Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dystopian Genre

     Today, I was looking at a list of free, or almost free, books listed on Amazon.com.  One of the books was categorized as--Genre: Dystopian.  Since my writing has taken a backseat to travels, grandkids on summer vacation, and getting ready to do a massive auction of everything possible in our BARN, I know I've been out of the loop.  But, I had to ask myself what was this genre called Dystopian?
     An online dictionary said: 
                                                                           noun
1. a society characterized by human misery, 
as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.
     With my usual scarcasm, I mumbled, "Yeah, sign me up.  I want me a book like that."
     I wondered why anyone would deliberately set out to write or read something so sad?  Then I decided that surely there must be a big, happily ever after ending to make wading through human misery, squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding worth the trip.  So, I went on the search for what is to be expected of a Dystopian novel.  I was very disappointed.  From what I could find, a happily ever after is not promised.  Not only that, but these are set in a sci-fi setting, totally made up and all aspects are invented by the author.
     I've written a couple of books with with dark subject matters(domestic violence, rape, murder), but that is real-life.  That is true actions inflicted by one human on another.  This sh#t really happens.  Why would it be necessary to make an imaginary place to cause tragedies, injuries and heartaches?  
     Am I missing something?  What do you know about the genre called Dystopian?  I'd be very interested in hearing what others think.  You can leave me a comment here, or a private message on FB.  You can also visit my web site www.doloresjwilson.com and leave me a message there.

Until next time,
Dolores
P.S.  BTW, it is National Left Handed Day.  I want to give a shout out to my grandson, Drew and my closest cousin, Sandy.  Both left-handers and both super people.  Love you!  


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Back Nine


          I didn’t write the following.  An “OLD” friend sent it to me. I couldn't confirm who wrote it, but the message touched a deep part of me.  I want to pass it on to my family members (old and young) and friends (old and young) because there is good advice in the words.  Heed them.  Make your life the best it can be. 
Until later,
Dolores












THE BACK NINE

I FIRST STARTED READING THIS EMAIL & WAS READING FAST UNTIL I REACHED THE THIRD SENTENCE. I STOPPED AND STARTED OVER READING SLOWER AND THINKING ABOUT EVERY WORD. THIS EMAIL IS VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING. MAKES YOU STOP AND THINK.
 READ SLOWLY!
AND THEN IT IS WINTER
     You know ... time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.
     But, here it is... the back nine of my life and it catches me by surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?
     I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I was only on the first hole and the back nine was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.
     But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me...but, I see the great change....Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant...but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd become.
     Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will... I just fall asleep where I sit!
     And so...now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the back nine, and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over on this earth...it's over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets.There are things I wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.
     So, if you're not on the back nine yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the back nine or not!
     You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life....so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!
     "Life" is a gift to you.   The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY ! HAVE A GREAT DAY Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver
                                            LIVE HAPPY IN 2015!
LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS:
~Your kids are becoming you......but your grandchildren are perfect!
~Going out is good.. Coming home is better!
~You forget names.... But it's OK because some people forgot they even knew you!!!
~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything like golf.
~The things you used to care to do, you aren't as interested in anymore, but you really don't care that you aren't as interested.
~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV 'ON' than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep".
~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch..
~You tend to use more 4 letter words ... "what?"..."when?"... ???
~You notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?!!!
~What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet.... 2 of which you will never wear.
~But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!
It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.
 TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN; YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE, SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.
Stay well, "OLD FRIENDS!"    Do Not Regret Growing Older. It is a Privilege Denied to Many.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015

     As I told you yesterday, it was National Nude Day.  July 12th, was National Pecan Pie day.  It reminded me I've been trying to develop a Pecan Pie without using corn syrup.  I decided it would be a good time to work on that. 
     I replaced the corn syrup with maple syrup, brown sugar, heavy cream, and a tablespoon of molasses.  To tone down some of the sweetness, I made a layer of cream cheese, sugar and egg.  I got the idea from a recipe I used to make many years ago.  It was called Mystery Pecan Pie and I loved it, but I quit making it when I was diagnosed with diabetes.  What makes it a mystery is the way the ingredients are layered.
     I put the cream cheese layer in first, then chopped pecans, and then the syrup mixture.  When the pie was finished baking the syrup layer was on the bottom, the cream cheese second, and the pecans on the top.  It turned out beautifully, but it wasn't the traditional Pecan Pie.  I would have to call it My Surprise Maple Pecan Pie. 
     The complete recipe needs work, but hopefully I will be able to tweak it and add it to my collection of recipes for my Sweet Meadow Baptist Church Cookbook.  Producing a cookbook with recipes donated by the Sweet Meadow, Georgia citizens to raise money for the First Baptist Church, is a dream I plan to make come true.  I'm sure Bertie's next door neighbor, Barbie, would donate My Surprise Maple Pecan Pie recipe.  She tends to be surprising and mixed up.  LOL

Layers of the pie

My Surprise Maple Pecan Pie



Until later,
Dolores

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

JULY 14, 2015


     I like keeping up with what national day is being observed.  Well, today is National Nude Day.  With the heat index at 105 degrees and a grandson who wants to ride his bike, scooter, and drive the golf cart, I can understand why people would think it’s a good day to take your clothes off. 
     Of course, they certainly didn’t have me in mind when they started this day.  As the song goes, I just don’t look good naked anymore.  I think I am probably the only person on the face of the earth who puts on a robe to walk from the shower to my closet, which is a long stroll of about six feet.
     Not sure what we were thinking when we bought our camper because it has mirrors EVERYWHERE. 
     Richard loves telling the story of the first trip we made in the bus.  We picked it up from the dealer, and, early the next day, I had to be in Raleigh, North Carolina for a booksigning.  When we were almost there, we decided to stop in a rest area and sleep, and then go the rest of the way to the campground the next day.  
     Sometime during the night, I had a nightmare, and I woke Richard with a start.  He flipped on the light, jumped into his favorite Ninja position, ready to do battle with whatever had me screaming.  “What’s wrong?” he asked.
     I pointed to the huge mirror OVER THE BED and told him, “I thought I was being attacked by a naked sky diver.”  
     I wish I had a dollar for every time I've listened to him tell that story.  I’d be living on that island in the Bahamas I found on the Internet a few years ago.  I’d probably even be able to afford a hammock and a part-time cabana boy.
     Enjoy the rest of your day!
Until later,
Dolores

Friday, July 10, 2015

Our Home for 5 people for 4 weeks

     Just a quick Friday night note.  Here are a few pictures of the inside of our bus so you can see how 5 of us managed for the 4 weeks we were gone.  Several of my readers asked how we slept and basically survived in cramped quarters.  First of all, it's 45-ft. long.


     This is standing in the kitchen looking through the bathroom back to the bedroom.  On the left you can see part of the refrigerator, then the potty-room door.  The thing attached to the wall with the red cup on top of it is my fold down desk.  During the day, it stayed folded down, but after the boys and Richard went to bed, I closed the bedroom door and the door that separates the kitchen from the bathroom.  Then I set up my desk and wrote the blogs I posted pretty much every night.

     Here is a picture of the table folded out.  I'd put my laptop on it (which was stored in one of the bins above the desk) and set up a padded folding chair and write to my hearts content or SKYPE, depending on what kind of mood I was in.  LOL


       Here is a picture taken from the kitchen area facing the front of the bus.  The 3 bunks are on the left.  This was after we got home, so they are stripped of the linens.  Ty slept on the top, then Brody, then Drew on the bottom.  We added bars so they wouldn't roll out in case they fell asleep going down the road.  They had room at the foot of their bunk for Ipods and notebooks and things like that.  Temporarily, we took out the sofa.  So, the bunks didn't take up any more room then the sofa did.
     Yesterday, Richard took Brody to St. Augustine to visit with my dad.  For those of you who don't know, he is in a nursing home and is deeply suffering from dementia.  Somehow he always remembers my husband immediately.  Last week when I went to visit, he said he knew I was Dolores because I had a guest name tag on my chest.  Well, at least he can still read.
     Anyway, here's a picture of Dad and Brody.  Both are missing their teeth.  


Dad (88 years old)--Brody (7 years old)
Until next time,
Dolores

 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 7, 2015

    Many years ago, Dear Abby published a letter with an unknown author.  The things the letter said have stayed with me, but never more than in the past few years as I wake up every morning in all kinds of pain.
On a scale of 1-10, I usually have about 4.5 all day long.  I seldom take pain pills, so living with it is a fact of life.
     I don't say that for sympathy.  It is what it is, and I always just keep rolling.  I always say "A moving target is hard to hit."  :-)
     Anyway, enough of that, but here is a copy of the Dear Abby letter.  It makes me laugh.
Old Folks Are Worth A Fortune
     With silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs.
     I have become a lot more social with the passing of the years; some might even call me a frivolous old gal. I'm seeing five gentlemen every day.
     As soon as I wake, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go to see John. Then Charley Horse comes along, and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. (He doesn't like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.) After such a busy day, I'm really tired and glad to go to bed - with Ben Gay. What a life!
P.S. The preacher came to call the other day. He said that at my age, I should be thinking about the hereafter. I told him I do - all the time. No matter where I am - in the parlor, upstairs in the kitchen or down in the basement - I ask myself, "Now, what am I here after?"
     I'd like to leave you with this song a friend send me.  The main thought of the words says it all.  I'm still here. 

Until next time,
Dolores

Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3, 2015


Home again-home again, jiggity-jig

     Every time Richard and I return from one of our travels, I am faced with the worse part of the whole adventure.  UNPACKING AND CLEANING THE BUS.  There is something about being in the confined area with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide that makes me burst out the bus door and breathe Tison Road air.  Then I don’t want to go back into the bus.  I’ve tried yelling, “you can’t make me.”  But that doesn’t really work.
     Soooo, I do a little each day.  We totally take everything out of the bus including all refrigerator and freezer goods.  We leave no clothes in there.  No boxed or canned food.  So it is quite an ordeal to get everything out.  I pack things in boxes, bags, and baskets.  Richard carries it in and sets it on the dining room table, chairs and floor.      Then I get to unpack and put all that away and do any laundry not done while we were traveling.  I then take the baskets, etc. back to the bus the next day and refill them, all the while singing—I loaded 16 tons, and what do I get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.
     Over the years, I have learned that if we were gone four weeks, like we were this time, then it takes 4 days to clean out the bus.  
     Tomorrow will be day four, and true to form, I should be able to finish it up before 4 of the grandkids arrive for our mini- 4th of July celebration.  At least I hope I'll be done.  :-P 
     Several of you have asked how the 5 of us fit comfortably into the bus for 4 weeks.  I’ll take a few pictures after I get it all cleaned up and post them.
Long may it wave
     I want to wish all of you a very safe Fourth of July.  I hope your celebrations with friends and family brings you all the happiness in the world. 
Until next time,
Dolores

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 29, 2015

Day #25
     On Sunday, June 28, 2015, at 10:21 am, an unmanned cargo ship launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.  The ship was headed for the International Space Station, and was carrying 4,000 pounds of experiments, a replacement spacesuit, a camera to record meteors streaking into Earth’s atmosphere and the first of two docking adapters that would serve as parking spots for future crew capsules being developed by Boeing and SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies).
     Two minutes into the launch, the cargo ship disintegrated, scattering debris into the Atlantic Ocean.  This was the third ship launch to fail to get the supplies to the ISS.  It’s reported the 3 astronauts in the Space Station have enough supplies to last until October. 
Lovell, Glenn, Shepard
at Kennedy Space Center

The launch pad in the distance where
an unmanned cargo ship disintegrated
2 minutes after launch
     This month (July, 2015) 3 new astronauts are scheduled to join the other 3 at the station, and, at this time, it doesn’t appear this failure will delay that mission.
Brody and Drew
Inside a capsule


Atlantis completed 33 missions from October 3, 1985 thru July 8, 2011.
 
     We arrived at the Cape the next day.  Business and everyones' lives were going on as usual.  I’m ashamed to say that I live so close and have not visited the Kennedy Space center in many years.  It certain has changed and reminds me of Disney World on a small level.  You buy your tickets for the tour and attractions you are interested in.  You wait in line (not near as long as at Disney).  The presentations were excellent and the boys (even Richard didn’t fall asleep during the 3D movie about our space journey) were interested in the productions and information.  They loved the place where they were treated to a liftoff simulation.
      It was a long day, but nice, peaceful rains came and went and cooled everything off.
Charlie Brown, Schroder, Linus
and Snoopy at the Kennedy
Space Center

Tired fellows ready to leave the
space technology overload and
hit the pool
     When we got back to the campground, I took the boys to the pool so papa could take a much needed nap.  There were three teenagers in the pool (1 boy and 2 girls).  I could not believe the topic of their conversation (which girls had sex with whom)and the language it was in.  They couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15 years old.  I can tolerate a slip once in a while, but had Richard been there, he would have yanked that boy out by his ponytail and shook his braces out of his mouth.
      I let the first time slide by, but the second outburst of the F word and a loud announcement of what part of his anatomy one of the girls had kicked him in, I stood up.  He crawled out of the water and slowly made it to his feet and slowly made his way to the restroom.  He had to go right by me.  I glared at the young man and dared him to ask me what I was looking at.  However, he made a wide path around me and kept glancing at me to see if I was going to make a move.  He knew exactly why I was staring a hole through him, and I had the feeling he thought it was better to just keep going.  
     He went into the bathroom and didn’t come out until they locked up the pool.  I don’t know if he was scared of me, or if he’d truly been hurt.  As a mother and grandmother, I did wonder about the last part, but I was too disgusted by his behavior to go into the restroom and inquire.  :-)
     As some of you already know, we made it back to Jacksonville earlier today (June 30, 2015).  We were welcomed by a typical heavy-duty thunderstorm.  After the rain stopped, we packed up the boys, and took them back to the waiting arms of their parents.  The boys were glad to be home.  Lacking 2 days of being 4 weeks away from home is a long time for little ones, but I have to tell you, they had a great time.  None of them cried to come home, but were glad when it was time.  They really are good kids, and they made the whole trip really enjoyable.
     I want to thank all of you who have followed along with us and commented and "liked" the posts.  In the four weeks I've been posting, I had almost 2,000 page views.  That makes it well worth the work it takes to do a blog.  Thank you.
Until next time,
Dolores

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 25-26, 2015


Days #21 & #22

    We left Key West behind and moved to Marathon.  The City of Marathon is known as the Heart of the Keys.  We stayed in a really nice campground, except for the herd of iguanas, which I believe are following me.
     I have a writer friend, Mary Stella, who lives in Marathon and works at the Dolphin Rescue Center which was founded as a nonprofit corporation in 1984 by Jayne and Armando Rodriguez.  They wanted to ensure the dolphins had a home for life if they could not be released back into the wild.  The center has established a unique education and research facility.
      At the center, they have Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Over half of those living there were born at the Center, but other members have either come from other facilities or were rescued, rehabilitated and deemed unreleasable back into the wild by the Government.  They now have a home at Dolphin Research Center forever.
      I got to visit with Mary while Aunt Gail went with Hickory, Dickory, and Dock to have an up close and personal experience with the dolphins.
Brody swimming with the dolphins

Ty swimming with the dolphins

Drew

Brody getting a kiss from either Cayo or Gypsi
not sure which

Kiss for Drew

Drew dancing with the dolphin



Giving instructions for the dolphin to jump

Dolphin jumping

Ty getting a kiss
    
      Gail and Ronnie left us the next morning to go back to Virginia.  We stayed another day in Marathon and took the boys to the Turtle Hospital.  It is the only state-certified veterinary hospital in the world for sea turtles.  Many veterinarians volunteer their time to take care of the turtles.  They have up-to-date medical equipment which has been donated, including an ambulance.
My Bahama Richard reading all
about the Turtle Hospital and
its patients

     They treat a variety of ailments at the Turtle Hospital, such as: flipper amputations caused by entanglements from garbage, fishing line, and trap line, shell damage caused by boat collisions, intestinal impactions caused from ingestion of foreign materials as plastic bags, balloons, food wrappers, and fishing line. Every sea turtle brought into the hospital is rehabilitated and released as soon as possible.
     The most common surgery is for the removal of debilitating viral tumors.  This affects over half of the juvenile population of the green sea turtles.  I was really impressed with this facility.  I was amazed at the different tanks that held turtles in different stages of healing and hearing all the attention each patient gets in the Turtle Hospital.
     One thing I found interesting (and a little funny) was a thing that happens to some of the turtles that are struck by a boat propeller and cracks open their shells.  If this happens air fills the inside of the shell making it deformed.  Because of this, the turtle cannot dive to the bottom where his food is and starves to death or since he is floating on the surface, he can be hit by another boat.
    The first turtle to come to the hospital with this condition was in 1989, and he is still there.  His posterior bobs on the surface.  Because of that injury, he became known as “Bubble-Butt”.  When turtles come in with this condition, they fiberglass weights to their shell.  The weights offset the floatation problem.  If the turtle has overcome the problem when the weights fall off, he can then be released back into the water.      Unfortunately, Bubble-Butt's rehabilitation measures failed to correct his problem.  Since fiberglass is only semi-permanent, his weights eventually fall off.  He remains at the hospital where his weights can be replaced as needed.
There was a bunch of them
I thought they were so cute.

This isn't the original Bubble Butt,
but you can see how its backend
floats on top of the water.
     I'd be willing to fiberglass weights to my posterior if it would help with a bubble-butt problem.  :-)
     The Turtle Hospital is quite an impressive operation and took about 1 and ½ hour to go through the whole place.  I do recommend it.
My sweet little Ninja Turtles
Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo

Until next time,
Dolores 

June 22-23, 2015

Days #19 & #20
     For 2 days, Gail, Ronnie and I toured Key West on a Conch Train.  We learned a lot about the history and who lived in what houses.  I love that kind of stuff.  We could get off and on and another one would be by about every 15 minutes.  The heat was horrendous.  We broke it up into 2 days.
     Richard took Athos, Porthos, and Aramis to various places of interest on the island.  The visited the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.  According to the website they “experienced an impressive collection of flowering plants, colorful birds, cascading waterfalls and trees that set the stage for the "flowers of the sky." Witnessed a variety of some 50 to 60 butterfly species from around the world, along with over 20 exotic bird species, all under a climate- controlled, glass enclosed habitat.”
     I have to take their word for it because Papa didn’t take any pictures because of an activity we lovingly call “herding cats”.  ‘cause sometimes there is too much going on to think of everything.  They say it is lucky if a butterfly lands on you.  Brody had two on him.  With his dare-devil ways, he needs all the luck he can get.
     They also went to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.  It’s a natural history museum that exhibits plants and animals of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.  They had a really big time there.  Again, no pictures.
     I asked the boys what else they did with Papa those two days and they said shopped for t-shirts, went to the Dairy Queen, waded in the Atlantic Ocean, waded in the Gulf of Mexico and swam in the swimming pool.  All in all, they didn’t miss grandma for one second.
 
     The Harry S. Truman Little White House was the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman for 175 days during 11 visits. The house is located in the Truman Annex neighborhood of Old Town, Key West.
I like this picture I pulled from the Internet.
 
     The house was originally on the waterfront when it was built in 1890 as the first officer's quarters on the submarine base. In 1911 the home was converted into a single-family dwelling to house the base commandant and additional land was filled in front of the house. The waterfront view was eventually blocked by a new building at the station.
     In November 1946, President Harry S. Truman had finished 19 months in office, but was physically exhausted. His doctor ordered him to take a warm vacation. Truman arrived in November, 1946. His second vacation came in March 1947. After that he visited every November–December and every February–March. Changing technology allowed the President to communicate with multiple political or world leaders at one time and he could summon staff to Key West for a meeting in three hours flight from Washington. Most importantly, Truman realized that where the President was, the White House was.
      We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but it is worth looking online.  The furniture and how it is set up is the exact way it was when Harry Truman was there.
     I did two more things without the kids, and they were my favorite things.  Not because the boys weren’t with me, J but because they are near and dear to my heart.
     First, we visited Ernest Hemingway’s house.  As a published author, I loved seeing his office where he completed several of his many novels.  His estate is also known for polydactyl cats, which are born with more toes than usual on one or all four paws.  Hemingway loved these cats and even today there are approximately 75 direct descendants of Hemingway’s cats.  They are all named after famous people and they are everywhere.
This cat is on the counter in the gift shop.  We had to step
to the next register so she could nap.  LOL

Hemingway's Office.  That is his
actual typewriter.  Loved it!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     Ernest (I’m sure he and I would have been on a first-name basis) had 4 wives.  His second wife’s father gave them the house in Key West.  Pauline wanted a swimming pool, but Ernest said they couldn’t afford it.  Since boxing was one of his passions, he proceeded to build a full-size boxing ring in the back yard. 
     While he was in Europe on assignment, word came back to Pauline that her hubby had been messing around on her.  She had the ring removed and a swimming pool built at the cost of $20,000.  Ernest returned home as the concrete around the pool was drying.  When Pauline told him how much it cost, he gave her a penny from his pocket and told her she might as well take his last red cent.  Pauline walked over to a wet place beside the pool and stuck in the penny.  It is still located there today.
One of the largest pools in Florida

Ernest's "Last red cent".
 
     Ernest and Pauline collected two things during their travels—chandeliers and birthing chairs.  They are all over the house, along with beautiful pieces of art.  He received the Medal of Honor for his wartime photography and had never been in the military.
One of many beautiful light fixtures
in the Hemingway House

Birthing Chair

Birthing chairs from Ernest and
Pauline's collection
 
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
     My second favorite thing--I love a good ghost story.  One evening, Gail and I took a walking tour through the streets of Key West and were told of the different ghosts and the homes or buildings or cemeteries they hang around.  It was all very interesting.  We saw the house where the famous Robert the Doll lived with his owner Robert Eugene Otto.  The doll is supposedly possessed with a mischievous (sometimes mean) spirit.  He was the inspiration for the 1988 movie Child’s Play about Chucky the Doll.  He is on display in a museum there in Key West.  I have no desire to go see him.
     But my favorite part was the cemetery behind the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  There are only a few graves left there since one of the major hurricanes brought several caskets out of the ground and floated them down Duval Street, which, btw, probably isn’t the weirdest thing to ever go down Duval Street.  Still left in the cemetery are 8 graves of little kids who died (I believe it was in a fire) and are buried there around an angel statue.
     Since it was nighttime, the gates were locked.  The guide told us to go up and down the iron fence and snap random pictures.  You wouldn’t probably see ghosts with our naked eye, but they had a funny way of showing up in the pictures.  I went to the right and tried to snap several pictures with my phone, but it wouldn’t take any.  I gave up, went to the other end and snapped away.  When we were through there, everyone started looking through their pictures.  No one had anything, but I had three streaky ones that I didn’t think had taken at the right end of the fence.  But there they were.  The picture I am posting below, has a streaky thing in the shape of a person, but if you look to the left, you can see 3 small figures dressed in white, looking like kids.
Picture taken through the iron gate surrounding
the St. Paul's Episcopal Church cementry.  Please notice
main figure in front and 3 small figures in white
looking like children.  Yikes!
     We had quite a time in Key West.  I don’t have time to write about everything, but these are the highlights.  Hope you enjoy.
Until next time,
Dolores  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 21, 2015

Day # 18
Key West

     A beautiful Sunday morning dawned and the whole tribe was up and ready to go watch Gail, Ronnie, and brave, little Brody go parasailing.  Believe me, Grandma wasn’t happy, but Ty said flat out no, Drew was on a fence about it, but finally said no.  Brody was about to have a stroke begging to get to go.  Grandpa signed him up and away they went.
     Brody said he saw a sting ray when they got close to the water.  I asked if he had fun and he said yes.  I asked if he’d go again, he said he wasn’t sure.  J
Ronnie, Brodster, Gail
Also known as crazy people
     While that was going on (they were too far out to see them) I took a short walk to the old Customs Building.  It is a four-story building once used as a post office, district court and customs.  It is adjacent to the U.S. Naval base and has been the site of several historical events, most notably the inquiry into the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor in 1898.
     In 1932, the building was transferred to the US Navy.  When the Navy no longer needed the building, it was abandoned and sat unused for twenty years.  The State of Florida acquired the building and leased it to the Key West Art & Historical Society.  There are two floors that mix together two centuries of history, art, people, and events.
Customs House now serving as Key West
Art and Historical Society
     I didn’t have time to go through the museum, but there was the neatest exhibit done by J. Seward Johnson, an American artist noted for his life-size cast bronze sculptures.  I recognized the name, but not sure where I’d seen his work before.  I think it was in Chicago some years ago, but not sure.  Anyway, I remember being impressed with his talent, and I wasn’t disappointed by this display.
Even the suitcase looked perfect


These two were on a second-level
balcony.  They were so realistic
at first I thought they were real.


This one had to be about 20 feet tall
It stands in front of the gallery
 
     Later in the afternoon, Wynkin, Bynkin, and Nod went with Grandpa and Uncle Ronnie on an excursion out to sea, but not in a wooden shoe.  They glided over the surf at high rates of speed on jet skis.  I guess after parasailing, jet skiing was the most natural next step in death-defying stunts.  Grandma needs wine and lots of it.
Ty was still smiling here, but shortly after this, he and Uncle Ronnie
flipped on their sides.  I think Ty enjoyed that.  He groans when you
mention it, but he also has a big smile.  :-)
     Where we ate dinner was in an open restaurant called the Stoned Crab.  In Jacksonville we have many places to eat that extend over the water, and there are alligators swimming around the decks.  This place had sharks doodling around.  Crazy.
Jaws.  Several of them.
Until next time,
Dolores

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 20, 2015

Day #17
Key West
     One of the strange things in Key West (and believe me, there are many) is the chicken population.  They are everywhere.  The beautiful, colorful, strutting roosters grabbed my attention right away.  I have a kitchen and dining room full of everything roostery.


Famous Key West Rooster
     The roosters, hens, and baby chicks are seen everywhere, even crossing the streets of Key West whenever and wherever they chose.  It is said that the population began growing when killing a chicken for Sunday dinner no longer happened in the average household.  Most of the backyard chicken eventually flew the coop into the streets.  Also, when cock fighting became illegal, many were turned out to take care of themselves. 
Beautiful rooster

Mama and baby chicks.  So cute.
     At one point, the city hired a chicken catcher.  That didn’t seem to work out.  So, the chickens are now protected by the city, and it is illegal to pick them up.  Dang it.
     My brother-in-law, Ronnie, is retired military.  He got us onto the base, and we stayed in the base campground.  It was right on the Gulf of Mexico.  Right outside our door was a seagrape tree.  I didn’t know until we had left there that the grapes were edible.  I would have tried one.  Someone told us they are really good.  Right next to that tree was a tall coconut palm tree.  At several places along the streets they sold coconuts with holes drilled in them and a straw stuck in to drink the coconut water.  Heavens to Betsy, they were everywhere.  I really wanted to try one, but had too much going on to get around to it.
Seagrape Tree

Coconuts right outside my window
 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     I’ve always considered myself a country gal.  I don’t want a snake or an alligator for a pet, but I don’t come close to having a heart attack should I come across one.  We have plenty of wildlife in our neck of the woods.  Deer, armadillos, raccoons, box turtles, snakes of all varieties.  I haven’t packed up and moved out yet, but please do not make me come into contact with, or even look at a lizard.
     Okay, I’ll admit that over the past 12 years, I’ve had plenty of confrontations with geckos.  I’ve even, since the GEICO gecko came along, grown a little less freaked out by them.  I’ve been pretty proud of that fact.
     While we were in the Florida Keys, I came face-to-face with more iguanas than I even realized existed.  They are not indigenous to Florida.  No, they came here just like the Burmese pythons.  By people who had them for pets, but no longer wanted them.  Evidently, they are fertile creatures.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!!  Everywhere, I tell you, everywhere.
 
This little beautiful is about 18 inches long.
 
     If I sit at the picnic table outside the bus, they sneak under there and sit there looking at me until I feel their evil stare.  If I recline of the chaise loungers on the sandy area at the front of the bus, they go under my chair and touch my butt, which apparently sticks through the plastic slats.
My special place when the iguanas
are elsewhere.
     Evidently, they don’t speak my language.  Get the H%&* out of here or scram bud, doesn’t compute in their brains.  I can tell that by the way they look at me.  Their eyes move in a strange way.  “Don’t roll your eyes at me,” also goes over their head, which, btw, is pointy.
     Finally, I hid out in the bus so they couldn’t find me.  I was looking out the window when I saw a gigantic iguana run up my coconut tree.  I swear I think it had a saddle on.  Yikes.  Still gives me chills.  I stayed inside mostly because I had a headache.  It went away after we left the Keys.
Brody took my picture while I was
suffering with a headache.
Until next time,
Dolores