Tuesday, February 24, 2015

the color blue

I love the color blue, like the blue skies we see often here in Florida.
I often take pictures of the blue skies and the puffy white clouds.
I have blue eyes and I love blue jeans. 
I don't feel blue very often, but I love blues music.
My favorite Joni Mitchell song is titled, "BLUE."
The summer skies are a different shade of blue than in winter.
At the beach, there are a multitude of blues, the sky and the water ...
Then there's the blues of the Florida Keys, a one-of-a-kind place for sure.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thanks for the memories ...

Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, "It's My Party," and followed it up with the hits "Judy's Turn to Cry," and the feminist anthem "You Don't Own Me," died this week. She was 68.

This loss is personal. She was 16 years old. I was 13 and I knew every word to "It's My Party." One of her later hit songs, "You Don't Own Me," became my anthem! I remember telling my parents 'you don't own me!' when they wouldn't let me do what I wanted. To make matters worse, I couldn't tolerate boyfriends telling me what I could wear and who I could be friends with, so I would use the lyrics to declare my independence. It might be why my boyfriends came and went so quickly back then!

"American Bandstand" was a TV show that came on at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in the early 1960s and my girlfriend, Betty Ann, and I were faithful fans. As high school freshmen, we were desperately seeking who and how we were going to be. We watched Bandstand for hairstyles, makeup, clothes, and shoes as much as we watched to listen to the latest tunes and learn the dances. For that half hour each day, we would dance around the living room in our sock feet, and share beauty tips and gossip. It's what teenage girls did back then. That was our social media, I guess!

Lesley Gore was a guest, singing her hit song, "You Don't Own Me," and I remember so well how envious Betty Ann and I were of her hair. We desperately wanted our hair to "flip" like that, but me being a blonde and Betty Ann being a red head, we were burdened with fine, straight hair that would only flip for a half hour, regardless of how long we wore those damned curlers or how much hair spray we used!

Eventually I figured out which hairstyle worked best for my hair, but, oh, what a lot of work that hairstyle was! Using big plastic rollers with the pink plastic pics to hold them in place made sleeping a real challenge. To find a comfortable position where a pic didn't poke was a nightly ritual. And, I did this every night, Sunday through Thursday. After all, I had to keep up appearances! That's what high school freshmen did in my day! It wasn't just about being smart (although that was very important) ... it was about what you wore and how you wore it!

One other reason why I am taking her death so personally has to do with mortality. Hers and mine. 

With only a few years difference between us, it has given me pause to consider how close I am to the end of my life. Yes, I have longevity in my family ... my maternal grandfather lived to be 110 ... so, there's probably a longevity gene floating around in there somewhere. But, still ... none of us knows how much time we have left. None of us know this, not even those diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Yet, when a friend dies ... or someone we've known all our lives as I've "known" Lesley Gore ... well, it makes me think.

I won't dwell on it. It's not my style to linger on things I have no control over. I live very much in the here and now, but, occasionally I do ponder the future. I've learned so much in this life, yet, I still don't have answers when I need them, so, I know there's still a way to go to obtaining real wisdom.

Goodbye, Lesley. We loved you. Thanks for the memories.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Saving the art gallery ...

Some days you just go along and everything is fine. Then, one day, someone sends you a note and says, "Hey, you might want to check this out." Lemme tell you. It's a good thing I did.

I went to the City Commission meeting on Tuesday night. I had written my little 3 minute speech. I had a beef, but, I'm working very hard at being diplomatic. It's quite challenging for a big mouth like me, but, I'm getting the hang of it.

I think.

The speech pretty much says it all. It took two minutes and 59 seconds to deliver it to the mayor and four commissioners ...

Tonight you will review a Staff Update on Lanier Parking. Under “unfinished business,” item d.2. on the report, is to “Remodel the Woman’s Club building” to accommodate the parking office. The estimated cost to do this “remodel” is $60,000.

I urge you to consider striking this item from the list. Here are a few reasons why, in no particular order. 

No. 1: I am certain this was NOT what the Woman’s Club had in mind when they deeded the property over to the City in 2011. It has served as a cultural center for nearly 50 years and it is on a path of resurgence to continue to serve as a cultural center, which is evident in the cultural activities that have been held there since July 2012.

No. 2: To remove the kitchen would SEVERLY limit the ability of the Woman’s Club building to serve as a rental facility. Generating revenue is essential to longevity of the building’s use as a cultural space. One of our Big Hairy Audacious Goals is to create a “small,” unique, art-filled space for rentals, including business seminars, art workshops, bridal & baby showers, family reunions and more. Not everyone needs a huge hall that will accommodate 200 people. However, the absence of a kitchen would essentially put the building out of business as a rental.

No. 3: I have been the biggest advocate there is for preservation of the Woman’s Club building since I first identified it as an underused public building, for everything from keeping the jalousie windows to preserving the bead board on the walls. I suspect the Historical Society will support me when I say that to violate the integrity of the building to create an office is a crime against historic preservation. The Woman’s Club was built by none other than Al Hagen, himself, and his wife was the club’s first president. There is historical significance in the building and it would be heartbreaking to see that destroyed to accommodate people paying their parking tickets.

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. 

Of the five options offered for consideration in the report, I was surprised that moving Lanier Parking’s office into the City Hall building wasn’t on that list. City Hall is close to the parking lot, provides ample parking during daytime business hours, the comings and goings of staff and visitors to a parking office would not be disruptive to other activities like they would be for, say, an art gallery, and the fiscal impact could be negligible. The City wouldn’t have to build anything or remodel anything. I don't know everything, but, it seems like a real no brainer to me.  As a taxpayer, it’s my money you’re spending, and I’m all for economically sound choices. Please. Choose wisely. Thank you.

if you build it, they will come
When the 'Public Speaking' part of the meeting closed, I went outside to speak with a friend before heading home. "Unfinished Business" was at the end of the agenda and it was late. We weren't outside two minutes and a man came out and said, "You better get in there. They're talking about your kitchen." My friend and I raced back in and took our seats as one commissioner commented that he was "very opposed to this idea."

One down. Four to go.

The next commissioner said he agreed with the first commissioner. Then, the mayor suggested other ways they might address the issue, which was to reduce parking costs and find a suitable place for the parking office. He was in agreement that the Woman's Club wasn't a suitable place.

Then, our newest commissioner ... well, let me just say I never heard him say he was opposed to using the Woman's Club. He did say he thought it was "important" for the parking office to be close to the parking for the Arts & Entertainment District (with so many bars and restaurants and not yet enough ART). As soon as the city posts the video from the meeting, I want to listen, again, to what he said. I believe this man has an agenda that isn't necessarily in the interest of the tax paying residents.

The last commissioner, the only woman on the panel, agreed that the Woman's Club should be taken off that list. When she spoke, I let out a huge sigh of relief. Four of the five heard my plea.

Now, I don't know if what I said had any influence on their decision. Usually politicians already have their minds made up about agenda items before the meeting even starts. Perhaps they had each decided beforehand that this wasn't a good idea. Regardless, I'm so happy they agreed with me.

And, tonight, Friday, the 13th of February, is the opening of a new show at the gallery with a delightful artist who is also a long time friend. She says she's bringing cupcakes and twinkies.

Hey! I'm ready!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

it's a wonderful life

I could be handy, mending a fuse
when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me,
will you still feed me
when I'm sixty-four?

Second verse of the song by the Beatles

I had a fantastic birthday weekend. I took Friday and Monday off from work and did some things. On Friday, I mostly puttered around the house. I like puttering and I am a good putterer.

Saturday, I started my birthday morning at Jazzercise with a Personal Touch class with Darlene. It's a personal trainer kind of environment, but instead of one-on-one, it is a small class with the focus on technique and strength building. We do a lot of core work. It seems a strong core is really super important. We did a lot of planks. A lot. Planks are hard. I am much better at puttering.

Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with a wonderful doll friend and his partner. We sat in his "workshop" surrounded by dolls dressed in his 1950s inspired fashions and drank wine and talked about dolls and love and life. It was deeee-lightful!

He made for me a miniature of the first Barbie Dream House. You can see Poppy Parker holding it in the photo there ... and there was a sweet, pink cupcake and a sweet card to make me feel sweet. It worked!

Saturday evening my darling husband took me out for dinner at an exquisite Thai restaurant I had never been to before. I asked him if he'd brought his girlfriend there. LOL! He's so funny! He goes along with my teasing because he knows I'm so terrible at it!

Sunday was a very laid back kind of day. DH did the grocery shopping, I did the laundry and we napped. My girls came over for a vegetarian dinner and mango key lime pie and they brought me flowers and made me feel special. My brother gave me a lovely gift of a stainless steel anchor with gold trim on a black cord. I put it on immediately and love it! He said I'm his anchor and a few other people's as well. I wonder if that's a good thing ...

Monday I helped a gifted artist install her one-woman show in our little neighborhood art gallery. She's interesting as a person and fascinating as an artist. She's created wonderful collage filled bird cages that are delightful and thought provoking. She uses such odd materials to create her art ... everything from vintage books and papers to store receipts, fabrics, photos and rusty metal. You just never know what you'll find in one of Janet's collages!

Now, it's hump day, the temps are falling and it's chilly by south Florida standards and we're going into a 3-day holiday weekend. You never know what might happen! So far, it's been fun being 64!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Let the wild rumpus begin!

When I get older
Losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings?
Bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older, too,
And, if you say the word,
I could stay with you ....

First verse of the song by the Beatles 

Some people make resolutions for the New Year. I'm not one of those people. I make resolutions on my birthday, which is a very good day to have a birthday, by the way. It's just far enough past Christmas that I never got cheated on gifts. And, it's far enough before Lent and Easter, so I never got cheated on gifts. (I still feel bad for those folks whose birthdays fall between December 24 and January 2.)

This year the theme is "When I'm sixty-four."
So, here is a list of the things I will accomplish while I'm sixty-four:

1. Print a book filled with 64 photographs by me. I will title it, "When I'm sixty-four." I hope it will be mostly portraits of people I know, but a few cat and dog photos will probably sneak in there.

2. Whittle my voluminous doll collection down. I have too many, my collecting habits have changed, and it's time to sell and give away at least 64 of them, sending them off to adventures with others.

3. Write 64 blog entries. Sounds easy, doesn't it? There are 365 days in the year, which breaks down to one blog entry every 5.7 days. That's more often than once a week, you know. Sometimes I have weeks go by when I can't think of anything to write about, so this one will be a real challenge. I need a good challenge though, so let's have at it, shall we?

Three things is enough, I think.
Besides, I still have three more days until my birthday!

Let the wild rumpus begin!