The Wordstress Blog

The Wordstress ponders the birds and the bees.

Starting over May 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 7:38 am

Well…it’s been so long since I’ve put anything meaningful here that I hardly know where to start.  Since one of my best posts was about Gunner, I’ll update you on the dog side of my life…it’s as good a place to start as any.

About six months after I had Gunner put down, I really started feeling the absence of a dog around here.  But I was, frankly, afraid.  Afraid I’d choose another dog who would kill other pets I love, afraid no dog would ever find me loveable, afraid Steve would not want a dog (and what I mean here is that he would REALLY not want a dog and refuse to allow one in the house), afraid I’m an awful dog mom…pretty much any neurosis that could develop did for a while.  But I had a list of qualities I wanted in a dog, and I decided to start looking.

I wanted a smallish dog, male preferably, that could easily live in the house with us…no more yard dogs.  I wanted a dog that would swim with us.  I wanted a pup so I could take it to obedience classes.  That’s not too much to ask, right?  So I started asking for the right dog to turn up in my life.

There is a middle part to this story that I’m going to skip because it’s awful, but here’s how the story ends:  I have a little Yorkshire Terrier.  She’s as cute as she can be and has been through puppy obedience.  She has been in the pool exactly once and is not really a fan.  So while I got only about half of what was on my list, but I can say with certainty that the right dog has turned up in my life. Even Steve is quite taken with her, and I am starting to think a second dog (AFTER Alex’s wedding) might be a great idea.  I mentioned this to Steve and he did not laugh or run screaming from the room. So I’ll leave it to you to guess what I’ll be writing about in October (wow…a new dog will be WAY more fun than the Pumpkin Patch!).

One final thought:  We ate steamed crabs on the back deck last night.  They were splendid.  But while we were eating, Steve pointed out a very large frog in the pool.  Um.  It was not a frog.  It was what we are referring to as “a rodent” without being really specific about what sort of rodent it might have been.  He scooped it out in the pool net and threw it into the back of the yard.  It’s a good thing there were delicious crabs on the table or I might have lost my appetite.  I know I should be totally repelled, but I actually feel sorry for the poor critter.  It just needed a drink and it was not after our crabs.  I will say, though, that I hope it never returns.

Oh!  And since this is me and all, you know there’s got to be some snark, so here goes:  Never mind.  I chickened out.  I’ll be snarky next time.  This particular snark was so awful that it offended even me.




Return of the Wordstress May 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 7:42 pm

I’m back.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’m back.  Stay tuned.


WHERE have you been? January 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 5:01 pm

Well, today I learned that my daughter is even more worthy of respect than I had thought she was.

I bought her Vespa when she moved to Madison, and have been putting off taking the class to get a motorcycle endorsement on my license.  I rode a motorcycle in my early 20s, but when we moved to Jacksonville I just didn’t feel safe on it…too many bridges with grates, and I always felt like I was going to slip off into the river.  So here I am with a practically unridden Vespa and can’t ride it legally…and haven’t ridden it at all because it’s in Orlando.  For Christmas, Steve registered me for the Safe Ride class, and off I went this morning to re-learn riding on two wheels with an engine.

I have never felt more insecure in my life.  EVERYONE else in the room rides.  Not legally, of course, because they don’t have the endorsement, but they ride.  I haven’t been on a motorcycle, even as a passenger, in ten years or more, and it’s been thirty-two years since I drove one.  I was REALLY scared.  But I survived.  And I didn’t kill anyone. And the cones I rode over survived to cone another day.  And I wonder if a Vespa will be satisfying or if I’m going to be in the market for a small bike soon.  One of the most difficult things was figuring out to do with all this damned hair; I had shorter hair when I rode back in the day.

But my point is, Alex took this class with NO riding experience. She gets as anxious as I do but doesn’t have as many years of dealing with that anxiety…I don’t know how she made it through the first hour of class and the first ten minutes on the road course.

Except that, of course, she is my daughter. And she is awesome.  And I hope she keeps her motorcycle endorsement, because even riding at 15 mph on a small road course, it is loads of fun to be on a bike! And someday she and Josh will have the time and money to enjoy a ride through the beautiful Wisconsin countryside, and I hope they will (even if Josh rides on the back of her bike).

In other news, I am working hard, healthy, and very, very happy.  Back to school this summer.  I will try to do a better job of keeping this blog and my Team Research Chickens blog updated, but I’m not going to stress over it. I have learned a lot about stress the past two years — haven’t we all? — and I’m not going to let it run the show.



Oh, never mind. September 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 10:15 pm

I worked long and hard on a piece about Alex’s first marriage.  But you know, it really doesn’t matter.  It was a mistake and we all make them.  I think I need to let it go and stop trying to understand it.  So from here on out, it’s about Alex and Josh.  And that’s delightful!


Thelma and Louise and 25 more on the way… September 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 6:49 pm


Some people will do ANYTHING for a mention in my blog. August 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 10:17 pm

Alex made a phone date with me for this evening.  She SAID it was because she wanted to talk to us about her trip home in November.  But no, that was not at all why she called.  She and Josh were calling to tell us they’re engaged.  No date yet, but an engagement that so many people have been waiting for.

More, so much more, later.  I am exhausted, but since she was so determined to get mentioned here, I thought I should oblige.  🙂


Tuesday night silent writers collective August 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eastlakecounty @ 3:28 pm

(I am publishing this so that my friend Becky will not get sick and die.  I hope it doesn’t end up killing any of the rest of you.  I never realized, until Becky chided me for my infrequent posting, that having a blog is such a HUGE responsibility. This was written August 2, 2011.  It is unedited.)

Back in the saddle again, and participating in the collective is as good a way to get started as any, so for the next hour here I will sit and write.

Working backwards: went to pick up some Buddha Belly bamboo after work so I can paint it.  I’m making wish branches, totem sticks, whatever you want to call them.  Basically it’s bamboo painted with good wishes and then I tie stuff like charms onto it.  They’re pretty and restful to make, and maybe I can sell them.  They go hand in hand with the palm husks I paint.  This satisfies my inner six year old.

Good day at work.  Major project is ready to deploy.  I’ve got a meeting tomorrow about my next major project and of course I’m not ready yet but will be by the time the meeting starts.  I hope.  The tension in the office should ease now that one player has taken another position.  There are some projects coming up that I can’t wait to learn more about, and it looks like I will be allowed to do more than the databases.  My draft article has not yet been reviewed (or has been reviewed and found so sadly lacking that it will never be discussed again).  This weekend I did some observational stuff in the pediatric emergency room.

Sunday evening I listened to a great radio story which started with the Aristophanes story about how humans were originally joined in pairs, then separated by the gods, and that’s why we search for our other halves.  The story then went on to talk about symmetry, and as part of that segment, reflections.  It seems that in nature, molecules are structured pretty evenly between right “handed” and left “handed”, EXCEPT for molecules in living things.  These are uniformly LEFT HANDED.  So in the lab, scientists have been able to create RIGHT HANDED reflections of these naturally occurring molecules, and it turns out that they are very different.  The “reflection” of the compound that gives caraway seeds their flavor tastes like spearmint.  Thalidomide, it turns out, is entirely safe in its natural form; the thalidomide that causes birth defects is the reflection of the actual thalidomide.  No one seems to know who the molecule got reflected.  This kind of stuff is just fascinating.

And speaking of fascinating, when I went to Chicago for my SoCRA class, there was a whole day spent on cell biology.  When the classic drawing of the cell wall (bilayer phospholipids with protein gateways) popped up in the PowerPoint presentation, I nearly cried.  I love that drawing so much!  Since I have not yet been able to complete the GRE prep course, I may just take some more undergraduate science courses.  I loved biology but never got to take Anatomy and Physiology, and with a little courage I think I can tackle chemistry again.  It would be a good foundation, I think, if I stay with medical research (although I am really leaning toward social science research).  Who knows what I’ll be when I grow up.  Maybe I’ll just change directions every five years or so until I die…there are worse things that could happen.

Tomorrow is Steve’s birthday, and to celebrate I am whisking him away on Friday morning and will not bring him home until Sunday.  I have a stupendous weekend planned for him, and I hope he will get as much enjoyment out of it as I’ve had plotting it.  When it’s all over I’ll post a full report.

Last weekend we went to St. Augustine.  Our traveling companions had various and sundry issues which resulted in them leaving early (thank goodness we were in separate cars!), but it was a fun day. Steve bought me a set of beautiful glass pens…the tips have spiralled grooves cut into them so that when you dip them in ink, capillary action draws ink up the grooves, and then you can write.  The pens are very cool to look at and I am hoping to learn to write well with them.  It’s going to take some practice, but it will be fun.  Once I get the hang of it, I can start experimenting with the consistency of my paints and then I should be able to do some fine lettering on my Buddha Bellies.

Tropical Storm Emily…hopeful for lots of rain and not too much wind.  We’ll be out of town if it hits; I don’t mind if the pool floods but I don’t want any damage from branches or flying debris, and we certainly have enough stuff that could become flying debris.  I hope it cuts Haiti some slack, though.  That island has had quite enough drama lately.

OH!  And speaking of drama…the debt ceiling thing…oh, just forget it.  I’m in a reasonably good mood and kvetching about politicians doing politics instead of government will just piss me off.

My feet hurt.  All the time.

So I’m not even 30 minutes into this exercise and already I’m ready to quit.  They say that if you run out of things to say when you’re writing you should write and write and write even if it’s the same sentence over and over until something breaks through. That’s what this hour is about.  So I’m going to keep writing and writing and writing until I think of something to say.  If I can keep my fingers flying eventually I’ll write something worth reading.

Steve and I are thinking about writing a series of articles about the Florida State Parks we have been visiting.  I don’t know for certain, but I think the Daily Commercial might print them, and then we could collect them into a book.  Or perhaps we should just write the book.  It would be a fun project and he has been writing a lot more than I have lately.  The Daily Commercial will print anything he sends them (letters to the editor and one stint as a guest columnist).  I am sort of surprised by this.  A part of me is jealous.  After all, I’M the writer in this family…except I haven’t been writing!  So I’m proud of him.  He is also taking part in the Tuesday collective, and has promised to write for this hour every week.  I think we both tend to assume that people know what we’re talking about, so both of us have a bad habit of not telling an entire story.  Hopefully we will be able to help each other with editing without getting into snarling matches.  He is less protective of his writing than I am; he asks me to edit his stuff and doesn’t get bent out of shape when I rewrite entire paragraphs.  If he did that to me I’d be a mess.

Wow.  I really want this hour to be over.  So here’s a prompt I just found: What would it take for you to pick up and move?

I think it would take a real tragedy to make me leave this home.  The house itself is not perfect and there are many walls I’d like to move or tear down.  The master bathroom is a disaster and I’d completely remodel it if I had bottomless pockets.  The kitchen needs to be rotated 180 degrees and the pantry is so tiny it doesn’t even make sense to have it.  But it’s not the walls and roof of this place that I love.  I love being away from everything.  I love that we can hear cows across the road, that there are horses next door, that the parents of the family that lives behind us holds hands and walks laps around their back yard in the evenings.  I love that we can burn brush in our front yard and that when I’m ready I can have chickens out back again.  I love feeling that I will grow old here (and sometimes I feel like I already have).  I love the way the light changes in the front yard after it rains and I love floating on my back in the pool and watching summer clouds changing shape.  I love the huge spiders that sometimes spin webs on the house, and I love the anoles and geckoes and skinks that live in the yard.  We have friendly toads on the front porch and a frog who rides the hose of the pool vacuum.  I’ll love it even more when there are chickens and a dog (who does not crave raw poultry)  in the yard again, but I’m willing to wait.

If I did leave, I have no idea where I’d go.  Wisconsin was wonderful, but I really can’t see myself doing winter.  There are some nice towns on the west coast of Florida so I guess that would be an option, but probably I would stay in Central Florida.  This general area has been home all my adult life.  I love it.  Even when I’m bitching about the heat and humidity, there’s a chunk of me that’s aware that I’d rather be sweating than shivering, and people, there ARE four seasons in Florida…you just have to look a little harder to see them.  But, please, God.  Don’t make it so I have to pack up and leave.  Just the thought of having to pack and move an entire household again is enough to make me determined to stay put.

In a couple weeks we’re meeting with a funeral home guy to get our funerals planned (that’s really the only way I intend to leave here, okay?).  I want to be cremated, and probably directly cremated, with my ashes put in a baggie until it’s convenient to spread them somewhere nice.  I don’t even care where.  Anne’s Beach in the Keys would be nice, but I won’t be around and probably won’t be aware of where my ashes end up.  Shoot, it’s probably okay with me if my ashes were spread in the snow.  As long as it is nice clean snow and not two day old slush. Oh! Maybe in the woods at Foxhill Park!  Preferably in the spring when the may apples are coming up.  Or in summer when the blackberries are growing on the side of Tasker over by the tennis courts.  That might actually be pretty cool.  Probably I should be preparing some sort of instructions, but part of the instructions will be to do whatever feels right; I’ll be beyond it all.

When my father died, there was no funeral.  I was staying with my sister and at the end of the day he died, a bunch of people just sort of showed up at her house.  We all sat around drinking and talking and it was one of the most interesting nights of my life.  I had just finished reading The daVinci Code and so I was doing lots of deep thinking about the divine feminine, which got all my feminist hackles raised, and I was trying really hard to make God be female.  The day before Dad died, when the doctor told me he was going to die, and I had to go tell Tracy, I literally fell to my knees and said, “Oh, Jesus Christ!”  It wasn’t like a plea for help, it was more like I CAN’T FUCKING BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING, GOD, AND I’M FURIOUS! But Jesus, God, SOMEONE heard me and I was comforted from that moment on.  I don’t mean to say that I was okay with what was happening, and I stayed angry at his doctor the whole time (and I’d still like to smack the crap out of that arrogant bastard), and it was a terrible time and it was sad sad so sad and even my brother was sad…but I was comforted and I knew Dad was going to be okay (metaphysically speaking, of course), how weird is that?  Yeah, so that’s my testimony…there’s more to it though.  Because this guy who Tracy doesn’t even know joined the group of women gathered int he living room.  I don’t even remember what he said, but basically EVERYTHING clicked into place for me…the world needs women AND men.  God IS female but also male…and that’s just as it should be.  THAT is when I knew there is a God, and that God loves us as individuals, and speaks to each of us in a language made just for us.  LOL sounds nuts, right?

Five minutes to go.  I think I can finish this hour!  And then I have some stuff to proof for Steve and then I have office work to do so I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s meeting.  I think I work harder at this job than just about any job I’ve had.  I don’t have as much to show for it, but I’m working my ass off.  It’s all good.

This afternoon I have been sneezing.  A lot.  Prickly nose thing going on that only a good sneeze will relieve.

I am sleeping much better at night.  That’s a good way to end this.