I am feeling apologetic toward Chris Canzoneri, my ever-faithful site-designer. Each month I vow that I will surprise her by sending my blog in a timely manner. Forget May. May is O-V-E-R. Mayblog didn't happen. Sorry, Chris. You did try to give me a gentle hint a couple of weeks ago.
Welcome, June-we're heading into our second summer in South Florida, and it promises to be steamy. Just yesterday as I walked Luke along the canal, I was accompanied by clouds of tiny, bloodthirsty gnats, swarming around my head. The humidity brings them out. Luke and I ran to escape them as they flew into our eyes, noses and ears; not to worry, shortly after we started running, a torrential downpour wiped them out. But again…not to worry, 5 minutes later, out came the sun and boiled all the rain, which never completely evaporates during this "rainy season", and the gnats resumed their hunt. In New York, a rain like that would refresh and renew, leaving one feeling energized and relaxed. Not here. Here, lawns turn into fetid bogs, with ducks swimming around on them, while the frogs and toads breed prolifically, filling the night with their voices- http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/wildlife_info/frogstoads/wav/giant_taod.wav Large dragonflies seem to spontaneously generate from the environment and zip through the air, careening wildly off their course to avoid hitting my head as I try to go on a bike ride, me ducking and swerving to avoid hitting them. They are big enough to dent my bike or my head! Last week I discovered a beetle in the grass here that has green eyes that glow just like LED lights. It's called a Cuicuilla. Go ahead, Google it. Wild stuff happening, down here.
One night about a month ago, Luke ran to the front door barking furiously at a giant toad that was throwing itself at the glass on the other side of the door to catch the beetles that had collected under the outdoor light, while another similar but smaller toad waddled over to hide behind the umbrella stand. These were none other than the infamous and despised South Florida Bufo, a giant Marine Toad that the SS Florida Department of Agriculture (the SS stands for Stupid- Stupid) imported some years ago to eat up some kind of grub that was infesting the sugar cane fields in South Florida. The SS Bufo proceeded to eat anything and everything it was and wasn't supposed to; and it thrived here. Females can be up to 3 lbs. The one at our door was easily in that range, brownish-green, with crusty, lumpy warts and facial features that reminded me of a cross between Cesar Chavez and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Added to their repulsive appearance is the fact that they secrete a sticky toxin that can kill a small dog and seriously sicken one as big as Luke.So of course, before we could take Luke outside, we had to deal with these creatures. I managed to bag the big one with the 15' pool skimmer and carry it across the street to the canal. When I went to turn it loose, it was so fat that it stuck inside the net. I had to grasp the corners of the skimmer and shake it out. I made a lot of gagging noises while I was doing this. Sorry, there is not a wav file for that here. Marc was sufficiently shamed by my heroism to handle the smaller one. They haven't been back since that night. To Marc's credit, he did a good job of removing the mammoth Palmetto bug that was lying dead across the patio door yesterday. Who knew that the sound of a man shrieking could produce a shock wave that vaporized insects? :)
When I was a kid, there was a TV series called Land of the Lost that premiered in 1974…along with Gilligan's Island, it was a favorite of mine, whose story line involved 3 family members that had fallen through a portal in time and ended up in a parallel universe of some kind, a hostile rainforest-like environment with dangerous and surreal life forms, stunted cave men known as Pakuni,(no doubt Republicans), mysterious technology, and unusual topography. The main goal of the three people, Annie, Marc and Luke was to find a way to return home. Oooops. There I go again, blurring fantasy with reality. ( Look, I have to poke fun at stuff. It's my way of coping. ) JUST SAYING…..
I'm reading a couple of great books just now: "Ecoshamanism", by James Enredy, which seeks to locate and cultivate a universal power within modern society to unite and heal our earth, and "The Joy of Hate" by Greg Gutfeld, which addresses the issue of whining and phony outrage in today's thin-skinned and politically hyper-correct society. Even though he's a regular pinhead on the SS Fox News Channel, I get what he is saying, and it's funny stuff. I know it seems that these two books are "apples & oranges", but I love to see what jumps off the shelf for me at the library, without having any preconceived ideas of what I am looking for. It would seem that the common theme here is to get over the trivial and look within to know yourself and live authentically. Laugh if it's funny, cry if it's sad, don't sweat the small stuff, or pretend to be mad. Save MAD for stuff that really deserves it. As I write, I'm in the library, and a 60-something woman in an armchair across from me is working up a crazy mad about two men who are conversing loudly, behind a row of books. "Ssssshhhhh!" she hisses, knowing that they won't see her, "This is a library, not a bar!". She tries to catch my eyes for some back-up approval, but I'm not getting involved. More laughter and conversation about the Regan Administration fill the top floor of the library. The woman's face turns red, she's so mad. "Who gives a fuck?" she barks in a passive-aggressive stage whisper, to nobody in particular. It reminded me of the time I saw a mom on the subway take on a straphanger whose waistline happened to be in unfortunate proximity to her child's face. The train was very crowded, and people were jumbled on top of each other. "Hey,%^&##%%%" Mom snarled, "Get your #$%^'g d*&^ outta my boy's**#$#g face." Apparently, it's okay to use filthy language in front of a 5-year old child in the name of common decency, for God's sake.
Marc and I were in NYC for five nights last week. It was so wonderful to see many friends and catch up. Marc logged some miles in Central Park...It's true, what they say about New York City. There is no place like it in the world. New York has always played tug-of-war with my heart. Maybe there's a song in that. I'm going to be posting more artwork on Etsy, so please check in with the site, every now and again. To all my teacher-friends: Enjoy the beginning of your summer vacation-safe travels!
Until Next Timexoxox