Friday, October 27, 2006


Thank you Sunday Scribblings for the memories....

I hold a snap shot in my head.

It is faded from age. A little dog-eared from the handling. The people, almost unrecognizable, ghost babies from long ago. Children sweet and young, one in a cowboy hat with toy pistol, the other less dramatic but an intense intelligence already characterized on his face. The mother long legged, or so it seemed to us small children, laying on the bed, a child under each arm and a book held aloft for easy access to turn pages. Myself at the foot of the bed, aloof and listening, a doll in my hands.

The Little Lame Prince.

The Wizard of Oz

Alice in Wonderland

Arabian Nights

Peter Pan

Winnie the Pooh

Profiles in Courage

Tarzan, of the Apes.

Only one chapter a night. We begged for more. Please, please, please.

Okay, only half a chapter, I don’t want you getting up late for school!

Fast forward 20 years to my daughter. “Let’s read a book!”

“Okay, Mommie” and always without fail, over and over again it was BUT NO ELEPHANTS. I did not need to look at the words on the page, I had the whole story memorized.

Another snap shot beginning to show the damage of age.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Reason Number Three - The Crime Report

I imagine that every place has its own style when it comes to crime reporting in the local newspaper. Every town has its own flair describing the activities that society deems criminal. My own small home town approach is cut and dry. We have a weekly that everyone, and I mean everyone, pours over the Police Reports to see if any familiar names are there to tisk tisk over. The specialties in central Kentucky usually revolve around marijuana fields being discovered and tractors being stolen in the dead of night. And of course, the occasional shooting at each other. Usually politicians running for the sheriffs office.

But nothing compares with the Daily Dirt Dished out in Key West.

From the September 28th issue……..

A man who officers reported pulling over about 1 a. m. Wednesday for not having lights on his bicycle got in more trouble when cocaine reportedly was spotted through his fishnet pockets. D.G. tried to eat the drugs, and one of the officers was hurt trying to stop him…….D.G. was booked for having no lights on his bike, battering a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, possessing cocaine and tapering with evidence.”

There was a second one, not as colorful, but still………

A woman was arrested on battery charges after she allegedly ran into the Fraternal Order of the Orioles and assaulted another woman according to police reports.”

There is something both alluring and romantic about living in an area where you have to worry about encounters with unlit bicycles and liquored up women.

Both are very dangerous. If only the rest of the world was so dangerous.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ode to Coconut Rum

I decided to run to the grocery store on the way home from work this afternoon. It had become evident to me last night that the cupboard was bare as I scrounged around for something to snack on before going to sleep.

I began to fantasize about purchasing a bottle of coconut rum. The big jumbo kind. Big Industrial Strength kind. 1.75 Liter kind. Last a long time kind.

It took a lot of control to avoid the liquor aisle. Especially since another item I really needed was located in the same immediate area. I prevailed. I persevered. I passed.

About three weeks ago (has it really been that long?????) I decided I was drinking too much. Rather than fantasizing about purchasing a bottle of hooch, I was mentally pouring the elixir of life as I raced home.

It's not too bad, this self denial. It makes me realize that my fears of being an alcoholic can be put to rest.

I just love coconut rum.

And think of the money I will save. In a years time I should have enough saved to take a trip to Malawi and buy an orphan.

I mean adopt a child.

Friday, October 20, 2006


While blog surfing last night I ran across this interactive blog called Sunday Scribbling. A word would be thrown out and you write an essay/poem/story what ever your little old heart desires and then link to the site.

"Say the word and you'll be free,
Say the word and be like me,
Say the word I'm thinking of,
Have you heard the word is
" ..... GOOD

The first thing that popped into my head is Martha Stewart. I realize Martha has been done to death, but I have not had a crack at her yet.

I must have been the last person on the face of the earth to become aware of Martha Stewart . And when it happened , it was love at first sight.

I believe it may have been in October of a year long past. She was making little ghosts out of tootsie roll pops. I was mesmerized and immediately hooked.

I began buying her magazines at the second hand book store (50 cents, I am one tight bitch). I dreamed of refinishing furniture, planting my own English garden, making a five course dinner for a group of my intimate friends, creating a shadow box from mementos collected from a beach vacation, making my own trellis, furnishing my home with incredible finds at the flea market, turning out the perfect chocolate chip cookie, making my own candles, my own wine.

Martha was my how-to Guru.

She spoke to the latent hippie that lives under my urban facade. To the yearning in my breast to be one with the land. To have my own vegetable patch and hundred acre estate somewhere in Never-Never Land where there are no time clocks, no dead lines, no rush hour, and every hour is happy hour.

I hated to see her go down. Even though all indications pointed to her being a Wicked Witch. I thought her courageous to march off to jail claiming to be innocent rather than cop a plea and avoid the inconvenience of incarceration.

And I applauded her when she emerged, thinner and grayer, wearing a sweater her fellow inmates presented to her as a going home present. One, she no doubt, taught them to knit.

I loved it when she did not obey the rules and was caught leaving the confines of her house detention. She probably had to run to the store and pick up some Chardonnay.

Even though Martha is not the golden girl she once was, I still believe....It's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Number Four - The Characters

What makes a trip more than just a vacation? What takes it from simply escaping from the drudgery of day to day survival and turns it into an exhilarating experience? An extraordinary adventure?

Why meeting the local characters, of course!

Those tiny random interactions form the tapestry of the memories. The nuances, the spice, the flavor of the area come to life through the people you encounter and engage.

It's so easy to get people to talk. Just find their favorite subject. Themselves!!

At the Art Co-op the lady who came from the back of the store to tend the counter was someone not easy overlooked. As we paid for our purchases Joe and I began to chit-chat with her. Up close, I got a good look at her and she was old. In her late 80's, white hair, stooped slightly forwards, her face tanned and lined as only many years in the Florida sun can sculpture. She was tiny, under five feet, with clear blue eyes.

I asked if she owned the place. "Oh no, I just work here several hours a week. The artists take turns doing this." She proceeded to tell us the hardships of paying the overhead!

I asked if she were an artist. "No, my husband was."

And so it went, "How did you arrive in Key West."

By the Alaskan way, husband in the Navy, terrible accident, retired in '63, lost the bottom part of his jaw (did not want to hear the details of that). How she and her son live in a home that was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma the year before. How they struggled to make ends meet.

It would not stop. She barely had time to catch her breath before starting in on another long dissertation about either repairing her porch for $38,000, or how much she spends on her electric bill. On and on and on. I had inched myself half way out the door, holding it open for Joe and apologizing on why we had to leave and could not stay and listen to her for the rest of our (life) stay in Key West.....

Then it was the Winery where we sampled all the wines before making a decision for the Strawberry and Blueberry. There we found a transplant from New Jersey who still operated shops on the board walk there. We fell into a discussion about 911. We learned how the real true owners of the winery shop were from Washington State and only came in every so often. Ah, to be rich.

Then to the convenient store to cool off and see if there were any unusual beers only available locally. The very young clerk told us he was "retired" form the service. He did not look to be over 20 years old! I commented on how young he appeared. I somehow must have hit a nerve because he stood up and assumed a military position and informed me that his father was Career Military and signed him in at 16. He was in Iraq in 1999...and gave us a look like I would know he was not suppose to be in Iraq on a mission in '99. He took a hit from a RPG in the arm, shoulder and left side of the body. Some of the shrapnel remains in his body as a reminder .

Then there was the guy who was sitting at the bar called the Hogs Breath Saloon. He was wearing a Wilma T-Shirt. We had a lively conversation about him staying on the island while the storm raged and how the water was up to his chest as he waded to higher ground.

And Clay, who arrived in Key West after a tour of duty in Viet Nam in 1968 and never left. He has visited his Mom only twice since then. The last earlier this year. He knows it will be the last he will see her alive in this life time.On the wall was

a picture of him with his company. I found him immediately and commented, "You were a handsome young thing." He glanced at the photo, took it down from the wall and looked at his image from 40 years ago, touching it lightly with his fingertips. "If only I had realized it then", he muttered.

As beautiful as Key West is and could be considered a character by herself, it is the people Joe and I met and spoke with. They are the true beauty of Key West.

And it is them that I carried home.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Whispering your secret emotion

I have been in a reading frenzy as of late. Devouring one book after another, realizing there are not enough hours in the day, in a life time to read them all. I went on a book buying binge on Friday and dragged home enough to keep me happily content for awhile.

I found it necessary to drag out my World Atlas and find Borneo.

I read the most amazing description of a journey there, by two British adventurers. The time frame could have been last week, it could have been the 1800's.

It was the Butterflies that took my imagination by surprise. It was the brief description of one character looking over at the other, found him laid out in a hammock reading, covered in butterflies.

The image was technicolor in my mind.

I took out the Rand McNally road maps of North America, and traced my finger along the route from Ft. Wayne to ...anywhere close. Canada is above me, huge with possibilities.

I will not find my butterflies there, but it is close enough for an adventure.

Borneo will have to wait.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Sometimes I am at a total loss for words. Meaning, there is nothing swirling around in my brain that is interesting enough to write a few paragraphs about. My brain is tired anyway from a semi-sleepless night. I tossed and turned and fretted about a big event I had going on today. I obsessed about it even as I slept. I was convinced that it was going to go badly, that the team effort I needed would fail me.

I was unable to badger anyone about it yesterday as I was tied up in a meeting in Indianapolis all day long. How does one day become so long? After our lunch break we had a marathon speaker.

First my legs began to get antsy. Then my eyebrows. They itched. First the right one then the left. Then my ears! I was moving as if I was covered with ants. I needed out of there to walk off some of my nervous energy which was manifesting itself into a major fidget fest.

Finally, the break and I bolted out of there as if on fire. I headed for the nearest EXIT sign and threw open the door and headed down the steps. As soon as I hit the first landing I knew I had made a mistake.

Just like Miami.

Joe had decided we needed to do laundry before heading to the Port of Miami and boarding the ship. This marvelous hotel had a laundry on the floor directly below us. Joe had challenged me to take a more active role in getting the load finished and into our luggage. Challenge may have been too kind a word…..

I huffed off and found the closest “EXIT” sign leading to the stair well. I went from the eight floor down to the seventh and leaned against the door.

Nothing. The door was locked. Oooopps.

I headed back up the stairs and to my horror the door would not open there! I knocked and pounded on the door hoping that I could attract the attention of someone, anyone in the hallway. This went on for a few minutes and I gave up.

Thinking I could make it to the lobby I started to descend. The urge to panic began as I found every door on each floor would not open. Eventually I made it to the garage level. I could smell the nauseous fumes and hear roar of engines but once again the doors would not open!

I could only hope that Joe would miss me in time and form a search party and they would find me trapped in the stair well! I began going back up and checking each door again. I noticed a scary looking hallway under one of the staircases leading into another dark area. I had nothing to lose, so I held my breath and went in.

Sweet Jesus, there was an escape at the end of the tunnel. Beautiful sunlight peeked from around the door edges. It was an industrial type with two panels that met in the middle. I tried to open and it would only budge slightly, teasing me with more of the sunlight of freedom. With as much force as I could muster, fueled by panic and near hysteria, I shoved on both doors at once! By some miracle, they swung open and I fell onto the back patio of the Hotel that opened up into the Bay walk.

I reentered the hotel through the back glass doors into the lower floor level. I passed the two restaurants, several retail stores, a sundry shop, a bakery, and two lobby’s (this particular hotel was two in one) to reach the bank of elevators on the other side of the building.

I had to hold my head high as I passed what seemed like thousands of curious onlookers and hotel guests. After all, it is unusual to see someone roaming around in their bathrobe and hair rollers…even in Miami.

So when I hit that landing yesterday I just knew that door was going to be locked. And it was! I was about to panic and scream “Help” when the door opened and a curious kind health professional asked me if I need help….

Man did I ever! I almost wanted to kiss him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Great Escape

Today was one of those days where absolutely nothing went right. Problem after problem arose and demanded immediate attention. Everything that was out of whack was not my fault, yet it is my job to make it right. I try so hard to make everything run smoothly but I can only do so much. It is like a tag team. If the chain is weak somewhere, my customers only know that I have failed them.

I hate that.

It makes me want to fly away like a bird. To escape it all. To disappear.

To run away.

I'm not very good at running away. I first experimented with it in fifth grade. My best friend B.A. and I were going through a stage where we were walking downtown after school. She had to stay after school and wait for her Mom to pick her up after work. There was no day care back then, you know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Just us hanging out with the nuns helping to cleaning chalk boards. We eventually graduated to shop lifting and became very brazen about it. Our M.O. was to sashshay into the Five and Dime, grab one of their bags from under the counter, walk through the store and snatch, of all dull things, school supplies, tossing them into the bag!

When we finally got caught we decided it was better to run away than face our parents.

We began walking out of town down a country road. We must have walked for what seemed like miles when a car pulled over and rolled down their window and addressed us, "Have you seen B.A.? We are looking all over for her!"

Hell, no one looking for me. No one knew I had run away!

I don't remember much more of that episode. Except I got a good whooping.

Now I just head to the nearest library and submerge myself into one of my Great Escapes. I dream about getting another job and surf the internet and catch up on my Dream Job. Usually it is to join a charity organization such as CARE or UNITED WAY or THE CANCER SOCIETY. When I recover from my delusions of trying to save the world, I progress to wanting to see the world and envision myself as a Travel Writer.

Then my lunch break is over and back to the grind of making excuses and feeling helpless.

At least no one is going to whoop me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006



On a visit several years in the past we stumbled on this store and read the tale of "Last Flight Out". At that time we did not purchase a tee-shirt. I have kicked myself in the proverbial butt ever since, because it is something we mention to each other every now and then.

To my delight, we blundered into it on this trip!

The story goes like this.....

Back in the old days (1970's) there was one airline that flew into Key West. In the bars, instead of "Last Call" they would announce "Last Flight Out" which departed at 11pm.

Whether the plane left or not was always a surprise. Sometimes the plane was full, other times it just was not leaving that night.

Thank Goodness there was an airport bar open 24 hours a day. Sometimes the crew of the plane would be among the revelers at the bar.

This time, I bought the tee.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Tomorrow is Joe's Birthday!

The most fun, besides finally being able to lay out the dozen or so Birthday cards I have accumulated through out the year, is giving him his gift.

Gift giving is one of the things I do best. Why? It's simple. I poo-poo what ever he really really wants....

"You know what you can get me for my birthday?"


"A gun. I really need a gun."

Eye roll and look of total exasperation from me. I know why he wants a gun, he thinks its for "protection".

"And how many people have you actually had the opportunity to shoot at?" I ask after the obligatory sound of "Pfffffttttt".

We have an understanding that what he gets is what I really want and then I show him how to use it and then it becomes both of ours.

Not really, but he has pointed this out to me on several occasions in our nearly ten years together.

I know he is going to love the camcorder I got him. (do they still call it a camcorder?) It has cute tiny little disc's that go into the computer so you can load it up and make those wonderfully entertaining You-tube things with. I am addicted to "Tripping on Words" who makes much use of them.

I also think it is going to be a great incentive for me to lose weight!! I'm going to be devastated to see my big fat-butt on the computer screen. Perfect type of motivation for me.

He is going to love his birthday gift, oh yes he is!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


(pictures by Joe)


Joe wrestled the camera away from me and took a dozen photo's in SLOPPY JOES Hemingways favorite watering hole when he resided in Key West.

Besides being so tourist friendly, it's a great place to have fun no matter what time it is! (11am)



Monday, October 02, 2006



After shopping on Duval Street we headed into Capt. Tony's for a beer and some local ambiance. Capt. Tony's is the original site of Sloppy Joe's, another key West historical bar where Hemingway hung out and drank.

Business cards, along with brassieres, panties, ball caps, license plates, and other varied articles of clothing, adorn every bit of space along the walls and ceiling. You can see where the cards have met disaster, Hurricane Wilma of last fall, yet they remain intact, if not a little worse for wear.

As in every bar in Key West, there was entertainment. A performer with an acoustical guitar and his dog laying at his feet, he had a repertoire of songs that included everyone from Bob Dylan to Elvis.

A walking tour group arrived to hear the history of the building. Not only was it the watering hole of Ernest, it was at one time a morgue! As the group took over the back of the room and our muscian friend sang Elvis' "Falling in love with you" a sudden thunder storm decided to pay Key West a visit.

Suddenly every light in the bar turned themselves on and shined brightly for a fleeting and astonishing moment....then all went dark. The microphone went dead....his strong yet gentle rendition of the love song faded as he sang...

"As a river flows
Gently to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand - Take my whole life too".......

As if cued, everyone in the bar began to sing.........

"For I can't help falling in love with you.
For I can't help falling in love with you"

We gave ourselves and our musician friend a round of applause. I think the drinks were on the house as we waited for the storm to pass and the sound of rain beating the streets and the roof to fade and resume the hum of fans and airconditioners.

It was a beautiful and peaceful five minutes.



I have enough Kino sandals to last till the next time. Kino Sandals is the most unpretentious, comfy and functional shoe factory in the world. Hand Made and $10!

The wine is almost gone. Why is the wine so goooood in Key West? I loved the Strawberry Riesling Wine. Courtesy of Keel and Curley Winery.

Joe and I hiked all the way from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. On our journey we passed this cozy little Art Gallery. I had my heart set on purchasing some sort
of art to take home. And I got lucky. This was a coop-gallery. Affordable and capricious. And red.

Very red.

Sunday, October 01, 2006



Key West has got to be one of the most beautiful, stimulating, colorful, soul-stirring, exhilarating, fanciful, outrageous, whimsical, boisterous, frolicking and funky towns in the United States.

Look what it did to Hemingway.

Look what it does to all those tourists and visitors who make the journey! After one visit it becomes part of you, one of your most treasured memories. Like a vivid tattoo on your soul.

That is, if you get it.

If you do "get it" then returning becomes a pilgrimage.

It is a place that is best described with photo's. I'll leave the written descriptions to those more qualified. To the poets.

Roosters, roosters everywhere you look. At first you hear them. Cock-a-doodle-do. Why do they roam free? They seem to be given free reign going everywhere and any place they want? Into bars, into restaurants, into the traffic, strutting their stuff down Duval St.

Who knows why, but they seem to own the town. There is even a place is like a haven for the sick and infirm, the unwanted fowl. You can even purchase one if you want.

Though they seem to have no master....if you ask me