Monday, 30 March 2020

Creative activities to fill the hours during social distancing.

Am I bored?   Not a chance.  Here is how I fill my days.

I have an old fashioned egg timer, timed for four minutes. I turn it over and watch it fifteen times.  There goes an hour.

My finger nails need clipping.  I do one a day. Ten days of creative activity.

I save my pots, pans,  and dishes from a couple of meals. I wash them by hand.  Makes for a scintillating eighteen minutes each afternoon.

This is for real!  I am re-staining a wooden outdoor bench which was given to me by a neighbour.  Given the many slats and angles, upside down and right side up, this truly is a three day endeavour.

Or as the old song from the film "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"  puts it.

"Busy doing nothing,
working the whole day through.
Trying to find
Lots of things not to do.
Busy going nowhere,
Isn't it just a crime.
We'd like to be unhappy,
But we never could find the time" 


YUM! 30th March 2020

Green Beans steamed al dente, and then chilled.

Served with chopped walnuts.

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Darn good!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

On Being Tickled during the Crisis.

There is nothing like a good tickle to lift one's spirits in crisis days.

In my case it was my palate which was tickled thanks to Ashley (Chrisman) Lloyd.

She made Scotch eggs and gave me some.

Before cooking (frying)

After cooking

Cut in half, and eaten with British/Irish  style Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, "Bachelors", (an Irish company), or "Heinz" available, at least in Sarasota, in the International Foods section at Publix Supermarkets  and with grilled mushrooms.

All done now!

Ashley used Quail eggs, so the ones she made are smaller than the U.K. and Irish versions which are usually made with hen's eggs.

Nonetheless they were delicious.

Scotch Eggs eaten cold  are part and parcel of Irish/U.K. summer picnics; pub food; and buffet lunches (when will we see these again?)

Thanks Ashley  for my Scotch Eggs Covid 19 tickle!


Here is a bit more about them:

Saturday, 28 March 2020

My community featured in the newspaper's Market Snapshot

PRINT STORY  HERE ( Many photo's below)

From the Herald-Tribune

Conveniently located 55+ community was once the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus winter quarters
Glen Oaks Ridge, a 55+ community, occupies part of the southeastern quadrant of the intersection of Beneva Road and 17th Street. The entire area is known as Glen Oaks and has its main entrance just to the west of the Bobby Jones Golf Course. As one of the subdivisions, Glen Oaks Ridge lies on the left side of the ingress road, Prudence Drive, and shares the great location and distinctive history of the entire neighborhood.
In the early 1920s, when the area served as Sarasota County’s fairgrounds, Beneva Road was just a dirt lane. From 1927 until 1960, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus kept its winter quarters there, drawing crowds of locals and tourists to watch performers train animals and refine their various acts. In 1951, Hollywood filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille shot his circus epic The Greatest show on Earth on the grounds.
There are rumors that when the circus moved to Venice, it left some of the retired horses and elephants buried on the property, but none have ever been found.
The next owner of the land, the Arvida Corporation, sold 155 acres to the Paver Construction Company. Owned by Martin Paver and his two sons, Paul and Stanley, its motto was to “build better than the building codes required and create a place where you would like to live and raise your family.”
The Pavers built more than 5,500 affordable homes throughout Sarasota County, including neighborhoods like the Southbay Yacht and Racquet Club, Paver Park and Kensington Park. For Glen Oaks, they constructed four separate subdivisions, each with its distinct look and atmosphere. (The others are Glen Oaks Estates, Manor, and Gardens.)
In the case of Glen Oaks Ridge, developed between 1973 and 1977, they built attached, one-story condominiums with flat roofs and steeply angled, black shingle facades up top. The 195 units come in six different models, all with two bedroom and two baths, ranging in size from just over 1,000 to around 1,600 square feet. The larger condos have den/dining room or living/dining room additions. Screened or fenced-in lanais count as “under air.” Each residence has a covered carport.
“Back when it was built in the 1970s, condo documents indicated that there needed to be sewing rooms for the ladies,” said Pat Emmett, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. “I suppose men had their smoking rooms, too.”
With no common walls, the condos are connected only by the laundry rooms. “We call them pods — with three or four units in each,” said Emmett,. “No one lives above you, so it’s very quiet.”
She and her husband have resided in Glen Oaks Ridge for the past 15 years and love it there. “It’s a great place to live. The location is wonderful, close to everything, 15 minutes from downtown Sarasota and the Gulf beaches,” she said. “You can walk to Bobby Jones across the street.”
Emmett has sold a number of homes in Glen Oaks Ridge and just had a condo go under contract. There are also four pending sales, listed from $195,000 to $205,000. “We don’t usually breach the $200,000 mark, although many have been completely redone inside,” she said. “People have knocked out the walls between the kitchen and dining room to open the space up.”
The demographics of the community include retirees and people who still work. Many of them are snowbirds, some from as far away as Canada, Germany and Great Britain. “We have a lot of single men and women living here. The age range used to be well above 55 with a number of elderly residents, but now we’re seeing an influx of people who are just over 55, so we have a good mix,” Emmett explained. ”
“We also have a number of artists who all know each other,” she continued. “One painter is 103 years old. A quilter, well-recognized in her community, bought two units and uses one as her studio.”
There are very few renters due to rental restrictions. Owners must wait a year from the time of closing before they can rent out a unit.
Glen Oaks Ridge’s amenities include a community swimming pool and large clubhouse overlooking a large lake with fountain. Residents come together to play bridge, bingo, poker, Mahjong and Sequence, and attend Friday night, potluck dinners.
Condo fees cover maintenance of building exteriors and roofs, as well as all common areas. Regulations permit two dogs or cats.

According to Emmett, there is not a lot of turnover of residences. Last year seven units sold. Currently, there are three condos on the market, ranging in price from $182,900 to $199,900.

PHOTOS of Glen Oaks Ridge, Sarasota, where I live.  

NB  The triple story buildings are part of an adjoining community called Glen Oaks Garden Condominiums.

Friday, 27 March 2020

My life, a naked woman, and Shepherd's Pie.

Naked woman calls me: an odd request for help in the COVID 19 crisis.

She lives three doors away from me.  I'll call her Trish (not her real name).

Trish is an English woman.  She is, let us say, a wee bit unfocused (a.k.a. "ditsy").

She 'phoned yesterday and here is her message " I was wondering what the (fix?) mark on an English stove on the top, and I have no
clothes.  I'd appreciate it if you would call me and let me know, I am trying to do the shepherd's pie"

I returned her call twice only to get her answering service.  Then she called me back.

Turns out that she had bought a packet of Shepherd's Pie seasonings. The recipe called for cooking the pie at "Regulo 7".

My friend was asking what was the American equivalent in degrees Fahrenheit for Regulo 7.

I hadn't the foggiest notion. I'd  forgotten all I ever didn't  know about regulo settings. 

I advised her "you can't go wrong with almost anything if you cook it at 350 F"

But what an odd call!  And why would anyone cook whilst stark nekkid!


Gas Mark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
The Gas Mark is a temperature scale used on gas ovens and cookers in the United KingdomIreland and some Commonwealth of Nations countries.


The draft 2003 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary lists the earliest known usage of the concept as being in L. Chatterton's book Modern Cookery published in 1943: "Afternoon tea scones… Time: 20 minutes. Temperature: Gas, Regulo Mark 7". "Regulo" was a type of gas regulator used by a manufacturer of cookers; however, the scale has now become universal, and the word Regulo is rarely used.
The term "gas mark" was a subject of the joint BBC/OED production Balderdash and Piffle, in May 2005. The earliest printed evidence of use of "gas mark" (with no other terms between the two words) appears to date from 1958.[1] However, the manufacturers of the "New World" gas ranges in the mid-1930s gave away recipe books for use with their cooker, and the "Regulo" was the gas regulator.[2] The book has no reference to degrees. All dishes to be cooked are noted to be at "Regulo Mark X".

Our Magnificent U.S. Senator (and former Governor) RICK SCOTT

Filled with the deep understanding of the lives of ordinary people which he's always had, U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R FL) puts in his two million dollars worth.

He knows that it will be good for unemployed working people to be unable to pay the rent and buy the food during this crisis.

Rick Scott and his best buddy

Scott: Bailout is too generous to jobless
By John Kennedy
Gannett Florida
TALLAHASSEE — After helping craft a Florida unemployment benefits system that is among the stingiest in the nation, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is now among a group of Republican senators critical of the $2 trillion coronavirus bailout package making its way through Congress.
Scott, who ultimately supported the mas sive proposal expected to win House approval Friday, said the $600 weekly payouts to those losing their jobs would “disincentive people from returning to the workforce.”
“When this crisis is over, we want everyone to go back into the workforce and we should not be creating a perverse incentive not to work,” Scott said in a statement, following the Senate vote late Wednesday.

Thursday, 26 March 2020



I damaged a back muscle yesterday.   My dear Zion decided to roll on his back outside; thus enabling  a ton of oak pollen to stick itself to his coat.

As I leaned over to brush it off, a muscle decided to misbehave.

On a scale of  1-100 the pain is at about 18.  

Hard when I sit down or stand up.    Fine when I walk.

No sympathy please!   Instead, let out a wee giggle! 


First a small phew that Comcast/Xfinity service has been restored in our locality, after having been down for about eleven hours.  How much we count on internet/e-mail service, (and in my neighbourhood for T.V.  - also down, but no bother to me).

Then a large phew for

Social isolating is less isolating when one can have video calls with friends and family members  (Joe and Dee in Northampton MA;  cousin Janet in Bristol, U.K.);  another Joe in London, U.K.;  Wes and Cindy Wasdyke in Chapel Hill, N.C.  (with a virtual tour of their splendid new digs in a retirement community).

AND long audio only calls with Gwen in Lenox, MA;  Grace in Austin TX (so glad that both her children now live nearby, they visit in her garden);  and Lizzie in Bordeaux, France.  (It's a tough time for her as Jean-Paul is in advanced Parkinson's Disease). ALORS!  there has also been toilet paper hoarding in France!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

His Pride and Joy

I went to the Goodwill Second Hand Bookstore a couple of weeks ago to stock up on some reading in the event of a COVID 19 "lock down".

The sales clerk seemed to me to be someone I vaguely knew, but I could not pin it down.

That was until I left the store and saw a BMW roadster in the parking lot.

I "knew" the car.  Which meant that I knew the store clerk.  I went back in and said  "you know, we are neighbours. We both live on Glen Oaks Drive East".  

It took him a few seconds until he realised that I know him because of his car, his pride and joy; and that he knows me because of my dog.

Here is his  pride and joy.


Monday, 23 March 2020

Good ole Pat

I have told you before about my local barber, Patrick.  He is a great guy. He has cut my hair since 2006.

Unlike other States the  State of Florida has not yet mandated the closure of barber shops, beauty parlours, tattoo and nail salons etc.

So off I went to be shriven by Pat this morning.  I was his first customer. He confirmed that business was bad; and that he expected a gubernatorial order to close down.

"If that happens that will happen"  was his response to what he cannot control.

I asked him to cut my hair and trim my beard as closely as he dare, given that I may not see him for six or more weeks.

I tipped him with four times my usual gratuity.  After all, he and his wife will have to live should his business be forced to close.

He did a good job!

jmp looking as mean as he can, maybe the ex- military look.

jmp looking as happy as he can as he walks out with Zion and greets our friends at Arlington and Bayfront Parks in SRQ

Saturday, 21 March 2020

My "First Time". A Shocking Disclosure.

This morning, for the very first time in my 75+ years  I.....

.... ate Duck Eggs not Hen's Eggs with my breakfast.


But comparisons are odious.

Enjoy duck eggs with no mental or taste-bud references to to "yer regular bacon and eggs".

Duck eggs are larger.  They have a more stable consistency.

They have a completely different taste.

I enjoyed them for their own sake.

'Twas a taste bud and visual reminder that as a WASP  (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) I should enjoy many other cultures not in comparison to mine, but for their own valuable, and necessary sakes. 

Friday, 20 March 2020

BIG smiles and joy at the pharmacy.

Zion loves the pharmacist. She adores him!

A treat for Zion.  A paw shake for the pharmacist!
It's a mutual love affair at my local Pharmacy where Mr. Z is a bit of a celebrity.  


We walk in.   

The cry goes up  "Zion is here"!

So much so that a LECOM pharmacist intern said  "I've heard so much about Zion that I had to meet him".


Better still, the drug store and pharmacy is setting out appropriate boundaries in the age of COVID19 at the check out, and at the Pharmacy.  GOOD FOR THEM

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Good News From Spain

My friends Ann Minton and Mary Luti are in Seville, Spain as they like to do each year.

Here Mary reports on "non panic" buying in their neck of the woods.

We alter our route a little every day to be sure we get at least 2 miles round trip and varied scenery. And we walk together, but at a distance, since the lockdown regulations mandate that you can go out only singly, unless you are accompanying an elderly person or a handicapped person. Unwilling to think of ourselves as elderly, we walk "alone"!

At the store, physical distancing... no more than 10 inside at a time. One comes out, one goes in. At the register, lines on the floor mark a safe distance. Credit card payments only, except in rare circumstances, to minimize the handling of cash. Yesterday I waited about 15 minutes to get in. Once in, you can take all the time you need.
There are no shortages. Shelves are full, there's produce, meat and fish--as in ordinary times. People tend to shop daily anyway, so very few people appear to be hoarding or "stocking up." Can't say for certain that it's the same elsewhere, but life in the grocery store seems pretty normal here, except for all the masks and gloves and lines on the floor--and the fact that you're not bumping into a zillion people in the aisles.
We still can't get sanitizing products, however--Lysol spray, sanitizing wipes, etc. Bleach is also not always on the shelves, either. This is not a result of panic buying so much as the re-direction of these supplies by the suppliers to hospitals, nursing homes, and public facilities.

Distancing in line for the supermarket

Safe space markers in the supermarket

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

I understand Papa

I understand Papa that you have to go into Ace Hardware.

But I will wait for you for ever and ever AMEN.


Monday, 16 March 2020

On Self Isolating.and self-care

Who could resist this? "Won't you be my friend?"
Of course I am not utterly isolated!  This good boy is my constant companion.

But I experience a certain degree of social isolation, partly because our Canine Therapy gigs are on hiatus.


(1) Zion and I have doubled up on our walks  (twice today to Bayfront Park and twice to Arlington Park).  This is good for us (he loves to walk), and I get the exercise.

(2)  Three good meals a day, each with protein, fruits and/ or vegetables, and next to no carbs.  

Some of you saw this pic of a recent breakfast which photographed particularly well in the morning sun.


I can and have easily gotten through one of these large bags in two days.  I have binged on macaroni and cheese with store bought meat balls, or Publix friend chicken tenders.

4.  No alcohol alone at home

That one glass of wine  which "makes the heart glad", can easily become a third which begins a descent into depression.

So I will have but only one drink, and only then when I am with friends and when there is food. (My most recent was on March 6th).

5.  Call a friend  I am trying to make a chatty call to at least one out of Sarasota friend each day.

This is my plan for self care  -  I hope that I do not come over as pompous.

Over the Top?

My neighbour Barbara had our regular Sunday walk yesterday, and then to Panera Bread for coffee.

I ordered my drink and was handed a paper bag.  It contained a coffee cup, lid, and heat collar; a straw; and sugar/sweeteners.

I poured my own coffee and half 'n half as is usual  -  using my bare hand to depress the coffee faucet and the half 'n half flask.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Au revoir Bishop Barbara C. Harris

Barbara Harris


Barbara Clementine Harris was an American bishop of the Episcopal Church. She was the first woman ordained a bishop in the Anglican Communion.
BornJune 12, 1930, Philadelphia, PA
DiedMarch 13, 2020
ElectedSeptember 24, 1988

When Barbara Harris was elected I made favourable comments about it from the pulpit the next day.  The parish lost one family because of the election, and my words.   Ah well.

Bishop Harris was one of my Bishops for a wee while when I moved to the Diocese of Massachusetts.  She gave me one of the intake interviews, including a run down on the local priests who would become my colleagues.   It was, let's say, very frank.

We'd met before.   First at the Mont Marie Conference Centre in Holyoke MA  at event for Episcopalians in New England.  Despite the rain John L, Grace J, Gwen S, and I huddled outside for our cigarettes  (Gwen S being the only non-smoker).  Bishop Harris regaled us with takes of her childhood.youth in Philadelphia.
A few years later she came out to Pittsfield to preach at a service to mark the centenary of the consecration of St. Stephen's.  Back then there was but one Diocese for the entire Commonwealth (later divided into two) and the consecrating Bishop had been the famous Phillips Brooks.  So I wanted an eastern Mass Bishop to be the preacher.  I especially wanted it to be Barbara Harris, and I got what I wanted!'

I thought of her as a friend as well as a Bishop. All the Deacons and Priests who knew her felt the same.  I would telephone her two or three times  a year, and we'd yuck it up for thirty minutes or so.

She was FUNNY
Her sense of humour was renowned.  One of her repeatable mon mots was "being a Bishop is sometimes like trying to put pantyhose onto an octopus.

She was FEISTY
She had to be, given the prevalent racism and sexism of our culture.  Some other Episcopalian Bishops were "politely racist" in their relationships with her.

I once asked a Rector if he'd like Bishop Harris to be invited as a guest preacher.  "Not if she's angry" he said.  I didn't think of it at the time, but I should have replied  "Maybe there is a lot for her to be angry about".   For there was.


The Bishop Harris we knew, loved, and respected was deeply faithful to the good news of God in Christ.  She knew and trusted her Saviour.

She was a FORERUNNER par excellence.

Barbara knew that the eyes of the world wide Church were on her, her words and actions.  Many wanted her to fail.  She did not.  She created a grand highway along which many other women could walk, and become Bishops themselves.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Zion is sad.

Aviva, the overall name for Kobernick House  (retirement community) and Anchin Pavilion (skilled nursing, rehab, and memory unit) on North Honore Ave. in Sarasota. 

Our canine therapy gigs there are being cancelled.

We arrived at Anchin Pavilion this morning only to be told that there is no free access to the skilled nursing and memory units which we visit  (usually wandering around ad lib).

Makes sense of course.

It's more than likely that Discovery House, one of our other gigs has made, or will make the same decision.

And probably no ALSOYouth for the while.  Their policy is to be guided by the policies of the School Department in these matters. Since as of now Sarasota's Schools will be closed through the end of March ALSO will most likely close its doors for the duration.

Too bad of course, as Zion likes the gigs, and I'll have a bit more unwelcome social isolation.

I'll grin and bear it cheerfully as it is clearly the right thing to do by Anchin, Discovery and ALSO.

Our gigs are free and for fun.  But spare a thought for the millions of women and men in the gig economy whose incomes are evaporating overnight due to the COVID 19 crisis

Ever thought, for instance, of those in the music business whose incomes depend on regular gigs.

Thanks to Martha S for the h/t on this NPR article

Thursday, 12 March 2020

A meditation at this time of a pandemic

Posted earlier today  (12th March 2020) on Face Book by my English friend Colin C.  and later in the day by my American friend Kathy B.-J.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Locker Room Language at Bay Front Park.

Most mornings when Zion and I walk at Bayfront Park we meet Shirley and Bart (not their real names) who are walking partners.

We usually chit-chat for a few minutes about what we had done the day before, or about our plans for the day.

Bart doesn't hold back on any topic under the sun.  On some days this is entertaining, on others it is wearying, (depending on which side I have gotten out of the bed).

On Tuesday (10th) he was downright offensive.

He started his screed by saying  "Yesterday I called a woman a c..t".

His tale was all about a disagreement he'd had with a stranger about who was next in line at the drive-up desks at a local bank.  They "had words", which was when he said  (full volume), "you are a c..t").

Why was he telling us this?  I turned my back to him and gazed out into the bay, wanting to say something, but chickening out.

He asked " Father, do I get absolution for telling you this?" "No", I said, "I want you to stew on this for 24 hours".

In truth it was I who was stewing all day Tuesday. "Why", I wondered,  "had I been a coward"Should I raise the matter with him on Wednesday, or let it go?"

I had determined to talk with him about this, but I didn't want to embarrass him in from of Shirley.

Bart gave me no choice this morning. In his first sentence,  he referred back to the previous day's conversation, and used the "C" word again.

This was my day not to hold back.  I told him that I did not like the word, and that I found it very offensive,  He countered that it had been the first word in his mind.

I said that the woman driver could have been my sister or  my cousin.  He said that my cousin would not have driven badly.

Shirley shifted on her feet and tried to change the subject.  I bad them goodbye.  He called out "so do I get absolution for that?"

"Absolution in this case" I said, "is not a matter for me.  You'll have to raise it with your own Pastor Faustus at St. Martha's Church".