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Flossie, the Tonkanese kitten.  Watercolor on 140# Arches cold press.  Approx. 9″ x 11″

I’m back from a quick trip to Jupiter (Florida, not the planet) to visit my Aunt. She is one good cook!   I thought I would have gained 5 lbs, but I didn’t, even with homemade cheesecake; pasta in a cream sauce; tomato, avocado & mozzarella salad drizzled with olive oil, barbecued steak… I could go on and on. I even taught her how to make cosmos and bought her all the ingredients and the proper martini glasses to drink them from.  The trip was fab and as it turns out, not fattening.  Yay!

While there it rained a lot so the Husband and I went to two movies. Which are two more movies than I’ve seen in the past few years. The first movie, The Avengers, was LOUD.  WHAT?   I said it was LOUD!   But I still managed to fall asleep in the beginning, so I have no idea why all of those super-heroes were assembled.  I snorted at some point and woke myself up.   The husband laughed.  Until HE started to drift off at some point in the middle of the movie when a loud explosion literally lifted him out of his seat.  I laughed.

It was also exciting to go to Publix, the GIANT grocery store where people actually helped you.   I asked one guy if he had something I couldn’t find on the shelf.  He was nice, said he would check and then actually came back to tell me they were out of the item but were getting more in tomorrow.  Who does that?  Where was I?

I told Charlie, my dog-walking buddy who moved to Maine, about how nice people were in Florida.  He said the people are so nice up there that when they invite you over to dinner they actually mean it.  But he doesn’t want to go to dinner.   I told them he could move back to NYC.  I’ve known him 23 years and never once invited him over for dinner.

The painting above is a watercolor of my brother-in-law’s new kitten Flossie.   She is teeny and very cute.

Shadows of Jupiter

Today while walking from the subway to work I saw a corner coffee cart with a flat screen TV affixed to its side so customers can watch TV while they wait for their coffee.  WHAT?  I had to look back to make sure what I was seeing was real.  SERIOUSLY?  Now you can watch TV while waiting the 5 seconds it takes the guy to give you a coffee and a bagel?   After thinking about this, I thought it would actually take LONGER than 5 seconds to get your coffee in the morning because of the extra time it would take to look at the screen, take in the information, get distracted and then having the guy say to you.  AHEM, HERE’S YOUR COFFEE.   This is New York.  If after giving your order at a cart more than twice the guy does not have your order memorized and ready for you as you walk towards the cart you should stop going there. 

Iconic Coffee Cup

I go to a coffee cart every morning and get coffee from John and Mohammed.  We say hello, John usually has my coffee made before I step up to the cart window.   Mohammed waves his arm and asks if I want something sweet.   We exchange pleasantries either about the day (TGIF) the weather (it’s gonna be a hot one) and then I am on my way.  It CANNOT take more than 4 minutes.   And I’m being generous. 

Also during said walk from the subway to my office I was handed three menus, had to listen to the never-ending construction across the street from my building. Since 9/11 I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t seen a crane, heard a pile driver or jack hammer, or seen men in hard hats and Skanska vests, 5 of whom stand around and watch while one person digs. Just as I got to my building I watched while a woman actually punched the hood of a car because it failed to stop at a stop sign.   (I was with the puncher all the way.)

The above painting is an image from the complex my Aunt Gail moved to in Jupiter, Florida.  I was attracted to the light pink stucco, the green shutters and the palm tree bending in the breeze and shading the home.   It’s quiet there.  And hot.  And there is very little noise.  You don’t see people outside. (Where are all the people?)   I am not a big Florida fan (too hot) but on a morning like this one, I certainly could enjoy some of Jupiter’s peace and quiet.

I have just returned from a 3 city tour of Florida.  It began with Sanibel Island, then over to Jupiter, then up to Winter Park.  I was bitten by every sand flea, no-see-um and mosquito in the state.

What can I say about Florida?  It’s an adjustment.

1.  It’s hot.

2.  There are gators (and I saw one right on the side of the road where I was a-walkin’)

3.  There were stingrays in the Gulf Water.  (ok, they were skates, but still…there were a LOT of them.)

4.  Did I mention it was HOT.  And this was only April.

5.  No one walks.  Anywhere.  There were NO PEOPLE on the streets.  Where is everyone?

Florida pluses:  got to see dolphins, a ton of manatee and some osprey and beautiful egrets and herons.   Despite my fear of “owtside”, we had a great time.   (remember my motto, stolen directly from Bonnie Luria:  “Owtside begins with Ow”).

My friend that I went to college with who I also visited while in Florida now uses a “Jitterbug” phone!   This phone is for old people.  Why?  You can’t text, you can’t get your email, you can’t take pictures you can’t browse the web.

What CAN you do with a Jitterbug?   You can make or receive calls, you can press a button if you’ve fallen and you can’t get up or you can use it as a shoehorn.

(Full disclosure…I have a blackberry, aka crackberry, which I’m kind of addicted to.)

While in Florida I got to visit some of my decorative painted wood pieces.  A “petunia” tray I had painted for my aunt and a “garden” birdhouse I painted for my friends Jim and Kirk, who themselves have a lush garden.   It was fun to see these pieces I had forgotten I had painted and given away.  It was like running into old friends.

There are stormy skies up ahead!

Big Sky in Florida 9-27-09

My brother is one of my favorite people in the world.  He is funny.  He is smart.  He is clever.  He is good looking.  He will NOT, I repeat, NOT read my blog.

On a recent family trip to Florida for the funeral of a favorite uncle,  I happened to ask my brother why he never reads my blog.   His response was:  He doesn’t read blogs.  He has two little boys. He is tired.  He works long hours.  He has to change diapers.  He can’t read a blog on any day that ends with a “Y”.   He has no time to go on the computer.  (That one is debatable.) On and on and on.   I could NOT get him to give in and convince him to read my blog.  I hounded him for two hours in a car ride to Jupiter.  Florida, not the planet.    In Jupiter we met with the rest of the family for a service at the cemetery.   After it was over, we all stood around chatting and my favorite aunt came over to me.  Out of the clear blue she says “I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.”

WELL!  In a million years I could not have planned that more perfectly.

Since he won’t read my blog, I will just write about him. So there Robert! So there.

I haven’t finished this painting yet, but like how it’s going so far.  Clouds are harder to paint than I thought.

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