Okay, we made it through another predicted Armageddon… for what, another month before another 3,000 year old calendar is unearthed that predicts the end of the planet in a month or two? I heard from our friend Susan who attended a Farewell Party but is also scheduled for a Welcome Back party. Now that’s the way to prepare for the end of civilization as we know it… with a nice bottle of wine and good friends. (I hate to sound critical, but who would place credibility on a prediction for the end of the world that was written on a serving tray?)
A story in the paper today fascinated me, and as they used to say, “Inquiring Minds Want to Know”…. Be glad you’re not the Chinese guy who spent his life savings to build a diesel-powered ark, expecting that the second Great Flood would be coming this week. It’s not like this poor guy lives on the coast or the flood plain of the Yangtze River… he lives in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located in the most remote part of the Eurasian land mass, farther from the sea than any other point in Eurasia and at somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 feet elevation. There isn’t enough moisture in the atmosphere or ice in the Antarctic ice cap to flood the earth to that elevation, but he was prepared!
Word of the Day: solstice n. the longest or shortest day of the year; either of the times when the sun is furthest from the Equator, on or about June 21 and December 21. [13th C. from Latin solstitium, from sol “sun” + the past participle stem of sistere “to stand still”.]
Suzanne and I decided to celebrate the Winter Solstice and Survival of the Mayan Mayhem. I suggested one of those kinky Swedish nudist camp parties, you know, where everyone dances around a Maypole and sips champagne from crystal slippers, but was out-voted by Corvette Chick 10-0. We wound up mountain biking on the Santos Trails near Ocala. We stayed relatively close to home so that if a meteor shower was unexpectedly sighted heading for earth, we could get home in time to be with Rudy and Gretchen when the earth exploded. It was a cold ride, but fortunately the sandy soil had absorbed last night’s deluge and the trails were perfectly dry. There were some blowdowns that had to be cleared as we rode (that’s why I always offer the lead rider position to My Lovely Bride; she’s younger and very athletic, and I can save my strength while she clears the trail…)
In spite of the fact that it was a holiday week, we did not see another soul while riding the trails for an hour and a half. There were several other riders loading/unloading bikes in the parking lot, but there are so many trails that traffic has never been a problem. It was a glorious ride through mixed hardwood (mostly oaks) and pine forest. Some of the trees were quite close together, as this photo shows.
The bike trails often cross equestrian trails and the hiker-only Florida National Scenic Trail, which runs for 1,400 miles from the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola to the Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami. Your Faithful Correspondent is posing at the FT sign, which is only yards from the bike trail; don’t worry, we were not riding on the FT… it’s actually much rougher than the bike trails, since it is used by far fewer people.
After our ride, we went to Chicken Time, a small “hole-in-the-wall” Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant in the Brooksville Plaza shopping center for Cuban chicken, black beans, rice and plantains. Their daily specials are about $5 and are delicious. The staff is also very friendly and bi-lingual. It was funny, because two of the servers were commenting to one another in Spanish on My Lovely Bride’s fitness; Suzanne was a Spanish major in school, and rattled off a couple of sentences in fluent Spanish to our server when she returned with our food. There were smiles all around from the staff when they realized that one of their non-Hispanic customers was fluent in their language.
You may recall the “Stevie Wonder” comment about Yours Truly from a decorator a few weeks ago when Suzanne asked my opinion about her selection of material… Here you see the “before”, which I thought looked pretty good….
On Friday we had a visit from the actual cornice maker, Craig Saunders, of Cornice Central, Inc., who made and installed the new window treatments. MLB is suitably happy about the results.
I wanted a fishing scene with largemouth bass exploding out of the water at the end of a tight line, but who am I? What does “Stevie Wonder” know?
As you may have noticed when you stepped outside today, it’s cold outside. We put on sweaters and jeans, but what about our poor puppies? They feel the cold as well. We broke out their winter coats and dressed them for a late afternoon w-a-l-k in t-o-w-n.
Gretchen’s black coat is very chic, and Rudy’s Italian sheepskin, while now 6 years old, is truly haute couture… He got it in Milan after we were caught by an early season snowstorm while sailing the Mediterranean in our sailboat Liberty. This photo was actually taken in the marina near Rome where we were moored for six months. (He was very popular among the local Italian girl-dogs…)