Monday, November 18, 2013
I'm persistent to a fault. After hours of hunting for Plant from Mars online, I stumbled upon a nursery in South Carolina called Woodlanders, which specializes in unusual plants, and wrote to them via their Contact Us link. I apparently asked the right guy, because Bob McCartney wrote back to tell me that a contact in Gainesville told him it is Acalypha wilkesiana forma circinata, more modestly known as Jacob's coat. Like my sea hibiscus, it hails from Southeast Asia and has many medicinal uses which I hesitate to try. One website said its stalk is poisonous; others suggested boiling its leaves and drinking the tea to cure everything from pleurisy to diarrhea. I don't think this is a good idea.
Here's Bob McCartney's backstory:
"In seeking out people who had been involved with the cultivation of native southern plants, the trail led to Bob McCartney at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg's gardens relied heavily on native plants and for more than a decade Bob had been collecting, propagating and introducing into the extensive gardens and grounds a wide range of seldom cultivated species."
What's so funny about all this is that I appear to have found a hobby in the last field I ever would have guessed. I've never liked gardening or considered myself a gardener--even though my mother was. It's just so darn easy, though, in Florida, and I love these weirdo plants that have become like pets!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Downtown Disney has some awesome Legos too:
Friday, November 15, 2013
Speaks for itself, no?
In other words, the answer to "You will discover the likely reasons why you have [all these problems]" is the likelihood of your being irresistibly drawn to FREE PANCAKES & EGGS in the first place. The "'cutting edge' solution to provide you with relief" is, of course, not eating this sort of stuff.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Once we got safely home from Ft. Myers, Delia stepped over our threshold and was warmly greeted by both puppies and Bill. Despite my fears, there was no awkwardness.
How delightful that she could wander around the house, looking at both things she had grown up with as well as new ones. "What a wonderful room!" she enthused about the living room. "Oh, I remember this!" "Everything is so NEAT! How do you keep your silverware drawer like this??" "I have a bathroom all to myself??" It was like a fairy tale come true, seeing the place through her appreciative eyes, sharing toiletries, and calling out to each other from either end of the house. "Good night, Delia!" "Good night, Mom!"
We sat out on the lanai, and I coaxed the pups, whose pictures she has been collecting and featuring on her cell phone screen, up onto her lap. At first I had to hug her, pet her, and babytalk them, "Seeeeee? Delia NICE!" (This took no effort at all, of course.) Then Roly was all over her. Shy little Doxie hung back, but she ended up getting attached to Delia, too, before the weekend was out.
Bill treated us to dinner out, at a restaurant overlooking the harbor marina, and so began Delia's weekend of eating like a queen. Yes, that's sushi. Take heart. There is hope for all picky eaters who once would have only french fries and grated cheddar cheese for Thanksgiving dinner. She also once ate so slowly that the daycare center set a timer to hurry her up. Those days are FAR in the past!
Monday, November 11, 2013
It's been a long journey for my daughter and me. Because of her father's embittered response to our divorce, it has been thirteen years since she has set foot inside my home. We've seen a lot of each other, but she held back from coming into the home that Bill and I share, and spending time with Bill. Everyone told me, "She'll come around in time. She'll appreciate what a good guy Bill is. Kids mature. You'll see." It was so hard to believe that I resigned myself to our leading separate lives.
Our own relationship has gone through the storms and tests of adolescence and young adulthood. But now, to celebrate her 28th birthday, she decided to fly down from Boston to stay with Bill and me over the weekend. This is, of course, HUGE. I cleaned for a solid week beforehand; had Stanley Steemer clean, deodorize, and protect the carpet; refused entrance to the girls' friend Rosie, who is known to mark her territory on said carpet; figured out how Bill could smoke in peace while Delia was here; determined and obtained all of her favorite foods; and planned an itinerary of activities, some of which we actually did.
I don't drive much any more, so I'm out of practice, but I rose to the occasion and headed off to Ft. Myers airport to pick her up. I'm so used to Bill handling this sort of thing that it was both hard and good for me to instruct her in how the pickup would work, and then execute it. We texted each other from the time the plane landed, so we were able to connect very easily at the curb.
First stop: historic downtown Ft. Myers. Delia was really impressed with the Florida vegetation. "The palm trees don't look real! It's like they stuck them there for decoration!" Never mind the banyan in front of city hall.
First we visited The Franklin Shops, the 1930s Franklin Hardware Store converted into a two-story emporium of hundreds of individual shops selling unique hand-made jewelry and fashions, artwork, accessories, beauty, and gifts. It's a great place to help your daughter spend her birthday money or to Christmas shop. She showed signs of spending an hour at the first of the hundreds of shops and was entranced with a couple of things ...
... but then decided not to spend her money at only the first place she shopped on this trip. Her sense of responsibility exceeds her mother's. I purchased myself a new bejeweled, fringed handbag that even my daughter approved of. Those of you with daughters can appreciate how unusual that approval was. And she wasn't just being nice. I think she rather wanted it herself.
Then we had lunch at Ford's Garage, a fun downtown restaurant right across the street. It aims to emulate a Prohibition era daytime garage/nighttime speakeasy, but no speakeasy ever had a decorator like Ford's did. The garage theme extends to hose-clamp napkin rings around grease rags, a Model T hanging over the bar, and bathroom sinks made out of BF Goodriches with gas-pump spigots. The food is good, too.
Before shopping and lunch, I had parked in a lovely Public Parking lot with a really recognizable name. In my excitement, do you think I remembered exactly where it was and how to get back to it?
An hour later, sweating and trembling lest we miss the lot's 4:30 closing time, after asking four bewildered people and two parking lot attendants where it was, finally remembering to pull out the ticket to read its street name, and using my cell phone to trace one of those zanily discontinuous Florida streets, broken up by cross streets and plazas, we got to the car. At this point Delia was eyeing me askance, like, gee, Mom isn't as sharp as she was a little while ago.
But things would get better ...
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