You’ve seen photos of Baby in the food dish, and Baby by the garage door. I opened the door into summer for the Qatari Cat, just the door, and propped the screen door tightly shut so QC could watch the birds and squirrels from the safety of the house.
In Qatar, when he was young and strong, he actually knocked a screen off and escaped. When we replaced the screen, he scratched a long rent in the screening and escaped again. He had a tree he would run for, and once on the wall – he was king of the roost. Only cheese or sardines would get him back again, and it could take hours just to find him before we could tempt and capture him.
Now, he is more content to be an indoor cat. At least, content most of the time. There are times he leaves a message telling us he still yearns to chase a squirrel or two . . .
Sorry! I intended to keep writing, but as it sometimes can, life just got away from me. I took a quick trip to Seattle to see my Mom on Mother’s Day, stayed with my best friend from college, ummm . . . when I count the number of years we have been friends, I am shocked!
Flying out of Pensacola, we flew over Bayou Texar:
I had a great seat, but the lady next to me sounded like she had terminal pneumonia, so I kept my face toward the window. Everything went smoothly, arrived a little early. Two hassles: I had decided for just a short trip I would use a shoulder bag/suitcase, and even though it was light, it gets heavy lugging it from gate to gate. On the good news side, it sure is a lot easier to travel with just cabin baggage, easy on – easy off.
Second, I just hate it that Seattle has relocated all the rental cars to an off-site location. The buses only stop at one end of the terminal or the other so again, there is a lot of lugging, whether it is wheeled or shoulder. You have no control over when the bus will come or when it will leave. It used to be so easy, just dropping the car off and walking directly into the terminal; now I have to calculate extra time for unknowns in the rental return process, oh aarrgh.
Traffic to north Seattle was horrible, even on a Saturday, it was like a normal work day when all the workers are streaming out of the city. On work days, there are windows when traffic is less, but a Saturday! Aarrgh!
It was not raining, or not much. That was a really good thing. Temperatures were lower than Pensacola. That was a good thing. We had a great Mother’s Day brunch, with my sisters and their hubbies, and Mom and I did some shopping. The next day, more errands and catching up on banking and bureaucracies. Those were all good things.
My good friend and I had time to catch up and – as we are wont to do – analyze and strategize. We spent a good amount of time laughing at ourselves and our dilemmas. We laughed at the problems of aging. We laughed at who we thought we would be (who ever thinks they will get old??) and who we have become. Here is what sunrise over Lake Washington looks like from my friend’s house:
Flight home uneventful; arrived in Atlanta a few minutes early and I was out the door in a flash, running running running down one concourse and up the other to see if I could get on the earlier flight to Pensacola which was leaving in MINUTES! “No, no, not possible” the gate clerk said without even looking up; she was already working on two other women, I am guessing flight attendants trying to get back home. I waited a minute, bushed from the long run and lugging the shoulder luggage, then said “I think I will just go find a barbecue” and the gate attendant said “Wait!” and I thought she was going to tell me where to find the best barbecue, because I had like three hours, but no . . . she was printing me out a ticket! I got the last seat, back, back, way back in between two great big United States Marines, but it was a fun 45 minutes and I was home three hours earlier. All that is really good!
Even though it is not Seattle to Kuwait, I still like to shower after a long flight, I just feel germy! AdventureMan made me a beautiful salad with sauteed Portobello mushrooms on top, oh yummmmm and we delighted to be together again. Woooo HOOOOO, home again Sorry to be out of the loop, but when you are one day out, one day back with two days in between, time just swooshes by.
This boggles my mind – 57 people producing meth in a city with a population of around 50K. These people are driving cars, shopping in grocery stores, all mildly deranged, at best, by the drug they produce. I am delighted they have been arrested and I am appalled to know they were on the streets:
Fifty-seven people allegedly involved in two major meth organizations in Escambia County were arrested this week, federal and state authorities said.
The results of the mass arrests, the result of a seven-month investigation, were announced during a news conference Friday afternoon.
Seventy-six people on various meth-related charges were sought, Sheriff David Morgan said, and more arrests may be made.
Those arrested, many of whom were rounded up by 60 state and federal law enforcement agents that went out Thursday morning, were targeted as part of two major meth cooking and distribution networks located in north Escambia County, sheriff’s narcotics Investigator Kenneth Tolbirt said.
One is called “The Village Group,” is based at Lakeview and Forrest avenues in Cantonment, while “The Ayers Group” is based on Ayers Street in Molino, Tolbirt said.
The organizations had roles ranging from cooks to dealers. Many of those arrested in the past two days work as “smurfs,” and go purchase pseudoephedrine, a medication used to make meth, from drug stores, authorities said.
The bust comes in the wake of 12 people being indicted in federal court on Tuesday for conspiracy to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine.
Morgan refused to say what was confiscated in Thursday’s bust, citing the ongoing need to prosecute the cases.
State Attorney Bill Eddins said he has assigned two assistant state attorneys to oversee the prosecution of the cases.
Bravo to the Escambia County Sherrif’s office for the careful, painstaking work it takes to craft an operation like this and to execute it.
We’ve had a stormy weekend, temperatures dropped once again and we were able to turn off the air conditioning and open all the windows I love the cool winds. Today is overcast and warmer, sigh, but still not so hot as to have to close the windows and turn on the A/C.
Meanwhile, we are enjoying our yard, including the new Mother’s Day gift – to me, and more widely, to my family. Everyone loves this swing!
I’ve started up some new roses from my ever-flowering old branches, which the Pensacola Rose Society helped me identify as French Lace:
AdventureMan has potted up our mints – we have a large variety – and they are thriving! We also appear to have a good crop of blueberries coming in!
“There’s a box turtle in our backyard!” AdventureMan exclaimed, coming in after making his early morning rounds to make sure all was well in the garden, and to bring us up to date on any new developments. I was eating breakfast with our house guests, getting ready to leave for water aerobics class. (If you come to visit, you get to come to water aerobics too!)
The two guys went back out to consider the box turtle, but the box turtle had disappeared. Of course we kidded AdventureMan.
“Are you SURE you saw a turtle? How would it get in to the backyard?”
He was mystified, but certain he had seen a box turtle. They searched all the spots they could think of, but could not find any turtle.
This morning, I was up early feeding the Qatari Cat when I saw a movement in the yard, and there he was, the box turtle.
AdventureMan was still sleeping; so I ran and got my camera and took some photos. I think he was aware of me, but couldn’t figure out where I was (I was inside, he was outside). When he got up, AdventureMan was delighted to have his observation verified, and hurried outside to see if he could spot him. Nope! Turtle back in hiding.
We’ve had three sets of houseguests in a very short time span, and today is our first day of ‘normal.’ We saw our friends off at 0430 (we used to call it oh-dark-hundred) and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so by the grace of God (and I mean that literally) I got up and walked.
I know I need to walk. I’ve always walked. I used to run, but I suffered for it – the knees – and decided I didn’t want to pay that price. But when my sister was here, we decided to take a walk and I said “don’t worry, I walk fast” and she said “I don’t, I am so slow now, my body has to warm up.” Confidently I started – and starting is uphill from my house. Very shortly, I discovered my fast was her slow, and I was HUFFING and puffing, and so embarrassed because I guess it’s been a while since I did this walk . . . but we did it. It felt good. And I was happy for a nice cool morning so I could do it again.
I ran into a neighbor, ignored that she was in her nightgown, we both pretended she was as fully dressed as I, had a brief conversation and she went inside with her newspaper and I carried on. About halfway through my walk, as I puffed along, I heard it.
The baboon coughed.
I could even smell a faint drift of wood burning fire. I could hear the doves. But it was only very briefly, very intangential, and I quickly realized it must have been a dog barking distantly; I could still hear him. For one brief moment I was back in Zambia, and while I love the magic of Zambia, I would not be out for a mile long hike early in the morning while the lions prowl for a last meal before they settle down for their day-long snooze.
We are off this morning to a grand plant sale across the bay in Milton. Symphony tonight. Back to “normal” for Pensacola.
We did this same cruise with the same house guests two years ago, and . . . we never get tired of it. We don’t do it that often, and it is always fresh and relaxing.
We booked with Olin Marler Charters out of Destin. Fortuitously, we had a Groupon. It was so easy, buy the tickets online, call for a reservation, be at the dock at 5 p.m. for boarding.
Yes, it can be a crowd. Yes, you always have to know where you want to be and head directly there so you will have a good view, although people do wander. Yes, you have to hope that people who take young children aboard will be responsible and watch them like hawks. Other than that, these cruises are fun and easy.
There are other cruises. The others that we saw were all very crowded, people packed like sardines on little barge-like boats. We like a boat with a couple levels and lots of places where you can take photographs without having to crawl over anyone – or having people crawl over us! – to get a photo. This is our second time with Olin Marler, and I expect it will not be our last – it’s just so much fun.
We saw lots of dolphins. Dolphins are not so easy to photograph as they surface and dive, oh aaargh. If you want to see dolphins from our last trip, click on the blue hypertext in the first paragraph.
Also lots of seagulls and lots of sunset Great times with special old friends from Germany, our sons have been best of friends for years, too.
This is the boat they took us out on, the yellow one:
When the sun actually sets, it gets cold quickly. We had a very warm day, maybe 80 degrees F. and it dropped almost immediately by 30 degrees. Fortunately, we knew this happens and came prepared this time
Great way to end a day, followed by dinner with the same good friends.
. . . . And the land I am talking about is utility bills, water and sewage bills to be specific.
This month we got a very low water-related utilities bill. I say this in relative terms, for about a year, we have been paying huge bills, bills which, to my perception, seemed out of proportion with the water we have been using. AdventureMan called the utilities company and they explained that the averages are measured in certain winter months, and then you are charged for that usage.
So this time, I called, because I didn’t understand the explanation. A very patient, very kind customer service representative explained it again to me. They send notices, she explained, saying they are about to monitor the water usage, and your sewage will be charged accordingly. “We can measure how much water you are receiving,” she explained, “but we don’t really know what is going down the pipes as sewage or waste water (laundry, etc) or going into the ground, which is not sewage. So we measure intake during three – four winter months when people are NOT watering, and guesstimate (my word, not hers, this is a sort of paraphrase, even with the quotes) what your sewage rate is.”
It’s still a little vague to me, but just clear enough for me to understand that just when we should have been NOT watering the year before, we installed a large new planted area and watered generously while the plants settled in. We watered generously during the exact time we were to be not watering at all and using water conservatively.
For a year, I have been calling in plumbers and asking them to look for a leak, fixing every kind of water problem I could find, not understanding how we were being charged so much.
We saw a program on 60 minutes, a follow up to the “Lost Boys” segment they did years ago on groups of Sudanese men who came to the US as the Janjaweed marauded through there villages, killing, raping, destroying everything in sight. It showed their disorientation as they learned how things are done here; I feel their pain. I can identify with their confusion. My next monster to tackle is COX cablevision; they keep raising my rates, it is all totally arbitrary, and I want to find an alternative. Our son – and many others – have explained different avenues, but until you actually do it, it seems complicated. I like to understand what I am doing, and I am not ready to just throw up my hands and give up; I insist on understanding! There must be some rationality (except for Cox’s mendacious billing) and we will prevail!
But for now, through no understanding on our part, we did not water during the measuring months this last year, and now have a very reasonable water bill. Ahhhhhhh. Life is sweet.
My mind works in quirky ways, and yesterday as I was setting up for the hands-on Heirloom Feathers workshop with Cindy Needham, one of the good local Pensacola quilters was telling her how you can tell a Southerner from a Northerner.
“If you go to a Southerner’s house, they’ll ask you first thing if you’d like a drink of water, or iced tea or something, but if you go into a Northerner’s house, you can sit there for five hours and they won’t offer you ANYTHING!”
I grinned to myself, no, I have learned to censor these thoughts. But I couldn’t help it.
“You’re not a Southerner,” I am thinking, “You’re ARAB!”
I thought about a long ago trip through Morocco, we have a rental car and on our way from Ouazazarte to Marrakesh, on an isolated stretch of the road, we see a car in trouble. We stop and ask if we can help, if the man would like a lift to the next town. He tells us no, he wants to stay with the car, but asks if we would go to such and such service station and tell his uncle he needs help, and where he is.
We drive into town, find the service station, and find the young man’s uncle, who is the owner. He sends help.
Did I mention it was Ramadan? No eating or drinking in public from dawn to dusk?
The owner insisted we come into his house, and seated us in his diwaniyya, and sent in mint tea and luscious almond-filled dates to refresh us. We said “No! No! It’s Ramadan!” but he told us it was his honor. He sat while we drank and ate.
Such enormous hospitality. Such grace. We only stayed a very short time; we still had a long drive, but I’ve never forgotten his hospitality.
Then again, it was Southern Morocco. Maybe he was Southern.