Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh Help Me

I imagine it seems that the moment AOL announced that journals were closing, i stopped with journal entries.. That's  just a coincidence.  Truth be known, I"ve been incredibly busy.  Now, I'm at the Renaissance Resort at Golf Village, St. Augustine, Florida for the Florida Association of City Clerks' Career Development Institute. 

The resort is gorgeous, sumptuous, opulent.  I'm an internet junkie, and t hey want $12.95 a day - noon to noon - for internet access.  not that I'm cheap, but i couldn't even figure out how to connect.  I got bored with that.

Tomorrow, we're taking a tour of 'old town" st. augustine. ..Lots of history.  Lots of good people.  I can't believe it's only Monday night.

I'm bored.

The sessions are boring.  Our afternoon session ended an hour early, because the program coordinators feared a mutiny by the attendees because it was SOOO BORING...!  Project Management <<yawn>> by a monitone presenter who literally read his power point handout to us.... <<double yawn>>. 

Thank goodness for my trusty black berry...even playing "rooster" during boring sessions affords some relief....

Michelle welcomes e-mails to keep her entertained...


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good Advice

To  my friends who enjoy a glass of wine . . . And those who  don't.

As  Ben Franklin said: 
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water  there is 
bacteria. In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have 
that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the  year we would 
have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli,  (E.Coli) - bacteria 
found in feces. In other words, we are consuming 1  kilo of poop. (that's over 2
However,  we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum,
whiskey  or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification
process of  boiling, filtering and/or fermenting. 
Remember:  Water = Poop, Wine = Health 
Therefore,  it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water
and be full of  shit . 
There  is no need to thank me for this valuable information: I'm doing it as
a public  service .--

Dreams and Drizzles

Today is drizzly, like a "northern" day.  Growing up in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, we often had days on end of "drizzly weather" - overcast and without a good hard downpour - constant drizzle. 

I did something this morning that I have not done in many many months.  I brewed a pot of coffee! Imagine the novel of it! It smelled so good brewing, that I immediately wondered why I hadn't done so sooner.  A quiet, drizzly Sunday, strong aromatic brew, and correspondences with friends. 

I have some errands I want to run today, but yesterday, my daughter's boyfriend washed my car - what a nice young man!  So, I don't want to take it out in the rain!  (what a woos I am! ) Perhaps later if the skies clear I'll venture out. 

Last night in my dream, I was with co-workers and a few of the town's "whistle-blowers" and I was concerned that we would run out of cream for our coffee.  (Do you think my dream influenced my desire to brew a pot of coffee this morning?) My favorite dream book says Coffee indicates hospitality (I spent time yesterday readying Lauren's bedroom for company); energizer; stimulator; to produce active thoughts; a psychic food.  Of Cream it says, Indulgence.  Furthering in the dream, I left the meeting place (confident there would be enough cream) and was walking down a hallway, when a woman coming toward me greeted me by name and with a sincere, broad grin, approached me, hugged me strongly (so strongly it caught me off guard) and said how happy she was to see me.  I greeted back, and asked if I knew her?  She responded no, but she knew me and was happy to see me.  I replied, "It's nice to meet you, too." And we parted.  Her appearance was common, yet she had a brightness to her - an aura, or glow that was uncommon. I don't recall her mentioning her name, yet I have this thought that her name is "Linda".  It was a very encouraging gesture - perhaps she's a guardian angel. 

In cleaning my daughter's room yesterday, I came across something she had written down:  Pain is inevitable - suffering is not.  I don't know whether  it's original, but it was impressive and memorable.  It also demonstrates an advanced thinking.

   I will leave you with these thoughts for a blessed Sunday - a drizzly, sleeepy lazy Sunday for thoughts and dreams and ruminations. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Slow start to a Saturday

          I awoke this morning after a night of very active dreams. I first woke up at about 5:15 AM, got a drink of water, and quickly decided to go back to bed. My dreams continued. When I opened my eyes again, I could see it was daylight, but either just daylight or it was an overcast day. I got up and went into the kitchen and saw my landlord’s truck pull up out front. It was 9:15! Immediately, he knocked on the door. The “termite guy” was here for a warranty follow-up from a treatment last spring. Of course I hadn’t made my bed and I wasn’t exactly ready for company, but…hey …it’s the bug guy. He came in and did his inspection, and then went next door. I threw some clothes on and went outside to talk to Dana (landlord) about pressure washing the outside, and maybe cleaning the windows. He’s a pleasant man - “a good ole boy” . In addition to co-owning several rental properties throughout the beach (this place included) he runs a tractor business. We talked about the economic down-turn county-wide and he said his business is off about 95%. That’s very sad. “no new construction, no reconstruction - nobody’s spending money unless they absolutely have to” he said.

          With all of that, much of my night of dreams has faded away. Some images remain, however. I was in a hotel. A great deal of my dream involved this hotel - housekeeping knocking on the door, and I answered, saying I’d be checking out at 9:30, to come back then. While we were talking a grey cat with head wounds came in and wouldn’t leave (note: Mr. Needs was a grey cat with head wounds that eventually went to Animal Services…. L ) I recall walking through the lobby interacting with a group of people. Then I found myself standing in a long line. This was check out. When it became my turn , I was signing the folio, however it looked like a standard greenbar servers’ check, and it was multi-paged with carbon. To make matters worse, the counter top was like a bar, and had spots of water so the “check” was wet. I recall my room number, though, and it was 355. It seems to me those numbers have come up in another dream at another time. Then the woman at the counter said, “You need to get the documents from Molly before you leave” and I was puzzled. What? I asked, and she pointed to a woman standing a few feet next to me. “Go see Molly” and I walked over, very puzzled, wondering what could be wrong. She handed me a piece of paper and told me to go see Barbara. I took the paper and walked over to Barbara who said, “ You’d better get busy! You don’t have much time…” and then spread out a poster with all kinds of pictures and headlines and starbursts. “..Because you’ve won a trip to Nevada!” I cried out in surprised pleasure!

          So here it is 10:30 AM and I need to get on with the things I’d decided to do today - last night - before sleeping late and talking termites….. On ward with a smile!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

It’s a most wonderful time of the year!

        Yesterday evening, when leaving work and pedaling my bicycle through the parking lot of the chapel next door, I noticed with astonishment and enjoyment the number of dragon flies in the air. There were so many, that it was really a swarm - a thickness. There were hundreds! I know I said “dragon fly” but that was for the benefit of those that may not know what I would mean should I say, “Skeeter Hawk”. Hundreds darting about just a few feet above my head and higher. I enjoyed them, although at times I felt I needed to duck and be sure to keep my mouth closed! I coasted briefly on my bike while I enjoyed the high speed wings and seemingly erratic darts about. Then I noticed something else: the air was lighter. The heaviness that we experience in the “dead” of summer, the thick, humid air that hangs over us and the pressure that seems to bear down on us during the months of August and September, and during “storm season”… that heaviness was gone. It was an uplifting revelation. I felt confident that the hurricanes of 2008 are behind us.

        This morning, when I first awoke, I noticed that the air conditioning had not kicked on for some time. A check of the thermostat showed it set at 80 degrees. I left this morning, dressed in long pants and a long sleeved shirt, and as I pedaled my bicycle to work along the sneaky/ hidden path and through the chapel parking lot, I felt a breeze. Not just any breeze, but actually a cool breeze! Change is in the Air! I walked into Town Hall and greeted and was greeted by fellow employees and various personnel. In an exchange with one person, I mentioned how pleasant the temperature was, and he said, “Even better tomorrow - they say lows in the low 70’s, 68 inland.”

        Many people comment on how living in south Florida denies them the ability to experience “seasons.” I’ll admit that I love fall - I love leaves turning crimson, the smell of wood stoves, apple orchards and the crispness that fills the air. But after thirty years in south Florida, I see the seasons change… not just the tourist season! or the snowbird season! Last evening, and today, is the seasons’ changing. Change is in the air and it’s beautiful. “northerners’ do spring cleaning. “southerners’ do fall cleaning - when the A/C gets shut off and the windows are flung open and the cool clean air comes through.

        It’s a most wonderful time of the year!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Michelle's Appliance Repair Shop now open for business!

Had to borrow the nut driver from Brother Norbert. I don't know how to use the
sockets with my cordless screwdriver..kept dropping them down inside...maybe that's another YouTube video!

I tested it - it heats, it tumbles! I"m in business!!!



Sunday, September 21, 2008

More than I ever cared to know

Saturday morning chores are a habit that developed early in my life and has stayed with me.  Yesterday was typical.  Laundry was at the top of the list, so I sorted and threw a load in the washer and went on with dishes, etc. The first load went in the dryer and another load in the washer.  I was well into chores when I realized that the load in the dryer was not "drying" - there was heat but no tumble.  A quick text message to brother Ken "is the dryer shot?" to which he responded, it's probably the drive belt- pop the top and see.  OK. I popped the top  (much easier than I imagined) and there it was - a broken drive belt.  How in the heck do you put a new one on?  Googled DIY clothes dryer drive belt and found a great video that showed step by step how to remove the top, the front, pull out the drum and replace the belt.  Simple enough.  I called the local hardware, "Do you carry belts for clothes dryers?" He said, Bring in the old one and I'll match it up" Hopped on the bicycle with the old belt.  "Nope" he said as I walked in,"we only carry (I didn't understand).  Sorry. The closest place would be Ace Hardware."  OK. So I get the car keys and drive up to Ace Hardware (about 8 miles up the road).  I walked ALL around Ace Hardware until finally, two clerks were standing in the aisle and asked if I needed help finding something. Yes, a belt for a clothes dryer.  "Oh, we dont' carry those."  The man speaking was about 6'4" maybe 150 lbs. and well into his 70's.  He had some very poorly made false teeth that overwhelmed his mouth. "Where you want to go is, keep driving up to Cypress Lake Drive, and turn right, then go to 41 and turn right...." and he continued on. I was only seeing those over-sized false teeth, and growing irritated with "turn right" instead of "north, east, south or west" Alright. I had to go to All Appliance Center on 41 in town.  (I hate going into town).  Back in the car, I find All Appliance, pull up in front, and see "Saturday 9:00 AM to Noon.  Of course it's 1:00 PM.  (expletive deleted!).  Practically across the street is Home Depot.   I drive over to Home Depot and walk ALL around Home Depot.  Finally, I ask a clerk.  "No. We don't carry those. You have to go to an appliance center.."  Been there, done that.  So I drove back home. Googled "parts for a clothes dryer", found a site, found a Whirlpool, found the exact belt, added to shopping cart, and went to check out.  "Orders processed before 3:00 PM will ship the same day".  I looked at the time:  3:20 PM. (story of the day, I'd say).  Oh well.  Ordered the belt, paid the $12.00, and took my wet clothes to the laundramat.  I now know more about clothes dryers than I ever cared to know.  When the belt arrives, I'll let you know how it goes fixing the stinkin' thing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Yesterday, I was fed up with my hair.  Haven't had a haircut in - best I can guess, a year and a half.  It was really looking rough.  So I called my friend's shop, and she had an opening today (thursday) at noon.  I grabbed it. 

Ollie has been cutting my hair for 25 years or so.  (That is, when I actually get it cut).  I have rather good hair - it grows thick, has a natural wave. I don't color it, perm it, rarely curl it and rarely use a hair dryer.  I'm hair lazy, I'll admit, but usually can get away with it.  It was Ollie that first colored my hair:  I remember the day very well.  My younger daughter Lauren was maybe six weeks old.  (She's 19, now).  My parents were visiting and they babysat Sarah and Lauren while I went to Ollie's shop for a cut and color.  I recall my dad's astonished remark that I needed to color my hair "at my age!".  ( I was 33 - my mother was completely grey at 35 and I was close behind).  Ollie told me then that I was "more than 50% grey" and would need a permanent color.  I was reluctant, but I tried it.  I colored my hair for several years but grew real tired of it.  Finally, I said, "enough" and just stopped.  It looked pretty bad as it grew out - using temporary color for awhile.  Anyway, Ollie is a friend and neighbor as well as a salon shop keeper.  She's Portugese and very gregarious.  She understands my hair better than anyone,and that's why I keep going to her.  She knows me, my lifestyle and my hair. 

Well, today she got me.  I would say she removed six inches of hair.  When I say "she got me" I mean that I pretty much let her cut it how she wanted to cut it.  And she did exactly that! She does great work, it's a great cut - conforms to the natural waves my hair has - but it's shorter than I've had it in several years.  The irony, though, is that so much of the length was damaged, that I was usually pulling it back, pinning it up, etc.  Now, this cut is a length of healthy hair, and few people recognized that it's been cut! 

My friend Theresa told me that my cut looked "vibrant!"  Well!! I'll take Vibrant! 



Monday, September 15, 2008

Way station

These words have come to mind:

Reflection    Image     Focus      Mirror

Have you see n Yourself?

Is it the Inner Being

Or is it the Selfish Self?

Another Being can see

your Inner Being

And provide

A clear reflection.

If that Other Being

Has managed to ascend

To where selfish self cannot sustain.

How do you recognize the selfish being ?

Selfishness separates us

from the Universal Consciousness.

Distracts us from the One.

How do you know ?

Guard your every thought. GUARD!

We lock possessions and guard our hearts

When we must micromanage Thought

As it will be your will.

Halt each thought

Identify its motive

Its credentials are kindness, harmlessness,

sincerity and compassion -        

 and unconditional love.


I Love You.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

It was you, wasn’t it? I could barely look at you, my heart was so electrified. I was stunned at your appearance, your presence. I was speechless. You said hello I said hello and I froze.

I knew right then it was you, but I babbled on to the attendant at the counter.

You were as I have pictured - as I had hoped and dreamed.

I was frozen. How would I should I respond?

It was You.

Are you the teacher, or the student?

Am I, the teacher or the student?

It is you and me. When will I see you again?


Friday, September 12, 2008

I Feel for Texas

                                     With IKE aimed at the gulf coast of Texas - a storm the size of the state of Texas - pushing enough water to create a tsunami - a wall easily 20 feet high and as wide as the coast. I went to Google Earth and had an aerial tour of the Galveston and Houston area. This is a very powerful storm and I feel for everyone and thing in its path.

                                  I will be interested in seeing how the “experts” assess the post storm conditions on a “managed beach” or an “unmanaged beach”. From what I saw, Galveston has a hardened structure (the seawall…) the length (or near length) of the island. That alone would make it a managed beach, I think. That’s a hot topic for the Town of Fort Myers Beach. There is a beach (re)nourishment project that has been on the table for over ten years. Many officials and residents are in favor, and many are against. The feds and the state and the county want to move forward, but beach residents have concerns. Anyway, didn’t mean to get into local issues, but I am interested to hear from the coastal engineers, FEMA, etc.

                                    From my Google aerial tour, Galveston has a shape and size similar to Fort Myers Beach. A discussion today with a co-worker, I mentioned that FMB is sometimes called FL’s safest beach, because of how we sit along the gulf coast, a direct hit from a major hurricane is rare.

I feel for Texas.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Only if you’re standing still

I took some moments tonight to sit in my garden . Lately, I ‘ve been working Late- and often get home after sundown. Tonight, I was home by 6:00 PM. So I watched the evening news, which, I haven’t done in a very long time, then I sat out in my garden.

The air was heavy. I made that observation leaving Town Hall on my way home. Today was the first patch of real blue sky in several days. The winds were high, the air was thick. Ike’s debris.

Two twenty-something girls rent next door to me, and we share stairs, porch and parking. They have many young friends, some who ride motorcycles.

As I sat out, a twenty-something man came out and fired up a motorcycle.

I waived hello.

He waived back and we exchanged “how are yous.

And he said, “enjoyin’ a nice night out?

And I said, Yes…

…except the No-Seeums are bad.”

And He said:


“Only if you’re standing still.”

You've Won!

I woke around 5:30 AM and remembered my dream: 

 I dialed a telephone number as a response to a radio announcement to call to win.   I hung up before the call connected.  Then the phone rang, I picked it up and said, “Hello”  A man asked “Is this Michelle?” And I said, “Yes” and he said, “You’ve won!”  "$10.00~!"  and then he asked, “Which sweepstakes were you entered in?” and I replied, “Publishers Clearinghouse, $5,000 a week for life”  and the man then said, “You’ve won $392.00 from our Virginia office, and you’ll be hearing from Louisiana.” 


Then I woke up. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

no techie here...

I'm giggling at the way these hurricane images update themselves.  I dont' have techie knowledge of how that's working.  I right clicked and copied, and pasted and there it is.  But it's great fun now to see the progression!  After the storm dissipates, what will display?  ..watching and waiting, I guess.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

..This Much!

When I look at this forecast, I'm reminded of Maxwell Smart:  "Missed it by this much...!"

Relieved to be out of the "cone" prayers to Texas ....

Saturday, September 6, 2008


i am interested in hearing opinions from you as to the theory that NASA is experimenting with weather control, and failed experiements are resulting in monster storms - Katrina and Rita, and possibly Ike. 


Watching and Waiting

Friday, September 5, 2008

fema sux

Today, we “stood up” the ICS (incident command system) as a result of being in the 5-day cone for Hurricane Ike. I’ve spent two years preparing for a role that was pulled out from under me by nameless personnel, and now I have a new role - one most unclearly defined. I see it as being set up to fail.

I don’t need this. I can happily and merrily (a favorite adverb of mine!) engage in other forms of gainful employment. But I like my job - for the most part. Until all this goofy ICS / aka role play army games crap comes in. I have no tolerance or patience for it. But that’s the FEDs. That’s FEMA That’s the way it is… IT IS WHAT IT IS.

It’s all a part of Government. Government has been very good to me, and my family. Government can continue to be good to me, but perhaps - not in the peninsula of Florida!?

I am venting. I am frustrated, irritated with the whole Fed influence, bureaucratic red tape. And it’s only just begun. I know.

Take me back to simpler, more peaceful times.


Today was another 12-hour day. No rewards, no atta-girls. Suck it up and switch to emergency mode …and when we “stand down”…? ..get your work done in triple time, at lightning speed. if the storm didn’t exist.

I am bitter. I am frustrated.

But. What difference does it all make?



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Silly Season

I worked hard today. My shoulders and neck ache from a full force day. I got home last night after a Council meeting at about 11:30 PM. Wednesday was a 16 hour day. Today started bright and early at 8:30. I woke to what I determined would be a successful day. My head was swarming with “to do’s” for today, some with imminent deadlines. We’re in what our Finance Director calls “silly season” - budget adoption. Florida law has very strict guidelines on how municipalities adopt their annual budget, the forms, timing, even the advertising, down to the number of days between public hearings, the position and placement of the ads, even the size of the font of the title line. With an aggressive Council and a relatively new, and aggressive Town Manager, the budget calendar was set months ago. To fit into the statutory guidelines, staff had a matter of a few short hours to make the recommended changes in the tentative budget and get it to the paper for print. Initially, that was my top priority: meeting budget ad deadline.

The day was one fraught with interruptions, hiccups, challenges. But I persevered, and despite all the other sideline issues, managed to click “SEND” at 11:57 AM…three minutes under the deadline.

Then came Ike. I used to almost enjoy hurricane season - that was before Katrina. Katrina was reason for the feds to institute their bureaucracy in the form of forms and systems and red tape, known as the Incident Command System. Now, if the Town is within the five day cone, we have to stand up the ICS. Of course forecasters are so skittish, that the entire state of Florida is often within the five day cone. It’s tiring playing army. I am so deep in my normal job duties, I don’t have time for war games.

I got home just after sundown, nearly 8:30 PM. That’s a 12 - hour day. Lunch was Chinese delivery for many of the staff - budget time is, truly, silly season. So is hurricane season.

One moment of levity from one of the Town’s more colorful staff members, Ike may be a real bad-ass - look what he did to Tina Turner.

Aw jeeze…


Monday, September 1, 2008

Big Cypress Muck About

Today Theresa and I joined folks on the Muck About in Big Cypress National Preserve.  Following is a series of photos I took.   It's really awesome!  I had a GREAT time!  The water never got over waist high, (my waist, that is - and I"m 5'7"tall) .  Enjoy the photos, and I'll write more later.





Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Quiet Sunday

It’s unusually quiet this morning. Being the dead of summer, nearly every window is shut against the heat and humidity. It’s wet. Weeks of rains and high humidity. No children are outside playing. No birds are merrily singing. The drone of each neighbor’s air conditioning unit occasionally is heard. Feeder bands from Gustav stir the trees into a whirl with brief bursts of rain slammed against the windows. Then all is quiet again. My clock flashes 2:37 - reminding me it wants to be reset after the power outage last night. Stormy weather. A distant rumble of thunder, a swirl of the trees and then stillness. The only sound I hear is the click of my keyboard.

Perhaps I shall stay in bed this morning. I enjoy the soft rosy glow of the Indian Peach walls, the salmon colored shears and the golden flicker of the cypress rose scented candles. They add to the pink blush of my crisp cotton bedding. There is a warmth to this room that doesn’t exist outside of these four walls. I feel very safe.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ONE - Self

After I posted my poem, Self, I sent it to my brother.  He replied with a poem of his own, titled "One" (below).  I asked him if I could post it here in my journal, and he said,

       Sure, it belongs to you and you may use it as you wish. You may want to add a disclaimer that makes reference to the fact that the author has spent the past month on cloud nine.....

I liked it, and I hope you do too...


The caterpillar does not die
It grows into the butterfly

A person's need is not all greed
It is the spark that makes the growing seed

Living life with caring indulgence
Is a life that celebrates abundance

A person with an open heart
Grows to know she's not apart

Just as dust grew to be the sun
We grow to learn we all are one


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


An overshadowing loss,

A feeling described as blue

A mourning is taking place

What else could I do.

Sacrifice the selfish separate self

Deny indulgences and greed

Put away the denials

Suppress the carnal need.

I close my eyes with anticipation

Searching each evening dream

Looking for guidance - perhaps a clue

For a glimpse into the unseen.

The morning comes; I’m not ready

But life goes on, and so must I

I go through the day reminded

The selfish separate self must die.

Your Selfish Separate Self tho’ tough,

At thought of Death, is terrified,

And can quite frighten you,

When looked straight in the eye.

Reflecting back as carnival mirrors,

The master of deception

The Selfish Separate Self will fight,

To maintain its position.

A conscious conditioning

With each spoken breath

To speak my truth with clarity

Put Selfish Separate Self to death.

Speak one’s Truth with Clarity

Is not easy to learn

When bombarded with negativity

Around each daily turn.


-Michelle DeMars Mayher-


::Within and Without

Torn Between and Against

Mirrors on ALL sides

Split Inside and Out

Again and again

Thus is the Ignorant SELF::*

*The Children of The Law of One - The Lost Teachings of Atlantis”


Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting back...

This is somewhat like an overdue response to a correspondence from a friend; the longer it gets from the time you last responded, the harder it is to get to responding. So much to say, so much going on. My last entry was a fairwell to Fay. It looks like now we have to pay attention to Gustav.

Post -Fay, I managed to get caught up on the work that ‘s supposed to be done when we’re not in “Threat level 4” for emergencies. My younger daughter started her second year at the University and I’m enjoying the empty nest - again. She certainly has had an excellent summer vacation!

The weekend was a good opportunity to get back to focusing on MY needs. I decided to do a “detox”. I spent Saturday and Sunday on juices, and for lunch today I began with “Raw”. It’s kind of fun, actually, except for one bad “experiment”. Yesterday afternoon I juiced a whole bunch of stuff: I felt I was getting more fruits than veggies, so I added some spinach and some romaine to some carrots and half of a large beet. I love beets - cooked - even the greens in a salad, but this was my first experience “juicing” one. Wow. Wear gloves , for sure. The experiment probably wouldn’t have been too bad if I’d skipped the romaine, and used about one third of the fresh ginger. It was a struggle to finish it… but I did - not about to waste all that nutrition. A hot cup of lemon tea was quick to chase those lingering tastes. This evening’s meal was a salad with assorted greens, but the tasty part was half of a perfectly ripe avocado with fresh lemon juice. I topped it off with an excellent peach and apple juice, with a touch of ginger. (It was lick-smackin’ good!). We’ll see - not sure I can truly identify my motives… health, discipline, a need to clear my head… all of the above and more.

I have had very interesting dreams lately and I had this nagging feeling that the Universe was trying to get a message to me. That was reason enough to “detox”. So far, my dream clarity has “diminished”! It may be my body actually resting instead of being jolted with caffeine, alcohol, sugars and fats. However “communication” is a key theme for several days, now - and the number “5”. Not quite sure how it all will pan out, but I”ll be sure to let you know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good day, Fay

There is barely a occasional drizzle of rain.  It's 6:00 AM and Fay should be beating our beaches.....

hmmm.  unpredictable as weather, Fay's as flighty as a feather....

I just checked out the radar image (btw..there are some wonderful weather sites: is good, is good and is good) it looks like the east coast of FL is getting hit much harder ...harder than we are and I'd venture to say, much harder than the weather folks predicted.

As I stated in a previous post, I've been living in hurricane country for a lot of years.  I don't profess to be an expert, but I've been just as good at reading hurricanes as any layman.  I laugh at some of the local meteorologists.  yesterday, one fellow who looked to be about nine was on the TV with his maps and clickers, and he said "If Fay goes west, we'll have high surf...blah blah...  if Fay goes East, we won't.." Oh spare me. And he gets' paid for that crap?!! 

Yesterday, a local newspaper reporter was in Town Hall and said, "We're ground zero." When I asked what he meant, he said, "We're the main event.  There's national news crews all over the island."  So I asked "Where's Jim Cantori?"  If you follow Jim, you know what the weather channel calls ground zero.  Jim was in Naples, which is just south of us here. 

The last word from the boss yesterday was "don't come to work until I call you."  He's probably up by now, and watching the radar, waiting for Fay to move on by.

Some are disappointed when it's a "non event." Like my neighbors, who are new to SWFL (from Nebraska or some crazy place).  I heard them having a hurricane party, and complaining that this is the worst storm they've ever seen.  I see it as another learning experience. ..and another one down, and another one down. Another one bites the dust...


Monday, August 18, 2008


This fickle thing called Fay

I have lived in South Florida for thirty years. I have been through hurricanes. No two are alike. I have approached hurricanes on a personal level, until recently. In my position as Town Clerk for the Town of Fort Myers Beach, I become, the Public Information Officer..(PIO) within the Incident Command System (ICS). This system is required by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in order for municipalities to get federal aid…aka…reimbursement.

Isn’t government such Alphabet Soup!!?! Acronyms acronyms!!

Friday afternoon, the boss sent an e-mail alerting key personnel to be available by cellphone throughout the weekend.

Saturday morning, the boss called and said I needed to be in the office at 10:30 Sunday morning.

Sunday morning, we were in standup mode.

We had a staff meeting today (Monday) at 8:00 AM. A Town Council meeting at 9:00 AM, to declare a state of local emergency. A “division commander” meeting at 10:00 AM ( I loved this! This is where the “men in uniform” come in… the fire chief, the police captain…haha! And the police guys “touch their guns” when they make statements! (and the fire chief has chewing tobacco in a can..yuck!”)

My role was pretty much to contact the county EOC (acronyms, again…that would be: Emergency Operations Center), establish a communication with the county PIO (that would be, public information officer) and scribe advisories, alert the media, etc. We (as a municipality) are committed to ‘speak with one voice” and so squelching the staff members who feel empowered when approached by the media was a constant housekeeping function,.

I put out advisories on our web site, (if you’d like to see my work: ) on our phone system: 239 765 0202, our hurricane hotline: 239 765 0919 extension 140, and we have a system called Code Red, that auto dials all FMB residents who have registered a phone number with us, to receive a recorded message regarding an emergency situation.

Dr. Steve Lyons is on the weather channel. I love him. He’s the best. Fay is a fickle thing, for sure. The 8:00 advisory has little wind, not too much storm surge… a heep of rain, maybe, but I think we’re outta the woods….

We dodged another one….

So far, so good!

P.S.:  Just for <<fun>>  ! read this:

and realize how crazy storm tracking really is....

welcome to my world....




Thursday, August 14, 2008

About a year ago, Lauren was shopping with me at a Bed, Bath and Beyond, and she stopped at a display of bathroom scales, and said, “ We need a scale.” That was enough for me, so I bought one. I have been overweight by the AMA’s charts since middle school. But lately, I have been losing weight, and it’s quite an interesting study.

About a year ago, I took up kayaking. I did it in order to have a recreational activity that wouldn’t strain my knee. ( I eventually had knee surgery in December 2007). What I found was how many other muscles of the body are used with kayaking. I began to notice how more defined various muscles of mine had become. Then, people began commenting on my body image. One day, the letter carrier came in to the lobby at work. I have known this man for 25 years. He looked at me and said, “ You’ve lost a ton of weight~! “ I was at a meeting for a civic organization, and some friends commented, “ …well, you’ve lost weight….” It was not a conscious effort ,and that’s the beauty of it. Oh it’s not some awesome success story ! Not by any means. But last night I ordered a jacket for myself from a catalog that I have frequently shopped. I’m comfortable with their clothing fit. Recent purchases have been returned for a smaller size. So, last night, I had to force myself to trust that this jacket would be a better fit in a smaller size. That’s the surprise.

From about a year ago this date - give or take a month or so each way - I’m down about 20 pounds, and have decreased body fat and increased muscle, and, have dropped about two clothing sizes.

My dietary habits have changed very little. I use less mayo and more mustard, I go more for proteins than starches - never did and will never eat mammals…

One thing I did…I started about 8 or 10 months’ ago…. Every morning… I have a mantra… It includes various “ I AM….” but relative to weight loss, I say daily, “…Every time I have a bowel movement, I lose body fat.” …..That is the power of Manifestation.

(no sh*t)


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dream Notes

I was standing on a porch of a single family home – not sure whose home…the porch was about four feet off of the ground with a wooden railing.  I was looking out over the lawn which was bordered by tall grass and low trees and bushes (no sidewalks or streets).  I saw several deer – a buck a few doe,  fawns, all huddled together like a nest or den.  I exclaimed “Oh! Look!” and went inside the house and grabbed my camera.  The camera was plugged into the charger.  I grabbed it and ran outside and set the lens view on the deer.  The deer were under water – completely clear, calm water.  This factor was not unusual to me in the dream  (but rather unusual awake!) . I focused on the deer and clicked the shutter, but nothing happened.  Then I noticed there were no batteries in the camera.  At that moment, from the left of the lawn, came a large feline.  It was the size and shape of a lioness, with the spots of a leopard.  It was stalking and stealthily approaching the deer.  I ran inside, grabbed the batteries and ran back out, fumbling to put them in the camera and get a shot.  I dropped them over the railing and was afraid to leave the porch because of the lion/leopard.  I stood on the porch looking at the batteries in the grass below.  Someone… I don’t know who in my waking state, but I knew him in my dream was standing to the right of the porch, but on the lawn and offered to get them for me.  Then I awoke.


I see huge symbolism in this dream, but haven’t put together a possible message or meaning.  If you are reading this and are savvy in dream interpretation, I would welcome any input. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

And in the End.

Somehow I just can't seem to get a grip on "early to bed, early to rise" .  Vacation can be exhausting!  One full work week behind me, and then of course this past weekend's road trip, and I'm plumb tuckered out! It feels good, though, to get through my personal to do list - sell the house, take a vacation to the Pacific NW, buy a car, buy my daughters a car, ...and Some of the fun weird things on my list include taking dance lessons, taking weekend camping trips, figuring out how I'll get a road trip to the Smoky Mountains this fall for the flaming foliage.

But for now, I think it wise to end this day feeling fulfilled, accomplished, happy healthy, wealthy and wise!

OH...P.S,.:  Am I the only one disatisfied with the "mood" choices? 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Good times

I just returned from a little weekend getaway.  I drove over to the east coast (of Fla) to visit my brother, Robert and his kids - they live in Dania, which is just south of Fort Lauderdale (he's about 15 minutes from Port Everglades). 

I had several reasons for taking this trip, and not in any order of preference.  I wanted to visit with Robert, and I wanted to do it in a way that he could relax and not be constantly tending to his children.  I wanted him to be able to enjoy a cocktail without worrrying about driving.  Usually, Robert comes over here - to visit Mom, to visit my other two brothers who live here in Lee County.  I used to live in Broward County - in another life - and wanted to see the old stomping grounds.  And I wanted a ROAD TRIP  for the New Car!! 

Last week I bought a 2008 Honda CR-V... "Nighthawk Black Pearl" with "Ivory" leather interior.  SUH -WEET!   I'm just silly-happy with this new ride! 

You who know me, know that I don't drive much. I'm a wimp on the interstate.  Perhaps it's from so many years of being married to a man that always "had" to drive , and did so very aggressively.  Add to it the fact that I live very close to where I work, and bicycle to work.  ..I don't drive much and so when I do, I'm wimpy.  But I decided that I am ready to expand my horizons, and I'd better just get back in the saddle.  With a brand new, fuel efficient vehicle, I have no excuse for road paranoia. 

The ride over was a breeze.  It's about 160 miles or so, Interstate nearly all of tthose miles, with 70 mph speed.  I love driving over Alligator Alley.  I remember when it was a narrow, dark two lane road with no rest areas or call boxes.  The speed limit was 65 daylight and 55 nighttime.  The panther crossings weren't in place and the fencing along the canals didn't exist.  The alligators basked all along the shores and frequently wondered onto the highway.  Now it's pretty super duper.  There are four lanes, with several rest areas,  fences, call boxes, all the modern conveniences.  The toll now is $2.50 (one way) and well worth it.  From toll booth to toll booth it's about 80 miles. I popped in some fave tunes, set the cruise control at 70 and just hummed along. 

The other side of the alley scares the crap out of me.  595 is a nightmare.  There's sometimes six and seven lanes coming from all directions, cloverleafing all around.  And those crazy east coasters drive like coke freaks.  Seventy miles an hour is crawling, and if you don't change lanes every ten seconds you're an old fart.  Several times I touched my bracelet and reminded myself "Courage". 

It was great visiting with Robert.  He was relaxed and candid and we shared a couple of bottles of wine and ate shrimp and chips and dip. We visited with a neighbor who is having a rough go of things, as his wife just left him with a five year old.  Bob's boys are something to see - they're 19 and 17 and probably six foot four and three hundred pounds.  But it was fun - they got to 'show off' their "ride(s)" and the woofers and tweeters or whatever. 

On the return trip across the alley, I hit some torrential rains.  Traffic slowed to a four-way-flashers speed of about forty for about five miles.  The rain over the 'glades is breathtakingly beautiful.  The darkness over the green sea of grass is nature at its finest.  Having cleared the rain and resumed to normal conditions, I was on cruise control, listening to Eric Clapton and feeling all groovy, when suddenly there was a car in front of me that was backing up across the two north bound lanes! WHAT AN IDIOT!  I slammed the brakes, of course, but was ever watchful of the semi that was on my ass.  All ended well, by the grace of God, I imagine. 

On several occasions, cars would be pulled off to the side of the road.  I recognized the signs of motorists with small children that "had to go!" and they'd be pulled over with the doors open to act as shields.  (no trees!)  Occasionally there'd be a vehicle broken down, some with drivers, a few without.  Then I saw a really strange sight:  A white pickup truck was pulled off the road with the passenger side door open.  I saw two people next to the door and as I got closer, I could see that they were Dancing!  He was spinning her and they were dancing.  ...One can only imagine.  (must be those crazy Miccousukees! )

Good trip, good time. 


Friday, August 8, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

MONDAY - July 28, 2008

I was ready for this leg of the trip. I was anxious to see Mount Rainier. We planned to visit Sunrise Visitor Center and Paradise Visitor Center, with lunch at Paradise Inn. We should be back in Spokane by Monday evening, and so knew we had about eight hours’ worth of driving sketched out for the day.

When someone spends time aboard a ship or boat, they develop sea legs. What is it that a flatlander gets, when they get accustomed to the heights and windings? …Mountain legs? (Whatever you mountain folk call it, I’d found mine about this time.)

Once entering the National Park, there were several pull-offs, observation decks, along the road. GREAT photo opps:



We arrived at Sunrise Visitor Center and I felt like I fit in. There were a few other cars, but I was pleased that it was not crowded. The gift shop in this particular visitor center was the best. I’m not a huge gift shopper, but being on vacation and bringing stuff back for loved ones, I spent time in them. This one, caught me. I bought myself several pieces of jewelry - for me. Unique. Comfortable. I commented to Debbie that a T-Shirt says where it came from - unique jewelry prompts conversation. Someone will say, “…where did you get that?” and then you can tell a story.

When I first walked in, I saw a wooden display rack on the counter top near the register. It held bracelets and key chains on a lazy susan. The display caught me eye, and I was drawn to it. The display was for ‘COURAGE” bracelets and chains. I admired them, and then went on. Shortly after, I was back looking at the courage jewelry. I picked up a pair of dream catcher earrings, and a necklace for Healing. I could not leave without one last look at the courage bracelet, and so, I bought it. We were barely back in the car when I took it from the bag, removed the tag and put it on my wrist. I love it.

I hope you can read this display: I found it so interesting that my way of preserving it was with this photo:

While in the Visitor’s Center at Sunrise, I heard Debbie asking the park ranger about avalanche lillies at Paradise. The ranger told her that much of Paradise was still covered with snow, and there was a slim chance of seeing avalanche lillies. While we were driving through the park from Sunrise to Paradise, I asked if Paradise was a higher elevation than Sunrise. I consulted the Park map, and much to my surprise it was actually the opposite. The elevation at the Sunrise visitor center was reported to be 6,400 feet, while Paradise was 5,400 feet.

Along the way to Paradise, we pulled over at various observation points. Here is one from Box Canyon:

Arriving at Paradise, we saw the greatest number of vehicles and visitors yet. We passed a free-standing sign that indicated the parking lot was full, and redirected vehicles to other parking areas. Debbie was quick to note and comment that most of the available parking was taken up by construction, as the Park was building a new Visitors’ Center. Our plan was to have lunch in the dining room at the Paradise Inn. Debbie was kind enough to drop me off at the entrance to the Inn, while she parked the car.

The Inn was very impressive. Huge beams fashioned from large timbers, oversized and overstuffed furniture surrounding stone fireplaces. A very “mountainous” rugged feeling.

I checked the dining room and saw a sign that said reservations not accepted, and I saw empty tables, and people being seated. All a good sign. I found the giftshop and began “shopping”! After a brief while, Debbie came in and commented that I was “shopping” again?! She suggested we get a seat in the dining room and shop later. Unfortunately, the dining room stopped serving at 2:00 PM and we’d missed it. (probably “by that much!”). There was a cafeteria/ snack bar option which we took, and it really proved to be more than adequate. We were able to get a nice Turkey and cheese sandwich (my choice) or Chicken Salad (Deb’s) with chips and a drink. We sat outside on the porch in the brilliant sunshine. I marveled at the large log-style railings and the fact that we sat in shirt-sleeves, with snow on the ground!

Finishing lunch, we walked the much longer than I expected path to where Debbie had parked. I realized then that she had quite an up-hill hike to meet me in the gift shop.

Here’s a pic of the employee housing:

And some of the scenery:

While we were walking along, Debbie pointed out a Marmot. I’d never seen a Marmot before! Of course (as you’ll see below) I missed the photo op: he turned his back to me before I could ready and zoom my camera. But I delighted at seeing this new wildlife!

The scenery from Mt. Rainer, through Yakima and up to Spokane was as unusual as was the beginning leg of the trip in the northeastern part of the state. The desert and sage brush was unexpected. I found myself again wondering how these people live their lives. Granted, Yakima showed signs of a good degree of farming, with many orchards: apples, cherries, peaches. The scenery was less than green as we distanced ourselves from the valley:

We pulled into the driveway of Debbie’s charming home nearing 8:00 PM. We had traversed 1100 miles! A fine 1100 miles it had been, too! We unpacked the car, opened some of that great wine from the night before, along with the local cheese and bread, and sat and shared our thoughts and impressions, opening up about our different views on being a child in the DeMars family, about the DeMars family, itself, and how that upbringing has influenced our lives. It was a wonderfully warm, relaxingand heartfelt exchange.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

SUNDAY - July 27, 2008

Since we girls were in the “penthouse” with no ETD , we took our time readying. Debbie, the always early riser, may have grown impatient with me, the lolligagger. None the less, we departed the Penthouse at a very reasonable, early hour. Our destination was downtown Seattle.

Debbie was very familiar with the neighborhood, and I just nodded in agreement as to where we’d park, etc,. I love this about cities in Washington State, that they agree to waive the parking fees on Sundays. What a cool thing for cities to do. Debbie found a good spot ..FREE!… near the Space Needle. We bought a round trip ticket on the monorail and then progressed to the Pike Place Market!




I LOVED!!! The Market!!!

God, I loved it! We had so much fun!!

Sampling all the fruits and veggies and nuts and candies didn’t dent the appetite we had, so we entered a restaurant whose name escapes me, unfortunately. But the cuisine was Bolivian. We had a great seat overlooking the Market.



We both ordered the Paella, and I ordered a mojito and Debbie ordered a marguerita. Absolutely superb, all around. The saffron rice was rich and delicious, the mussels tender and the chicken perfectly roasted. (If you’ve been reading these entries, you may think that we live to eat!! Lol!)

We left the market and headed down to Pioneer Square. We took a city bus and strolled in and out of various shops. We entered one antique shopthat seemed to go on forever; each room and another room off of it and so on. The shop was filled with so much, it was almost overwhelming. I spotted two pieces of jewelry that caught my eye. Some of you may know about me that I collect, and love to wear, bug pins. It started back in about 1990, after the death of my mother-in-law, Gloria. I inherited many pieces of her jewelry, and she had a couple of very interesting pins - a spider, a wasp, a bee. These pins were of the finest metal and stones - not costume jewelry at all - but I carried the theme with me to present day. So, I’ve digressed, only to tell you that there were two pieces of jewelry in this shop that I had to investigate. One was only partially visible, so I asked the shopkeeper to unlock the case so that I could see it. It was a spider pin. It was rather large for my taste, but appeared to be sterling silver with (probably) rhinestones inlaid on the ends of its legs. The body was a turquoise stone. The price tag was much too high for a piece that only somewhat appealed to me. I asked to see the other piece - in a different jewelry case, of course. This also was a spider pin. The body was a beautiful blush-pearl stone. It was nearly as large as the other spider pin, and not quite as pricey. But it had eyes and a ring around its neck that looked painted on, and almost carnival in its style. It didn’t seem to fit. I thanked the shopkeeper, but declined the purchase. Debbie was sitting in a chair waiting for me, I suspected. We had been on our feet a very very long time.

The Underground Tour of Seattle took place next door and it was one “attraction” that I thought would be interesting. It toured Seattle before the great fire in 1889 or something (don’t quote me). The tour was $30, and our feet were pretty tired. As we passed the entrance way, there were several “characters” hanging around the entrance, and we sort of put together the cost, the tiredeness of our feet, and the seediness of the area and decided we’d like to go sit down and have a cold beer.

We walked into a tavern, restaurant called Mitchelli’s which touted the world’s best Italian beer, or something. Sounded great to us. We took seats at the bar and ordered two drafts. We discussed how we’d spend the rest of our evening, even though by now it was probably 4:30 or 5:00. We talked about maybe taking in a movie, and the bartender was very friendly and helpful in showing us the local “what’s happening” newspaper tabloid with movie listings and times.

We left Pioneer Square, taking the bus back to downtown Seattle, taking the monorail back to the car, and driving back toward Bellevue. We passed through the downtown area and parked near Lincoln Square. We entered the several story shopping extravaganza-type building that housed the cinemas. Nothing seemed to appeal to us in terms of content and times. We hemmed and hawed, and decided to leave.

Driving back to our “Penthouse’ <giggle!> I asked Debbie if she could stop somewhere to purchase a bottle of wine. As we passed a “World Market”, Debbie said that I just had to see this place. She was right, it was awesome. I admittedly got carried away, but left the store with a bottle of local Washington State red, a bottle of local Washington State white, a couple of wedges of local cheeses (one goat, and one sheep - I think..?) a loaf of freshly baked bread and some marinated olives. Yummy. (this would be dinner!)

We returned to our “penthouse”, kicked off shoes, washed up, lit the fire in the fireplace, sliced the cheese, tore the bread and uncorked the wine. We spent several hours in great conversation, drinking, eating and relaxing. A great end to a great day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation


SATURDAY - July 26, 2008

Today’s itinerary began with departing from Victoria B.C. to Port Angeles, WA aboard the MV Coho, with a 10:30 AM departure. We’re asked to arrive 90 minutes before departure, which seems excessive, but we were not on a tight schedule and sleeping in after such a full day prior was welcomed. As we sat “on deck” waiting out signal to board, I grabbed an opportunity to go for a fresh cup of coffee at a nearby café. They weren’t prepared for the number of customers looking for the same thing, and although I had a nearly 90 minute time allowance, I was growing nervous that the MV Coho might start out without me. I patiently waited for my espresso and biscotti, and then hurried across the street and down the ramp to Debbie’s car.

Shortly after, several uniformed individuals visited each vehicle in line. We guessed as to whether they were US Customs agents, or Canadian Customs Agents. I managed to see CSMP on a uniform patch, and guessed: Canadian Special Mounted Police. Shortly after the acronym game, a tap-tap came on the window, and a uniformed man was asking to see passports. They were US agents, and the acronym was Customs Service Maritime (Police or)Patrol. Debbie quipped that one would expect to be better treated returning to one’s native country. He wasn’t necessarily rude, but he certainly wasn’t exhibiting a good nature.

Eventually we loaded onto the ferry, right behind several motorcycles. It was interesting to see how they tucked everyone in. We advanced to the upper deck and found a really good seat about mid-ship. This was a private ferry company, and the size and polish of the vessel was evidence of that. I visited the gift shop and bought my daughter a T-short of the MV Coho Black Ball Line. (It worked out well, as the change from my earlier espresso and biscotti left me with $15.00 in Canadian money - which came out perfectly for the T-shirt!). I was really getting this ferry business down, and took some great photos. I’m especially fond of the one below:


We arrive in Port Angeles, and drove through US Customs, where the exchange was brief and pleasant, and I “declared” my seeds purchased at Butchart Gardens. We then drove toward Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Forest. The road up to Hurricane Ridge had several spots that were under repair, and drivers were warned to expect one-lane road closures. We sat with the engine off, for several minutes, in front of a “Stop” sign held by a road crew member. Finally, a pilot truck with a sign that said “Follow Me” pulled out and the “Stop” sign turned to a “Slow” sign. The roadway was gravel and pitted and there were some sections that had serious washouts. I was painfully aware of the need to support our National Parks. What a great resource they are, and how much they need the support of people - like you and me. I pledged then to increase my contribution to the National Parks Service. There were some scary moments on this road - deep drop offs and no guard rails and lack of solid roads. This flatlander was holding on without wanting to be obvious. Debbie, however, drove like it was second nature.



We arrived at the Visitors’ Center and saw several deer loitering in the wildflower filled meadows. What a beautiful sight. I wanted to know why it was called Hurricane Ridge - (had there been a hurricane?) and so I approached the Park Ranger who was very pleased to be able to explain to me that the winds off the Pacific are often of Hurricane strength. I’ll agree the winds were strong and the air was…not was downright COLD! Although I had a jacket, I exited the car leaving it behind. Do I look very COLD! In these photos?!!


Eventually we made our way back down the mountain pass, again being slowed by the one-lane road repairs. The late departure and the road delays within the Park caused us to reconsider whether to visit the HOH Rain Forest. We decided to have lunchand think about it. We returned to Port Angeles and had lunch at a Crab House with a wonderful view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I ordered a cup of Crab Bisque, and a crab salad sandwich. Debbie ordered a bowel of Crab Bisque and an appetizer of Calamari.

The soup was wonderful. Rich. With a flavor that was unique and not quite definable.

My sandwich was - a surprise. Again, not expecting a cold salad sandwich…. Guess I could have, should have asked. It was tasty, though. Debbie’s calamari was a let-down after the wonderful dish we had at Butchart Gardens, and she ate very little of it.

We decided that the time delays were significant to enough warrant skipping the HOH Rain Forest. We set out for Bainbridge Island, where we’d catch a ferry over to Seattle.

Shortly after a rich and full lunch, I, as passenger, was feeling very sleepy. I thought for a moment how nice it would be to just take a little snooze. I argued with myself that a snooze wouldn’t be fair to the driver, and resisted the temptation. It was about the time that I was fighting the urge to snooze, that Debbie said, “Talk to Me…” She was feeling the effects of a rich soup and over-fried calamari, a sleepy lazy afternoon. I darted alive and found myself scrambling for topics of discussion, speaking in an overly loud voice, switching from one subject to the next. And I was saying my prayers to keep the driver going strong and steady!

Eventually, and what seemed slowly and painfully, we arrived at the ferry docks on Bainbridge Island. We did not have reservations, as we had no clue when we’d get there, but we were timely, and it was a good opportunity to ‘rest our eyes’. We drove on to the ferry, for what would be a much shorter trip. This was nice as we were arriving at the Seattle port by water, which afforded many wonderful photo opportunities. Allow me to share some, here…:





We exited the ferry and made our way to Bellevue, where we had reservationsat the Marriot Residence Inn. We giggled about the reservation being for a “penthouse” in a two story building, with no elevator. We finally arrived and the room really was quite lovely. They called it a penthouse because it had an upstairs loft, and a downstairs. It was two bedroom, two bath, with full living room and kitchen, and it was just so incredibly comfortable. We found a book of “delivery restaurants” and that sounded just perfect. We ordered Chinese delivery and called it a night.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

FRIDAY - July 25, 2008

We had reservations aboard the Washington State Ferry so we were up and out of the Anaco Inn by 7:15 AM. We drove to the ferry docks and sat in line waiting our turn to board. This was a completely new experience for me, not having been on a ferry like this.

I marveled at the accuracy with which vehicles and passengers were ticketed and boarded. We exited the vehicle and climbed to the upper deck.

How cool was this! There was a galley selling breakfast, a duty free shop, rows and rows of seats, some booths, newspaper stands, racks of brochures and windows all around.


There was a great deal of fog hovering over the San Juan islands as we coursed through them on our way to Sydney, B.C. Because of the fog, I didn’t take any photos, hoping that the weather would lift enough for a nice, clear shot. I enjoyed watching the other boaters, some kayakers and the houses that sat atop the various islands. I got up and walked around, enjoying the crisp cool morning air on the starboard deck. I enjoyed watching the other passengers: some as clearly novice as I, others who where sleeping or reading the morning paper, or ticking away on a laptop. Obviously, some folks take this morning commute on a regular basis. Exiting the ferry, we drove through Customs and a pleasant officer asked us questions about where we were from, where we were going, our business in Canada and how we knew each other. We navigated our way through the streets of Sydney and headed on up to Victoria, and Butchart Gardens.


Butchart Gardens

was truly a garden paradise. We arrived a little before noon, and had 12:30 reservations for lunch in the dining room. We strolled around the main entrance getting the lay of the land, and taking in the sights of the arbors and hanging baskets.

We strolled into the dining room and were pleasantly greeted and promptly seated. The dining room was painted a fresh sage to seafoam green, crisp white linens, bountiful vases of fresh flowers and spacious views of the outside gardens.

Our server was a beautiful young lady with a delicate British accent. I commented that she looked as if she could be British royalty; a Princess Diana look with an unassuming presence. We began with an appetizer of panko crusted calamari, preserved lemon raita, gremolata that was gently sautéed and the best calamari I’ve ever had. For my main entrée, I ordered the wild B.C. salmon fillet, Israeli couscous salad, lemon crème fraiche, with cucumber and a glass of Sumac Ridge Black Sage Cabernet Franc. Debbie ordered Line caught West Coast halibut fillet, “Panzanella salad” lemon vinaigrette, fried capers and a glass of Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay.

My taste buds didn’t know what was happening! The salmon was cooked perfectly, sweetly flaking from the fork with just the perfect light seasoning. I have had a lot of salmon, but by far this was the best - the absolute best I’ve ever had. The couscous salad was a surprise, in that it was cold - but the coolness complemented the warm salmon in a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. The Cabernet Franc was a new taste to me, with a rich black sage aroma that filled in the crevices of my pallet with an explosion of sensuality.

Debbie offered me a taste of her halibut, and it was more delicious than one would expect. I also tasted her choice of wine, and found it to be a woodsy, buttery flavor that coaxed me to have a glass all to myself, which I did. Having enjoyed the appetizer, main dish and wine selections, we certainly couldn’t walk away without assuring that their deserts were equally as exquisite. Debbie ordered the Benvenuto gelato sampler, a selection of Butchart’s signature gelatos and sorbet. I ordered the vanilla shortcake, with fresh local fruit, lemon crème fraiche and fireweed honey. To die for. The shortcake was just the right amount of sweetness from the honey glaze, the crème fraiche drizzled atop with blueberries, strawberries and fresh cherries. Fresh coffee of course, and just not believing how wonderful my life is at this moment!

We strolled the gardens, with the Rose Garden being an absolute favorite. I have never seen so many beautifully perfect, abundant, large and well tended roses in all of my life!







The combinations of colors and height and various stages of bloom was artistry unlike any I’ve ever seen. The lilies - the day lilies, the Turks cap lilies, the calla lillies, the dahlias, the sweet alyssum, the salvia, the shasta daisies, kingfisher daisies, begonias, geraniums, sweet peas, foxglove…impatiens, hydrangea, hibiscus…fuchsia.. On and on and on. MAGNIFICIENT! I fell in love with a tree called aSmoke Tree. From my brief research, I don’t think it could grow in Southwest Florida. But, I’m not through trying! The Japanese Garden was tranquil, ever so zen, the Italian Gardens, the fountains… Just an absolutely magnificent display of flora and fauna. I could stay there forever!




I went into the gift shop and just absolutely had a ball. I bought vases and seeds and pressed flower jewelry. The delightfully British speaking clerk asked, “are these seeds going to the states?” and carefully packed them to be presented to customs when asked what did I have to declare.

We returned to our car parked in the Butterfly section (how delightful!) and found our way in to the heart of Victoria. We located the HoJo where we had reservations, and checked in. It was not the most luxurious, nor the most friendly front desk, but the rate was good and the bed and bath was clean. We poured ourselves a cocktail and perused the local “what’s happening” magazine. After such a full day, however, neither of us really felt like dressing to go out, and opted to grab a light bite in the hotel restaurant. The food was good, although the atmosphere and service left something to be desired. But at this point, we were well satiated and soon called it a night.