Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Life's Moments (not always good).

(1) Please pray for my Palestinian friends in the diaspora:  Wafa, Leila, Hani (1), Hani (2), Nejwa, Matthew and Eric.  Their hearts are aching, their minds are numbed.

(2) Maggie was a sixteen year old Westie, the beloved dog/friend/companion of my pal Bob (and of Bob's departed partner Keith.

Maggie had to be "put down" today because of complications from her kidney failure.  That's tough for Bob (as all other dog owners will understand).

(3) My junior cat Adelaide has in recent days been yowling persistently by the back door  - her way of telling me that she wants to go out of the house.

I have occasionally given into her pleas and let her out, thus violating  the rules of our Condominium Association (and the rule of common sense - "think about the birds")

I gave in to her cries and let her out yesterday evening. (She  cuts a fine figure as she explores the great outdoors).

Then off I went to bed with never a thought about Adelaide.  When I awoke this morning I remembered that I had left her outside all night.

There she was at the back door, miaowing plaintively to be let back in. Goodness knows for how long she had sustained these nocturnal cries.

BUT she's not once "asked me" to let her go outside today!

(4)  And my new "specs" arrived at the Opticians' Office today (just one day after my ultimatum which yesterday led to a 50% refund on the cost  ---tee hee!).

Ultimatums and discounts aside, it is now much easier to read.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Life's good moments (2)

On my way home from the Dodge Store and Gas station yesterday [see "Life's good moments (1) ] I stopped by my local Publix Supermarket to pick up this and that.

I entered the Supermarket and saw that my very favourite clerk/cashier, a woman named "Lowie" was on duty.

In truth she saw me first,  and greeted me with her usual joyful enthusiasm. I said "when I have shopped I will come to your check-out even if it has the longest queue".

As it happened her line was very short so I was able to keep my promise.

She asked "Do you remember Kyle"?

Of course I do, he was a High School kid who formerly worked at this Publix Store. He was an inspiration for he worked with energy, skill, enthusiasm and general bonhomie.  His good mother Barbara also worked at this store, and she became one of my favourite staff members.

In due course Kyle graduated High School.  He opted for a career in the Air Force.

'Twas about nine months ago that Barbara told me that her son Kyle had been posted to Afghanistan. I promised to pray for him every day.

Then I lost sight of Barbara.  It transpires that she has been very ill.

Lowie brought me up to date. Kyle's  four year stint in the Air Force has ended.  He is now back at home and has been hired in a Management training programme at Publix. He is working at their Longboat Key Store.

I wish him good luck, but since his store is about ten miles away from my home I doubt that our paths will easily cross.  In the meantime I worry and pray for his good Mum Barbara.

Dammit  I do not have their 'phone number, nor do I know their last name.


If you read the saga of my new eyeglasses you will remember that there have been inexplicable and annoying delays (four weeks!) on the part of the Independent Opticians who work out of a local Target Store.

Last week I called them and said that I would cancel my order if it had not been completed by today.

So off I went to Target this afternoon. My new frames were in a basket labelled "hot order".  The Manager was sincerely sorry, but she had to tell me that the lenses had not yet arrived.

She asked if I still wished to cancel, but added that she would grant me a 50% refund  if I would "hang in there for a while".

That refund amounts to $133.  (Better than the  $75 refund which had been my mental "bottom line"!).

So I will be patient. With any luck the new frames and lenses which were billed for over $500 will cost me $133,  thanks to the excellent Eye-Med programme which is part of  my Episcopal Church Retirement Medical Insurance, and to a Target Optical Services Manager who offered me this decent refund.

Yours, from the almost 1%,


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Life's good moments (1)

When I got home from Church and from sharing Holy Communion with an at home parishioner this morning I noted that my car's gas/petrol tank was moving towards "fumes".

Certain as I was  that every gas/petrol station in the world would be closed on Monday morning, I drove out at 4:00  to get twenty bucks' worth at my local "Dodge's Store" petrol/gas pumps. (Best prices in this neck of the wood, and wonderfully friendly staff).

I entered the store since  I was being extremely old fashioned and was  paying by cash. Another customer, an apparently fifty-something man, greeted me with warmth, enthusiasm, and a big handshake.

It took me a minute or so before I realised that we knew each other because he had been a guest at Resurrection House (Sarasota's Day Shelter for Homeless people).   To be truthful I would never have recognized him, but he knew me.

Turns out that he is now back on his feet, and has had a full time job for a number of years. He said that he does not need the services at Res. House these days, but that he would be there again should he fall into need.

So dear folks

(a)  please remember that (despite what the newspapers may report)  many homeless people are anxious to work, and to find permanent and affordable housing,

(b)  that agencies such as Res House often give people the temporary leg up which they need,

(c) that only the wilfully ignorant believe all the scary myths about the homeless, and that

(d) a formerly homeless man brought joy to my heart today (this after a Church service which had been boring to the max!)
Dodge Store via Google Street View

Saturday, 19 July 2014

No news was good news

I am at the end of my fast from the news media. I am none the worse, and much the better after this sabbatical from news and chatter created anxiety.

I walked with Penne at leisure, prayed, spot cleaned some stains in my very old bedroom carpet, defrosted and cooked the last of my "fourth of July Special" steak, and ate it with sautéed asparagus and green bell pepper.


A friend from Church is in the hospital having had part of one leg amputated earlier this week.  Soon he will begin receiving treatments for bladder cancer.

I visited him today. His room T.V. was on  (chatter, chatter, chatter  from CNN). At my request he turned it off in less than a minute.

For once I was not in a hurry. He opened up and chatted not about the surgery, but about many of the sad failures and disappointments of his life. I listened.

You know, sometimes  we meet people in Church where they put on a good face, leading us to believe that they have their shit together. (It's hard to be honest in Church).  But once in a while we are able to break through the b.s. of religiosity and talk about life as it is, not life as we perform it.

Thus it was today.  I was moved to hear his story, and honoured that he trusted it with me. I, for once,  did not offer counsel. I simply listened, and then pronounced God's blessing.


I finished reading Iris Murdoch's novel "The Bell".  Oh my goodness she understand human nature, and the foibles and follies of religious life.  None of her characters are entirely wonderful. None of them are utterly bad.  I venture to say that we'd have a more healthy Church if we understood, as does Iris Murdoch, than none of us are entirely wonderful, nor are any of us incorrigibly bad.


I began to read David Reynold's  book  - "The Long Shadow:  The Legacies Of The Great War In The Twentieth Century".  (Norton 2014).  This is an important book about which I shall write more in a few days.


Early evening saw me visiting with my gorgeous octogenarian friend Betty and a new friend Carole.   Betty and Carole are much more interesting than CNN news.


And then there is Penne.  She is in canine heaven when I am at home for most of the day. She sets up shop in which ever room I am.  She sometimes lies down on my bed.  I sit beside her and begin some sweet talk.  Her tail wags, and wags, and wags.  She stretches out on her left side, and puts her right front leg over my arm.   Then she moves her body and  pushes me away so that I can give her a belly and nipple rub.  Damn that dog reads me so well.


There is some news which is good news.