Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mucho Bettero

Last time any intrepid reader visited it was VERY GLOOMY in here. Let's put some light on, open the blinds and windows and let in some fresh air. There.....isn't that better?

I visited my mother and father for a few days and they were, of course, very glad to see me. My dad is doing quite well and my mom looks 60, I swear it - and she's 81.

I drove around Sebring and Lake Placid, two very charming Central Florida communities that have managed to hold onto yesteryear gracefully. Both have beautiful downtown areas that, even in summer (the off season for Florida tourists), have plenty of business.

Lake Placid has a new restaurant only down the street from my parent's house called "No Frills Grill". Their motto is "rarely pretentious". The food is wonderful. I had quiche and my mother had their "ultimate burger" which was entered into a contest on the Regis Philbin show and came close to winning - or actually won, I'm not sure. The Ultimate Burger at No Frills Grill is now famous and the parking lot is always full. My husband didn't come with me on this visit to my parent's house, but next time we go up together, we are definitely having lunch at - you guessed it - The No Frills Grill.

One other nice note - my dad is recovering from receiving a pacemaker in a physical rehab hospital. It doubles as an old age home, but can temporarily serve people like my dad who need care for a few weeks until they get their strength back. My dad has a room mate whose wife was visiting when I was there. She had their pastor come, and I believe they are Baptist. Anyway, the pastor talked with the wife for a while about church happenings and told her if she needs anything, not to hesitate to let the church know. Then, before he left, he prayed with them. Since only a curtain separates my dad from his room mate, we could hear everything. I was participating quietly, agreeing with all the Pastor said, and then he prayed for "the gentlemen in the other bed and his family" - wasn't that lovely? When they said "amen" at the end, I leaned over and said with them, "Amen"! The Pastor said he should have asked if we minded being prayed for and of course I said, "Heavens NO! Pray for us any time you like - that was wonderful and so kind - thank you thank you thank you!!!!" It just uplifted my spirit to hear that prayer and be a part of it. My mom and dad are Catholic and they are from the WWII generation where they don't much talk about religion. My mom does sometimes, but my dad not much at all. In any case - it was lovely.

Since my dad has the pacemaker in, he seems more alert and interested in his surroundings. I think his slow heartbeat was depriving him of oxygen and he was just sleepy and disinterested most of the time. He is improving and getting his strength back quickly.

Anyway - that's all for now. Yes, the same problems that afflicted me when I wrote the previous posts are still there - but it's all in perception. And faith. Also - I can't stay depressed constantly - with me, it's more like ups and downs. The downs aren't fun, but the ups are coming along presently.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Title? I Don't Know

OK, so let's see what could be the problem here. I just found out a friend and ex-coworker from about 10 years ago has Alzeimer's. She had an abusive childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father, married an abusive alcoholic husband, finally had a few years of happiness after divorcing said husband - and now, at age 66, she has the beginnings of Alzeimer's.
That seems like such a tragedy to me. This person does not have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to support her. She was brought up Catholic and the last time I spoke to her on the subject, had a vague, feel-good idea of the afterlife. She used to frequent palm readers just for fun and couldn't rule out the possibility of reincarnation. When I would speak just a little about my faith, she would stiffen up because she knew that my faith required making a choice that left everything else out. No more reincarnation, palm readings or speculation. She would have to make a choice and she didn't want to do that. She especially disliked the idea that salvation is necessary - if we need to get saved, what are we saved from? Hell? She could not accept that any God could be so unfair - and that was the end of the discussion.
My father, who turned 90 this past year, had to have an emergency pace-maker put in because his heart beat was so slow. So they put in the pace maker this past weekend, but now he can't get out of bed - he's too weak. My 81 year old mother cares 100% for him, as long as he can walk and get himself up and down. Since he can't move around, he has been moved to a rehab hospital where he can get exercise a couple of times a day. Hopefully, in a few weeks, he will be able to come home. He hates being in the rehab - this has happened before. However, the quality of his life is slipping. He is blind in one eye from macular degeneration and of course he can no longer drive. He used to love going for rides - I used to accompany him a lot of the time when I was growing up. So mostly he sits in his chair all day and sleeps on and off. The TV goes most of the time since that is the only entertainment he has.
My parents are Catholic also and, although my husband and I have witnessed to them many times, they have not pursued a relationship with the Lord. This means that, although they may be believers in Jesus Christ, they have no Bible knowledge, no sure foundation to depend on now that their lives are almost over and the quality is gone. So my father gets depressed. The few times I've tried to bring up faith and what he believes, he seems to zone out. He doesn't give much thought to it, it appears to me - but who knows what goes on in his head? I sure don't. My mom has turned totally around. She is a die-hard Catholic, but she has found the Lord, I believe. I really don't think it matters what denomination you are, the Lord Jesus Christ is non-denominational. He pursues us and when He catches up with us, if we accept His offer, we can rest in that no matter what church we attend. I think my mother does that. She was frantic when my father first became ill and infirm. But as time went by, she rose to the occasion with a cheerful attitude - and it was because she laid it all in the Lord's lap and trusted Him. My husband and I have gone to her local Catholic Church with her and we were impressed with what truth does come through. It's funny because I always thought my mother would never change her mind, but it is my father who is angry with God and refuses to buckle. Can you believe my father used to believe that God, being vindictive, was messing with his golf playing abilities?!? He said a few times that God just couldn't let him have a decent game. How silly is that? My dad must have felt guilty about something - and assumed that God was punishing him by not letting him play golf well.
Now for me. I'm overweight and not likely to lose much weight. I say that because I am just not motivated to fight for this life. I look at the end result - we're all going to croak anyway. Some of us are going to croak horribly, no matter how much we take care of ourselves. My father exercised every morning of his life. He went on Weight Watchers when it first came out - and lost his extra 30 (big deal!) pounds and ate healthy for years and years and years. He was always very physical and vital. He loved to dive into a pool - he had lovely diving form - and swim laps. Both my parents denied themselves food and made sure they exercised whether they wanted to or not - it did prolong their lives and the quality of that life - but eventually, it all fails anyway.
I know that reasoning is pretty bad, but it is how I think. Most of the time I think, "why bother?" I watch the women at my job go on massive diets, lose tons of weight - and then gain it all back. Every time.
Then there's the issue of my drinking. I like to have 2 decent sized glasses of wine a night most every night before I go to bed.
There's the issue of diabetes to think of. My dad got Type II diabetes, which was what finally broke his body down. His macular degeneration and his neuropathy can both be blamed squarely on that Type II diabetes. Even though he was healthy, he always had a sweet tooth. He would splurge maybe once a week and eat a LOT of ice cream. I guess all that high fructose corn syrup got him. Maybe if he had just eaten Bryer's it wouldn't have happened? Bryer's has plain sugar - no high fructose corn syrup.
So - I'm nowhere near as healthy as my dad was. I'm 53, way overweight (the term is obese), I like to drink - which has much sugar in it, and I don't exercise.
And my attitude is "why bother?" The world sucks, this country is going down the tube, I won't have very good health benefits if Obama gets this mess of a health bill passed - and I'm going to die anyway - sooner probably, rather than later.
OK - feel free (if there is anyone reading) to tell me where I'm wrong and why I should change my thinking/habits.

Just Me

I haven't written here in a while. I keep waiting for my blues, my problems, my non-stoicness to go away so I can go back to posting. I'm not satisfied with my Christian walk, the way I'm taking the path of least resistance - and how easy it is to just go into my computer/book/haven room and just shut the door and forget the present reality. I don't belong to a local congregation although I used to travel 40 minutes north to a home Bible study. The traffic at 6:00-6:30pm was horrendous and the drive home at 9:30-10:00 at night became more than I wanted to invest.

I don't invest in relationships or friendships - I just come home from work as fast as I can and love on my cats and birds and go into my haven each day.

My husband - my one friend - thinks it is how I was raised. I was never able to get close to my mother, although I love her and my father very much. Hubby thinks I learned to avoid intimacy because of my childhood experiences.

I hate to be a whiner - and that's what this entire post feels like. Wah wah wah - I'm a loser, I had a bad childhood, I'm depressed - wah wah wah.

Boring, isn't it? Who wants to read this tripe - the one great thing is that I have, pretty much, no readers, so no one will be put to sleep or want to knife themselves repeatedly after reading this stuff.

Other people in the world have SERIOUS problems - not this stuff. But, nonetheless, it is true. I feel like I'm trying to swim in a pool of molasses. I go forward a bit and then fall back more than I went ahead. I'm making no headway, no progress in anything and I'm living on a cliff - one push and I'm over.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pluto Sphinx Moth

My husband and I went grocery shopping today - yeehaa! What excitement! However, as we were lugging in the bags, I spied a moth on the front of the house. I instantly dropped all the bags (not too hard so as not to break anything), grabbed my hubby's camera, since it was handy, and started photographing. Hubby had gone into the house with some bags and wondered why I didn't follow. When he came back out, he helped by photographing the moth that I now had on my finger - beautiful!! By the way - I have no idea why my hand looks deforemd in the first photo - maybe my thumb was up by my finger? I swear I do NOT have deformed hands.

He (or she?) was so docile - I figure he must have just emerged from his chrysallis - AND they're nocturnal, so that accounts for the sweetness - and the fact that it didn't fly away. Now I'm stoked to get our black light outside at night - and see how many moths we get. Maybe next weekend, I'll nag my hubby to get it set up outside.

I read up about the Pluto Sphinx Moth and found out their larval food is Firebush, which I have in the front yard, the side yard and the back yard. Also, possibly, they like Pentas, which we have in the back yard.

We have attempted to make a butterfly garden in the back yard, so this is an added bonus that we didn't even count on. And what a beautiful bonus!! Some of the moths are MUCH more glamorous than butterflies. There's one that's like a Zha Zha Gabor moth - with pink wings and a feathery yellow crest. I'll know I've died and gone to heaven if THAT appears in my yard.

OK - this is NOT my photo. It comes from this blog, which I've never read before - but doesn't that moth remind you of a pair of fluffy slippers for Zha Zha Gabor?

Much like my quest for the Painted Bunting bird to come and eat from our feeders in the winter. Painted Buntings like underbrush, parks, secluded places - not city back yards, but I DID have a female here once, so there's hope.

This lady gets them all the time in the winter. She lives only about 1 1/2 hours away from us, but those painted buntings are picky - and they like the country and they like the west coast of Florida better than the east coast . I love her blog and her photographs are FABULOUS!!!

Anyway - Happy 4th of July (even though it's over) and may you have beautiful critters in your life too - if you like that sort of thing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I've Been Playing With Photoshop

Here are two buildings I photographed. The first is an old barn out on Snake Road and the second is a bar (I think) on Federal Highway in Ft. Lauderdale. I tweaked both photos to make them look more striking - I LOVE Photoshop.

A Little Photo Interlude

This is just a little photo interlude from my visit to Long Key Recreation Area in West Davie today.