Friday, 26 January 2018

I love being silly!

Ben was a dear friend to many of us in the Glen Oaks communities.

He lived alone after the death of his dear partner Bruce.

Ben was in his nineties; was very deaf; and was legally blind.

But he was so smart.  To avoid aloneness he held open house every evening at 5:00.  There could be as few of us as three in attendance.  Sometimes there were as many as fourteen.

We called it Ben's Bar.

After his death (Dec 2016) we decided to keep Ben's Bar  alive, but  only on Friday evenings. We stay connected,

We take it in turn to host.

It was my turn tonight (Jan 26th). ( Zion was a perfect gentleman in the face  of thirteen guests ).

I love to tease!  Our friend Rick P is utterly teaesable.

This is how I greeted  him today. He loved it! 

Rick resisted,  He does not drink gin. He loved my  huma!

Where shopping WAS a pleasure (OR "Au Revoir "L")

The dominant and all but monopolistic supermarket chain in S.W. Florida is Publix (head-quartered in Lakeland, FL).

Previous readers will know that I am not their greatest fan.

This is because:

1.  I despise monopolies.

2.  They refuse to sign on to the  Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) Fair Food Program.

3.  They push plastic shopping bags:  e.g. cashiers/ check out clerks are mandated to ask "is plastic O.K.?

4.  All too much of the produce is placed on styrofoam trays  covered with plastic wrap ( why, for instance, is it necessary to place (for example)  three Zucchinis on such a tray).


So I am not a a great fan of Publix, except that my local store is smaller than most, enabling me to know many of the staff by  name.

The best has been L....: smart, efficient, joyful and witty. 

She has been the one  reason why some in my neck of the woods have been able affirm that shopping at Publix can be a pleasure.

I have not seen L. in recent days.    I enquired  about her today.

Turns out that her husband has cancer and dementia,so she's had to quit.

So long L., shopping was a pleasure when you worked at my local Publix.


P.S.  I almost forgot to tell you (ha!) that I took Zion (a.k.a. Mr Perfect) to two Nursing Homes today (Jan 25th).  He was a hit!

Maybe he and I have a new ministry.  After all, DOG is GOD  spelled in reverse.

Stock photo', not Mr. Perfect

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

We met again - it was good.

North Cattleman Rd, SRQ

I was there today for my follow up with the vascular surgeon.  The good news is that the blood circulation to my left leg is now normal.  Next to my right leg.

The surgeons' office is on the second floor. Their surgical suite is downstairs on the first floor.

On my way out I had it in mind to go to the surgical suite to thank the staff, because  they had treated me so well.

I didn't get that far.   As I walked down the stairs the two R.N.'s and the P.A. who had assisted in the surgery were walking up.

I recognised them, and they recognised me (surprising because they know me best from the waist down!).

Such skilled, caring and utterly cheerful staff!    How good to be able to thank them face to face.

And of course I am mindful that I live in a modern city with ample access to health care (thanks to my insurance), and utterly skilled staffs.  

My gratitude indeed for this privilege. 

The story would be very different if I lived in deep rural America, or if I were uninsured, or if I were in an overflowing refugee camp.

None of my privilege is by right.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

This is simply not fair. I am devastated.

Darn it.   I discovered today  that Zion  (Mr. Perfect) has a fatal flaw.   I will have to return him to the shelter.

He is no good at Algebra.    What a disappointment.


In truth I took him to see my 93 years old friend Betty.  She is legally blind, fiercely independent, very feisty and funny -  and a WWII era Marine (as was her late husband Joe, who also served in Korea).

Here is such a sweet and tender photo' of Betty and Zion.

With this in mind I'll overlook the Algebra failure!

Monday, 22 January 2018

The Dog of the Month Club (or "Meeting Mr.Perfect")

First, a wee word about my post surgery health.  My strength is back and I can now cough without hurting. My appetite is returning. I had a yen for comfort food today, so I  made mac and cheese with meatballs for lunch (so unhealthy and so good). I see the Vascular Surgeon again on Wednesday.  

Yesterday I wrote a blog about the preparations I have made for when I die.  Two dear friends commented (tongue in cheek)  that they like my dog blogs much better.  I am happy to oblige! And I promise that I will not talk again about Zion for at least twenty four hours.  😛


I visited my friend Bob L at his Retirement Community last Saturday.

I told him that I would be adopting Zion that day.

"Oh" he said (with a twinkle in his eye), "so you are still a member of the Dog of the Month club".

If you know my history with Ben the Greyhound and Izzy the Catahoula Leopard Dog you will get his humour!  


Now I have a new name for Zion.  It is "Mr. Perfect".

I am so blessed.  

* He responds perfectly to instructions.

* He walks well without pulling on the leash.

* He is house trained.

* He is very responsive to to command to sit or to ait

* He loves people.

* He is so very comfortable and happy with other dogs.

* He wants to be near me at all times.

* He is laid back and "gentle to the max"

I even allow him to sleep on the sofa.

In short, he is "Mr. Perfect", bringing so much joy to my life.

Good Lord above, I am so blessed to have Zion as my new and bestest canine friend.

Sadly my nosey parker and  opinionated neighbor B.I. ( a very lapsed pre-Vatican II  Catholic) told me that she did not like the name "Zion" because it is too Jewish. I wanted to ":take her on " but in the presence of another R.C. neighbour  I reminded  her that Jesus,Mary, Peter and Paul were Jews.

I break all the rules and allow Zion to rest and sleep on the sofa.

I took Zion to visit my friend Charlotte this afternoon. He shamelessly rolled over so that she could rub his belly. 

Char's brother in law Den is a bit afraid of dogs. But despite his face,  he loved it when Zion craved his attention.  Den's wife Karen looks om.

 I am one lucky son of a gun.  Zion is a joy and delight.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The shortness and uncertainty of human life

"O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be Numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life

This is an excerpt from a prayer written by the Anglican Theologian and Bishop Jeremy Taylor (BornAugust 15, 1613, Cambridge, England Died: August 13, 1667, Lisburn, Ireland.)  Note that he was just 54 years old when he died,and that he was imprisoned five times when the Puritans/Independents/Separatists ruled the Church roost in the Commonwealth Period in England. 

He knew of what he spoke. It's a good and necessary prayer.


Never more so when we, (but only the relatively prosperous) western Europeans and north Americans, have been seduced into thinking that Medical Science will give us a shot at semi immortality, (whatever the cost).

It ain't necessarily so.  I have been reminded of this as some of my dear friends in their eighties face increasing incapacity.

The shortness and uncertainty of human life came home to me when my brother Stephen died suddenly  at the age of 63, and as I entered my 70's.  


Some versions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer told  Ministers to instruct parishioners to make wills. Good advice! I've made my will.

And I have made a Living Will which has appointed  a Health Care Proxy ( who will make decisions should  I be unable able to make my own); paid for the cremation of my remains;  and secured a burial spot.

I live alone in Florida. My family members are in the U.K.  I have spared them a burden.

In addition my Physician and I have signed a "Do Not Resuscitate" order (Florida law demands that this be printed on yellow coloured paper.) I have placed this and other instructions on my fridge door.

I am told that EMT's look at the fridge for such directions, hence the yellow coloured paper.

I do not expect to die soon but I am deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life.

On my fridge door.