turned green and another week passed before I uploaded my photos to the computer. This shot was the last in that set and I think it speaks volumes for today's economy. God bless this man, whoever he is. (And, I've seen him around since this was taken.) And, God bless America and give us the wisdom and patience to do the right things until things change again ...

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Review


Style reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn!

Florida Fashionista south Florida 3/2/2009

 

5 5

Pros: Terrific Value, Great style, Flattering cut, Captures the trend

Cons: Size runs a little small

Best Uses: Add black or white heels, And a cute bag, To make it your own

I have to send back the size 12 and exchange it for a size 14. Cut very narrow through the abdomen.

Audrey Sheath by Chadwicks

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Veranda in Cooper City
























I had tea yesterday at a wonderful little "tea room" in Cooper City called The Veranda. The tables were laid out with white lace tablecloths, mismatched china and fresh flowers and as the temperature fell outside, it was warm and cozy inside with the most delicious tea I've had in a very long time!





















There is a gift shop in the front part of the store where they offer vintage clothes for children and women, silk flowers and lots of victorian ephemera. When the tea was served, the women who run the show there also brought out little finger sandwiches of cucumber and tuna --- absolutely the best tuna I've every had! --- and the most delicious chocolate brownies on the planet!

I will return!

http://verandateaandgifts.net/

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a day on earth

I don't know who made this picture, but it's titled "a day on earth."
Considering that it's a new year, it struck me that it's the perfect picture of my mood. Last year brought many challenges and while I know I cannot control this life, I'm really glad to look forward to this new year rather than back at the sadness and loss of the old one.
Whoever the artist is, thank you for making this picture.
It's quite beautiful ...