JUST RIGHT

Written by Captain Mary on Monday, July 08, 2013

How do you know when something is just right? Well, I imagine it is the feeling you get deep inside your soul. I have always thought that living in the Bahamas would be my ultimate destination for my retirement, or sooner if possible. The thought of it has stepped back into my mind lately and I havn't really thought about it until my son took me on vacation to Paradise Island, Bahamas.
As soon as I walked out the doors of the airport after a 35 minute flight, the smell of the air, the smiles on faces, everything inside of me just relaxed so that I could take it all in.

Now, I can't get that smell out of my brain. The beautiful waters and smell of the ocean, like being put in a dream that felt so real I never wanted to wake up. It wasn't a dream though, it was me standing in the pink sands of another country, a country that called to me for years and is still calling me. This trip was yet another confirmation that I have selected the right place.
Atlantis is a bit of a tourist location, yet still finding the local places isn't so difficult to do. We always seem to attract the local people, I don't know exactly why, maybe it is the look on our faces, it shows all the way to our core how much we are enjoying our little place under the sun.
My son and my grandchildren get that same look, as if something deep in our soul has be revised, and brought the best of us out.
Even though there is quite a lot of people, it seemed we got lucky the first four days of our vacation, we had most of the place to ourselves. Our days were spent walking the beautiful grounds of Atlantis and watching the enormous amounts of marine creatures all around us. The food was delicious and the pools were like magic waters, nourishing our bodies and the sun carresing our skin as if the ancient Gods had planned it that way. The theapudic environment can take the evil out of anyone.
So much to do on our days that by the fall of the sun we were exhausted, but still had time for a little adult entertainment.
 Can you imagine putting your camera and belongings on a lawn chair and going away for most of the day to return and find everything untouched. A feeling that you are safe and the people are always watching out for you, because they care. Who wouldn't want to live that way, even amoungst all the crowds of people I felt safe and without a care in the world.

I seized every moment of this vacation to re-boot my system and enjoyed each second as if were my last. We had so much fun, we did so much and yet never enough. The kids enjoyed a day with the dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island, a 20 minute boat ride from Paradise Island. They got to touch and love these creatures, which are my favorite animal. I actually think that in a previous life I lived among them. One dolphin was very interested in me when I first arrived, he posed for me until I was moved off the platform.

I am convinced that the Bahamas is where I want to be. To be in a place without prejudice and government interferance, a place to live life like a human and not property used to generate income for the fat cats in politics. A place where people help their fellow man, without being asked, because it is the right thing to do. A life of smiles and sunshine, the perfect combination to easy living. A way of life that is "Just Right"!


I MISS MY FRIEND

Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Over two years ago a good friend of mine was taken away from me. Bad choices or just stupid stuff, just the same he was gone. We wrote to each other on a regular basis and it would always put a smile on my face when I read one of his letters. It started to be normal, which is not the way a friendship survives, I still missed him so much, but it was bare able. Time passed and he was transferred to a closer location, which somehow made me feel better.

I still can't help thinking about when we met though, better times. The karate studio that we both began attending. Women and girls would talk about him and how cute he was, yet no one would ever say a word to the man. One day I just sat down next to him and began a conversation, that was in 2006. We became fast friends and spent time together, we went to karate competitions together, we traveled all over the place, once landing in Las Vegas, all I can say to that is "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". Even though we were years apart in age, we had so much in common. Sharing each others secrets and we could talk about virtually anything. There is something very special about our relationship that defies the normal thinking.

I remember going to karate competitions and the girls and women wondering if we were dating and the rumors were something that we encouraged and got a really good laugh out of. They would never believe that we were just great friends, we use to try to explain our relationship and in the end it was more fun to let them think what ever they wanted. He lovingly calls me "old lady", it makes me smile, since he is 18 years younger, I have nick names for him too, I call him my "boy toy". He is so good as a friend, always making me feel beautiful and special, we encourage each other every time we are together.

I did get a short visit with him while he was at work yesterday and he grabbed me, hugged me and made obscene gestures. Its those moments that make up for the time we are away from each other. Most would think he is out of my league or I am out of his. But true friendship does not see age, body size, or anything physical. I must admit I don't mind looking at him though. I see far into his soul and who he really is, he is a wonderful, loving person. I can't wait for September when he can resume his normal life once more. As strange as a friendship can be, I only hope that everyone can say that they have a friend that has their back no matter what happens.

DISABLED OR A NINJA?

Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DISABLED OR A NINJA?

I am a "Domicile Maintenance Technician" and come across some very interesting personalities in the course of a week. I have one special customer who carries a "Disabled Sticker" in his vehicle, this does not mean that he can't get around though.

Once a week I go to his house and go to work. This home is full of some amazing collections, art work, trophies of accomplishments, photos of cherish memories and so many other things that take a life to accumulated. So many of these collectibles are delicate in nature and care must be taken when moving around the house. Now that the environment is set I can tell you about some of my experiences with the Ninja.

One day while I was sitting on the floor dusting the trophies that he has collected and one toppled over onto the carpet. Now, I know that this could not have made a sound, suddenly a voice from behind me says to watch out not to break anything. My friend is a very large man, who seemly walked through the walls, because I didn't hear a sound of his approach. It startles me each and every time he does this to me. I don't think that I have ever broken anything and after more than a dozen years the Ninja should have a little more faith in me. I do understand that the collectibles, which I will refer to as "stuff" for now on, are fragile and very important to this family.

Another incident when the Ninja snuck up on me, was when I moved a pine cone off the carpet. Always sneaking up behind me, the Ninja appears out of no where. Seemingly knowing when I am going to topple or drop something before I do. In real life this man moves at a slow steady pace, but when he turns into Ninja he appears out of nowhere.

My daughter was working with me one day and she too had the Ninja experience. Monica was dusting along and precariously perched on a couple of books was a collectible car, which always drives off the books when anyone approaches. This time, just as the little car was driving away, Monica was startled by the Ninja. No matter what it is, the Ninja always shows up, if I ever do break anything I am certain that I will be caught red handed.

For years this happens to me on a regular basis, I think it has traumatised me, nah! Stealth and always there when something happens the "Ninja of the Collectibles" is always on my ass. I can honestly say that he among my most favorite people, always keeping me on my toes, with an enormous smile always on his face. Perhaps one day I will be faster than the Ninja and catch him walking through walls or flying through the air.

DADDY'S OLD BAG

Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Over 15 years ago, my Daddy was cleaning out his closet and decided he no longer needed this camera bag. I have since had it stored in my closet with an old video camera, which I have now thrown away. I find it a problem when there are so many attachments to my camera to have a place to carry everything. Perhaps it is large, but in my travels I find it easy to carry my purse and my camera supplies in one place, since I use them equally. I looked at this old camera bag carefully and noticed it was in great condition, just needed a cleaning. So, I threw it into the washing machine on the gentle cycle, dried it and then looked at it again. It is really ugly.

I really needed something for my up coming vacation. I thought awhile and it dawned on me that I could simply paint it with some acrylic paint for textiles. It didn't take all that long to figure out a pattern, and as you can see I now have a up-cycled camera bag, with plenty of room for those things I will need on my travels. Just throw the strap over a shoulder and off I go.



HUMAN POWERED ADVENTURE

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, March 09, 2013


It was the first day in a long time that I was sleeping like a log. The phone rings and I miss the call thinking that it was the alarm, then remembering it was Saturday. I was suppose to go over Jason's and work, when I called him back he asked if I would like to go on a bike ride instead. Always put off today what you can do tomorrow! We have been taking more bike rides lately, I am certain it is for exercise, but this is the kind of exercise that you don't notice because you are busy taking in the great outdoors.

The weather was just perfect, a little chilly, perfect for a ride. I got my things together and headed to Homestead for a new adventure.


We headed directly from Jason's house and headed toward the Homestead Speedway, the bike paths are fantastic along the way. Jeff and Jason discovered an FPL access road near the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant. It was a very long road and would definitely give us a work out. Even though it was not paved, the ride wasn't too bad. All I can say is, I am glad I have a gel seat, oh my ass! We laughed and looked for things along the way.


The gang has concealed weapon permits and they always carry when we are off the beaten path. It is a little protection and insurance. Monica took the opportunity to shoot her new Christmas present for the first time.

We spotted a baby raccoon, forage through the muck, I assume looking for snails. We heard gators splash when we approached, and finally did get to see one. The vultures playing in the wind currents above us, occasionally swooping down. The best part had to be the manatee family. They were swimming along the crystal clear canal, stopping from time to time to munch on the underwater foliage. Mothers and their babies, lots of babies, very beautiful sight to see. Some had scars on their backs, they survived their injuries to swim another day.


Time flew by and hunger stepped in, Jason brought some oranges which was the perfect refreshing snack. I don't think we had the stamina to continue, after all the further we went down this dirt road the further we would have to petal back. As I looked down the road it just didn't appear to have an end to it, I imagine we would be in the Keys before it ended. Each time we go on an adventure we go longer and farther. It is a great time to spend with family and sneak in some exercise that doesn't have a negative impact on my knees. My ass, yes, but my knees are good. The guys are always looking for more trails and adventure for the next ride. I am surprised how many long lonely roads are in our state. This is definitely the way to see South Florida in its natural habitat. Series of canals and landscape as far as the eye can see.


The pedaling almost over we decide to take a break at Monica and Jeff's place, to say hello to the kids, which don't seem to want to ride with us. I remember when I was young, my whole family would take bike rides all over Miami, of course, it was much easier to find the wilderness back in the 60's and 70's. Yet, there is still plenty of places to get away from the traffic and civilization.

It feels so good to power yourself on an adventure, perhaps it is like stepping back and enjoying much more of the world around us. Our weekdays are full of work and the same routine, this seems like the perfect way to clear your head and burn some calories. I might be a little sore tomorrow, but it was well worth the small struggle to immerse ourselves in the primitive landscape that really is South Florida's premier attraction.

I have to thank my kids for inviting me, even though I slow them down, they will never understand how much I enjoy being able to immerse myself  in the environment. I don't think about anything but the ride and what I might see. The day was finished and we logged nearly 17 miles.

KITCHEN COUNSELOR "CLOSED"

Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, March 07, 2013

KITCHEN COUNSELOR "CLOSED"

I got a phone call on Wednesday, my regular day with the "Kitchen Counselor", and had a request for advice. I had to give advice all on my own. I sometimes get it right, but I need back up from time to time. This was one of those times. My counselor was off in the Bahamas, without notice, imagine that!

The subject was marriage, should I or shouldn't I give advice on this subject. I understand that marriage is so important to some people, the ceremony that binds for all time the love that two people share. I get it, a commitment of a life time. When you think you have found that person and have spent so many years with that person, the obvious conclusion would be marriage.

As I thought about the pros and cons of this particular situation, I recognized that financially that it would be an expensive proposition, between, benefits, health insurance, taxes, etc...not in the best interest of the couple. That is not to say that there is a way that people can be committed to each other without legal documentation. I understand the partner is so afraid of loosing everything in an ugly divorce. Of course, this is thinking gone wrong. To think about the end and not the commitment of love, seems awkwardly backwards. I thought about a Prenuptial agreement, and as I continued to think about it, I wondered what he had to protect. So, I came up with a list of the most expensive pieces of his property. The home, completely up-side-down, who could afford it or even sell it, who would want it in a divorce. Next, the car, that is funny, the boat, funnier, I couldn't come up with anything that was substantial enough to put into a prenuptial agreement without laughing my ass off.

The both of them love each other and have been together for over 7 years. Saying that you don't want to get legally married because of the government, is just an excuse, because each of the problems made by the government marriage can be managed by paying a little more attention to the law. It states simply that if it was yours, it stays yours. If it is not in your name, it doesn't belong to you. A "Will" allows you to give anyone you want, your belongings. I think that in the event of a divorce the best bet in this situation is to run, don't walk, who wants to get stuck with all the debt and old stuff, seriously!

Then who is to say that there couldn't be a marriage, with or without the legal documentation. Moving into the new millennium it tends to have more benefits not to get the legal documents. Not saying that a contract of commitment couldn't be drafted. I would think that this document would have more weight, because it is based in love and commitment in their own words. A contract is a contract, it is still a legal document, without the government using it against you. It stays private in a box in your home, where it means something to the both of you. After 7 years in their relationship they already consider themselves married, the only thing missing is a wonderful day of celebration of their love. A honeymoon would be a plus.

Anyway, this is the advice that I can give, something to ponder, thinking about both sides of the relationship. I have tried to consider today's world in this conundrum. Just a bit of a thought. What advice can my readers offer to this debate?


CAROL WILLIAMSON DAY

Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, March 07, 2013







It is so proclaimed,"Carol Williamson Day, I saw the proclamation myself, I only wonder why it took so long. This beautiful honor was given to my friend and I feel so honored to know this wonderful woman. She has always been an Impact in my life and I could never honor her as much as giving her a day to herself. Next March 3rd I will celebrate this day and remember how much Impact she has, not only on me, but the entire city of Miami.
The Women’s History Coalition (The Coalition) was founded in 1983 and incorporated in 1986 by a group of women in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The primary purpose is to coordinate and promote Women's History Month, which is nationally celebrated each March. The Coalition has a multi-ethnic Board of Directors elected by its membership annually and all programs are accomplished by volunteers who have a common interest in preserving the history and contributions of women in South Florida. Members, community contributions and grants from the county and many community agencies support activities.


I got the information from Women's History Coalition Of Miami,

DEFIANCE OR STUPIDITY

Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I am trying hard to understand kids these days. I am certain that we had kids like this when I was growing up, I am now convinced that there are many more defiant children than in my days of high school. They have no fear or respect for anyone.

Monica and I were driving home after work and as luck would have it, we got stuck behind a school bus. We always have so much to talk about so it didn't matter much. The teenagers began to slowly shuffle off the bus, obviously with no signs of urgency. As the bus closed the big stop signs and began to drive off, groups of children shuffled back into the road. I was patiently waiting for them to realize that I needed the roadway. I had no way of going around them, because I was stuck in one of those single lane traffic slow downs. The kids, about 20 of them continued walking in the travel lanes, I finally had to beep my horn. After a toot on the horn, most of the kids moved to the shoulder, except for a young man, who had something to prove.

I am usually very patient when it comes to driving. Sometimes people are looking for a street or are lost, but this kid was trying to prove that he was bigger than my Chevy 4WD. I then put my hand firmly on the horn and held it. Nothing!, this kid was not going to move, so I proceeded down the road slowly until I bumped him. I saw a glimmer of fear in his eyes when he turned around and jumped on the hood of my car. I then told him that we were going to call the police. Another kid was ranting and raving saving she had no side walk  to walk on and called us names. Monica yelled out the window, that it didn't look like there was anything wrong with her legs, nor was she in a wheel chair. I finally won the road back, I was so flustered with disbelief. I just could not believe that these children thought they could stand up against a vehicle just to prove that they were idiots. Was this something this boy had to do as a challenge, how did he think it would turn out? I could have been a real crazy person and simply run him over. I probably shouldn't have bumped him, but I didn't want to get out of the truck and confront him, he was bigger then me.

I don't understand what the point of this exercise was, if you have a clue, please don't hesitate to comment. It was just one of those things that make me shake my head and think did this really happen. I am so baffled that these will be the people of the future. Perhaps future criminals!

FUN WITH DUCT TAPE

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, March 03, 2013



Today my daughter came over with a project in mind. She had been re-designing an old fashioned dress she found at a garage sale and was having a hard time working alone on the pinning, etc... I was browsing a new website, that is easily addictive, it is called "Pinterest", it has all kinds of things submitted by regular people, photography, crafts, gardening, and so much more. I came across a dress form while browsing, for those who do not sew, it is a replica of your body, so that you can design, alter and fit clothing to yourself. In the stores dress forms run from $300 to $500 bucks. I had a lot of the things in my house for this project, stuffing, cardboard, t-shirt, wrapping paper tube, etc...

We started by putting Monica in a long old t-shirt, starting cutting strips of duct tape and then wrapping it tightly around her body, until she was wrapped in duct tape. Enough layers made it a perfect form. I wish I could say it was my idea, but the finished product came from a few different sources. Monica examined all the different sources, picking out all the great ideas into one. This is not a project that you could do by yourself! It costs $3.99, the price of one roll of Duct tape. After she got it home her man made her a stand and it was probably from stuff around his garage. I would say it was a great project and saved hundreds of dollars. It took us a little more than an hour to complete this very functional project. I wish I was her size, I was the one who really wanted one of these things. Perhaps I will make one for myself. I love to re-make clothing, it is so much fun to change things up.

I do love all those domestic things, and now I am finding out that these things, sewing, crochet, knitting, and DIY projects are a lost skill. I grew up with mostly home-made clothing and I use to make my daughter and I matching outfits. We were so cute together, it all ended when my life got in the way. I now have more time to do things like this. It is a great stress reliever, because I am thrown into what I am doing. Plus I hate spending money on clothing, when I get my dress form made I am going to the Good Will store and spend some money on clothing with potential. I will be certain to show you updates on the next project.

If you need the directions for yourself go to "Pinterest" and search dress form. Good luck, it is worth a lot of laughs no matter how it comes out. You could always dress it up and put it in bed for your man.

NEW TOYS

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, March 02, 2013


I have had my camera for years, before my trip to Africa, which means my camera is 8 years old. I have taken thousands of photos and still not realized my cameras potential. Recently, with the excitement of my upcoming trip to Alaska, I have examined the features on my camera much closer. As I examined all the buttons and switches, I noticed a button on the front of the camera that I had no idea of its function. I found this button released a ring, which allowed me to attach a series of available conversion lenses, who knew!!! Good thing I keep the manual handy.


So, what else could I do but get on the Internet and see if these lenses were still available for my camera. I went directly to the Canon site and much to my surprise they were out of stock and was longer going to carry them. Off to Amazon I went and found everything I wanted and needed for the camera for more than half the price of the manufacturer. The adapters and conversion lenses arrived today and I have been playing with them for hours. I was lucky to find that all those special effect filters I bought years ago, once more has a use.


Since the light was low I didn't get to really test the full potential of the new lenses, but I did get some shots that I liked. Special effects are so much fun, I only got to play with a couple of the new toys. For only $100 dollars, I now have a new camera, so to speak. The value of my camera still remains the same as when I purchased it, the newer models only have a few more features, so it was wise of me to invest just a little right now. I am certain that I will wear this camera out and it will be time for an upgrade, but for now I have a delightful new toy to play with.

NUTS ABOUT COCONUTS

Written by Captain Mary on Friday, March 01, 2013


Maybe I am over-reacting to this but I can't help wonder why people think they can just take what ever they want. I came home last night with trucks in my way, as workers were blocking my drive way. As I pull into my driveway, I notice a man hacking away at a coconut. I looked up at my palm tree and noticed all the beautiful coconuts that I have been waiting to ripen were gone.

I plant them and patiently wait for a palm tree, all of the coconut palms that are growing in my yard I grew from seed. I have many, it reminds me so much of what Florida landscape is all about. I immediately accused the man of taking my coconuts. He pretended not to understand, and then said that a man standing near the palm tree said it was alright to take them. I wonder who that man was! The neighbor wasn't home and wouldn't let people just take my property without my permission. Then the thief said he was sorry and continued loading my coconuts into the work truck. I called the county and told them that their contracted help was stealing from my property. Their reply was for me to call the police, I called the non-emergency line and would you believe they have office hours and they were closed. My only alternative was to call 911, that seemed like a waste of tax dollars. I thought for a moment and walked over to the workers, finding one that spoke English, which was a plus. He agreed with me and then I looked over at the man who had taken my coconuts and told him, "Give me my coconuts back or I will call the police!".

The thief apologized several more times and brought all my coconuts back to my front door, I don't know if I can save them, because they were leaking out all the coconut water. I couldn't believe how many he had taken. I felt a bit of satisfaction, even if I threw all the coconuts out. I think he got a lesson, but this has happened so many times to me. I have had people parked in my yard with their pole saws just cutting my coconuts down right in my front yard. The funny part is...all they had to do is knock on my door and ask permission. I would gladly give them away for a simple courtesy. I don't understand why it is acceptable to remove fruit from other peoples property, if it doesn't belong to them then it is stealing!

With my imagination in gear, I had to come up with something that would make it clear that my coconuts are not free for the taking. I went into the craft room and retrieved some white paint, proceeded to paint my coconut palm with a message. "NO COCONUTS". I hope the future will produce coconuts that I can keep for myself. Would you go on to someones property and just take what you want and have the audacity to opening harvest them without a thought about what you are doing?

Aerojet Facility and Family Fun

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today we planned a bike ride, with my son, Jason, daughter, Monica, her beloved, Jeff and grandson, Max. We headed out on an amazing adventure to one of Florida's Abandoned Past. A place that is far down into Homestead, passing the farmers fields and just before the Everglades National Park. Down an almost abandoned road lies a facility that has long been forgotten.

The road access is limited, at the end of access are signs "Keep Out", but there is no one to tell us otherwise. It is a good place to explore. Along the roadways are many abandoned buildings. Most doors are welded shut and mounds of rock and soil are piled up, so that no one can access the buildings, but there are many ways in. It reminded me so much of my teens, when it was so much fun to find and explore abandoned houses, farms, fields and what ever else we could find. We would then explore, as if we were on an adventure or perhaps some place in the future where we were looking back into the past. Into the ruins of civilizations that have long past.

The Aerojet Facility has a long past, in the mid 1960's it was testing rockets for NASA, mixing solids and liquid fuels, experimenting until they got it right. After the 3rd launch the facility was forced to close after the toxins from the launch poisoned much of the Everglades, farms and ruined peoples homes and property. The Aerojet 260 rocket still remains at this facility over 100 feet below the ground, sealed off from most on-lookers.The history of the place was just a plus, the environment of the area is what has the most interest. I climbed over mountains of rubble to look at what remained. Darkened corridors made my mind wonder about what it was like some 45 years ago. Like a detective we all looked at gauges and hoses, each building had it purpose and our purpose was to figure out what it once was. Almost every wall was adorned with amazing graffiti, we all spoke of how these artist were wasting their talents on something only a few people will ever gaze upon.

We went into each building, some made sounds that made them very creepy. It was so interesting to see how nature eventually takes over these man-made structures. As the building crumble, they leave behind remnants of asbestos and who knows what other toxins. We looked deep into holes, that are now filled with stagnant water, only wondering what lurks beneath our view. Light fixtures still hanging from the ceiling and attached to the crumbling walls. Canals run along the back of the buildings, where once barges could transport rockets to the Space Coast.

As we entered one of the buildings we were delighted to see a very large Owl take flight, he had a very large wing span and was light in color. As we explored that building we found where he had his meals, little skeletons of rodents remain. The air was so silent I could hear a fly, literally. The only sounds we heard were the creaking of metal and the leaves moving in the wind. So far from civilization, looking at a once bustling facility, now abandoned and virtually forgotten. What remains is a nature trail now and a look into a past that very few will ever see or know about.

HOLY MOLE

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today, I spent much of the day doing yard work, looking around to remodel some of my landscaping. Working at a slow pace, but still having a little problem with snags. Snags??? Yep! I am talking about this annoying and hideous mole that I have on my leg. It is so large it sticks through my fish net stockings, and can't be hidden with just one band aide. I have had it with this thing. It has been snagged so often it is just hanging there, so every time I touch it I am in pain.

Couldn't help thinking about this thing. So, I finally decided that I was going to remove it myself. Yes!!! Self-Surgery. First, I gathered my supplies, Betadine solution, scissors, eye glasses (so I can see), face cloths, cotton balls and spray on anesthetic. Preparing the mole for removal and my tools for surgery, I began. There was just one problem, it is creepy cutting yourself. I started by just snipping a little bit at a time, cringing at the thought of hurting myself. I am not fond of pain! After a few minutes it was time to make the final snip.

I looked at this hideous ball of flesh, and wondered why it took me so long to cut it off. Again, disinfecting my little wound and bandaging it, I sighed in relief and look forward to wearing fish net stockings again. I continued my yard work without a snag or even thinking about the mole that ended up in my trash. I thought about keeping it, but pushed that thought right out of my head. I thought I would share this little tidbit with my readers, something a little gross and perhaps a bit crazy. I just wonder how much it would have cost to have the mole excised at a doctors office!

A DAY IN A DAZE

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 10, 2013



A Saturday that was delightful in store for me. I was asked by my son if I was up for a bit of fishing along the canals near the Everglades. As always, I never say no to an adventure, no matter how small or large. If I think about the alternative of staying home watching T.V. or putting around the house, this seemed like a great alternative. Actually, I don't think that I really pondered on it too much at all.

Gathering up some fishing equipment and a backpack with some necessary supplies, I headed to Homestead for the days adventure. Not much of a drive toward our destination of a tree-lined canal. The day was perfect for a bit of a hike. The trail down the canal seemed endless and amazingly remote. It is great to live in South Florida, with a bit of a drive you can be alone without a soul around and immersed in nature. No sounds of traffic or people, just the creaking of branches and the ripple of the water. Some how a peace comes over me and I don't think about the walk or anything else. 

Casting lures over and over hoping for a bite or even a nibble. The water was clear enough to see the fish chasing the bait, but nothing big enough or hungry enough to make into the cooler. It didn't seem to matter much, as we watched buzzards circling and listened to the sounds in the swamp that surrounded us. Imagination getting into our heads as we thought about what could be lurking beyond our sight. Virtually alone down this abandoned road we enjoyed the day with its riches and surrounded by the sounds of nothing. Hours seemed to pass and without a thought in my head, it seemed like the perfect way to spend a day. 


Eventually, it was time to head down the road back to civilization. Instead we drove down some roads that had abandoned tree farms and canals, perhaps looking for another chance to throw a line out. We found a rickety old dock, down a rocky road, and an abandoned missile base. Another road to try on another day.  

Making another attempt at heading home, hunger struck me as we passed the "Gator Grill". We have passed this little hole in wall a bunch of times and never stopped. We walked in to this little place with this very pleasing menu. We ordered gator bites and frog legs as our starters. Ordered a couple of sandwich's and picked out or hot sauces among the counter full of them. Sitting outside on picnic tables we chatted and enjoyed the meal that was amazing. Perhaps the best tasting frog legs and gator that I ever had. 

Every time I hang out with my son, I find that I don't get home until after dark. I was surprised that we had arrived at his house while it was still daylight. We went outside to enjoy the late afternoon breeze and started playing word games and sudoku. Before I knew it the time was nearly 10 PM, an effortless day has passed before my eyes. I think everyone should spend a day clearing their head and enjoying what is really important.

MY KITCHEN COUNCILOR

Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I don't have an exotic job, nor do I get up in the morning and look through my closet for the latest fashion trend to put on for the office. No make-up, just soap and water, and I look through my clothing for the worst looking, bleach stained things to put on my body to head out for a day of work. Granted, my self esteem is not assisted by my wardrobe choices. Instead my spirits our lifted by my customers, most of which, have been with me for over 10 years.

It doesn't seem awkward to just open the door and walk through as if it were my own home. What they don't know, is that I get more out of these relationships than they know.  These relationships started out as an exchange of work for money, then for some reason it became something I look forward to. Some customers are great friends, others are just like family, but I have one who by far has made a place for me to change my life. Just imagine how lucky I am to have counseling every week for over 10 years. Imagine the cost. When she is out of town, I miss her dearly, I have to work through my dilemmas on my own. I hear her voice in the back of my brain and work it out.

My Kitchen Councilor shall remain anonymous, if I reveal her name, I would have to wait in line and I wouldn't be able to have her all to myself. From the mundane, to the massive, she can tackle any problem that I can conjure up. When I bring my daughter to work with me, I can hardly get a word in, my counseling session is taken away for the day. I don't mind, because my Kitchen Councilor can put a perspective on a problem that gives you that moment of aha! Why didn't I think of that?

I remember how crazy I was and how I was very emotional, a bit brass too. I now take my time and have figured out what is really important in life. The things that seemly appear to be inconsequential, like smelling a flower seem more important than thinking about the bills that are due. A matter of fact the smell of the flowers reached more of my senses and made me feel better than just going through life not paying attention. Laughing and talking while scrubbing carpet stains, it doesn't get any better than that!!

WALK IN THE WILD....

Written by Captain Mary on Sunday, February 03, 2013


Working on sharping my photo skills and the fact that my son just got a new camera, we headed out with the kids on a family photo competition. We headed to the Everglades for some wild photos. I worked on some special effects and trying to capture a scene with my eye. The most unusual photo of my day was caught in a gators eye.
If you look you can see my family in the reflection of his eye. This was not planned, but it was a great effect.

The day was beautiful, nice and cool, we had hours and hours of good light for taking pictures and as always an opportunity to spend with the family. Once we got away from the crowds we could be more creative and take our time.

My camera has a setting called color accent, which I selected the blue of the sky in the reflection of the water. I think it brings something special to a normally boring photo.



I do like black and white, and took several photos, this one was one of my favorites.


This alligator was inches from the path, and I couldn't resist zooming in on his wonderfully white teeth. We all took photos, some with the same subjects, and then there were photos that surprised us. The kids were outstanding in their composition and their macro skills. Everything was done without a tripod and good timing.


It was extremely difficult to decide who pictures were the best, because everyone had an outstanding photo. Much to my surprise I would have to admit that the over-all winner of our family photo challenge had to be Jasmine. Max and Jonathan had some amazing photos and I hope to see them posted somewhere. Jason, by far had the most detailed and sharp photos, he had a definite advantage with his new camera.

SIBLING WEEKEND

Written by Captain Mary on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An opportunity was posted to me, and I believe that a person should never pass on an opportunity. My sister June was heading toward Orlando for a convention of sorts and asked if I would like to ride along. I had so much fun last time, even though I was alone during most of the time, I figured that my other family members were close by and I could fill my time with them.

June picked me up around one and we got on the road shortly afterward. The drive toward Orlando is about 4 hours, and it seems that we never run out of things to talk about. We were going to meet our other sister, the baby, Cheryl, in Orlando for dinner. As time passed we exchanged phone messages with Cheryl who arrived very early in Orlando. Cheryl passed the time by walking the mall, and June and I, made an effort to get there as soon as we could.

Arriving at the hotel, with Cheryl standing there with a big smile. The three of us together again, the feeling of all the pieces together, our different personalities somehow making one crazy family unit. I can't ignore the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I am with my siblings. Family, to me, is far more important than anything I could ever think of. Nothing even comes close to making me feel this good. I am always reminded of the times we had together, the adventures, the turmoil, and mostly the funny stuff. While Cheryl was waiting for us to arrive she located a great Italian restaurant for us to have dinner together. First, we got June checked into to hotel, and she introduced us to some of the members of the club. I stood there very proud to be part of this sisterly trio as June introduced us to her friends.

Off to dinner we went, a bit of a walk, but we laughed and talked the entire way. The restaurant was a bit unusual, we were asked if we would like a table in the kitchen. I said "No", right away. We walked through the kitchen like a mini tour before heading toward our table, stopping by a table with the revolving head of the "Pope". The atmosphere was joyful and had a great aura about it. Our server, a good looking young man, made us feel welcome and part of an Italian family. The festivities began and my voice tends to get loud, Cheryl says, "inside voice, Mary". Now, with my inside voice, my mouth runs on as I flirt with our good looking server, June says, "Catholic voice". Now, I am talking with my inside Catholic voice, yeah right, that lasted a couple of minutes. A couple of friends of June's showed up at our table because they heard we would be there. I felt like a celebrity, or maybe a freak show at a circus, no matter, we had a great time. The dinner was fantastic and the conversation was ours.

Time to depart each other temporarily, June remaining at the hotel for her meetings and I was to follow Cheryl to her house. A couple hours down the road ends and we make our way to Beverly Hills, Florida. Still talking, we finally had to end the evening, Cheryl had to work the whole weekend, although we have limited time together, it is special and we make the most of it.

I feel asleep on the couch watching T.V., I couldn't help going outside to try some night time photos before bed. It seemed as if my sleep went so quickly, before I knew it, the smell of coffee woke me and an opportunity to talk with sister before she went to work. I noticed it was still very dark, it wasn't even 5 am, but with 2 cups of coffee in me now, going back to sleep would be insane. A couple hours later my dad called and it was time to go and spend some time with my much cherish parent. This would be a time to spend alone with Daddy. We went out to breakfast spending our time reminiscing about the times we had together. The stories of our adventures together that were only ours. The hours passed so quickly and it was time to return to Cheryl's house.

Before Cheryl could return home, I got a call from my brother, who said he would pick me up and that after Cheryl got a bit of rest she could join us. I am certain that wasn't in her plans, but she is such a trooper, she came by and we talked and talked. After the evening Cheryl and I spend some girly time together, but the time again flew by and it was time to sleep, our last evening together. Again, falling asleep on the couch I was awoken with a kiss on my forehead. I got a warm feeling of love that made the rest of day full of joy. Got packed up and headed to my brothers house, upon my arrival the gate opened welcoming me. Hugs from my nephew is always a good start to the morning.

Charles and Mel had afternoon plans, a bridal shower, with friends. I was going to go along and meet their friends and crash the party. The morning we spent at what you would think as mundane errands, was a time for me and my brother to spend together, laughing and enjoying each other. Nothing serious in our conversation, just time to catch up and be brother and sister. Like the day with my Daddy, my chance to be his little girl again. Each moment with my sisters, brother and father warmed my heart, and filled that space that becomes a void after not hearing from them for any period of time.

Ready now for our afternoon out, being introduced to Charles and Mel's friends, I felt like a celebrity all over again. A great group of people and watching a young couple in love make the plunge to the next stage. Hope in their eyes and love in their hearts, I wish for them a life time of joy. I went outside the little wine shop to sit down and give my feet a break, camera in hand I couldn't help taking some pictures of the old little town, big city Crystal River. I was playing with some of the setting on my camera and took some really fun pictures. The evening just beginning we made our way to the Ale House, a place on the river surrounded by beauty, the sun just beginning to set, another opportunity for pictures and to meet new friends. Sitting outside on the rivers edge, the people here may be accustomed to temperatures in the 40's, but I would have to drink a lot to warm up enough to do this on a regular basis. The evening now over after much fun.

Morning once again, and time to pick up June in Orlando. She was really ready to go home and couldn't get out of there fast enough. Once we were on the road hours flew by and we were home in no time at all. Never running out of things to say my weekend filled with enjoyment and family was over until the next time. I am so happy, needed a break and sibling loven.

MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT YOGA

Written by Captain Mary on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I am feeling so great these days I don't know what to do with myself. I can feel my body returning to normal, if anything I do could be considered normal! Anyway, with encouragement from friends and a cancellation in my work schedule I made it to a class. Not certain what Yoga is all about, I figured it was slow enough for my old broken body. I have a genetic advantage, I am very flexible, which means I can touch my toes, even with my big gut in the way.

A few of my customers do Yoga and they are in excellent condition, they told me how great they feel after. I had not heard a negative comment about this exercise ever. So, I am at class and it starts out pretty simple, I could feel the stretch. As the class progressed the difficulty increased, it was then I realized that it takes strength to accomplish some of these crazy poses. I found my arms and legs shaking as I forced myself to hold it. It is very isometric, which works for me, since my lack of any kind of exercise has left me pretty weak. Today, was an eye opening experience. Just trying to keep my ass up in the air was a challenge in itself. I laughed at myself and enjoyed the class dynamic.

I botched one of the poses and ended up rolling on the floor and almost rolled on top of my Matt mate. The class roared with laughter, which is always good medicine for me. If you can't laugh at yourself than you are just too damn serious. The rest of my day was energized and happy. I don't think that I could stress about anything if I wanted to!

The class continued and we were almost finished with our work-out, when Shelah, our instructor, said that we should have a little fun and try a pose that is very difficult. I am always open for a challenge, it's my nature. So, her daughter got in front of the class to demonstrate this pose, I could not believe my eyes. I thought Shelah must be out of her mind, who could do this without a lot of attempts and crashes on their heads? Everyone in the class gave it an attempt and so did I. Several attempts later and I managed to get it done. It was a pose I could only hold for seconds, but the important part was that I got it done.

A boost to my ego, a good laugh, and an hour with friends. What a way to interrupt the work week.


One thing about this pose is my ass doesn't look as big as it is. Pretty impressive pose if I do say so myself. I guess you are never too old for Yoga.

MUSIC TRIGGERS MY MEMORIES

Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ever since I can remember, music attached itself to my memories. When enjoying a song, I can recall the sights, sounds and even the smells when I hear certain songs. I have no car sound system and I don't know why, but I just haven't the urge to listen in quite some time. The right music helps the work hours fly and I always worked with my little IPod attached to my ear. Last week I came across my dusty IPod and charged it up. I have a collection of songs from the 60's to today. I selected them through my major CD collection and haven't changed them in years.

I put my ear buds in for my drive to Homestead to do a little work at Jason's. After awhile I remembered why I stopped using the IPod, because the ear buds and the wire and you know the story. Jason has this great speaker system, so I plugged in my IPod and started listening away. While working my mind can focus on a lot of things, because cleaning is very systematic and it doesn't take much thought. As each one of my selections began to play the memories began to pour out of the depths, deep freeze storage I imagine. Maybe I just didn't want to think about the past anymore.

An African song came on "Jambo", which gave me an enormous smile and I began singing along in Swahili, a memory of my amazing trip to East Africa. I remembered where I was sitting, who I was sitting with and the smell of the night air. How that night we stayed up and even got yelled at by the staff to keep it down!

Didgeridoo music came on, again I recalled being on top of a mountain at a quaint village in Queensland, Australia, sitting and listening to the actual musician play for me, accompanied by a flute.

Bob Seager and the Silver Bullet band, great memories of  living on my sailboat, meeting a past member of the group. Becoming friends and even going lobstering together on his Scarab. ZZ Top songs, a time when I was hired as a dive guide for members of the band, while they were in town for the "Recycler Tour". Took them diving and taught them how to drink beer underwater. I did such a good job, I got VIP tickets for the concert and T-shirts. So many places, people and pleasures to continue reminiscing.

I could go on and on, as I continued to listen some songs came on and the reminders made me miss being young, slim, or should I say rock hard body, and beautiful. I was popular, and never bought my own drinks anywhere I would dance the night away. I missed that and I couldn't help thinking that I am coming to a time in my life that doesn't allow that crazy lifestyle anymore. Honestly, I can't manage it and don't even know how I survived it. I started getting sad with this flood of memories from good times and bad. The music I selected has really painted a picture of my life and I didn't realize it until I started listening again.

Through my sadness I started thinking that I can't think of anything that I didn't do! Perhaps that is why we get older, so that we move on to different things and directions. I have traveled, loved, lusted (excessively), cried, lost and I honestly have "no regrets". It has always been my motto to do so, now looking back I really have done anything I wanted and more. While writing I have to stop myself, because this post would be hundreds of pages long. Oh, the stories I could tell. I have lived 10 lifetimes in one.

Each day gives me yet another fond memory, weather it is to music or simply stored in deep freeze in the back of my head. It is what a cherish and it is something that I can share to the next generations. Perhaps edited a bit for the younger ones. I will be listening to music again, it makes me happy and it picks up my spirits, not to mention it makes my body move. I don't even care how crazy I look!!! 


KRITTER KAMP IS FULL THIS WEEKEND

Written by Captain Mary on Friday, January 11, 2013




Oh how I love my kids, I must! They are all off paddling on the Peace River while I stay home with all my grand dogs. Hanna, the Shepard: Barclay, the springer spaniel: Alley, the Shepard, husky mix: plus my two. I would say Kamp is full.

I was busy at work while Hanna and Alley were dropped off at my house, after work I went and picked up Barclay. I was pretty slick and came in the back door, so I didn't have any run aways. I left Barclay outside, so that the animal interaction was minimal, Bogey and Kiwi were safely locked away in my bedroom.

Much to my surprise I walked in to a major disaster, food bowl knocked over and food all over, mixed with dog pee pee. Alley is just a puppy and I guess she just couldn't hold it. That wasn't all, there were toys all over the place as if the toy box exploded. They were happy to see someone who was going to open the door to the great outdoors. I really couldn't get mad, I think I even giggled a bit, that was after I cleaned up all the pee pee. And thank goodness my delivery of orange oil came, the perfect time for a strong smelling deodorant cleaner and I can eat it if I want.

After a mere five hours Barclay and Alley finally laid down, poor Hanna planted by the front door awaiting her family's return. Kiwi was the one who was relentlessly picked on. Bogey, on the other hand got a few good bites in on ankles, enough to let them know who the boss was. I don't know what Jason is going to do with Barclay, he humps everything, he just hasn't figured out the right end of the dog to hump. Poor Alley is literally getting head. My feet are a sticky mess from all the drool and the smell of dog is so strong I can't smell the odor of cigarettes. I anticipated as much and this morning I picked up half a dozen odor absorbers. So far so good, I just hope that all the dogs leave me a little room in bed for sleep. Not that I let them, but Barclay always sneaks in and I don't know a thing about Alley, except she is funny looking.