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Giving Back; Indoor Camping? Hard Chocolate; Under the Weather; Movie Call

On a cold, wet and dreary Wednesday we drove north to Stone Creek in Ocala for Suzanne’s Heart Gifts presentation to the community’s Metaphysical Club. In spite of the terrible weather, we had a great turnout that was held spellbound hearing about Wolf Pasakarnis, a young man who, like our daughter Susan, died when struck by lightning. Thanks to Karen Harmelin for making all the arrangements at Stone Creek. Proceeds from the event are being donated to Cornerstone Hospice in The Villages, where Suzanne’s dad Bill Smeltzer passed seven years ago this month.

The weather here in central Florida has been miserable this week. We have endured day after day of cold and rain. Okay, perhaps the Sympathy Meters of readers in The Frozen North may not be pegged out, but for us, 40 degrees and rain is a pain in the neck. We are more used to 75 degrees and sunshine. Send this wet and cold back north! I had planned a short backpacking trip in a nearby forest, but was rained out. Suzanne suggested that I pretend I was backpacking and sleep on the floor of the living room in my new tent for a couple of nights. When I set it up for the first time and climbed in to make sure it was long enough, she asked if I wanted my sleeping bag. “No, Sweetheart, I am not sleeping in the tent tonight with a rug under me. This is just a test!”

We normally work at our computers at the kitchen table, just a few feet apart. I often have to get up to stretch or grab a piece of chocolate for a snack. I was delighted when I glanced up and saw a piece of unwrapped chocolate next to My Lovely Bride; even though it appeared to have melted and was a bit deformed, there was a Dove wrapper next to it, so I knew it would be good. A quick snatch, pop it in my mouth, and it would satisfy my sweet tooth for another 15 minutes… Imagine my surprise, chagrin and disappointment when what I thought was a piece of chocolate turned out to be My Lovely Bride’s fulgurite, which she was writing about in her new book. Fulgurites, from the Latin fulgur, meaning thunderbolt, are a variety of the mineraloid lechatelierite. Sometimes referred to as petrified lightning, they are natural hollow glass tubes formed by lightning strikes in quartose sand, silica or soil. They are not generally edible. Bummer! 

The last couple of days have been pretty miserable, not only because of the crummy weather, but also because I was stricken (without any apparent cause) with acute lower back pain. What a stupid name; it’s not cute at all. Forced to recline on the couch or bed, I have been able to read a lot. I finished Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter (Five Stars; a Must Read) and am almost through Robert Gates Duty (also highly recommended). My Lovely Bride has been waiting on me hand and foot (as of course she should), but I did have to wait for five minutes longer than necessary when my plate of strawberries went empty. Sigh… it’s hard to get good help these days… Smack! 

Last night we had Movie Call (that’s the Navy term, anyway) over at our good friends Jan and Bob’s house. Aboard my first destroyer (operating off the coast of Vietnam and without air conditioning), we watched movies under the stars, on the helo deck with a couple of sheets stitched together. Last night was much more comfortable, and the house didn’t roll around too much. I have never been much of a movie-watcher, and had not seen The Sixth Sense. We joke that I was at sea for so long that I always fail the Jeopardy quiz questions about American pop culture, music, TV and movies. Frankly, I have never been a Bruce Willis fan, after seeing one of his ridiculous shoot-em-up flicks. I actually enjoyed this one, however, which many of you may already know is about a kid “who sees dead people” and his psychologist. But it was the surprise ending that really got me… I never saw it coming, and the acting was terrific. I’m looking forward to seeing another movie one day. Maybe even this year.

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