What’s the point?

It’s 3:11 a.m.  I just woke from a dream.  My experience with dreams is they pretty much evaporate with the light.  Even a nightlight will zap a dream.   Poof, gone.

Here clear as day one minute. Then (zap) gone.

What I do recall is the gist of the dream was “purpose”.  My purpose.  As I age I have become entrenched in the notion we were all made for a reason.  I don’t know my reason.  I don’t need to know.  I just need to trust and (blindly) move forward when I hear/see/sense the whisper.

A power–God/Universe/Spirit in the Sky/Giant Cosmos Smarty Pants is in charge.

Just dug up the song playing at the edge of my mind.

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best

Prepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That’s where you’re gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You’re gonna go to the place that’s the best

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He’s gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best

I can, as if through a giant time machine microscope, remember Robbie Jones dancing to this song.  Thanks, Universe, for that delightful memory.  Robbie was the U of D drum major.  We dated for a year or so. I was smitten.  He, I later learned, was gay.  What a delight he was. God/Universe/Spirit in the Sky/Giant Cosmos Smarty Pants created marvelous  Robbie.  He was a brilliant light in the world for a short time.  Died of AIDS.  I love to imagine he is dancing on the other side.

Robbie was here for a reason.  I dunno’ that reason.  Maybe to enlighten me? ( Golly, is it all about you, Alice?)

I plan to toddle back to bed.  I hope the evasive “what’s my purpose” dream comes back to me. I’d like to see the ending.

But the ending doesn’t matter.  I know I was created for a reason by a power as strong as God/Universe/Spirit in the Sky/Giant Cosmos Smarty Pants.  Delicious to fall back on that and simply trust. Yay!  Let me give up the steering wheel. I’m a dreadful driver.

God/Universe/Spirit in the Sky/Giant Cosmos Smarty Pants….go for it.  I am in your hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our most recent field trip

Our aggressively white interior had to go so we picked a color, hired a painter, and went to buy the paint.

Going to the paint store meant getting into the car–something we rarely do these days.  While we were out we chose to have lunch at one of our favorite places.  Harvey’s 4th Street Grill.

I always intend to take a photo of my food before I dig in, but since hunger overtakes reason, I never remember.  Here’s my lunch.  Partially eaten blackened salmon.

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The very best thing we saw today was this–

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Could we (please) have a functioning adult in the Oval come 2020? These shirts can be purchased at Amazon.  The sentiment is also available as a bumper sticker.  This lady said she was driving her car when someone flagged her down. She was afraid it was a road rage thing–we do, after all, live in Florida. Trump territory.

Turned out the person stopping her simply wanted to know where they could get the same bumper sticker.  Maybe the tide is turning?  Fingers crossed.

Destination Mazzaro’s

We get together with Steve and Diane monthly for “Game Night”  We play QwirkleMexican Train, or maybe cards.  Once we played Clue but decided it took too much thinking.  It is, after all, designed for eight-year-olds. When we play our mentality shifts to six or under.

My favorite is Mexican Train.  Steve and Diane’s version is better than ours. Theirs has a button to press when you are down to one tile and a “WHOOOO WHOOOOO” train sound plays.  In our house, the down-to-one-tile person has to do the Whooo Whooo aloud.

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Steve and Diane put together the most beautiful charcuterie platters.  Fancy word, that.  I think it means Cheese and Meat and other random snacks.  I don’t know how to pronounce it, or how to duplicate their marvelous rendition.  BUT, now that we live in Saint Petersburg we have a secret charcuterie platter weapon.

Mazzaro’s Italian Market!

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Prior to moving here, I’d heard of Mazzaro’s.  So, shortly after we got settled we took a field trip to the huge ethnic market.  I was overwhelmed.  The place was packed with shoppers and loaded with foods I didn’t understand.  Philadelphia cream cheese is about as exotic as I get.

That visit we left with a biscotti.  One.  For Jim.

Yesterday we decided to take the plunge again.  We were determined to go slow and enjoy the process.

About Mazzaro’s—I found the following description online:

Enter the always lively St. Petersburg food emporium known as Mazzaro Italian Market and you can easily mistake the scene for a bustling, European street lined with butcher shops, bakeries, produce stands and displays of freshly caught fish and fragrant cheeses.

Mazzaro’s Old World ambiance may even trigger a childhood memory of a long-ago visit to a neighborhood grocery with a loved one.

“We are selling time travel,” says Kurt Cuccaro, whose family founded the local landmark. “Shopping at Mazzaro may transfer you to a time when growing up, there was a place you used to go to with your grandparents. Or it may remind you of somewhere you once lived, a store you used to shop at or a market in Europe.”

From its humble beginnings as a boutique coffee roasting operation, Mazzaro grew to become a beloved, robust retail destination that is among the Tampa Bay area’s most enduring –and endearing – businesses.

That metamorphosis from a modest mom-and-pop shop into a sprawling, 25,000-square-foot market makes Mazzaro the ultimate convenience store. With just one stop, shoppers can fill their baskets with foods from around the world, as well as locally sourced items from around the block. They can select from vast arrays of fresh meats and seafood, freshly made bread, pastries and pasta, signature soups and sandwiches, and well-stocked shelves displaying whatever is needed to make gourmet meals from scratch.

I wandered around with my phone taking photos.  Who knew there were so many versions of balsamic vinegar?

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And sausages?  We were in way over our heads.  I grabbed a small salami of some sort.  Cut it up earlier today.  It’s hard as a rock but delicious.  The one I picked came out of the little basket to the left of the “Please take a number” thing.  That guy to the right of the numbers saw me taking the photo and wanted to know if he was “lookin’ good”.  I assured him he was.

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Look at all the amazing prepared foods!

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The walls inside and out have been handpainted with scenes of Italy, and pictures of famous Italians.

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Also offered a butcher, handmade pasta and pastries!  Oh my.  Those pastries look sinfully delicious. Fortunately, not a single pastry was gluten free which saved me from me.

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I have a sneaking suspicion Mazzaro’s owners might be Catholic.  Your thoughts?

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Here is the assortment of delights we lugged home.  I will NOT be getting on the scale in the morning.  To all this, we will be adding crackers and fruit.  Now I have to display it in an appetizing looking way.  I should do that and add a photo.  But won’t.  Want this blog post published.

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Steve and Diane should be here soon.  I always lose at these games.  I have no knack for “strategery.”  But it’s all about the laughs.  And the food.

 

 

 

Jolly Trolley. Our adventure with public transportation.

Moving to Saint Petersburg was in part driven by a desire for a one-car lifestyle.  I wanted to walk to everything available.  If not walk, then take a bus.

Therefore, yesterday Jim and I decided to take the St. Petersburg Central Trolley from downtown St. Pete, where we live, all the way to Pass-a-Grille Beach at the Southern edge of St. Pete Beach.  The ride was expected to last about an hour.

We toted along two umbrellas, one water bottle, and Bronson’s phony service dog vest. Our little family walked four blocks to the trolley stop.  We boarded the bus, paying $1.10 per person senior fare.  I asked the driver if she needed to verify my senior status by seeing my ID.  She looked me up and down, peered directly into my face then laughed out loud.  So much for my “I certainly do not look my age” fantasy.

She inquired if Bronson was a pet.  I stated, “No, Service Animal.  Do you want him in his vest?”  She replied, “Nope, just need to ask.”

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Our Trolley Dog.

 

The trolley stops every couple of blocks in downtown St. Petersburg.  Most riders are dressed for the heat.  Tank tops, flip flops, shorts.  At 7th Avenue North we picked up a woman clothed unlike the other passengers.  She had on a broad black sunhat with a gold chain around the crown, lovely sheath dress, large gold beaded necklace, and heels.

I assumed it was her church outfit.  She held up the line attempting to swipe her card. The machine kept rejecting her pass.  A rider behind her recommended just paying the fare.

That’s when Church Lady went Linda Blair.  She screeched, “I’ll be damned if I’m paying again!  I paid too much for this damn card in the first place.” As she careened down the aisle her rant continued.  She plopped down in the back row, howled a few more choice words, then settled back in her seat.

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When she was behind us I pretended to take a selfie.  Florida is a concealed carry state.  I didn’t intend to get myself shot by a demented trolley passenger for taking her photo.

Titters all around, surreptitious glances at other riders, and off we went.  For some reason, CL decided to move a row forward.  She sat in the seat opposite Jim’s.  I considered another photo but could picture her reaching into that big green bag and pulling out a Colt 45.  Left my phone on my lap.

About five stops later a somewhat stoned but harmless looking young man boarded.  He snoozed a few blocks, then climbed off the bus.  I watched as he began to walk away. Suddenly he turned, chased the bus and pounded on the windows.  Everyone was alarmed until it became apparent he was stopping the trolley for two bikers who would otherwise have missed it.

As they loaded their bikes to the front of the bus, Church Lady yelled, “Illegal!” She then held up her left hand, fingers outstretched in the universal, “Stop!” gesture.  I was amazed that several fellow passengers took her on, demanding she put her arm down and shut up.

Didn’t they know about the pistol in her tote?

Thereupon she marched herself to the front seat, glaring at anyone who made eye contact.

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A short while later she exploded again.  “I’m calling 911!  I’m having you locked up!  Arrested. Thrown behind bars. Put in jail.”  That guy in the yellow and blue shirt was nuts enough to demand she dummy up.  Several passengers behind me hollered at her. I hoped I didn’t get caught in the cross-fire.

Fortunately, she disembarked several blocks down the road.  The drama behind us.

We began watching for the “Pass-a-Grill Way” trolley stop.  Through Trip Advisor I’d identified The Brass Monkey on Pass-a-Grill as someplace to have lunch.  When the driver announced “Pass-a-Grill Way and 31st Street” I turned to Jim and said, “Do I pull the stop wire now?”

“Sure, why not.” he replied.

Here’s why not.  The Monkey Bar is at Pass-a-Grill Way and 8th Street.

We decided a walk would do us all good.  I pulled out my SPF 50+ umbrella and off we went.  After 4 blocks we realized walking in 90-degree heat was doing us no good at all.  At 26th Street we located a red and yellow Central Trolley stop sign.

Bronson and I hunkered down in a patch of shade while Jim patiently watched for the next bus.  The stench from Red Tide was sickening.  Few cars passed. And no trolleys trundled by for an half hour.

 

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Patient Jim, watching for the bus.

Eventually, we got a coach.  We were required to pay another $1.10 each.  But we wound up half a block from our destination.  The red tide smell was even worse so close to the sand so Jim requested a table indoors.  Many people were wearing masks.

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The place was busy with enthusiastic Buccaneers fans eager to see their team defeat the Eagles.

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We each ordered an adult beverage and food.  I love eating a very late lunch–at that point, it was 3:30.  It’s a trick allowing me to escape cooking dinner.  Following our meal, it was back on the trolley for home.  This time we didn’t make the mistake of pulling the “stop the bus” cord early.

Tonight we are headed to “Six on Seven” the regular Monday night gathering at six p.m. on the seventh floor.  I’ve got my mother’s meatloaf recipe prepared and ready to tuck into the oven as we walk out the door.  I’ve been making it for years.  It has two healthy tablespoons of horseradish mixed in.  Delicious.  And enough for leftovers tomorrow night.

So, good news for me, no cooking again tomorrow!

 

The dust has​ finally settled.

This summer has been a whirlwind.  We made an offer on The Perch (formerly know as Cloud Condo) on Memorial Day weekend.  It’s now Labor Day weekend and our lives have taken a marvelous 180-degree turn.

We still have some artwork to hang, a small chest of drawers to paint and then we need to hire someone to roll over these blindingly white walls.  But once that’s all done we will be totally MOVED!

From my seat, I can see The Central Avenue Trolley making it’s way South.  It will be my carriage to writing classes.  Because I no longer have a car.

We sold Gracie the Mini-Van.  We relocated to Saint Petersburg in large part to take advantage of the many places within walking distance.

A short list:  The Dali Museum.  The Holocaust Museum.  James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.  The new Imagine Museum.  We visited there yesterday. It’s all art glass.  Our neighbor works at Imagine and gave us a private tour.  Fascinating.  If you visit St. Pete, do yourselves the favor of–visit the Imagine Museum.

Not within walking distance, but on my bucket list, Deadly Rival Roller Derby!  I’ve only gone to Roller Derby one time.  It was a crazy blast.  Fans crowd the rink, screaming and cheering.  Look at the website.  There is a “Bruises Gallery.”  I’d post photos, but it’s not for the faint of heart.  Jim isn’t too eager to go to Roller Derby, but Brookie will.  She’s always up for a weird time.

In other news, I recently visited Bainbridge Island Washington.  Neice Katie is divorcing, moving from the marital home to a cute guest cottage on a friends property.  My sister, Marilyn and BIL Rob flew from Colorado to help her.  Since I’m so good at moving, having just done it myself, I offered my assistance.

 

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Katie with Marilyn and Rob.

 

 

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This place will soon have a fresh coat of paint.

 

 

 

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That’s me, unpacking the stuff Katie’s kids helped me wrap that morning.  They identified all the items they see mom using regularly.  My sister and I had a tricky time figuring out where to house everything in Katie’s new tiny kitchen.  Her nest is going to be darling.  Sort of a doll-house.

 

My flight from Tampa to Seattle was delayed for three hours due to lack of visibility at Seattle airport.  Forest fire smoke.  The wait was good because I read my book club novel–Lincoln in the Bardo.  Strange book.  Writer George Saunders imagination is massive. The novel is creepily creative and in parts hilarious.

While at airport gates I usually find myself glancing around and figuring out who I hope is seated next to me.  I noticed an obese woman in a wheelchair.  She had all sorts of flotsam and jetsom hanging from her seat, a bright green frog travel pillow draped around her neck and a small white “service” dog on her lap.  The dog’s vest read, “I am an emotional support dog.”

 

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Pixie is sharing the neck pillow. She is laying atop a wee teeny dog bed.

 

I thought, “Not her, please.”  Well, guess who my seatmates were?

Shirley.  And her small white dog, Pixie.  And her curly headed adult son.

I was on the aisle, Shirley and Pixie in the window seat.  Son boarded late, hauling along his guitar which he stowed in First Class.  It was decided he wanted the window seat.  There was a grand commotion as they shifted places.  Then, as Shirley stood bent over double, Son fished through her carry on and pulled out the following:

A small white blanket.  A tiny green plastic bowl.  A beige sit-upon that looked rather like bubble wrap. A black blindfold. A spoon.  That was used to feed Pixie Thai food Son had brought on board.  (I have an aversion to stinky food being brought onto airplanes.  I suppose I could write a letter.  Right after I write to the commissioner of baseball and demand games be reduced to five innings.  We recently went to a Ray’s game.  Four innings too long.  But I digress.)

Once Shirley, Son, and Pixie were finally settled she turned to me and said, “May I please have some water for the dog?  I forgot to buy a bottle.”  I filled the small green bowl from my $4.99 bottle of Smartie Pants water and Pixie drank happily.

Did I mention Shirley was big?  Really big. She spilled over into my seat whereupon I wedged myself into the far corner, and attempted to read.  But every time Shirley made a move her very large shadow cast my book into darkness.  Ultimately she wrapped her neck in the green frog, put on the blindfold and, using both armrests, went happily to sleep.

As we landed Shirley fished a tiny comb out of her Vera Bradley purse and proceeded to groom Pixie.

Once in a lifetime, right?

Not so much.  Guess who was across the aisle from me on my flight home?  Shirley, Pixie, and Son!

Once again there was a bustle of activity as Shirley got organized.  She piled Son’s lap with a mound of detritus from her carry on.  Then had to juggle Pixie as she attempted to put her bubble wrap pillow in her seat.

I offered to hold Pixie.  As I was attempting to take a selfie with the dog, the man seated in my window seat went NUTS.

 

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Failed selfie.  

 

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Crazy guy.

 

 

He ranted, “I know the rules!  I did the work!  You can’t hold that animal. No one can touch a service dog but the owner.”  The commotion brought a flight attendant running.  The flight attendant was unable to calm Mr. Chucklehead down.  So he called the purser.

Meanwhile, I stood with Pixie balanced in my arms and tried to sort through, “What now?”  Shirley quickly relieved me of the 2-pound burden.

Then, at Chuck’s feet, I noticed a black blanket.  The blanket moved.  Underneath was a full-size white poodle. The dog’s fur was groomed into the Mohawk atop its head.  I assumed it was also wearing a service dog vest, but the owner kept hiding the poor animal beneath the blanket.

At one point I made eye contact with the dog.  Chucklehead reached down to cover the animal’s eyes, turning it’s face away from me.  Clearly, no one is to interact with his service dog. He spent the entire flight watching home movies of the animal on his telephone.  Odd.

Now, on to exercise.  I’ve been taking the elevator down four flights and hiking back up the stairs.  I’m working my way up to get in shape for a November visit to Galena, Illinois.  Friend Jane lives atop a steep hill.  We walk everywhere.  If I survive the hill I will have to mount a perpendicular driveway followed by a long set of stairs.  Sandy, the showoff, climbs mountains, rides her bike, teaches Pilates and maintains she’s going to leave me in the street to die rather than lug me along.

So, off I go!

 

 

 

 

The Artist’s Way

 

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I am rereading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.  I found the book while digging out our house in preparation for selling it.  I read The Artist’s Way in 2011 when we were on vacation.  I had just sold a fountain to Costco–my first solo design.  I was feeling flush, so promptly took my new found wealth and spent it, booking travel to Europe.  I only remembered I took the book on our adventure when I found an Oceania menu stuck between pages 138 and 139.

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Oh my goodness, did I eat a lot on that trip.  I recall sailing into Venice while eating figs slathered with cream cheese.  I gained close to a pound a day for the ten days of travel.  It was a spendid oinkilicious feeding frenzy.  Naturally, all those good meals were washed down with vats of wine glorious wine.

But I digress. Finding this book again, actually titled, The Artist’s Way A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, at this particular time is no accident.  I’m reinventing myself creatively.

I got rid of all my canvases, paints, and most of my brushes.  Jim and I dropped them off with acquaintances who are having monthly garage sales to raise money for a dog shelter.

Last night I told a group of party-goers I’d dumped those things and they looked horrified.  “What!  But you’re a painter!  Won’t you miss it?”

Nope, I won’t.

I feel a weight has been lifted.  I have painted for money for decades.  I do not associate painting with pleasure.  To me it’s a means to an end.

I need to create, just like I need to breath. But I want to create for the joy of the process.  I decided to state my truth.  I want to write.  By saying it outright I own it.  I will manifest it.  I will write.  I will take classes in creative writing.  I will journal.  I will blog.  I will trust the universe will give me what I need to live my dream.

I kept my colored pencils.  Perhaps I’ll write and illustrate children’s books.  I know I’ll do one for my grandson, Tate.  Other than that, I don’t know.  What I do know, in my gut,  is it will happen.

I’ll also continue to play around with my Brother Sewing machine, felted wool and vintage buttons.  Perhaps I’ll sell my wares at the monthly Saturday Morning Markets that take place 29 floors below our new home.  I’ve named it Cloud Condo.  I picture days when we’ll be enveloped in clouds, unable to see past the edge of our balcony.  Won’t that be eerily fun?

The Artist’s Way is waking me up.  Julia has me writing my “morning pages” daily.  Three Mead notebook sheets of whatever spills out of my mind.  And I’m not to reread them.   After I write I feel centered.  More Alice, less angst.

There are also exercises.  Jim did one.  It is in the chapter titled A Sense of Abundance.  The chapter centers our attention on our relationship to money and on allowing ourselves luxury.  Luxury means something different to everyone.  To me those cream cheese laden figs were luxury.

Each chapter has exercises.  The Sense of Abundance chapter includes an exercise called “money madness.” Jim did that one. Here is what he wrote.  I particularly like two things he said, “Money equals money.”  And “Being broke tells me I didn’t make good decisions.”

That speaks volumes to me.  I’ve been in relationships where people don’t take responsibility for their financial situation.  They lay blame on everything but their own choices.  Jim, my excellent gentle husband, hasn’t got that “It ain’t my fault” mindset.

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As I write my morning pages I record the many things I am grateful for.  Everything from little joys like cream cheese, marvelous necessities like opposable thumbs,  and the gift of this union.

Each week I am supposed to take myself on an artist’s date.  All alone.  Something that feeds my imagination.  Today my artist’s date is going to see the movie Incredibles 2.  I adore animated films, Jim, not so much.  So I and my inner artist are having a date!  Yay!

 

 

 

Got it done!

In an earlier blog post, I referenced a commission I had to create an evening purse repurposing an elegant evening jacket, yards of vintage silk and lace, along with some random faux pearl baubles.  These bits and pieces had once belonged to friend Sheryl’s mother-in-law

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I did what I always do, took on the work with not a clue how I would manage to make it.  The final result surprised even me!

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The front of the bag.

 

The back.
I used the little pasty looking fripperies where the handle attaches to the bag.

I learned a lot from this enterprise.  It boosts my confidence to take on more complex designs.  For now, my Brother sewing machine is put away.  We are working hard to get this home on the market early next week.

It’s hard to believe how quickly this move came up!  Was it really only three weeks ago Jim and I took our misty St. Petersburg bike ride?  Our new home will be about 800 square feet smaller than our current home.

We’ve been purging like crazy.  Fortunately St. Petersburg acquaintances are holding monthly garage sales to raise money to fund a dog rescue.  Several times a week we load up our mini-van, Gracie, and make the forty-five-minute drive to Jean and Art’s.  They are delighted by the donations, while we are thrilled to have a place to send everything.

 

I actually got rid of all my mountains of art supplies.  Canvases, gone!  Bags filled with Golden brand acrylics, gone!  Drawers filled with scrapbooking supplies, history.  Paintbrushes, boxes and boxes of brushes are a thing of my past.  My cow painting is my official swan song.

I did, however, keep my sewing stuff, button collection, jewelry making supplies and my Prismacolor pencils.  Time to reinvent me.  Perhaps I’ll write the children’s books I’ve long dreamed of creating.  Life is a wonderful adventure.

I manifested a condominium​!

Our friends, Doug and Charki, live in St Petersburg.  Charki is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking.  She suggested I picture our new home firmly in my mind and simply walk toward it as if it already exists.

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  What she DIDN’T tell me is how fast the thinking could make things magically appear!

Two weeks ago they invited us to come ride bikes around the city.  Charki had learned there might be a unit coming on the market that could be in our price range.   Why not hop on bikes and check the area out?

It was a misty day, but still fine for bike riding.  My goodness, the sedentary lifestyle I’ve adopted has taken its toll!   I was sore for days following our six-mile ride.

First stop, Whispering Waters, the building Charki had mentioned.  Only three stories tall but with nice screened porches and in a good location.

Then we proceeded into the heart of the city.  Charki wanted to check out Saturday Morning Market and buy gifts for friends.  The market happens weekly, October through May.  It’s a combination of farmers market, food vendors, and crafters.  She found two pretty necklaces.

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Beside the market, I noticed a tall building I’d identified on realtor.com.  There was an available unit on the 9th floor. I said, “Hey, how about if I go in the lobby and see what’s what with the apartment?”

So we peddled over, locked up the bikes and entered the lobby.

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I approached the young man behind the desk, Jordan, and asked him about the unit for sale.  He offered to have a realtor there in fifteen minutes. “No, thanks,” I said,”we are already working with someone.”

He said, “How about if I call the owners and ask if Juan, our maintenance man, can show it to you right now.”

And he did!  Sadly the view was of a roof loaded with air-conditioners.  Not pretty.

On the car ride home I called our darling realtor, Judy, and she said, “I’ll meet you there tomorrow.  There are several other units for sale.”

Back we went on Sunday.  Up up up to the 29th floor where I proceeded to fall in love.

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You can see that roof full of air conditioners on the right-hand side of this picture.

 

On a clear day, looking left you can see all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  At least that’s what we’ve been told.  We’ve never been there on a clear day.  Florida in summer means rain rain rain.  Looking right is the Tampa Bay.  Below is a pool, putting green, weight room (I don’t intend to ever go there…shudder) and several other big rooms for giving large parties, if you so desire.

We sat in one of those rooms and stunned our realtor by making an offer.  It was accepted.  We close on July 12th.

There are things here I will miss a lot, in particular, several close friends we’ve been lucky enough to make.  I’ve already arranged a standing date to drive out here and share lunch with them once a month. And I’ll continue to come to the ‘burbs for book club.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned there are classes in creative writing just a fifteen-minute walk from our front door.  The library is a ten-minute stroll.  Perhaps I’ll eventually peddle my purses at the Saturday Morning Market!

The Power of Positive thinking worked again!  YAY!  Now, back to cleaning closets and purging our stuff

 

 

 

 

Moving!

We have decided to move to a condominium in St. Petersburg.  We want to walk to plays, restaurants, museums.  We want to sit on Beach Drive and people watch, attend weekly farmers markets, visit interesting shops and galleries.

We have targeted a certain location.  Sadly, the builder hasn’t even broken ground yet. Pre-selling begins in the fourth quarter of this year.  10% savings for buying early.  Yay that.  Then we will have a wait.  A very LONG wait.  The is builder The Kolter Group–they put up a forty-one story high rise at the corner of First Street and First Avenue.  The name of this beauty is ONE.  There are only a few units available.

That building has been five years in the making.

The one we’re told about will be shorter–twenty-one stories.  In my imagination, that means it will take half the time.  Our realtor Judy is skeptical.  Very skeptical.

None-the-less I am cleaning out!  Packing up junk piled around here and putting it in my Etsy shop.  Five years from now this place will echo.  Everything must GO.

Today’s project–craft supplies (mine) and mini size Toby Jugs (Jim’s).  He collected those funny looking little things for years–back before the internet made them easily available for next to no money.   We kept only two–‘arry and ‘arriette.

I’m too lazy to photograph them individually, so they are going (I hope sooner rather than later) as a “lot.”

Next, I’ll ask Jim to crawl into the attic and fish out all our old Avon Christmas plates and figurines.  But first I need to ask my daughter which she may want.  She has NO storage now, but that might change in the next few years while our new digs are being built.

Here are the beauties that are listed, packed and ready to ship!

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I kept the templates of tiny furniture pieces.  I’ll need them to figure out where to put our sofas, chairs, and tables in our NEW CONDO!

Other things I’ve done–crawled along the kitchen floor and re-stained the quarter round at the base of my cabinets.  Then I went outside and rubbed lemon oil all over the front door.  Yes, I know I’ll have to do those things again several times before we go.  I’m practicing getting ready to show this house!

St. Petersburg, here we come.

(Just don’t hold your breath.)

 

Sewing Lessons

Recently, when my Brother brand sewing machine finked out on me I discovered AA White Sewing Center in Holiday, Florida.

Co-owners Mike and Sherrie, a married couple, have owned the store for two years.  Mike quickly fixed my machine.  In the moments while I waited I struck up a conversation with Sherrie.  I told her what my sewing dilemmas were and learned she teaches classes.  So I set up a private lesson for the next week.

I spend my days’ sewing.  I decided it was high time to sort out how the heck to do it.

WOW!  She taught me how to sew my purse linings in with the machine, how to make a pattern template with thick plastic instead of using graph paper and several other neat little tricks.

Fast forward–I was given another commission.  This one is to turn a vintage beaded blazer, some ecru silk, handcrafted lace and a couple of baubles that look like pasties into an evening bag.

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This project is so far over my pay grade.  I immediately made an appointment for another private lesson.

While Sherrie and I sat quietly ripping out blazer seams I began asking her about life outside of AA White Sewing Center.  I learned she and Mike were Maryland High School sweethearts.  He refused to take Shop with all the other guys and insisted he should be allowed Home Ec.  He was such a rabble-rouser in class the teacher made him clean and oil all the sewing machines as his punishment.

They married shortly after graduation.  I don’t remember how they wended their way to Florida.  What I do know is Sherrie has done six triathlons.  She started running when her mom got sick with multiple myeloma.  Her first race was with Team in Training–a marathon–to fundraise for cancer research  I did that years ago.  So difficult.  I did NOT fall in love with exercise.

Sherrie did.  Last weekend she was in Texas where she swam in a lake for miles.  Then she ran to a changing tent, put on bike gear and rode her bicycle 112 miles.  Following that she changed again and ran a full 26.2-mile marathon!  She came in second place.

I got sweaty just imagining all that exercise.

Today I am actually wrestling myself away from the sewing machine.  Jim, who golfs every Tuesday and Thursday, will be home.  Our rainy season is beginning, no golf for him.  So we have a date!  Lunch, a movie, and a field trip to Whole Foods.  Tomorrow night is our monthly Game Night with our buddies.  They always make fabulous charcuterie platters. I’m planning to up my game.

Fed ex just delivered artwork by my two-year-old grandson, Tate.  An ass. (The artwork, not the grandson.)

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On the back, Mo wrote a sweet note.  She thanked me for not killing her during the two-year-old tantrum stage.  I don’t remember many Mo tantrums.  However, one spectacular moment comes to mind. I failed to call her “Brucie”–a name she adopted when she was three or four.  She also chewed out her pre-school teacher for the same mistake.  She sat on the top of the sliding board, head spinning on her neck Linda Blair style, and howled, “I AM NOT MAUREEN!!  CALL ME BRUCIE!”  The teacher may not have been amused, but I was.

More artwork by cute Tate.

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