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One Thing Leads to Another

I suppose the more people you know, the older you get, the more joy and pain you hear about. Lately, there has been a real shortage of joy. 

Bummer #1

I left you on Tuesday morning with very good intentions of getting back with you later, but the truth of the matter is, that my museum time left me feeling not so happy. A volunteer appreciation breakfast was on the agenda, although I'm in the gallery so usually don't really get involved. Plus, they were having coffee, which you know how much I like that, as well as bagels. Now, I do love a good bagel, but only if it's toasted to within an inch of it's life. Double toasting please--butter or cream cheese is fine. With no toaster, no bagels for me. Anyway, I arrived at the usual time, only to find the gallery locked. No biggie I think, I'll find Karen. Moving into the breezeway, the site of the aforementioned breakfast, I don't see her. What I do hear is my friend Pam, casually introducing a young woman who'd just arrived, to another volunteer I don't know. She said, and I quote, "Meet Michelle, our new curator." I blurted out, "WHAT?", only to have her respond, "Karen is no longer with us." OH MY GOODNESS, is all I could think at the moment, followed by, what happened? The consensus response I got was, 'they are moving in a new direction.' She resigned rather than be fired, thus no unemployment. Karen's finances were precarious while working; I can't imagine what will happen now. This last year I've struggled with going there, mostly because it's boring, however, I kept it up to help Karen. Now, I'm left with a decision which I won't have to deal with for some time as the museum is closed for the next two months. 

Bummer #2

My sweet, elderly neighbor, Corine's sister-in-law passed away. She was old, but still. I worry so when Corine (84) and Herb (83) drive to Alabama. I'm keeping an eye on their place.

Wednesday morning I had a 9:15 appointment for my almost yearly GYN check up near my former employer. Seems like forever ago, but I did photograph Clara, Liza's baby, never getting the prints  Grandma Nancy requested. Because I was heading to Costco after my appointment, I spent some time  making a disc. My plan was to have the photographs made, getting my eyes checked during the processing. This was not to be. Before I move right along, let me just say I waited one hour to see Dr. Peppy, who spent less than five minutes with me. Hmmmm.....Photographs--check. Eye exam--no check. Dr. is out on Wednesday. This all took longer than anticipated. Time just kept slipping away. 

Bummer #3

Later that afternoon while heading to Publix, I stopped a moment to chat with Regina by her mailbox. Holding two phones, she related she was waiting on an important call. Only last week her daughter, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Age: 47. Naturally, Regina is shaken to her core. She, like most folks, can't imagine how a marathon runner, non-smoker, thin, and by all accounts, doing everything the healthy way, could find herself in this situation. There's no good explanation.


By now, most of you know Bill is no longer a JPMorgan Chase employee. Giving a vulgar answer to a co-workers enquiry can get you fired these days. Fortunately he's managed his money well, saving quite a bit these last few years. But still, no one likes to be fired, or in his case resigned to avoid the firing blot on his resume. 

Right about now, you're probably thinking, where's the joy Gail? As I mentioned earlier, joy has left the building.

Ever since our holiday, I've been thinking about the amazing black bamboo we saw at the hotel in Naples. Lisa discovered a place in Groveland, a very small town about 35 miles away, which carries many, many varieties of bamboo. My appointment was for 9:00, however, I thought a drive in the country might be just the thing to soothe my soul. Leaving the house at day break, I took all back roads, stopping a few times along the way. Matthew might recognize this lake, the site in Clermont for the swim during his triathlon days. Amazing clouds, right?

Following Route 19 North, I came across this gigantic tree farm. Absolutely marvelous. As you can tell there's a slight rise in the road. Who says all roads in Florida are flat? Here's a link to the farm,, which if you're interested has a very interesting animation about the special pots they use. From the looks of things, they must work.
Sherry, the owner gave me specific driving instructions, as well as clothing instructions. Their farm was off this clay road, which you don't see very often around our parts.
Instead of my usual dress and sandals, I made sure to wear closed toe shoes and shorts. Stopping along this clay road to photograph some trees, I was out of the car only minutes when I felt an intense burning on my feet. ANTS!!! Stomping up and down to get them off of me, I jumped into the Element, removing my shoes, and brushing like someone posessed. As you well know, insect bites do not agree with me. Although I always carry a Benadryl stick in my camera bag, the soothing effects are minimal. Within minutes my feet were swelling. People never realize what I go through to get photographs! Rubbing and driving, rubbing and driving, I made my way to the bamboo farm. Because I was still early, I got out of my car, only to be attacked by mosquitoes. Why, you ask, didn't I apply bug spray prior to exiting the vehicle? BECAUSE it was not in my vehicle! Apparently during our holiday, for some reason, we removed it. Might I just call this bummer # 4? Well, no I won't because in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty trivial. Not, of course when I'm scratching my bites like a maniac, but after a few hours, they usually settle down. In fact, Sherry, the owner gave me vinegar to spray on the bites, hoping I would concentrate on the information she was doling out regarding all types of bamboo. Vinegar--a miraculous worker. The bottom line, I didn't buy any bamboo, and by the time I got home, the bites were merely welts.

On my way home, I drove through Oakland, heading down to the shore of the infamous Lake Apopka.
If you make this image large, you will note several interesting things, or they are to my way of thinking. Approaching the dock, I saw the posted signage, thinking, yeah right! Look to the left of center just beyond the dock and tell me what you see. You clever readers, of course it's an alligator! They say that Lake Apopka is dead, however, there sure were a lot of fish jumping, a second gator and birds and insects all doing their thing.

After ten days of drought, the rain finally fell. Lots, and lots, and lots of it. The skies are still gray.


Alissa lost her job in Chicago just yesterday due to cutbacks.

It's an epidemic of bad news. These are not the best of times for  many people, they are the worst of times. I can hardly believe that I personally know five very competent people without work.  Thinking  back on our life, I do know that things were tough, sometimes real tough. I'm still constantly fighting my frugal nature. Losing one's job, having a life threatening disease, pinching pennies, these are game changers. It's really hard to imagine what the future holds isn't it? Life is mighty fragile.

My Gail, that was a cheery read. Maybe I should close with a cheery photo? Well, sort of cheery anyway.

Thanks for reading!


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