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The back of our yard is dominated by two cabbage palm trees. Because of the path of the sun, they provide some shade for the garden underneath and between the two trees. Right now there is an overgrown and obnoxious schefflera plant in the middle front, with azaleas on either side. Those three plants are the central focus of our view from the lanai.

Five years ago only the palms and the overgrown and obnoxious schefflera filled that space. We've been trying to fill it with bromeliad, white bird of paradise, dwarf poinciana, croton, and cordyline. None of these new plantings are mature yet, but they will be eventually and it will be beautiful.

I don't love that overgrown and obnoxious schefflera. A giant crinum lily is what we need there. The schefflera can be dug up, divided, and planted elsewhere or shared with others. I just have to find the perfect giant crinum. 

The only problem is they attract lubber grasshoppers, which means we have to gear ourselves up for the killing season in early spring. Aaack. Everything is a battle.

Some random pictures of various types of crinum. There are a lot of varieties. 






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There are vanity apps on phones that do age progression on your photograph to show how you'd look in old age. I know these are fun. I get it. However, when you start posting the photos on social media so that your friends can laugh and be disgusted by the older "you," then I think you've crossed a line.

I have thought about this hard and long. What I have to say is this: The app picture of people looking older are not ugly to me. If I had friends who looked like the older photos, I would see them as beautiful.  I love the faces of my older friends, don't you?

Growing older and aging is not a bad thing. However, it is hard to adjust to growing older when we live in an insensitive youth culture that despises older women for aging. I wish young people could know how wrong it is to be judged harshly for becoming something more than sexual objects for men's fantasies. And that's the key, we are becoming something MORE, not something less. 

As a woman with wrinkles, gray hair, and age weight, the laughter and disgust over the age progressed pics diminishes me as a person. I feel invisible. I feel like I am disgusting and should never leave the house. I feel like I am the end result of everyone's fears about growing older. I begin to wonder why my ugly, useless self is still alive. What purpose do I serve when I am so reviled? Seriously, this is how ageism makes me feel.

Let's care less about how we look, and care more about what we do. Vanity is not a virtue. Women don't have to be young and beautiful to have value. The world will be a better place when we stop playing games.

self portraits over time:






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I took my 7 year old grandson, N, to the Orlando Museum of Contemporary Art.  He had just participated in two weeks of Art Camp at a local gallery. I thought I'd take him to an art museum to broaden his horizon.

N is psyched to go any place that has a gift shop. This gift shop was up front by the admissions counter. Big mistake. He wanted to go there right away. I dug deep to invoke all my Grandma power, convincing him the gift shop would be the end of our adventure. 

We first encountered a blown glass sculpture as tall as the ceiling. It looked like an purple and yellow alien Christmas tree. He thought that was cool. I felt hopeful.

Next was a contemporary painting with no definable shape. It depicted stylized, frenetic representations of angry people wearing horse heads. He pondered it before exclaiming "Whoah, that's just WRONG!"  

Horse Head painting must have really creeped him out, because I had to cajole him into the other gallery spaces. He stood outside the entrance ways pointing towards the gift shop. He wanted to leave. He was actually afraid, poor kid. 

I thought maybe abstractions were the problem, but he seemed equally freaked by the representational art. We stopped in front of a large painting of a woman with two children. It was painted in a loose, impressionistic style with thick impasto. His thoughts? "Why does it seem like she's staring at me, Grandma?" 

The next room had reasonably benign landscapes. Not interested, he high-tailed it through to the next room which brought him to a skidding halt. An artist had piled all sorts of daily artifacts, toys, and plastic fruit/veg about a foot high on a long, narrow table and spray painted the entire piece bright pink. I loved it. He didn't want to go near it. His eyes were as big as saucers. 

He power-walked through various rooms without looking. Happily, the final room saved the day. An artist created miniature rooms in glass boxes with all the related teeny accoutrements. There were also headphones alongside the displays. Niko liked putting the headphones on. I have no idea what the artist was telling him, but it made him happy. Perhaps the guy said "Find the gift shop, young Skywalker."

And that's what we did. Art may now be ruined for him, but he got a great toy. A CubeBot, which is a representational abstraction, right?

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Our air conditioning unit broke down last Sunday. That's always traumatic in July or August when 90-100° days, replete with drenching humidity, are common. Luckily, it was a relatively cool 86° with cloud cover and rainstorms.

The total repair charges end up being about $750. We will also be signing up for their yearly maintenance plan, which is $179 for the coming year. The guy told us that a new unit, which we "should really think about getting soon" would be $6,500. Yeah, right.

I think about this, and all the other charges for house maintenance. I wonder how many more years T and I will be able to afford to live in our own house.

Then I feel ashamed of my petty worries. Even if we were forced to sell and go into a small apartment we would still have enough. Enough is so much more than most people have. What a rough and tumble, frightening world we live in. 
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Sunday is my day of rest. I'm happily retired, so why would I, of all people, need a day of rest? Because it is hard to find my way back to me. Know what I mean?

One friend (who is still working) often accuses me of being a "princess" when I complain. Hey! After 45 years of working jobs I didn't love, and putting other people first, I want to be a princess now.

A couple of months ago I noticed I was always in a hurry and unable to relax. I was over scheduled, which happens, dontcha know? However, I don't want to eliminate any of the things I do.

My solution was to make Sunday my day of rest. On Sunday I only do what I want to do, even if it is nothing.

Sunday is now the day that I feel most retired and free. I look forward to it. Everyone should have a least one "ME" day each week. If I ruled the world you would have one, too.   

I could get an exact copy of this tiara for $15.99 on amazon

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I have been awash in political fervor the last couple days because of the Democratic Debates.  It was so fun and reassuring to see all the candidates talking like they were empathetic, smart, tolerant human beings who cared about climate change, health care, and the human condition.  I would happily vote for most of them, and will definitely vote for any Democratic who wins the primary.  Right now I'm loving Harris, Buttigieg, Warren, Castro the most.

Here's a little inspiration to get you going today if you are on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/KamalaHarris/videos/2072971459671524/?v=2072971459671524

and, of course this also gives me hope for a brighter future:

https://www.facebook.com/petebuttigieg1/videos/483116629111183/

But, you know

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Father's Day has come and gone. It is always a tough holiday for me. My Dad was complicated, and when I say "complicated" it's a euphemism for "What the Hell was WRONG with that guy!" Still, I don't want to wallow in my conflicted feelings for him. I adored him as a child. I feared him as a teen. I avoided him as an adult.  I was sad when he died. 

He loomed large. Sometimes it is hard to believe he is gone.


Easter 1953
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I was a diehard Beatlemaniac as a young girl in the early and middle 1960s. 

I guess if I had to choose one favorite it would be Mr. Moonlight on the album called Beatles for Sale (in the U.S). John Lennon screaming his heart out about Mistuhuhuhuh Moonlight in the beginning was a revelation to me as a tween. I remember thinking "What the heck was THAT?" I played the beginning over and over, just to feel what it made me feel. In my youthful innocence I didn't know.  I just knew it moved me on a deep and joyful level. Only later did I realize it was passion. Of course the passionate cry was also perfectly executed, providing one of my earliest experiences of pop excellence.

I'm probably driving my husband nuts right now, because as I've been writing this I've been restarting the song over and over again. Apparently, it never gets old.

Do you have a favorite Beatles song?

Mr Moonlight (Remastered 2009) - YouTube
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I was never beautiful, although I think there were times in my life when I was reasonably attractive. If not attractive because of beauty, then at least attractive by the strength of my will, or the intensity of my stare. I mourn the loss of youth because, as they say, there is beauty in youth. It is hard to say goodbye to all that when your concept of beauty is limited to cultural norms.

Is there also beauty in aging? I think so, if we can only get over our fear of death and our revulsion over the aging process. Wrinkles, gray hair and all the rest less obvious trappings of age are confusing. The changes that aging bring are horrifying only sometimes, but always astounding in their creeping permanency. Still, the older women I have loved always seemed beautiful to me.

I'm inclined to let age have its way with me. I would put my energy elsewhere, because this is a fight I cannot win.
My maternal grandmother.  I didn't know her but I love the children she raised so I guess I love her, too.

My paternal grandmother, one of the best people who has ever walked this earth

My sweet mother (big sigh)

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There has never been a woman president in the United States. There has never been a woman vice president. Ever. Can I say that again? Ever!

When I say “Elect women” or “We need a woman president” it pushes some right over the edge. I've had so many online arguments with men AND women who hear a pro-woman rallying cry and assume I'll single-handedly destroy the U.S. presidential election by refusing to vote for a male candidate. Sheesh.

Then there are the ones who say, “We tried it with Hillary and it didn’t work. The country isn’t ready to elect a woman, if you wait it will happen eventually.” Uh, I became a feminist in 1968. I’ve been waiting for over 50 years. I’m sick of waiting.

The "We tried HIllary" argument creeps me out. Although she likely won the election, and certainly won the popular vote, some think if one woman ran and didn’t win, then that justifies not considering a woman candidate. I understand the fears, but really? How can we change the world if we only give women one shot at power?

Rallying cries are emotional shorthand meant to focus attention on an issue. “Vote for Women” is intended to remind us that women are not fully represented in government and we need more women in power. That’s all, folks.

When women say "Let's support women candidates" or "Elect Women" it doesn't mean gender is the onlyfactor. It's like saying "Black People Matter." That statement does not mean ONLY black people matter. It means black people matter, TOO. 'Isms are tricky, complicated, slippery damn things. Let's think more deeply about them.

I will advocate for those I consider the best candidates, and all other things being equal I will vote for a woman. But if a man is the best candidate, I’ll vote for the man. 

However, I won't dismiss women candidate out of hand because some believe women can't win. I'm giving all the candidates a chance to convince me. I'm open.

It’s way too early for me to know who I’ll vote for in the primary. I currently have 3 favorites: two woman and one man. That could change over time. Most of the others I like, too. I’m a team player. “Vote Blue, No Matter Who” is also a rallying cry I hold dear. I just want more women elected to government at all positions, even president. 





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