Category Archives: Humor

Customer Service…or Not

One of the often repeated mantras in the customer service business is that “the customer is always right”.  I don’t know who came up with that, but whoever it was, was full of shit.  If you’re actually IN the customer service business, that saying is modified: “The customer is always right…until they aren’t”.

One of the things you need to train yourself to be in the course of making it through life is being a good customer.  In the South, we have a saying for that too:  “You can attract more flies with honey”.  If you’re a customer with a problem, you get a lot better results by being respectful and asking for help than you do by screaming and threatening.  I don’t care how mad and frustrated you are. 

I’m very lucky.  I’m in the customer service business, but 99.9% of our customers are reasonable people.  It’s actually a pleasure to deal with them. And then there is that 0.1%. 

So consider the following scenario, which happened on Friday (yesterday):   a young man comes into the exit lane (with a young woman in the passenger seat) and says that he just came in, but his ticket has fallen into his dashboard, and he tells the cashier she needs to let him out.  She says she can’t, because without a ticket, she’ll have to charge him for a lost ticket, which is $6.00.

He says, I’m not doing that.  He briefly pleads.  Can’t you just give me a break?  At this point I get involved…she’s struggling.  I said, really, she can’t.  We can’t.  We aren’t permitted to let you out without a ticket unless you pay the lost ticket fee. 

From that point, the whole situation devolves.  The guy says to the cashier, I want to speak to your supervisor.  Cashier says, that’s her.  He says, then I want to speak to your supervisor.  Sorry, I said.  I’m it.  He said, well, who owns this garage?  I said, the City, and you can talk to them on Monday, but right now it’s too late.  It’s 5:00 P.M. and there’s no one there. 

Here’s the best part:  the guy says you “can’t” let me out?  So are you telling me that if an ambulance came through here on an emergency, you could not let them out?  I said, Sir, you aren’t an ambulance.  So he says, in other words, you COULD let them out but in my case you’re refusing?  I was done talking.  I said, Well, technically, yes.  We are refusing.

Then he backed up and parked. I was feeling a little bad about it, because I thought I maybe had escalated the issue.  Except for the fact that prior to reparking his car, he drove around and around in front of the office, which is half-glass all the way around screaming “Fuck you!  Fuck you!  Fuck you!”  Giving us the finger through the driver’s side window.  Blowing the horn repeatedly. 

Looking back, I ask myself if I could have done something to defuse the situation, and the answer is…yes.  But I didn’t want to.  This was a limit I wasn’t willing to breach.  Otherwise, both I and my employees would be subjected to management by loudmouths.  Sooo..

It was time for me to leave.  I talked to the security guard and said, Stay here.  If this guy comes back to the window and causes even the slightest disturbance, don’t even engage.  Call the police.  Mostly I like the police 🙂  In cases like this, they’re like, Let me get this straight:  YOU lost the ticket?  Our point exactly!  Pay or go to jail.  Because really, even trying to talk your way out of it is a form of theft.

Downsizing

Today’s project was going through my handbag and separating out the bare essentials.  This might sound like the most trivial subject  you’ve ever heard me talk about (and there have been many), but you weren’t here on Wednesday of this past week when I went through the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced outside of once having an abcessed tooth and another time having appendicitis. 

I’m not used to pain.  I’m used to minor discomforts.  Mostly associated with being my age, I think.  When I wake up in the morning, I sort of hold a finger up in the air to test the state of the union, so to speak.  I have a mild headache.  I’m a little stiff.  And so on.  Ibuprofen, coffee, and moving around usually fix everything. 

Wednesday was no different until about noon.  My shoulders were hurting.  This just seems like such a stupid problem to me.  People are starving to death in Somalia and dying of cancer all over the planet, and your shoulders hurt?  Give me a break.  But it got to the point that it was all I could think about.  (A specialty of pain…that is kind of its point.  Your brain says, I insist that you pay attention–right now.)

That evening, I was eventually forced to take half of a Percocet.  Why, you may ask, do I even have Percocet?  The answer is, two months ago I had to have a breast biopsy (long story) and the doctor sent me home with a prescription for 15 Percocet tabs.  I’ve now used 3 1/2 of them.  But I saw no other hope for the pain. 

The next day, I made it until about 3:00 P.M.  and had to make an emergency trip to the pharmacy.  I bought cream (basically a generic form of Bengay), and Aleve–the next step up from Ibuprofen but well below Percocet.  I took an Aleve right away, but waited until I got home to use the cream, which turned out to be magic. 

By Friday, I was hyperalert to whatever I was doing that might bring the pain on.  Oddly enough, standing was a problem.  I couldn’t do it long.  At the least twinge, I sat down, and that eventually helped, though not right away.  This however, is not a long-term solution.  I’m pretty enamored of standing up and walking. 

After a lot of diligent Googling, I realize I’ve damaged the trapezius muscle.  Hopefully temporarily. 

Now to the culprit:  it’s the handbag.  I’m quite sure.  I had read an article about it some time ago, probably in the New York Times.  Women are suffering all kinds of neck, back, and shoulder problems from carrying oversized bags. 

Ouch!

My bag is not nearly as large as the ones shown in the article, but it’s big enough, and it’s heavy.  One of the interesting things in the article is that doctors say women should not carry bags that are more than 10% of their body weight.  So that would limit me to 11.4 pounds.  Hello!  My guess is that my bag normally weighs in the neighborhood of 18. 

My cat weighs 15, which is large for a cat, and I find it a struggle to pick her up and carry her.  So I don’t do that often.  And I don’t carry her on my shoulder every day. 

At first I thought I would keep the same bag and just reduce the number of items in it.  That will Not Work.  Sooner or later I’ll be tempted to add stuff to it.  So I must have a small bag that things I think I might need at some point this centruy won’t fit in. 

Fakename is now taking suggestions for a new handbag.  Besides being small, I have only one other requirement:  it has to have pockets.  Shopper friends, I need your help!  And you know who you are 🙂

 

Interspecies Communication

Many otherwise apparently sane scientists believe that we can, in fact, communicate with other species, if we only take the time to learn their “language”.  That they communicate with each other is not in dispute.  Think of the “songs” of the humpback whale; the clicks and whistles of dolphins; the various sounds that elephants make. 

Dog training is based on the idea that dogs can understand what you’re saying, or what you want–if not the actual “meaning” of a word as we understand “meaning”.  So I’ve put together a list of the most common communications I have with my dogs, one of whom I’ve had for six years, the other for nine.  We’ve had a lot of time to get to know each other. 

Fakename to dogs:  Come. 

Dogs (with sad and mournful looks):  We believe you are speaking to us, because you are looking at us and using That Voice.  However, we believe you are speaking Polish.  No one ever taught us Polish.  It’s not our fault. 

Fakename to dogs:  Stop digging! 

Dogs:  There you go with That Voice again.  We do get the part where mostly we’re supposed to stop doing whatever we’re doing when we hear That Voice, but would it be okay if we just kept going for another minute or two?  We believe there is a very tasty fermented acorn at the bottom of this hole somewhere, and we’ve already eaten all the rest. 

Fakename:  Quit barking! 

Dogs:  What?  Quit barking?  What about the part where that’s what you pay us for?  We thought we were doing a good thing.  Fine.  But next time you’re menaced by a squirrel, don’t expect us to help.  Oh look….there’s another one now!  Woof, woof, woof, etc. 

I would argue that cats are actually better than dogs at grasping your meaning and intent, but they give far less of a damn.  Here’s an example: 

Fakename:  Stormy, get off the pillow. 

Cat:  No response. 

Fakename:  Stormy get off the pillow now, or I will kick your ass. 

Cat:  No response. 

Fakename:  If you don’t get off that pillow in the next five seconds, I’m going to stab you in the heart and hang you from the oak tree in the back yard and let the vultures shred your still-living flesh from your body. 

Cat:  Yawn. 

Fakename:  That does it.  (Fakename pushes cat off the pillow.)

Cat:  Purrrrrr.

SHIT! It’s Flying!

There are three things I’m known for in my work and social circles:  One, I drink milk with every meal.  I can be out for lunch with people I barely know, and when the server comes over and asks what you’ll have, whoever I’m with automatically says, “She’ll have milk”.

Two, I always have a book with me.  I’ve taught myself to read in five-minute increments, so you will never catch me in any kind of downtime not reading. 

Three, I carry an Ariat horse-grooming bag as a handbag.  My assistant manager refers to it as my “luggage”.  This is Fakesister’s fault.  Being the horse person of the family, she was the first to catch on to the trend of carrying these as handbags.  I have now spread the trend all over Tallahassee. 

Originally they were designed to carry all the stuff you might need to groom a horse, such as various-sized brushes and tools, and water bottles (horse grooming is thirsty work).  They are sturdy–made of canvas–but most importantly, they have POCKETS.  Women love pockets.  No more do you have to to paw through the debris in the bottom of your handbag, because your cell phone is in Pocket X and your lipstick is in Pocket Y. 

I was very amused by the fact that they are no longer marketed as horse-grooming bags…now they are called “carry-alls”.

So one day this week I arrived at work, set the Ariat bag down on a chair, and reached for something inside, whereupon a very small cockroach emerged and started crawling around the top edge. 

Now, a little scene-setting.  At that time of the morning, there are four other people in my office, which is in a big open fishbowl sort of area.  When I said “EEK! There’s a roach in my purse”, Ruben hops out of his chair and says, “I’ll get it!”  (Here is an employee I’m definitely keeping.  I’m thinking it’s time for a raise, even.) By the time he arrived with toilet paper as a weapon, the roach had crawled back in the bag.  So he started poking around, apologizing…I don’t mean to pry in your bag, he says.  Please don’t apologize, I replied.  I am right before dumping the entire contents on the floor. 

About that time, the roach emerges.  Ruben makes a grab for it, and… it flies away.  Whereupon, I said, as you might guess, SHIT!  IT’S FLYING! 

Now it’s not as if I’m a stranger to flying cockroaches. I lived in New Orleans, which has five species of giant cockroaches, at least one of which flies.  Cockroaches are to New Orleans what robins are to the rest of the world:  harbingers of spring.  But I’ve never seen a tiny cockroach fly.   I was totally in shock, and my heart was pounding. 

Enter Colleen, who says, “Ruben, there it is!  It landed on the back of YOUR chair!”  Ruben sneaks up on it, and catches it!  I thought that was totally amazing!  It’s like catching a housefly in flight.  Maybe he had already wounded it in his first attempt.  In any case, once the kill mission succeeded, the entire room erupts in laughter. 

Because I’m still standing by my desk in a state of paralysis.  My assistant manager is laughing so hard he has to put his head down on his desk.  I couldn’t help but see the humor myself:  Ms. In-Control is defeated by a baby cockroach.  Pretty soon we are all laughing hysterically. 

Once we came up for air, Colleen said, That is the first time I’ve ever heard you curse.  Since she’s been working for me for over a year, I thought, Dang!  My disguise is working perfectly! 

I have no idea where that roach came from.  I’m chalking it up to living in Florida, where sometimes you have to fight your way through a spider web to get out the front door.  Your cat drags home the occasional snake and lets it loose in the house (alive).  C’est la vie.  Probably they don’t have these problems in Alaska. 

In other (flying) animal news, my assistant manager received a complaint on Friday that a mockingbird was attacking our customers as they exited the elevator, and he needed to do something about it.  He said to me, How is this MY bird?  (I had to put my head on MY desk at that point.)  Nevertheless, being young enough and customer-service oriented enough that he felt he might possibly be able to control nature, he approached the city landscaping crew to ask if they could suggest anything.  They said, put up a sign saying “Beware of Bird”.  At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get my head OFF the desk.

Ouch! I Broke A Nail!

It’s possible that you thought Fakename had run out of trivial subjects to discuss, but you would be very, very wrong. 

So today’s topic is:  long fingernails. 

I come from a long line of short-fingernailed women.  My grandmothers were both country women who had to, well, do stuff with their hands.  My mother was a nurse.  When I was quite a small child, I asked her why she didn’t have long beautiful fingernails like I saw on TV, and she said, “Because I’m a nurse”.  That made perfect sense to me.  She had working hands.  To this day, long fingernails scream to me “IDLE RICH”.  Or today, it’s more properly “emulating the idle rich”.

When I was five, I started taking piano lessons.  When I was nine, we moved to North Carolina and I got a new piano teacher who was a fanatic about nails.  But she didn’t have anything to worry about with me.  I had already internalized the importance of short nails, because I’d found that I couldn’t “feel” the keys if my nails were too long.  Your sense of touch is in your finger TIPS, not in your finger pads.  Go ahead, give it a test.  Touch your knee with a fingertip.  Now touch it with the fingerpad of the same finger.  I’ll wait. (Cue “Jeopardy!” theme.)  See what I mean? 

When I was fifteen, I started playing guitar (badly), and you most certainly cannot play a guitar with long fingernails. 

Now let us fast forward to me being in college.  I had stopped playing piano and rarely played guitar either, so I thought I would give growing long fingernails a shot.  I was delighted to learn that I had very strong nails that were not prone to the expected maladies, especially, splitting. 

Nevertheless, the first thing I discovered was that nails took an awful lot of time.  I just couldn’t get used to the concept of focusing an inordinate amount of attention on something dead that was constantly getting in your way.  Of course I continued to do it anyway, since as we all know, individualism is critical as long as you do it the same way everyone else does. 

Then when I was in my early twenties, I broke a nail while reaching into the washing machine for a load of wet laundry.  YEEOWW! I said, along with other unprintable things.  Because in spite of breaking a nail being a sort of metaphor for “idle rich”, in real life it hurts like a (fill in the blank).  Because nails don’t break at the tip.  They break all the way down to the quick.  And it looks really stupid to have three long, polished, perfectly manicured nails next to a bloody, bandaged stump. 

That was IT for me.  I cut off all my nails and have never gone there since. 

So fast forward again to the early ’90’s:  We used to have a type of cash register (which in my biz we call “fee computers”) which required an overlay.  I was never quite clear about how they worked, but I do know this:  the fee computer would not work without the overlay.  All our cashiers were in a contest to see who could grow the longest fingernails.  Since they couldn’t use their fingertips to operate the fee computer, they would use their fingernails.  Over time, or with one particularly sharp jab, the nail would sever the wires in the overlay,  and each one was $300.  I also was never quite clear about why we couldn’t regulate the length of an employee’s nails.  We told them what they had to wear, how long their hair could be, and what kind of jewelry they could wear (if any).  Human Resources–who understands it?  In the end, we solved this in a low-tech manner.  We provided them all with (unsharpened) pencils, and they would punch the keys with the eraser end. 

This year, when I went to the Tax Collector’s office to pay my property taxes, I was looking forward to seeing Talon Woman, whom I’ve seen every year for the last ten years.  These days, it’s very hard to tell if people’s nails are real or fake, but in her case, there was no doubt they were real.  Her nails were so long they started curving under, like they were lost and seeking to reconnect with her hand.  But she wasn’t there.  She probably had to retire after putting out an eye, or both, while trying to apply makeup. 

She of course was completely incapable of operating her computer with her hands.  So guess what?  She used a pencil eraser. 

All this is to say that state-of-the-art technology is not always the answer.  Sometimes an easel, a paper pad,  and a Magic Marker work better than a laptop, especially when the laptop unexpectedly balks and refuses to open PowerPoint.  My rule is:  always have short nails, and carry a pencil eraser.

News From the World of “Duh”

A new study has shown that rats who are deprived of sleep don’t think as well. This may apply to humans too, but it’s as yet unproven. 

*****

I kind of stole that “Duh” thing from Andy Borowitz, who created a fictional publication called Duh Magazine.  His latest post reveals that Barack Obama admitted that he ran unsucessfully for the presidency of Kenya in 2005, but was disqualified because they couldn’t prove he was a citizen of Kenya.   

***

Is Hawaii really a state?

***

Rumor has it that two people in England got married on Friday and it was a very big deal all over the planet.  At least it was a big deal to the comparatively miniscule percentage of people on the planet who have cable TV.  I actually KNOW two people who got up at 4:00 A.M. to watch the wedding in real time.  Which they had to do because it isn’t always Friday on Friday wherever you are.  Or at least, it’s later on Friday than you thought. 

***

This week, friend Rocky , or more properly, Rocky’s wife, alerted us to the danger of snow globes.  I’m accustomed to always traveling with a snow globe in my carry-on luggage.  That way if your checked baggage gets lost, you will still have something warm and purry to cuddle up to while you sleep on the floor of the airport lounge.  Plus, it’s a great way to store  cocaine flakes.

Thoughts About Nature, and Other Stuff

Almost every day now, I can hear a Cooper’s hawk crying from inside the house.  Other than that, once the hawk cries, it gets silent as a tomb.  All the other little birds are frozen in place with their mouths and eyes closed (figuratively speaking), pretending to be invisible.  You know how that works.  When playing Hide And Seek, if you close your eyes and can’t see them, then they can’t see you.  And every time, I want to say to the Cooper’s hawk…if your goal is to catch and eat a bird, why don’t you shut the hell up?  I don’t see how they ever find food. 

Not that I really want them to find and eat one of my beloved Cardinals, but it’s kind of like what I’ve said previously about watching the Discovery Channel.  Hour One:  Run, baby antelope, run!  You can outrun that Cheetah!  Hour Two:  Go Cheetah!  You can catch that antelope!  It’s just a baby! 

******

About an hour ago I went to the corner liquor store and bought a bottle of wine.  All I could afford was a small bottle of Yellowtail Pinot Grigio, which tastes like I imagine Aardvark urine would taste.  There’s your nature reference.

******

On the drive home, I noticed that one of my neighbors’ Sagos had seeds.  This is a very pretty sight. 

I rushed right home and took a look at mine.  Alas, in my absence, Nature had not turned itself on its ear, and it’s still a male plant.  It won’t be making any seeds.  I do think it’s old enough now that it’s looking for a girlfriend, though.  It wouldn’t really say.  That’s how it is when you’re the parent.  At a certain point, they stop telling you anything. 

******

On the way back to the door, crossing the yard, I observed that my Oriental magnolia has three buds.  Man! I thought…you are really stupid, even for a tree.  I guess it has failed to notice that it’s the middle of January and it’s been in the 20’s every night for a week.  And there will be more to come.  Normally budding doesn’t take place until mid-February.  If its little buds freeze off–or worse yet, if it flowers before mid-February–then it can’t say I didn’t tell it so. 

******

Last week I watched a repeat of the now infamous episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”, the one in which she shoots a caribou.  Let’s not even go there about the current political brouhaha.  But I saw a whole new  side of her and thought, What is all the fuss about?  She was having a ball, bonding with her Dad, and very proud of herself for bagging this caribou, which in my opinion, she had every right to be.  She even made a joke (who knew she had a sense of humor?)  At the end of that very successful day, she was sitting out there on the frozen tundra, talking about how much she loved the place, “And”, she said, “You can see Russia from here!  (Pause)  Almost.”  I laughed myself silly.  All I can say is, if you’re a Vegan, don’t watch this. 

******

On the WordPress home page there is a post I’ve been intending to read.  It’s called Adulthood:  No One Told Me There Would Be Laundry.  I can so relate to that!  And there is your Other Stuff.

Good Old Dog

This is the name of a new book by a veterinarian from Tufts University.  It’s intended to be an overview of how best to care for your older dog, and it covers topics from diet to cognitive decline to end of life decisions.  I know about it because the editor/author was interviewed on NPR on Tuesday.  How else?  I would never hear about a new book otherwise. 

I only heard a few minutes of the interview, so I missed the end-of-life part of the discussion.  I considered buying the book, and looked for it on Amazon, and the very first review of it by a reader pretty much trashed it, particularly where it concerned the end-of-life decision part. 

I have very strong feelings about that topic.  Some years ago I joined a Yahoo newsgroup called “Cancer in Rottweilers”.  My own Rottweiler died suddenly of what was possibly pancreatic cancer, and I had hoped to get more information about it–to see if anyone else had that experience.  But this group is primarily devoted to Rottweilers with osteosarcoma, which seems to be alarmingly prevalent.  (And only one person ever attempted to answer my questions.)  So the group discusses what the best diets are, and the pros and cons of amputation, chemo, and radiation (which is a rare option).  And frequently, there are agonizing posts about when to “let go”.    I don’t say so, but my answer is always, “Right now!”  If you are already asking that question, then it’s past time. 

In any case the Amazon reviewer perhaps misread the editor/author’s intent in the book.  Here is a quote from him from the NPR interview: 

“If, for example, you had a relatively noninvasive procedure that wasn’t going to cause your dog a lot of pain, and it was going to buy him an extra six months and you could afford that treatment — and those six months were quality life — then why not, if you can afford it?” he says. “But, on the other hand, just to drag out an existence. … Some people, I have known in the past … have done that. Owners, with cooperating vets, have just gone step after step after step, when really, you’re on a highway to nowhere. If the dog is in chronic pain and doesn’t have long to go, sometimes I question the wisdom of that approach.”

Notice all the ifs in there.  And I completely agree with it.  The hard part is when all the “if” parts can be answered positively, except for the money.  But that is the reality.  And it’s the reality with people too. 

I’m now down to two dogs, Troughton the 11 year-old Doberman and Pippin the 9 year-old Basenji mix.  Age-wise, the book editor/author says the seven years for dogs v. one year for humans doesn’t hold up for large dogs or very small dogs.  Small dogs are more like 6 years for every human year and large dogs are more like 8 years.  Both my dogs still qualify as medium, so that still makes the Doberman 77 and the Basenji 63. 

Both of them seem healthier than me, to me, probably because I have to spend my time taking care of them rather than the other way around 🙂  But the Doberman has a skin infection.  The antibiotics he’s been on for 10 days haven’t helped.  The Science Diet food for sensitive skin I bought him hasn’t helped.  The Tea Tree oil spray hasn’t helped.  He’s very itchy and has lost a lot of hair…but even so…this won’t kill him. 

Pippin the Basenji mix has nothing wrong with him at all.  If there were a nuclear holocaust, he and the cockroaches would be the only beings to survive. 

Last night, Pippin and Troughton escaped because I left the gate open.  I was able to recapture Troughton pretty quickly, because he has a sort of obedience gene.  But trying to capture Pippin is hopeless.  He comes back only when and if he wants to.  Lucky for me…he does want to, but “when” is up in the air. 

I could hear the neighbors’ dogs barking all up and down the street as he visited and taunted them.  After an hour, I decided to go look for him in the car, in spite of how fruitless it would be, and when I went out to the driveway, he was standing in the front yard.  “Come here,” I said.  “Not yet”, he replied. 

An hour later when it was thoroughly dark, when he might have been hit by a car in the dark, when he might have bitten someone, when he might have been taken in by a neighbor and confined so he couldn’t come home, when someone might have shot him, when he might have been picked up by the Sheriff’s department, when a bigger loose dog or a coyote or a rabid raccoon or a fox or a bat could have  bitten him, he barked at the door. 

Good dog 🙂

Sunday Afternoon at the Liquor Store

So I went to buy a bottle of wine, as I often do on Sunday, and the smart-ass young kid at the counter said, “Be sure to hold the bag by the bottom.”  As they always say.  And I know what they mean, having been a victim of the bottle of wine falling out of the bottom of the bag and smashing to smithereens in my driveway.  When I went back to complain, they said they couldn’t help me.  Carry at your own risk. 

Today I was apparently in a more combative mood than usual, so I said in reply, No offense, but you guys use the flimsiest bags on the planet.  Smart-ass guy said, we know that, but our bag supplier is the only one available.  Um, no, I said, ever hear of the Internet?  (Speaking of being a smart-ass.)

So Smart-ass guy says, we know…but if we bought from someone else, then we wouldn’t be supporting local business.  And if I said, if local business can’t give you what you need, then that’s their problem, not yours.  He must be related to the cheapskate owner. 

If they got a supplier of sturdy bags, then their employees would not have to constantly tell people to beware.  Not that I’m sure it matters, since they accept no liability. 

I find myself, in this case, defending the advantages of globalization.

Redneck Environmentalism

Regular readers of my blog will recognize that I have had an encounter with Yard Guy, whose real name is Tom.  I see him only every two to three weeks, and our conversations are brief but wonderful.  He’s the 40-something son of one of my neighbors.  We became acquainted because my neighbor noticed that my 1995 Camaro was sitting in my driveway for months and that I had bought a new car.  (See, that’s the kind of neighborhood I live in.  The kind where the neighbor next door once asked me if I realized how unsightly all those pine cones in the front yard were.  I don’t know whether to be warmed by the fact that my neighbors are looking out for me, or to tell them to mind their own business. )

In any case, Tom wanted the Camaro, and that’s even after I told him “It needs an engine”.  He offered to take care of my yard for the entire season (I think this was in March or April) in exchange for it.  A true example of the barter system, and something about that just touched a (good) nerve in me.  This is the way we used to do stuff, and I wonder if we aren’t all there again.  I heard a story on NPR yesterday about a restaurant called “Forage”.  Home gardeners bring in their produce, and they cook you a meal with it…along with stuff other people brought in. 

So far, I think Tom has gotten the raw end of this deal, but apparently he doesn’t see it that way.  I got the Camaro towed away, and have gotten months of really hard work on his part, plus the pleasure of getting to know him.  Today we talked about lionfish being discovered in the Gulf and the Keys (released from stupid people’s aquariums), Burmese pythons in the Everglades, the lingering effects of the oil spill (underwater plumes), and the decline of tourism in all parts of Florida because people apparently can’t read maps.  Hello:  Gulf of Mexico.  Atlantic Ocean.  We talked about the best places to eat seafood.  Angelo’s in Panacea…he says it isn’t as good as it was before the 2004 hurricanes.  He told me about Angel’s.  “You go out Highway 20 and cross the Ocklockonee River bridge, then there’s this dirt road on your right…” 

The important thing is, that every time I talk to him, I’m reminded that I live in the best place on earth, for me. 

By contrast, I’ve been reading a couple of political blogs lately that are making me ill.  It’s natural that things would heat up, pre-November 2, but…seriously.  I said one of them made me want to take a shower, then go do a blog post about flowers or something. 

So here’s a flower.  It’s Blue Sky vine (Thunbergia grandiflora).  Mine has just started to bloom. 

Non-political flower

I’m throwing in a butterfly for free…the Zebra Longwing…official butterfly of Florida.

Are you serving nectar at your fundraiser?