Well, it seems like over a month since I sat down and put pencil to paper… oh, yes, it has been over a month! There are two obvious reasons/excuses for this neglect: (1) those pesky pencils keep needing sharpening, and (2) Rudy ate my homework. So here is the latest update from The Villages, Florida…
I was blessed to be selected as Blogmeister of the Year by our dear friend and Faithful Follower, Colette Sasina. She and her husband John hosted the award ceremony at a local restaurant, where I received my Pumpkin Trophy. I submitted the press release for the award to the NY Times, but they haven’t responded yet…
We are enjoying being back in our house, with a relatively benign schedule, and relaxing on our patio and lanai with this view of Southern live oaks (Quercus virginiana) hung with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides). Did you know that Spanish moss is not a moss, but an epiphytic flowering plant? Epiphytes grow on other plants or trees, and get their nutrients and moisture from the air, rain, water (for marine varieties) or debris around it. Spanish moss can be found from Virginia through the Southern US to Mexico, Central America, South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and even French Polynesia and Australia. One of the trees near us has a dead branch at the top where hawks often perch, looking for prey.
I mentioned a “relatively benign schedule”, but Suzanne flew to Illinois recently to speak at the Crumbaugh Spiritualist Church in Normal, and to teach her Serving Spirit class in Hoffman Estates, west of Chicago. She left temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and arrived to frigid 20s and 30s. While she stayed indoors, I did a lot of hiking. While she ate salads, I enjoyed “guy cuisine”… such as homemade cheese enchiladas, a steak, and this wine and cheese fest (NOT all on the same night!). I didn’t feel like going out for French bread, so toasted a ciabatta roll to dip in olive oil and Italian herbs and spices. Round it out with Manchego cheese and Prosciutto, and you have a meal fit for a king! It sure beats beanie weenies!
Lest you think I was getting fat while MLB was working and freezing, here is Der Blogmeister on a 6 mile hike near Ocala, on the Cross-Florida Greenway. The orange rectangular blaze marks the trail as a section of the 1,300 mile long Florida trail.
After My Lovely Bride returned from the Frigid North, we went kayaking on a lake near Leesburg. Here she is up a small canal admiring the Spanish moss-draped bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). We didn’t see any alligators that day, but this is prime habitat for those creatures…
…but then so is the retention pond a few blocks from our house! This six footer was worthy of a call to our community watch, who notified the “Nuisance Alligator Guy” to have him relocated. (Doesn’t that sound like a cool job? Much more interesting than being just “the cable guy” or “the geek squad guy”…)
One day we were driving down the road, far behind a truck and trailer, when I said to MLB, “Hey, look ahead – it’s a tree on wheels!” As we closed in, it became apparent that the landscaper was on a delivery, with a good-sized tree on a front end loader on his trailer.
Here in The Villages, parking can be a challenge, especially for some of us older folks, or those who are “spatially-challenged”. This Mercedes was a good six feet from the curb, butt end way out into traffic….
This car was spotted at our mailboxes; I hope he wasn’t parked there overnight after a session at one of The Villages’ many pubs… where Happy Hour runs for about five hours, and the drinks are often two-for-one. Makes a BOGO really worthwhile!
On a more spiritual note, here is Suzanne at our local community center giving a Sanaya session. There are usually 150-250 attendees, and the beneficiary is always a charitable organization, in this case a non-profit that provides higher education opportunities to young women in a rural community in Costa Rica.
On a less spiritual note, I call this photo “A Sign of the Times”. What you are looking at is a shop that sells adjustable beds. Back in “The Old Days”, you might expect a couple trying the bed out to at least talk to each other, or play footsie, and if they were really hot for one another… well, you know! Today, we see a couple on their iPhones! No wonder the birth rate is dropping!
Finally, I would like to relate an incident that happened tonight, just after dinner. I call this a “You know you’ve been married a long time moment.” My Lovely Bride had created a delicious meal of gnocchi, pork shank, tomatoes, and spinach… she had left 2 gnocchi on her plate; mine was totally cleaned off. I was washing up, and she had gone into the other room. When she returned, she looked at her plate, which was still on the counter. She game me “a look”, and then peeked into the trash can. “I knew those two gnocchi wouldn’t make it into the trash!” she said. I replied, “Well, what do you expect? They were looking so forlorn! I couldn’t let them just die alone in a dark, gloomy trash can…”