Doing my part to save the earth

When you live alone, as I do, with very little to do, you tend to start analyzing things you do.  Okay, replace all those “you’s” with “I” – “I” am analyzing even more, if you can believe it, what I do.  And I have come to realize that I hate to waste things.  It all started back in the day with Christmas trees.  Going way back, 30 years, Dennis and I would go cut one down, in the freezing cold, take it home, decorate it of course, and in the end throw it over the hillside or in the woods.  That was okay because it was like composting.  Dust to dust and all….  But then in Fair Oaks, without Dennis, I would buy real trees, Zachary hated, and I mean hated, to decorate it, we’d cut our arms all up getting those lights just right but at least to me it would be worth it. Every night I would sit by that tree, watching TV or whatever all the while adoring my tree. I loved my Christmas trees.  But then, it would end up on the curb.  ON THE CURB!!  I mean first you ask this tree to give up it’s life, but then you decorate it and admire it for a few weeks giving it the main focus of your life, I mean that tree is living high in the scheme of things and then you thank it for giving up it’s life by leaving it on the curb…with the garbage.  I couldn’t stand it.  Just couldn’t take it.  So I switched to an artificial tree.  Yes I did.  I couldn’t stand wasting that trees life.  I have been much happier with artificial.

And flowers?  I have always had a dead zone, in every house I’ve ever owned.  You know how you buy those cute little plants to brighten up your house, your table, or someone gives you as a gift and then they die?  I can’t stand throwing them in the garbage.  So I always plant them.  I even started a dead zone at my mom’s last year.  I checked on it last week when I was up there.  I actually think something (a begonia) came up.  The Poinsettia didn’t look so hot.  I should probably make them into mulch better instead of those dead sticks sticking up out of the ground.  Well, next visit.  I mean it’s okay if they are in the ground dead, just not the garbage. And at least give them a chance, ya know?

I’ve mastered the reuse of vegetables, thanks to my friend Jean, who taught me that you take allll  the scraps and keep them in the freezer until the next time you make broth.  So now after I buy one of those rotisserie chickens I throw the whole carcass, together with a couple handfuls of veggies (now frozen) simmer a few hours and I’m not gonna lie, I make really good chicken broth with those scraps.  And I mean all scraps.  Skins of onions, ends of carrots, ends of anything, seeds of peppers.  I have read the ends have all the taste and nutrients.  Well anyway, I still feel a bit bad throwing out the veggies after the broth is made (at my mom’s they go in the compost) but I have yet to figure out what to do with the scraps after cooking.  Ellen, will chickens eat those?  Are there any nutrients left for them?

And I’ve been missing my juicer lately.  That thing was like a dinosaur though.  I rarely used it the last couple years – like maybe never, so when it came to losing it in the storage wars I was okay with it.  But when I first got it I loved making carrot and apple juice, throw in a lemon, it was like heaven.  Being that it’s fall now I’ve been making applesauce.  It’s apple season (up north) so while visiting my kids I made a big pot of applesauce with the apples from the farmer’s market.  I LOVE the farmers market (but you already know that) And then at my mom’s I made applesauce for her.  So I bought a big bag of apples at Wegmans, in Richmond, and brought them here and have been making (and sharing with Julia) more applesauce.  Normally, if I still had that juicer, I would take all those cores and skins and throw them in the juicer, with a lemon and lime (left over from all these Purple Carrot recipes) and drink that delicious juice.  But instead I saved all these apple scraps for Julia’s chickens.  I kept them in the refrigerator all weekend and was thrilled to know that I was going to Julia’s for a staff meeting this morning and I could take those apple scraps to her for her chickens and therefore not waste.

I looked pretty cute for work today.  Nice linen pants, a little sleeveless lacy top (still can’t figure out those damn bra straps) and then put on my shoes that are sparkly and cute.  I got the apple scraps from the refrigerator, scoured the house for a bag to transport them there (believe it or not I threw out all my bags pre- Irma incase the house got flooded I didn’t need all those wet bags – so I put them in the recycling…see how good?) anyway, found a bag for the apple scraps I so carefully saved.  Julia is happy to have the scraps but when I bring them I have to feed the chickens myself.  The coop is in the back of the yard (as most chicken coops should be)

I looked at my shoes, looked at the apples, looked at my shoes again…thought about the walk through the wet yard to the chicken coop and threw those apples right in the garbage.


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The Words

My Hurrication has come to an end.  I didn’t come up with that term.  That was Krystal.  But it’s cute isn’t it?  Anyhoo, I think I left off with I wasn’t happy about fleeing but I was safe and sound in Virginia.  And I was safe and sound with electricity.

As usual I couldn’t make myself sit still in Virginia and just be peaceful.  Instead my week was filled with errands, cooking and cleaning.  My mom really does keep the house nice but it’s because she wants it to look nice that I know when I see she has missed a corner and I know she would want it cleaned well I just do it.  I don’t have to.  Nobody else that visits cares and she can’t see it.  But really she cares.  If she could see she would care.  That’s why I do it.  However, I did sit every night with her and we listened to a book a tape, John Grisham’s Sycamore Row.  It is a good book!  Total of 18 hours so my last day/night there we were on a marathon to finish.  Pretty funny.  We had a nice week. So that one picture of the “man in the woods” turned out to be a tree.  But my goodness it looked like a ghostly pair of pants and I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I didn’t notice it until dusk and there was no way I was going out to investigate until full daylight.  The full daylight showed the tree.

Since school was closed all week and I was pretty sure I had no electricity (although didn’t really check) I stayed in Virginia until the last minute with mom. Once I got the notice to get back to work on Monday I planned to leave Saturday, spending the night in Savannah, planned to get back to my apartment on Sunday and get it all put back together.  Saturday went off without a hitch.  A nice goodbye, didn’t forget anything, even got to bring some “fall” clothes that I had left there from last year (left winter clothes there still) anyway, got to Savannah and my bargain basement hotel by 6 pm.  I called Krystal, who used to work in my office at Stetson, until she quit to go to law school in Savannah, and met her for dinner. We went to Paula Deen’s restaurant “Lady and Sons” – worth the trip for sure.  I just love Savannah.

The next morning I left for home.  Traveling at a comfortable speed of 80, slow for I95, bumper to bumper traffic at 80 mpg basically,  I was in the fast lane when I heard a pop and a bit of a shake.  I thought I hit something in the road, pulled off on the shoulder on the left – you know the fast lane side – where I was sure to die, but did not.  Got out to see if I popped a tire, I did not and did not see anything under the car that looked out of place or that I was possibly dragging.  Back in the car – back on the road to more shaking – pulled of an exit that was right there.  One gas station, still boarded up from the storm but open.  Nothing else in site.  Asked the nice gentleman who worked there what to do who suggested being Sunday he thought the only possible place open was Walmart, about 6 miles away.  I went back outside to ponder what to do.

There was this small motorcycle group also at the gas station.  They were actually a little on the small and scrawny side physically as well as small in number (about 5 of them)but still wore the black leather outfits so popular with motorcycle gangs that can really be a little off-putting.  I walked past the one who remained with the bikes (while the rest were in the store) and then decided to approach him and said “do any of you guys happen to be mechanics” – to which he said “scuzzi?”  Seriously?  A French speaking motorcycle gang in the middle of Georgia.  His English was good enough to say that none of them were mechanics and when he saw me checking that the liquid on the ground was indeed water from the AC and not oil he came over to confirm that it was just water like you get from a refrigerator.  I thanked him. But he wasn’t helpful.  But funny story isn’t it?  French motorcycle gang in Georgia.  I just couldn’t make that up.

Again since I didn’t see anything under the car, tires looked okay, I headed back onto I95.  Before this, when I was talking to the French guy, I accidentally Facetimed Stephanie.  So she was still on the phone when I pulled onto the highway and the car started shaking vigorously and then the flapping noise and well clearly I couldn’t drive it.  I pulled off and I was parked at the beginning of the ramp between the highway and the off ramp and she talked me through next steps.  I called AAA, cried when they said 90 minutes, figured I was going to die because you always hear about people dying when they pull off on the shoulder for various reasons, but after about an hour I had to pee and once again Stephanie talked me through some suggestions on what to do…lol…well the important part of this part is I pulled the car over to the other side of the ramp – I don’t know why I didn’t do that in the first place.  I think I was afraid that whatever was wrong with the car would prevent the car from getting to the other side of the road.  But it did not. And then I was able to get out of the car and get some air and there was this butterfly garden or something.  All these beautiful butterflies flying around.  A couple of them I think are called bearded something.  Just beautiful.  I forgot I had to pee. It helped to have the distraction.

AAA finally showed up, took me to a Tire Kingdom, my choice after talking to Mike, Janice’s mechanic who suggested anywhere but Walmart.  Tire Kingdom said they didn’t have time to look at it that day and assured me that even if they did they wouldn’t have the part and nobody in the area would have a Mercedes part. So I left the car, I found a Hampton Inn nearby, they called me a taxi.  I checked in and walked to IHOP for food. I hadn’t eaten all day.  I missed the free breakfast at the hotel.  Anyway, after spending hours being emotionally distraught the Tire place called me and said they had time to look at it and that it appeared to be a tire issue, not mechanical.  I was thrilled.  Financially I don’t think it could have been a better outcome.  But he didn’t have the tires in stock, which was probably good since I had already checked in to the hotel and who knows if I would have gotten my money back.  After IHOP I walked back to the room, got a long bath and watched the Emmy’s.  I slept really well

Today I picked the car up around 11 am and asked again what was wrong with the tires.  I said people were going to ask and I needed to say something.  I didn’t want to say “I have this blog…” But he said he saved the tire to show me.

Kinda leaves you speechless doesn’t it? I was in shock.  I thanked him for saving my life and meant every word of it.  The damage was on the inside of the tire and all the time when I was checking the tires and looking underneath I didn’t see it.  The tow truck driver suspected a tire problem but said he looked and didn’t see anything either.  Well anyway it was well hidden to the naked eye.  I was pretty freaked out for most of the way home.

Other than hating the drive through Jacksonville the rest of the drive – about 2 hours – was uneventful.  Thank God. Once in DeLand I ran into my house to change my shirt, plugged in my AC’s, and went off to work.  It’s been a little hellish trying to get caught up – plus I missed the morning but I know by tomorrow I’ll be back up to par.

My place seemed unaffected but as I was uncovering things I found this big water stain on my chair.  Which is a bummer.  I don’t know where it’s from.  I mean obviously from the storm but did the ceiling leak?  Come through the window?  Where is it from?  It’s not wet now so it had to have happened during the storm and has since dried out.  There are no water stains on the ceiling or walls.  It’s a mystery.

The streets are filled with large piles of debris – on the sides of the roads – evidence of people cleaning up their yards.  I have not seen any big trees down…yet…some along the highway but not a lot on the few streets that I’ve been on.  Tomorrow I hope to make it to the grocery store.  We’ll see what that’s like.  Right now I don’t have internet but I did earlier.  I think it’s been spotty.

I’m waiting to watch the 11:00 news to hear about Hurricane Maria.  I am so sorry to think of the people in Puerto Rico and the other Islands.  I don’t know that I will evacuate again.  I mean it was nice to have electricity at my mom’s and lord knows there is more work to do there but I just don’t think I could do that drive again.  Not so soon anyway.  I just hope I don’t have to think about it.


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Evacuation update

I’ve been sleeping around a lot lately.  Not like the good-ole-days (winky face) but like a visiting-from-Florida-girl I am these days.  Last weekend when I was in Pittsburgh I spent the first night at Jeans, then at Zach & Rachel’s then at my sister’s, then back to Zach’s then Janice’s.  Ya know?  That’s a lot of sleeping around.  Each day when I woke up I knew where I was. Today? I had no idea where I was when I woke up.  It took me a few moments for it to come back to me. Luckily I didn’t feel an unknown body in the bed and think “uh-oh”…but I digress (and jest)

So here I am in Florence, South Carolina. Yesterday started like a normal day other than I put on jeans and tennis shoes (instead of work clothes) to start my day and then continued with my list of getting my stuff up off the floor – cleaned out under the bed (I have wall pictures under there) – got my shoes off the floor, anything that I thought could be ruined with even a bit of water. A lot of water I’m screwed, but with just an inch or so I could save a lot of things if they’re on the bed.  I then cleaned out the refrigerator, moved things away from the windows – put my big TV up and in the closet area, unplugged everything (except appliances), turned off the water, and went to work (the office).

Surprisingly, or not that surprising maybe, there were pretty many people at work.  I actually did a couple of work things but then it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to focus and I was not going to get anything done so after talking with my work peeps I packed up my work computer, some files, and made my decision to leave.

Everyone at the office were/are people not evacuating.  I’m not gonna lie.  I am very worried for them.  Each one has a different reason for staying. Robin has 6 dogs and is a Florida native who says she’s been through this before. Kim’s family all lives in different parts of Florida so not sure what to do or where to go.  Kathy says everyone is coming to her house and her husband assures them that they can get through a couple of days without electricity. Angela still didn’t know what she is going to do. Brenda too, staying home. Julia boarding up and staying home.

After leaving work, stopping at the ATM for cash (hurricane preparedness) I went back to my apartment to wait for the stupid Purple Carrot box.  I thought it would be so nice to take to my mom’s and cook for her/us but noooo. I waited until 1:30 and decided I needed to get on the road. Julia offered to get the box off the porch if I didn’t want to wait for it so I threw in the towel, texted her told her I was leaving and asked her to get the box whenever she could.  I have since found out that the box was delivered at 1:47…17 minutes later…of course…and she got her own box of Purple Carrot yesterday too, but she was able to donate it to other friends staying home. Anyway I can’t tell you how disappointed I was about that. I think there is probably some “stress” transference there. Truthfully the box probably wouldn’t have lasted the two days it is taking me to get to mom’s.

Continuing with my attempt to eat healthy, even in the face of hurricane evacuation,  I cooked my eggs in the morning so I would have hard-boiled eggs, I got some bananas, some grapes, filled up on water and was so proud of myself for having healthy options.  Here’s what I ate yesterday… Left over Quiche for breakfast, that gave me some digestive issues, a coke, and Butterfinger while waiting for the “box”, a whopper junior (no cheese), small fries, and some coffee caramel drink loaded with whipped cream and sticky caramel (I wanted the caffeine) when I got to northern Florida, another coke and a pack of peanut butter crackers for dinner.  I never even cracked open that cooler with healthy options.  I couldn’t reach it while driving.  Yea, that’s it.

I thought I was very smart to find some workaround roads to stay off of I95.  I looked at the maps before leaving my desk (my phone was not working at the time) and google maps showed SEVEN accidents. So I took 17 up – which parallels I95 – then got on 301 in Georgia and did a work around until I eventually wound back around and got back on I95 around Florence South Carolina.  The back roads were not only beautiful there was no one on them.  No gas in Florida but once over the state line gas was pretty plentiful. I kept topping off as Jean instructed (good instructions) and when I finally got to the hotel last night there was an open gas station next to the hotel so I am once again full to start my day today.  I knew I was getting a late start and that there would be traffic woes so I had the forethought to book a hotel room at where I thought was 1/2 way on my way to mom’s.  Thank god I reserved it as when I got here they were sold out. And my 1/2 way point – of a normally 12 hour trip to Virginia (doing the math I thought I would have been on the road 6 hours yesterday)- took me 10 hours.. I was a different state of tired.  Probably more tired than I have ever been in my life…well, that’s probably not true.  But tired none-the-less. My body and mind really thought I’d be here by like 8:00 or 9 pm. Honestly when I turned onto I95 for what I thought was the last 20 miles or less and the GPS said stay on this road for 87 miles I thought I’d die. I pulled into the hotel at midnight.  I can’t see that well at night when driving anyway and well, let’s just say I see why people wreck and die.  But I did not wreck or die and here I am in my hotel room, safe and sound, taking advantage of the last time I’ll have wi-fi in a while and blogging away.

I texted with Doug yesterday, my friend in Miami, who is not evacuating.  He is moving to a hotel though where he said the hallways our nicer when the windows blow out. Funny guy.  Called me a wimp for leaving and said it’s a true Floridan experience. Said it’s extremely unpleasant for a good while, no AC, massive heat, no clean water, but that’s what makes you a true Floridian. Yea, I’m okay with not having to prove myself there. Doug and his wife have been through many hurricanes. I really hope he’s right that those unpleasantries last only a few days. I hope that it’s windy, a couple of trees down, roofs blown off (good for Stephanie as she is in roofing sales) and it turns out to be a big nothing. Remember in the old days (or now) when the weather predicts a huge snowstorm and you get all ready to hunker down and not be able to get to work and have to play in the snow, drink hot chocolate and sit by the heater or fire? And then when the snow doesn’t come you’re so disappointed and hate the weatherman for dashing your day-off dreams?  Well it’s not like that for me now. I am so hoping that this is nothing.  I am not panicking but I am very nervous for my friends that are staying, for my apartment, for my only home and my 6 bins. And I have some PTSD from last year when I was at my mom’s trying to get back to Florida in the aftermath of Matthew going through Fayetteville North Carolina. I keep telling myself (and others) that I’m looking at this as free time off, a free vacation, why not spend it with mom kinda thing but my heart is liked stopped in anticipation for my friends and my life left behind.

I don’t know what I’m feeling but I’m not happy that I have time off, I’m not happy that I’m out safely, I’m not happy to have this mom time in the woods, I’m not happy about any of it. I’m nervous about what “could” happen. I’m nervous about my job, how I’ll get back, when I’ll get back. I hate to say it but I think it’s worse being away. I understand why people stay put. I am sure if I was living with anyone I would not have left.  Well I don’t know what I would do differently. No sense in thinking about it. For now I am sure there will be no breathing until Tuesday.

This is why I eat Hostess cupcakes.  This is why I’ll have a heart attack instead of dying of cirrhosis of the liver. If only I could release some tension by being a runner or something active.

Hmmm, come to think of it I spent an awful lot of time in the woods last year working off stress cutting wood at my moms.  On that note (and thought) I think it’s time to hit the road. I could use some of that woods/therapy time. Today’s travels should be around 5 hours.

Hopefully she doesn’t have any cupcakes.


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Hurricane preparedness

I’m in a pickle.  From what I hear there is a hurricane expected to slam Florida this weekend.  I just got back from Pittsburgh.  Had I been paying attention or watching the news instead of enjoying my family and friends I might have thought about staying in Pittsburgh…although that’s such a wouldn’t have crossed my mind at all. Although I knew a hurricane was brewing it was as tangible to me as an earthquake hitting China.  When I got back to work after returning on the 5:30 a.m. flight and everyone asked me what I thought about the hurricane all I could think of was the pile of work waiting for me and how tired I was.  STILL not thinking about it.  But as the day progressed and I got some caffeine in me I thought “hmmmm, better get some gas” which I did.  The water run not so successful and only ended up with 2 gallons of distilled water and a huge jug of Hawaiian punch.  HA!  I thought about emptying the Hawaiian punch and filling it with water. Now I think I’ll just drink the punch.  Yesterday was mostly filled with unpacking from Pittsburgh and separating my laundry piles in anticipation of laundry day (today) – I did call my mom when I went out for gas and said I was thinking of maybe heading up there because of this storm.  When you think about it that’s what my experience has been.  Remember last year when I left my beach house at 6:30 at night in a smaller tropical storm?  Well that was successful so thought I’d plan for that again for this storm too.

Today there was a bit more panic in the air.  Julia texted me early with her decision to stay here and went on a hunt for plywood – she got the last of it wherever she went.  I don’t even think she tried for water.  She probably has enough.  Then all the meetings started at work deciding on when to close campus.  An early morning email came out that said classes are cancelled as of noon tomorrow and students and faculty should go home.  Staff was to stay until 5:00 Friday.  Right?  LOL…but at the end of the day there was another announcement saying we will be totally closed tomorrow at noon and by Saturday nobody is allowed on campus.  Kids are told to go home or ride it out with friends.  No one is allowed to stay on campus.  It must be because it’s a private college cause wouldn’t you think they would make provisions to be an emergency shelter?  Apparently we are not that.

I’m doing laundry, watching the news, texting with friends.  Florida friends that I’ve communicated with still don’t know what to do for sure.  I see a split with people.  Those with homes and pets seem to want to stay.  A couple of people with babies and small children are moving to safer ground.  My friend at work asked what my “gut” was telling me.  My response?  My gut is awfully quiet.  She offered that I will know what to do when the time comes.  Again I was reminded of last year when I had my car packed (to move) and there was a storm brewing and although I had initially planned to wait out the weekend there was something on the news that triggered a response and I hit the road, in the storm at 6:30 at night.  I knew to go. And it was a smart move for the outcome I wanted, to arrive in Virginia ahead of the storm that was supposed to hit there (but didn’t).

Sooooo, I don’t know.  I mean the predictors and my family and friends are telling me to get out.  Jimmy sent me this today:

his email said “get out of there. Don’t be this person”

Pretty funny.

It’s not that I don’t want to leave but I just don’t know when will be the right time to do that.  That storm could still turn and head out to sea. But if it doesn’t turn it has occurred to me that if my windows are all blown out and my things are ruined, shouldn’t I be here to take care of that?  Rescue what I can? or maybe it doesn’t matter at that point as I will have nowhere to live anyway.  I guess at that point I just let the looters take it.

Not that I would mind a visit to my moms, and get my rain boots, but if it heads out to sea and I’m up there I have to turn around and head right back. I mean it’s 14 hours…one way…without sitting in a traffic jam.  Ya know?  And I don’t want to be in the “panic” traffic. I don’t know if the “panic” traffic is happening now – if it will happen tomorrow or Friday?  When does that happen? I’m kinda thinking about leaving tomorrow night although I’ve thought of leaving as late as Saturday incase it turns out to sea on Friday.  I could outrun it Saturday if it hits Miami in the morning but then that could really be panic time with people leaving and that would be the worst…getting stuck in traffic with a hurricane bearing down.

My main motivation to leave is, other than saving my life, is if it hits us or comes close, it could be a week or more without electricity and with the campus closed because of that, why would I want to stick around here when I could be in Virginia making biscuits for my mom.  Ya know?  And I’m out of Wegman’s laundry soap – just tonight ran out – so I could do a Wegman’s run, get the rain boots, see what else is at her house that I forgot about when I moved and wait out the storm, or storms if Jose ends up hitting here too.

In the meantime, look at these pretty pictures I took from the plane yesterday morning.




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Day 6: a place to write

Didn’t I post that I wouldn’t be blogging for 8 days.?.. it was more part of my list, not like an actual fact as realized now that I’ve continued to blog. Not really fake news. Just a miscalculation. I kinda have the bug to keep writing taking part in the writers challenge. So today’s inspiration is to write about where you blog. Tonight I’m blogging on my phone in the guest room, i.e. My room at Zach and Rachel’s. Most times I’m on my laptop and sitting wherever I’m most comfortable. During finally Florida days I sat at my desk area mostly, sometimes by the pool or dining room looking at the pool, then when I moved I sat at the desk in my beach house, then I turned the vanity in my moms house into a temporary desk and currently living in DeLand it depends. Sometimes I’m sitting at that kitchen counter, sometimes the computer is in my lap. And now I’ve learned to blog with my phone. Apparently if I have something to say, or nothing to say as usually is the case, I can say something or nothing from anywhere with any device.

I wonder what that says about me.



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