Goodbye Betty

Last weekend Betty and I went to Briny’s Pub in Ft Lauderdale. 

The place was not her first choice.  She had no idea what an Irish Pub was, and at her Golden Girl status, I don’t think she had ever gone to one.  That fixed it for me, we had to go.  Being an Italian Woman, she kept coming up with Italian restaurants and the BBQ joints up near her place in Century Village… sorry, Do Not Want!

So once we got to Briny’s she had sat down and took the place in.  I could actually see her relax and her eyes get larger from all the wonderful collection of junk up on the ceiling.  The place is right next to the Riverwalk, the boats sail by within 50 feet of where we were sitting, and we got to see the traffic on the bridge the entire time to add more to the whole experience.

She didn’t know what she would want at a place like that and when I described the Cod Fish slabs you get in their Fish and Chips, she came around.  After all, take a dinner plate, plop down two expertly fried in beer batter fish slabs and a pile of french fries and you’re in for a treat.  Too bad they aren’t serving “Pub Fries” any more, and went to the more American “shoestring fries”.  Not traditional and not as good.

Today I went to visit Betty for what I think is the last time.  We celebrated my birthday that is coming up over the weekend and had a massive meal at a Chinese Buffet.  Not the same food, and I won’t tell you what she had to drink at Briny’s either since she really did enjoy both places.

Betty is selling the condo, moving back to NY and will be near her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  She’s also moving 1400 miles away from me.   Assuming I get my life in gear to be able to go up to visit, it won’t be before a year before I can.  At 91, who knows.  I hope that I can get back for her 100th birthday, I missed her 90th here in South Florida while she celebrated it in Lawn Guy Lant.  The Condo Closes today, April 30th.  She leaves for NY on May 1.

I will miss her, I hope she’s up to coming back next year as a snowbird.  If so I’ll get a chance to have more Fish and Chips with her at Briny’s, tell people she had a Gin and Tonic under the awning there even if she didn’t, and experience another chance to spend time with one of my favourite people even if she is a relative.

Betty I’ll miss you.  Come back soon.

One Step Closer

 one step closer

After hearing the presentation by WMMS last commission meeting and all the local residents and business owners, the commission appears to agree that the WMMS approach to narrow the drive to two lanes has merit.

The current feeling by the Commission seems to be that the WMMS approach is plausible,  Plausible does not mean that it is absolutely going to happen, it means in this context that the City needs to look further into the plan.  The questions arise about the financials and the numbers that WMMS had presented.  The Commission has directed the city manager to contact the engineers, Chen and Assoc. to look at the numbers produced by WMMS and verify the estimates.

This step by the Commission can be considered ‘due diligence’, and needs to happen in order for all the Commissioners to make a knowledgeable decision.

The drawback is that there seems to be a feeling that the plan be put on the ballot as a straw vote.  The biggest problem is that the law states that the question only state the cost only and not the net profit that we will receive after the first year.  This is unfortunate since in a down market, many if not most will vote against the plan due to the cost.

This is quite one sided and if the profit is not listed, and it therefore fails, the Commission will shrug and that will be the end of the narrowing of the drive.

If that happens, you can watch for the business district to begin to fail as it is in its current form and things stagnate until the energy goes somewhere else in South FL.

Yes, parking and narrowing the drive is THAT important.

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers

You may recognise this one, I got it as a cut and paste “spam” from a good friend.  I liked it so I’m putting it here.

Now, where is that beer?

 – – –

Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand..

The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car..

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend..

Rough Seas in a Pool

Monday Morning we had a line of storms come through the county. 

Starting at 8am until it passed there were a series of warnings sounded on the weather radio for Broward County.  This all struck me as somewhat on the dramatic side.  I come from an area where a big deal was when a line of thunderstorms would come through and you may have a bit of a need to go indoors until it passed.   Say what you will about the Philadelphia Area Weather, but it was much more gentle.

As I am sitting here going through the job boards and all the postings for Business Analyst, Sr Business Analyst, Project Manager, IT Manager, and anything else that my very broad resume may fit, I’m also hearing first a Tornado Warning, then a Marine Warning, and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning sound in the span of an hour and a half.

Not too much you can do about that, I’m indoors, the Satellite radio is playing Haydn and other classical favourites, and the power is still on so I can make coffee if I should want. 

The second warning, that Marine Warning got me to thinking.   I haven’t been on a boat in a very long time, so I’m not terribly knowledgeable about what that would do to a person out in it.  I’ll stay on Terra Semi Firma and try to keep my feet dry.  As that rain started to fall and the dog got very unnerved I was thinking about when I was a kid in South Jersey.  My sister and I had a pool in the back yard.  Four Feet Deep so nobody would get in over their head, smooth vinyl bottom so your feet wouldn’t be sanded down by rough concrete, we would have many hours floating about like children would.   I remember one day we got silly though.   My sister Pat and I were having a particularly good time of it in the pool and I had a large two man raft in there with us.  We learned that if we filled that raft up with water, it would still float but get warm and comfortable but very heavy.   Once in a while we’d do that because it takes a lot of time with children’s hands to fill up that volume. 

On the other hand just moving in the raft even a little bit would mean it would rock in the pool.  We thought that was particularly fun one day and after we got through jumping in the pool very close to the raft when the other was in it, we hit upon “Rough Seas”.  My sister liked to sit in the raft and get me to do Rough Seas once in a while which consisted of my pushing down on one side of the raft so that she’d be leaning to one side, but not so much as to flip her and then letting go.  All the while chanting in a bizarre voice “Rough Seas…. Rough Seas…”.  After a few pushes we could let the pool do it’s work because it would set up waves and she’d be rocking.   Since I was quite a bit larger, I didn’t get much of a chance to be in the boat rocking about, but I did get it enough to find out what it was like. 

Somehow I think that it wouldn’t be quite as fun if you were stuck out off the coast in this slop that is falling from the sky Monday morning, but I can hope that all will be well for those out there.

May your Rough Seas only be on a float in the pool and a safe harbour is only as far as standing up in the shallow end.

A Tree Blooms on Wilton Drive

Sunday morning, right after the sun finally came up, I made it out to the Drive. 
I was near the tail end of the dog walk for the day and I saw a massive pile of yellow flowers on the sidewalk.  I found it amusing that in this little city, the rubbish on the sidewalk was flowers.  Other cities it might not be so pleasant a pile but that is neither here nor there. 

When I got to the trunk of the tree, my dog decided that she needed to sniff the thing.  She did it for a very long time, so I looked up and got this view.   Beautiful tree that had the sky almost completely blotted out with yellow blooms.  

The blooms have all been fertilized on my citrus trees, the Mangos are starting to form on the tree near the house.  This tree and the others like it have their time right now.  For the meantime, I’ll just enjoy them along the drive.

Iguanas are back

Afraid so.  It wasn’t forever, merely a break from the inevitable.

Yesterday we were out driving around looking for a strawberry pot.  My neighbors had given me three little heather plants and they’re doing very nicely in a large irrigated pot.  In the middle of that pot is a smaller pot with a strawberry plant.   While all four plants are happy together, we thought we should move the strawberry into its own pot and let the heather grow in. 

That set us on the chase!

You can find strawberry pots fairly easily, however since all the pots in the back yard are maroon, we didn’t want the run of the mill terracotta pot.  We ended up at the nursery just East of Andrews on Oakland Park called Green Thumb Pottery.  Nice place that is tucked into a triangular plot of land against the North Branch of the New River.   They have some beautiful plants in some rather interesting self watering pots and a collection of glazed pots that would look well in just about any setting.   There is also a room there that was set aside just for orchids.   These plants were all very happy, display quality, and would make for a fine display in any home.  It certainly is worth a visit to the shop and the area behind the building that is under the awnings is quite a nice view of the New River and the homes on the water.

Being where it is, you can see quite a distance down the river.  That river is not a very quick moving one, nor is it very deep.  I’d be hard pressed to say that that spot is navigable since the bridge over it is at the same level as any other road around here, which is almost invariably flat.  You can see in this picture where the place is, and our car was parked on the far left where the white car is under the tree.

After shopping and finding that they can get the perfect strawberry pot for the yard, we went back to the car.  That was where I saw the creature, a five foot iguana in stripes.  This is the first critter I have seen since the first cold snap back in winter more than 3 months ago.  

So they’re back.  I can only hope that this one doesn’t find a mate so we don’t end up with them sooner rather than later.   If there is one, there will be more.   My best guess is that those things will be back in my yard by November or so and I’ll be back to chasing them out of my bougainvillea.

I’m hoping for another series of cold snaps next winter.  Iguanas are too much work and Iguana Rid does not work.

A Soaring Memory From Childhood

Sometimes surfing brings up the most interesting memories. 

I was going through the morning web pages, and there was a link to building your own water bottle rocket.  I remember seeing these things in the stores when I was a kid.  You used to be able to get them for a couple of dollars a piece and they’d consist of a pump that is about 9 inches long, a funnel, and a plastic rocket that looked something distantly like a V2 Rocket.  You would fill the funnel with clear water, fill the rocket with it to a pre-measured level, then attach it to the pump end.  The pump would be clamped onto the bottom of the rocket and you would pump it an arbitrary amount of times until you couldn’t any more.  Then you would turn the rocket upright and pull the lever to launch your rocket.

The Wikipedia Page for Water Rockets has some general info on them but my little store bought rocket was much more modest than some of these monsters. 

I could launch these things probably 100 times each rocket until either I was bored with it, or the rocket ended up in a tree, then it was a trip to the toy store and get another.   They were commonplace and I had even seen one lately when I was in a store here within the last year so they’re still made. 

One time I was sitting on the front porch and had been launching this thing and wanted to see how far it could go so I started aiming it lower to the ground instead of straight up into the air.  I figured I could manage to fly it across the street, and if it was one of those Hot New Jersey Summer Days, the added benefit was a cold blast of pressurized water and air all over me to cool me off. 

When ever I think of those little red domed, white rockets, I would think of aiming it toward the street and firing.  You see once I did that just as a car was coming by and it managed to go in one of the open windows, and out the other side.   The driver of the car was just as surprised as I was to have this projectile fly through the car like something out of a Warner Brothers’ cartoon.

Years later, I remembered this scene and started talking to my sister and her then school-age son about it and decided he needed this memory.   Off to the toy store I went and finally found one.  I filled it up with water with Jonathan on the porch next to me, pumped it up, and launched.   We got a couple shots out of it before I turned it over to Jon.   He had some fun that day launching it and we went inside. 

The next visit we tried it again only first shot it went up on the roof.   Seeing that that house was two full stories high and we had no ladder that would get to the high roof, it was done. 

Somehow, I doubt he thinks of it as fondly as I did.

The website that had it,, has a video and a web page about how to build a rather complex rocket if you want to see them… They’re fun but this rocket is really involved… I’d stick to the little store bought thing if I went to do it again.