Saturday, 8 June 2013

Busy doing nothing.

This has been such a gorgeously peaceful day.  My contentment level is at about 99%.

I had nothing “to do” except to pray, to enjoy life, and to pamper my pets.

Well, in the “to do” department there was a quick trip to the market to get some Fava beans, zucchini and butter.  But buying “Fava (Broad) Beans” and the anticipation of eating them is for me more of a spiritual experience than a shopping task!

That being understood I relaxed.
I finished reading some “New Yorker” magazine articles.
 I immersed myself in a library book entitled: “Finding Moosewood Finding God” by Jack Perkins (Zondervan 2013) . 
The book jacket blurb added (What Happened When a TV Newsman Abandoned His Career for Life On An Island”)
I comment: (It’s a lovely tale).

THEN I turned my attention to the T.V. channels C-Span 1 and C-Span2  

( )

C-Span is one of the finest (and underrated)  T.V. organisations.

Today C-Span featured  wonderful programmes about books.

1. I was enthralled as the  Boston Globe’s  Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy talked about their new book (which I will certainly purchase) “Whitey Bulger –America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice”.

2. I was intrigued to listen to Marvin Kalb as he chatted about his important book “The Road to War: Presidential Commitments, Honored and Betrayed”.

3.  I was fascinated as ex-CIA operative Lou Mehrer talked about a little known Cold War operation in Berlin: “Operation Gold- the Berlin Tunnel” . See


A.     C Span is a national treasure – a shining star in T.V’s trivial wasteland.

B.    I am so blessed to be “busy doing nothing” on a lovely day in my 8th year of retirement.   AMDG.
C.  In the midst of this I treasure my "friendship"  with my gorgeous Penne


Friday, 7 June 2013

Tropical Storm Tales

My first experience of a tropical storm in SRQ was T.S. Debby back in June 2012. 

At that time I wrote words to this effect “if a tropical storm can be this dangerous I will be fearful should we be hit by a hurricane”.

Tropical storm Andrea arrived, stayed, and left SRQ yesterday. She was not as tough as was Debby.

So far as I know the heavy rains started in SRQ at about 3:00 a.m.  – for that was the time I was awakened.

By 7:00 a.m. there was a brief respite from the heavy rain – enough to take my dog Penne for a successful “poop walk”. 

 The lull in the storm lasted through 7:30 a.m. enabling me to get gas/petrol at the local “Dodge” store, and to stock up on some supplies at SRQ’s “Trader Joes” store.

I wanted to get some bottled water at Trader Joes  - “just in case”.   But I was shocked to note that T.J’s bottled water is imported from Fiji and from New Zealand.  

That involves a very horrendous “carbon footprint”.  I chatted about this with the checkout clerk, then she very politely pointed out to me that the package of cooked baby beets (beetroot in U.K. English) in my cart were also imported  - from France.

Of course I understand that many fine wines or cheeses are imported, and that our obsession with fresh fruit and vegetables in or out of season leads to massive imports from central or south America. 

I know too that many “fresh cut” flowers are grown in Africa and flown here. It seems sad that water hungry countries in Africa are using their important natural resource to grow flowers for the western world.

Bottled water from New Zealand and Fiji seems over the top.  

Sarasota’s tap water is just fine. The only time I need bottled H2O  is just in case of a cut in supply during a major storm. 

Eschewing New Zealand water  yesterday, I went to another store  and  purchased bottles of spring water from Zephyr Hills, some forty or so miles from here.  

If I were truly smart I would save some empty 1 gallon water jugs, and fill them from my tap just before a storm.  But I am not always smart.

Late yesterday afternoon the rain stopped so I took Penne for a walk around a local pond.  The sky had deceived me - there was sunshine  to the west.  

Halfway around the pond a deluge began. I had not noticed the dark clouds to the east.  

Penne and I took shelter in a public Gazebo, but we were already soaked.

T.S. Andrea spawned a couple of local small tornadoes.  Fortunately they caused just a wee bit of property damage, though sadly enough a horse had to be euthanised out in Myakka City (17 miles east of SRQ)  after the barn in which it lived was felled by a mini-tornado.

There was also some local flooding.  The following photo's from the internet edition of our local newspaper show some of the flooding - in this case right outside the home of our friends Ron and Charlotte down at Gulf Gate SRQ.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Healthcare USA style - for we who have good insurance.

The photo dermatitis on my right arm which was diagnosed on May 25th has not gone away.  The good physician at the Urgent Care Clinic I visited that day prescribed a low dose of prednisone for five days, plus liberal applications of cortisone cream. -- ‘Twas not enough, cause after eleven days my right arm was still hugely inflamed and very itchy.

Fortunately I was able to get an appointment (at less than 24 hours notice) to see my very good Dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Stroble this morning.  She confirmed the diagnosis of either photo or contact dermatitis. 

Dr. Stroble upped the ante --- so now I am on another dose of prednisone: 60 mg per day for four days, then 40 mg for four days, then 20 mg for another four days, together with a prescription only “triamcinolone” cream. After just one prednisone dose of 60 mg the relief is palpable.

I hope that these meds will have dealt with my symptoms by the close of my 12 day prednisone regime.

But of course the meds (pills and cream) will alleviate the symptoms - but they will not address the cause.

For as best as I can understand photo/contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to ultra-violet light which can be triggered by a whole host of medications, or by certain foods.

The foods could include the external contact with foods such as carrot, parsnip, or parsley when the “juices” of these vegetables make contact with the skin.

Or it could be triggered by the ingestion of medications (the list of suspect drugs is so very long and it includes antibiotics).  

I am starting to wonder if my “trigger” was the antibiotics I took after my MOHS surgery on May 13th, (my symptoms emerged a few days thereafter).  I’ll never know unless and until I take the same antibiotic again
1. I am grateful for Dr. Stroble who saw me today at short notice.
2. I am grateful that my Episcopal Church insurance plan enabled me to get medications at a cost to me of $7.82 rather than at the retail price of $30.

3. I wish that every American enjoyed such “socialist” health care – as is enjoyed by a select few Americans such as active and retired Episcopal Church Clerics, and active and retired Military.

4. I worry about some of the side effects of prednisone (see below).  “A pill for every ill” may not be the best medicine.

difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
inappropriate happiness
extreme changes in mood
changes in personality
bulging eyes
thin, fragile skin
red or purple blotches or lines under the skin
slowed healing of cuts and bruises
increased hair growth
changes in the way fat is spread around the body
extreme tiredness
weak muscles
irregular or absent menstrual periods
decreased sexual desire
increased sweating

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Pictures from the web ( N.B. first one is NSFW)

Is this the truth?   (I suspect so)

Via my friend Kate
From the web:  "The moment you discover that you  are the middle child"

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sunday, 2 June 2013

222 - June Two - Two events - Too much food.

I was down at St. David's Church in Englewood FL this morning to serve as a "supply Priest"  on the Sunday before their new Rector  begins his ministry.

The people of St. David's and I enjoy each other.

This, being the first Sunday of the month, was St. David's "after service breakfast day".

So after the 8:00 Eucharist I feasted on biscuits with gravy, cheese grits, scrambled eggs, and sausage. It was darn good food.


Back in SRQ,  after walking Penne I took myself to the home of my good friends Jack and Donna Chrisman for lunch.

Donna, Jack and I enjoy each other.

Lunch was a fabulous frittata, alongside imported  English back bacon and "bangers" (sausages). Too good to be true!.


Great and delicious food in both places, alongside great company.

But the irresistible food was off my normal diet, so  "blimey  am I bloated"!


It will be back to fruit and veggies  for the next few days.